Blog

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

Everyone is capable of using social media as an advertising, marketing and delivery mechanism – however, the trick is choosing the right platform to fit your brand.

With an ever-growing number of communication platforms to choose from, how do you know where you will be most successful in your delivery and where you will reach their ideal audience?

To identify where your brand fits with each platform, it is important to go back to the basics and see what makes each social platform unique. Then, you can leverage each to your advantage.

Now, breathe… we have done it all for you!

Facebook

APMM

Image courtesy of A Poor Man’s Millions

It’s no secret that Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world. According to Statista (The Statistics Portal) 1.59 billion people globally are active on Facebook.

It goes without saying that Facebook obtains the largest audience out of any other social media network, indicating the importance of establishing and maintaining an engaging Facebook page.

Facebook isn’t necessarily just about selling products, but about building your brand’s reputation. Facebook helps brands and personalities to build relationships with followers by creating and sharing relevant content and engaging with their audience.

Unlike Instagram, Facebook allows you to share links, articles and photo albums, which engage audiences and in turn can effectively market the brand.

As Facebook’s algorithm continues to change, it is important to experiment with paid strategies to maximise reach and ensure engagement.

Whilst Facebook is an important aspect in growing your brand, it can be even more powerful when used with other social platforms.

Think of it like peanut butter and chocolate, great on their own, but even better when combined!

Twitter

Fuss Free Cooking

Image courtesy of Fuss Free Cooking

Twitter’s continuous flow of information and facilitation of immediate sharing helps ignite instant conversation with your audience. Twitter is a great way to encourage two-way communication between you and your target audiences, and provide a real-time approach.

Although in the past Twitter was chronologically organised, it has now adopted a new algorithm favouring content. As a result it’s important to let your insights help dictate when is best to post.

Twitter’s 140-character limit means information is short and concise, essentially allowing a series of bite-size conversations. To track all of this, Twitter helped to popularise the use of #’s and @’s, now unanimous across the web.

So if engaging with your audience quickly and in real-time best suits your fast-moving brand, get on it!

Instagram

My Poppet

Image courtesy of My Poppet

According to an article printed on Social Media News, Instagram currently has 5 million active users in Australia. With more users joining Instagram everyday, Instagram is ideal for bloggers who deliver visual content.

Fashion, food, lifestyle and travel are great examples of verticals that work well on Instagram. If you’re committed to creating aesthetically engaging content, then Instagram is the perfect platform to experiment with.

Instagram is great for developing your brand personality and is a fun way for your followers to keep up to date! There are a slew of apps ready to help you create the best visual content; to create collages, time-lapse videos and convenient photo editing.

Similar to the combination of wine and cheese, Instagram and Facebook are a match made in heaven! Linking your Facebook business page to your Instagram will allow access to in-app analytics that measure impressions, engagement and click throughs.

With Instagram’s latest ‘Stories’ feature, you are now able to share real-time images and videos with their audience. Think Snapchat, but for Instagram. This is a great way to personalise your brand and engage with your audience.

If you’re up to the challenge of posting regular, visually engaging content, we couldn’t recommend Instagram enough!

Snapchat

Snapchat is unique in that a number of brands are not yet using the platform (unlike Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). Use this to your advantage!

There is an entire untapped audience on Snapchat that you can build a strong relationship with through fun and watchable content. Especially with over 7 million videos being viewed per day on mobile devices alone!

The idea of Snapchat is to unveil and showcase live interactions in real time. Snapchat allows users to send each other images and video that expire after being seen, or last up to 24 hours if added to the users ‘Story’.

Use Snapchat to your advantage to show viewers behind the scenes of your brand and blog. It’s a great platform to humanise your digital presence and build your brand’s personality.

So, which is right for you? As you probably already know, working with platforms that compliment each other is key. Learn where you audience is and target them accordingly. Don’t stress about the in’s and out’s of every platform, focus on creating the best content for your audience and you will be well on your way!

Patrick Catanzariti
Nuffnang Community Team

Bloggers are engulfing the Internet with websites about everything from food to fashion, travel to lifestyle and all the niche blogs in between.

However, the difference between a fantastic blog and an unsuccessful blog can be a matter of a few simple tweaks to your technique and website.

1. Define your target audience

If you haven’t identified your target audience already, then STOP WRITING! This stage is possibly the most crucial part of blogging.

No matter what the theme of your blog is, an undefined target audience will severely impact the success of your blog. Defining things like age, gender and demographic, to name a few, will help you to engage with as many people as possible.

This will ensure that your audience is fully invested in your content as it relates to them on a personal level. You want your readers thinking “ahh yes! I can relate to that!” Just like you’re thinking reading this post, right!?

2. Relevant content

Once you have defined who your target audience are, you can start to deliver your content! Woohoo!

This is the fun part…however, the content needs to be relevant to your target audience and theme of the blog to ensure the success of each post and inevitably the blog itself.

Whoever said blogging isn’t hard has probably never tried it!

When delivering content it is important to define the key messages you are trying to convey through each post, how these messages relate to your target audience and the general theme of your blog.

Staying on track with the relevancy of content will generate a loyal basis of subscribers who will continuously visit your site, which is the foundation of a successful blog.

3. Tone

Whilst there are millions of blogs out there – the way you convey your writing through tone is the ultimate way to differentiate yourself from the rest of the blogosphere.

Whether your tone is sassy, endearing, funny, informative or a mash-up of several, your content is undeniably more interesting with a unique voice.

Tone generates a feeling of real life conversation whilst evoking a sense of relatability between you and your audience. It is also important to generate repetition of this tone throughout every post, so that people feel as though they can relate to you on a personal level.

4. Post regularly

Friendships take time to build and they don’t maintain themselves! The same can be said for blogs.

If blogs are only updated at random increments throughout the year, the relationship between you and your target audience will not be strong enough to build a loyal subscriber basis, your subscribers are what will ensure the success of your blog.

With an average of 55% of people spending no more than 15 seconds on a page before navigating away, the need for interesting and consistent content it crucial to entice people to stay on your page and to continue exploring.

So, treat your blog like your best friend – be yourself, be consistent, share regularly and nurture the relationship!

5. Sharing is caring

Sharing is caring…except when it’s chocolate. However, it certainly is when it comes to blogging and sharing your content through social media.

Enable a ‘Share’ link either at the top or bottom of every post on your blog to ensure a substantial reach to a broader audience. It will make sharing your content easier for your fans, which in turn draws more traffic back to your blog from social media pages.

By having your social media accounts on all your webpages you’ll give visitors quick and easy access to all your relevant social platforms e.g Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc.

6. Make friends

The importance of friendship is not only crucial in life, but also in the world of blogging.

Creating a relationship with fellow bloggers is so helpful when it comes to building a strong blog. Investing in relationships with fellow bloggers will allow for introduction into their circle creating more connections with people all over the web.

Some bloggers love sharing content that their friends have created and might even feature it on their own blog. If you focus on maintaining relationships with bloggers with similar content to yours you’ll have access to relevant audiences and get some inspiration at the same time.

However, don’t limit yourself to only your genre – you can never have too many friends!

7. Theme and design

Whilst your content and delivery are crucial aspects to an insightful and engaging blog, so too are the aesthetics of your blog.

Much the same as setting the tone for your blog, the aesthetics of your posts and social media platforms should show a consistent theme.

This can be in the form of photo filters, colouring, font and size, line spacing and white space (sometimes less is more). To engage people on your blog and to keep them ‘clicking through’ to various pages, the aesthetics of your page are a crucial aspect in creating an experience for your readers.

amberrenae Photo Credit: Amber Renae

8. Photography skills

Blogging is all about telling a story – whether it be sharing an experience, a story behind cooking or insightful tips into travel and food.

Pictures add substance and creativity to each post and help reader feel as though they were there for the experience.

To ensure that imagery has the intended effect on the reader, here are a few tips to keep in mind to when choosing your photos:

  • High resolution images: Images that are high resolution create a sense of legitimacy to your posts
  • Flat lay photography: A great way to showcase a number of items in a neat and creative manner.
  • Relevant: Ensure that photographs used are relevant to the content being delivered…don’t post a picture of a pug if you are talking about the methods of baking a brownie cake!
  • Lighting: Ensure that the lighting of the photo generates a clear picture – if you can’t control the natural light then use a program (VSCO is a good one) to edit the image after.

One of our Bloggerati, My Poppet, gives a perfect example of flat lay photography that is high resolution and well lit.

9. Go against the grain

The blogging world can at times be an intimidating and somewhat overwhelming realm to enter into. With millions of fashion, lifestyle, food and travel blogs, how does one be successful and original? The trick is to create a point of difference between your blog and the existing blogs, what about your style/interests/creativity/technique separates you from the average Joe?

Things to keep in mind when creating a point of difference: Photography style, theme of your blog, tone of your writing and creative technique.

Views of Now is a great example of throwing a twist into fashion with her unique style and vintage photography settings.

Cafe hopping- a good idea until ur so caffeinated u feel like u might take off into the stratosphere 🌩   A photo posted by Isabella Wight (@viewsofnow) on

10. Subscribe/newsletter link

We all lead busy lives these days. Between work, study, school, kids, social life and all the things in between, even remembering to have breakfast often has to be scribbled in the daily planner!

So, make it easy for those with a lot on their plates and ensure you have a subscribe and/or newsletter link on your profile.

This will ensure that no one forgets to keep up to date with your latest posts and consistently drives your audience right back to your blog!

Words by Georgie Wolfe

Amber Holyoake
Nuffnang Community Team

This post is part of the Student Blog Series, a feature by Nuffnang interns
Author: Samantha Foster Swinburne University

In the digital age we are constantly seeing social media platforms evolve and adapt to modern society’s needs and wants. Nowadays, information is often conveyed through images, rather than primarily text, which makes sense, as images and videos can be consumed quickly, be entertaining, and are more expressive than plain text.

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Source: http://www.nicholasdewolff.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/b2b-lg.jpg

Log onto any social media or blogging platform and I almost guarantee that there will be an image-based post in the first five things posts.

Even though Facebook has over one billion active users, and Instagram has around 300 million, it isn’t surprising to see that the same post across both platforms gathers a different level of engagement.

Blogimage1

Source: https://blogs.chapman.edu/smc/2014/05/02/facebook-vs-instagram-lets-compare-or-not/

As seen above, the same post published over two different platforms achieves very different results. Studies are also proving that image based posts have overall higher interaction rates, which is based upon the number of likes, comments, and shares a post receives. Image based social media and communications are taking off, and for good reason.

instagram.png

Source: Vogue

Instead of using a limited number characters to express yourself, a picture can say so much more, by helping us express our feelings, personality, lifestyle, attitudes, communicate messages, and more. It’s true – a picture really can paint a thousand words!

Short-form blogging app Dayre understands the importance of images to help tell a story, with users posting images, stickers, and 500 character snippets of text in a blogging that takes on a day-by-day journal format. With a heavy focus on visual elements, the text that is posted around the images is used to further describe the experiences or situations of users.

It’s no wonder that the majority of brands are now using image based platforms as a main part of their social media strategy. Brands and companies can directly connect with their target consumers through posting images that their audience can relate to.

Nuffnang blog post intern series

Source: Adidas Instagram

It is clear that visual images online are having a strong impact in the way people communicate and interact with each other. From using images to express yourself, communicate with others, and to promote and sell brands and products, this form of online communication is building and becoming more popular each year. With other social media platforms adjusting their affordances and adding new ones to assist in increase their image sharing capabilities and functionality, communication through images is becoming the popular and preferred way to interact with others online, for both customers and businesses.

 

Intern
Nuffnang Community Team

This post is part of the Student Blog Series, a feature by Nuffnang interns
Author: Liz Alderslade Swinburne University

We all share online. Whether it’s what you had for lunch, photos of your children or the selfies that turned out well at a certain angle.  When we post this type of content, or any content for that matter, we just assume that friends will only see this because that’s what our privacy settings are set as. But many people don’t realise what happens to that content after we post it to social media.

Most bloggers probably use social media platforms to promote their blog. But hidden within social media website fine print you have to wonder, do you really know who is seeing your photos and content?

social_network_media_companies_in_person_silhouette

It’s a fact. The moment you sign up to certain social media sites, you agreed to the terms and conditions that state that the website can use anything you post at their discretion. What does that mean for you? Any photos you post can be used in advertising or sold onto third parties without further consent. The same goes for any other type of content shared on those platforms. Social media sites can even sell your content to others with the website making a profit. And if you sell said content to someone else? You are the one breaching contract, not them.

That’s why having your own blog is so important. When you own your own website, everything is wholly owned by you. You can cut, shift and change whatever you like, and don’t have to worry about the consequences.

Even if a photo is posted on your own blog but have a like or share button installed, social media sites are able to take some of the content. Certain social media sites have permission to use or let others use your content on or off of the website just from using these social media share abilities.

Now, social media is a brilliant way for free advertising. You can create a fan base easily with just a click of a button. Most times you don’t have to pay for using it and your fans can keep up to date with what you are doing. But you have to remember that if you have a social media account/page, it is only partially owned by you. Think of social media as a street where you opened your shop on:  Your landlord owns the building.

On your blog, you can also bring in any advertisers or advertisements you choose. (Hello, Nuffnang!) In other words, with your own blog you are free to do or post whatever you like whenever you feel like it! Isn’t that the reason you started a blog in the first place?

Your content also lasts longer on a blog; what is a little post on Facebook and Twitter that will only been seen and lost after a week compared to your article always being available in some form?

Also, most social media platforms restrict how your updates appear to other users, including the people who are following your social media. Usually that means that not a lot of people are going to see your posts. Luckily, on your blog anyone can see your content. There are no restrictions.

So, while social media is important for getting your message out there, make sure to remember that there is no better platform than your own website.

Intern
Nuffnang Community Team

Nuffnang supports the Australian blogging community to create, engage and share information. As blogging is a young marketplace with limited rules and regulations, Nuffnang believes it is up to the community as a whole to shape a successful future for the blogosphere and help grow its sustainable future.

As Australia’s largest blogging community, we actively support all bloggers, large and small, to blog about their passions and interests. Nuffnang doesn’t condone unethical behaviour when it comes to the blogging community or working with agencies and brands.

In the nearly six years Nuffnang has been facilitating campaigns between bloggers and brands, we’re proud to say the bloggers we’ve worked with have shown exceptional professionalism and work ethic and their work has really shaped the power and influence of this industry.

To maintain this professionalism and cement it for the industry, Nuffnang Australia will be developing a Blogging Code of Ethics.

Nuffnang believes the blogging industry has matured and now is the time to cement what we as a community feel is the right way to engage online, with one another, and with brands and agencies to ensure a viable and sustainable future for us all.

We as a community have the power to shape our sustainable future. Bloggers will decide this future and Nuffnang is actively encouraging input to this Code of Ethics from every member of the Australian blogging community.

Nuffnang wishes to collaborate with all bloggers to draft this document which will guide blogging behaviour and activity in this country and promote and foster positive and professional engagement.

Nuffnang Australia will not be supporting bloggers financially or otherwise who actively seek to discourage the values and ethics formulated in collaboration with the community.

To collaborate with Nuffnang Australia on the drafting of the Blogging Code of Ethics, Nuffnang encourages you to email info@nuffnang.com.au with your ideas, thoughts, opinions and input.

Thank you to all of you who make this community the wonderful, colourful and collaborative place that it is. We appreciate every one of you, and look forward to hearing your thoughts on how we can further strengthen the Australian blogger community.

– Felicity Grey
Nuffnang Australia Managing Director

Felicity Grey
Nuffnang Community Team

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