How to turn your hobby into Instagram stardom

In seven years Jane's Patisserie has gained nearly 800,000 followers and inspired a bestselling book of simple – and simply mouth-watering – recipes. Here creator Jane Dunn explains how.

A collage of photographs of Jane Dunn with her book and her cakes
Bake it big: Jane Dunn. Image: Vicky Ibbotson/Penguin

Be inspired by what you’re passionate about

I intended on starting a blog when I was at cookery school because I thought it was a way of me documenting my own journey. I was way too busy to be able to do that, so I started one afterwards, just posting pictures of something I've made. It snowballed from there, but it was genuinely a random, off-the-cuff decision.

Register your name on all the platforms you might want to use

One of the only reasons I called it ‘Jane’s Patisserie’ was because at cookery school I excelled in the patisserie section - and it was the only thing I could find that had the handle available on all social media, as I thought I’d get the handles while I had the website address. I didn’t know if I’d ever use them, and I think just my friends and family followed it for a while, but I’m glad in hindsight!

Be consistent in your posting

It took about a year and a half for my following to really start kicking off. I posted a Rolo cheesecake  recipe and my views went from a couple of hundred to well over 10,000. Then people clicked through to my blog to actually make it, So I started posting like three new recipes a week. One of the reasons I grew so well is the consistency of posting stuff. Sometimes it's really difficult when I want to go on holiday, but that's when the magic of scheduling comes in.

And build your community

When the Rolo cheesecake recipe took off, I began to interact with every hashtag I could find to do with cake and my following started growing. I also think interacting with people every day definitely helped.

Embrace your quirks

A lot of the photography out there is so good that I look at it in awe, but I think the fact my bakes can look messy at times – like a random chocolate bar or a bit of caramel stuck somewhere – it can help because to my readers it looks like normality. Be yourself: there's so many people in the industry already. Do what you want to do, because there's always somebody who's going to want to watch your journey. For me it's always been simple bakes that anyone of any skill level can do with any chocolate bar that they can think of. I just stuck to what I knew. Then it’s an organic thing: you're not trying to be somebody you're not.

Try out some of Jane's recipes at The Happy Foodie.

What did you think of this article? Let us know at editor@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk.

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