We are visual people — the meteoric rise of Pinterest and Instagram are proving that beyond a shadow of a doubt. And while we know that Pinterest can be a huge traffic (and idea) generator for most bloggers, Instagram is also proving to be a heavyweight despite it's ability to directly drive traffic back to your blog (except for that one link in your bio). Instagram can be a great place to further build your brand and grow a community around your unique point of view. It's also another place where brands are doubling down on sponsorships — some bloggers are commanding thousands of dollars per sponsored image, and that's pretty incredible considering the only measurement of success for an Instagram post is a "like" or comment and your overall follower count.
Even if you have a small audience on your blog, you can still prove your value to brands in other ways, but for Instagram? The follower count is still king. Here are three no-fail ways to grow yours in order to increase your blog's exposure and attract brands at the same time.
Consistency is key when you're trying to grow an audience. Keep people interested (and looking forward to your posts) by publishing on a schedule. This is true for both your blog and Instagram accounts. Check out Nike for inspiration — they publish two posts a week like clockwork, and plan ahead for events like Serena Williams' big grand slam win at Wimbledon. Keep an editorial calendar for your blog posts? Do the same for your Instagram account if it's an important part of your growth strategy.
Have a Clear Vision
What do successful Instagrammers have in common? A clear style that comes through in their images. And I'm not talking strictly about fashion bloggers. Create a style guide for yourself in order to elevate your images and make them double tap-worthy. Some example style guideline do's and don'ts could be:
- Don't post dark or grainy images.
- Don't post "atmospheric" shots, but do create a vignette or a moment for your followers that looks at the detail of something instead of showing them the whole picture. It's more interesting to look at, anyway. Check out Shopstyle's Instagram above for inspiration.
- Don't use filters, but do use the included tools to make your images brighter.
- If you will be using text over images (like quotes), do decide on a template to use going forward. A single app, a single font, and a single layout to make them "on brand" and uniform, or a collection of fonts and layouts, but keep them consistent. There's that "c" word again! I personally use Over ($3.99) for my text and font needs.
- Don't regram other people's images that don't match your style guidelines.
Engage and Grow
These simple, but effective (and better yet — proven) methods for engagement will skyrocket your followers up faster than you'd ever imagine. Check out Mompreneur Society; She grew her Instagram from 0 to nearly 1,000 followers in less than a month, and this is before her actual site even launched. Now that's amazing.
- Use hashtags in the right place — your first comment. The key to getting found on Instagram is using abundant hashtags. Use every hashtag you can think of that's related to your post, but rather than including it in your main Instagram caption, use them in your first comment. Once you get more than four comments, your first few are truncated so new viewers won't see them, but they'll still be in full effect and indexing on Instagram's search pages. This keeps things clean.
- Follow influencers and people who's feeds you admire. Instagram is a community, so get in that mindset when you sign up. The goal is to talk to, follow, and relate to as many people as possible. Plus, they're great inspiration for your feed.
- Ask followers to take action. There's so much coming at social media users — from awesome images to fast-moving feeds — so you gotta be pretty clear in order to get your followers to do something. Be explicit in your calls to action. Ask them to "double tap" to like or agree, tag their friends in the comments, or list their favorite instagrammers for a "Follow Friday" love fest, anything — just ask them to perform the action you want them to take in order to grow your community.
Want more Instagram inspiration? Head on over to the Launch Ladies Instagram, click "follow" and get more bank account-boosting tips, sweet social insights, and lightbulb-moment ideas right in your feed.