Instagram is still the fastest growing social media platform with over 400 million monthly active users – so if you’re a blogger or you’re looking to build a brand online, it’s worth having an Instagram strategy.
I personally don’t find Instagram to be a big traffic driver to my blog, but it has definitely helped shape my brand and enabled me to engage with a whole new audience. I’m by no means an expert on the topic and not Instafamous (I live in hope), but I like to think I’ve learned a few things over my two and a half years of blogging.
In my experience Instagram works differently from other social media. Following a user doesn’t necessarily mean that they will follow you back. This goes with any platform, but with Instagram especially, I find that you actually have to be of interest in order to be followed. People don’t want their feeds full of dull, poorly edited photos and they are much more picky about who they follow.
So how do you stand out from the crowd, gain followers and increase engagement on your feed?
Create an Instagram strategy in 5 steps…
1. Decide on what you stand for
To create a successful blog you have to find your voice and stay true to what you stand for. It’s no use in pretending to be someone else – people want to get to know the real you. Instagram (and social media in general) is the same.
As much as I love those feeds full of pretty front doors, coffee and fashionable outfits, I don’t live in a city, I don’t drink coffee and I’m not really that fashionable. My feed mainly focuses on my family, the outdoors and my blogging/freelancing. Open your eyes and be mindful of your every day. Whether it’s the beautiful, the pretty, the funny, the ironic – decide what makes your life worth sharing and you’ll soon have plenty of inspiration.
2. Follow a theme
You’ll find that the majority of the most popular Instagram accounts follow some sort of ‘theme’. Their photos flow seamlessly by having something in common – whether that’s a certain filter or editing style, a prominent colour, object or personality. Remember that you’re telling your visual story through Instagram – a collection of random filters and poor quality photos can look disjointed and downright ugly. Don’t stress about creating a theme from the off, but look for one that’s emerging through your photos and also make a note of other feeds you admire for inspiration.
3. Post consistently
If you’re looking to build engagement on your photos and increase your audience, you need to post consistently. I try to post once every day and my feed is full of others who do the same. People won’t remember you if you just post randomly on the odd occasion. If there’s nothing for them to see, then there’s no reason for them to follow you.
4. Research hashtags in your niche
Engagement on my Instagram posts more than doubles when I use relevant hashtags. People search for images in their niche by using hashtags, so the more hashtags you use, the more exposure your images will receive and the more engagement you’ll get. I keep a record of various hashtags on my notes in my phone so that I can copy and paste them each time.
For posts on parenting for example, I’ll use the following hashtags:
#childhoodunplugged #candidchildhood #momswithcameras #littleloves #lifewithtoddlers #cherisheverymoment #myweekofhappiness #littlefierceones #celebratingmotherhoodIG #lifecloseup #clickinmoms #mummyblogger #momblogger #simplychildren #simply_children #darlingdaily #coolmumclub #nothingisordinary #myeverydaymoments #thatsdarling #humansofjoy #letkidsbekids #letthembelittle #letthekids #littleandbrave #momtogs#uniteinmotherhood
You can view a whole load of parenting hashtag suggestions in this article.
5. Engage with other users
Like all social media platforms, you have to engage with other users. Posting multiple images without looking at anyone else’s is a big fat waste of time…Instagram simply won’t promote your images. Be prepared to dedicate a bit of time to this daily. Like and comment on other images in your feed and those using hashtags that are of interest to you. You will soon see your engagement rocket.
You can read more about this topic in my previous post ‘Instagram for bloggers – lessons learned so far.’
Do you have an Instagram strategy? What other tips would you add?