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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

If you’ve been on Instagram lately then you’re bound to have noticed that the world has developed an obsession with flat-lay photography.

However, if somehow you’ve lost your phone, been backpacking through the Grand Canyon and not had reception or are just new to the bandwagon and don’t know what flat-lay photography is, then listen up.

Flat-lay photography is literally that, a photo of objects taken from directly above as it lays flat on a surface. But you already knew that didn’t you?

Like anything there are certain techniques and elements that go into perfecting this craft and there’s nothing Nuffnang loves more than some Instagram-worthy photos. These tips will have you achieving flawless flat-lays in no time!

Pick your background

A simple one but an important one! The best part about flat-lay photography is that you can change up snaps as easily as switching out backdrops.

You want to think simple, clean and crisp when selecting a background for your flat-lay, too much pattern can distract from what you’re shooting.

You also want to keep in mind the objects that you’ll be capturing and pick a background with a colour that will accompany and compliment these items best. Go with a backdrop that has a subtle pattern or stick to a solid colour all together. If pink really is the new black then white is the new is the new pink and marble backdrops are the new luxe.

We suggest playing with different colours, patterns and textures. You can use any surfaces you have around your house, switch it up and keep experimenting!

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 11.32.36 AM
(Photo from Nourished Life Instagram)

Lighting

Lighting is an important aspect of any photo; to get a shot that looks like it was shot for Vogue, it’s crucial to ensure that you use the right lighting depending on what you’re photographing.

For lighter backdrops and a more minimalistic shot aim for shooting under a more natural and soft light. Artificial light can often look yellow toned and fluorescents tend to be very cool-based, this will wash out your photo and add harsh shadows.

Try shooting in a spot with lots of outside light, next to a window or under a skylight where you can get the natural light source from outside.

Also keep in mind the time of day when you’re shooting, direct sunlight can look very harsh in photos where the attention is focused on flat objects. Shooting photographs in the morning or early afternoon will provide optimal lighting as opposed to the suns orangey hues later in the day.

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 11.34.34 AM
(Photo from Esme and the Laneway Instagram)

Setting out your objects

The layout of your objects is something that you should play around with when taking photos, anything goes and you should experiment and see what works best for each shot.

You can go with clean cut and crisp squares with equal spacing, you can overlap items, place them side-by-side, on an angle upside down or inside-out (okay maybe not inside out). You can opt for a random effect and arrange objects on different angles and keep some straight.

The sky is the limit; there are no rules that you need to stick to!

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 11.36.44 AM(Photo from The Life Creative Instagram) 

The great thing about using flat-lay photography is the range of content that you can capture using the method! From makeup and beauty products to food, outfits, home wares and anything else; if you name it, we bet you can take a flat-lay of it!

Flat-lay photography is such an easy way to take photos for your Instagram, blog, Facebook or whatever it might be. You can take photographs anywhere and of anything, play around with the shot and snap a professional looking pic anytime!

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 11.41.35 AM
(Photo from Views of Now Instagram)

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a fashion blogger, a food enthusiast or just looking for ways to spice up your social media pages, share some of your favourite flat-lay snaps with us!

Words by: Alice Veal

Adriana Barro
Nuffnang Community Team

We all know how easy it is to slip into the trap of distraction, and lose productivity..especially when there’s something important to get done.

Whether you work from home, have deadlines creeping up or just need to buckle down and organise your life, here are our top seven tips for keeping up your productivity with a little help from some of our Bloggerati influencers.

1. Wake up early

Waking up early is linked to mental health, success, happiness and an overall increase in positive thinking throughout the day. According to a study conducted in 2008 by biologist Christoph Randler; people who wake up early tend to be more proactive and better decision makers than those who sleep late. Waking up early will also give you time to mentally set out your goals and what you want to achieve for the day.

So it’s true what they say; the early bird does get the worm. Rising early also leaves time in the morning for our next point…

2. Eat breakfast

Eating breakfast has been known to increase daily cognitive function and help you to stay focused for longer. Eating breakfast will provide you with the energy you need to get through your daily tasks with ease and lead you to a happier life. Don’t skip the most important meal of the day, nothing gets in your way on the road to success more than a grumbling stomach!

Jump over to Chyka.com and check out some breakfast recipes for days when a bowl of cereal just won’t cut it.

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 11.56.47 amPhoto credit: Chyka.com

3. Make a to-do list

The Life Creative touches on the usefulness of setting out daily tasks and weekly to-do lists in his post “the truth about working from home ”. Setting out a to-do list will help you keep track of all the tasks you need to get done for the day and crossing them off sure does make you feel accomplished! Some say effort breeds success, here at Nuffnang we say organisation is the key to success.

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 11.58.59 amPhoto credit: Thelifecreativeblog.com

4. Exercise

We all know that physical activity releases endorphins and ultimately puts us in a good mood. Getting the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day will help boost your mood and clear your head so you can approach your daily tasks from a different perspective. Whether you exercise in the morning as a jump-start to your day or in the evening to decompress after a stressful day, give it a go and you’ll notice the difference, we promise.

If you’re looking for something new to try, head over to KX Studios for a Yoga session. Check out Melbourne Girl’s post “KX Yoga Challenge” to read about her experience.

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hoto credit: Melbournegirl.com.au

5. Break up your day

We’ve all been there, you’ve stared at something for too long and it’s starting to turn in to gibberish. Taking short breaks throughout the day can help increase your energy and stamina, if your brain starts to snooze go get a cup of tea and refocus. Why not use this time as an excuse for food, go for a wander and check out some café’s, get a coffee or two… or three. Sitting in one spot doing one thing for too long is enough to drain anybody.

6. Stay Hydrated

Bloggerati influencer Amber Renae suggests staying hydrated throughout the day to achieve maximum brain capacity in her blog post “My top 3 hacks for working from home” and we agree. Even minor dehydration can influence the quality of your mood and cognitive functionality. As little as 3% dehydration can slow your reaction time to the same extent as having a 0.08 Blood Alcohol Content. Want to stay sharp and alert? It’s simple, drink water.

7. Schedule

Much like setting out a to-do list scheduling your time will help you stay on top of tasks and ensure that you get the most out of your day. Start by allotting yourself a certain chunk of time for each task you want to get done and set aside distractions (here’s looking at you Facebook). Life Love and Hiccups gives some pointers on scheduling and other ways to keep you on track and organised in her post titled “Organise Your Life”.

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 12.03.11 pm
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hoto credit: Lifelovehiccups.blogspot.com.au

We hope these simple tips help keep your productivity levels in check !

Words by: Alice Veal

Adriana Barro
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.

b2b-lg

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: Kane Jones, Swinburne University

As a keen blogger you will have heard countless times about the important role that social media plays in promoting and growing your blog audience by encouraging engagement with your readers. You’ve no doubt created profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and other various social media platforms and created a following on each.

You may have been lucky enough to have noticed an increase in traffic to your blog and readers engaging with likes, re-tweets and comments on your social media posts. But how can you find out how each of the different platforms are driving eyeballs to your blog and how can you learn what posts work best on each platform to achieve this?

This is where the advanced features of Google Analytics (GA) comes in. You may be already using GA to see the basic traffic stats for your site, but that is merely the tip of a very, very large iceberg.

Incase you haven’t heard of it, GA is an amazingly powerful (and free!) tool from Google that can monitor all traffic on your site and provides you with more data that you could ever dream of. While there are countless features available, there are two tools in particular that you may find useful to explore as a serious blogger to better understand how different platforms are interacting with your blog and over time use this knowledge to grow your blog.

Social Media Acquisition

You may be surprised to discover which platforms are driving traffic to your blog and how users from each are engaging in different ways.  For example, despite all your activity in promoting your blog on Facebook, you may be gaining more new traffic from Twitter or Pinterest which could lead you to reconsider your social media strategy (or even develop one if you haven’t already). Take time to study which platforms are delivering you high numbers of first time readers and how they are engaging with your site. Users from different platforms will often have different behaviours – e.g. users from one platform may be spending longer and visiting more pages than from another. Learn what content those readers are interested in and tailor your social media posts to their tastes to encourage them to become regular readers of your blog.

Within this feature you can set up goals (also known as conversions) to measure the success of your social media activity. You may set goals for various things including newsletter signups, time spent on your site or purchase amount if you run an online store. It can be encouraging to see that your hard work promoting your blog paying off by visitors signing up to become regular readers.

traffic

Custom Campaigns

So you’ve just finished an amazing blog post and you have shared the link across your various social media platforms. But are you tracking the traffic each individual link is generating to your site? If not, you are missing out on a world of useful information about your audience and how they are responding to what you post.

By utilising GA’s Custom Campaigns URL builder, you can add individual tracking links to each URL you share, which allows you to track the traffic generated by each individual link, rather than simply the origin source as discussed above (eg, Facebook or Twitter as a whole). For example, you might send 3 tweets about your latest blog post out, but use different wording or a new headline in each version. By using individual tracking links and analysing the data collected, you can determine which of these posts is generating the most traffic to your blog. This can help you determine what style of post your audience is engaging with and individually craft your posts for each platform, better connecting with your followers. You may discover when posting the exact same content that it may be a hit on one platform yet fail to gain any traction on another.

Using this tool you can experiment with different ways of posting a link to your blog posts and see which style of social media posts attract the best result. For example, you may wish to compose a number of different Facebook posts to see which works best – e.g simply posting a link, adding a short summary or teaser, including an image or posting a longer summary to try and get readers interested.

social media tree nuffnang australia blog

There are countless blog posts out there which detail step-by-step instructions on setting up Custom Campaigns and using Google Analytics and its many other features. It may take you a while to fully understand the technicalities of what can seem to be an overwhelming amount of data, but if you are serious about growing your blog it can prove to be an invaluable tool in understanding what your readers and reacting to.

To find out more, Google Analytics has comprehensive guides to Custom CampaignsGoals and Social Media Analytics.  

Intern
Nuffnang Community Team

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