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Six months of Socials as a Copywriter: Instagram Edition

Updated: Feb 13



I was sceptical about the world of social media. 


My background in education had convinced me it was the route of all evil. Over the years, before I reignited my love of writing, I had sat through so many pupil meetings; meetings in which social media had turned their world upside down through carelessness and error, and so it was just natural for me to steer clear. Six months in and the picture is very different.


I am in love with social media.


It’s a love I just didn’t see coming.


Context. I launched my freelance Copy and Content writing business in July 2023, having lurked in the shadows gaining experience writing for friends’ businesses. My instinct was to pool my efforts into Instagram. That’s where I felt I should start. 


When I look back, I put this call down to the hours and hours I spent building my knowledge bank on Youtube. I loved a visual. I still do. But I love creativity too. I find it so satisfying to open up Canva, create a graphic I’m impressed with and craft the caption to accompany. Instagram was the one for me.


The early days were as I thought they would be though. Disheartening. Lonely. Scrolling down to my first few posts, I revisit the pain. Four likes. 0 comments. After all that work. All that procrastination. What is interesting though, is when I look at that first post, there are two accounts there that are still very much part of my journey today. And I love that.


And so, as I reflect on six lessons that social media has taught me as a freelance Copy and Content writer, I shall start right there.


  1. Community


Those two accounts turned into more. Steadily. Progressively. I haven’t hit 1000 followers yet, so I’ve by no means made it with regards to astronomical numbers. But, as I look around at similar writers' accounts, those that started at a similar time, I think I’m doing pretty well. And although the numbers are important, (do not believe anyone that says they are not. They are a liar and would feel differently if they were stuck on 999 despite posting a reel a day) the thing I’m most proud of is my engagement. 


I like doing it. I like commending others on excellent posts and I like saying thank you when the same is sent my way. I like having actual conversations through comments. Carelessly scrolling dropping fake hearts is not me and I learned early on it didn’t actually lead to anything. Out of the 800 followers I have, I would say there are twenty accounts that I have a genuine relationship with. Accounts that are interested in my words and work. We celebrate each other’s work. We engage with thought. We are a little community.


2. Community can equal paid work


Can Instagram make you money as a writer? I Googled it when deciding which platforms I should start on. The results were…unclear. My answer now, six months in, is yes. Yes it can.


I like to be transparent. I have made £5000 through IG in my first half year. 


But honestly, every sniff of a client I have had through IG has been the result of hard work, networking and engaging. Nothing has appeared on this forum for me out of the blue with zero communication beforehand. 


3. Engage with purpose


I mentioned it earlier because it is so true. Don’t be that account. You’re a creative. You love connection. Show it in your comments too. I realised early on that a lonely heart on a brilliant post led to the same back. Nothing more. A quickfire token gesture with the opportunity to be memorable, lost. When I started taking the time to actually say real things, things with a little guile or wit behind them, I started to see progress. Progress in the form of developing relationships. Progress in the form of gaining a few extra followers because they saw the comment and liked what I’d written. 


4. Sort out your strategy


I got lost three months in. I started gaining momentum and then started posting every day. This was never my plan. I don’t think it was necessarily bad content, but it was unnecessary. I was ignoring everything I’d read before I started and every chat I’d had with social media managers. It’s a Blog for another time, but I started doing the same over on LinkedIn too at that point. Instagram is not my business. LinkedIn is not my business. They are important, no doubt. But they were too big a part of my week.


Fast forward a few months and I’m very happy with my current strategy. It’s resulting in slow and steady growth with more of the right kind of accounts. That’s the one. That’s what I want.

 

5. Keep it simple


In every respect. My post plans. My words. My message. It’s not complicated really. Take away the intricacies of SEO and I’m just looking to write for businesses. Businesses that want a casual to mixed register. Anything formal and it’s just not me. The words you read on my grid are me. The words in this piece are me. Short sentences and all. This paragraph should be short.


6. Network to grow


I’ve mentioned community and engagement already, but I want to end on this one as it’s so important to me. I don’t just network with writers. I network with creatives. People that inspire me on IG. As a result, I’ve chatted to professionals across the world not to land work, but to develop. Not necessarily as a writer, but as someone that wants to learn. 


There’s so much to take from every call. To see the amazing things that folks are doing to make their businesses flourish is truly incredible. Every single call has a takeaway. A little something I jot down.


My advice is to reach out. Ask. Even the accounts you deem the big players. In my experience, nobody has said no. There’s absolutely nothing to lose and so, so much to gain.


So there you have it. My six Instagram insights after a crazy six months promoting my Content and Copy skills.


If you’re new to the game, I hope this was helpful. Come play, I’ve genuinely found there is room for everyone. If you’re an experienced pro, thanks for reading and showing interest in my journey.


Here’s to the next six…


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Absolutely enchanted with the way you write Phil. I am so happy for you on your 6 months milestones and all the lessons.

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