2019 was a mixed year for me on Instagram. It started off quite badly as I was still under some kind of Instagram imposed shadow ban and none of my posts were being shown to people who weren’t following me. I’d understand it if I was continuously posting pictures of myself in a bikini, because no one wants to see that! But I was always adhering to the Instagram “rules” by posting fresh content of my (I hope) inoffensive home, using different hashtags and trying not to be too spammy.
I became so frustrated with it all, I decided to deactivate my account and take a month away from it.
So, what did I miss?
I realised in that month that Instagram had become much more to me than talking about my newly painted walls and I missed the engagement and the friends I had made along the way. So, I tiptoed back onto the scene with a new sense of perspective and realised I needed to learn to enjoy it more whilst treating it like a business which had given me so many opportunities.
I also realised that it was dangerous to put all your eggs in an (Instagram shaped) basket so started exploring more ways to talk interiors via Pinterest, Twitter and my blog.
Pinterest is a huge traffic driver to my blog, with my dedicated Blog board on Pinterest getting nearly 700,000 impressions and 1.3k link clicks.
So, what were my most liked top nine posts throughout the year and what have I learnt from Instagram during 2019?
Full Room Shots are Always a Winner
My 9th most liked photo is this nearly full room shot of the kitchen. Whenever I put up a full room shot, it always does better than if I had posted a vignette of this corner. I also get a lot of love for the original wooden flooring to and questions about where it’s from. Unless you have a time machine that can take you back to 1943 when the house was built, I can’t help you I’m afraid! 🙂
People Like Pink Velvet
I didn’t think I’d find a sofa that I liked more than my dark jade green sofa from sofa.com until this pink beauty turned up. It seems that everyone else liked it too and loved the colour combination of green and pink. This has slowly emerged as my favourite colour pairing throughout 2019.
Botanical Design is Becoming Increasingly Popular
2019 really was the year when the world started waking up to the realisation that climate change and in fact, a climate emergency threat was real. With this, the interior world starting looking more towards sustainable homes and how we can all do our bit to be better towards the environment. I wrote an A-Z of sustainability in the home here.
Whilst looking at ways to become more sustainable in the home, I came across biophilic design and realised my home already ticked a lot of these boxes, especially blurring the line between inside and out.
Seasonal Flowers Are Absolute Clickbait
Probably the most clickbait flower of all on Instagram has to be Peonies! I didn’t even know what a peony was before I joined Instagram and then suddenly, come April, you couldn’t move for peony pictures.
I’d like to think that my kitchen also had something to do with this picture being my 6th most liked photo of 2019, but I am always posting my kitchen and you’ll see in the next couple of photos, seasonal flowers have an important part to play in engagement.
People Also Like a Gallery Wall
My gallery wall in my living room has always got a lot of attention, people often ask me where I got individual bits of art from and how I assembled the gallery wall. I always tend to start with a statement piece in the middle of where I want the gallery wall to go and then work outwards from there.
I don’t like gallery walls to be to uniform as I think adding pieces you love and mixing them up with different shaped frames gives it more character. Add a green velvet sofa into the mix and boom! Guaranteed success.
Combine Full Room Shots With Seasonal Flowers = Win Win 🙂
See what I mean about seasonal flowers? This post of my open plan kitchen living space with Sunflowers gave me over 12k likes and a whole lot of comments. With the addition of some new bar stools from Cult Furniture and the brick effect wallpaper under the island from Woodchip & Magnolia, this was a quick update to our kitchen and really added texture and a contemporary twist to the room.
Wall Murals, Layers and Textures
I was quite shocked at the reaction to this photo when I first posted it. I had taken the photo months before and didn’t think it was very good, so had confined it to the drafts folder, forgotten. When I really had nothing else to post, I put it on my Instagram feed and so many people commented on how they loved the layers and textures of this room. The wall mural, bedspread, upcycled cabinet and being able to see from one room into the next proved a ratings winner
You Can Never Go Wrong With a Kitchen Photo
A bit like when you’re viewing a house on Rightmove, you always go to the kitchen photo first right? It doesn’t matter how many times I post my kitchen, it always gets a lot of likes and comments saying it’s provided a lot of inspiration for people’s homes. The juxtaposition of the wood and dark walls also draws people in and I often receive DMs from people saying I inspired them to go dark in their kitchen. Oh, and of course this picture also features a people pleaser again, the tulip!
A Big Reveal is Instagram Gold
For my most liked photo of 2019, I bring you some shelves under the stairs! I still can’t quite get over the reaction to this post, it reached nearly 17k likes and hundreds of comments.
We originally had an under stair cupboard but had to rip it out to get my green sofa into the living room and we really liked how it opened up what is a very narrow hallway. It took me months to decide what to do with this dead space and I came up with this idea after seeing a post on Apartment Therapy.
Maybe it’s how we’ve used this small space? The wallpaper? Or the fact that everyone likes a shelfie.
I think it’s probably down to the fact that it was something in my home that no one had seen before and it’s such a shame I can’t rip out my whole house and start again, room by room. My engagement would be through the roof! 🙂
What Else Have I learnt?
Instagram has been somewhat troublesome in the last year. Even though there are more people than ever using the platform, likes, follows and comments seem to have taken a dive. The latest post in my top nine was posted at the beginning of August and I have seen a downturn in my reach and engagement, even though I now have more followers. Also, looking at my top nine, 6 out of the 9 photos were posted in March and April. Is that the golden time to post I wonder? Are people becoming increasingly bored of Instagram and turning to other mediums?
Maybe it’s because there are so many accounts on Instagram now, it’s becoming increasingly hard to be seen on user’s home feeds and in the explore page. There has also been a bit of a backlash about people working with brands and the rise of #ad. But I think the biggest shift on social media this year is the importance on how it affects peoples mental health and the removal of likes on accounts in the US, Canada, Japan, Australia and others.
What are the predicted trends for 2020?
I think we will see a continued decline in people posting to their main feed and concentrating on Stories. The popularity of short form video on social media seems to be going from strength to strength and that is evident with the rise of the video sharing app, Tik Tok. Pinterest has also introduced video to their platform and Instagram will be continually trying to push IGTV on us, with a lot more videos appearing on our main feed.
We will also be turning our backs on heavily curated and filtered photos and wanting to see more natural photos on our feed. I think people will increasingly want to see more of the creator (especially for us interior types) which will give our accounts a more personal touch. Captions are set to be huge in 2020 and should be viewed as “ mini blogs”, the more detailed the better. In a world that seems to be ever more divisive, we will be looking to connect with one another and get that human touch.
Finally, I still think brands will look to Instagram as their main way of advertising, but more in the form of partnerships and ambassador type roles instead of one offs. Giveaways will continue to be big news as they are such a simple way of increasing engagement, getting a large reach on posts and gaining new followers.
How do you think Instagram will work for you this year? Do you see yourself using it more or starting to turn your back on the increasing commercialism of this little app we all know and love.
Interesting read Mel! I take insta with a pinch of salt and like you blog and use Pinterest alongside it. Insta brings me little blog traffic and I find it quite annoying PRs are so focussed on only that platform. I enjoy Instagram on a personal level, but I’m looking forward to ‘like’ removal so people focus on good content not how many likes something got.
Instagram is terrible for blog traffic isn’t it? Although, funnily enough, I always get a lot of blog traffic from Instagram when i talk about Instagram on the blog!! I still love it though, mainly for the banter and the opportunities it has brought my way, but I often wonder where it is all going so always looking at other outlets! Hope you had a good Christmas Mel? 🙂
I think that’s where I am with it at the moment as well Vicki! It’s ticking along nicely for me and I’m still enjoying it so will continue to post. 2020 I really want to concentrate on my blog more and try and finish my Interior design course! Although, I’m still not 100% sure if I actually want to be an interior designer. x
Thank you for commenting 🙂 I think everyone has got to find their own way on Instagram and what works for them. I suppose I’ve built a rod for my own back by only ever posting my house as that’s what my followers expect to see. I would really like to shake my feed up a little with more interior design posts and pictures of me in it but they never do well. I don’t really worry about the likes and follows any more though, not like I used to! I think my account just has momentum and I joined Instagram at the right time so I feel it will continue to grow even if I start showing my ugly mug more. haha.
A great post Mel. Pinterest is a main driver for traffic for a lot of my clients. I still don’t understand why brands value instagram so much over a blog content. I think the introduction of the collabs manager to instagram will change the way brands work with influencers and ads over the next year.
Thanks Fiona. I’m always fascinated about what does and doesn’t do well on Instagram. I think the most important thing is to stick with your "brand". If you constantly post pictures of your home, that’s what people want to see. I know a lot of people have successfully moved away from just posting their home and into lifestyle shots, but it takes time to build followers trust on your "new" content if you know what I mean? I’ve never really shown my face on Instagram but I want to do it more often. It always gets terrible engagement but as I do it more, I think people will get used to it and engagement will grow! To be honest, I’m not too sure about the collabs manager on Instagram. I just feel that Instagram is constantly trying to control everything that goes on in the platform (which is understandable), but it just feels that they’re always trying to find more ways to make money and demean creator and brand partnerships. 🙂
I’ve just stumbled on you’re blog, I think you’re home is absolutely gorgeous! The green velvet sofa is so lush! I could just sit and while away the hours in the amazing surroundings that you have created.
I need to find a sofa very much like that, but maybe after my one and only cat I have left in my life has departed as I would freak if she used it as a scratching post which I’m sure she will!
Thank you for taking the time to comment! Kimberly from Swoonworthy wrote a really good blog post on how to own a velvet sofa when you have pets – https://www.swoonworthy.co.uk/2019/11/velvet-sofa-pets-kids.html/
Hope this helps 🙂
Oo I will take a look at that many thanks
Hi! I am in love with the green color on your fireplace wall! What color is it and where is it from?? I need it!
It’s called Blue Jade by Valspar UK. 🙂
All looks so nice. Can I ask you what colour and brand have you used on kitchen walls?
Thank you! I used Hague Blue by Farrow and Ball in my kitchen
Love the coloured walls in your kitchen, please can you tell me what’s the name of the paint ? Dark Blue?
Thanks Sarah x
Thank you, it’s Hague Blue by Farrow and Ball
You have such a beautiful home and I LOVE the jungle black and white wall hanging you have in the lounge room shots. Could you tell me where you got them from?
Thank you! I got this one from https://www.roseandgrey.co.uk/extra-large-jungle-print-wall-chart
Hi, it’s all so beautiful! You definitely have the touch. Where’d did you get that gorgeous dark blue chair?
Thank you! The dark blue chair is from Julian Joseph – https://www.julian-joseph.com/product/orson-sapphire-blue-velvet-chair/