Welcome back to another installment of Flick Talks! Today, we spoke to Sam, A.K.A. @foodjunkie_uk to understand how she saw such successful growth with her Instagram account across a short period of time. Sam operates in the mouthwatering ‘food niche’ of Instagram and currently shares content around the food she cooks and the restaurants she visits. In this interview, we talked strategy, to understand the best methods for growing an account in a specific niche.
How to Grow a Niche Instagram Account with @foodjunkie_uk
Tell us a bit about how you started your account and how you grew!
I started the profile in November 2018 sometime, but it was only about restaurant reviews – until lockdown. Because people couldn’t go out to eat anymore I changed my content to cooking which is totally different in all respects. When I first changed my content I noticed the reach of my hashtags didn’t perform as well as before – I studied SEO so I understand hashtags and it interests me. I did some research for hashtag tools – I know there are some free ones but they were too generic and I wanted to be able to track the performance of each hashtag etc. I think because of the timing during the lockdown as well as the strategy I used is why I grew really fast.
I will probably continue with the cooking content even after lockdown, even if it became totally normal to go out for a meal I think I would still do both.
What is your goal with the account?
At the moment, it’s still just a hobby. I enjoy that because it’s not my full-time job and I can say no – if it was my full-time job and wasn’t as stable I might sometimes need to say yes to things that I’m not keen on. I’ve had some brands approach me that just don’t align with my content and I just say no because I don’t feel comfortable doing those things or talking about those products.
How did you start working with brands/restaurants?
Some of them approached me – most of them from agencies or brands – and asked me if I wanted to collaborate or work with them. Only a few such as the recent giveaway I did, I approached them, because I do really like their products so I thought it would be beneficial for us both. If their KPI or goal is to grow their followers I feel like a giveaway is a good way to benefit both sides. Most of them contact me through Instagram and some via email as I grow bigger.
You briefly touched on your strategy, could you talk a bit more about that and how to grow a niche Instagram account?
When I first started using Flick I used my own hashtag strategy. I mostly divide it into 3 groups – so cooking-wise there’s the cuisine and the material of the food, and then the next one I’ll focus on is locations like Manchester or the UK, and the next will be more generic around food such as ‘foodpic’ or ‘foodphotography’ or ‘foodblogger.’ So I divide it into three different themes. I tried doing it by hashtag size, but I think this Instagram strategy does work better for my niche and helped me grow. I base how I am doing off of my previous performance and I am doing a lot better.
How many impressions via hashtags do you get when you do perform well?
9,600 is the best one but if it’s a good one I’ll be around 1,000-7,000.
And you find separating hashtags by niche works better for your account?
Yes, rather than hashtag size. I also think they need to be as relevant as possible to the post. So I think the ‘Preview Content’ feature is really useful on Flick that shows you the hashtag photos; the photos that are in the Top 9 of a specific hashtag. I just have a quick check and then you can sense the vibe of your photo if it fits that general look. Even if the hashtag name fits but the vibe doesn’t fit my photo then I won’t use it – so I find it quite handy.
And do you always use the same hashtags?
I try to use a few of the same ones and rotate. I don’t really have a fixed set each time. I will always go to the analytics part of Flick to check the Efficiency Score to see what might work or if I’ve used something too many times. Before I would only really check Instagram Insights but now I check the Analytics page more because it gives a more in-depth view rather than a brief overview. If I’ve used something too many times I will try and choose something else, or go on a fresh start to do a quick search and find some ideas that I might have been missing before.
“There’s no magic hashtag, you just need to try it and see what works for your content.”
Does one content perform better than others?
I notice anything related to steak or meat people react really well, but also that’s going into really niche food. I know some accounts do that but I don’t, which is why I’m trying to optimize my hashtags rather than focusing on one type of content on my page.
You’ve got great engagement on your posts, especially for your account size, have you noticed anything that helps increase engagement?
I think it’s a recent thing. I think my engagement was always alright, but I know a lot of people peak around 3,000 followers and when you grow it usually drops. I do engage more now as well, I think it’s timing too in lockdown but I do use more Stories compared to when I started and I try to engage more on other posts. Before, I didn’t really engage as much with others. I know what kind of content is good and how long the captions need to be; when I started I was just trying to practice my marketing skills and wanted to see how it works. I love cooking but it’s the mix of both I really enjoy.
And you talked about SEO, is it something you’ve always been into?
I studied a Marketing degree for my Masters and got into it. It really interests me to try to beat the algorithm and such. Again my blog isn’t really profitable to actually pay for SEO tools with a good return, but to be fair my Instagram account wasn’t profitable before I used Flick. The price isn’t that much to get good results which is why I thought I would continue using it. I feel like the tools I’ve tried before have never been this in-depth.
We hope you enjoyed this installment of #FlickTalks where we spoke about how to grow a niche Instagram account with Sam! If you want to up your hashtag game, explore our tool by clicking on the banner below: