BrandingHomegrown: How Instagram has changed

Homegrown: How Instagram has changed

Interview with Kerry Lockwood

Find out how Kerry Lockwood, content creator and stylist, grew her following on Instagram, how the channel has changed and how that has affected her success.

Introduce yourself and your Instagram handle(s) and what content you cover/your follower numbers.

My name is Kerry Lockwood or @kerrylockwood and I’m a content creator and stylist. You can find me on Instagram where I have 317k followers and TikTok where I have 48.5k followers. I also have a fashion and style account on Instagram @kerrylockwood_style where I have 17.6k followers, plus a YouTube channel and Pinterest account. But it all started with my blog, Kerrylockwoodindetail.co.uk, where I write longer form articles about my passion for interiors.

Why do you focus mainly on Instagram as your channel?

I feel I have a loyalty to Instagram as it’s the first platform that I really invested time and energy into when I started. I’ve built up a loyal following so I want to continue to feed them my content as these followers helped me get to where I amtoday. TikTok has become a huge trend with younger audiences, but I feel my core demographic is still very much engaged on Instagram. I have started to build up a following on TikTok and I’ll continue to seed content on that channel as it is a hugely influential platform that I’m excited to explore more. As a content creator it’s important to try and have a presence across multiple platforms, but Instagram is still my favourite platform because I really like the versatility. I can take my time to create a video reel or beautiful still imagery whilst keeping my followers engaged on a daily basis with story content.

How did you get started on the platform and begin to grow your following?

I moved from Sheffield into a rented home in the North East after my husband landed a new job in Newcastle. After a few years, I wanted to add my own stamp and personality to the house, so with the permission of my landlords I slowly started to transform my rented home. I initially documented the changes on my blog which launched in 2016 and offered advice to tenants who were keen to make their own changes to rented accommodation. After establishing the blog, I launched my Instagram channel and within 7 months I had hit 10k followers. Back then my feed was full of super simple styling content. I was working as a sales rep at this time, so would dedicate three days a week to my day job and then weekends were for shooting content for Instagram.

What was your first big milestone?

I would say things shifted a gear when I hit 10k followers on Instagram. I started getting interest from brands, I would be gifted products to style and at this point I signed up to the likes of Takumi and Tribe which are influencer marketing tools to connect creators with brands for paid briefs. I remember my first ever paid job was in January 2017 with Jacobs Creek. I was paid £40 and that was to cover the wine and props, but it was such a thrill to be representing a household brand on my channel.

it’s important to remain original and focus your energy on what you enjoy and why you started in the first place.

How did you build a community?

My growth has always been very organic. There are so many accounts out there that are built on bought followers these days, which is foolish really because you can never gain engagement or have any influence over bots. It can take a while, but growing your community isn’t just waiting for followers to come; you have to work at it. Success on social isn’t about number of followers; it’s about your percentage of engagement. So for me it was engaging with like-minded accounts, posting content regularly and always taking the time to respond to my audience so they feel valued. I remember there were some brilliant hashtags and incentives for creators back when I started which really helped me build a network with similar accounts. The #WIDN hashtag (What I’m Doing Now) would be an example. Someone would upload a post to show what they were doing and tag a number of creators to keep the chain going. This was a great way of engaging with other interiors accounts.

When did Instagram begin to change for you and how did the algorithms and functionality changes affect your success?

The past year has been full of surprises on Instagram as they try to compete with the growth and popularity of TikTok. I have definitely noticed the algorithm having an impact on my feed and post performance at times. The whole prioritisation of video over static imagery for one. At the time a load of creators were vocal about their frustration, but I try not to get wound up by the changes. Instagram has been experimenting with a few functions and I’m pleased to see they have held their hands up when it hasn’t worked. For me, I wanted to continue using my platform for content that I wanted to post. As an interior stylist static imagery is important, so I continued to post what felt right for me and my brand. It’s such a fast paced industry and it can be so easy to be swept up by trends and competition, but it’s important to remain original and focus your energy on what you enjoy and why you started in the first place.

How do you maintain/grow your audience differently now?

I think it’s important to keep serving my followers the content that has always performed well for me, because this is what they want. I like to use my channel to express my personal style and this has served me well. Just as I would in the early days, it’s about engaging with other accounts, posting often but for me the most important thing is that I continue to enjoy creating the content. As social channels become more sophisticated, I do feel that any content that I post has to be of a high quality, that can make a big difference. The introduction of reels was a big move for Instagram, so that has been a big focus over the past couple of years (whilst I still pepper in static imagery when it suits). Trending audio can make a difference too. TikTok is all about trends, which I think serves a purpose, but I feel Instagram continues to celebrate authenticity and original creative ideas. I often find that simplicity can be powerful. I recently posted a 3 second reel that showed a quick transformation of my wardrobes which has clocked up 7.8m views and over 115k likes. Crazy!

What parts of your life as an Instagram creator do you most enjoy?

I love my job! I have always wanted to be a stylist, but living up North is hard as the opportunities aren’t comparable to being down South. So now, I feel incredibly lucky that I get to work with big brands, styling with newly launching products all from the comfort of my own home! I love getting briefs from brands and working up creative concepts then capturing the content and watching people respond to it when I post. I get a real buzz from it.

What’s the future for your brand on Instagram in 2023?

I want to continue doing what I love. I look forward to seeing what collaborations come in 2023 and I really hope I continue to work with some of my favourite brands that I’ve established a real loyalty to over the past few years. I would love to look at creating a product line of homewares in the future. It’s been a busy year transforming our new home, so I’m excited to get some time back to really focus on expanding my brand beyond social media. Stay tuned!


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