Last month, Katie and I stood up in front of a fairly packed room at Blog On MSI and talked about our love of Instagram and how we make it work for us. Since then we’ve had lots of lovely messages from people thanking us for our talk and even people sharing their success since putting some of our tips into practice. For those people who weren’t able to attend our talk I wanted to share our tips – the post got to be fairly long so I’ve split it into sections and will be publishing it as a series over the next couple of weeks.
I’ve been using Instagram for just over two years and I must admit that initially I dragged my heels. “I already spend far too much time on social media, why would I want to add another one” I proclaimed. The nail in the coffin for me was when Tots added instagram as a metric and I knew it would be foolish to ignore that. Fast forward two years and Instagram is basically my favourite social media platform. I love that I can dip in and out when I’ve got time – like a few pictures whilst I’m waiting for the kids to come out of school or lose hours browsing pretty feeds. I find inspiration for my home, my wardrobe, for places to go and sometimes I just have a good old natter with people about their day. Over time my Instagram has developed into an extension of my blog and it now often features as a specific part of collaborative contracts.
If you’re reading this then I’m assuming you probably already have an Instagram account and are looking for ways to make more of it.
When you first set up your instagram it’s worth spending some time getting your handle right and thinking about your bio. For the most part I would suggest trying to maintain the same handle across all your social media to make it easy for people to find you – I have completely failed at this myself as my twitter handle bears no resemblance to my blog whatsoever but it is from my pre-blogging days. With hindsight I should have set up a new account from the start. I spent quite a while trying to come up with the right Instagram handle and have Jen to thank for my @goingonanadventureblog (which I would love to use on Twitter as well but it’s just too long!)
Some people like to use a blog logo, others prefer a photograph of themselves. There is a school of thought which says a photograph works better on instagram as it is essentially such a visual platform in the first place and people want to see the person behind the account! I personally use a combination of the two (a photograph with my blog logo laid over it) and make sure that I use the same image across all my social media accounts to make it easily recognisable. Don’t forget that your Instagram profile picture will be a circle!
Consider what you want your bio to say about you, you don’t have much space to write and you do need to sell yourself – what are people going to get if they follow you?
You can only include one clickable link in your Instagram bio and mostly I use this just to post a straight link to my blog however after chatting with Katie I’ve started to change this occasionally. She explained that she sometimes drops a direct link to a blog post or youtube video which she has mentioned in an instagram caption and has noticed a significant difference in the amount of traffic from instagram. (You can’t post clickable links in the captions themselves) Previous to trying this my instagram didn’t really drive any traffic at all to my blog, however yesterday around 1/5th of the traffic to my latest post came direct from instagram.
Watch our for my Instagram Tips post on Building Your Following next Thursday.