Getting Started on Instagram

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.

We're going on an adventure - Instagram feed

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.

I think this might be one of my most favourite Amy photos ever ❤️❤️❤️❤️

A photo posted by Colette B (@goingonanadventureblog) on

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!)

goingonanadventureblog instagram profile

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.

You can find Katie here: Blog: MummyDaddyMe / Instagram: @MummyDaddyMe / Twitter: @MummyDaddyMe

Getting started on Instagram


  1. October 20, 2016 / 11:00 pm

    I’ll look forward to the next instalment, thanks. Mich x

  2. Hannah
    October 20, 2016 / 11:01 pm

    Brilliant tips, and a reminder that I really need to look at my bio… I am looking forward to editing my link to see if it drives any extra traffic to my blog, I am looking forward to your next Instagram post too, thanks x

    • Colette
      October 21, 2016 / 8:42 am

      Thanks Hannah! Let me know how you get on!

  3. October 20, 2016 / 11:04 pm

    I need to save this and go over it – I really lack skills on many social media channels, as I worry to much about how I might come across. x

    • Colette
      October 21, 2016 / 8:41 am

      Thanks so much x

  4. October 20, 2016 / 11:19 pm

    I have never posted links unless people have asked, but it makes total sense that people especially who’ve shown an interest in something might want to see more 🙂

    • Colette
      October 21, 2016 / 8:39 am

      I really just hadn’t thought about it till Katie mentioned it – she’d only just started doing it herself and had noticed a significant impact. I think if you just do it occasionally rather than for every post it can be really effective.

  5. October 21, 2016 / 4:09 am

    Ah I’m so pleased that you’re going to be sharing yours and Katie’s presentation tips. I was so gutted to miss it as I couldn’t make it to Blog On but I heard so many people saying how much they enjoyed your talk. Thank you for sharing your tips- can’t wait to read more! Amelia x

    • Colette
      October 21, 2016 / 8:37 am

      Thanks so much Amelia, I hope you find the series useful x

  6. October 21, 2016 / 6:29 am

    I have also heard about putting a link in the profile helps drive traffic but not seen it myself so will try this instead and see.

    • Colette
      October 21, 2016 / 8:37 am

      I think if it’s relevant to the picture you’ve posted and you do it fairly subtly it’s pretty effective. In my experience people don’t like things forced on them on Instagram so screenshots of your latest post won’t work as well as a photo from it with a little snippet of what it’s about if that makes sense? I’ve really noticed a big difference with the most recent one I tried it with.

    • Colette
      October 21, 2016 / 8:37 am

      I think if it’s relevant to the picture you’ve posted and you do it fairly subtly it’s pretty effective. In my experience people don’t like things forced on them on Instagram so screenshots of your latest post won’t work as well as a photo from it with a little snippet of what it’s about if that makes sense? I’ve really noticed a big difference with the most recent one I tried it with.

  7. October 21, 2016 / 6:54 am

    Thank you for this- I’m looking forward to the next instalment!

  8. October 21, 2016 / 7:52 am

    Thanks for the great advice, I did hear your talk at Blogon, it was great. Your tips have helped me so much!

    • Colette
      October 21, 2016 / 8:35 am

      That’s great news Amanda, I’m so pleased! We were both really nervous.

  9. Yvonne
    October 21, 2016 / 10:36 am

    Great series, I am looking forward to reading the other posts – thanks so much for sharing. I love Instagram but never sure if I am doing it right! x

  10. October 21, 2016 / 11:23 am

    Fab! Really keen on reading these tips, I missed Blog on and this looked like a great session 🙂

  11. October 21, 2016 / 12:15 pm

    Great tip about changing the clickable link. I’m going to give that a whirl!

  12. October 21, 2016 / 12:35 pm

    Instagram is my most favourite platform and my biggest social media following. I could spend hours and hours on it. I love the tip of putting a direct blog link and will trying that out 🙂

  13. October 21, 2016 / 2:55 pm

    I didn’t make it to Blogon so will try to follow this series. I’m particularly keen to read the next instalment. Handy stuff!

  14. October 21, 2016 / 5:25 pm

    I LOVE Instagram, I prefer it over all the social media accounts and now even my dog has his own Instagram account!! I use it to upload my project 365 pictures to it, but sometimes looks messy due to that, but I am really pulled in trying to smarten it up but also keep posting my daily photos. So instead of dropping my daily photos, I am going to try harder at capturing nicer daily photos that mean something too.

  15. October 21, 2016 / 8:20 pm

    I find changing the link a pain in the backside, so don’t bother after trying it for a bit and getting only 1 referral Bizarrely my dance blog IG account has only 90 followers to date, but has already had 3 referrals. With that one it’s a bitly link – I think having a short link makes people more interested to click, but it might be that the followers on that one are very niche so are more interested in finding out what’s on the blog.

    Looking forward to reading more tips

  16. October 21, 2016 / 9:31 pm

    I love Instagram, it is my favourite social media platform. I am learning so much about it all recently. Kaz x

  17. October 23, 2016 / 12:34 am

    I’ve started linking posts in the past month and mentioning them in my Instagram posts too, it has boosted my inst referrals by 200% it crazy. Totally recommend doing it!

  18. October 23, 2016 / 10:57 pm

    I love instagram, but don’t think I use it as well as I should. Having blogged for 7 years you think I would. I certainly don’t put my blog posts in it as they rarely relate. I maybe should give that a go x

  19. October 24, 2016 / 12:28 pm

    Instagram is my second favourite social media, Facebook is my all tone favourite (I get most of my referrals from FB). Great tips and I’m a huge fan of your insta too x

    • Colette
      October 24, 2016 / 2:30 pm

      Thanks Kellie 🙂 X

  20. October 24, 2016 / 1:21 pm

    It was a brilliant session and I gained loads from it! I have gained over 200 followers in October alone on IG by implementing some of your suggestions. Thanks 🙂

    • Colette
      October 24, 2016 / 2:28 pm

      That’s awesome! I’m so pleased x

  21. October 24, 2016 / 3:13 pm

    Great tips! I recently set up a second instagram account for my blog and I was so please to be able to get my blog name x x

  22. October 24, 2016 / 8:23 pm

    I love your photos and so wish I had been at the talk! So glad you are sharing the tips though, will bookmark this for later on! x

  23. Yvonne
    October 24, 2016 / 10:18 pm

    I am going to start changing my link in my bio to my current post. Last week I tried to link the photos on my IG to my blog and directing people to the blog for more info and it worked really well xx

  24. October 25, 2016 / 9:23 am

    I love Instagram and have a steady set of followers but I would like to build my community a bit more so these tips are brialliant.

    • Colette
      October 25, 2016 / 8:31 pm

      Watch out for this Thursday’s post on building your following x

  25. Aly
    October 25, 2016 / 11:23 am

    I edit all my main social media bios on a regular basis and Google picks new changes.I do love Instagram but it can be a time sucker like Pinterest.

  26. October 25, 2016 / 3:39 pm

    This is really interesting thank you. I’ve put clickable links in my bio occasionally but not for a while. Does it show up in GA as coming from instagram?

    • Colette
      October 25, 2016 / 8:30 pm

      I’ve tended to notice it on my wordpress stats – I should probably investigate the difference on GA shouldn’t I!

  27. October 26, 2016 / 6:00 am

    Instagram is by far my favourite social media platform! I totally agree with what you say about the profile photo. Changing your social media bio with different links is a fab point too 🙂 Great tips, thank you petal x

  28. October 27, 2016 / 9:43 am

    Great tips! We need to spend a bit of time on the hashtags I think!! Your photos are fab

  29. October 28, 2016 / 8:55 am

    I really love Instagram but I feeling like I have no idea what I am doing! This was a really interesting read and what a great tip about the link in the bio changing, I am going to give that a try! Thank you

  30. February 11, 2017 / 8:39 pm

    Really cute pictures of your kids and great tips. Instagram really is amazing and the thing I like most about it is the instant engagement.

    As well as interaction on our feeds, I find it also a massive source of inspiration for travel and photography.

    Good point about consistency across channels. I have failed in that myself as my Facebook, Twitter and blog have slightly different names due to availability 🙁 – But I definitely agree it’s important.

    • Colette
      February 11, 2017 / 11:53 pm

      Yes I have the same problem with inconsistencies in my own user names – it’s frustrating!

  31. March 18, 2017 / 7:34 pm

    I really love the idea of changing bio link to a recent post; never would have thought to do that!

    By the way, your instagram is amazing!

    Thank you for the tips…off to read the next installement now 🙂 x

    • Colette
      March 18, 2017 / 9:04 pm

      It’s really effective – I don’t do it all the time as I think you can over do it but it’s worth trying.
      Thanks so much for your lovely comment! x x

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