If you’re a travel blogger, having an Instagram account is a must for sharing photos of your travels. With over 800 million users active on this photo-sharing platform each month, nurturing a successful Instagram account can benefit you in many ways as a travel blogger. It can help you expand your business and make more sales, get more hits on your travel blog, and build up your brand image. But where do you start? It’s important you have a proper strategy in place to grow your Instagram following, rather than just posting blinding and hoping for results. Here are 8 practical tips to help you increase your following over time and experience Instagram success!
1. Create a theme
Deciding on a theme for your Instagram account is a great way to attract people who love what you do and gain more followers — as well as more readers for your blog. Having a consistent look and feel to your page will make you stand out and help people remember you better, especially in an endless sea of similar Instagram accounts. Having a theme that unifies your content will also make you look more professional, too!
When it comes to deciding on your theme, take the time to reflect on the following questions. What words do you want to come to people’s minds when they view your account? (Vibrant, moody, relaxing, etc). How about the colour scheme? Which colours best reflect what your brand’s all about?
Once you’ve decided on your theme, remember to stick to it as best you can whenever you take and post a photo!
2. Be consistent
When it comes to strengthening your Instagram presence, consistency is key. It’s a good idea to come up with a posting schedule and stick to it. This can be extra hassle, but it’s necessary and there are apps that can help you do it. Now, this doesn’t mean you should sacrifice quality in order to get something posted on time. Finding the balance between quality and quantity is what you should aim for.
3. Use niche hashtags
When it comes to posting hashtags with your photos, super vague and generic ones (like, “travel” or “vacation” ) aren’t going to cut it. These hashtags are so over-saturated that it’s unlikely you’ll get many views let alone followers with them. So, what should you do instead? Focus in on niche hashtags. These are more specific hashtags used by travel bloggers to grow their accounts. They’re a lot less competitive than generic hashtags and you’ll find it easier to gain exposure with them. Using niche hashtags will ultimately result in more followers who you can then direct to your blog!
4. Create your own hashtag
In addition to using niche hashtags, you can also go that bit further and create your own! Above all, you should choose a hashtag that’s unique and not currently in use by anyone else. It should also be relevant to your content. Encourage your followers to start posting photos using this hashtag. You can then in turn re-post their photos on your account (along with a shout-out). This is a great way to build a strong community on Instagram, as well as establish a consistent source of content for your own Instagram page.
5. Consider using bots and automation services
Instagram bots have been developed to help grow your Instagram account for you. They can essentially take care of the hard work while you sit back and relax. Depending on the service you go for, a bot will like other user’s photos based on your username and the hashtags you use, follow accounts, and even leave comments. Ultimately, the aim of this engagement done by Instagram bots is to get people to follow you back and engage with your content.
However, Instagram bots do have their drawbacks. Generic bot-comments (such as, “love your feed” and “cool pic”) are easily spotted and seem spammy. They may therefore damage the legitimacy of your brand. If you’re still considering using an Instagram bot, check out this helpful guide at Hash Tags For Likes. Ultimately, Instagram bots can be helpful, but you shouldn’t overuse them — and perhaps only use one for liking photos. To get the most out of Instagram, you’ll still need to put in the work and make time for genuine engagement.
6. Get social
Instagram is first and foremost a social platform, after all! Make time to engage with your followers. Respond to their comments and try to get some conversations going. Also go onto their profiles and leave them a like and a nice comment on their photos. It’s always preferable to post a genuine comment rather than something generic or spammy.
7. Tell your followers on other social platforms
Do you have a Twitter or FaceBook account? Post on all your other active social media accounts letting your followers there know about your Instagram account. You may assume your followers also follow your Instagram, but you’d be surprised! So, encourage them to give your Instagram account a follow. You can also link your Instagram account to your other social media accounts, which also makes it easier for your followers to discover you on Instagram.
8. Research what your followers want
Post pictures you know your followers are bound to like. Look through your feed and research which photos were more successful than others. Which got the most likes? What sets them apart from the rest? (Style, composition, subject matter?). Which photos didn’t seem to go down so well? Why? You can then work on incorporating the appropriate photos into your feed, strengthening your brand in the process.
Make sure you’re clear on the purpose of your Instagram account and how exactly you want to make money as a travel blogger. Perhaps you want to write for travel publications? Use affiliate links? Work with brands? Make sure your Instagram account both showcases your relevant expertise and your strategy for growth furthers you toward your ultimate goals.