We’ve told you before we really really love Instagram and we get a thrill seeing all your gorgeous tasty recipes every day, but how do you grow your Instagram following?
Sally shares her top tips…
The Internet is increasingly about pictures, and Instagram is one of our favourite ways to see great images from bloggers, brands, creatives and celebrities.
Instagram can be a fantastic way to build your brand as a blogger but how do you boost your follower numbers?
Here are 10 top tips based on what some of the smartest bloggers on Instagram are doing:
Post *YOUR* Pictures
It sounds obvious. People who read your blog want to read what you think. And people who follow you on Instagram want to see what you see. If your blog is about family games and country activities, an Instagram feed full of arty shots of windows and close-ups of flower petals won’t make sense. Don’t try and emulate anyone else when you’re on Instagram – the very best feeds are (we think) those that capture an individual perspective and personality.
That doesn’t mean it’s unedited reality – it’s about thinking about what your blog story is – and telling that story in pictures.
Mix it Up
You might love food, but that doesn’t mean your followers only want to see pictures of cakes. You might post fab photos of your kids, but a feed with the odd surprise will attract more followers. Bintu from Recipes from a Pantry posts fab photos of food…
Hashtags are often misused, but on Instagram they can be a useful way to tag photos and get them in front of more users. The most popular hashtag on Instagram is actually #nofilter – indicating things that haven’t been artificially improved before posting. But you could also consider hashtagging brands, locations or using one of the Instagram hashtags for daily and weekly memes. Using more than 10 hashtags on a photo looks a tad needy and is best avoided, while hashtagging a list of random words vaguely related to your post “Christmas” “Nice Day” “Crisps” is unlikely to attract new followers, even if someone did happen to be searching Instagram for photos of crisps. If you want to know what hashtags are trending right now, check out Webstagram.
Invent your own Hashtag
Rather than trying to be noticed on a hashtag that’s being used by thousands of other people, why not invent your own? These work especially well if it’s something you’re posting daily and inviting your friends and followers to do too – that way you’re likely to reach like-minded Instagram users who will be interested in your blog and content. Hashtags are also a great way to raise awareness of campaigns and competitions.
Connect Facebook and Twitter
If you log into Instagram on your desktop computer, you can easily link it to your Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, spreading your brilliance ever wider. While we’d never advise sharing every image in every place, some judicious sharing of images across your different social networks can be a useful way to bring in new followers who might not otherwise have realised you’re even on Instagram.
At the risk of being controversial (who, us?) running competitions and promotions on Instagram could help you reach new followers. That said, Instagram is currently a fairly non-commercial space and you might find some people react negatively if you start using the platform to promote brands and corporations. A nice way to strike the balance is to upload a custom image promoting a competition on your blog to Instagram – handily the custom image dimensions are the same as those for your Facebook page, so you can do the two-in-one. You know the sort of things your readers want to see – stick to THAT, and we don’t think you’ll go too far wrong.
Don’t post bad photos
Life is full of hard truths. And one of those hard truths is that lots of people take a lot of REALLY bad photos. We know from bitter experience there are countless Bad Things That Happen to Good Ingredients. Maybe it’s poorly lit. Maybe it’s just not tremendously interesting. It happens. And those photos may be precious to you, because as imperfect as they are, they capture a memory and a moment that you want to preserve. But you don’t need to put (all of) those photos on Instagram. Think of Instagram as being like the edited highlights reel of your life. Less is more.
Promote Pics on Blog
It’s all very well telling people you’re on Instagram, but showing them your Instagram is WAY more compelling. Use image widgets on your blog’s sidebar to display your latest Instagram photos automatically – there are lots available, that can put them into a gallery, a slideshow or any number of arrangements.
Comment and Like!
Instagram is a social network, and like any social networking activity, you get back what you put in. If you want likes and followers, then you need to follow people and like their photos. We’re not big fans of comment circles and faux-like-swapping arrangements, but in general if you’re interacting with people regularly, human curiosity will prompt people to come and look at your profile – and if they like it, they’ll follow!
Promote blog posts
You can make custom images to share on Instagram to promote your latest blog posts, but a more creative way can be to show blog posts “in progress”. So if you’re going to post a photo shoot on the blog later in the week, post a quick snap of you taking the photos on Monday; or buying the ingredients for your recipe that you’ll soon be sharing on the blog. It’s a quick and simple way for followers and fans of your blog to feel more involved in your story. Karen from Lavender and Lovage does exactly this, she takes beautiful photos of the finished ‘product’ but she also whets our appetite drawing us in to want to know ‘what next?’
A photo posted by Karen S Burns-Booth (@lavenderandlovage) on Jun 6, 2015 at 6:58am PDT
So there you have it – our top ten tips for getting more followers on Instagram. What are yours? And don’t forget to follow Foodies100 on Instagram.