There’s nothing the Founders of Chicagogrammers (hey, that’s us – Katie & Chrissy) love more than form letters around the holidaze, so we figured we better write one to update you on all the things that Chicagogrammers has been up to this year, and what we’ve got planned for the coming year. We wouldn’t miss this opportunity to do that pajamas-themed photo shoot we’ve always dreamed about, even thought it’s a lot harder to get the two of us together in a room now that Chrissy moved to Ann Arbor!
A year ago, Chicagogrammers was still taking shape. Our community was growing, but we still didn’t know exactly what that meant, or how to harness the power of this amazing group of people that were so enthusiastic to show off all the amazingness that Chicago had to offer on the best platform out there to showcase it (we’re talking about Instagram!!). Bit by bit, month by month, through setbacks and huge successes, our vision started taking shape and here we are, looking into 2018, with so much having changed, and so much more to which we look forward!
Let’s start with growth! Since the beginning of the year our Influencer community has grown so much, and we’ve welcomed so many awesome members….over 600 since the start of the year, meaning we now have over 1,000 members in our Facebook group! I’m sure this is no surprise to any of you, since it seems that each Sunday we have more and more people to welcome into our little corner of the Facebook Group universe, and the enthusiasm each person brings just adds to our collective good vibes.
Our #Chicagogrammers hashtag has exploded this year, too. Last year we had 24,000 uses, and today we have over 115,000 uses on Instagram! That’s nuts! Not only that, we managed to cross that 10K follower mark, and tripled our following from 4,000 to nearly 12,000, and we must say, we’re constantly in awe.
We started our members-only “Weekly Snap” newsletter last January, and we love that in it, we get to highlight so much of what makes the Chicagogrammers’ community great: Our members! From our weekly featured member, the five to follow, as well as spreading the word about your contests and events, we hope that you look enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy writing it.
In May, we officially became small business owners, forming our own LLC. Damn, that’s so official, and damn, we’re really not looking forward to figuring out our tax returns!
A small but mighty contingent represented CG’s philanthropic side at Chicago Cares in June, where we got down and dirty lending our painting skills to transform a southside school, and in August, ICYMI, Chicagogrammers threw a GIGANTIC first birthday party with our pals over at Gino’s East, who, with the help of our friends and uber generous goodie bag sponsors, were able to deliciously ring in Year One in style.
It’s been at least one year since we’ve posted a selfie, and we firmly believe once a year is just about all you ever need to see these mugs on your feed from @chicagogrammers. But you see that look?! It’s pure joy because we somehow lucked out and brought together the BEST community of Instagrammers in Chicago. Thank you so much for this amazing year. From 0 to 650+ Chicagogrammers members, from 0 to over 9,000 followers on Instagram and 73,000+ #chicagogrammers hashtag used, we say thank you for this outstanding first year and goodnight! @ginoseast – YOU ROCK!!!! ? ? PS Remember to tag your sponsors!! Like @fabrikwickerpark for helping these food bloggers #celebrate in style!! #ginoscelebratescg #ginoseast
Throughout the year, we’ve hosted some truly awesome events: large ones ranging from the that blowout birthday bash, to happy hours at Chicago hot spots such as Bernie’s Lunch & Supper, Olive Mediterranean Grill, Joy District, Yard House, Nia, The Kerryman, to smaller more intimate events at The Berghoff and The Music Box. We’ve pow-wowed with the likes of Yelp Chicago, Groupon and Pampered Chef and danced the night away with Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton.
We capped off this year by hiring our awesome intern, Jazz, and welcomed the return of #Santagrammers, where over 80 members got together to make new Chicagogrammers friends, and raised $300 for Fight2Feed, an amazing charity that helps to feed Chicago’s homeless population. We also introduced our new weekly feature, “The Intelligent Influencer,” which brings you all the news you can use on what’s happening in the Instagram and Influencer Marketing scene.
On the personal front, this year was also packed with good stuff! Katie got engaged to #MainSqueeze in Paris (hence the festive Eiffel Tower print on those PJs) and got her real estate license. Chrissy moved to Ann Arbor and started an Instagram for her cat.
Looking back on all this has us feeling….well, ready for a little Christmas break, but extremely proud of all we’ve been able to accomplish and excited for what’s next in the new year. And what, exactly, will that be? We’ve got big plans for 2018, and are ready to help local businesses connect with Influencers, and do what we do best – shine a light on and give every opportunity to all of our amazing, wonderful, supportive members. We can’t thank our members enough for being the exact kind of members you’d want in a community – ready to help and support each other, give recommendations and teach each other and always ready with their cameras to capture it all on Instagram. Big thanks to everyone who’s had our collective back this year – from all the amazing businesses and PR professionals we’ve worked with, to new friends and people who motivate and inspire us everyday! We are so incredibly grateful for all this year has brought our way, and so excited for all that’s to come.
Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, and for those of you who want to live your best creative entrepreneurial life in 2018, catch us at this event on New Year’s Day.