This topic has come up so many times over the last few weeks, and I wanted to take a break from holiday posts and share some of my thoughts on this!
I spoke on a panel last week with a few other D.C. area female entrepreneurs, and I was the only blogger/social media gal on the panel. After the panel ended, I had quite a few up and coming bloggers ask me some questions about the industry. The number one question? How do I grow my Instagram?
As someone who’s blogged for five years, Instagram wasn’t really a big deal when I first launched. We were all still using those terrible filters on our photos, and we had no idea how on earth to curate a stunning feed. While I think that Instagram is a super crucial tool to a blogger, here’s why I don’t think you should throw all of your eggs into one basket — a true blogger should still pay attention to their website and other social platforms.
Instagram is a social media platform that you can’t control
Do you guys remember Myspace? When Facebook pages were the thing? Vine? Rest in peace to all of those platforms. The only platform you can fully control is your blog (and your email list, but that’s another story for another day). Instagram could be hacked and deleted tomorrow, or some other social media platform can come along and make IG irrelevant. While Instagram is a powerful tool, just remember that it’s not necessarily a permanent tool.
SEO > Instagram Search
Most of the event invites and sponsored campaign offers I receive are because of SEO: due to press mentions and my meta data, I’m one of the first bloggers to show up in a search for “D.C. bloggers.” Sure, I have been discovered on Instagram for a few fun campaigns and I am incredibly thankful for that, but the bulk of my opportunities have come because I’ve taken the time to work on my website’s SEO.
What the heck is SEO, you ask? It’s essentially how high your website ranks in search results on Google. I’m really not the best person to explain SEO best practices since it can get a little complicated, but I love this article here breaking down the basics. I also took a class at General Assembly DC last January that broke everything down, and I highly recommend it if you’re someone who learns better in a classroom!
Brands look at the entire picture
I do participate in a few campaigns that are Instagram only, but the bulk of my sponsored content requires a blog post and mentions on 4 different social platforms. If your Twitter has 70 followers and you’re only getting 100 pageviews a day, but your Instagram has 7,000 followers — welp, you’ve pretty much disqualified yourself from that campaign. You need to have well-rounded stats on every platform if you want to open yourself to better, higher-paying campaigns.
Consistency is key
If you’re a newer blogger, I don’t want to discourage you from growing your Instagram — it’s still a valuable tool and a great way to be discovered. However, if you want to take your blog to the next level, you need a consistent posting schedule. You don’t have to post 5 days a week, but even starting off with 2 solid posts a week will make your brand seem more legit, and open doors to more opportunities.
What should you focus on as a newer blogger?
This won’t work with every niche, but SEO, Instagram and Pinterest are the top three things you should focus on as a newer blogger. SEO will help your site be discovered easily, Instagram is a place where you can show off great curated content, and using Pinterest strategically will help drive traffic to your website. I still recommend being somewhat active on Facebook and Twitter as well, but starting off, putting an emphasis on those three platforms will make a world of difference.
Don’t cheat on Instagram
Guys…we can tell if you’re doing shady things to increase your following. Don’t be tempted to buy likes or followers and stop the whole follow/unfollow thing cause it’s bound to make people angry. Participating in loop giveaway is pretty much the same as buying your followers as well.
If you’re looking to grow, figure out what your ideal brand is — what’s your aestetic? I’ve branded myself as a happy girl on the go. I like bright colors and a cheerful feed: that’s the best reflection of my personality. Once you’ve branded yourself, make sure your photos and captions match your brand. You’re also going to need to engage with a bunch of people’s content: leave (thoughtful!) comments on pages you might not follow. Give folks a like.
I was in a few comment pods for a brief period of time, and I didn’t see a lot of growth. As much as comment pods seem like a great solution to beat the algorithm, I’d rather comment on people’s pages I don’t follow (and follow a few new pages myself!), and introduce new people to my content rather than commenting on the same ~14 blogger’s photos on a daily basis.
Do you have any Instagram tips for the next generation of bloggers?