I'm loving all of your dialogue in using Twitter and Facebook pages for promoting your blog! I'm continuing the series this week with a look at how you can make the most of Instagram for your blog. With over 100 million active users – and only 59% of the top 100 brands – Instagram has hit its tipping point with the masses, but its potential for brand engagement is still evolving quickly. As the CEO of your blog and personal brand, Instagram can be a powerful way to connect with your readers. You can reach them on a personal level similar to Twitter and others, as well as other ways unique to this photo-sharing social media site. Instagram is fairly simple to understand and get into, but like all social media sites, there are special nuances there that can help you grow a following unlike any other audience you may have.
1. Be mindful of your presence
The key to growing any kind of following on any social media is consistency. A general rule of thumb is to post 1-3 Instagrams daily. Space out your posts so you're not spamming readers in short bursts of many photos, only to go silent for a few days or weeks after. If you'd rather spend the least amount of time on social media as possible, determine whether or not Instagram is a good use of your time. For some of you, it may be your preferred social media site, and for others, you may stay clear of Instagram altogether. If you are going to spend time on it, post often, and try to do it consistently.
2. Show some personality
Instagram is, in essence, a place to share images. Use it to paint a fuller picture of your life for your readers. Capture moments and places that light a fire in you. Include captions that show your humor & wit, or to add some context to your photo. Sometimes outfits, events and other things happen that may not make it onto your blog, but would be perfect to share in Instagram.
3. Promote your posts creatively
One of the most frustrating things about Instagram is that it doesn't allow live hyperlinks within its captions or comments. You can still promote your blog posts creatively, and entice your audience to head over to read your latest post. Share close-up, behind-the-scenes or outtake shots from your last outfit shoot, and mention your blog in the caption. A loyal blog reader can become a loyal Instagram follower, especially if they know they'll see unique content in your Instagram feed.
Like Twitter and Pinterest, Instagram uses hashtags as a means to search for other photos within similar subject topics or events. Unlike the other two sites, you can actually find accurately relevant searches within that hashtag (Look for #IFBcon on Instagram, then do the same on Twitter. Much less spam in Instagram.) Because of that, Instagram users can get a little carried away with using hashtags to try and appeal to different audiences. Stick to 1-3 hashtags (5 at most); any more than that can turn off your followers.
5. Mix it up
We all get into a rut sometimes, posting the same content on our blog or social media profiles. When this happens, it's good to step back and remember what inspires you. Why do you come to Instagram? Who do you follow? What do you look at? Challenge yourself to post photos and images of things you normally don't.
Instagram just launched its “Photos of You” feature, which basically means that now you can tag other Instagram users in your photos. Use this feature not just to tag your friends, but the brands featured in your latest outfit. You never know what might come out of getting on a brand's radar. Remember, Instagram is a fairly new frontier for many brands, and your chances of standing out in a crowd are much higher.
7. Flex your editorial muscle
Most likely, you've got certain themes, categories and contests you like to write about or host on your blog. Why not look at your Instagram feed in the same way? Take an editorial look at your Instagram feed, and create themes like Trendy Tuesday or Shoe of the Week. There are a few already on Instagram that you can take advantage of, like Throwback Thursday (#TBT) or Manicure Monday (#ManiMonday.) You can also host contests for your readers exclusively on Instagram, like a “Caption This” contest or using a special hashtag to track photo entries. Brands aren't just looking at your blog for potential partnerships. If they see you getting creative on your social media profiles, you are that much more appealing to them.
8. Fill in your profile
Instagram gives prime real estate to your bio and website link. Like other social media sites, your bio is the first thing people look at to determine whether or not to follow you. Be short & concise (they're there to see your photos, after all) but make sure people know who you are, what you do and a little bit of your personality.
What are some of your best practices for Instagram?