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Get Started Gramming
1. Set up a free Instagram account for your blog here.
If you haven’t registered for a free Google account for your blog yet, do so here before you set up your Instagram account. You can use your blog gmail address to register for your new Instagram account to help keep things organized.
2. Pick a profile picture.
While it is ideal for bloggers to have a professional-looking headshot as a profile picture across all social media platforms, it’s certainly not a requirement when you’re just getting started.
Just go for something that’s…
- An actual picture of you (Not a logo or anything else. Bloggers/influencers are humans and need to show that.)
- Well-lit (No dark, grainy selfies, y’all. Natural light is your friend, here.)
- Professional-ish (I’m not talking wearing a suit professional here, unless that works with your niche. Basically just leave the snapshots from your drunken night out in Cabo on your personal, private social media accounts where they belong and go for something a little more polished.)
3. Create the perfect blogger Instagram profile.
There are a few key things that all blogger and business Instagram accounts should have. Use this guide to make sure your profile includes all of them.
4. Publish your first Instagram post!
Now that you’ve got the basics set up, you want to make it clear that your account is run by an actual human being. Coming across an empty Instagram profile is usually a red flag for most users, so you want to make sure yours has some posts.
The sooner you can have at least 6 images posted on your account—the better. (6 images is what most mobile users can see when they click on an Instagram profile without scrolling.)
A few notes to help you get started with these initial posts:
- Do not post free stock photography and call it a day. It reads as fake, and it’s not why folks will want to follow you. Use your own original images (and if you don’t, make SURE you give credit to the photographer in your caption).
- Do not feel like you have to go out and take new photos and post them chronologically, the way you would with a personal Instagram account. You can post photos that you already have on hand with fresh captions.
- When all else fails, go outside. For those of us who are not professional photographers, natural light is a true BFF when it comes to Instagramable photos. Try to avoid low-light, grainy-looking indoor selfie type photos, as those don’t read well for business. Light and bright is a safe goal for Instagram. (Tip: You can always add a little extra brightness by increasing the brightness in Instagram, or by doing a little bit of editing with an app like VSCO.)
5. Follow some great Instagram accounts.
After you’ve set up your account and posted a few post, it’s time to start creating your InstaFam! One of the easiest ways to start connecting with others is by following some great Instagram users.
Ideally, you’ll want to connect with two types of folks:
- Bloggers/Influencers in your niche
- Your ideal reader
If you start following users in those two areas, you’ll be building an authentic community. If you participate in generic “Follow for Follow” threads (which I do NOT recommend unless they are specific to your niche), you’ll be left with followers who are not interested in what you have to say—and who will most likely end up unfollowing you eventually.
6. Engage, engage, engage!
Instagram is a community, and users love accounts who are authentic and engage through likes and commenting.
Reminder: there’s a difference between “celebrity” Instagram accounts (actors, musicians, Oprah/Lady Gaga-type folks) and blogger/influencer accounts. Celebrity Instagram accounts can get away with not engaging with users on social media accounts. Bloggers can’t. Even the top bloggers/influencers will like and comment on a regular basis.
The best ways to engage through liking and leaving THOUGHTFUL comments on other users’ posts. Since you should mostly be following people who are in your niche, that should come pretty naturally.
You can connect to users that you are not following through hashtags (#thesethings). Find out what the top hashtags are in your niche (mama bloggers, I’ve got you covered). One of Instagram’s newest features is the ability to follow hashtags, which means you can easily keep up with users who use the same hashtags as you.
Instagram Tools for Bloggers
Tailwind Instagram Scheduler
With Tailwind, you can schedule posts in advance, receive smart hashtag recommendations, save hashtags in reusable lists, and gain access to lots of crazy helpful analytical data about your Instagram account.
If that sounds like it might be your thing, you can sign up for a free trial with Tailwind here. (They are the kind of folks who don’t require annoying things like credit card information to start a free trial. I literally have so many heart eyes for them, y’all.)
Tripod for your Phone or Camera
Whether you’re using an iPhone or an SLR camera, having the ability to be your own photographer—even if you’re in the picture—is a game changer. When you’re able to do so, invest in a tripod (there are tons on Amazon, like this one for iPhones that you can snag for under $12).
Selfie Stick for your Phone
If you’re planning on being the subject of photos on a regular basis and the thought of dealing with setting up a tripod is too much, a selfie stick may be a better option for you. This is the one that we keep with us when we travel (I love it—easy to use and affordable at under $12).