Friday, April 18, 2014

16 Ways to Use IG to Promote Your Blog or Business

Ready for Round 2 of how to use IG? Good. Let's begin.

Instagram works incredibly well to promote businesses and blogs. I have seen so many companies get more exposure from IG and other social media and I know from personal experience that it can help your blog gain way more popularity than it would have on its own. Again, I'm by no means an expert on how to do this, but I have learned some things from using it on my own that I am more than happy to share. Hopefully it will help you as well!

1. Make your profile public. If people can't see what they're going to get when they follow you, they probably won't take a chance.

2. Don't be a serial poster. It gets annoying and people will unfollow you. The most I ever post is 3-4 times a day but I try to make sure I spread out when I post my photos, which leads me to...

3. Post at high-traffic times. Mornings and late evenings are good because many people check IG right when they wake up and right before they go to bed. Other popular times are between 12 and 2 when people are on their lunch break and early evening around 6-7 when people are just getting home. Keep in mind that not everyone is in the same time zone as you though haha.

4. Use relevant hashtags and don't be afraid to use a bunch. These REALLY help people to find you and your blog/business. Download the app "Tags For Likes" to see what hashtags are most popular for various categories such as food, fashion, photography, etc. You can also find popular IG accounts and see what hashtags they're using for the kind of content you're trying to promote.

5. Don't spam other accounts with likes and comments without following them. This is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves. Users will like 10-20 of my photos all at once and then ask me to give them a shout-out (where you post a screenshot of the user's notifications they gave you and thank them publicly for the "IG love") and/or to follow them back. I never, ever do. As a rule of thumb, I don't do randoms shout-outs nor do I follow people who spam me without following me. I may check out their account, but it's highly unlikely that I'll follow them. So in short, don't spam people unless you're going to follow them. They'll be far more likely to follow you back that way.

6. Download an app that lets you track new followers as well as see who has un-followed you. I use "InstaFollow" and it's super helpful. It helps you see your growth as well as see what kind of people aren't following you anymore which takes me to...

7. Don't get offended if your friends unfollow you. Once you change your IG account to be more focused on your blog/business, chances are some of your friends in real life will unfollow you. THIS ISN'T A BIG DEAL. In my case, I just couldn't expect some of my high school guy (or girl friends) to want to see pics of my outfits everyday. Not everyone uses IG for that purpose and THAT IS OK. I know they still like me as a person and all that good stuff. A lot of people just want to see your personal photos on IG and once you stop posting those and turn to other content, they might not want to see that anymore. Don't get upset about it.

8. Always put a link to your website in your profile as well as list your email. This is how a lot of people discover my blog and it's also how a lot of retailers contact me about sending me their merchandise to promote. Which is always super fun.

9. Do a giveaway! This is a great way to gain more followers. If you're nervous about doing one, team up with someone who already has a lot of followers (but not too many followers, I'd say under 4,000). Chances are, they'll be happy to go in on it with you and teach you the basics. If you're interested in more details on how to do a good giveaway, shoot me an email. I love to talk shop.

10. Like and comment on other people's photos. Click on hashtags you use to see what other people have posted with those relevant hashtags and like and comment on them. And if you like what else they're posting, follow them. This is another great way to gain exposure and get more people to check out your account and (hopefully) follow you back.

11. RESPOND TO COMMENTS. I'll be the first to admit that I'm like the worst at this. But I try really hard to thank people for compliments. If nothing else, I am sure to always respond to direct questions such as where item X is from or how sizing works on a particular piece of clothing. People really appreciate you taking the time to respond to them. You want a reputation of being nice on IG, not a snob who never responds to people.

12. Post a variety of photos. Try not to just do the same content/same format every time. Consistency is good, but you don't want everything to be identical. On the whole, people like some variety from time to time but find a few good, consistent formats of photos to choose from when you post.

13. Take good pictures. I mean this probably goes without saying but I'll say it anyway. If the photo is fuzzy, the color is off, the lighting is bad, etc. just don't post it. Try to make them look nice. You can even use photo editors other than the filters IG provides to help them look better.

14. This isn't a necessity per se, but it's something to consider. Try to have more followers than people you follow. It's kind of a looks thing, but it does make you seem more legit. Along with that, don't be afraid to unfollow people, although only do it if you have a good reason. I.e. they're posting weird photos or are rude or something like that. It's just good manners to continue to follow someone, especially if they are following you back.

15. Make your account name something to do with your site or blog i.e. a hybrid of your name and your business name or just your business name. Just try to make it all somewhat uniform so it's easy for people to find you and remember who you are when you pop up on their newsfeed.

16. And finally be nice, approachable, & genuine. If people can tell that you're a good person, they'll like you and your content more. Just be yourself and have fun!

As always, if you have questions, comments, or other suggestions I would LOVE to hear them! And like I said earlier, I am always happy to help out if you have questions or are confused about anything. I relied a lot on other experienced bloggers when I started this whole thing so it's my way of giving back.

Have a happy Friday, everyone! 

Excited That: The weather is beautiful, my papers are turned in, my grades are happy, and I get to hang out with my amazing Husband all weekend! Life is good.
Realized That: I have a hard time falling asleep without some white-noise. We have a fan that we leave on in our bathroom to help keep it from steaming up too much and we normally just leave it on throughout the night. Unfortunately, it broke this week and I could immediately tell that something was wrong when I went to bed. It takes me a lot longer to fall asleep now that we don't have it on. I will have to go get another one this weekend or I might become an insomniac.
Not Excited For: My ob/gyn appointment this afternoon. I might just need to buy myself something as a reward for surviving.
Thankful For: My wonderful Husband who has been so patient with me this week as I struggled to get a bunch of papers done and for taking me to Red Mango. Twice.
Days Until Christmas: 250

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