How to Use Instagram and Make it Your Blog's Best Friend
If you read the blogging better series, you know that I am a H-U-G-E advocate of using social media to market your blog. I talk a lot about Facebook and Twitter, but it kind of begs the question: what about Instagram?
The truth about Instagram is that it is one of the fastest growing forms of social media, especially where blogging is concerned. It might seem counter-intuitive because you’re using photos instead of direct links, but Instagram is really a great space to grow your audience.
If you can take a photo with a phone, you can use Instagram. To help you get started – or to take your account to the next level -- here are a few best practices to follow. At least, follow these if you are looking to grow your audience.
1. Follow other bloggers in your niche: Understanding what’s trending within the niche you write about will help you to figure out what kind of photos you should start posting. Whether that means an outfit of the day for fashion bloggers, pictures of your kids doing wacky things if you’re a parenting blogger, or the latest meal you had at a hot new restaurant for a foodie blogger, this will give you some context and start the photo ideas flowing.
2. Play around with the settings: Learning to use the photo settings to turn an okay photo into a really cool photo is what will get you noticed. Keep in mind that not all of your photos are going to be great, there’s definitely a learning curve when it comes to using the app. But by figuring out how to adjust the settings on the photos – and finding some favorite filters for your photos – you’ll become a Instagram master in no time.
3. Check out popular hashtags – and use them: Hashtags are kind of a big deal with Instagram. They’re used a little more seriously on Instagram than they are on Twitter. When you’re checking out the feed of the other bloggers you follow, see what kinds of tags they’re using. Click on them and explore. Are you posting the same kind of photos? Use the same hashtags. It’ll start growing your audience instantly.
4. Go beyond 140 characters: Once you get used to using the network, you’ll start to notice that it’s not like Twitter – you’re not limited to 140 characters. Many people use Instagram as a sort of “mini-blog” – they really explain the photos that they use. Don’t be afraid to do this, it helps people engage with you and your photos.
5. Respond to comments: Get the conversation going – and don’t forget to add your hashtags! #awesome
6. Re-post to your other networks: I’m a total Instagram addict, so I don’t share every single photo that I post on Facebook. But I do copy it over to my Twitter account. It’s increased my engagement and my reach. I now connect with a lot of people from my Instagram account on Twitter, believe it or not. Hint: You can easily re-post to other networks when you’re making the photo live on the app. It’s an easy click – and you’re done.
Basically, what I’m saying is you should get your cute patootie on Instagram and start sharing your favorite photos right now.
It’s honestly my favorite social network – and I use a lot of my photos on my blog, too!
Have questions? Have your own tips for using Instagram? Add them in the comments section below!