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.
Now is when we see who reads captions and who scrolls through 😂 I went to an EPIC donut decorating party today courtesy of @publiclivessecretrecipes and @missjonesbakes This is a DONUT burger with plain, chocolate, and lemon donuts, mint lettuce, twizzler tomato, and mint mayonnaise. All of my food photo experience has led to this magical moment – the epitome of all burgers 🙌🙌🙌
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.
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.
- What’s your favorite social network?
- Tell me some of your favorite accounts!