Instagram divides the world into two groups. Those love it, and those who despise it. If you fall into the latter group, the likelihood is you’ve seen the dark side of it. Bullying, trolling and encouraging suicide. Even those who love social media are aware of that dark side. Yet I strongly feel that it can be incredibly positive as well. This is the a guide to finding Instagram accounts you love, and why it matters. All photos in this post are taken from my own account.
Finding Instagram accounts like yours
The sort of Instagram accounts I follow have changed dramatically since I first signed up to the platform. At first, I was only on there because of my blog. I thought I needed to use it to promote my blog, which I can now categorically say is not the case. In fact, Instagram drives very few readers to my blog, predominantly because I rarely use it for that. My blog link is on there, and occasionally I mention a post I’ve written in my stories. But generally, the two are fairly separate.
At first, I used to follow accounts that were similar to mine. Other bloggers, friends, people posting photos of their children and what they were up to on a daily basis. Soon though, I started to realise that my outdoor photos usually did better. And that those were the photos I enjoyed taking. So, I naturally migrated towards following accounts who shared photos taken outdoors.
I started to follow landscape photographers and local people sharing photos of the countryside I love. Not because I thought my photos were in their league at all, but because I loved their pictures. Looking at my feed started to make me happy. So I followed some travel bloggers as well, whose photos gave me new ideas of places to visit.
I realised that the more I loved the accounts I followed, the more I enjoyed Instagram, and the more I naturally interacted on there. Which led me to find other fabulous accounts, and my own Instagram started to grow and take shape, developing a niche and character based on the things I love.
Finding Instagram accounts by following your passion
As time went on, my hobbies and interests changed. I was spending an increasing amount of time outdoors and last year, I started regularly swimming in the river. This became my passion, and I increasingly found myself seeking out other open water swimmers on Instagram.
These days, my posts fall into three categories. General landscape photos, photos of the children having fun outdoors and photos of places I’ve swam. The accounts I follow mirror these interests, inspire me and make me smile.
Getting to know the people behind the Instagram accounts
My developing interests have led me to end up following thousands of accounts on Instagram. Many brands hate this and won’t work with me because of it, labelling mine a ‘follow for follow’ account. However, I can honestly say that this doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Because I do get quite a bit of work through Instagram but even if I didn’t, I’d still keep doing what I’m doing. Because it makes me happy, but mostly because I’ve built some amazing connections.
I’ve met several bloggers and local Instagrammers who I’ve got to know through social media. Better still, I’ve started to get to know some open water swimmers. A few weeks ago, I was interviewed for a podcast about wild swimming. Then during half term, I met up with a group of wild swimmers who live about an hour and a half from me. They drove up here to join me for a swim and introduced me to a whole new world where outdoor swimming in winter is actually quite popular. Their club has 80 members who swim during winter. I had no idea there were this many people swimming through winter and it’s heartening to hear that it’s not just us.
Just this weekend, I spotted an Instagram post about the Winter Swimming World Championships, taking place in Lake Bled in Slovenia next February. It is my mission for the next 12 months to convince my swimming friend to go with me. I love the idea of meeting hundreds of other ice swimmers, especially those whose photos I admire every day on Instagram.