What Mrs Hinch can teach us about using Instagram
In the past few weeks I’ve seen something happen on Instagram that I thought was no longer possible in these days of algorithms and clone-type accounts.
An Instagram account went viral.
The person the account belonged to is one Sophie Hinchliffe, also known as Mrs Hinch, and she is cleaning obsessed. And not just obsessed but she actually enjoys it.
This post is, by the way, nothing to do with how I feel about cleaning, or chemicals or women doing the cleaning [or whatever else is being said about it all] it is merely to document the phenomenon and to see what we can learn from it.
Through Mrs Hinch’s Instagram Stories she has captured the nation’s attention. She has inspired , entertained and demonstrated her cleaning to such an impact that the products she uses are in short supply in the shops.
It has been a fascinating phenomenon to watch for an online geek such as myself.
I discovered Mrs Hinch myself just over a week ago when she hit the national press. From what I can see she hit the local press before that and it was picked up by the nationals. Then she was everywhere. With a stint on ITV’s This Morning television programme earlier this week. (I believe she is now going to be a regular on the programme).
I watched her segment on This Morning. Every few seconds I would refresh her Instagram page and her account was jumping up two or three thousand every 30 second refresh. She started the morning on Monday at 400k and now, just two days later, she’s on 579,000 followers. Bear in mind she was ‘only’ on 60,000 followers at the end of August.
Now I’m not into cleaning myself but I follow Sophie and enjoy being entertained by her Stories. I love her down-to-earth nature and her enthusiasm. With all the negativity elsewhere on Instagram she is like a breath of lenor-scented air (although her rise is causing a bit of a stir!)
So, what can we, as people who are trying to build a following on social media, learn from her approach?
Be yourself. Mrs Hinch has embraced her enthusiasm for cleaning, she’s called her cleaning products human names and has allowed her personality to shine through. Even if someone else sets up a similar cleaning channel on instagram they won’t be identical because they aren’t her. Her personality has made her stand out.
Use Instagram Stories for engaging. Her stories are not terrific quality visually (sorry Sophie if you ever read this) but that is part of the appeal. Instead she focuses on what she’s saying to her audience. And in one twenty-four hour period she could have a huge amount of stories - which I know people worry about. There are ‘rules’ apparently saying only have about 5 stories on the go at a time (something like that) or you’ll lose your audience. Well, Mrs Hinch has shown that, if your content is engaging, the number of stories you have is irrelevant. Mrs Hinch’s main feed does not show her personality and isn’t particularly unique. It’s her Stories that have fuelled her growth.
Embrace imperfection! Don’t worry about things going wrong in your stories, or that they have to be perfectly edited…as long as your message and personality shines through that’s all people care about.
Embrace your community. Mrs Hinch has her Hinch Army. And there’s a hashtag called #mrshinchmademedoit. She shares people’s content in her stories, she thanks people, she talks like she’s part of a gang and not superior.
You don’t need to show your face! Despite what people tell you to do. No-one knew what Mrs Hinch looked like until she appeared on TV.
Traditional PR and media is still important and can make a huge impact. I don’t know how her story made the local press in the first place or what made her grow to 60,000 before the story caught on and I’d be intrigued to find out. But it just goes to show that the press are still the place to get blanket press coverage and that new media and traditional media can work very well together.
Share your journey. Through all the changes happening to Mrs Hinch in recent weeks she has taken her audience with her.
And finally (for now) don’t take it so seriously. Have fun with it.