Instagram – lessons I’ve learned so far

I have a complete obsession with Instagram. I’ve had an Instagram account for a while (before my blogging days) but admit that I never really ‘got it’ or understood the real benefit of Instagram for bloggers. The only accounts I followed were those of my friends and they were much more active on Facebook – so Instagram didn’t seem to serve much purpose for me.

But when I decided to ‘get serious’ about Instagram at the beginning of this year something just clicked. Suddenly, I wasn’t looking for real-time updates of what people were up to, I was looking at beautiful photography, captured moments in time and creative photo streams. I was hooked and couldn’t get enough of it!

Instagram lessons so far - Instagram for bloggers

Now I spend far more time on Instagram than any of the other social media platforms. Which is ironic really as I get pretty much near zero traffic from Instagram to my blog. But I love Instagram and have realised that it’s not really about sending traffic to my blog – it’s a separate platform in its own right. Which brings me on to…

Instagram – 5 lessons I’ve learned so far

1. It’s an extension of your overall brand

I tend to use Twitter and Facebook to promote back to my blog content, but I see Instagram as a visual representation of my ‘blog brand’. I’m currently trying to improve my photography and I like to post only my best photography on my blog – so I try to replicate this across my Instagram account by only posting a selection of my favourite photos. I avoid bad lighting and and blurry images, just as I would do on my blog.

If photography is not such a key part of your blog and you’re more about the laughs and giggles of family life – warts and all – then a photo stream of funny moments caught in haste on your phone will probably be more fitting. Personally I tend to follow a varied range of accounts and like all manner of posts – from beautifully staged SLR shots, to funny quotes that have me chortling into my morning cuppa. Whatever you choose to post, stay true to yourself and it will come naturally.

2. It helps to be consistent (but don’t stress about a theme too soon)

When I first started to ‘get serious’ on Instagram, I got hugely hung up on following a theme. I follow heaps of swoon-worthy accounts that have a consistant theme – all of the images look similar, they have a distinct colour palette and their photo stream just seems to flow. I loved the staged interior shots and more feminine colours and tried to replicate these types of accounts at first, but completely failed!

After throwing the idea of a theme out of the window, I saw that one was actually starting to emerge within my photo stream. In reality my life is quite outdoorsy and I tend to surround myself with more natural, earthy colours within our home. I realised that most of the ‘pretty’ in my life comes from nature – the green outdoors, our dog walks, our sailing weekends, my daughter, our family time – so I decided to feature more of this within my stream and leave the staged creative photos to those who are far better at it. I also let myself be guided by the seasons – I’m loving the current summer feel within my photos with pops of yellow and sunny skies. I’m not quite where I want to be yet, but I like to think my photos are improving all of the time, and I’m happy with that.

Instagram for bloggers3. Make the most of photo editing apps

If you do want to create a theme for your images you could try using a photo editing app such as VSCO, Afterlight or Snapseed, which can help to give a consistant look to your images. I prefer the filters in VSCO than the ones on the Instagram app as I feel they are more subtle and natural looking. However, some of my favourite Instagramers use the Instagram filters beautifully, such as Mummy of Boy Girl Twins. Others swear by the added features available in Lightroom which enables you to create a truly distinctive feel to your photos. You Baby Me Mummy’s Instagram account is a great example of this.

4. Don’t forget it’s social media

When browsing through multiple images and very few words, it can be easy to forget that Instagram is a social media platform. Therefore, like any of your other social media platforms, it helps to engage and interact with other users – especially if you want to increase your own likes and followers . I try and like as many great photos as I can on a daily basis and when I have time I comment on other people’s photos. Which brings me on to…

5. Hashtags do work!

I know that a lot of users have a dislike of using multiple hashtags and some of the articles I’ve read have even gone so far as to say that they stink of desperation. But I have to say that I completely disagree. Hashtags simply increase the exposure of your images to multiple audiences. By including a relevant hashtag you are basically making your image available to other people who are seeking out your kind of images. I’ve also found some great communities through using hashtags specific to my interests and have discovered some brilliant accounts which I now follow. So it’s been a win-win for me.

You can follow me on Instagram here.

What do you think of Instagram for bloggers? How do you use it? Instagram lessons so far - Instagram for bloggers
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34 Comment

  1. Eb
    May 19, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Great post! I do use Instagram, but it’s definitely on my list of things to get better at…at the moment I just can’t get my head around what exactly to use it for. Until very recently I just used to share one shot from my latest post, but now I’m trying to share other things too…though mainly food-related…like my lunch, or a sneak preview of something that will be on my blog in the future. Love the idea of it being a visual extension of my of my brand – will have to have a think about that. Totally agree about being social – and hashtags, definitely! Not only do I find they work well for helping people find me, but also I find them super useful when I want to find things! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Eb x
    Eb recently posted…A day in the life of a food bloggerMy Profile

  2. Meg
    May 20, 2016 at 11:09 am

    This is really useful, thank you. I am trying to get better at social media in general … thanks for the tips! #brilliantblogposts

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 20, 2016 at 11:37 am

      Glad it’s helpful – good luck with your social media!

  3. Helena
    May 20, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    I joined this platform this week as I’ve seen such gorgeous photos from it on blogs. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on it with us. I tried pinning this but it didn’t work.#TheList

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 22, 2016 at 9:50 pm

      Good luck with building your profile – and thanks for trying to pin!

  4. Laura - dear bear and beany
    May 20, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    I love Instagram and about a month ago started to take it seriously. Like you I now only post photos that are good enough for my blog. All the other photos I want to share I just pop on my Facebook page. Great advice, I don’t have a theme and worried about that, but after reading this maybe I don’t need one X #picknmix
    Laura – dear bear and beany recently posted…Tips for Flying with Children…My Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 22, 2016 at 9:48 pm

      I really need to get better with Facebook – it’s the one platform I really don’t spend enough time on but should definitely post more of our photos on there. X

  5. Madeline
    May 20, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    I have to admit I was quite resistant to using hashtags to start with, but have jumped on board now! They definitely help with exposing your images to more people. Love the overall look/feel of your feed by the way! x #TheList

  6. justsayingmum
    May 21, 2016 at 7:26 am

    This is such a useful post to read – thank you! I am a total instagram fan – I waste hours scrolling through. I love your tips on editing photos – I haven’t done that yet but will look into the programmes you suggest and also at You Baby Me Mummy – I only use the IG options. You mention a theme – and I’ve just started to adopt a theme using the typorama app – I prefer the way it looks now and wish I’d started this in the beginning – I’m quite new to instagram so it’s a learning process for sure. Thank you for sharing this post – your feed is absolutely beautiful #PicknMix
    justsayingmum recently posted…If I Could Just Go Back For One DayMy Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 22, 2016 at 9:44 pm

      I find its a constant learning process – much like blogging! Your feed looks great, I haven’t heard of that app but will have to look into it x

  7. A Cornish Mum
    May 22, 2016 at 12:39 am

    I love Instagram, I’ll never be someone who follows a theme though. I like that it’s eclectic, just like my blog 🙂 One thing with the hashtags, did you know that you can just put all your hashtags in a comment on the photo after you have published it and they still work? It means if you share it else where the hashtags don’t go with it and as soon as a couple other people comment, then the hashtags are hidden. It just looks cleaner to me 🙂

    Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix
    Stevie x
    A Cornish Mum recently posted…I am Going to Britmums Live #BML16My Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 22, 2016 at 9:38 pm

      That is such a great tip I had no idea! Thanks so much stevie I will definitely be doing this as I never post my photos elsewhere for that reason! X

  8. Fi - Beauty Baby and Me
    May 22, 2016 at 10:27 am

    I am a huge fan of Instagram and I find so much of it really inspiring. The hashtags are a winner too as it helps you connect with people who would be interested in the things you’re posting about! This post is bound to help other bloggers. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 22, 2016 at 9:37 pm

      I never really understood the hash tags before but think they’re great now I get them! X

  9. Emma
    May 22, 2016 at 10:27 am

    This is really interesting. I have completely fallen in love with instagram recently and love it! I have quite a few friends who don’t understand it and I always describe it as a little scrapbook of your memories and some people like you say curate it so it has a theme and looks perfect where as other people stick everything in there. I also like what you say about hashtags, I used to be really wary of them but I now use them and I have to admit it really works 🙂 I agree that instagram isn’t about pushing traffic to your blog it is a platform in its own right and one that can be a lot of fun! #KCACOLS
    Emma recently posted…Goodbye April. Hello May 2016My Profile

  10. Sarah @ Mum & Mor
    May 22, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    My Instagram account is a mix. I don’t stick to once specific theme of photos. I use it more often lately and have been able to discover some bloggers through it. #KCACOLS

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 22, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      It is a great platform for discovering new bloggers – I’ve found some great ones through it which I would probably never have come across.

  11. Jason
    May 22, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    I’m so glad you mentioned Afterlight. Its one of my favourite apps, and I use it on EVERY one of my instagram posts. Some great tips. thanks for sharing #KCACOLS

  12. @livingwithlayla
    May 22, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    I love instagram and started becoming very active on it before I begun my blog and twitter. I tend to fill it with all my baby spam of Layal-Rose and use it as a day to day update of what we are doing and baby milestones. I would however love to get better at photography and will defiantly be adding you to my feed! #KACOLS

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 22, 2016 at 9:33 pm

      Great! I look forward to connecting! X

  13. Ali Duke
    May 22, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    I love Instagram. I really like looking at all the different pictures on various topics. My pictures are no where as good as a lot of the ones on there but I am going to improve that.
    #KCACOLS

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 22, 2016 at 9:32 pm

      I love how you can constantly improve and adapt your style – good luck! 😊

  14. Emma
    May 24, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    im with you on hashtags too – it’s just a way to categorise content so it gets found. and so people can find it! when I want to find interesting stuff to read then I often use a hashtag on twitter for example. #KCACOLS

  15. natalie
    May 24, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    I love Instagram – I haven’t been on it too long so I am still finding my feet but yes I find myself getting a little fussy about what I post. I am a little bit rubbish with hash tags though – I can never think of any at the time! #kcacols

  16. Sarah - Arthurwears
    May 24, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    I already follow you on Instagram, but I didn’t actually make the connection until I saw the photos in this post and recognised your little one!
    I’m pretty new to Instagram so still trying to build it up, but I also end up spending more time on there now than other platforms! #KCACOLS
    Sarah – Arthurwears recently posted…Children Changing Careers p3: Dani from Deluxe BloomsMy Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 25, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      It’s crazy how obsessive it us – since I started to take it more seriously I’ve neglected my other social media accounts a little! It’s just so fun! Good luck with building up your account x

  17. Jen @Practical, By Default
    May 25, 2016 at 2:27 am

    Hi, I love IG! I have used it forever personally but also have a business account now. I use it to show what homeschooling looks like in real life, imperfect and all. Messy. Crazy. and what we are up to. #KCACOLS. I love your tips!
    Jen @Practical, By Default recently posted…What’s For Dinner? Kitchen Superstar: Food Storage Containers!My Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 25, 2016 at 6:53 pm

      That’s interesting having a separate account for your business I can imagine that works really well in certain sectors! Glad you enjoyed the post x

  18. Clare
    May 25, 2016 at 9:27 am

    I love this! I am currently falling back in love with Instagram, and recently I have seen a real difference in my following and the amount of engagement I get. I still have lots to do to have my feed where I want it to be but I will get there. I think that is because my style is constantly changing, and with the plans I have for the blog in the next few months, I think there will be quite a large change in my branding and direction. Who knows!?!?
    Clare recently posted…Spectrum Sunday #24My Profile

  19. Clare
    May 25, 2016 at 9:28 am

    I love this! I am currently falling back in love with Instagram, and recently I have seen a real difference in my following and the amount of engagement I get. I still have lots to do to have my feed where I want it to be but I will get there. I think that is because my style is constantly changing, and with the plans I have for the blog in the next few months, I think there will be quite a large change in my branding and direction. Who knows!?!? #KCACOLS xx
    Clare recently posted…Spectrum Sunday #24My Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 25, 2016 at 6:50 pm

      Ooh I’m looking forward to following your journey! Xx

  20. Crummy Mummy
    May 25, 2016 at 10:13 am

    I love Instagram but I’m not sure I’m using it ‘properly’. I definitely need to be more consistent! #picknmix
    Crummy Mummy recently posted…Class birthday parties have a lot to answer forMy Profile

  21. Petite Pudding
    May 27, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    I have discovered the joys of instagram only this week – and I am already obsessed! My daughter is probably already fed up me trying to take beautiful photos of her… Your list has made me open my eyes further to the possibilities so thank you very much! #kcacols

  22. […] it’s worthwhile when you see your engagement continuously increase. From Twitter to Instagram, I’ve learned that the key to all social media platforms is to engage – people soon […]

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