Get An Instagram Strategy | Top 10 Tips For Bloggers
A Tough Platform To Grow On? You Need An Instagram Strategy
It’s true. Instagram is notorious for being a difficult platform to see real growth on. There has been a change to the algorithm, and it means it’s even harder to get your content seen. It used to be a chronological system, whereas now, Instagram shows you posts you’re likely to enjoy. It means that a lot of people’s photos get missed, and don’t get the likes and comments they deserve. The big question is this: how do you combat it? You need an Instagram strategy – and I’ve created the perfect one for you!
No matter what kind of blogger you are, you can use this strategy to see real growth on your blog. We will be aiming to increase your following, and get more likes and comments on any post that you share. There are a few tips and secrets which we will go into to make this a lot easier. I’m also going to share with you the things I think you should avoid doing if you want to have a better Instagram experience.
So, let’s get on with it shall we?!
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1. The Follow To Unfollow Culture
Unfortunately this is something that is happening across all different platforms. I don’t really understand the thought behind it to be honest. Who cares whether you’re following nearly as many people who follow you? Or if you’re following more? Does it really make any difference to anything?
Personally I think it’s rude and annoying to follow people, get them to follow you back, and then unfollow them as soon as you get the chance. It’s not fair, it’s pointless, and if you’re anything like me, then you’re simply going to unfollow them too! And that doesn’t get anyone anywhere!
I use an app called Followers Insight, which you can get from Google Play. It’s a free app that you connect to your Instagram account. It shows you who has recently followed, unfollowed and blocked your account. This means you can easily see who has unfollowed you and it gives you the link to go straight to their profile so that you can unfollow them yourself.
Personally, I hate the entire culture. I find that it’s mostly people with over 10k followers that are the worst for it, and I guess that’s how they’ve ended up with so many followers to begin with! I’m more concerned with growing real connections, supporting fellow bloggers who work hard and are dedicated to making the lives of their readers better. I’m not interested in following someone who thinks it’s okay to go around doing that for followers, and so I’m happy to remove myself from that situation.
It’s up to you how you deal with this situation, but if you ask me, you should unfollow them back and remove yourself from the situation. It’s not something you need as part of your Instagram strategy.
2. Theme Your Feed Or Not?
Whilst I have the utmost respect for people who have a beautifully themed Instagram feed, I can never get mine to work that way! Mostly because the things I like to share and photograph changes constantly. Plus, my business is multi-faceted and I have a lot of different things I want to share with my audience.
I do, however, try to edit my photos in the same way each time, to keep some similarity between the photos on my feed. Mostly, I post about business, blogging, and social media, because that’s what my blog is about! I also post a blogging tip of the day every Saturday, which I really enjoy doing!
I would say, if you’re really keen on having a themed Instagram, then go for it. Make sure you pick something you’re going to be excited and happy posting about on a daily basis and that you can achieve!
If you don’t want to have a specific theme, then I think that’s totally okay too. It’s entirely up to you, and as long as your pictures are high quality and showcase your talents, then that’s all that matters! Don’t get bogged down comparing yourself to others. It’s your Instagram and your business after all.
This is what my Instagram feed looks like. As you can see, it is a mishmash, with some method to the madness!
Hashtags are an absolutely vital part of growing your Insta profile. Without them, only people who already follow you would see your photos! They are the best way to get your photos out there and get them in front of people who are interested in the same things you are.
Hashtags basically get your content in front of people who look at that hashtag, or share photos using it. Focus on using a mixture of hashtags that are used a lot, i.e hundreds of thousands of times, and ones that have only been used a few thousand times.
This will help you show up in ones that are seen by lots of people, but you really have to stand out, and ones where you’re more likely to be seen, but by fewer people. It spreads it out and helps you reach more people who are likely to be interested in your content.
4. Regular Posting
I cannot stress enough how important regular posting is to your Instagram success. If you are posting once or twice a week, then you will never get that growth you want to see. I would advise posting 1-3 times per day and watch the difference it has on your engagement.
People like beautiful content, and if you’re posting twice a day, people are going to lap it up. It’s about gaining a regular posting schedule, so that people are excited to see what you’ve got to post today. And they will come to you! They will begin to expect that content, and once you start building hype, you’re already halfway there to a successful and growing account.
Try posting once a day for a week and see how you get on. Try and get in the habit of it and it will soon become second nature. But don’t stress yourself out. If you simply can’t take a photo that day for whatever reason, then don’t worry. Just make sure you’ve got one ready for tomorrow.
I would advise taking photos when the opportunity arises and then posting them at various times throughout the week. If you take 10 photos one day because the lighting is perfect and you’re full of inspiration – that’s amazing and it’s Monday-Friday DONE! It’s definitely worth factoring Instagram into your blogging schedule, to make sure that it’s prioritised.
5. Improve Your Photography
For obvious reasons, Instagram is solely focused on stunning photos. And you need to concentrate on improving your photography and learning how to take better, more complimentary photos. When I first started All In My Head, I literally had no experience of photography apart from taking less than perfect selfies. It wasn’t something I’d ever really needed to be any good at.
Since I started blogging, however, I’ve learnt just how important it is – for all your different platforms! Of course, I’ve got a long way to go, and I’m still using my phone to take photos! But I’m learning, and working on the ways in which I can bring my creativity to my Insta feed. So many people have such stunning feeds, and I envy every single one of them!
The better the photo, the more chance it’s got of pulling in the likes and comments. So start experimenting, and focus on ways to improve on your photography skills. Get involved with the seasonal trends. Don’t be afraid to put your own stamp on things!
For example this is the difference between my photography six months ago, and what it’s like now.
The first photo was taken when I had just started blogging way back in April. The second photo an autumnal-themed flat lay from 2017. As you can see, I’ve certainly improved since I first started! And I’m loving learning so much more about photography, how to set up the perfect shot, and how to edit them to keep them in line with my brand. All you can do is learn!
6. Join/Start Instagram Pods
I know – this might be a bit controversial to some people, and you might not agree with it. I get that, I really do. To be honest, I never really understood how it worked, and why they would be any good to me. But then I joined two, and they’ve really made a difference. I’m getting lots more likes and comments, and not just from girls inside the pods. I’m talking completely new people who never would have commented on my photos before!
Instagram pods are basically group chats, where you let each other know that you’ve posted a new photo on your profile. Everyone inside the pod then likes the photo, and leaves a genuine, positive comment. It’s a way to build on engagement, and get your photos seen my new people.
It helps that the girls in the pod start the conversation when it comes to getting more comments. And sometimes that’s all you need. People are more likely to comment on something if they’re not the first one. Mostly, people like to join in on things that are already being noticed, rather than start something themselves. It’s just the way people work!
The thing I love about the Insta pods I am in, is that everyone is really nice, genuine, and dedicated to their blogs. It’s not about creating fake engagement – it’s about helping each other and supporting each other’s work. We go out of our way to notice what each other is doing, and offer our thoughts. I love being part of the blogging community, and this is one small way to get more involved with other like-minded women that want the same things you do for their blog and their business.
Don’t forget – if you join a pod and don’t agree with their rules, attitudes or anything at all, you can simply leave and stop being involved. It’s not a compulsory thing, and you’re free to do what you want! Pods can be very useful if done in the right way, so don’t rule it out completely.
A Mini Update
As of January 2018, I am no longer involved with any of the Instagram pods. I’ve had so much going on, and whilst I really enjoyed being part of them, I just couldn’t keep up any longer. Rather than being a silent member of the group, I have since left them.
I concentrate solely on growing my Instagram account using all the other techniques mentioned within this post!
7. Engage With Others – Bloggers Or Not
Something that is really important to growing your profile is actually using it as it was meant to be used! It’s social media, so get out there and be social. Don’t be afraid to like and comment on strangers photos. If you really like what they’ve done, then please tell them!
People love receiving positive comments on their photos – a lot of the time it’s taken them time and effort to get that shot just right, and so it means a lot when someone lets them know they like it. I know I am always really happy when someone takes the time to comment on my photos!
Another important element is actually responding to people’s comments. If they’ve gone to the effort of leaving you a thoughtful comment, then ALWAYS respond. Take time in the evening to go through all your notifications and get back to everyone. Look at their profile and see whether you can provide a nice comment to one of their photos. This is the perfect opportunity to start building a community of people who like and follow you – and this will grow the more you do it!
Likes are easy, comments take time and effort. Comments are definitely worth more when it comes to engagement, so take the time to give and receive!
8. Update Your Bio
When someone clicks through onto your profile, your name, photo and bio are the first things they see. So make some small changes to make sure that you’re making an impact.
Use your own name – I’ve just got Laura AIMH so that people know who I am and where I’m from. Update your profile picture so that it matches all of your other social media profiles so that you’re recognisable no matter what platform your readers are on. And finally, write an awesome bio! Show off who you are and what you do, as concisely as you possibly can. Make sure it’s clear from the first moment what you do and what you offer.
You can also include a link in your Instagram bio. It’s a good idea to put a link to one of your freebies or a post where there are lots of opportunities to convert that reader into a subscriber! If people want more from you, then they’ll be interested in what you can offer – if you have a freebie that makes it worth them giving you their email address, then they’re likely to do it!
By doing all these things to your profile, you will encourage people to follow you. They want to follow someone new and exciting – someone who interests them in many ways! The aim is to show off the real you, and then you’ll never have to fake anything in your journey. Real people want to follow real people, not curated, shiny ideas of people!
This is what my profile looks like: it clearly shows who I am and what I do. As you can see, my profile photo is also the same as all my other accounts.
9. Use Other Social Media Platforms
A great way to grow your Instagram account is actually to use other social media platforms. Promote it on Twitter and Facebook – share your links and your photos. Get people to come across to Instagram and follow you. In my post about growing your Twitter following, I talked about joining in with tweets where you grow your profile. You can do the same thing on Twitter but sharing your Instagram links instead. You might have seen them on Twitter yourself; don’t be afraid to get involved!
There are lots of different ways to connect with people in the blogosphere, and you definitely have to step out of your comfort zone and engage with people. It can be a little intimidating to begin with, but there’s nothing to be afraid of.
All of the bloggers I have met through social media, and through All In My Head itself have been amazing, dedicated, and supportive people. Join in and you will quickly feel like one of the team! It will help you grow in so many ways as a blogger.
10. Have Fun With It!
Don’t forget that it’s supposed to be fun! It’s about sharing and connecting with other people who have the same passions and interests that you do. Focus on that – on creating a scrapbook of ideas that others will congregate to and want more of! If you love books and reading, then share your favourite novels. If you are addicted to makeup, show off your latest look or your perfect products.
Show the world what you love and the rest will come!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and have some inspiration that you can take and use on your own profile. Do you already use some of these tips? Do you have other things you do to improve your Instagram strategy? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
As always, if you have any questions, please get in touch.