Having an Instagram for blogging is supposed to help you increase your reach and engagement, which is good. However, there are a few things about Instagram that every blogger should know.
Make Your Account Public
When I choose to follow a blogger’s Instagram account, there are a few things I consider. First, if their account is set to private, I don’t bother. Private accounts don’t really increase your reach, because everything is limited to the views of the owner of that account. Public accounts are more easily accessible and featured by brands and hashtags. When you’re using your Instagram for blogging, make sure that your photos relate to your blog in some way.
If you’re looking for hashtags, my favorites are #lbloggers, #thatsdarling, #thegirlgang, and #girlboss. Check ’em out!
Also, I recommend going through these hashtag feeds and liking and commenting on photos you like. Most people like to return the favor. You may even gain new followers this way – I do!
Photo Clarity and Presentation
As a visual platform, Instagram should house your best photos, because this results in people clicking over to see what you’re about. If you display mediocre quality work, people are less likely to make it past your profile page to your blog.
When I am looking at Instagram accounts, I try to stay away from accounts that post mostly personal photos, unless they are lifestyle bloggers. Even then, the photos have to be really eye-catching and related to their blogs.
Plan Your Feed
On Instagram, your feed can make or break your account. When prospective followers see your gorgeous photo posted under a hashtag, they get curious and hop over to your profile page. What do they see? They see your profile picture and the last 9 photos you posted and make their judgments based on that.
Ideally, you can plan your feed without the use of apps, because so far I’ve seen only apps that come with a price tag. Now, I’m not strict enough about my Instagram feed to pay for an app like Tailwind or Hootsuite (free trials available), but to each his own. I just try to plan out my photos for the week and make sure certain photos line up where I want them to. If you have a favorite app, I’d love some recommendations in the comments. Oh, and check out my Instagram feed here!
Instagram Pods – Why They Don’t Help
If you’ve read about Instagram Pods, the basic idea is that you are in a group with 10-15 Instagram accounts. You’re supposed to help each other grow your accounts. Depending on your class rating (A+ to C-), you are expected to like and post quality comments on each person’s latest posts. A+ Instagram groups require immediate action, and the lower the class rating, the less strict they are about your engagement.
When you’re in a pod, your engagement is enhanced, because you are receiving a steady flow of likes and good quality comments. However, this strategy doesn’t really help you grow your account reach unless you are a part of many, many pods, and that requires quite a bit of work on your part.
In pods, you focus on your pod mates’ accounts, and this changes your feed. Instagram’s algorithm displays the photos of accounts you interact with the most. If you are constantly interacting with (likes and comments) the same accounts, Instagram will prioritize these accounts to fill up the 200 spots on your feed. As you can see, that doesn’t help grow your Instagram account to reach anyone outside your pods. You will have more luck utilizing hashtags and socializing.
Fake Followers, Likes, and Comments, and Unfollowers
Ah, finally, we have this hot topic. You can purchase good looking Instagram accounts or make yours look more “popular” than it actually is. Unfortunately, this is a too common practice, and even well-known bloggers have gone this route to fame.
Is it worth it? I guess that depends. Brands look for numbers when considering bloggers for influence opportunities, and when you have to compete against fake numbers, it’s easy to give in. Don’t do it.
When I see Instagram users with high follower counts follow me, I check their engagement levels. If they don’t have at least 10% of their followers liking their photos, I proceed with caution. 10% is a very low rate of engagement, and when you can’t show that, it gives you away as a possible fake. Now, I’m not trying to be negative, but I don’t like being lied to. So naturally, I just don’t follow these accounts.
Lastly, the follow to unfollow strategy is rather popular, and it is also rather annoying for the rest of us. Users can use bots to find accounts to follow accounts and then unfollow a certain time after the other user has followed back. These bots can also leave low quality comments on photos for the user. What is the point of having an account if you’re not going to take the time to do any of it yourself?
Alright, that’s 5 things you need to know when considering using Instagram for blogging. There are many things to consider. Though it may seem tough to grow your Instagram account, keep trying and keep posting quality work. Do you!
I’ve found that Twitter helps increase my blog engagement more than my Instagram has, and the key to that is in this post here. Also, check out this post to see what the best times for posting on social media are – this maximizes your reach!
What are your tried and true Instagram strategies?
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