Ah Instagram. The social media with which most of us have a love/hate relationship, especially bloggers. Finding an Instagram strategy that suits you is a nightmare and that’s only a minor detail. There are many pros and cons. It’s a great place to showcase your creativity and provides a platform to extend your blog’s reach further as well as discover the other amazing talent out there. The list goes on.
There is also a dark side (aside from when the app literally crashes). We’ve all no doubt seen the reports on the mental health effects of Instagram. I use the app as positively as I can and if ever I see anything bad, I would unfollow, block, report etc. I only follow people that bring positivity to my timeline.
The Bloggers’ Struggle
There’s another con that’s affecting bloggers. The follow/unfollow aspect and all-round algorithm. It’s a hard platform to grow on, which is difficult when you want to take your blog full-time and brands like to see a good Instagram following and engagement. Instagram, therefore, can be off-putting. That’s certainly what it became like for me.
My Previous Instagram Strategy (or lack of)
All in all, when it to my Instagram strategy, I was put off by all of the above. I didn’t have one and therefore my account didn’t grow. I’d post some photos, add some hashtags and my engagement was giving a few likes and the odd comment when I went online. It’s no wonder my account wasn’t moving.
I’ve mentioned brands wanting a certain amount of followers for collaborations. I’d been stuck on 990 followers for goodness knows how long and so many collaborations I’d seen needed 1000+. The motivation kicks in. Last Sunday (7 April), I did something I would never normally do. I asked over on Twitter (my preferred social media) for a boost to help me get there, and I did!
Whilst I was pleased to reach this goal, something didn’t feel right. I wasn’t happy with the fact that I’d asked people to help. I’m a huge supporter of growing your social media organically, so this week I’ve changed my Instagram strategy massively (or in other words, actually had one).
What I did?
Everything I’ve read about Instagram say that you need to show your face everyday and engage. So that’s what happened. I’m usually quite good at posting photos to my feed and with hashtags – if you don’t have Vix Meldrew’s Ultimate Hashtag List, then what are you playing at?! Stories were my bad point though. This week though, I’ve tried to add at least a couple of stories everyday and be chattier on there.
As for engagement? Whenever I open Instagram, I have a liking spree and will comment on a few photos. Not just the ‘hey, nice pic’ which just replicates one of the many spam accounts out there, but genuinely engage with people’s content. Actually READ the caption. Answer any questions, say what you like about the post. Not only are you more likely to get interest in your account, but my favourite part is you connect with other bloggers and form genuine bonds. I’ve had some comment conversations just from this week!
I’ve also been wanting to discover new accounts, so participating in Instagram threads on Twitter as well as making my own has helped find like-minded accounts that I have fallen in love with.
After really upping my Instagram strategy, I’ve noticed a difference in just a week. I started on around 990 and a week later this has gone up by 100 – it will probably go down again because of follow/unfollowers, so on the safe side, let’s say a 50-60 increase. Yes, I have followed more accounts, but only ones that honestly inspire me. At the same time, I also unfollowed a few that weren’t right for me anymore.
My profile views were in the mid-30s and are now over 180. Whilst views may not mean much, it does increase the chances of more people clicking on your link and bringing your site more traffic.
All in All
Engagement is key! It’s true when they say you get back what you put in. I, like others I’m sure, had fallen into the trap of not using Instagram much because of algorithms and the like, but at the same time being surprised when you didn’t grow. If there’s anything I’ve learnt from my Instagram experiment this week is that engaging with others and being your authentic self are the best things you can do.
What are your thoughts on Instagram? Do you think any particular method works? Love it or hate it? Let me know.
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