With many social media platforms introducing new algorithms and policies to deter marketing and complicate direct access to target audiences for both bloggers and business owners alike, the search is on for creative ways to boost your online presence and grow your reach in new arenas.
Instagram is quickly turning into a powerful marketing platform that offers bloggers the unique opportunity to create visual draws that prompt reader response. There are a variety of strategies to use Instagram to boost your blog by harnessing the power of dynamic imagery.
Do I need two Instagram accounts?
Many bloggers hesitate to engage their audience on Instagram because it means a pivot away from their usual familiarity with the platform.
Originally created as an “instant” portal for life’s daily moments, many bloggers do not know how to use Instagram for their blog simply because their feeds have consisted of crazy kid moments, selfies, social outings and mealtime share fests up to this point.
To effectively use Instagram to boost your blog, you have to thoughtfully consider your audience.
If your blog is more family-oriented or details a personal journey that makes your daily insights relevant, perhaps your present account will dovetail quite nicely with just a few simple tweaks and adjustments.If your blog has a theme that departs from the minutia of your personal daily life, you may want to consider creating a second account that is entirely blog-focused.
If your blog has a theme that departs from the minutia of your personal daily life, you may want to consider creating a second account that is entirely blog-focused.
Security is another thoughtful decision when it comes to using Instagram to boost your blog. Many personal accounts were created to connect family and friends, near and far. Introducing potential “outsiders” to more private information may be a concern, particularly if children are involved.
A professionally focused Instagram account will allow you to continue to pepper friends and family with the latest and greatest, but protect your life from the public by keeping those updates to your personal profile.
A blog-focused account also allows friends and family to follow your professional endeavors by choice instead of being “forced” to digest blog content campaigns in order to see your life in motion.
If you do choose to have only one master Instagram account, be sure to do the following:
- Create a healthy balance between personal and professional sharing. Your readers do enjoy and find value in peeking into your life. Sharing personal tidbits and special moments can humanize your blog and foster organic growth and loyalty when your audience discovers new ways to relate.
- Choose personal posts that only relate (directly or indirectly) to your blog. For example, if you’re a food blogger, it makes sense to post your daily meals and grocery shopping shenanigans. But if you’re a small business blogger, posting your late night party photos won’t sit well with a professional audience expecting you to deliver trustworthy, sound business advice.
If you do choose to open another Instagram account specifically for your blog, be sure to do the following:
- Connect your professional profile to your Facebook business page and professional Twitter account. Use your resources to cross-pollinate relevant information and blog campaigns across multiple platforms simultaneously. Strong imagery carries weight on all three platforms, so spreading the reach is not only time-saving, but logical.
- Post regularly. Dedicating an Instagram account solely for professional use comes with the additional burden of sourcing consistent and relevant information. Without the “cushion” of day-to-day personal posts peppered in, it can feel overwhelming to produce quality content day in and day out. Schedule thoughtfully and prepare in advance, avoiding inactivity that will stifle growth and potentially frustrate followers.
Important note: Instagram now supports switching between multiple accounts. Read this post by Christian Karasiewicz to find out how.
Do I have to be a professional photographer?
You do not have to be a professional photographer to effectively use Instagram to boost your blog. Available free tools like Canva and PicMonkey can create high quality infographics, and an endless supply of mobile camera apps (PicTapGo, Picstitch, Instasize and more) offer creative new ways to edit and display Instagram-worthy content.
There are a few fundamental “must-haves” when it comes to dynamic visual content that triggers reader engagement to help build authority in the blogosphere.
- In focus. Blurry images have no place in the professional realm. Readers can feel devalued when bloggers don’t take the time to present the content they are seeking in a clear manner. Blurriness can inadvertently send a message of laziness and lack of follow through to your audience, which will never boost growth and may in fact, hamper it. All images must be clear and in focus. If your blog images are blurry, it’s time to toss and reshoot. The extra moments to deliver your message properly will be well worth the additional effort.
- Properly exposed. Similarly, images that are too dark (underexposed) or too bright (overexposed) can cause adverse reactions in your audience. Straining to distinguish details in a dark photo can be frustrating, and squinting to adjust to harsh, bright light can be a deterrent that prompts readers to immediately keep moving through the feed or click away.
- Simple design. Whether you’re posting infographics built from an online creative suite or sharing photographs, stick to the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep it Simple, Stupid), and make sure your images are captivating and focused. Remove irrelevant distractions and design complexities, making sure your content is delivered professionally and deliberately. Avoid difficult to read fonts and complex patterns that will muddy your message.
How do I get more followers?
When you make the decision to use Instagram to boost your blog, your approach on the platform shifts away from a personal chronicle of your comings and goings to a purposeful message directed towards a target audience.
Without the natural interest of friends and family to boost your follower count, you must take measures to properly communicate your message in a way that both attracts unique visitors and prompts them to hit the “follow” button.
While you use Instagram to boost your blog, your primary purpose is not to inflate your follower count. While it is important to consistently welcome new followers, your ultimate goal is to engage your audience so dynamically that they are compelled to visit your blog website.
- Engage, engage, engage. A general rule of thumb when posting to Instagram is “for every image you post, go comment and like three other images.” This simple routine can remind you to authentically interact with like-minded bloggers each and every time you promote your content. Engage with purposeful comments and deliberate tags designed to build trust and encourage reciprocal support.
- Collaborate. Connect with other bloggers to design shared campaigns that cross-promote the content and blog sites of everyone involved. Thoughtfully consider which bloggers within your target audience have well-established followings that will exponentially increase your opportunity to engage new readers when you work together towards a common goal.
- Hashtag home runs. Explore relevant hashtags in your arena. Identify strong tags that have high activity, interest and engagement and create a go-to list of hashtags to consistently use to propel your Instagram posts into closely monitored feeds. Keep hashtags short and logical. Avoid the overly comical, relatively useless hashtag monologue and instead focus your energies on developing a strategy for building your own hashtags while also hitting the popular hashtags created by like-minded peers.
What do I post to Instagram to promote my blog?
As you craft content to use Instagram to boost your blog, take a nod from sales professionals who effectively engage and convert new leads into thriving customers. Applying basic sales concepts and strategies to your Instagram posting can produce results that consistently drive traffic to your blog.
Research sales theory 101 online and consider how the art of the sale can be applied to your Instagram marketing.
- Advertiser campaigns. Connect with appropriate advertisers to run sponsored campaigns, product reviews and giveaway blog posts that can be showcased on Instagram to encourage your followers to seek more information on your blog. Explore options like Klout and Influenster.
- Blogger contests. Join up with like-minded bloggers to host seasonal contests designed to boost followers and send readers to the website to submit entries for a chance to win prize packages and other treats.
- Link ups. Highlight link ups on Instagram that encourage other bloggers to visit your website to link up and share their content in a collective effort to engage within the blogging community.
- Guest submissions. Post “casting calls” for guest bloggers on Instagram to develop new relationships and welcome creative content to your blog that entices new readers. Using Instagram as the starting point for campaigns that effectively promote your blog on other platforms is a great way to boost your blog and expand your reach.
Compel. Captivate. Connect.
When you use Instagram to boost your blog, keep the 3 C’s in mind.
Compel your followers to click on your images for more information.
Captivate them with dynamic imagery that keeps them engaged and seeking more.
Connect on a personal, but professional level to trigger reader response that drives traffic to your website consistently and authentically.
If you keep these three principles front and center, your Instagram account will serve as an important and effective tool that funnels new followers to your website time and time again.
Note: wondering how to turn your followers into customers? Check out this post to find out how.