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?
I actually have more followers on my instagram than my blog so it helps me out a lot. I always put my URL as my location when I post up new blog post and I keep my blog as my main link on my profile. 🙂
If I never have to see another instagram with
#outfit #brown #hair #whatiwore #Instafashion #clothes #me #alive #follow #shoes #yellow #tweegram #socute #loveme #instaclothes #instainsta #followforlikes #blogger #blogging #blogged #fashion #fashionblogger #shirt #toes #feet #nails #nailpolish #mani #manicure #HASHTAGALLTHETHINGS
on it, it’ll be the best instagram day ever.
♥ Paula Shoe Fiend.
Hashtags have completely turned me off of Instagram, sadly
The funny thing is, no one actually goes through those tags. Using basic descriptors as hashtags is ridiculous.
I opened and instagram account recently and I’m still into figuring out how it works. This post will definitely help a lot 🙂
It’s pretty easy…look at the popular page just to get a feel for the quality of pics. Nothing is worse than grainy, sloppy pics if you’re trying to attract attention to your blog. Also IMO…just mine if you use it to post a sneek peek of an upcoming blog post, just use maybe a detail shot of your wrist (party) or something that you’ll feature on your blog post (shoes) partial angled shot of your outfit. If you post the entire outfit with all the brands, people seem less likely to visit your blog if all of the information is there since IG hasn’t come up with clickable hyperlinks.
YES! Love this article. Great ideals.
Great ideas! I need to start tagging and post more.. Be more consistent.
Great tips. Consistency is a huge problem for me. There are weeks when I post something every other day only to not post again for 3 weeks (seriously!). I definitely need to get back on track.
Indie Punk Goddess
I’m actually really curious about your thoughts on mixing personal and blog/business pics on Instagram. I’m just starting out but I feel like there’s this conflict. I don’t want family and friends to be bombarded by fashion pics and likewise I’m not sure those following for the style side want to see pics of my dogs and my garden! Established bloggers can get away with mixing all aspects because there’s a familiarity with their followers but when you’re starting out you need to build an identity and develop a following. At this point it’s possible but not practical to have multiple Instagram accounts (each has to have a seperate log in, email, and you’d have to log in and out each time to access the different accounts).
Lauren @ styleofonesown.blogspot.com
I actually like it when bloggers show more than just their clothes. It gives you insight into their lives and what they are doing when they aren’t attached to the computer. As long as they are nice photos and not like blurry bar pictures, I say go for it! i’ve actually found (by looking at likes) that my followers like those pictures more than just “hey this is what im wearing!”
Thanks for the reply Fran. 🙂 That’s encouraging.
These are the best tips! I usually do sneak peeks but sometimes post my whole outfit. I like to show details. Thank you for writting this article.
I am guilty of adding too many hashtags – I’ll remember to keep it to five max!
Thank you this is perfect! I just started an Instragram account for my blog and I am still trying to figure it out and if it will be useful to my blog or if I will just use it for personal. Its hard to keep up with all of social media so I am trying to decide between Instagram and Pintrest…Does anyone have ideas on how to stay on top of social media? Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Instagram? I honestly don’t have the time to manage all of those and my blog. Which would be better for drawing in readers and followers? Instagram or Pintrest?
I started my Instagram account recently so this article is really helpful for me! I don’t have a lot of pictures and I’m still learning. I’m still not that sure what I can and what I can’t upload on Instagram.
Thanks for sharing especally the hashtag tip. =)
Its always pleasure to hang around instagram
amazing ways to be awesome
Hi! One thing that I think is important is to put your location on your bio – on Instagram and Twitter etc. I only realised this recently when I was looking for info for a trip to New York – I started following lots of fashion and beauty bloggers who has New York as their location. I think added Belfast to mine and got over 500 new followers from Northern Ireland within a week or so – so I got lots of followers who are really relevant to me and to my blog. Really simple one but an easy one to miss! Hope that helps 🙂
Thanks so much for these tips, Jess! My following has been growing very slowly on Instagram and I’ll definitely be changing the way I post on IG based on this article. Great job!
Thanks for the tips, they are really helpfull!
Awesome tips, i just started using instagram recently and have been growing my following slowly. And good tips on the amount of hashtags to use, i have been overcrowding mine. Hey could you guys help out with tips on pinterest though i started recently but i feel like am not having any luck over there.
I agree with the amount of posts one should do daily, any more than 5 a day and I will un-follow someone, especially if what they’re posting isn’t interesting to me.
Although Instagram doesn’t allow hyperlinks in the captions or comments, you can post hyperlinks in your bio, so if you want to temporarily add a link there, you can direct your followers from your post to check out the link in your bio. You can also direct followers from other social platforms like blogs, Facebook, and Twitter to check out your Instagram post via the hyperlink to that.
I completely agree that tagging not only friends but also brands, companies, and celebrities will add a lot to your Instagram. From time to time I post drawings of celebrities I’ve done and tag their accounts and recently one of my favourite actors commented and reposted my drawing of him! It really can help you get noticed, get followers, and gain important media attention.
And you can self- promote!