(Originally posted on BrightRock Change Exchange)
Facebook tells me many of you are planning the First Child. This is a big change. Adding a kid to the family previously known as Just The Two of Us requires a lot of planning, shifting and rearranging of your life.
Everything is going to change, and I do mean everything. From your social circles, to your extramural activities, to the toys you like to buy yourself. Even your home and your car are likely to undergo a radical change as you make space to welcome your new baby into the world.
But as you make endless lists of baby gear, home improvements, a new SUV, schools and universities, have you forgotten the most important part of growing your family – your Instagram strategy. What…? You haven’t…? OMG! Stop everything and read this before you take another step towards parenthood!
First off, you’ll need a separate Instagram account for your bundle of joy. They need an account of their own, managed by you, because the focus and attention your child deserves should never be shared, or diluted with posts of a Highveld sunset or your cringe-worthy #ThrowbackThursday high school photo.
Give them their own account for grannies and grandpas and other new parents to follow, coo over and just generally affirm your decision to have children. It’s an affirmation fest second to none, and in those cold, lonely hours at 3am when you’re sitting with a colicky child, you’ll need every ounce of support you can get. Don’t underestimate the power of 281 new Instagram likes. They’ll do your soul plenty of good.
Once baby’s Instagram is up and running, be sure to add pics of every single gift given to Baby. This is the modern day version of the ‘Thank you’ note. My friend Amanda posts pics of her new baby son wearing all the outfits gifted by friends, neighbours, colleagues, distant Aunts, and cousins.
In this way, Amanda ensures that every generous gift-giver is thanked, and feels … no … KNOWS … that their gift is special, appreciated and useful. A pic of your gift being used is far better than any thank you note ever. This is all part of Amanda’s Instagram strategy. She’s working it well. So should you.
Record milestones and achievements. Show every single precious moment of your little one growing up. First tooth. First steps. First day at school. Joining the soccer team or the ballet class. First work of art. This is important. Listen carefully, and I’ll tell you why: it’s not just the unfettered pride that you will feel as a parent as your Little Human finds their niche and unlocks a series of achievements. It’s also a great way to subliminally advise generous family members and friends what future gifts should look like.
If Aunty Mavis sees a string of pics at ballet class, she’s likely to deliver new ballet pumps, a tutu or a leotard for your child’s next birthday. If your bundle of joy takes up gymnastics and has their heart set on that international tour to Svalbard for the World Gymnastics Championships, well, having watched all the hard work unfold on Instagram, friends and family know that a PS4 game is nice as a gift, but what’s better is a donation to the ‘Get My Child Overseas’ fund. (Starting to see the value of a well-curated Instagram account for your little one yet? Yes, I thought so!)
Finally, there are the hashtags. Don’t be like every other overenthusiastic but amateur Instagram user out there, and flood each picture with four hundred and eighty three hashtags every time you post.
It’s critical that you select a few carefully planned hashtags so that when newcomers to your Instagram account want to make sense of the five million pictures you have posted, it’s as simple as clicking on the theme that takes their fancy, like #JamesBeingTwo (all the photos you took of James in his second year), or #EmilyAtSoccer (a discourse on Emily’s sports days on the field, before she took up rock climbing) or even #AlexSaysThis (all the videos of Alex getting their first big words wrong, like haasgropper, supghetti and flutterby – you’ll need these for Alex’s 21st birthday, naturally!)
So there you go. Adding Baby to the family means there will be big changes to your lives. But you’ve got this. No sweat. Just remember to record every moment on Instagram, and you’ll do fine.
© Dave Luis for BrightRock