How to grow a #PhDlife Instagram

I recently hit 10k followers on Instagram, which is something I honestly never thought would happen. I started this blog and the accompanying Instagram four years ago- and wow has it grown. Whilst ‘followers’ on Instagram and views on the blog are superficial to many, to me it is humbling to know people engage with my content. 

I wanted to share a few things I have learnt about PhD / Scicomm Instagramming and how to build an engaged audience.

  1. Patience- My first tip is that building an authentic and engaged audience takes time (much longer than purchasing ghost accounts for $$$). As I said, I started this journey over four years ago!
  2. Find your key content- It is important that your posts are cohesive. If you want to share PhD content, that should be the focus. If you want to share student tips, that should be the focus etc. This does not mean you can’t post any other content, but you should do so sparingly.
  3. Be authentic- I have had a number of comments over the years that people enjoy my genuine content regarding PhDs. I try not to sugar coat everything. Authenticity is easy to spot. 
  4. Rather than being disingenuous, be silent- Following on from the last point, it is important to be aware that you can compartmentalise your life from your Instagram. You don’t have to share everything about your life if you don’t want to. I very rarely post about my partner, family, or friends. Often inauthentic content is driven by a person not wanting to share something so they post about it in a disingenuous manner- in which case not sharing it (silence) is better! 
  5. Use the Instagram analytics- If you are wanting to have an Instagram dedicated to your PhD / Scicomm, this should be a business account. This provides you analytics regarding times of high engagement, countries followers are from etc. Use these to your advantage. 
  6. ‘Like’ other content- Find the relevant hashtags in your area (e.g. #phdlife) and regularly like the content posted. Also find ‘influencers’ in your area and go through their followers to like content.
  7. Again, be genuine- I am going to say it again but in a different context. Follow people who inspire you and interact with their content regularly and genuinely. The reason I started this journey and have continued with it is to connect with likeminded people all over the world! This should be your focus over ‘likes’ and ‘followers’. 

Leave a Reply