It’s no secret that Instagram is a key part in blogging success. People are visual and Instagram is a great way to share your blog content, as well as bits and pieces of your everyday life. Instagram has always been our favorite social media platform, for obvious reasons. When we first started our Instagram account we used it to promote Twinspiration, and only Twinspiration. While it was a great way to share new content with our audience it was also narrowing our audience at the same time. Since we’ve expanded our horizons we’ve learned some great ways to build an Instagram audience and keep them engaged. Here are some tips!
1. Choose a look & feel
When we first started using Instagram to grow our business we just posted photos from our blog and didn’t really care how they photos fit together (which they didn’t, at all). We knew that we needed to have a standard look and feel that would help us build our brand. We’ve always admired bright and airy feeds, so we decided to emulate that type of look. We choose our filter, S2 by VSCO, and used it on every single photo that day forward. It can be restricting in the sense that some photos we might want to post won’t look good with S2 on it, but that just means we have to find another photo. Sometimes it’s disappointing but more often than not the photos work flawlessly. If you want to read more about how we edit our Instagram photos, check out this post.
We also use square photos 90% of the time, as a rule of thumb. Vertical photos work well on some occasions but you’ll rarely see us post a horizontal photo. This is just another way to define our brand.
Another thing that helped us create a curated feed was switching up the imagery. For example, you’ll never see us post two photo with human subjects right next to each other. We’ll mix it up with some flatlays, Los Angeles scenery, food pics, and sometimes even quotes. This helps to break up the feed and create more white space which is always ideal. White space never hurts.
2. Use analytics
When Instagram rolled out the business account function we jumped right on it. If you have a business account you are given analytics to help direct your content. Instagram will give you insight on ideal posting time, who your audience is, and which posts do best, and more. We’ve used all these things to create future content. For example, if a photo of donuts did really well, we’ll find another way to incorporate donuts in a future post.
3. Engage with your audience
This may sound obvious but it’s important to create real conversations with your audience. We’ve connected with so many other bloggers on Instagram and it’s awesome when they comment on one of our posts. These are bloggers we look up to so it’s great to have that community of support. It’s important to create a sense of community on your page. We like to prompt our audience with questions (ex. What are you up to this weekend?”) to get a conversation going and really get to know them. We’ll also go into popular hashtags and engage with other content creators. You need to seem like a real person and not just a series of photos!
4. Use relevant hashtags
Hashtags are a major part of finding success on Instagram. They allow you to connect with like-minded creators (see above), and find inspiration for your own feed. There are blogs like A Beautiful Mess & Glitter Guide that have created their own hashtags for others to use. We love using these so-called “blogger” hashtags because we know that the content will be relevant and so will the audience. We use a list of hashtags on every photo we post and it significantly helps get our photo in front of more eyes. We also learned a little trick, if you place 5 periods above the hashtags it pushes them down so they’re not as much of an eye sore.
Also, this should go without saying but use RELEVANT hashtags only. Don’t use #food if you’re posting a photo of plant. These hashtags work because they are used properly.
See the below graphic for useful hashtags!
5. Don’t overdo it
Instagram at it’s core is a fun platform to share photos from your life, so don’t let anything get in the way of that. If you’re so focused on growing your audience you might lose sight of who you are and guess what? so will they. So just be yourself! And be patient. No one really knows the key to overnight success. So enjoy creating your brand and don’t overthink it. You also don’t want to be posting constantly just because you think that’s the way to reach more people. You don’t want to spam your audience. So just concentrate on quality, not quantity.
We really hope this post helps you brand your Instagram and continue to grow!
xx, Britta & Carli