Many bloggers fail to recognize the potential of Instagram. Instagram can greatly enhance your blog in a number of ways, from networking to directing traffic. Out of all the social media platforms out there, Instagram is by far my favorite. Why? Mostly because it can turn any topic into an interesting story — you just have to be creative enough to figure out how.
For instance, let’s take donuts. What possible story can you create from donuts? Well, check out the Instagram of Dunkin Donuts:
Their social media team is doing a great job building their story. They apply holidays to their donuts and marketing, repost pictures that users tag them in, etc. Remember, this is a story about donuts — inanimate pieces of food. Dunkin Donuts basically had to create a story out of nothing. For bloggers, the great part is that you already have your compelling story.
So here are 10 Instagram tips I feel can help you and your blog:
1. Think of Instagram as your blog’s sidekick. Instagram’s purpose is to be out there directing people towards your blog. It serves the same purpose as your other social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). However, it’s even better because Instagram is more visual. Every Instagram post should link back to your blog. For example, let’s say you posted a picture of an event. In your caption, you should mention more information can be found on your blog.
2. Link your Instagram back to your blog. A lot of Instagram users make the mistake of typing a URL in the caption of their posts. Instagram does not allow clickable URLs in their captions. The only URL a user can provide is on their profile page. If someone provides a URL in their caption, that requires their viewer to write it down or memorize it, as well as type it into a browser. Sad to say, but viewers are easily dissuaded by too much effort. A great way to avoid this is to say “link in bio” in your caption. Then, provide the link on your actual profile page. This way, viewers can simply go to your bio and click a link. Easy as pie!
3. Your profile page is your “first impression.” Your profile is the first page new visitors land on, so make a good, lasting impression. Your visitors must grasp who you are upon first glance. Be straightforward about who you are and what your purpose is. For example: “Melissa Ibarra – Blogger by day, mommy by night.” This shows I’m a mommy blogger, with some sort of wit (at least, that’s what I aimed for). It’s also good to include your location in your profile. People from your town may find you more relatable, or maybe people around you area will be interested in working with you, etc. Also, don’t forget to include contact information of some sort. Provide an email address. You never know when people have inquiries.
4. Pay attention to how your overall page looks. Instead of looking at your Instagram as separate posts, look at the overall composition of your account. Do your pictures stylistically match? Are your pictures of great quality? Make sure your page looks professional. Again, look at Dunkin Donut’s Instagram page. All their pictures are of great composition and style, resulting in a professional look and feel.
5. Cultivate a following. Find your niche on Instagram through niche hashtags. For example, if you start a dog lovers Instagram account, search the hashtag #dogsofIG. You’ll be directed to a community of dog lovers across Instagram. Try to create a list of your niche hashtags and use these hashtags when you post your own pictures. Findability is key, otherwise people will never know your account exists.
6. Network, network, network. Now that you’ve found your niche communities, go out of your way to comment on other people’s pictures. Also, follow accounts. This will increase your chance of others choosing to follow your account. It’s a great way to organically build your audience.
7. Respond to comments. When people comment on your pictures, respond to them. Engage in conversations. After all, this is a social platform. Furthermore, if someone follows your account, follow them back. It’s sort of an unspoken rule on Instagram, where users show each other love and support for each other’s work by following each other’s accounts.
8. Develop a posting plan. Don’t post too often. Your followers can get annoyed if you oversaturate their newsfeed with pictures. But at the same time, don’t neglect posting pictures. Posting regularly increases your chances of others stumbling upon your page. Depending on your audience, you have to feel out how often and when are good times to post. Try to observe when engagement is at its highest. Personally for me, I get the most engagement around 8:30am and again at 9pm. However, it’s different for everyone.
9. Host photo contests. Photo contests are a great way to spike up engagement on your account. Post a photo explaining the contest. Maybe something like: “follow my account and hashtag your best coffee picture using #coffee4life. Winner gets this organic pack of coffee, as well as a feature on my Instagram and blog.” (Fun fact: I made this up as I was typing.) Also, there are other photo contests that require people to tag their friends as well: “tag five coffee-addicted friends.” In the end, your account will receive more followers, hence more engagement and possible traffic to your blog.
10. Post videos. Posting videos can make your Instagram more interesting. Make sure you only post videos of substance and good quality. Videos can work in your favor if you post cool behind-the-scenes videos, creative content, etc. Remember: you have 15 seconds to capture your viewer’s attention. You can also post snippets of videos and redirect your audience to a full video on your blog.
Good luck, and happy Instagramming!
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Melissa Ibarra is an online community services specialist at ProfNet, a service that connects journalists with expert sources. In the past, she has worked for CBS Sports and News 12 NJ and done freelance reporting for New Jersey News Room and Reel Reporting. She specializes in social media, graphic design, and video production. Follow her media journey @melibarraTV.