Not only is Instagram a necessary social media platform to engage with and find your audience, but it offers its own stand-alone monetary benefits as well.
The digital world is all about visuals and Instagram (IG) has the world at its fingertips. This social media platform essentially married Pinterest and Twitter and created a perfectly visual platform that everyone loves.
From a business perspective, IG has a world of opportunities and attracts the most popular demographic for brands: people between the ages of 18-29. This age group (and teens) holds major influence for brands because it sets the trends for the rest of the world. This group also tends to have a lot of disposable income (mostly due to less financial responsibility).
For this reason, brands see IG as major business.
IG as Relevant to your Brand
I use IG to keep my audience up to date with daily blog posts, relevant personal stories, and to share bonus content.
Similar to Facebook, I can engage with my existing audience and provide some of the same content. However, the audience I have here is different than my audience on Facebook. IG is where I interact with my younger readers.
Remember, all social media channels serve a different purpose. Over time, you’ll start seeing trends in your audience. By researching which platforms attract specific audiences, you can also learn how to market to them.
- If your target market is women—they use Pinterest much more than men.
- If you’re looking to connect with people over 50, Facebook is it. This is the social media channel where this group feels most comfortable connecting.
- If you want to find trendsetters between 18-25, look to Instagram and Snapchat.
General Instagram Tips
Your images have to be relevant and shareable on all social media channels because the more they are shared, the higher your exposure. If you only do one thing, do this: use professional, quality, eye-catching images in your posts to increase your chances of getting shared.
Look at your favorite IG accounts and ask yourself why you follow them. What do they have to offer you? Why do you like them?
One of the IG accounts that inspires me is @kayla_itsines. This is one of the most successful blogger IG accounts with over five million followers and the earnings to back it.
As you can see her topic has absolutely nothing to do with mine. I'm not interested in her content. Instead, I'd like to emulate her business model.
Whose IG profile inspires you?
Try to replicate these things in your own account.
- Post at least one image per week.
- Tag brands, destinations, or other items included in the image.
- Add relevant hashtags as a comment, not in the description.
- Reply to comments on photos in your profile and on others’ profiles, too
- Choose images with a similar tone and feel to your brand (use the branding style guide you created in Module One).
- Try to use the same filter to maintain consistency or at least maintain a similar color story/hues.
Since I try to use my social media accounts as an extension of my blog, I use image descriptions to add value for my followers.
I treat them as a “mini blog post” with bonus tips, including a snippet of blog post content, or I’ll write a paragraph using the right words to enhance the visual moment.
IG as a Monetization Tool
Since IG is becoming increasingly important to brands, it can act as leverage to help close advertising deals. If you have a large enough following on IG, some companies will even pay you to post an image on their behalf.
Did you know that some people are making a full-time income just from their Instagram accounts?
This has become one of the biggest opportunities in social media. It seems brands are desperate for online influencers with a lucrative hold on a niche audience (like you).
Great images have the ability to sell anything. When you have a large audience (hundreds of thousands of followers), brands want to pay you to take pictures featuring their products.
If you love taking beautiful images that bring people right into the moment, then you might have the makings of the next Instagram Superstar. You might not even need a blog.
Remember, if your goal is to make money, a blog isn’t the only way to do it.
If you’re an amazing photographer who can tell stories through images, perhaps you can replace a blog with an amazing Instagram account. Build your audience, and the money will follow.
Sometimes you may not even need one if you can find another place in the online world where you fit perfectly. A blog is just one part of a potentially bigger picture!
These are the questions covered in the video:
- Should you keep a theme with your images, or post what you like?
- Does your feed really need one distinct look, e.g. all brightly-colored photos or all with the same filter?
- Hashtags. Lots or a little?
- Frequency of posting. How often to post?
- Do you pay to get better outreach? Does it work?
- How can you grow a meaningful audience? What are the best practices for growing a consistent following?
- Which free feed planning apps do you recommend?
- How can someone monetize their account?
Instagram helps to show the person behind your blog. It’s not a huge traffic driver; it’s more of a brand builder.
You can promote your blog posts on IG and give your audience a sneak peek at your life, your travels, and the things you do that drive the topics on your website.
Use hashtags, geotags, and tag brands/destinations in order to increase awareness for your images.
Create a theme in both color and messaging. You want to be clear who you are and not confuse your audience. Pick 3-5 things under your topic and post only pictures related to those things.
People know within a second whether or not they’re going to follow your Instagram profile.
How Often To Post
To determine the frequency of your images, test things out. Post daily for two weeks then post every other day for two weeks. Then, determine which strategy brings you more engagement.
Growing Your Following
We get so wrapped up in the numbers - in growing our followers – that we forget to think about the purpose of a social media platform: community and engagement.
People don't actively seek out new people to follow anymore. So, authentically engage with others and leave genuine comments. Comment pods are also popular and a great way to jumpstart engagement to your followers.
You don't need a large following to work with brands on Instagram.
Brands now are more focused on working with influencers that have higher levels of quality engagement vs large numbers. Try to under promise and overdeliver to your clients.
You can use live or recorded videos as a bonus when working with brands. It can be used as a freebie to help you lock in your partnerships.
Brands will soon realize the importance of video, so start building your portfolio now and it will be that much stronger by the time they catch up.
The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll become when speaking in front of the camera!
Instagram vs Pinterest
Pinterest has more than 150,000,000 monthly users. Instagram is great for marketing and buzz.
IG has instant gratification and results but the longevity isn’t there whereas you can make a longer impact with Pinterest. Plus, you can’t link from Instagram.
- Instagram is awesome for creating brand awareness to get people to discover you and get to know you, which is great for brand loyalty.
- Pinterest works for content marketing, which bloggers specialize in. Bloggers use content marketing more than traditional brands do.
NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN TO BE THE SIX-FIGURE BLOGGER
Here are the Key Things to Consider from the Lesson
Of the Instagram strategies that you learned in the lesson, which ones are you currently not using?
What hashtags are popular in your niche?
What Instagram profile inspires you?