Despite the fact that social media platforms are copying one another with their newest features, Instagram remains the most popular option. This is especially true for food bloggers, whom I personally love for mouth-watering photography alone. There are so many food blogger Instagram tips that would benefit any foodie creator, but during BlogHer Food, we zeroed in on the most important ones.
Dara Pollak, founder of The Skinny Pig, and Michelle Lam, founder of Bklynite Media, Inc., shared their expert advice during our #Foodstagram panel and left no stone unturned. Keep reading for their tips on everything from scheduling to hashtags to studying your audience.
If you’re a food influencer, presentation is everything and you don’t need a lot of money to level up. This is one of the first things Pollak looks out for as a consultant. “I try to find out if there are any holes in there, like if the branding is not consistent or the messaging is not consistent,” she said. “If their photos need work, that’s the first thing you’ll notice.”
If you haven’t already, familiarize yourself with photo and video apps to turn your photography into a masterpiece. Both Pollak and Lam highly recommend InShot, saying it’s worth the $2.99 splurge. Pollak also swears by Adobe Lightroom and Snapseed for editing, as well as ImgPlay for fun effects. Lam loves Creator Studio because you can lay out your content and schedule in a way that’s pleasing to the eye. Plus, it’s free!
Master Flexible Scheduling
Don’t post on the fly. Schedule and leave room for last-minute additions because they’re inevitable. “We do try to map out two weeks because we don’t know what’s gonna happen every single day,” said Lam. “It could be mapped out and then we forget it’s National Ice Cream Day and then we have to figure out how to incorporate that. We also have to be very flexible.”
Don’t Be Casual About Hashtags
According to Pollak, hashtags are worth it as long as you’re being strategic about how you use them. One of her favorite hashtag tools is the website Display Purposes, where you can search a term and the site gives you a list of relevant trending hashtags to try.
“Experiment. Sometimes I do 20 hashtags. Sometimes I do 10. They say you can put up to 30, but that doesn’t mean you have to,” she said. “There’s a combination of doing some broad ones and then some niche.” Also, mix your hashtags in a way that doesn’t leave you lost in the sauce. For instance, if you’re posting a photo of a cheeseburger and #cheeseburger turns up 20 million results, perhaps you want to try a more niche variation.
Relax With Reels
If the new home screen layout is any indication, Instagram really wants everyone to love Reels. It’s a fantastic marketing tactic for creators and the best part is you don’t have to be so buttoned-up about it.
“There are a lot of great features in Reels and you can be chill about it. It’s not perfect pictures, perfect video,” said Lam. ” It’s more like, let’s showcase our personalities.”
Keep a close eye on analytics if you want to boost your views, but ultimately, this is another area where you’ll want to experiment and try different things. Sometimes, it won’t perform right away. “I posted one a couple weeks ago that I thought absolutely nothing of and it just blew up,” added Pollak.
Study & Talk to Your Audience
When you’re a creator, communication is a two-way street. Though you’re giving your audience content, you should be just as invested in getting to know them. This is key to growing your follower count organically and ensuring their loyalty.
“I love to connect with communities and I think that’s the best way to represent your brand. You have to have followers who really love what you’re doing,” said Lam. “To grow your following, you really need to understand and the type of audience you want to connect with.” Of course, number-crunching helps, but so does good, old-fashioned conversation, too. “Like” comments. Respond to comments. Ask questions. Repeat.
Know Your Worth
If you’re a small business owner, perhaps social media management is a task you need to outsource. If that’s the case, be realistic about how much you can pay a consultant and be prepared to invest a significant amount. Right now, a lot of consultants, Pollak and Lam, have lowered their prices because of the pandemic but there isn’t one number to reference.
Ultimately, it depends on the expectations and the person’s experience. If you’re a consultant, here’s a quick and easy guide for determining your rates.
Mind Your Screen Time
“I never advise spending all day on social media. If it’s just you, a couple of hours a day is reasonable,” says Pollak. Need we say more? Everyone needs a break so don’t spend every waking hour scrolling and posting. Instagram will be there whenever you decide to sign back in.
Don’t Rush Greatness
If you want to grow your Instagram following organically, Pollak recommends changing the word “followers” to “community.”
“I rather have 200 people who really care about what I’m selling than 200K who don’t. Focus on creating a community and engage with people. That’s the most important thing you can do,” she said. “People want instant results and that’s part of the problem. You have to be patient. You have to be committed.”
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