As media consumption online becomes increasingly visual and users are bombarded with articles, medicine videos, more about quizzes, side effects photos, and other pieces of content non-stop throughout the day on the web, Instagram has become an ideal place for bloggers to cut through the clutter and connect directly with their readers.
Although good photos are needed for a successful account, this is pretty easy to achieve with the many photography editing apps that now exist for smartphones. Aside from just adding filters to a photo you’ve taken, try playing around with settings such as contrast, temperature, and exposure to brighten and soften your photos, making them as appealing as possible.
There are lots of available apps that provide these editing options and each one has their pros and cons. I recommend downloading a bunch at once, and playing around with each one until you find a couple of apps that feel intuitive and fun to use with the features you need. Since I could hardly talk about Instagram without mentioning the editing apps that I rely on, here are some of my recent favorites:
1. VSCO Cam: Robust editing tool with its own set of unique filters. I love this app because you can edit the intensity of each filter, so you’re given more freedom than with the standard Instagram filters. (It’s also worth noting that VSCO Cam has its own community of people who share photos, so if your blog has a heavy photography component, it might also make sense to explore sharing your photos here, as well)
2. InstaSize: I use this app constantly to quickly crop photos that would normally not fit into Instagram’s strict square border. Instasize adds white space around your photo that you don’t need to crop out any of your favorite details from a shot!
3. Flash for Free: This app’s not as slick or fancy as the other two, but I still use it all the time. I don’t claim to be the best photographer in the world, which means that a lot of my shots end up having less than ideal lighting. This app quickly processes your photo with different degrees of lighting. I’ll save the one I like back to my camera roll and continue editing from there or just post it immediately!
4. Regram: Super simple way to repost someone else’s photo on Instagram. Comes in extra handy for quickly entering contests! (No idea why this hasn’t been integrated into the actual Instagram app yet… but this is an awesome workaround)
Tips & Tricks
There are lots of ways to integrate this platform with your existing blog, but some of the best examples I’ve seen of bloggers who also use Instagram tend to follow these guidelines:
1. Post original content
It’s definitely okay to share a photo from a blog post you’ve written on Instagram with a link to your post, letting readers know you’ve updated your blog. But you want to make sure you’re also providing your followers with unique content on every platform. You may find that your audiences don’t completely overlap from blog to Instagram, and if your followers start to see that all you do is post blog updates, they might get bored and move on!
Bloggers who rock this tip:
Mackenzie does a great job of balancing content from her blog with unique photos solely for her Instagram feed. She recently went on a trip and reminded readers on her blog to follow along with her travels on Instagram so they could see some exclusive photos.
Jillian is another blogger who does a great job with balancing unique Instagram posts alongside updates from her blog. Plus, she likes Loco Pez (only my favorite taco place ever ever ever)!
If you’ve been lagging between posts lately, using Instagram to share a photo and a few sentences about what you’ve been up to lets you connect with your readers quickly without dedicating lots of time to a full post.
Blogger who rocks this tip:
Ashley is a great example of someone who updates her Instagram feed regularly with small updates on what she’s up to. As people continue to favor Instagram for the quick gratification it provides, this is a great way to maintain a community.
3. Use hashtags strategically
Using fun, made-up hashtags has a time and place (#iknowweveallbeenthere), but using them for their intended purpose can build new relationships and bring followers to your feed.
Bloggers who rock this tip:
Sheena started a hashtag #howweweekend that people can use for pictures of things they do on the weekend. This is a great way to get to know your readers, and involve them more closely. She frequently posts roundups of the Instagram pictures on her blog, giving many readers the chance to connect through her platform.
Chaucee is another blogger who routinely incorporates well known hashtags into her posts. In the example below, she uses popular hashtags used in Philly on her post, to increase exposure and connect with others who are interested in the same topics.
Gotta say, after writing this post I am definitely feeling inspired to post more often on Instagram (you can find me at @mbwdimarco). Got any questions or have another great app to share? Let me know in the comments below!!
P.S. Want more? Sarah Von Bargen shared some more great tips from Tara Swiger on her blog not too long ago for using Instagram for your business. Check it out here!