Instagram isn’t given enough credit for bloggers.But if you have the time, it can be a terrific tool to grow your blog.
First, the basics:
Use an engaging photo of yourself as your bio picture. If you want to use your brand logo that is a good idea too. Though, through my research, I have found a personalized picture is more likely to grab an audience. People don’t want to feel as if they are following a business, especially if you do not follow them back.
Include your blog address in your bio. This is very important!
Also in your bio, include succinctly what you want to convey.
What is your blog about? Write down the important aspects of it (travel blogger, fashionista, foodie). Own a storefront? Sell online? There is only 160 characters allowed – make them count!
How to get followers:
Doing the above correctly will bring in some.
Following others in your niche is a good start. Just know, if you follow someone with 200K followers that follow only 700 people, you’ll likely not get you a follow back. Aim for users with comparable following to follower ratios.
Make sure you include your Instagram URL on your Facebook page.
• Place an Instagram link on your on your blog and if you can, add an Instagram feed in a widget.
• Post frequently, but not 50 pictures a day. You do not want to overload your followers feed or get banned.
• Use hashtags on every single picture! I cannot stress this enough. This will bring the right folks to your feed. When I began with Instagram years ago I never bothered with hashtags. My pictures got some likes, but not many. I always add then now. Recently, I went and added them to some of my older pictures and suddenly a picture with 21 likes had within days 300 or more likes!
Is there a story behind the picture? You can include the story, or bits of the story and include a link to your blog with the rest of your story.
• Use Facebook groups like the ones listed here to find follow for follow threads.
• Use your main Facebook page to ask friends and family to follow you.
• Use your new Facebook blog-related page to ask for followers. It can’t hurt to ask!
Also, make sure you include your Instagram URL on your Facebook blog-related page.
A wonderful way to plug your blog is to create a 500 x 500 px image to put on Instagram. Include the title of your post and your main blog address on an overlay of picture used in that post. If you have included a link to your post in the description folks will know how to get to the post if it intrigues them. I use Photoshop, but many people I know prefer Canva for making these.
Besides the Facebook groups here are a few more to use to boost your Instagram
The Instagram Pod
Both of these groups post threads such as Insta-Comment, Insta-Likes, Insta-Follow, etc. If you leave you link you are required to participate 100%. If you put your Instagram link in a thread, you must like every link in the thread. Just as everyone else who leaves a link is supposed to like yours. The moderators of these groups are very good about checking to make sure all participate 100%. And, if you are found to have left a link and not reciprocated you will either be excluded from joining a thread for short period of time, be called-out for your action, or be banned from the group.
Here is an example from The Instagram Pod:
“Instagram Like Thread
Please finish links by 3pm central tomorrow.
Please read. You will be banned for not following rules.
*Post a DIRECT link to your Instagram post.
Thread closes at 100 links or by 10pm central whichever comes first
*You may post more than one link if you have more than one page but you MUST reciprocate from EACH page.
*Reciprocate ALL links. Do not pick and choose you must like EVERY Instagram post in the thread.
*Please no nudity, drug paraphernalia, bigotry, etc your post must follow Instagram user guidelines.
*Like the main post once the thread is CLOSED and you have finished. Do not comment “liked” or “done” anywhere on this thread. Makes thread messy and is pointless. Like their comment instead to keep track of your place.”
This is fairly similar to Instagram Fabulous threads. That is why I like these two groups. If I am going to go through the time of participated fully, I expect others to do the same. I appreciate the moderators ensuring fairness.
I will reiterate again the use of hashtags here… if you use them correctly you will not have to use groups like this unless you are seeking thousands of likes per picture. I know people who hire Virtual Assistants to spend all day participating in groups like this. One woman gets over 3000 likes a day thanks to her VA (and that is just on Instagram and only in the like department!). I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the time to do that kind of work for myself nor the money to pay someone to do it for me. My advise would be to join a few groups. Participate on one or two threads and then gauge how much time you can devote to this activity. It can actually be fun.
Organic vs Non-Organic
One woman I corresponded with told me that one way she increased her followers by thousands was by installing follower apps on her daughters’ phones and have them earn her points with which to buy followers. She told the story with great self-depreciating humor at how her daughters’ would roll their eyes at her when she told them to this during every commercial break or as a reward for an extra treat before bed.
Another option is to purchase followers with real money. Don’t Do It! Both will certainly increase your numbers, but does nothing for your brand at all. If your brand revolves around parenting young children you could wind up with some questionable followers. The other downside is that most people eventually do a clean up and will not recognize you or relate to your niche. Then, some, most, or all will unfollow you and that time and effort buying the followers, with app coins or with real cash, are lost.
Both of these methods can also get you in “Instagram Jail.” Instagram is a Facebook owned company and Instagrams’ jail is similar to Facebook Jail. Both platforms have rules as to how much action you may take in any given day, or hour! Break these rules and you will be banned from using either that feature you over-used (ie: liking pictures) or the platform all-together for 24 hours up to 30 days, and in rare cases banned from using the platform at all. This punishment prevents you from actually growing your blog or brand!
An organic option suggested by another person I spoke to was to set a goal of following up to 300 new people every day in the hopes of gaining 10 to 50 a day. After a few months, she did a clean-up of people she had followed. In the end, she unfollowed most of the people she’d followed as they did not follow her back. But, she did gain some true followers. If you have the time to set about following that many a day it’s a decent plan. Pick users in your niche and some are bound the like your stuff as well.
There is also the plan of going to very popular profiles in your niche(s) and following their followers. Again, it is time-consuming and not something I have tried, but many people swear by this method.
Using Facebook groups is also considered an organic method. There are some people that will click your Instagram link and actually really like it. Even if it is an “Instagram Likes” thread, they may engage with comments or even a follow because of the quality of the content.
Likes of picture you post go the same way as followers. It takes time. Use of hashtags, good images with variety, and short blurb of information on each picture will bring in the numbers faster than any non-organic way – buying them with coins your children earn
The hardest part is being patient. There will be days when you’ll gain only a few followers. And then some days will bring you many.
Now go and utilize the power of instagram