Thursday, January 15, 2015

How To Grow Your Blog On Instagram


How To Grow Your Blog On Instagram

Some of you have been asking me how I promote and grow my blog. To best answer these questions, and since my past blogger tips posts were so popular, I've decided to start a series on promotion and marketing across the social media platforms I use most: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. This post will be centered on my top social media addiction: Instagram!

I was always the one taking pictures. Before the blog, before facebook, and even before myspace, I always wanted to document everything from big events to tiny moments. This is probably why Instagram was my first social media obsession - It's all about the pictures! While Pinterest is also focused on images, I find Insta to be much more intuitive and easier to engage with others. Pinterest is a link-heavy platform, but on Instagram it's literally focused on just the images themselves, rather than an image just for the sake of a link to click through.

That said, you can very well grow your blog and readership through Instagram! Below, I outline my top tips on doing so.

How To Grow Your Blog On Instagram

1. Engagement: Shout Outs, Linkups & Giveaways

(Edit: After learning more about Instagram, these shout outs and giveaways aren't great for your engagement in the long run. They're good for gaining hundreds to 1,000 followers quickly, but after the giveaway is over many will unfollow. Those that do stay may not be interested or engaging in what you're posting, which is no good! It's better to gain followers organically. Read the advanced tips below on how to do so.)

There are a ton of different ways to connect with other bloggers and Instagrammers that are mutually beneficial for everyone involved. One way is with a shout out, where someone tags you in their post and recommends for their readers to follow you. Of course, you do the same for them in return. 

Similarly, you can team up with others to host a big giveaway, where readers must follow all of you in the hopes of winning a gift card or something equally drool-worthy. 


Giveaway closed! 🎉Our winner is @thepalettemuse! Please send me your contact information ASAP🎉 Thank you to all who participated! What would you do with your very own Gold iPad Mini? To celebrate the long weekend, I’ve teamed up with some amazing ladies to bring you this #giveaway for a chance to win a Gold iPad Mini! To enter, simply follow the steps below: 1⃣ Follow me @chowdownusa all other hosts of the giveaway. All entries will be verified! 2⃣ Like this photo (so we know you’ve entered). 3⃣ Tap the photo to see where to go next. Once you get back here, you’ve completed the loop! 4⃣ Optional: Tag 2 friends who would love to win this for an extra entry! This giveaway will run until 5/26/15 at 3pm EST. A winner will be announced on this post by 5/28. Good luck to all entrants! RULES: All entrants must make their account public for the duration of the giveaway in order for us to verify entries. The winner will be decided at random and will have 24 hours to claim their prize after being tagged in this post. DISCLAIMER: This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or affiliated with Instagram, Inc., or Apple. By entering, entrants confirm that they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of all responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use.
A photo posted by Food & Fashion Blogger 👠🍰 (@chowdownusa) on

Finally, linkups are where you agree to post on a similar topic (i.e., winter dresses), and you all link to each other. All of these tactics allow you to gain exposure to each other's follower base, which is a great way to gain new followers and promote your blog. 

2. Engagement: Hashtags

Hashtags for days! I have no hashtag shame. Tags allow others to find your picture. If they're looking for #cats, and you have this tag in your picture, they will see it as long as not too much time has passed since you added the tag. Instagram allows you to use up to 30 tags in each image, so I say why not use them all. Some people frown on this, but if it works I say why not! 

There are plenty of blogger tags like #lbloggers, #fbloggers, #bbloggers, and even location-specific tags such as #NYCbloggers. These location tags can allow you to find bloggers in your area and make friends! 

Do some research to find out what hashtags best fit your blog. Type in #coffee, for instance, and click through some of the images that come up. See what other hashtags are being used in pictures that use #coffee - probably things like #mondays, #caffeine & #starbucks. This is how one hashtag can lead you to many more.

3. Engagement: Likes & Follows

It's really important to utilize Instagram's advantage of super simple engagement features. Search for hashtags that you regularly use, in order to find others with similar content as you. If you like their gallery, let them know! "Like" a few of their pictures, comment on one, and follow them if you feel inspired. This will most likely bring them to check out your gallery and return the favor if they like what they see!

4. Content: Inspiration

Be sure to follow some of the hugely popular Instagram accounts in your area for inspiration. A simple google search for "top fashion/food/beauty/etc. accounts on Instagram" should do the trick. This is the bar to reach for when you put your gallery together. You don't need to copy their images but seeing that level of quality is what you're going for. You can also use these accounts to find like-minded users in the comment section of their images. 

5. Content: Quality Over Quantity 

You should only be posting top-quality content; don't upload a mediocre picture just because you want to put something out there. Your followers would rather wait a little longer for an amazing picture. 

Also, potential followers come to your page and quickly scroll through your recent pictures. You want to have a consistent gallery of quality images, rather than some good ones among some not-so-good ones. My instagram gallery as of today is below. You can see how scrolling through those you get a sense of my photography style: I like to use bright lighting and bold colors. Other bloggers prefer a black and white theme. Discover a theme you enjoy most, and stick with that- just make sure all your images have a consistent level of quality.


how to grow your blog on instagram


That said, I would shoot to publish a post around 1-2 times per day if your schedule permits. You want to be giving out quality content to you readers on a consistent basis, but not so often that it feels spammy. Play around with posting at different times of day to see what gets you the most interaction.

6. Content: Captions

A witty caption can make a difference between a good post and an amazing post. Try to mix it up with a quote or song lyrics every now and then! You can also engage your followers with a related question, such as "which of these breakfast sandos would you have ordered??" to get the discussion started.

7. Content: Types

Not all posts have to be the same. Every now and then you can shake things up with a motivational quote, food, beauty, pets, or any other type of post you think your followers will enjoy. Many bloggers will have a set schedule such as quotes on Mondays, food on Fridays, and so on to keep it consistent.

I see so many pictures on Instagram that are laid out well and have interesting content, but are placed in dim, low-quality lighting. Lighting will make or break a picture! You want bright, natural light for the best results.

9. Images: Editing

There are some amazing editing apps out there (I like to use VSCOCAM & Snapseed), which will brighten, sharpen and bring out the best in your images. I'll be putting out a post on photography and editing apps soon, so stay tuned!

10. Promotion: Social Media & Blog

Promote your Instagram account on your other social media platforms and your blog to gain more exposure. Twitter chats are great for this at the end of the hour - just be sure not to promote in the middle of the chat. You can even publish blog posts highlighting your week on Instagram to bring focus to your account, as well as hosting your very own giveaway to those who follow your account.

And there you have my top 10 tips for growing your blog on Insta! Of course, be sure that you describe your blog in your profile and add your URL. This way, followers can easily translate into blog readers!

Don't forget to check out my food & fashion Instagram account!

Advanced Instagram Tips:
For more tips on engaging users and gaining followers quickly (without buying any!!) be sure to check out the Instagram Revealed Guides (affiliate link). These helped me get unstuck when I was stagnant at around 3,000 followers, and now just a couple months later I'm at 8,700! I honestly learned so much from these guides, they've uncovered the underlying algorithms to Instagram which gives you a great strategy to include in your routine!






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86 comments

  1. Awesome tips!

    http://girlandthepolkadot.blogspot.com/

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  2. Love your tips! they're really direct and I think really usefull!

    xx

    Curvybird.blogspot.nl

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  3. Love this girl!! That's one of my blog goals this year to get up in the thousands for followers - with these tips I'm sure it will grow!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  4. oh I have none, I need to learn from you! Beautiful blog! Thank you for visiting me!

    www.yayinteriors.co.uk

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  5. Instagram is definitely my favourite social media of all time, but I don't really use it for my blog as such. I have a personal and a spam account, and the spam account is the public one with my blog link in it, even though it's mainly not about my blog.. But your tips sound spot on! The content part especially. I mainly just follow as many people as possible and get follows back on my spam account :')

    -M
    The Life of Little
    Me

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  6. These are all really great tips! I need to utilize a lot of these. Thank you for sharing! I always look forward to seeing your photos in my feed :)

    xx

    Jenny // Mish Mosh Makeup

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  7. love this! I totally agree! - cesca http://withlovecesca.tumblr.com/

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  8. This is great! Always looking for more ways to build my instagram followers. Thank youuu xx

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  9. I just created an account solely for my blog so these tips are perfect for helping me get started!

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  10. lovely post! i am really liking instagram at the moment

    from helen at thelovecatsinc.com

    ps. there's a £60 skincare giveaway on my blog if you fancy it, click here!

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  11. Thanks so much, I'm glad you find them helpful!

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  12. Aw I'm sure you will for sure! That's a great blogging goal :)

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  13. Thank you! So glad you found it useful.

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  14. Thanks girl! There's so many tips for instagram it was hard pinning them down!

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  15. Hahah that definitely works as long as your content is on point! Thanks for sharing! :)

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  16. Aw thanks so much Jenny! I love your photos too! :)

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  17. Oh nice! I learned from trial and error, so you should have a great start with these! :)

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  18. I'm awful at keeping up with my instagram. I love scrolling through it and looking at pictures, but I always seem to forget to post pictures myself! One of my blogging goals for the new year is to actually use Instagram more- I will be referencing these tips for the future, thank you!

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  19. I love searching hashtags. Even if it's something simple like "cheeseburgers." It really helps you connect with people.
    www.accordingtokiki123.blogspot.com

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  20. Yes, I needed this! I've always struggled with Instagram for my blog because I never knew what to post or how to even start building a following. Is it weird that I look at my feed and see how the picture would look before I post it? xD I'm not sure if I have any kind of theme going, as I only have like 7 posts, but I really like how a fade looks on a picture. (:

    I absolutely hate how hashtags look under a picture, but I agree that it's a really great way to get people to see your posts and share your content with people who like similar content. So, to make myself feel better I usually throw in a weird or funny hashtag in there and see if anyone notices. (-;

    But how do you prefer to add hashtags: in the caption or in a comment? Does it make a difference? Great tips Chelsea!

    Lots of Love,
    Manpreet || Simply-M

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  21. This is AWESOME!! I have been wondering lately how to increase my followers on Insta and how to gain more readers. Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips! :)


    Shauna


    www.lipglossandlace.net

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  22. Great tips- I really need to start using Instagram (and all social media) much more!!

    lovejoanna.com

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  23. Awesome tips, thank you for the useful information!

    Happy Friday my dear!

    Tanya

    www.stripesnvibes.com

    BlogLovin

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  24. I think this post is one of the best written tips on how to grow through Instagram. I wish I can go hashtag crazy but frankly I have almost no idea what to hashtag most of my pictures. LOL! And finally followed you on Bloglovin and Instagram so I won't miss another post from you, no idea why I didn't do it earlier.

    Wishing you a marvellous weekend! xx

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

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  25. Good post. I agree with most of what you said.

    Instagram is hard work when you want to engage with other users, but it's fun indeed.

    Shall we follow each other on IG? I'd love ti :)

    Lu | www.balgarka.co.uk

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  26. Nice blogpost!

    http://www.MartasFashionDiary.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/martasfashiondiary

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  27. Jessica (What To Style)January 16, 2015 at 1:17 PM

    Awesome and useful tips! Beautiful pictures, by the way! =)

    NEW POST on http://whattostyle.blogspot.com/

    Instagram | Twitter | Bloglovin

    xoxo,
    Jessica

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  28. I really like this! I need to start using my instagram account more but I always feel weird posting a picture a day! But I think I might start aiming for around 3 a week until I know I have the time to do one a day! :)

    Lauren :)

    http://journeytothecentreofnewexperiences.blogspot.co.uk

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  29. Great tips! Love Instagram and this is helpful:)

    http://interiorsweet.com

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  30. What a great post. interesting tips. xx

    http://ninasstyleblog.blogspot.com

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  31. Some brilliant tips - I've never really thought much about using Instagram to promote my blog! :)


    http://www.thatjessebloke.co.uk

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  32. These are great tips - I do use Instagram but don't find it drives much blog traffic :( xx

    Magpie Jasmine || Palette Giveaway: Urban Decay, Nars, Charlotte Tilbury, Too Faced

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  33. Thanks for the tips! I don't really use instagram to promote my blog, but it seems like it has a lot of potential :)

    Mili

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  34. Great tips! Thanks for sharing these, I haven't been utilising Instagram nearly enough obviously!
    Amber
    http://www.sweetwordsprettypictures.com

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  35. Great tips! I like to say mine would be great photo. Good filter brings more likes! Holla if you want mutual following :) xo


    Angelus | angelus-officially.blogspot.com

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  36. These tips are so helpful! I think I'm finally finding a little "theme" for my account and am enjoying posting on there :) some days I have more to post while other days I have no idea what to share so I just skip that day. Like you, best to wait when you have a nice, quality photo to share😊

    Jessica
    the.pyreflies.org

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  37. I am TERRIBLE at Instagram.. seriously, when I look at my profile and my past posts, I wouldn't even want to follow myself...

    Arianne

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  38. These are some great tips :)

    I've not really got the hang of Instagram yet but your tips will help me loads so thank you for sharing!

    Helen

    www.jumblebug.co.uk

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  39. I should probably sign up to instagram . xox

    http://www.rainbowsandunicornsblog.co.uk/

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  40. This post was very helpful, thank you!

    Obsessed Fashion Blog

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  41. Thanks fur the tips. I'm (almost) brand new to blogging & just set up my insta so it's so great to have an idea of what to do & we hat to avoid!!
    Alexis

    www.southendstyle.wordpress.com
    insta: southendstyle

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  42. Lovely post, thank you mdear! Will try and put some of these into practise :) :) need to up my instagram game! I always envy people that have such beautifully themed instagrams too!

    Kayleigh xoxo

    www.veryberrycosmo.co.uk

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  43. This is a really handy post, love the tips definitely some i could do more of! x


    heldtogetherbypins.blogspot.com

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  44. Glad you found them helpful! I definitely think it's beneficial to have an instagram for your readers to follow :)

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  45. So true! Hashtags are like the google search of Instagram hahah

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  46. Aw thanks so much that means a lot! I'm glad to help :)

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  47. I definitely would put the majority of your hashtags in an Instagram comment, rather than caption. That way, you can delete them after an hour or so (you would have gotten the most use out of them by then anyway)!

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  48. Omg thanks Shireen you're always so sweet! I would say to start with one hashtag, search it, and see what other tags come up with that one!

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  49. Thank you Lubka! It is fun :) Following you on Insta now!

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  50. Oh good!! So glad they're helpful :)

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  51. Thanks Lauren! I would say to go at your own pace, but if you can make a goal to post 1x/day it helps in your reader retention for sure! :)

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  52. Thanks Jesse! It definitely helps keep you on the mind of your readers

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  53. Thanks Magpie! I know it's tricky, but it definitely keeps you relevant in the minds of your followers!

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  54. Thanks Mili! it definitely keeps you relevant in the minds of your followers!

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  55. Thanks Amber! It's something that takes time for sure.

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  56. Thanks Jeanette! So glad it's useful :)

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  57. Exactly! Excited to see your theme emerge! :)

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  58. That's okay! No time like the present to start fresh. If you post at least 1x/day, those other photos will get pushed back anyway

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  59. That's the most tricky part I think!

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  60. Thanks Helen, so glad you found them useful!

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  61. Welcome to blogging then! Just followed you on Insta, looks great so far!

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  62. Thanks Kayleigh! Glad you found it useful :)

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  63. Thanks Paige! Glad you found them helpful :)

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  64. Thanks Paige! Glad they're helpful!

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  65. I love Instagram. It's one of my favourite social media sites too!
    Ting | The Ting Thing

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  66. the hashtags really help me a lot but I find that it is more for likes on the photo then followers on instagram and blog.. it is a daily find but, at the end, it is well worth it xx

    Rock Me Fabulous Blog

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  67. I liked this post so much I featured it in my link round-up this week :)

    COOCOO FOR COCO

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