building instagram account for dad bloggers

Building a Successful Instagram Account As A Dad Blogger

I’ve been using Instagram for over three years now. I started off posting silly photos of my dog; later I tried to show off my worldly mileage by becoming a wannabe travel photographer; then to a street photographer creeping at strangers; then to foodie who only ate at the same places; and now to guy who posts photos of his baby.

Suffice to say, Instagram has been the manicured and groomed mascot to my online life. So when I finally decided to transform my Instagram persona to a dad blogger, I tried to gather all my years of experience to figure out if there is a secret formula to building a healthy and engaging account.

If you’ve stumbled upon this post, you probably had the same question as me in thinking, “How does a dad blogger like me get more followers on Instagram?” If you’re not a dad blogger, don’t worry, these points are very valid as it can be used for anyone who wants to increase their Instagram engagement.

Face it – as dad bloggers, we’re hardly ever stand a chance when it comes to having a strong Instagram following. Most of us are regular Joes, who do not have nearly as much to offer to the Instagram crowd as the youthful and energetic teens. (Man I sound like an old man.)

In a crowd of dad bloggers, there’s probably only a handful of Instagram Dad bloggers who are the true superstars. But you know what? That’s totally fine, cause what we lack in numbers, we can make up in quality interactions.

I hate to talk about numbers, as my numbers are embarrassingly low still. In fact, I have yet to hit the 1000 followers mark, which in today’s age is pretty basic. However, within the past three months I noticed that my follower count has dramatically improved from 200 followers to now close to 500.

What’s the secret?

Well, for the past few months I’ve employed the following three rules:

  1. Creating a consistent gallery style

  2. Posting genuine comments to similar accounts

  3. Liking and following similar niche accounts

Okay, I’d admit, this is nothing new and I’m sure many of you have already tried this strategy. But if you tried and stick with these rules, I guarantee you that your engagement and follower count will improve dramatically.

 

1. Creating a consistent gallery style

Early on with my Instagram account, I would basically upload a photo I considered “nice.” Here’s how my gallery looked like a few years ago:

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As you can see, there are some pretty interesting shots, but none of them really follow a consistent theme. You see some photos with borders and some without; some shots with colour, and some without. It’s basically a metaphor of how messy I am as a person.

Visually, this is not appealing, and for a prospective new follower, this is something that they don’t want to see. They’re thinking, “I liked this photo of Red Pandas, but why are there now photos of school buses?”

The main thing here is to post consistent pictures, and more importantly, use a consistent visual style. Fast forward to my gallery now:

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Visually, it looks more consistent. While I still have the occasional shot of food (a dad’s still gotta eat), or a shot of some awesome trees, the style and colour of the photo is still consistent throughout.

The takeaway here is that for new follower’s you want them to know what to expect from your feed, and what they’ll get is a visually consistent gallery.

 

2. Posting genuine comments to similar accounts 

I think our brains now automatically filter out Instagram comments like, “Nice!”, “Cute!”, “Great shot!”, etc. It’s simply not genuine. If you want to get strong engagement for your photos, then you need to do the same for others.

How to take a candid and intimate shot like this one in three easy steps. 1) Pre-make that candid happy dad facial expression. 2) Hold baby high up to your cheek. If your baby likes savoury salty foods use your face sweat to your advantage. 3) Take 30 shots until you get it right. Simple right? 😂

A photo posted by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀Ingus (@snappingus) on

If you want to have quality and meaningful followers, then you need to attract them with quality and meaningful comments. Unless you’re The Rock, or David Beckham, you won’t have a hoard of followers liking your photos and following your account. So put in the time and the results will pay off.

Most of the comments I get are from people whom I have developed a rapport with. If someone comments or likes your posts, be sure to take some time to look at their account and comment back.

So instead of using generic comment, really talk about what you liked about their photo, as well as how it relates back to your kid. You’ll find that if you comment thoughtfully, the engagement and following will come naturally.  If you want quality, you have to put in quality. There’s no other way.

 

 

3. Liking and following similar niche accounts

There’s no faster way to attract the people that you want to attract that to like your niche group. So in this case this will be other dad bloggers. This ties in to the previous point of putting in quality, well it certainly applies to liking other people’s content. The more you like, the better you increase your reach.

If your feed and account comprises of people within your niche, you’re more than likely to have your posted shared or commented on, so try to like what aligns with your brand, and you as a daddy blogger.

So there you have it, if you try and employ these three strategies for the next little while, I assure you that you will not only increase your Instagram engagement, but you will also enjoy using Instagram a whole lot more.

Good luck and let me know if it’s worked for you.

 

And also, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram as well. 🙂

 

A view from the Island

Breaking Our Hermit Shell

I would categorize my wife and I as hermits. Sure we used to go on spontaneous trips (hello Iceland), go see the occasional show, and we were pretty big on food. But when it came to maximizing our weekends, we normally preferred the lazy route by donning our PJs and staying in.

But since our daughter coming into our lives, we’ve been shockingly meticulous in planning out our weekends. It reminds me of when we had our dog and frequently forced ourselves to plan excursions to pet festivals and dog parks.


The inner-hermit in me initially didn’t like it at first, but ever since going to the Toronto Islands last week, a switch just came on inside.


To us it’s just another visit to a place, but to her it’s a completely new experience. She’s basically a life-experience sponge right now, and if we don’t fill it up with a variety of things, I feel like it’s a wasted opportunity.


The moment I realized this was when we finally arrived and sat under a tree to feed her. And by looking at her, I was able to see the reflection of trees and clouds in her eyes as she was trying to process what she was seeing.


Waiting for her first ferry, in deep thought.

That made me realize that this was the first time I fed her in a park on a sunny day, and this was the first time she was able to look up at the clouds and the sky and process what she was seeing.


By how distracted she was, I could also tell that she was trying to take it all in.


That was kind of incredible for me, and her look is something that I will never forget or take for granted.

A while back, while cleaning, I found some faded photos of my parents in the 70s taking my brother to a park when he was a few months old. To me it was a shock to see my parents so young, and it immediately made me wonder what was going on in their mind back then.


So if Charlie ever wonders the same one day, this is what I was going on in my head:


Prior to having a kid, I knew that it would be up to us parents to teach and show her what life has to offer. But this kid, at just over six months just proved to me that I have just as much to learn as a parent too.

After eight hours, three bottles, two ferry rides, two miniature horses sightings, and one carousel ride later, she and both her mom and dad had a crazy day of firsts.


And this hermit of a father, is looking forward to the next adventure.


At first glance this appears to be a sweet photo of me carrying Charlie, but the truth is I’m wiping her drool off of my chin with her bib. Nonetheless I’m one proud daddy. 😂

A photo posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on

Owen1

How Our Disabled Dog Prepared Us To Be Parents

Okay I need to confess something: So far this parenting gig is pretty awesome.

Sure the first month was a nightmare, and my wife went through some heavy stuff early on.

I know I might have just jinxed it, but lately things have been pretty great. I love being a dad, and we love being parents.

I mean, just look how happy I look here:

You can see how much I love being a dad in her expression.
You can see how much I love being a dad from her expression.

Prior to having a kid, we were warned that once you have a kid, your life changes. Your world will revolve around them and your every free moment will belong to them. I really do see this point, and I think this is the part that takes the most getting used to for new parents.

For my wife and I however, this is not something that we haven’t faced before even prior to being married. In fact, for us adjusting to a baby came pretty natural, and it could be because had a little more practice compared to other new parents.

Practice in the form of a dog.

Yes, I know how taboo (and annoying) it can be when dog owners who don’t have kids compare having a dog to having kids.

I mean essentially you pick up their poop, bathe them, feed them, teach them to roll over, pretty much the same right?

But before I get put on a stake by an angry mob for my outrageous statement, please hear me out. As well, please allow me to dedicate this post to my dog, Owen.

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So let me start by going back a few years, where my pants were too baggy, and my hair was too long, and we were unknowingly put to the test for parenthood…

Sunday, November 9, 2008

We were playing fetch on a field with our dog Owen when suddenly he stumbles and somersaults while chasing after a tennis ball.

Dogs do not somersault. Their bodies just don’t bend that way. It’s almost as weird as us humans walking on all fours; it just doesn’t seem right.

I slowly walk towards him, thinking it was just another silly spill from our silly dog. I mean, this our three year old super puppy; who runs faster than the other dogs, jumps higher than an eight foot fence. He’ll just get back up and forget he even tumbled.

But something was wrong. He wasn’t getting up.

My mind went numb, and the slow walk towards him became a sprint. You know those moments when the volume in your head tunes out, and things go in slow motion? I was in one of those moments.

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Not the actual picture of the incident, here he’s much older and recovered

Our puppy looked up at me with two of his front legs holding himself up, and gave me this “What’s going on?” expression.

As I picked him up to rush him back to the house, I remember thinking, “Shit it’s a holiday, what do we do? Where do we take him?”

36 hours and two emergency veterinary clinics later, we learned that our dog had lost function from the hip down. It could be for just a few days, a month, or longer.

What. The. Hell.

Prior to our dog getting hurt, our stresses consisted of silly arguments and disputes that normal young couples fight over. Silly things like where should we go eat, what do you want to watch, etc.

As abrupt as he got injured, we were now talking about the cost of x-rays, MRIs, slings, wheelchairs, rehab, etc.  To quote a popular phrase during that era: “Shit just got real.”

Our daily lives and schedules were now devoted to our dog: carefully walking him, doing physio/exercise, making sure he ate quality food, taking him to frequent vet visits, etc.  In a sense, he really embodied a baby.

My then girlfriend (now wife) and I suddenly became more than just a couple. We now were now responsible for a dog with special needs. We were caregivers, but above all else, that was when we learned that we could count on one another to make things work no matter how tough things get. Dare I say, that was when I realized that one day, I know I can count on her to look out for me and our family.

Because he was injured, it not only brought us closer to each other, but also learn to split love and responsibility onto something else. And this is the practice that I was talking about.

I wrote this in a journal soon after the endeavour:

I am very fortunate not to be going through such an experience alone, as I am very grateful to have Jenn along the way. Every fear, every setback, every direction to go has been shared and experienced with Jenn, and I feel very lucky to have her through all of this. Even though she is Owen’s main owner, as he lives with her, I deeply feel that we’re in this together equally and wholeheartedly.

The past few days have allowed me to fully be confident of dark situations because I’m with Jenn. I’m so glad to be with her.

First off, I was a much better writer then compared to than I am now. Second, I think this was the turning point for me for a lot of things in life as it allowed me to understand what it means to share a responsibility, and share a life with someone. ☺️

Slowly he was able to recover and after two years he ended up recovering most of his movement, only requiring to wear one boot on one of his hind leg. And through countless Tony Stark-like boot prototypes (I think we had seven variations in total) he was a healthy happy dog who got to enjoy a full life as a dog. 

This boot design was "Mark VI"
This boot design was “Mark IV”

We were lucky to have him for another seven health years, and it’s been almost two years since he left us. I sincerely think because of his injury, we were better prepared for our journey into parenthood, which eventually lead to this:

Notice that the baby aisle is also the pet aisle?
Notice that the baby aisle is also the pet aisle?

So there you have it, I hope you’re not angry with my sentinent about dogs and babies, but our dog certainly helped us become who we are as parents. If there is a doggy heaven and he somehow managed to learn to read, I want to say thank you pup, you taught us to become parents before we even knew it.

One final takeaway from this is that I now believe that every stage of life or situation prepares you for the next in some serendipitous way, I know the struggle of taking care of our disabled dog certainly helped us as new parents. At least that’s a better way to think about things when life gives you a ruff situation.

(Phew, I`m glad I was able to slip that one in.)

 

A photo posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on

Stay awesome pup-pup.


Wood Watch Review

Jord Wood Watches

Dad’s Can Be Stylish Too: The Jord Watch Review

Updated: You have chance to win a $75 voucher towards a Jord Watch by clicking here: https://www.woodwatches.com/g/dadmodeon – Contest ends July 3!

 

 

 

Clearly this is not a fashion blog. But it doesn’t mean that I can’t write about being a dad who enjoys a little bit of fashion.

Prior to becoming a dad and throughout my adulthood, I enjoyed keeping up with the latest men’s fashion trends, sort of.

Basically half of the time  the majority of the time I watch a Korean soap, I’m watching what the men are wearing to steal some fashion ideas.

Now if only I had the porcelain skin and perfect hair – I’d be driving around in my blurred out emblem Hyundai in no time!

So when the opportunity came up to collaborate with Jord Wood Watches (Shout-out to Matthew fromAnswer The Tullyphone for the hook-up), I immediately jumped at the chance. I mean as a daddy blogger it’s not every day that you get to throw your two cents on men’s fashion.

Looks like Dad's got a new toy
Looks like Dad’s got a new toy

Besides, what’s more quirkier than a watch that basically looks like it’s made entirely out of wood?

And with Father’s Day coming up, I thought it would be cool to throw this unusual gift idea out there.

There’s no point in me trying to sell you a watch just as a regular guy. But from a dad with a six month old baby perspective, here are some reasons why I really like this Jord Wooden watch:

Baby Mouth Friendly

When my daughter drenches her saliva on the band, it doesn’t seem as dangerous and toxic as a steel band. Gnawing on wood like a little beaver seems much cuter than crunching on metal like a junkyard compactor. As an added bonus, it’s softer on her toothless gums, so that’s another plus. Writing that out made me realize that I need to be a better parent and get my kid a proper chew toy. I mean my dog had ten times more chew toys than my daughter – clearly the fur baby was more important than the human baby is now.

She prefers the woodiness over metal
She prefers the woodiness over metal

It’s Light but no Lightweight

When you have to carry an 18lbs bowling ball with flailing arms and legs with one arm, you need all the strength you can get. So carrying a bulky blinged out watch is the last thing you want. The wood design is light, but solid enough to look stylish.

That Style

Okay, this has nothing to do with being a dad, but this watch makes me feel like a hipster. Not in a negative let’s make fun of the ridiculous hipster way, but in a good way. Since I’ve been wearing it, people have stopped me to ask me about the watch. There’s just something cool about having a wooden watch. It’s totally a hipster thing. But it also sets me up for really good dad joke opportunities like:

Stranger – “That’s a pretty neat watch, is it made of wood?”
Me – “You bet it is, wood you like to try it on?”

Okay, that hasn’t happened yet, but when it does I’ll be the one barking.

Terrible dad puns aside, the watch forced me to dress better, if that makes any sense. I felt obligated to mix and match with some patterns, and also button up my oxford shirt sleeves. The way it coordinates with plaid also works so well. I’d imagine lumberjacks to have this type of watch – gold miner would wear gold, and a diamond miner would bling out with diamonds, so why wouldn’t a lumber jack have one of these bad boys?

 

Final Remarks

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Jord Fieldcrest Wood Watch

As someone who kind of stopped caring what he wore since having a baby, this was exactly the shot in the arm I needed to start putting thought into style. I know I’ll never be the cool dad, fit dad, or hip dad, but perhaps I can be a better put together dad.

I’m not saying this watch is revolutionary or re-invented the wheel. But if you are looking for a father`s day gift, or a more unique gift for men, this might be a good one to consider.

If you are considering purchasing, please check out the Jord website through my Dad Mode:On link.

To be clear, I do not receive compensation or any commission for you visiting their store through my link, but it helps them keep track of whether or not they should continue to work with me in the future. So please check out them out through my Jord Woodwatches link! 🙂

And if you`re interest in the  Fieldcrest watch that I’m wearing in particular, here’s the direct link to the watch on your store.

 


Wood Watch Review

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It Took Becoming A Parent To Realize My Parents Were Amazing

Let me start with this photo:

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Yep – That’s Me Playing Air Guitar for my Birthday Party

That’s me when I was seven years old, enjoying a fantastic birthday party with a bunch of my grade 2 friends. On the surface, it may not seem like a big deal. But thinking about it more recently, it actually means a whole lot being one of the few Asian families in my community.

Notice that I said Asian and I wasn’t specific to Chinese, well when you are in such a predominantly Caucasian community, you are simply lumped together. This is not a shot of the people in the town, but rather there just weren’t too many Chinese (let alone Asian) families in the town of less than 10,000. So a little bit of ignorance is understandable.

In fact, I was mistaken for an Aboriginal kid on numerous occasions. So really no harm, no foul.

Basically I was the token Chinese/Japanese/Korean/Filipino Kid of the group
Basically I was the token Chinese/Japanese/Korean/Filipino Kid of the group

Knowing this, I now sense that my parents probably went through even greater obstacles as new immigrants, in learning about a completely new culture. Because of that, the fact that they were able to put together this birthday party with pizza, video games, balloons, and loot bags was truly amazing.

They had the “just make it work mentality” and this is something I, now as a parent, must figure for my daughter.

I can only image the amount of stress they must have went through to plan and execute uprooting our family from Hong Kong to Hinton, Alberta.

And for that I am grateful.

It’s hard enough for my wife and I to plan out a day at a zoo, let alone flying across the world to start a new life. Apparently they shipped a large container of furniture by sea to Edmonton, and drove a freight into the small town.

What’s even a crazier is the fact that they did hardly knowing any English.

Perhaps I should’ve realized this sooner – I mean should it really take becoming a father for me to really clue in on how tough it must have been for my folks?

But I suppose that’s one of the magical features that come with having your own kid:

When you have a kid, you not only learn how to be a parent, but you learn how your parents were as parents.

More likely than not, you learn that your folks are kind of amazing.

Regardless of timing, I just feel that I needed to share this and advertise that my parents were pretty awesome.

I hope that one day I will be able to do at least half of what they’ve done for me and my brother, for my daughter. If I can do that, she’ll be a pretty lucky girl.

Pretty Awesome Folks
Pretty Awesome Folks