Oh hey, welcome back to A Blogger’s Guide to Building Your Instagram (part 2). So nice to see you again. Incase you missed it, check out part 1 here.
Last time, I talked about the importance of creating great content, building your voice, playing well with others (aka #instakarma) oh and a pretty sweet hashtag trick. In Part 2, you’ll learn how to really grow your audience in a meaningful way.
Follow Other Accounts with a Strategy
Growing your following involves some proactive outreach, which means following the right accounts (fellow users in your niche). One of my favorite ways to find new accounts – that I want to follow or interact with – is to go to an account I admire, within the same niche, and check out both the accounts that they’re following and the accounts that follows that user.
Click through to different pages and interact with their photos by liking and leaving meaningful comments (NO COPYING AND PASTING #sleezly.) If you really like their account, give them a follow (and in a nice, creative way let them know that you love their account.) If you do this people will almost always follow back. This takes time, but it also ensures that your followers are quality and the kind of users who will engage with your photos in the future. I can’t emphasize enough how important QUALITY and ENGAGEMENT are when it comes to Instagram (and any social media for that matter.)
I mean, what’s the point of having 20,000 followers if you’re only getting 100 likes? #sadface
Manage Your Following
Every couple days, or even just once a week, I suggest using tool called CrowdFireApp.com to go through your following/followers to see who’s NOT following you back. From the app you can easily unfollow if the person didn’t reciprocate. I wouldn’t do this more than once a week because you can seem very spammy if you’re constantly following and unfollowing.
I had a phase of doing that too frequently and I just felt kind of lame so I stopped. You might be able to grow followers really quickly, but Instagram might flag you as a spammer and it’s just not worth it.
The Best way to Promote Posts and a Work-Around for Instagram Attribution
Have you ever looked at your Google Analytics and noticed that none of your traffic is coming from Instagram? Turns out, it is, but not in the way you think it is.
Your Google Analytics won’t show any attribution through Instagram, like it does for other referral links, instead any click-throughs will register as direct traffic (that’s because the link opens outside the app and in Safari). If you want to see how much traffic comes from your Instagram, try using a unique bit.ly link which you use only for Instagram. With bit.ly accounts you can see how many clicks a link got. If you use it solely for Instagram, you’ll know exactly how much and where the traffic is coming from.
Below is a screenshot of my Bit.ly link from when I shared last week’s blog post on my Instagram (in my bio link). This is WAY more traffic than I ever expected, mind you it was very relevant for Instagram, but this trick totally changed how I viewed Instagram as a traffic driver.
Use the Location Tag (not just for Locations)
Besides using location tags for when I’m out to an actual location, like a favorite coffee shop or new restaurant, I love using the location tag as another piece of real estate for either a call to action i.e. “GIVEAWAY” “New on init4thelongrun.com” “Recipe Link in Bio” or another joke/tidbit i.e. “Smoothie Bowl City” or usually some combination of emojis.
Engage With Your Favorite Brands
This is me putting my community manager and blogger hat on at the same time (it’s a pretty awesome metaphorical hat, in my mind it’s like one of those really cool beanies…) Brands love when Instagrammers take (good) shots of their product in action. Don’t forget to tag that brand’s account AND mention them in the caption (brands love this, and it ensures your photo will be seen). I’ve had my photos regrammed by a couple of my favorite brands (Evolution Fresh, Wild Friend’s Nut Butter, Essentially Coconut, Manitoba Harvest) which helped get my page more exposure. Bonus: If you use the brand’s hashtag they’ll eat that up.
Host a Giveaway with Your Favorite Brand
Have a product you genuinely love and want your fans to know? Hosting a giveaway is a great way to grow your following and giveback to fans. If you can, try to reach out the that brand and see if they’re interested in donating product in return for a shoutout and your hosting a giveaway. Most brands should be receptive because giveaways are a great way for them to grow as well (don’t forget to politely remind them of that).
To get the most bang for your buck have your followers 1.) like the photo, 2.) Follow both @yourhandle and @thebrand’s & 3.) tag three friends in the comments. This way new accounts (friends of your followers) will see that photo and hopefully it will encourage them to enter as well.
The key to this is finding the right product to giveaway. It has to make sense with your blog and Instagram page. If it’s not something you genuinely love then it won’t attract quality followers who share your interest, and there’s a higher chance that they’ll unfollow if they don’t win.
Share a Shoutout
Community is one of the best parts of Instagram! You can use this to your advantage big time. After you’ve made some instafriends don’t be afraid to reach out to them for a shoutout swap. Ask if they’d be interested in posting one of your photos, mentioning your account and encouraging their following check you out and you’ll do the same in return. It’s best to approach users with followings close to your own so it’s a fair trade.
I suggest doing this with accounts that you’ve already established a great relationship with, but don’t take it personally if they say no. You’ll have a good feel for the right people to reach out to. It can be a great way to extend your reach to a new audience.
This post was a brand/friend shoutout combo. Also, go follow Rachel because she’s an insta-goddness (and overnight oat queen/fellow avocado & nut butter lover) and my badass boss/PR-partner at Bai.
Bonus Tip: Get Nerdy
Want to get nerdy? As a community manager, I love using the website Iconosquare for Instagram analytics. It’s not perfect, but photos by most liked and most commented as well as see your most popular hashtags, who your followers are and so much more. You might be able to spot trends like when the best time to post and what kind of photos get the most reaction.
Looking for more? Check out the first installment of A Blogger’s Guide to Building Your Instagram
Liked these tips? Share the love with your blogging and Instafriends because #InstaKarma