In this mini series, we explore the different options social media offers when it comes to helping your blog grow authentically. You can check out our previous post here where we talk about growing your blog via Pinterest!
To make money blogging, you need to have a solid audience. It’s essential to be able to increase your reach and bring in new people, but also to engage your existing audience. Social media helps you to do both of these things, giving you multiple platforms to build your brand image, awareness, and reputation.
Instagram is one of the best platforms you can use to improve your image and get yourself known in the blogosphere. It’s an app (and website) built on visual content, including images and videos, and it has a broad user base. You can use it in a variety of different ways to engage with your audience and grow your followers.
Getting Started with Instagram for Your Blog
If you want to set up an account for Instagram, you’re going to want to set up a business account. You might have a personal account that you use too, but a separate account for your brand provides you with more features. One of the best features it offers you is the ability to track your activity with real-time insights.
It’s easy to get started with a business account on Instagram. First, create an Instagram account using the app or website. You can add your email, connect to Facebook, choose a name for your account, set a profile photo, and write your bio to get it set up for your brand.
Next, you need to switch your profile to a business account. In your settings, click Account and then select ‘Switch to professional account’. You can choose from either Creator or Business, depending on which one you think best describes your brand. Select a category that you fit into, then review your contact information before confirming the switch.
If you have a Facebook Business Page, you’ll probably want to connect it to the Instagram account. Instagram is owned by Facebook, so this is easy to do and can help you track activity across both platforms. You can do this on Facebook by going to the settings on your page, choosing Instagram, and selecting Connect Account. You can also do it from your Instagram profile. Go to Edit Profile, select Page under Public Business Information and either connect to an existing page or create a new one.
Instagram has some good resources to help you get started with your business account or creator account.
Different Types of Instagram Posts and Content
You can make multiple types of content using Instagram, to engage your audience and make your profile as interesting as possible.
The basic Instagram post is an image that you can add a description to and people can comment on. You can add multiple images in one post too. Posts with multiple images (carousels) are actually super engaging compared to single photos or videos. If you use all 10 available spaces in a carousel, the average engagement rate goes over 2%. This might not sound like a lot, but it’s still more than a single photo or video post.
As well as photos and other static images, you can add videos to your Instagram profile. The standard maximum video length is 60 seconds (the minimum is 3 seconds). You can either upload a video you’ve already made or record it straight from your phone. If you use your phone, you can use the Boomerang setting, which you can use to record 3-second, looping videos. If you have a video that’s too long for Instagram, try downloading the Hyperlapse app and using it to condense your video.
Another, more recent, video type comes from Instagram Reels. These are offered as a competitor to TikTok and they’re meant for content of 15-30 seconds in length. They show on their own Reels page, instead of with your other content.
Instagram Stories are a key feature of the app. Other platforms have introduced their own versions of Stories too, following the example from Instagram. They’re temporary posts that you share for 24 hours. People can find them by clicking your profile image, which will have a colorful ring around it when there are one or more Stories available.
You can create a story by tapping the camera icon, selecting Your Story, or swiping right to access your camera. The camera will default to the standard Normal mode, but you can choose from multiple Story types.
- Type – create a text post
- Music – choose a music clip to add to your image or video
- Live – go live to your audience
- Superzoom – add an animated zoom to a video
- Focus – focus on an object and blur the background
- Hands-Free – capture video without having to hold the record button
You can also use a range of filters on your Instagram Stories posts. You can add a poll to your post to encourage engagement, for example. Use the smile icon to add various text and features, add a link or even tag another Instagram profile.
It’s possible to preserve your Stories past the 24-hour time limit too. These are called Story Highlights and are posted to your Instagram profile (the small circles between the bio and the main posts). Highlights can be useful for making certain important information more prominent too, and lots of businesses use it for things like current promotions or contact information.
Instagram Live is a video option that you can use with your Stories. If you go live to your followers, they will get a notification and there will be a “live” banner under your profile image. Viewers can comment while you’re live, using the chat feature. The live feature is something that you will want to use sparingly, or may not even use at all. It’s good for exciting news or discussions.
If you want to make longer videos, IGTV is built for this. It’s designed for sharing long-form, vertical video from creators, which can be viewed on Instagram or the IGTV app. You can upload videos that are up to 10 minutes long, or up to an hour if your account is a verified one.
The Importance of Hashtags
Hashtags are an important tool for social media, although they matter more on some platforms than others. On Instagram, they’re excellent for helping people to find new content and new accounts to follow. Using hashtags on your posts makes them searchable and can help you to grow your reach.
However, you need to use the right hashtags and you need to use them appropriately. The first thing to remember is that your hashtags need to be relevant to your posts. Don’t add random hashtags just because they’re popular. With that in mind, you can find some useful hashtags to use, and you can sometimes even create your own.
There are different types of hashtags that you might see around Instagram. They can relate to certain products, niches, industries, or communities. They could also be seasonal or relate to holidays, or they could be location-based. There are also hashtags for the days of the week, various acronyms, and even hashtags with emojis.
You should do some research to find out what hashtags you should be using. Try looking at bloggers similar to you, especially those with lots of followers, to see which hashtags they’re using. One easy way to find hashtags is to type one into the search bar. You will then see a list of related hashtags and how many posts there are for those tags. This can be a handy way to get started. You can also find a range of tools on other websites to help you find the best hashtags.
How to Take Insta-Worthy Photos
Because Instagram is so visual, you really need to nail the quality of your visual content. It can take some practice and trial and error before you start making engaging photo and video content, but it’s easier than you might think it is. It’s helpful that you have lots of tools available, including different filters, so you can make changes to your content and offer content in a variety of formats.
There’s a lot that you can do with a filter, but first, you have to take a good photo (or video). You don’t need to be an expert photographer, but it’s definitely useful if you understand a bit about photo composition. It’s a useful skill to have as a blogger if you use your own images on your site.
Filters are very handy, so getting familiar with what’s available and when and how to use them is important. Not all filters are appropriate to use every time. One smart idea is to keep on top of which filters are popular for your niche or industry. You might notice certain filters being used by similar bloggers or other brands, and you can also do some research away from Instagram to make use of other resources that are staying on top of trends.
Make sure that your Instagram posts are designed with engagement in mind. From bringing in the right audience with hashtags to engaging them with polls and more, you can use Instagram to get known as a blogger.