Why Do I Suck At Social Media? (A Study of the Power of the Hashtag)

OH MY GOD, my Klout score went down again!”

As we sat down in preparation for our Social Media class this January, my friend Noelle was horrified to find that she had lost a point on Klout, an online tool that measures one’s social media presence and influential status. Noelle had dropped from 62 to a 61. As I looked at my pitiful Klout score of 48, I vowed to change. I wanted to be a marketing student who had masses of followers, shook up the world wide web, and eligible to claim a $5 gift card to McDonald’s.

For my personal revolution, I turned to my underutilized Instagram account. I had a measly 38 followers, and had posted approximately 15 times, most of which were just unflattering photos of me making a double-chin. I was decided to change the account to be a low-carb blog. I’d been doing the diet since the summer and was truly enjoying the lifestyle. My inspiration was an Instagram account called lowcarbcooking, run by a fellow college student named Danielle. When I began following her she had around 1000 followers, and just a few months later she had over 8,000, and was still steadily rising. I noticed that Danielle used many hashtags, so I decided to do the same.

Two of my more popular Instagram photos.

           Two of my more popular Instagram photos.

Unfortunately, my personal marketing skills were sub-par. I could get between 5-15 “likes” on photos, but nearly all of them were from other dieters just flipping through the hashtags I used. I had not acquired any followers, aside from two friends I knew personally who had recently joined Instagram. Disappointed, I decided to ask a pro how she did it. Danielle was kind enough to allow me to conduct an interview with her via email and tell me a little bit about how she maintains such a successful blog.

1. How long ago did you start your lowcarbcooking blog?

 I started my Instagram back in May of 2013, not really expecting to be where I am today! Who knew so many people loved food, haha. I was posting low carb recipes that interested people and that were always asking for the recipes. It wasn’t until the beginning of January that I started my weebly due to the number of people who wanted me to have a blog. Many people wanted me to come out with an “e book” but I don’t create anything that’s too difficult, and I also don’t believe in having people pay for my recipes to  become healthy. I just like helping others live a healthier lifestyle 🙂

2. How did you decide what hashtags to tag your photos as?

I wasn’t sure what hashtags to use at first. What I noticed was there was a big amount of people on Instagram dedicated to food and fitness which many people call us all a “#fitfam” I also stared using hashtags that related to my posts such as lowcarb, atkins, questbar, etc., depending on what it was.

3. About how long did it take for you to gain a hearty amount of followers?

 To reach 500 followers, it took about 3-4 months (I don’t exactly remember) Reaching almost a year, it’s hard to believe I’m almost at 10K! I lose and gain followers everyday, but I don’t see my unfollowers as a “negative thing” anymore just as “maybe they’re not interested in my posts”

4. What would you recommend to someone who’s trying to get more followers for a (usually) low-carb blog? 

I would say just post things that relate to that type of lifestyle.

So what did I learn from Danielle? My captions for photos are less than impressive. I typically label them as “chicken salad” and throw in a couple of low-carb related hashtags. I have never used #fitfam, which seems to create more of a community than the typical #atkins or the oh-so cliche #lowcarb. Finally, I have not fully devoted myself to a low-carb blog. I still post the occasional unflattering chin photo, or a cheesy mirror shot of my boyfriend and me. Danielle posts multiple low-carb meal photos every day. If I really want to become an Instagram goddess, I need to step up my game (much to the dismay of my personal friends, who truly do not care for my photos of buffalo wings and salad).

Screen shot 2014-02-18 at 5.41.14 PM

                        A gift from the heavens above.

Today, my Instagram has skyrocketed to 42 followers, and my Klout score is up to 53 (the latter of which I genuinely am a bit proud of). The saga continues.

Deanna Power


One response to “Why Do I Suck At Social Media? (A Study of the Power of the Hashtag)

  1. Pingback: The Hashtag: Part. II | ECSM Digital Marketing Underground·

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