Can you market your blog on Instagram? Big question!
Well, with Instagram it is slightly different: Links in image captions on Instagram are not clickable.
In contrast to other social networks, a shared link in the caption of an Instagram post has no traffic power in itself. But that does not mean that you cannot promote your blog on Instagram or that you cannot drive traffic to your blog from Instagram.
Since you cannot simply share links to posts in your Instagram updates, you need some more sophisticated tactics to achieve your goals and have to be careful to get everything right to see an impact from your Instagram efforts – and make sure that you are able to measure it, too.
1. Why you should use Instagram
If it is so difficult to share your blog posts via Instagram and get traffic from it, why should you bother? Simply because Instagram is growing fast and it is a very engaged network.
The monthly active users on Instagram have been growing for the past years – and there is still no end to this growth. The user base that you can potentially reach with your Instagram efforts is huge.
Image Source: Statista
In addition to the sheer number of users on Instagram, this audience is also a very engaged audience. Compared to other social networks like Twitter and Facebook posts on Instagram get far more engagement.
Image Source: Sprout Social
It is easy to connect to people, get into conversations and build a following. And since blogging success is partly about connecting to people and building a network around your niche – Instagram is well worth your time.
And if you are treating your blog like a business, you may be interested in the fact that an Instagram audience is also a buying audience. Over 60% of Instagram users claim that they have learned about a product or service via Instagram.
2. Choose your name with care
I have said it before for Twitter, it still holds for Instagram: Social media marketing success starts with the basics. And choosing a name for your Instagram account takes some considerations to do. The least you should think about is whether you take your own name or the name of the blog as an Instagram name.
- How personal is your blog, are you the only person running it? Does everybody know that you are your blog?
- Are you only using Instagram to promote your blog or could you be changing your career later?
- Do you want to market the blog or yourself?
In some cases it makes sense to choose the name of the blog – in other cases, you rather want to go with your name. And sometimes you may even want to consider using two Instagram accounts.
Image Source HubSpot
If you are running other social media profiles – make sure that your followers can easily recognize the accounts belonging together.
You can not only choose an Instagram handle – you also have an account name.
Sometimes, these may be the same. Or you could, for instance, go for your name as a business name and your blog as the Instagram handle – or the other way around.
3. Your profile
Profile Picture: Every Instagram account has a profile pic – or avatar. For most business accounts this is the logo. For personal accounts you are free to choose an image – I recommend using a picture of yourself so that people see who you are and can recognize you.
If you choose a picture, keep in mind that Instagram crops your photo to a circle.
The ideal size for the profile image is 110 px x 110 px. If your logo is square, you may want to use a tool like Canva to create a larger square logo image by placing the square logo inside the circle that fits the larger square – see the image!
Your Bio: Your Instagram Bio is important if you want to use it for blogging success. The short bio needs to be informative – and at best show a little personality. You can include a call to action.
You should also consider using one or two hashtags in your bio.
Note that hashtags in your Instagram bio will not make your profile searchable with this hashtag.
However, hashtags in the bio can emphasize what you are about on Instagram since the hashtags appear highlighted in blue. The hashtags are also clickable so that people can get directly to the hashtag feed. If you are using a branded hashtag that you use in all your Instagram updates, the hashtag can guide people to the feed of these branded posts.
The link: The link in the bio on Instagram is the only place where you can add a clickable link. That makes this link so important. For instance, you can use this link to get people to your latest blog post – and simply change the link when you have a new post. Other bloggers like Jeff Bullas use the link to offer a Freebie to turn Instagram followers into email subscribers.
A ton of bloggers do this: then they post images around the blog post and the capture teases the post and finishes with a call-to-action: Click the link in the bio. The clicks on this link will show up in your Google analytics as referrals from Instagram – but you cannot measure which Instagram update triggered the click. There is no metric that can separate the various Instagram updates as a cause of the traffic if all traffic comes via the same link.
Other bloggers like Jeff Bullas use the link in the bio to offer a Freebie to turn Instagram followers into email subscribers.
Enable Notifications: Instagram is an engaged network. Make sure you enable your notifications so that you can see when likes, comments on your images come in. You should engage with these and answer comments!
4. Your Images
Your images on Instagram have to be awesome. And they have to stand out from the masses. Don’t just use any (stock) photo that you may have used in the blog post. Make sure that you create images for Instagram that engage your audience and inspire them to click.
Do not be intimidated by that – Instagram helps you turn your mediocre shots you took with your mobile phone into something quite awesome. They provide you with the necessary tools to clip your image, use filters and more.
You should also use a tool like Canva to create images for Instagram with text overlay and graphics. For blog posts there are multiple options to create posts that relate to the content from the post. Here are some examples:
- create quote images. You can use quotes from famous people that relate to your content or you can quote the blog post. Create an image with the quote – make sure the text is readable even on mobile.
- create statistics or fact images. These can be numbers that you use in the blog post or a statement.
- depending on the topic of your blog you can also use photos of products, people or places.
Brand your images!
You are also allowed to use short videos in your Instagram posts. Often these video can be used to earn more engagement.
Your images also need to tell a brand story. You need to be consistent with what you share: if your blog is about fashion your pictures should include a lot of fashion, outfits, shops and so on. If your blog is about gardening, flowers in all colors, trees, flower beds and so on should be part of your Instagram feed.
But Instagram for blog promotion is more than photos.
To promote a blog you should also use branded images as you use in your blog posts. Do not use the images from your blog post that you created for Pinterest or Facebook. Most of the time they will not be in the right format. Use the right dimensions for graphics you want to use on Instagram.
Mix up the types of images. You can even tease a story you are working on with images: More on this topic will come soon to our blog…
If you have a photoshoot, interview or some other form of images for a blog post, share some behind the scenes pictures.
Once you published a blog, you don’t have to stick with one image: Make some shareable quotes as images. Think like Click-To-Tweet for Twitter and create images with the quote. Share them on Instagram.
You can even promote older blog posts with new images on Instagram and include something like: „Search for this on the blog.“
5. Utilize the post caption
Don’t just let the image speak for itself.
Use the image caption.
Most of the time it is the caption of your post image that makes people want to know more – or not. The image they have already seen, the caption can inspire curiosity and promise something your audience wants to get: your blog post.
Writing good image captions on Instagram is a science but you can learn it. And you will get better with experience. You will find out what your audience likes, what they respond to and what does not speak to them.
- Longer could be better. The longer a person spends on your post and interacts with your post the better. The Instagram algorithm will notice this and notice that a person dd not just scroll over your post but spend the time reading it. This will make your posts rank higher in the Instagram algorithm.
- The first line of your caption is crucial as it is what people see first – it will decide if people read on or not. Think about the first line as a headline and spend the time creating it.
- Use a consistent brand voice – even if you have to find your brand voice first.
- Include a call to action. If you want traffic fro a blog you will use a “find out more on the blog.” or a “click the link in the bio” or something similar most of the time.
- Use hashtags! Finding the best hashtags can be tiresome but you will get better at it with time and it is worth the effort. If you need help with finding better hashtags, check out my recent article about how to find the best hashtags for your social media!
- Use structure – and emojis. Line breaks make your caption easier to read and emojis make it more personal.
Image Source: Later
6. Post more often
The visibility of and the engagement with an Instagram post decreases with time. Over 50% of comments are posted within 6 hours after publishing your post. When the ability of your post to engage decreases you need to post something new – or you will be invisible and forgotten.
Image Source: ClickZ
I already gave you some ideas on what you can post – now you should put that into action and post more often. One key to growing an audience on Instagram is to post often. That means you need a picture or image every few hours.
Since you probably don’t want to focus your mind on Instagram all day long, you should consider scheduling some posts. If you have a couple of images for the day, sit down for 10 minutes and create a post for each image for instance on Buffer. Buffer will then make sure that your posts go out at your set times.
If you go for scheduling, simply keep in mind, that a tool can post for you at a given time, but it cannot respond to comments and interact with your followers. Check your Instagram again after a couple of hours and keep up the engagement on your update by answering all comments.
There is a trick to keep your posts alive for a longer time, get more engagement, start more conversations and get more followers. You can utilize Instagram stories to catch more attention. Part of this attention will pass on to your feed posts.
7. Grow your followers
In social media, the size of your (engaged) audience is crucial for more blog traffic. Getting more followers combined with other tactics like increasing engagement and finding better hashtags is one of the best ways to increase the attention you can get from Instagram to your blog.
Here are some strategies to help you get more (targeted) followers to your Instagram account:
- Promote your Instagram presence on your blog – show your Instagram on your blog and make it easy for your blog audience to follow you on Instagram. For instance, you can provide a nametag to allow people to follow you with a simple scan. You can read more about nametags here.
- Promote your Instagram presence on your social media channels – if you already have a larger audience on other social networks like Twitter or Facebook, mention your Instagram account in your posts from time to time and add it to your bio.
- Promote your Instagram presence to your email subscribers – you can add your Instagram profile to your signature and you can send an email telling your subscribers that you are also on Instagram and ask them to follow you there.
- Comment on other people’s Instagram posts – choose posts from people from your niche. Engaging with Instagramers is the best way to grow your followers.
- Follow other Instagramers from your niche – try to combine following with engagement. That will give you better results.
- Tag relevant users – for instance, if you use interviews in your content, you can mention the interviewed person in your posts about this interview.
- Post when your audience in online – use a scheduling tool to make sure the posts go out at the best time.
8. Where do the visitors to your blog come from?
Since your bio is the only place on Instagram where you can put a clickable link, that is the first place you need to think about for sharing your blog posts.
You can either simply link to your blog. When you share an image from a blog post simply state in the caption: „Click the link in the bio“ – that only makes sense if you only share new blog posts since older posts will most likely not show up on your blog landing page.
Jeff Bullas simply pastes the link to the post into the caption of the image – you can get to the post by copy and paste.
Some people also use shortlinks to share them in their Instagram image captions. Your followers will have to copy and paste the link to get to your blog posts. The advantage of shortlinks instead of full links at this point is: They are easier to copy since they are shorter, they are also more readable and last but not least: short links come with analytics. If you want to measure if someone used the link: visit the link shortener and see if the link was used.
Getting visible on Instagram is a first step towards building a following. An important factor is the engagement you show yourself and the respect you show for other people’s work. And engagement with brands is very high on Instagram compared with other social networks:
Image Source Forrester
Do not simply post and wait for people to come. Make your posts visible in the right niche or topic via hashtags. And search for great images and conversations via hashtags – and join in.
You can grow your following on Instagram by posting great images and commenting and liking other people’s images. Connect with people from your niche and be active on their images. They will remember you and eventually be curious about your work and blog.
There are many Instagram influencers who started building their audience through engagement. Don’t expect people to engage on your posts if you do not engage on theirs!
Hashtags have the power to make your posts visible, even if you do not (yet) have a million followers. Do your research: Instagram gives you important numbers for hashtags: how often are they used. Choose hashtags that are popular – but not too popular or your post will easily get lost. If you search for a hashtag on Instagram you will get some suggestions on related hashtags, some of which are more specific.
You should get as specific with your hashtags as possible without losing all popularity of the hashtag. If a hashtag is too specific it is only searched for by very few people.
Don’t be shy in using hashtags, you can use a lot of hashtags and you should do that. Each hashtag offers you an opportunity to get more people to your post. But only use hashtags that are related to your post.
Don’t just go for the most obvious and highly frequented hashtags. Do some research for your most relevant topics. There is a lot of power in medium to small niche hashtags.
On Instagram, it is not only blog traffic you should be looking for as a blogger. Promoting a blog can have many faces. Done right with branded images and building a targeted following the effect for your blog will often not be limited by the measurable traffic that comes via your profile link – or shared short links.
12. Instagram Stories
Instagram stories are Instagram updates that only stay online for 24 hours if you do not save them in a story collection.
Instagram stories allow images and short videos.
You can add text, emojis, music and more to your Instagram story to make it more engaging. You can also ask questions in stories and have your audience answer you.
Instagram stories allow you to post less formal content – and to post more often. There are many Instagram users who post multiple Instagram stories per day but only one “normal” Instagram update once in a while.
Instagram stories have a prominent place on Instagram: They are featured on top of your feed.
Instagram stories are great for bloggers. You can add a link to your stories that people can follow by swiping over your story update. That makes your stories one of the few places on Instagram where you can share a link to a blog post in an active update. You can use multiple Instagram stories to promote the same link/post. You can even re-share older content with a new Instagram story.
Do you want to know how to add a link to your Instagram story? Check out this guide!
Unfortunately, the link-in-story feature is only available for Instagramers with more than 10000 followers.
The link in the stories gives bloggers the opportunity to link to a new blog post and generate more traffic from Instagram.
13. Use the Story Archive
You can avoid that your stories vanish after 24 hours by adding them to a story archive. You can use this to archive the stories for your blog posts. For instance, you can create an archive for your blog posts and add all stories that link to your blog posts to that story archive.
14. Combine Posts and Stories
You can up your blog promotion game by combining Instagram stories and posts.
Here is a strategy you can use:
- First, create a post about your new blog post. Write a compelling caption and ask people to go to your stories for more information on the post.
- Share your feed post to your Instagram stories – this way it gets more attention.
- Now, share some stories with snippets and ideas from the post. Add a link to the stories that directly relate to the post.
15. Stay Consistent
You will not see much traffic from your Instagram efforts from day one. You have to get active, fill your profile, build your brand, and grow your audience first.
And yes, staying on it will be hard in the beginning when engagement is low and your posts will not get much attention.
The key to Instagram success is to stay consistent and keep posting, engaging, and learning. With time you will figure out what resonates with your audience, you will know how to get the attention of people from your niche – and you will see audience, engagement, and traffic to your blog grow!
Final words on how to market your blog on Instagram
To get traffic to your blog from Instagram can be a little tricky. But it is possible to market your blog on Instagram.
Since Instagram is one of the most engaged and connected social networks, it is easy even for newbies to get into contact and conversations with strangers. You can promote your blog by simply being engaging, join into conversations, and being consistent with what you post.
And what is more: Using Instagram can be a lot of fun – right from the start.