Instagram is a big deal. It’s come so far from just being a place where people to go to share what they had for breakfast or how much they love the lipstick they’re wearing today. We can’t go anywhere without seeing or thinking about Instagram now, we are all obsessed. We buy pretty clothes, order pretty food and visit chic locations; all in search of that ‘perfect’ grid. I even bought a book on how to up my Insta game. It’s starting to feel a bit ridiculous.
My boyfriend, Max, is a design student and therefore reads a lot of design briefs – ‘Instagrammable’ is now something that is desired by companies and that is literally what they write in those design briefs. Photogenic isn’t enough anymore, it has to be specifically engineered for people to want it on their Instagram feeds because that is where the money is. I’ve said to multiple people that if I were to open up a cafe, restaurant or hotel, I would make sure it looks like the inside of a bloggers brain. Rose gold, marble, flower walls, great lighting – because Instagrammable gets people through the door. People that don’t understand the power of the app won’t understand why it is this way, and I almost don’t understand it myself. Why does an app have so much power over us, to the extent where we tailor our businesses to it?
It’s crazy how much of an effect Instagram can have on your mood and general motivation levels. I don’t like to admit it, but my grid pretty much controls my mood right now. I’m obsessed with having a grid that looks well put together and something that other people want to aspire to – I want people to look at my Instagram and feel the things I feel when I look at everybody else’s Instagrams. I spent hours editing photos, searching for my editing style, and if a photo doesn’t go with the style of editing I’ve chosen, it doesn’t go on the grid. It feels so stupid to live my life by these little squares and let them control what I share, as opposed to me controlling it, but that’s just how it goes now.
I’ve tried to break out of the mould every so often, telling myself I don’t need an Instagram theme and screw it, I’m going to post whatever I want and just deal with it. But, slowly but surely, it always falls back into one editing style and before I know it, my Instagram has a theme again and I’m back to caring too much. It’s weirdly satisfying looking at an Instagram grid and thinking it looks amazing, and it’s your own grid. I feel a weird sense of pride because I made it, I constructed it, and now I get to appreciate it. Which I do a lot.
I honestly think it’s mind-boggling how much money people can make through Instagram. Absolutely crazy considering it did start off as an app where people share their breakfast food or photos of their friends making a star with their fingers (we’ve all done it). I was paid £100 for an Instagram ad recently. £100 for about half an hour of work. I can’t understand that sometimes, and it makes me kind of sad that the money is with Instagram now instead of with blogging. The number of blog ads we see nowadays has gone down quite a lot, whilst Instagram ads are on the rise. £100 is a lot of money, especially for someone that doesn’t even have a lot of followers. I can’t imagine what the number is for people with over 10k or over 100k. I do think that number would probably make me pass out though.
I’ve started to see Instagram as an art form now, and creating content can sometimes be the most fun I have. I suppose it is work, especially for full-time bloggers and ‘grammers, but it doesn’t feel like it. Editing is one of my favourite things to do – I edit all my photos on the Lightroom app currently but I’m starting to branch out into editing on Lightroom Classic on the desktop. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with ‘over-editing’, manipulating the sky or adding some birds in, as long as you say it’s all Photoshop. Everyone has their different preferences, and that’s the beauty of Instagram.
It is such a widely used platform that there’s something for everyone on there. Like with blogging, there are so many different niches you can find yourself in and I can spend hours on there, jumping from page to page and niche to niche. For ages, I was obsessed with mummy Instagrammers. I followed a whole bunch of them and just found myself spending ages reading the funny captions and becoming too invested in their lives. I still follow a few of them and cried as if they were my best friends when they announced new pregnancies. It’s a very time consuming niche to find yourself obsessed with.
I spend probably as much time planning and creating content for my Instagram as I do for my blog, if not more. The beauty of Instagram is that it’s so quick, I can snap a photo and have it edited and uploaded within about ten minutes, but when you add up how many times I do that in a week, or a day, it all adds up. Whereas blogging is really time consuming, even though a lot of the photos double up for both my blog and Instagram, cultivating the ideas and making them a reality can take days and even then, I schedule blog content over a few weeks and having to wait for a post I’m really proud of to go live is torturous. I put an equal amount of work into both platforms and find myself in creative funks with both of them, but I create more content specifically for Instagram than I do with my blog because it’s easier and I can see the benefits instantly.
It does make me sad that the majority of work is on Instagram, as I mentioned previously. My passion was always writing, not photography, but I’ve had to learn to adapt if I wanted to make any money from this hobby. Blogging and Instagram tend to go hand in hand, but being paid for writing a blog post seems really unlikely now, to me. Unless you’re someone like Inthefrow, a veteran blogger who creates the most astonishing content, I think blog ads won’t really materialize. Or maybe I’m shit at it.