This probably sounds strange or unconventional, but through Instagram I’ve been able to easily find, connect, and develop relationships with peers surprisingly quicker than other traditional methods! This has led to professional growth and more opportunities. Sure you might have professional forums you are members of or attend conferences and networking sessions, but how often are you actually participating in those? How often are you following through and using those opportunities to make something out of it? I am absolutely not saying they aren’t beneficial, but for me, my day to day responsibilities at work sucked up my time. I had to prioritize the time spent in from of my computer and those methods of independent learning and connecting were a challenge for me to commit to during my shift.
After I left my position at the hospital, I realized the time I spent “scrolling” could be put to better use. It sounds strange, but finding peers in my field on IG felt like I could connect with them on a more personal level. Seeing their photos and video clips felt more personal and easier for me to relate to. The connection was stronger as I saw more than just a name next to a forum comment. And again, opening up the IG app was simply more convenient for me and doable with raising small children (substitute: going to school, running a business, or whatever your story is). After “getting to know them” and supporting the content they put out (via engaging through likes, comments and answering polls), I reached out to them personally for further conversation. This has resulted in peer to peer clinical supervision, blog posts collaborations, IG Live learning opportunities and more. No matter what your professional or current chapter in your life you are navigating, you'd be surprised to find you can cultivate safe and strong connections with others through Instagram that share the same passions you do.
Did you know you can “follow” hashtags on IG? This is an awesome feature that was introduced in the last year. What is great about this is you can find great ideas, events, products, or local businesses from a hashtag of your choice. I love it because it can be from the average person (who obviously doesn’t have their account on private) and isn’t just businesses with a team of people contributing. I’ve found great information from even looking at #momhacks or #toddlerplay where I wouldn’t have found it on Pinterest due to the same posts being circulated or shown more in the algorithm than others. By following these hashtags, I've found great ideas for personal use, discovered interesting new accounts to follow or have been inspired to adapt an idea that fits with my goals that I can then share with the Dose of Play community.
Okay, tell me you don’t like free stuff. Exactly. Even if you don’t win, I have learned about so many awesome small business products that I would’ve never found in a google search. They make for awesome unique gifts and doesn’t it feel good to support a small business? Plus when you follow smaller accounts and not just the huge influencers, you have a greater chance of winning. I have actually won a few times! Here are some friendly tips when participating in a giveaway: switch up which friends you tag and please do tag people who actually would be interested. I ask this because as a new entrepreneur myself, small accounts like Dose of Play and others are using money out of our own pockets to spread word of our services or have worked hard to find another small company that is willing to donate a product or their own. So if you can, kindly tag friends that aren’t already following us :)
I’ve learned decluttering strategies, new time management skills, and business strategies from others in quick 15 second story videos or an IG post. This has saved me way more time than searching through Pinterest or a search enginge. Again, be sure to search for specific hashtags to help you find great accounts that share this awesome free information.
I already mentioned this above, but it deservces its own section because it can be more than finding a new craft or recipe idea. Try following accounts that lift up your spirits, instead of feeling frustrated looking at controversial “friends” posts on Facebook or fake news. I like Jenna Kutcher and Emily Coxhead, to give you a few examples. And when you find an account you love, look who they follow. You might just find more accounts that serve to lift you up, you can relate to, or that you can learn from.
Be cautious when liking many different accounts from outside of the U.S. I absolutely love the play related accounts I follow in Australia, but now I realized I follow so many that I’m pretty sure IG thinks I have an obsession or am moving there or something. I suspect this because now when I go to search for something (anything from maternity related products to work stuff), I mostly get shown accounts from Australia on my “explore” page. No thank you on those shipping or minimum shopping car requirements. Lesson learned ;)