Friday, January 31st, 2014
How could Instagram be useful to your blog?
Do you know how to use Instagram?
Instagram has very quickly become the app that we all love as an alternative to the tired format of the somewhat beleaguered Facebook. The fact that Facebook bought it out, and will soon no doubt seek to change it from the image sharing joy that it currently offers, to an advert-heavy, money making platform, will be strongly resisted; and they know this. The marketers at Facebook HQ are being tested to the max as they attempt to make their investment pay.
1) Instagram allows us to capture moments in our day to day lives and upload them using a selection of filters to make beautiful and not so beautiful records of our experiences. It is also widely responsible for the sudden explosion in popularity of the selfie; mainly as the filters lend themselves kindly to the faces of those who post them.
2) The most overlooked benefit of Instagram is that you are compiling your very own photo album as you move through every stage of your life. In ten years’ time you will be able to look back and reminisce on how your life has taken so many twists and turns (all of them documented and shared), and you can then reflect on the place it has brought you to now. How very romantic and whimsical.
3) For the blogging community, it provides a potential gateway to find new followers and like-minded people to target with opinion pieces. As it is a photography based app, applicability may not seem immediately clear. However, where there are people there is an audience.
4) Instagram can help you get your brand known and encourage people to visit your website. For all of the serial bloggers out there who avoid Instagram because they can’t write on it, it’s now time to get the camera out guys . . . And make sure that your pictures are good!
5) You may not use Instagram as often as many others, but it undoubtedly offers you a new outlet to spread the word about your blog and to help build your own personal brand.
6) Your blog represents just one side of you and sharing the visual side of your life is only ever going to be beneficial. Share the URL to your website in your bio so that surfers can click on it and view the mobile version of your blog.
7) Depending on what you blog about, you may want to upload pictures that directly relate to your blog. You can then write in the comments that for more information they should follow the link to your website. It’s pretty obvious to most of us, but still worth mentioning just in case there are a few techno-stragglers.
8) Is there anyone in the whole world who does not enjoy a good story? Unlikely, so as words are unavailable, with the app photography based, remember that a good picture says a thousand words. If you’re experiencing something visually that you would usually blog about, take a picture, choose the filter, and upload with a carefully worded description to create interest.
9) If you are party to a sequence of events, upload photos over a period of time to give the next chapter in the tale and keep people coming back for more.
10) Photos are timeless and can add emotion, meaning and depth to a given situation. Plus we all prefer looking at pictures to reading anyway, right? If you can capture some inspiring pictures, you will perhaps spark new ideas for blogs that you can use as you move forward.
11) We are now in 2014; so why are you so guarded when posting pictures? There is a line when it comes to professional vs personal on most social media sites, with the exception being Instagram.
The app offers a uniquely comforting feel to those of us who are somewhat uncomfortable with over exposing ourselves in public. Suddenly it’s fine and accepted if you post a picture of yourself having fun, or stuffing your face with cake on down-time. It’s no longer viewed as unprofessional.
The point is that people like to do business with people they trust. If you put yourself out there, people realize you’re an actual real life human being and not just a person with a keyboard as an extension of your body. Your followers get a peek at some of the candid moments of your day, and these images can complement the writing and photography you publish on your blog.
Now we don’t for a second suggest sharing everything. There’s a difference between ‘share’ and ‘scare’, and it’s a difference you should be mindful of.
12) Yes they are prevalent on Instagram too don’t worry. Just in case you start to feel nauseous with the pressure of being creative visually, think of the multitude of relevant hashtags that you can attach to your picture, and relax.
We all know what they do; we all know how they work. Use them and use them well. Adding them to your picture is a simple way to encourage new followers to find and follow you. This will inevitably lead them to discover your blog via the aforementioned link in your bio, or promotion via the comments you leave.
The hashtag community on Instagram is massive, and there is a hashtag for more or less every subject conceivable. You should use hashtags wisely, though.
If you have 10 or 15 hashtags per picture this comes across as basically the next worst thing to spam. Hashtagging for likes is quietly frowned upon and does your credibility no good at all. Stick to the plan, be clever and do not over-do it.
As time goes by you will find that people who are interested in thoughtful posts and meaningful conversations are drawn to your account and then your blog.
If you hold competitions within your blog, or you host events then Hashtagging those exclusively on your Instagram account can also help to create an extra buzz around your blog and the said event or contest. Also include the hashtag in your bio for any upcoming event so that people are exposed to it and understand what it is.
13) Instagram can fill the gaps that have been there for far too long in your content strategy and bloggosphere. There are always times during the week when you are incredibly busy and frankly do not have the time for a coffee; let alone a coffee, a laptop and some inspirational writing. Well, posting a picture on Instagram takes seconds and keeps your social media presence abundantly visual, whilst not eating into your schedule.
14) You’re not the only one who struggles to maintain their online presence. This extra dimension to it keeps you in the loop. By adding a widget to your sidebar, or automatically having every Instagram shot embedded in your blog feed, you are keeping your website fresh and up to date. Instagram really will become a necessary addition to your daily blog routine once you get to grips with it.
15) If you have a logo on your blog which is synonymous with your online presence, download apps such as iWatermark to apply the graphic to the corner of your picture. This helps to keep your brand in the forefront of everything you do online. Remember, this is an extra dimension to your blog and as such must be used to drive people towards it.
16) Instagram now boasts over 100 million daily users, and this makes it the second most popular social networking site on the planet. Recently there was cause for concern as many people began switching to Vine to make 15 second video clips that could be edited and posted with filters. Instagram got on to this fairly early and stole the idea, sent out the update, and buried Vine 6 feet under within the space of a week or two. It’s a dog eat dog world I’m afraid.
Now we have the benefit on Instagram of being able to watch people attempt to be interesting, creative or funny (usually just drunk) within just 15 seconds.
Instagram seems like the unstoppable force to which other social media platforms must bow. But as can be testified by MySpace and Facebook, popularity can’t go on forever unless a series of fantastic decisions and changes are implemented by those who sit in Instagram’s ivory towers
We live in a fast moving digital age that means users are constantly searching for the next new thing. Instagram has been around for 4 years or so now, and for as long as it is the talk of the town you should be making it a part of your blogging routines.