How Instagram Has Changed My Life

Ok ok, that title may be a little overdramatic. In all honesty, though, a simple social network has truly brought me so many gifts.

A little over a year ago, I decided that I wanted to focus on growing my Instagram account. At that point, I had about 600 followers and I told myself that by the time a year went by I wanted to have 10K. I reached that goal a month short of the one year mark and now I’m starting to set new goals for myself.

Instagram is an extension of this blog, where I emphasize balance and working on the inside in order to achieve a healthier outside. Obviously a large part of that is food. I’m not a dedicated food blogger, although I do share recipes from time to time, so where I can focus on the food is Instagram.

My feed shows that some days I love healthy meals from Sweetgreen and other days I want to eat sweets and giant burgers. Both are ok. My account is never going to be ONLY healthy food because for me that’s not sustainable. For some people it is and that’s amazing, but I find I’m much happier striking that balance. I know that in my 20s I believed it was all or none, so hopefully what I share with others can help defeat that mentality and show that you can be healthy and eat cookies at the same time. 🙂

Although a majority of the pictures are food, I still share fitness images and things I love in order to help round it out and tie it back into the brand as a whole. On the surface, it may seem like a simple place to post pictures, but the things I’ve derived from it are way more meaningful to me. Here are some ways that Instagram has changed my life.

1. It makes me more creative

I am not the most creative person, although maybe the more appropriate word is “artistic.” For me, that creativity comes in spurts and I can never predict when it will happen. Consistently photographing for Instagram has forced me to think about different types of images and layouts in order to keep things fresh. There are still a lot of characteristic shots I will do like giant sandwich holds and how I lay things out, but when I’m out I will always be thinking about how to get the best picture of what’s happening.

I’ve also been forced to think outside the box in terms of backgrounds. My feed is generally light and bright, so I try not to use too many dark backgrounds. I’ve used white vans, taken food outside, and even walked across to another building with a lighter wall to take a picture. It may sound crazy, but I absolutely love it.

2. It makes me more adventurous

Normally, I’m the person who orders the same thing over and over again at a restaurant. I find something I like and I stick with it. Since becoming involved with Instagram, however, I frequently order different things and even foods that I would normally never get because I know they’ll make a great picture. This way I’m able to step outside my comfort zone and try new foods, some of which I really enjoy. Whatever I order is still something I eat, but it may not have been my first choice.

I’ve also ventured outside my physical comfort zone in order to find foods to try and photograph. Rather than stay in my comfortable radius of foods I like, I’ll travel all over the city to different neighborhoods to try out something new. For awhile Neil and I were going out every weekend on food adventures and I was documenting it all along the way. If it wasn’t for my love of taking these pictures, there’s so many places I never would have tried.

Cheers to a bright and healthy morning (even if it’s rainy here in Chicago)! ☔️☀️🙏 A photo posted by Erin’s Inside Job (@erinsinsidejob) on

3. I’ve met some amazing people

Oh my gosh you guys, the people. I’ve already met a ton of wonderful people through blogging itself, but Instagram has introduced me to even more. Social media is amazing. I’ve likened it to a dating app before, but one where you can find an even better match because you get to know people’s likes, dislikes, and personality before you even meet them. Everyone I’ve met through blogging and Instagram has been AMAZING. Networking is so important, and what I love about Instagram is that it’s perfect for introverts. You can find out info and share it without ever actually needing to meet up and make small talk. 🙂

In my experience, there aren’t as many healthy living bloggers here in Chicago and the focus tends to shift more towards the fashion scene. While the dedicated blogging pool is low, the number of FOOD Instagram accounts is huge. I’ve met more live people here in the city through Instagram and it’s great since there’s never judgement when I take my food outside or spend time arranging it for a picture — mainly because they are doing the same thing.

Some awesome people I’ve met in real life here in the city that you should follow are Addie, May, Sam, and Uyen.

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4. I’ve had great partnerships

Instagram has an entirely different marketing potential. It’s both an extension of my blog and it’s own platform. Some brands know nothing of my blog and approach me exclusively for Instagram, while some come to the blog first and have Instagram rolled in when we work together.

As great as working with brands is for a blog post, it can often be more expensive for them and more work for me. Having an audience on Instagram allows me to also do some smaller, less expensive campaigns with brands and not saturate the entire blog with sponsored posts. The brands I have met through Instagram have all been wonderful and I love having the option to work with them in a variety of ways.

5. I take myself more seriously

Ever since I started this blog I’ve loved taking pictures of food. Granted, the pictures were awful and I had no idea about natural lighting or editing or anything, but it always brought me a lot of joy to do it. As I’ve improved and people have started to appreciate the pictures, I’ve finally felt like all the bad pictures, the learning, and the enjoyment I derived from them were for a purpose.

It’s taken time for me to regard this blog as a serious thing and being able to include Instagram as part of it has helped solidify my acceptance of everything as a part time endeavor and source of income.

Questions:

  • What’s your favorite social network?
  • Tell me some of your favorite accounts!
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27 Comments

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 19, 2016 / 9:30 pm

      Thanks so much Karlie. Yes, IG is the bomb.com hahah

  1. December 13, 2016 / 6:36 am

    I love it. Instagram changed my life in different ways as I joined a lot of yoga challenges in my first year and learned more tips and poses leading me to yoga training a year after that. I love how we can use social media to inspire others or offer food suggestions in a city. I grew up in Evanston and love hearing about places to check out in Chicago. I’ll actually be back in Chicago next week visiting my parents. Would love to meet up and maybe get a cookie dough sandwich 🙂
    Alicia @Bridges Through Life recently posted…NYC and Packing: MIMM#99My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 19, 2016 / 9:31 pm

      Cookie dooooooough. Let me know about this week!

  2. December 13, 2016 / 7:06 am

    I love seeing all your magical food finds. I can’t say I really focused on my Instagram until a few months ago. I’ve really focused on growing one thing at a time but now that I’m doing it I will say it’s my favorite form of social media.
    Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious recently posted…How To Avoid Office TreatsMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 19, 2016 / 9:31 pm

      Yeah I had to choose one and this has totally been my favorite to grow!

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 19, 2016 / 9:31 pm

      Me too girl, me too.

  3. December 13, 2016 / 8:32 am

    By far, my favorite social media account is Instagram. I love looking at pictures and it’s pushes me to take better photographs as well. I will be honest that I usually check your Instagram before I even check your blog.

    You take beautiful pictures and I will admit that I take inspiration from what you do on there. That’s amazing that you were only at 600 followers just a year ago. Now, you’re at 10K! Incredible! I need to focus on my Instagram account a little more. I hope to grow it as well as you have. Congratulations and keep up the fantastic work!
    Willie Gillis recently posted…Five Things Friday #2My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 19, 2016 / 9:32 pm

      Yeah it’s quicker to just check IG than go through a whole blog post sometimes. Good luck on growing yours too!

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 19, 2016 / 9:32 pm

      It’s the best!!

  4. December 13, 2016 / 12:28 pm

    I just love your IG and I love how creative your pictures are. I think it’s freaking awesome you were able to grow so much in a year!
    Ange // Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Weekend RecapMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 19, 2016 / 9:33 pm

      Thanks girl! Good thing I love to do it so much haha

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 19, 2016 / 9:33 pm

      IG friends are the best friends!

  5. December 13, 2016 / 8:01 pm

    I think I first started following your IG when you were at the few hundred mark and I’ve noticed how rapid your growth has been. Plus your photos have improved so much! I’m beginning to like IG a lot more because it’s a great way to “blog light” and share images that aren’t quite blog-worthy but fun/pretty/delicious/inspiring nonetheless. Growing my followers is one of my goals for 2017. 🙂
    Catherine @ A Cup of Catherine recently posted…10 Boozy Hot Chocolate Recipes to Celebrate National Cocoa DayMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 19, 2016 / 9:33 pm

      Sometimes it takes a lot of thought, but once you get in the groove of it it becomes much easier. Thanks for following along Catherine!

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 19, 2016 / 9:34 pm

      Aw thanks girl!

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 19, 2016 / 9:34 pm

      I know me too! Man I do all kinds of weird things for backgrounds haha

  6. December 14, 2016 / 8:55 am

    I have LOVED following your account Erin; you would never guess that you are an introvert, because you are so outgoing, interactive, fun, and friendly. I love how you’ve made so many friends, become more creative, and I can tell that you put a lot of work into it. Every one of those followers is like a WONDERFUL Christmas gift to a sweet woman.
    Emily recently posted…WIAW: Living Requires Eating… Without ExerciseMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 19, 2016 / 9:35 pm

      Aw thank you Emily! I’m interactive to a point but definitely need time to recharge!

  7. December 14, 2016 / 4:37 pm

    I recently started my blog and my goal for Insta is 10k within a year so I can totally relate to this! It’s hard work trying to build those followers from the ground up but it’s totally worth it.

    And yes – perfect for an introvert 🙂
    Dana recently posted…Volunteering Abroad: Sea Turtle Conservation In GreeceMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 19, 2016 / 9:35 pm

      Yay! Good luck Dana – let me know if I can help at all!

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