In this episode, we’re discussing everything Instagram. We start with a few details about our recent Instagram Auction, and the not-so-small problems that kept us scrambling well past midnight to deal with. We then move into a general discussion on using Instagram as a business tool, and some of our best practices for growing an organic following (and why it matters). And of course we need to juice it up a bit, so we hold nothing back in discussing the trend of buying Instagram followers, giving our opinions on it and even sharing some cases where it has “worked.”
Listen to the latest episodes on: iTunes, GooglePlay, Stitcher.
This Episode is Sponsored By:
Grove Collaborative is an online marketplace for all of your favorite natural home & personal care products. We signed up a few months ago and set all of our favorites products on a subscription to arrive automatically, right when we need them. Visit www.grove.co/chrislovesjulia to sign up, spend your first $20 and they will throw in a FREE set of Mrs. Meyers Cleaning Products. No code required, but you do need to sign up at www.grove.co/chrislovesjulia.
They sent us their Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle with a Window Pane Sheet and their Bedford Smoke Stripe Duvet cover back in April and we could not be happier. Our listeners get $20 off PLUS Free Shipping with code CLJ at checkout!
We’re Talking All About Instagram!
Hosting an Instagram Auction
As DIY and Home Design bloggers, we can sometimes get a surplus of decor items stored around our home. We talk about the auction we held to clear out some of these things, how we approached it, and what we’d do differently next time to avoid the frustrations we had.
Our Tricks for Growing an Organic Instagram Following
We talk about an open source tool (socialblade.com) anyone can use to see the momentum your favorite Instagram accounts have. A few other things we touch on include:
• This post I wrote last year about growing your instagram account rapidly and organically.
• finding your content and making it great
• posting what your followers want to see, not what you want to share
Here’s two examples of photos we wanted to share, but didn’t resonate with our followers. And it shows! Don’t take it personally, learn from it!
Here’s the kind of post our followers want to see, and it shows, too!
When we bought our home 4 years ago, we loved the big, open great room but we didn’t like the tile floors or too-low ceiling fan or really dark walls OR the kitchen layout (SWIPE to see the before!). But the big open room stole our hearts and everything else we knew we could change–and we did just that over the past four years until we made it our own. Basically, if I hear one more person on HGTV pass on a house because of the paint colors ????. SOURCES: http://liketk.it/2t6XH #liketkit @liketoknow.it #cljtransformations #cljhouse #openconcept #greatroom #interiorinspo #beforeandafter #renovation
• engagement – calculating rates, why it matters, and how to improve
• an experiment with Preston’s Instagram account. We gave him tips on finding his niche and what he should be posting and we’re going to see how long it takes him to hit that magical 10K! Give him a follow here.
• using Instagram’s analytics
Hot Topic: Is It OK to Buy Instagram Followers?
Buckle up, because this conversation don’t quit. There’s a trend of buying Instagram followers (and a correlating trend of justifying it) that we just can’t not talk about. We read a comment from a reader on a previous post about it, and also share an article of a blogger who admits she bought followers and claims she doesn’t regret it (the tone of her article does not support that claim, IMO). We also talk about how important the difficulty of growing an organic following is, and ask the question, “Are round-robin giveaways on Instagram just another form of buying followers?” We round it all out sharing our thoughts on the Instagram Bubble we’re all creating and what could happen when it pops.
Can’t Get You Outta My Mind
Julia: Being a loving parent, Jules is constantly thinking about the welfare of our girls. Of course, there’s no shortage of mommy blogs out there willing to tell you that your child is definitely going to die of something in the next week, so add in the death of our beloved Charly and a healthy dose of new-baby sleep deprivation and Jules is on red alert. Enter, the Owlet Baby Monitor. I kid about it, but this thing is honestly one of the greatest things you can do for your baby, and yourself. Jules talks all about it, and how it’s helping her get the best sleep she’s had in months.
Chris: Most of our long-time followers know about the passing of our dog, Charly. She was as great as they come, and I share a few musings on what it has been like to have a pet in our home, and how great it’s been to see so many people express their love for Charly, as well. And while I know every circumstance is different and some people have barriers to pet ownership, I make the case for it nonetheless. If you’re wondering if you should get a pet, you should. And if you’re wondering when, you should do it now.
Preston: Preston shares his thoughts on Charly, as well, and what it’s been like as a friend, finding out just how big a part of his life she was. He shares his thoughts on the Instagram posts for Charly’s final meals, and how sweet and gentle Charly really was. It’s a full round of Charly thoughts from all three of us, because she deserves every bit of it.
This is very useful! I have definitely been hving thi problem and I didn’t know why. I will try these tips. Thank you!:)
I love your podcast.. just listening to you guys goofing around!! Hilarious! That should be a whole new brand!! Love it xxx
Just for fun, a few weeks ago I started a home decor instagram after moving into a new apartment after listening to this podcast. Completely organically not passing 10 followers LOL. But the enjoyment is coming from decorating the place the way I want, getting back into photography as a hobby, and being a part of a conversation that I love (not from watching the number of followers hover between 6 and 8 haha). Thanks for being an inspiration!
Good inf but I think this was a long posdcast. It should be two episodes..
I only listened about 30min , I will prob listen the rest in another day.
love your voices and Instagram ????????????
Such a good episode! Not a topic I had ever thought about before but really found it informative.
The art in you house is so interesting . It would be great to hear a podcast segment on how you find it There are so many online sources that it can be overwhelming to search sites like Minted and Etsy. Do you have something in mind when you are searching or do you just browse etc.
I love to listen while I’m stuck in CA traffic!
I could not agree with you more!! It’s definitely making me sad that Instagram users are resorting to this… especially when lots of us who were later to the design blogging scene (like myself) try so hard to engage, produce original content, and create real relationships as opposed to taking the bot route. It’s a trying time for Instagram and like you, I love the platform, but it’s really difficult to grow and succeed with this happening. I guess in the end, all we can do is keep producing quality / original content and making genuine connections. That’s when the good / creative magic happens anyway! Thanks for touching on a tricky subject. xox
I just listened to this episode – and loved hearing your thoughts about IG. I especially loved the end ‘Can’t get you outta my mind” segment – I definitely got teary-eyed hearing you all talk about Charly. We lost our first fur-baby 2 years ago and I still miss him so very much. He was our first baby – before marriage, house, kid – and will forever hold a place in our family. I definitely feel your pain and mourn along with you all. We recently felt it was time to welcome a new fur baby into the family this summer and she has definitely brought a new light into our family – we love her and really love seeing our son bond with her. Although Dave (our first pup) will always have a place her, Maddie has definitely helped us heal a little more <3 Sending you all lots of love
This was one of your best podcast episodes! While the instagram conversation was extremely interesting and informative, the “can’t get you out of my mind” segment was so sweet and real. Keep up the awesome work!
Wanted to comment on your conversation about Instagram, buying followers, and over saturation. From a personal perspective, the number of followers an account has really has no bearing. I look at all kinds of feeds whether they are older and established or new and fresh. Chris hit the nail on the head in his last comment “content is king”. I will scroll through the first maybe 20 posts on a feed before following to make sure I like most of them. And the reason is because I am becoming more selective of who I follow since there are so many accounts out there and I want the ones most relevant to me. As a result Instagram continues to be a flood of joy and inspiration rather than a newsfeed.
Just a little something to chew on.
agree same here…
I’m sorry for your loss of sweet, beautiful Charly. I have loved seeing her in the photos of your house and was touched by your tributes to her on this episode. It is so hard to lose a pet.
Loved this episode!! I got such great insight. :) I will say as someone who is jumping in to this heavily saturated market, I sometimes feel a bit discouraged because of the fact that so many people leave their integrity at the door. I am determined to grow my audience organically. And I love the resource for analytics (Social Blade). Not very happy with my D- score, but in time I know I can improve. Love following along!
This has been one of thee best episodes! SO helpful and informative! Keep up the awesome work!!!
The Owlet is awesome! Definitely helped me sleep better with my second. I used to keep the base in his room (with a towel over the light) and then I could hear any alarm on my video monitor. The blinking lights would have driven me insane otherwise!
This was one of my favorite episodes! Thank you for being so honest about the Instagram game. So interesting.
I also wanted to share that I had a similar reaction as Julia after our beloved dog died- I became absolutely convinced that my husband was going to die in a car accident, to the point that we finally got our butts in gear and got life insurance (which was a good thing I guess). And for a few months he had to let me know when he arrived safely to and from work. Just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone!
THANK YOU! That was so informative. I have a measly following (organic :)) but I am working to expand my design business. Your insight was so helpful!
On another note, I am truly sorry for your family and loss of Charly. We had to put down our dog a couple years ago and it’s one of the hardest things I have done. I hope all your memories and captured moments keep you a little warmer.
I admittedly entered a loop-giveaway once, mainly because I decided to just give it a try (it wasn’t a common thing yet) and I won a Macbook. I will also admit that I un-followed pretty much everyone I had to follow during that giveaway. Since then giveaways have become such a common thing and are annoyingly everywhere. I love the fact that you don’t buy your followers or do the giveaways. Also, like someone else commented, people who follow you just to try and get you to follow back are the worst.
Also, has anyone noticed that if you follow a certain type of account (home design, fashion blog, online boutique…) that other similar accounts will follow you trying to get a follow back? How does that work? Do they have something telling them people who are interested in their type of account?
Yes! Such a pain to get irrelevant followers because you liked an account in Utah! I just figured these are small businesses checking out who is following the big accounts and reach out in a hope of gaining followers.
Thank you Preston for the joke about the bluetooth headphones for making me laugh in the middle of my tears. Still so very sorry for your loss. <3
Getting to the heart of promoting yourself and your website and your design ideas, what’s your definition of success?
What’s the goal with all this sharing and getting followers?
I can’t wait to listen to the episode and I love you guys!
100% agree with jumping on the pet bandwagon.
Yes, when we loose them (and it often happens too soon) it’s crushing. Yes, they can be a lot of work (but really, many things in life that make in impact are). But all the work, expense and eventual sadness pales in comparison to the joy they bring.
The people that play the follow/unfollow game on Instagram are the worst. Their transparency is so obvious.
You guys are so funny! Great tips…
Oh man, Chris hit the nail on the head about the loss of a pet. We lost our golden and I couldn’t put into words about why is was so absolutely devastating, but it’s very true what he said. They love you unconditionally and it is so absolutely heartbreaking. I am in tears now :( It’s been 3 years and I still cry about our Molly, she was the sweetest soul. So sorry about your loss <3
I’m a long time reader and love what you guys are doing. Your kitchen was a huge factor in giving us the courage to go with black cabinets. And I love it!! Now if only those concrete counters would install themselves :)
But, what really led me to comment was that I just started an Instagram account and I’m trying to navigate all the information out there on growing your account. I read your post from several months ago with your tips for increasing your following and found it to be really helpful. Thanks for that! And I’ll definitely be listening to your podcast.
Lastly, my condolences on Charly. I know what it’s like to lose a beloved pet and my heart goes out to all of you.
Love this behind-the-scenes episodes– keep ’em coming!
I started looking at “engagement rates” for some Instagramers I follow and noticed that A LOT of wedding/lifestyle photographers have rates at 15% or higher!! I suspect this is because they’re in a community of people who all comment/like each other’s posts, but since they’re not looking for brand sponsors there is no disadvantage?
Do you think this helps them get lots and lots of new followers? and in this case “potential clients”? Does this “trick” Instagram new algorithms? It still seems fishy and disingenuous to me.
Fantastic discussion! You guys should seriously consider writing an e-book on the Instagram marketing topic. I also really appreciate that you guys do not buy followers or participate in loop-giveaways. Keep doing what you do – I love seeing you be successful with the blog!
OMG. Loop giveaways are THE WORST. I seriously can’t stand it.
Our wood grain Shaker cabinet fronts were designed for busy, high-traffic homes like ours. Clad with durable textured thermofoils, this line is compatible with Sektion, Akurum, Godmorgon, and Besta cabinets from IKEA. It's the perfect, practical way to add the warmth of wood to all the rooms of your home.
We have teamed up with Loloi to create a line of rugs that are as affordable as they are beautiful. This collection houses a great mix of traditional and modern rugs, in cottage-y colorways, as well as vintage-inspired beauties that you’ll want to roll out in every room.
We partnered with Stuga on a line of hardwood floors — The Ingrid is really livable, and the color is very neutral. It doesn’t lean warm or cool, it’s that just right in-between. We have really loved putting it everywhere in our house. It’s the best jumping-off point for design, no matter your interior style. In addition to being beautiful, Ingrid is really durable — we have three kids, and we always have a home construction project going on. Ingrid stands up to it all.
Looking for our favorite things? A place to shop our home room by room, or just catch up on what Julia's wearing / loving right now? Browse the CLJ shop.
Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here.
We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen.
Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.
We recently painted our study a dark, moody green color. This is after we first painted it a muddy green, then repainted it a blue-gray. I guess what they say is true; third time’s a charm! The journey was worth it, though, because I’m so in love with this glossy green in contrast with the […]
We've been doing this since 2009 and we've posted a whopping 24145+ blog posts and counting. You might need a little help searching, huh?
Another way for us to stay in touch! Joining our weekly newsletter gives you access to exclusive content, never-before-seen photos, your questions answered, and our favorite DIYs. Sign up below!
Welcome to our online community where we've posted home, DIY, style, renovations, and family since '09. Renovating our #cljmoderncottage in Idaho and headed for new adventures in Raleigh, NC. #cljfam #cljtransformations
Make yourself right at home
What do you think?