How to Win at Instagram Without Being Attached to Your Phone

win at instagram

Having recently breached the elusive 10k follower mark, I’d like to share my tips on how to win at Instagram (when you’re a busy parent who doesn’t have the time to engage 24/7/365)

Juggling the spinning plates of parenting and running an online business is bloody hard work. I’m not only a busy mum of three children, I also have a blog and write books. In between home educating the kids, cooking all our food from scratch and my writing, I also have to find time to promote said writing.

No mean feat! 

win at instagramEngaging on social media to build a following is what some consider to be a full time job, and is just not possible for people like me. We have enough going on already. I’ve learnt the hard way that if I have to sacrifice time with my children to win at Instagram (or anything for that matter), then it’s simply not worth it. So here’s my version of winning… 

Don’t be a dick

Actually this is also rule number one of life as far as I’m concerned. Playing the follow/unfollow game, buying followers and setting up like bots are the quickest and most surefire ways to lose your credibility. Nuff said. 

Try not to get too caught up in what everyone else doing

Again, a great rule for life, because as we all know comparison is often the thief of joy. As soon as we start copycatting what others are doing on Instagram we dilute our own message and become background noise. 

Who honestly gives a crap about the perfect flat lay or a pair of feet while drinking a cup of coffee?

Have a truly unique voice  

Which brings me nicely onto this point. Every blogger, vlogger and Instagrammer thinks they’re unique. We all believe we have an important message to bestow upon the world otherwise we’d have chucked the towel in long ago.

The sad fact is that most people are just parroting what everyone else has said. Don’t be like them, be yourself. By sharing the bits of your life that others are afraid to you’ll get the absolute most out of the experience, and your followers will genuinely feel they are gaining something by coming to your feed.

Vulnerability personified…


I grew up in a world where Jimmy Saville would fix all your problems, and Gary Glitter wanted you to be part of his gang. Where primary school kids had access to porn films and 8yo girls had their innocence stolen on a daily basis. 😔 I grew up in a world where comparison wasn’t always the thief of joy, and in fact sometimes knowing that others had it so much harder was a good thing for me. 😔 I grew up in a world where the WORST happened, and I got to the point where I could no longer forgive and forget. I made the hardest decision I’ve ever made (to date) when I was 26 years old (I’m now 38). 😔 Motherhood without a mum is more heartbreaking than I could ever articulate. On any given day I’ll flit between knowing I’ve made the right decision to desperately hoping I was wrong and wanting her to beat my door down. To say “I’m here now, and everything will be ok!” The words I know without doubt my dear grandma would have said, given half the chance. 😔 So if you’re struggling with similar issues please email me and I’ll send you a copy of Become the Best You. Had I read the book I wrote when I was on the edge, maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t have fallen down a deep, dark hole.

A post shared by Reneé Davis (@mummytries) on

Follow people who properly inspire you

Instagram can too easily turn into one big linky. Scrolling through all the pretty photos, hardly reading the captions, because really who has the time to bother doing that? It can become exceptionally fake and pointless very quickly. The best way to avoid this happening is by only following the people who inspire and support you.

Accounts I like to follow: 

  • fellow home educators
  • people who make the sort of food I like to eat (not just take pretty photos of food) 
  • other parents of autistic kids 
  • yogis 
  • families who go travelling 

Don’t be afraid to unfollow people who don’t inspire you (they probably unfollowed you long ago anyway) 

I used to follow loads of other bloggers, and I would spend ages engaging on their pages because I thought that was the done thing. Then I installed a followers app, and learnt that around 80% of these ‘blogging friends’ didn’t follow me back. Which  is why they never engaged on my feed. So now I don’t bother wasting my time on these people at all. I still follow plenty of bloggers, but the genuinely supportive ones who care when I’m having a hard time and know what my kids are called. 

If someone comes to my feed and shows me a lot of love, then I like to return the favour. It’s nice to show other people that you care as much they do.

Choose your shortcuts wisely, because if they seem too good to be true, they usually are

People who promise to help you win at Instagram by growing your account with real followers are usually lying. I’ve done several trials of outsourcing my Insta, which has led to even more work on my behalf where they’ve followed loads of accounts I have zero interest in. I’ve come to the conclusion that there aren’t many shortcuts to be had in this arena.

In all honesty, my version of winning might not be everyone’s. I’ve had some great highs, such as this post below which is my most engaged with of all time. I’ve also had some very low lows recently post-algorithm change.

I am not glued to my phone though, and for me, that is more important than anything else!

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