How to Start an Insta Blog and Build a Steady Following
Instagram is a unique visual-oriented social media platform. We could easily call it the number one social media because, well, everyone's on Instagram these days, isn't it? People share artistic and sincere images, creative videos, tell engaging stories with their content — any business can make use of these features, too.
Everyone has their own goals while using Insta. For some people, it's the best place to share their pictures and stay in touch with friends. For others, it's a platform to build online fame and find new opportunities in life. And finally, there are people who actively use Instagram to shop (among other things) — any brand wants people like that in their audience.
If you're only getting started with Instagram and want to create perfect social media for your brand (personal or business likewise), but not sure where to start, buckle up — we've got a step-by-step guide for you.
Eight key steps for successful Instagram start
There are eight steps to get started with Insta. And by "getting started" we mean not only setting your profile up the right way but also the basics of posting content that will create a lot of engagement.
The main thing you should know before we get started — Instagram is complicated with its algorithms that decide how to rank posts in users' feeds and the "explore" tab. Your main goal is to get your posts higher in the rank for more people to see them, and then make your profile look captivating enough to make people want to follow you.
We'll start with basics — setting your profile up. If you're not new to Instagram, you can use this guide as a checklist to make sure your marketing strategy has no flaws.
Create an account
Duh! This one is obvious — to run an Instagram blog, you have to have an account there. Choose your username wisely — it should be readable, memorable, and short. For example, "honeyshopnyc" is way easier to remember and associate your brand with than "_honey_shop_nyc123". Makes sense when you represent a small local business — it's always better when people can recall your username in a few seconds rather than spending some time looking for you via the search bar or their following list.
Another important note: make sure your account is public and has the Business feature on it. Making your account public will not only make it way more accessible for your new followers but also will allow you to use a wide range of marketing tools. And when you convert your blog to a business one, you'll be able to run advertisement campaigns, promote your posts and use third-party services to boost activity on your profile.
Decide what niche you will take
If you run a brand's account, your niche is somewhat decided, the only thing you have to take into consideration is your preferred audience. For different social media platforms, the demographics and interests of your customers might be also slightly different — that calls for new marketing research.
If you want to run a successful personal blog, choosing a niche is essential. How do you want to introduce yourself? What do you want your public image to look like? We have a few ideas if you're yet not so sure what kind of content you'll want to dedicate your blog to:
- Fashion. Everyone's sense of fashion is unique, and you might as well want to try showing off your style. But it's not only about showing off — these days fashion is also about sustainability, economics, and the philosophy of trends. If you feel like this is something you know about a lot, this is your call to start a wonderful fashion blog.
- Travel. If you can't live a year without wonderful trips or even long journeys, take a shot in this niche. Depending on your traveling style, you can post about small trips, local sights, or your experience from different countries worldwide. Explore the world and take your followers with you!
- Professional. If you're a specialist in your field of study, running a blog about important things in your area of interest can reward you with lots of loyal followers.
- Food. Everyone loves yummy food — if you have a passion for discovering new places and can take beautiful pictures that make everyone hungry, this is your chance to make it big on Insta. Post reviews, interesting food facts, recipes — your opportunities here have no limit.
There are also plenty of successful blogs about health, beauty, money, motivation, and other niche things that are loved by many people. Whatever you're passionate about might be that one thing that will bring you online fame.
Write a memorable bio
Your bio is the point of attention attraction. An average Instagram user spends only 3 seconds to check out profile's bio before deciding whether to hit that "Follow" button ot not. This way, your bio has to be relevant, short and explicit about your blog. You're limited with 150 symbols — make the most out of them. To make it easier, answer these three questions:
- who you are? You're not only e.g. fashion brand, but you're also local and ethic fashion brand — this addition will make you stand out immediately;
- what do you do? Be creative with this one — a lot of people blog about food, but you can be the one who shares vegan recipes or creates individual meal plans;
- what makes you stand out? Put your unique feature there — free delivery, instant access, daily sales — anything that will motivate people to follow you and stay for your content.
You can also add your location (if you have a store), a link for a website, and a few ways to reach out to you — e-mail is a great choice in case you'll wait for commercial offers.
Have enough high-quality pictures or videos to post
Content is what drives this platform. Make sure your images and videos are in high resolution, relevant to the audience and relatable to your field of expertise. You can use built-in Instagram filters or third-party applications to enhance your pictures or videos. Also, there are apps that allow you to plan your visual content for 9-15 posts ahead — this will help you to create a unique and memorable style for your account.
Write relevant posts
Captions are everything — despite Instagram being a visual-oriented platform, people love to read stories in captions.
Create informative, educative, engaging, or entertaining posts that suit your visual content and your niche. Write your captions grammatically correct and don't be afraid to use emojis if it's acceptable for you.
Use hashtags for better performance
Hashtags have many features, the main of them are:
- easier navigation through your blog;
- finding new followers who look for content similar to yours;
- easier access to your services if you're a local business.
Make sure your tags are relevant and unique. Using too broadly themed tags won't give your more attention, but if you narrow them down to your region or area, you'll see that people actually search for services and blogs closer to them. In other words, #makeupmanhattan is hot, #makeup is a not.
Use location tags
Location is another thing that brings you closer to your targeted audience. Besides, Instagram algorithms can use location tags you put in your posts to deliver them to local potential audience rather than to someone a few countries away.
Create an engagement
Be active! Reply to comments, engage people in conversations and start them in other profiles. When you create this noise, you make your profile noticed, you make your posts heard and seen. This is a great way to build brand awareness and find new followers — when people see that you're active and responsible, they'll more likely to interact with your posts and stories.
Other tips you might want to check out
Don't forget that Insta has a lot more features than just posts and comments. Experiment with formats: post Reels, Instagram TV, Stories and see which format works the best for your audience. Stories work like a daily reminder that your account is active — they appear on the top of the app and usually get checked out before posts. Basically, stories are great for your online presence.
For better results, try using user-generated content. Whether it's reviews, comments, questions, you can post it and interact with it. This will make your bond with the audience even stronger as they see that you care about their opinion. Don't be shy to ask your followers about their opinions on something that matters — it's a great way to transmit your values and answer important questions about yourself or your brand.
There also are a few ways to promote your posts, products, or services. You can give your activity a boost if you use Instagram Promotion. This feature promotes your chosen post to your target audience, making more people learn about your account. Instagram advertisement is a bit more complicated — you can promote your post, Story, or profile overall.
How to make money out of your Instagram blog?
There are a few ways to monetize your profile. You can create your own products or offer unique services — the more popular you get, the more customers you have. It's a great option if you already own a small shop or have a skill that can be monetized — you can sell your consultations, artworks or accept commissions.
Also, when you earn some fame on Insta, different brands or bloggers might approach you for promotion. This kind of collaboration allows you to earn money from promoting other people, brands, or products — the market is big, and your audience might suit someone just right to buy promotion posts from you.
Another way to monetize your profile is to redirect traffic to your website or an online store — this way you won't be able to sell directly on Instagram, but you'll increase sale rates on your website if you have one. A lot of bloggers own small shops or work in dropshipping — you can try this option as well.