Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms out there, and has now escalated from being just a place online to share photographs to being a digital visual magazine, it has even become a business necessity. As a blogger, it’s really important to keep your content on point and visually attractive. That’s just one more way your blog can stand out from the ocean of information and imagery available online, and attract readers to your site.
I never really considered myself an Instagram expert, despite how much I love it, and the amount of time I spend on it; posting and browsing. But expertise aside, I have actually come to pick up some tricks of the trade as I go. Lucky for you, I’ll spell every tip and trick I know on this post, and you’ll be ready to step up you Instagram game big time. You ready?
1. NAME (@yourblogname)
Your name on Instagram can impact the effectiveness of your blog greatly. Having a good, short, to-the-point name that reflects the content you publish is really useful for it will direct users interested in your content straight to your page. An example of a good name for a travel blog might include in its name the words wanderlust, travel, explore, or passport—to name a few.
This is the place where you describe yourself or your blog in a way that lets users know what to expect if they follow you. It’s likely that people will even decide whether to follow you or not based on the info you share in this section of your profile. So make sure you include basic information you feel is relevant according to your blog objective. Some elements might be like you name, age or home country. Many include their passions, studies or describe themselves in a short and brief sentence.
Here’s an example of how I personally have it on my blog:
For mine, I included my name, home country and then added my blog’s slogan, and e-mail address to make sure people know how to contact me directly in case they want to. You never know what chances you may miss if you don’t reach out and give users a private option for communication! I’ve received job opportunities through e-mail, and most of them write they found my account on Instagram, so mark my words—you’ll want to add an address you constantly check! And last but not least, the link for my WordPress blog! Instagram is a great platform to promote your work, so if you have any links you want to direct your followers to, you’ll want to add it to your bio!
Style is important because it’s what makes you different. It’s a vibe, a signature, it’s ‘your thing’. Your style can come down to a filter you always use, the way you shot your photos, the way you compose the text to accompany your visual work, or the angle or props you use in the frame. Everything you can think about doing to stand out is fair game when it comes to style.
Hint! Always think about your community and content when deciding a style to make it all coherent.
Aesthetics is the visual communication your content transmits to users. Instagram works like a collage. It displays your photos in an arranged, symmetric gallery for them to work not just individually, but as a set. So when working with Instagram you need to think about your photos more as a collection, and upload strategically to make them pop, and look good as seen beside one another.
I recommend Moldiv for this. It’s an app you have on your phone to make collages. As many other apps, it offers various templates to arrange your photos, but there’s one you can use to arrange 9 squared photographs. This allows you to see clearly how your content will look like once you upload to Instagram. This is important because sometimes certain photos don’t look as good beside some as they do with others, and this helps you plan ahead and make the most out of every shot.
Here’s how it works:
The idea is not to upload the collage you create, but simply let you visualise the order in which you plan to upload your content to make sure the colors are well-distributed, and to avoid the elements in the photographs from making funny figures when seen together in the Instagram gallery. This way you can plan your content ahead and make sure the overall aesthetics of your blog works well.
Moldiv has helped me with this because I was often unsure on what to post next, in fear I wouldn’t like how it would look like in the gallery with the rest of my posts. This has made me more efficient, and has made my blog more pretty to look at, too!
5. SET LOCATION
Setting location is really helpful because Instagram will group your photo with others shot right where yours was taken, making it easy for users who browse through the app, looking for photos in a certain location directly, to find it. Besides this, I like setting location to my posts because they organise themselves in the Instagram map found in my Instagram profile. I think it’s fun, and useful—as a travel blog—to allow people to browse through the map, and see the content for each location directly. It’s easier for them, and it sends them straight to the content they’re looking for.
6. USE HASHTAGS
You’ve maybe heard about using hashtags to attract people to your profile, and maybe you’re like me and don’t really like them. They’re useful, that’s a fact. But personally I think they make the post look messy and crowded, especially if you want to add a complete paragraph of only hashtags. In my opinion, they’re really useful, so here’s what I do:
I post my photo with its caption normally, and then add six dots (as shown above) followed by all hashtags I want to use, and post that as a separate comment. This way, because of the space the dots take, my post ends up looking like this: (pay close attention to the (…) below)
I figured this way I get the advantages of posting with hashtags, and avoid the messiness they bring to the profile as well. Tricky, right!
7. ENGAGEMENT WITH USERS
This one is an absolute must to improve your Instagram blog, for its strength is not only measured in the beauty of your photography, but in the community you build with it. The key is to engage with others who share your interests to build a solid follower count who is interested in your content. Replying to users’ comments on your photos, commenting on theirs, following others…these are all ways to interact with your community, and attract more viewers/readers who are likely to love your content.
8. ANSWER DIRECT MESSAGES
This one has to do with the engagement I was telling you about in the previous point. Don’t forget about Direct Messages either! Make sure to check them regularly, and to answer back to those who write you. The beauty of a blog is being able to communicate with each other, both follower and blogger, as opposed to newspapers or their online versions where it is all unidirectional. So don’t miss out on engaging in conversations with them, you can create a friendship out of it, or they can give you useful feedback that can really be helpful for you.
9. FOLLOW NEW PEOPLE ONCE IN A WHILE
Following new people is a perfect way to increase your own follower count. There are plenty of awesome accounts out there that can be inspirational for you, and by following them, you reach out and increase the possibility of them checking out your gallery.
I do this every once in a while to see different content from new bloggers in my dash, and I’ve noticed the grand majority of those I follow, return the favor; sometimes even by following popular accounts, other users stumble upon mine and follow, so that’s always a good strategy to reach out for more people!
10. PROMOTE YOUR INSTAGRAM WITH FRIENDS AND ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Promotion is a huge step you need to take to increase your numbers. How else will everyone out there interested in your work be able to find it? Sure, there’s always those who will find it all on their own, but telling everyone you now about it, and sharing links of your work on other social media platforms will skyrocket your followers, and with it your influence in your niche.
11. AVOID BUYING FOLLOWERS AND LIKES
We live in a time where there are apps for mostly everything and anything. My advice is stay away from the shortcut it is to buy followers and likes, and take the long way. Why? Because it is effective. If you create a blog and purchase false feedback you’ll end up clueless as to the real effect you’re having; there will be no community, no real people behind it all. Followers and likes are just numbers, anyway. So don’t worry if you’re not growing as fast as you would like. Building a solid community takes time, work, and effort, but it’s them who make it all worth it, so be patient and do your thing.
12. POST REGULARLY
Posting regularly is key. It gives users stability and it keeps them hooked to your content. Now, by regularly I mean once a day; twice maximum. Otherwise you run the risk of being spammy, which often leads to losing followers. On the other hand, by posting once a day you create expectation and presence. Your community knows you post daily so they will likely check out your page for updates everyday. It really happens! Another advantage of posting daily is people get used to seeing your photos in their dash, enough to expect them. If you post nothing in an entire month, and then upload 1 photograph, you risk appearing in people’s dash’s who forgot about you, and these people tend to unfollow (if they hadn’t been followers for long, enough to forget you.) So post regularly and keep the pretty photos going!
13. LET PEOPLE KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT
Besides letting them have expectations on how often you post, you have to let them know what type of content to expect from you. Travel? Fashion? Food? A mix? Just be clear on that and then stick to it. If you end up posting a bunch of unedited selfies and personal photos from a party you went to last night, you’re likely to lose followers. Notice I wrote ‘a bunch’; there’s absolutely nothing wrong with posting one or two occasional personal photos to a blog, but too much of something that derails from the main point can be counterproductive.
14. ONLY SHARE YOUR BEST WORK
Instagram is the platform to showcase your visual work, so take advantage of this, and let your photos be the absolute best to catch users’ attention, and then redirect them to you website, or other social media platforms. I was talking a few points ago about regularity, just remember to keep your balance between quantity & quality. If you figure you can’t keep up with posting a stunning photo daily, skip a day or two. It’s really no big deal, as long as you don’t end up ignoring the account for an entire month.
15. SHOOT WITH SEPARATE CAMERA & THEN TRANSFER TO YOUR PHONE
It’s no secret photos come out prettier when taken with a separate camera, as is no novelty the iPhone is super capable of taking great shots as well. Nonetheless, a separate camera still allows you to capture and control many aspects of a photograph like the lighting, the focus, the movement or stability, so my advice to having a picture-perfect Instagram gallery is shoot with a separate camera and them transfer those photos to your phone to upload them from there.
16. EDIT YOUR CONTENT
Edition is a tricky business—yet necessary. With this I don’t mean add a bunch of filters to the point the photograph looks totally fake, just enhance small details here and there to make it look as close to reality as possible. Add lighting, shadows, maybe enhance the colors just a little bit, but don’t overdo it. I really hate super edited photos. Wasn’t the point capturing a moment and sharing a reality?
17. UPLOAD VIDEOS/GIFS OCCASIONALLY
This one depends on your style and objective, but if you’re willing to go that extra mile, gifs and/or videos are very effective. Each day—and mostly on Instagram—visual-interactive content is stealing the spotlight away from the written word, and this is both good and bad news. Bad because I love to write and read, and believe words are so beautiful and powerful, and good because I also adore media and the way it pushes us to being creative. The thing is we can use both, and master each in different platforms, those that adapt most to their type. But anyway—getting back to the point—Instagram is the place to get visual and be creative. And so it happens that videos and gifs are great for this! Perfect to gain those brownie points!
18. PLAN IN ADVANCE
Another way to improve your Instagram Blog is by planning ahead. Organise your photos, plan fun campaigns, photo collections by location, anything to help you always know what your next step(s) will be. This can help you create content for what you’ll need in the future when you can, and you’ll avoid falling behind or not knowing what to post next. This step helps you keep a constant uploading speed, and you save yourself from thinking what your post for that day will be.
19. BE CREATIVE
The point of this is to be creative. It’s okay to fall out of the plan sometimes and post a photo you just took and loved. Your plan is not meant to be followed by the foot, but meant to guide you along the way. So be creative! Play around with your live photos, gifs, videos; freeze frames, edit…in my opinion that’s part of the big fun it is to have a blog, simply allowing yourself to get creative!
20. ENJOY IT
…and most importantly, enjoy it! Managing an Instagram blog is fun and sociable. You get to find inspiration and share yours with others from around the world. So just remember, love what you do, follow these 20 tips and you’ll see how your profile will skyrocket!
Have any other tips you would like to share? Share on the comments!