When I think wine country and wine tasting, it conjours up thoughts and memories of blue skies, hot sunny days, being surrounded by lush green hills and scenic mountains and of course, delicious wine. So when Mike suggested we go wine tasting in England, I didnt know what to expect to be honest. I’d never gone to a vineyard in England before so I was curious and excited. So last week, off we went with my brother in law and another friend of ours, to http://www.denbies.co.uk, in Dorking. Its about an hour or so out of London so we left home around 11am and got to Dorking just in time for lunch. We stopped in at a lovely pub with very warm welcoming service. The food there was so good. (I had bangers and mash and the boys had a steak pie).
After that delicious, and much needed, lunch, we took a walk to Denbies Wine Estate. As soon as we got to the entrance of the estate, I knew we would love it there. We were greeted by the lush green vines and the fresh air up there is great. First up we went on a train tour of the estate with a stop or 2 to take in the incredible views and have a complimentary glass of bubbly. The weather was warm and sunny so we were in our element. I highly recommend the train tour especially in summer.
Next we had the actual wine tasting. It starts off with a video about the estates history (with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine). At first, I must admit, I thought to myself “is this the tasting?” “a glass of bubbly?” But luckily, it was not! There was a proper tasting downstairs in the wine cellar. It was conducted by a bubbly, friendly guy from Denbies. we sampled 4 different types of their wine. Some I liked more than others, but that’s the point, theres something for everyone. It was a great, boozy afternoon spent in beautiful surroundings, with some of my favourite people. It really is worth a visit. Get your favourite people together, pack yourselves in car and take a drive to Dorking. you will have the best time. (you might not fully remember it all, but a good time nonetheless;))
I hope I have inspired you to take a little road trip with your besties, family and friends to this little hidden gem in Dorking. Such a charming town that not only brings you this great winery but also a slice of countryside heaven. Lets go wine tasting hunnies X
Now that we have established and understood the new IG algorithm more and what it favours, we can get a bit more into improving your page ranking and getting noticed.
Find your niche
Instagram puts each account/page into a”box” if you will. This is your niche. Why is this important to know? Well simply put, the more accurate and precise your content to your niche, the easier and quicker it is for people to find you. More importantly those who will be able to search and find your page will be your target audience who are into and interact with the same niche as you.
Now it may sound pretty simple, just pick a niche and post about that right? Well, it sounds simple enough in theory but its quite easy to get carried away on IG and post about anything and everything. In order to get your page recognised by IG, as a particular, clear niche, and to get IG to categorise it as such, we need to make conscious effort to post content only (or largely) related to a specific topic ie. fashion, food, makeup, travel etc and to follow and engage with other pages in that niche as well. This way IG’s algorithm will be able to clearly define your niche. Once you have been clearly categorised, other pages (users) in the same niche and these looking for services etc in your niche (your target audience), will be able find you quickly and much more easily thus increasing your potential for much higher follow rate and engagement than you have now. If you look at a screen grab of my insta page you will see its mainly fashion and lifestyle inspired. So that’s the niche I would be categorised as/in.
How do you tell if you you have got your niche right?
The explore section/page can tell you a lot about how the IG algorithm sees your page. In a similar way as facebook and google track the habits and interests of its users, so too does the IG algorithm. It tracks what you post, the other IG accounts that you loo at, search for, follow and like and forms an “opinion” about what you would like to see and the niche you’re interested in. So to check what the overall “opinion” and niche IG has put you into, go check your explore page. The things that you are most interested in should come up and if you have been using these categorisation “rules” we have been chatting about, you explore page should have similar content as your actual account page. So for example when I check my explore page , it looks like this below. As mentioned earlier, my page is focused on fashion and lifestyle and that’s what I get when I look at the explore page. Iv attached screen grab below as an example.
Research your niche tribe
Im a big believer in surrounding yourself with being as good and “better” than you are in certain things. When you find your niche, find those people in your niche with similar and better engagement and reach than you, and check out their pages and their content. You will find similar trends with a few of them like the types of content that’s doing well within that niche, the hashtags they are using that’s working, the location and times of day they are posting that’s getting great engagement etc. Try incorporating these into your posting style and content until you see engagement go up. you will then know what works for you and your audience.
Try these 2 things on your page and don’t forget to engage with other users. This is social media after all so lets be social and help each other grow:)
Dont forget to hit “follow” on here to stay updated with new posts etc and comment on what you are struggling with on IG or what you have found helped you.
Instagram is fun, with beautiful, fun pictures/video. Users get to share their daily lives, business ideas and promote their products and brand in a creative, effective way that can reach millions of people at a click of a button. Sounds simple and a no brainer right? Not Quite most would say. As much fun as IG is, we also need to remember that its a business and like many businesses, IG is always looking for ways to improve and get its users to spend more time on the platform. It also needs to constantly keep up with its competitors, its most recent being Tik-Tok.
To understand the way IG works, I liken it to a parent or teacher. It likes all of its users but plays favourites and offers rewards. When IG launches a new feature for eg. (its latest being reels), it wants as many people using it as possible and the more you use it and “promote it”, the more the algorithm will favour your page and content and feature that to more users. So what do I mean by “promote” new features? It simply means that the way you use the feature attracts more people to using the feature and IG as a whole. This would be using call to actions in your posts, make sure to engage with people and encourage more engagements on IG. The algorithm in turn sees this and you (your content ), pulling more users to IG and will in turn show your content to more people, helping you grow your account/following. That is really the key to building your account and following with real, higher engagement levels as well.
Iv added an example below of a screenshot of one of my posts. Here I was nearing the end of the work day, along with other people in the world (many of my followers in other parts of the world may have already finished work at that time), and I did a simple story trying to touch base with everyone asking how everything is going. I love engaging with people and hearing how everyones doing, what’s been happening etc, so its a great way to engage while still being authentic and true to who you are because that truly is the biggest secret, be yourself. Nobody can do You, Like You hunny! X
Reels, which as I mentioned is IG’s newest feature. Its the short-form video sharing and editing feature, that allows you to create 15-second videos that can be created and personalised with editing tools and various effects including the option to add music and a host of other things. The easiest way to get your IG going and growing is to always try and use IG’s latest feature introductions, as this will prompt the algorithm to “reward you” and promote your account and content to more people. But what happens if you don’t like a new feature? Reels for eg. are all about creating video content and I am not a video person. So I would either need to get comfortable with making videos or I someone like me needs to put in extra effort with the rest of my content which needs to include all types of IG “promotion” like mentioned ie. calls to action, engagement with other pages, post regularly and consistently, post content that I know my audience will engage with (remember the content you create is for your audience, so it should be what they want to see, and see more of so that you get and keep them engaged). So if you love any new feature that IG rolls out, great! Use it as much as you can and leverage it to get more eyes on your page. If not, well even if you do, as a general golden rule to growing your account, use these rules to gain favour with the IG algorithm to grow on IG.
Golden Rules to grow your IG:
Post to IG often and consistently
Create quality content
Create and post content for your audience, not yourself.
Create content that encourages engagement ie. include calls to action, respond to other posts/comments, ask questions to promote conversation.
Check the most popular times in your country that your audience is most active, and post at those times.
Try to use IG’s newest feature introductions.
And that is, in a nutshell, your quick guide to kickstarting your IG and boosting your page to increase your engagement and following.
Remember to click “follow” so that you keep updated with all my posts and tips.
So you open up your instagram account and the app asks for your username, seems like a no brainer right? You have a name, one you’ve used all your life, so why not use that? Well that’s where the complexities of social media and algorithms etc come in. The name you choose for your instagram account needs to be an easy one to remember and find in searches etc. Think of the instagram search like google search, you need to rank well to get noticed. Now, for most starting out on instagram, nobody knows your name or brand (except for family and friends and in case of businesses, your existing client base). In order to grow though, we need people that don’t know us already to find us and follow us. This is where your name choice is so important. Its the first step to getting noticed on IG. So im going to give you a few golden rules to follow when choosing (or changing ) your username.
Although finding a great instagram name is difficult these days as most of them are taken by many of the 1 billion active users already on IG, it is not impossible. You just need to use a bit of creativity when deciding on yours. The name you choose should stand out, be memorable and reflect your brand/page immediately. Try using key words that reflect what it is that you do and what your followers can expect to see on your page. One example of that is Charlotte Tilbury makeup. Their brand name already perfectly describes what they do “makeup”, so keeping it simple is a great way to build your brand on social media.
Another example of a really creative name that will stick in your mind, is “Narsissist” . Their IG name is a clever play on their brand name “Nars (cosmetics)”. You can immediately tell its a beauty brand with a name their followers are sure to remember.
Keep it simple
When deciding on your IG name, make sure to try and keep it simple and easy not only to remember, but spell (search for), as well. Make sure spelling is accurate and words are not too tricky and difficult to spell and remember. The easier people can remember and spell the word/name, the easier it will be for them to find you.
Brand name or your personal name?
I think that if your feed is primarily to share your daily life with your followers, friends and family, then your own name can work however I recommend adding a word or two to help describe what your page is about so that your audience can find you more easily. One example is the page “makeupbyfrancesca”. It has the users name “Francesca” but by adding “makeup by” in addition, it does both, give her name (ie. personal brand), recognition while also immediately reflecting the purpose of the page and what you can expect to see on there.
Another approach, if you are focussed on a particular style/topic, and might want to turn your passion into your pay check in the future, is to choose a name that solely reflects that passion. A great example is the UK fashion blogger Antonette, her IG name is “wearwhatiwore”. This tells you as soon as you see the name, what her page is all about – fashion and clothes. (I also love how she phases her page with certain colours for certain periods. It looks so professional, clean and focussed).
On IG, there’s your Username and then there’s also your Display name. Your username or IG handle as its known, is your unique identifier while your display name doesn’t need to be unique and can be used to describe more about your pages offerings. I would strongly recommend capitalising on this and choosing great descriptive words in/as your display name to make it easier for people to find you in their search results. Instagram uses your display name when people search for usernames, hashtags or keywords so why not make the best of this option right?
what if its taken?
So what if your name is taken already on IG? (and chances are it might be with so many users). Don’t worry you have options to still get your name/brand out there effectively using your IG name. You can either use one of the descriptive name choices like with the “wearwhatiwore” example I used above which doesn’t use your actual name but rather describes what your do or you can add to your real name. For example with “Ctilburymakeup” or “makeupbyfrancesca”. You can also add an underscore to your name like “Nikki_makeup”, you still have your real name “Nikki” as part of your username but with the underscore and a keyword added of what your page is about, in this example “makeup”. Be creative and you will come up with the perfect IG star name for you and your brand:)
Consistency is key
Brand building and recognition is all about consistency. It is very important to try and have the same username across all your social media platforms. So when you are choosing a username for IG, check if that username is also available on your other social platforms that you use as well. This will create better awareness about your brand and make it easy for users on all platforms to search and find you/your brand.
Well there you have it, my little golden nuggets for choosing the perfect IG name to get you and your brand on the path to stardom.
Let me know your IG handles and how you chose them 😀