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How @ourhopkinshome Grew Their Niche Account From Scratch

We talked with Harry Seaton about how to implement the right Instagram strategy (using hashtags) for a niche account, when you’re trying to grow from scratch.

Posted 4 years ago

Written by

Sam King
Posted 4 years ago
Welcome back to Flick Talks, where we speak with avid Flick users, about their experiences growing on Instagram. In this installment, we spoke with Harry Seaton, Managing Director at Fluential, and content creator. Harry and his partner, Annalise are also new homeowners and have started an Instagram account specifically within this niche – @ourhopkinshome – alongside documenting their journey of becoming home-owners, they have developed a powerful organic strategy that has increased their reach, engagement, and followers on this account.
In this interview, Harry showcases key elements of their organic strategy, how to run a successful account within a specific niche (from scratch), how they stand out amongst specific competitors, and what hashtag strategy they’ve been using as a small account that’s just getting started

Why did you start the account – @ourhopkinshome – to begin with?

We follow a few house accounts, and we get so much inspiration from them, and now that we have a home of our own, we decided to show our journey. Having something new to show besides my personal account was exciting to me. When you have a project you can talk about yourself it’s just really refreshing. It’s a small account as we aren’t fully moved in, so at the moment we post roughly once or twice a week, as we’re trying to build up as much content as possible.

So you have started from scratch, quite recently?

Yes, there are 32 posts on there, and we’re at 303 followers, we only follow 39 people. The engagement rate is pretty much nearly always at 10%, almost approaching 20% and the reach on some of them organically is coming to around 1000. Even when we had 100 followers we would be able to reach 1000 people.
And, pretty much most of this is actually down to our Instagram hashtags and niche-based strategy. It’s growing really steadily, and the audience on there is really relevant to what we are trying to achieve – it’s the exact demographic that I expected to see. So, it’s doing really well considering we haven’t put maximum effort into it – I spend 5 minutes a week on the account so it’s no time at all. It’s all raw and natural – we’ve obviously got plans for what we want to do once we’re living in there, but for now, we’re just looking to build it and have a bit of content on there. We didn’t think that during that process we would gain many followers, but using the hashtags, we’ve managed to create a really strong foundation.

When it comes to hashtags, do you have a specific strategy? You said most of your audience is who you would expect, but how did you go about retaining that audience?

In terms of strategy, I had a think about keywords relating to our Instagram niche/account we could already use, and I fed these into Flick in the first search – things like ‘firsthome’ – it’s a new build as well so I looked at hashtags like ‘newbuild’ and it gave me a bunch of other options like ‘newbuildjourney’ ‘newbuilds’ ‘newbuildhouse’. We also thought about local hashtags – because we live in Norfolk, there’s a lot of desirability around the property here mainly for holiday homes, so there’s an audience.
We then made a collection on Flick that has 20 hashtags that are relevant no matter what the post is about first-time buyers, first homes, new builds, and then I add in a few more that are specifically relevant to that individual post each time. If I need to I’ll just use Flick to find those extra ones too, but for example, if it’s about Ikea furniture, then I’ll look at hashtags around Ikea, or if it’s in the kitchen then I might look at hashtags around kitchen or kitchen design.

So you have a primary collection, and then you add more as you post?

Yes, I’m thinking about making a couple more. The garden is not touched at all yet so I’m thinking of making another collection specifically for the garden, as that in itself is another niche. Then I think I’ll branch out into making some for different rooms specifically. At the moment though, we just use one that covers all the bases.

Have you seen results when it comes to hashtags?

Yes, massively. We’ve got one picture on the account for example, where at the time of posting we maybe had around 200 followers, and it has 107 engagements. 7 of those are comments as well which is really nice, and then 100 likes. I think that post reached 2014 people, and we had only 200 followers at the time. We didn’t do anything else with the post, there’s no paid promotion, I didn’t share it with anyone or to an existing account – the engagement is entirely from the hashtags. If I look at the reach via hashtags it accounts for 70% of the engagements. So, it’s pretty likely it might have ranked on one and was shown to more people when it ranked.
Here are some examples of the reach the account has seen via hashtags:
post insights on instagram analytics
post insights on instagram

And do you have a strategy when it comes to the content you publish?

The strategy will take more precedence once we’re finished the house, but it will be posting before and afters once a week around the home, which should last us a good few months, intertwined with individual features within the house, like specific items we really like. On top of that we’ve ended up with a load of stuff that we bought months ago, can’t return anymore and don’t want to use, so we will do giveaways to help grow the account. Again, we’ll use hashtags to build awareness around those giveaways and make sure those posts are seen. So that’s the main plan, for now, we really want to use organic Instagram strategy, I don’t want to be boosting any of the posts on it or putting paid promotion behind it, I just want to use competitions and hashtags to grow the account and keep the niche specific.

Do you look to similar accounts for inspiration or to benchmark?

I think we look at them more to benchmark – we do still look for inspiration too of course. But, we do like to look to benchmark, we consider how long the accounts have been around and what level of engagement they get. We also look to see what’s doing well for them in particular, and also with hashtags we look at the hashtags successful accounts use and feed those into the Flick.

When you are doing this, and in general, do you consider the size of the hashtags you use?

We wanted to use ones that were medium size and not used absolutely loads. There are some we do use that are quite massive – we use ‘newhome’ which has 7 million posts made – but a lot of ours are under 1 million. Most are 200-400k usage which I was quite happy about as the competition score is medium, but the potential reach is fairly high, which is great. For example, ‘newbuildjourney’ has a mid-level competition score but a fairly high potential reach, and I never would have seen this without Flick. Even ‘newbuildhouse’ has less than 30k uses and it’s a fairly low competition but fairly high potential reach. It would be really useful to be able to see which hashtags I’m also performing well on in order to build out my strategy more.
(Psst! Stay tuned for a new release coming soon, that will allow you to see exactly which hashtags you ranked on, based on your posts.)

Finally, what kind of advice would you give to people in a specific-niche like yourself trying to stand out?

Honestly, most of our strategy and success on Instagram comes from looking at accounts in a similar niche, looking at the hashtags they are using then putting them into a platform like Flick. We find a bunch of similar ones and trying to find ones that other accounts aren’t using. That’s what it’s been for us. We want to use a couple of the same hashtags as them of course, but we also want to find the ones they are missing out on, and using Flick means that we are able to get all these suggestions. You’ve got to do the initial work yourself and you have to think of a couple already, but the chances are you already know what they could be based on your niche. It’s more for making the most of it and that’s what we’ve tried to do – we don’t just forget everything we already know, we stick to what we know works and use Flick to enhance that. We let it take us from using hashtags here and there to using the right ones, not just chucking in a load of them and seeing if it works.

Key takeaways

  • When starting your hashtag research, look to similar accounts, to get some ideas of what might work for your account.
  • Think about what you are posting. If you are posting something that is relevant to a specific room in a house for example, consider hashtags that are related to this.
  • Consider the size of the hashtags you use and make sure to mix it up. Try to aim for hashtags that have a high potential reach, and a low competition score.

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