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Everything you need to know about Instagram

So, you’ve got your blog up and running, you’ve got some great content and you’ve set up your social media accounts after deciding which platforms work the best for you. If you haven’t, and aren’t sure if Instagram is right for you then check out our post about choosing your social media platforms here. If you decide that Instagram is right up your alley then read on!

Intro to Instagram

As of January 2016, there were over 5 million active Australian Instagram accounts, making it the 4th most popular social platform in this country, after Facebook, Youtube and WordPress (source). Since it began 5 years ago, Instagram has gained over 400 million users, with over 80 millions posts published daily (source). But why is Instagram so popular? Instagram is a visual platform which allows people to show off their images and videos; it does one thing and it does it well.

Sandy structures

A photo posted by Noah Stammbach | Australia (@zeebachi) on

There are many limitations on Instagram that aren’t seen on other platforms, but that is part of it’s appeal for a lot of people because it encourages organic content, not sharing others’ content. Users can only see one feed at a time, meaning only one photo/video, and can only upload content from their phones. The banning of third party apps means content can’t be scheduled or shared within the app easily, forcing people to publish real-time.  

Instagram: what is it good for?

All of these factors means Instagram is a great platform for sharing unique, original content to an audience who want to see what you’re creating, not just content you’re sharing from other people. It’s great if you want to build a visual representation of your work, connect with others who share similar interests and engage with a relevant audience. Instagram works great for: – Travel bloggers -Foodies -Models -Fitspo -Makeup bloggers -Fashion bloggers -Famous pets

The downside to this is it’s harder to share content from Instagram. Unless you link Instagram to your other social accounts, you can’t share your Instagram content to other platforms. You also cannot share content from other accounts outside the app, unless you manually take a screen shot and send it to someone.

Some of Instagram’s newer features have been making it easier for businesses to use Instagram, including the ability to have multiple accounts logged in at one time, Insights, a contact button, and sponsored posts. This means it’s now easier for you to keep your personal account while turning your blog account into a business one to keep track of all those important numbers.

Instagram and your blog

With that all in mind, how can you use Instagram with your blog?

  Unlike Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and other social platforms, it might not seem as easy to use Instagram with your blog, but don’t let that put you off!   Instagram only lets you share one hyperlink in your profile; you can add links in comments or with photos, but people can’t click through from those links, they have to copy and paste them into a web browser. This means the stream of traffic going to your blog will be filtered through the one link, so choose your hyperlink wisely! 

Instagram may not provide you with a huge influx of traffic to your blog but it is a great platform for sharing your content and engaging fans. Think of it as the pretty store window, enticing people to come in and find out more about your brand. If they like what they see they’ll enter through the front door (the door represents your hyperlink in this metaphor) and look around at all the great content you’ve got on offer.

As previously mentioned, it’s now easier to be a business on Instagram, which is perfect if you’re treating your blog like a brand (which we’d recommend if you’re wanting to grow your blog and monetise it). By turning your Instagram account to a business account, you’ll make it easier for brands to get in touch with you and see a whole lot of in-app insights that aren’t available to personal accounts.

If you aren’t keen to change it to a business account you can still get insights, you’ll just have to use third-party apps like Squarelovin or Union Metrics. These both offer free services, where you can review your posts, see what people are engaging with, who are your top followers and more. There are plenty of other services out there is you wish to pay to get more in depth insights.

How to grow your Instagram following 

Don’t be afraid of hashtags! Some people love them, some people hate them, but they’re a great way for people to find your content. Make sure you use hashtags that are relevant to your content and the audience you want to attract. Morgan Timm makes a compelling argument for using hashtags here. This can also be a great way to find fans. If you want to get new followers, you can’t just rely on your current following. Liking and commenting on people’s photos is a good way to get their attention, and if you’re finding these people through hashtags that you use then chances are, they’ll be interested in your content.

Be consistent! Make sure you’re posting regularly, and at a good time. Union Metrics, Squarelovin and other Instagram tools show you when you get more engagement, so try and stick to posting at those times. If you’ve consistently been posting about food for the last couple of years and you suddenly hit your audience with a bunch of cat pictures they’ll be left confused and potentially annoyed. If you really want to start changing things up, start slow and be prepared to see a dip in followers. When you keep your content consistent, your overall feed will start to look better and be more appealing to new visitors. 

Be everyone’s best friend! As mentioned before, if you’re only posting content, and not engaging, how can you expect anyone new to see your content? There are plenty of large accounts which pay bots to grow their accounts, but this cheapens your brand and can ruin your integrity. You can spot when someone has used a bot, it might be a comment completely unrelated to your photo, or a simple emoji. When you’re engaging with people to encourage them to follow you, try and make your comments meaningful and relative to the image. Comment pods are a way of helping other bloggers out with engagement; find other bloggers in your area/niche to create a comment pod, where everyone shares and supports each other’s content. 

It starts to sound a bit daunting, but once you get going on Instagram it’s quite addictive! Make sure you’re posting frequently with high quality content that’s relevant to your audience and you’ll be fine. The proof is in the pudding.

Stay tuned for tips and advice on other social media channels!

Amber Holyoake
Nuffnang Community Team

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