Instagram can be a puzzle, and although it can take a while to adjust to the app and start sharing content that will compliment your blog and your account, it’s well worth it. Staying authentic and being individual whilst still trending and being popular is also a challenge, so this post is designed to give you a good idea of how to stay true to yourself and avoid becoming a spammy generic account, and still watch the following count and engagement rates skyrocket. If you’d like to follow me, find me at @confidenceandkisses 🙂 Comment your Instagram handle below for a follow!
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Starting out on Instagram and finding your way will take time, so don’t be disheartened if sometimes it feels as if there is little point. However, there are a few ways you can get around this and get a head start by growing your Instagram super fast – my guide to getting 1000 followers in only 30 days and with minimal effort can be accessed by clicking here, and it contains all the tips I used.
- Think of your own captions – don’t use generic ideas, and try to write at least a short sentence in the caption. This keeps the reader entertained and gives them something to respond to, meaning engagement rates increase and your posts see more comments.
- Write longer captions – it has been proven posts with longer captions also get higher engagement rates, so if you want a few extra likes, try typing out an extra paragraph.
- Use a range of hashtags – make sure they fit with your niche, but use a variety of hashtags so people across several niches can find and follow you.
- Always use relevant hashtags – again, very important! Pinterest and Google will give you a good idea of which hashtags to use, and reuse the same ones with different posts, rotating around. You should aim to use all 30, with 2-3 different niches included, all of them good quality and none spammy. You can read my post containing hundreds of high quality, useful hashtags for bloggers here.
- No spammy hashtags ‘likeforlike’ ‘likeforfollow’ ‘f4f’ – this makes you look like a bot, and Instagram might even freeze your account. Keep it real and use high-quality hashtags that will properly increase your following and bring interested new readers to your page.
- Try out new themes – this is important! Play around, experiment and see what works for you. Instagram is very visual so it’s vital your content is appealing, so make sure to try out several feed ideas and themes before sticking to just one.
- Try to use your own photography – again, using photography that you have taken means it is much more personal and you can use that to your advantage to connect with similar people and other bloggers. Stock photography is great, but it won’t allow you to connect with people who are sharing your content unless it is specifically good for your account. A camera or smartphone is perfect, and again, the internet is full of guides and tips for maximising your photographer potential.
- Make sure to define the purpose of your blog/socials – it’s important that people who are reading what you share know what you’re about. Do you have an account just to share photos and meet people or are you starting a blog? What are you blogging about? Make sure people know!
- Have several catchphrases, names or greetings that are individual to you and your blog – for example, ‘Aloha Sprinklerinos’ – yes, Sprinkle of Glitter (Louise Pentland) says that and yes, it’s quite important to establishing your own personal brand and letting your readers know who you are and what you’re about. It also gives them something that will instantly show it’s you and your account, which proves you are genuine and adds to the personality of the account.
- Ask questions – this should keep people interested and will generate high engagement rates, as fellow bloggers will hopefully comment and answer your question.
- Use things like Instagram stories – making use of stories and either promoting any companies or brands you partner with as a blogger (thus extending their reach) and will also give your followers more of a personal view, strengthening the bond between blogger and audience and allowing you to be unique.
- Make highlights on Instagram – so people can watch back whenever they please! This is definitely a quick way to keep collaborating opportunities open as bloggers or brands can rewatch your stories in Highlights and get a better sense of your account.
- Use a variety of styles, emojis, fonts and colours – but try to keep a feed established as this will allow people to recognise you from your photos and make an instant connection. However, by trying out styles and emojis, you can brighten up your page and become a little less generic when growing your account and writing captions or commenting on other photos. Try different things, be real, and always think of new and different things to say. People are attracted to visually appealing and colourful accounts, so it’s a winner.
- Focus on no more than 5 areas – if you’re always talking about different things and splitting your attention between 15 different things, people will get bored and unfollow. Stay focused on no more than 5 niches, so all your content is interesting and appealing to your audience.
- Share a range of photos – Post photos that reflect you and your blog, but also make sure to share outfit photos as well as travel shots if you write about fashion and travel. It’s always important to include a range of content, so people following you for certain aspects of your blog (such as travel) don’t unfollow and get bored after the twentieth fashion shot you share.
- Mention and support other bloggers – This is very important! Although it may seem pointless, supporting bloggers who do similar things to you will do great things. Make sure you’re following a range of accounts who specialise in the same things as you, and every so often, like and comment on posts similar to those you share. Scroll through your following list or look at the explore page for inspiration and more people to engage with!
- Stay active in the community – I don’t mean by spending hours online daily, but remember to pay a little attention to your blog and Instagram account never does any harm. Just a half hour can make a big difference – respond to emails, DMs, comments and do a little bit of liking too! By engaging with others, you’ll stay popular with people and should see increased engagement rates in return.
These tips should allow you to see some improvement in your Instagram engagement and follower count, but you should remember that followers aren’t everything; it’s best to have an account that successfully represents you and your brand, and followers are simply a number.
Working with Brands as an Instagram Influencer is something you may be interested in, and you can start super easily; just make sure your account has a minimum of around 800 followers, and these followers are engaged and in the target audience of both you and the brand you’re collaborating with. My guide gives you the details on being an Instagram influencer and, even better, includes influencing resources so you can easily find what you need to get started.