I’ve loved Instagram since I started using it about three years ago, but earlier this year I started to feel that I could do a bit better – my photos were a bit of a hodge-podge, and I didn’t have many followers.
I think part of the problem was that I participated in challenges like #veganuary without thinking about how the photos would fit into my overall feed (poorly lit food doesn’t ever look good), so I didn’t really have an overall look to my photos.
I started off by having a look at my bio, and adding a bit more to it. It was really basic, but now I have added my blog’s name and a little tag line that describes what my Instagram is all about, “Join me in finding little moments of beauty and creativity in everyday life”.
Next I had a look at the photos I was posting. In the past, I had posted just about anything I took a photo of, if I thought someone else on my Instagram might be interested in seeing it. Now I am much more careful about what I post – it really has to fit in with my brand. I also now only take part in challenges that work well with my brand – like #marchmeetthemaker.
I also considered the look of the photos, and I think that improving this was the most important thing that I’ve done. I’ve tried to keep a really light, bright look to the photos, with lots of simple backgrounds, and a heavy use of teal and turquoise. I use A Color Story by A Beautiful Mess to edit the photos to make them look clean and bright.
I’ve started using hashtags a lot more. I think I had hashtag fear – I was afraid I was going to hijack a hashtag that someone was using for another purpose! Now I’m a lot more hashtag happy, and have found some great hashtags like #craftsposure, that have helped me find lots of interesting people.
I've also added calls to action - explaining to those looking at my Instagram posts that they will find more on the topic over on my blog. It's hard to find ways to do this without sounding like you just care about hits on your blog!
Consistency of posting is also important, but this is something I can struggle with when life is busy. I try to take photos when I can, and edit them so they are ready to post to Instagram when I need them, but sometimes life is just too hectic! This is the sort of situation where challenges can either be a help or a hindrance, they can give you ideas, but sometimes you just can’t think of anything to fit the theme!
I’ve also started using Instagram stories a bit. This is a great way of using the photos that don’t make the cut for my Instagram feed, but that I still think might be interesting to my Instagram followers. I found it a bit fiddly and non-intuitive to create Instagram stories, but I’m getting the hang of it now.
I have been interacting more with others on Instagram, by commenting on and liking their photos, and have started following some new people too.
My follower count has increased a bit, but the effect on my blog stats was actually quite amazing. They doubled more or less straight away, and this has continued over the month. It’s impossible to see in Blogger’s stats page the traffic that has actually come from Instagram, but I can see no other reason for this improvement.
So it’s been a really worthwhile process, and I hope I can keep it up!
If you'd like to have a look at my Instagram, it's here!