When Instagram became popular years ago, I really didn’t get it. I mean I understood the concept of it, but I really didn’t understand tagging, hashtags, or anything like that. I rarely used it and when I did, it was just to post a photo that I’d already added on FB. I had 200 friends or less. It really was nothing special to me and this is how it stayed, until everything changed last year.
While I was pregnant, I was addicted to YouTube. I watched video after video about pregnancy & what to expect. After Cora was born, I continued to watch videos about all the MILLIONS of questions I had about being a new mom. I ran across a YouTuber named Caitlyn Neier and a video she had added about becoming Brand Reps for small shops. (Caitlyn’s Video: https://youtu.be/wK1cbxFnN0M ) Her daughter was just a few weeks older than Cora, and she was getting free bows and outfits from repping. I wanted in!!! LOL.
First step was to either start a fresh IG account that was solely baby related or “revamp” the one I already had. I decided to use my existing account, so I went through deleting photos and cleaning up the page. Since I didn’t have much on my page, I started with adding photos of Cora I’d previously taken. I then started trying to “style” photos with bows and outfits I already owned that I could add to my page. At this point, I had NO idea how to edit a photo with editing apps. The only thing I could do was edit in my iPhone photo album & add the free filters they offered. I did not own a camera, I used my phone & that was it.
Thank goodness for having a cute smiley baby because my photo quality skills were NOT good lol. And crazy thing is, at the time I was like “These photos are AMAZING” haha!!
So I started adding more & more photos of Cora, and I would tag the shops or companies that were in the photo. For example, I had bought some bows off Etsy while I was pregnant with Cora and so I tagged the shop they came from if she was wearing them in the photo.
Second step was to start applying for Brand Reps. In the small shop world they have a couple different positions. Brand Reps usually means you’re going to get a certain amount or certain items for free during the term in exchange for photos for the small shop to use & photos posted/tagged on your page. Brand Enthusiasts will usually get a large discount to purchase items in exchange for the same photos being sent & tagged. So out of the 2 positions, you’d definitely want to be a Rep over an Enthusiast, but when starting out, I’d take whatever I could get!
So to find open brand rep searches, I would search the hashtag #brandrepsearch in Instagram and start applying by following the individual shops entry requirements. After applying to tons, I started getting selected for a few Enthusiast positions, or should I say Cora was selected.
Cora’s first Brand Enthusiast positions & photos 🙂
Basically the whole concept of Brand Repping is for these small shops to get advertising and marketing for their business. You are sharing their shop with your friends, family, and followers as well as giving them photo marketing to use on their page/shop site, in exchange for free or discounted products.
Third step was to increase my following. I needed more followers to get more rep positions so I started asking others what they did. I had no idea how to increase my followers because all I’d ever used IG for was local friends/family. I was told there was “follow loops” I could join in and more tagging & hashtags used on photos would help others view my page & then follow if they liked what they saw. The follow loops were the biggest help. It’s basically a temporary post you put up with a specific hashtag being used, for example #mamafollowloop & everyone involved must follow each other. I did A LOT of these in the beginning and that really jump started my following. And the truth is, the more you post, the more popular hashtags you use, and the more tagging you do, gets you more followers. You can use a total of 30 hashtags on each IG post. So I looked at ladies pages with larger followings and saw what hashtags they used, and did the same. Some popular hashtags for repping are:
#brandrep #cutekidsclub #igkids #babymodel #cutekiddies #instakidsfashion #igkiddies #candidchildhood #fashionminis #stylishkiddies #supportsmall #hollywoodminis
Fourth step was to decide on a theme or photo style. In my opinion a “theme” really increases your page. A theme could be a certain filter on all the photos, a certain editing effect on all photos, color range, etc. A lot of my photos were pretty colorful already, I think mostly because it was summer by the time I started thinking about a theme, so everything was being taken outside. That brings me to another tip, outdoor lighting is SOOOOO much better than indoor. I still didn’t know how to edit photos at this point so outdoor lighting stepped my game up.
I decided my page was going to be a colorful AND photos would have a general theme. For example- watermelon themed, donut themed, pink lemonade themed, etc. I also learned how to edit photos by watching Youtube videos. My first editing app was Facetune.
The themed photos really helped my IG pages look. Cora was getting more and more repping positions and even more followers. At one point we repped for over 26 small shops. I don’t suggest that, it was TOO much lol! I also joined in some small groups with other moms so that we could help, engage, and overall support each others pages.
At this point we were pretty much set on the Repping and getting our Instagram page a good start. I still didn’t completely understand Instagram and there was a whole world of influencing out there that I didn’t know about. But for what I started this page with Cora to do, we had done. So what’s next?
After discussing with other girls in my support groups, it seemed like I could either just be a brand rep and continue posting photos of Cora and working with small shops OR transition my page into more of a “lifestyle” page so that we could work with larger brands/companies. I was happy with brand repping but with this whole other side of Instagram I hadn’t even realized there was, I wanted to try & go for it.
And that’s what we did! Next blog post will be all about becoming an influencer and how we started from here. Stay tuned!!!