Our final Fearless Woman to Know for Women’s History Month is the incredible, Katie Carrico of Chicagogrammers and Dining at My Desk. I’ve known Katie for a few years thanks to the Chicago blogging community and I was pumped when she co-founded Chicagogrammers. It’s a fun community for Instagram influencers in the Chicago area that grows your Instagram skills while providing fun events to get to know local businesses and other members.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and Chicagogrammers.
First of all, hello readers! If you’re reading this, you obviously have good taste, and thanks to Christine for letting me chime in! I’m Katie Carrico, Founder of Chicagogrammers. We’re a member-based organization for local Chicago Instagram users! Chicagogrammers organizes events and promotions with local bars, restaurants, businesses and brands to help them create a buzz on Instagram, which is far and away the BEST social platform for getting the word out there for businesses. The best part is that it’s free (and always will be) for members! We currently have 400 members, our hashtag #chicagogrammers has been used 37,000+ times, and we have 5,700+ followers on Instagram. We’re growing everyday, and we love new members! Our Instagram account is a regram account, and each day of the week we pick a different theme, and those themes rotate monthly. It’s just a fun account to follow, because you’re always going to get a good idea of what’s going on in this great city we live in, and some great Instagrammers to follow. A big goal of ours is to always remain member-centric, so we try to find fun ways to highlight our members as much as we can.
What made you decide to organize Chicagogrammers?
Ah, the story of Chicagogrammers...well, it really started as a whim this past July, because as a blogger for the past seven years (Dining at my Desk), I’ve seen MANY of these blogging groups form throughout the years on Facebook. You know the ones that ask you to click to read everyone else’s blog post, or follow each other, or any other number of blogging boost requests? The idea behind these groups isn’t bad, but the real issue is that the group might have 10,000 followers, and all of a sudden, now you have to read 1,000 blog posts? Or maybe you just have to read 5 or 10 posts, but in a sea of 1,000 comments, is anyone REALLY going to find your post? I thought starting something LOCAL that takes the best part of blogging - that’s Instagram, of course - and making it a group where people could meet each other and hang out in real life sounded interesting. I flung an email out to a few blogging buds to see if they would be interested in helping me with this endeavor, and I was lucky enough to have Chrissy Barua of the wonderful blog, The Hungary Buddha Eats the World, partner with me. Since meeting at a blogging event a few years ago, we’ve kind of been inseparable, and we comment all the time how we’re the perfect business partners - the stuff I suck at, she does remarkably well, and vice versa. We started Chicagogrammers randomly via email on a weekday afternoon, and actually didn’t even think to see if the Instagram was available - we were much more concerned with the Facebook Group! Luckily, all the social media handles were available, and here we are!
Do you have any Instagram tips to share?
I do!! My personal favorite find of all-time is the app VSCO Cam, which I use to manually edit every single image I put on my own Instagram account. The app is a little tricky to maneuver at first, so look up an online tutorial, but it seriously makes your photos SO MUCH BETTER. My other big tip is make sure you’re using hashtags in every photo, preferably just one or two in your main caption, then up to 30 in your first comment. Might I recommend the #chicagogrammers tag?
What are your favorite spots in Chicago to visit for photos and Instagram posts?
Well, I’m a foodie, and I do tend to get invited to a lot of great events in that realm. I’d say my absolute favorite event of all time was a blogger event where we partnered with the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce and had a foodie crawl. Basically anything that I can eat as much as I want (that’s always a lot) and explore this city is always right up my alley. I’ve never met a food I didn’t want to photograph.
If someone is interested in Chicagogrammers, how can they sign up for more information and is there anything you can share that Chicagogrammers has in the queue?
Yes, we LOVE new members. To join, visit our Facebook Group, and then we’ll have you sign up for our weekly newsletter, which is filled with fun and free (always Instagrammable) events for members to attend. We do an official Chicagogrammers monthly happy hour each month, which members can sign up for from the newsletter. Our newsletter comes out around noon on Wednesdays, and you want to get to your inbox quickly, because our events fill up fast! As far as events in the queue, we have quite a few things up our sleeve, including some awesome collaborations, but can’t tell you about them just yet. Stay tuned!
Thank you for being one of our fearless women to celebrate for Women’s History Month! Leave us with a little inspiration for the other fearless women who are reading.
First of all, it’s inspiring to see so many women in entrepreneurial roles within the blogging community. The ladies are killing it out there! My best advice is to follow your intuition. If you have an idea and it seems like a good one to you, no matter how small it is, you can make it happen! Make friends who are interested in the same things as you are, and before you know it, you’ll have the network you need to help turn an idea into something amazing. Thanks for having me!