For a few months now I have been saying “the times be a changing folks” and it is time for us to pick up new skills and master new methods.
I was recently part of a discussion on a blogger group and the purpose of Instagram for bloggers. They wanted to know “how” they got traffic from it, and what to do to make it a great referral source.
So, I compiled a few bloggers Instagram tips to help get you started!
Instagram ISN’T a referral source for your Blog.
Yes, Instagram is considered a social platform, but unlike Pinterest, Facebook, and even Twitter, the objective is NOT to use it to redirect back to your blog as the “ultimate holy spot of everything”
Instagram is its OWN communication platform.
Much like HOW we can use the other social media platforms when we STOP broadcasting messages, Instagram is a visually-based platform used to inspire, create, and share. The biggest difference is that because we CAN’T just broadcast links in every post we have no choice but to JUST ENGAGE and share.
Instagram CAN benefit your “professional brand”
Yes, funnily enough, if we use this platform to engage and share, we will actually grow our community. People will get a taste of who we are, what we do, and have the opportunity to follow us on other places.
As well, if we use Instagram as a solo platform, for microblogging and image sharing, we can actually build a completely independent brand opportunity for ourselves, OUTSIDE OF OUR BLOG.
If you are just starting out using Instagram as a professional brand, try these simple things to get you going.
1. Update your bio. Ensure your Instagram “bio” is updated, clearly defining who you are, what you do, with a redirect back to your site.
2. “Theme” your brand. Define three of four key “themes” of your brand. What do you most regularly talk about. What interests you. What are your passions? Mine would (obviously) include “homesteading/chickens”, “Family” and “business/travel”
3. Find a visual style. Define your brand’s “visual theme” What style of images do you take (or want to take)? What filters suit your brand (pick 3 and stick to them)? What colours do you love and use most frequently?
Make this the basis for the visual theme for your Instagram feed. Ensure your images meet one or more of these standards each time you post.
(note: our Instagram feed shows 3 images in a row, so if you get SUPER creative you can actually THEME your visuals in groups of three to make a bigger impact. Try things and see what gives you the visual you want- 3 blue images, 3 green, 3 b&w. Or rotate your 3 filters so you have a consistent pattern visible)
4. Edit. Please. Edit. You (hopefully) wouldn’t post images to your blog or other platforms without editing, so treat Instagram the same. You don’t need to edit out the personality, or the “truth” but some light editing can really bring your brand to life. I suggest using VSCO to edit instagram pics before posting…it is my go-to mobile editing app.
5. Microblog. Use instagram as a platform to tell a story, just as you would your blog. Try to micro blog one image out of every 3 or 5, telling a story or journey related to the image to engage your followers and continue to develop your brand identity on the platform.
6. Use hashtags the right way. Don’t hashtag like a crazy person. Bury your hashtags after a vertical column of dots, or add them to the comments. Don’t be spammy, only choose relevant hashtags!
7. Make sure you engage. INSTAGRAM IS AN ENGAGEMENT PLATFORM, so for the love of all things holy, ENGAGE! Comment, like, regram (with permission) if that is your thing. Please do not just BROADCAST.
8. Be ALL of you. You have a chance to explore your brand a little bit on this new platform because it doesn’t actually HAVE to make sense to your blog. Find our who you really are and share that.
9. Build a community. Search popular hashtags under the search bar, find the ones that mean something to you and have a community. Make up new ones, be original, bold and daring.
10. Tell a story. Download high resolution images to your phone, run them through editing (in vsco) and then save them for uploading to instagram later. This can be great when used in relation to branded content or published narrative on your site. Post the images, tell a story in a new and unique way and let people know they can visit your site for the full meal deal if they want. (example here!)
At the end of it all, as a blogger do you NEED to be on Instagram? I would say as much as you need to be on youtube, and the sooner you find your feet and your followers on this new platform, the better for your business. But, don’t use it in the same way you use your blog, or your other social platforms or you will crash and burn.
Oh, and follow me on Instagram (of course!)