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Not on Instagram? Your Blog Could be Missing Out

This post is from ProBlogger Team member Stacey Roberts.

You could be forgiven for thinking Instagram is just for celebrity selfies and sharing pictures of what you ate for lunch. And while that’s exactly what Instagram is, it’s also so much more. For a start, it’s a network of totally engaged online creatures – exactly the kind of people who love to read blogs, and probably would love yours too, if you let them know you have one.

So many of us are visual creatures, and we love pretty pictures. In the last few years, Instagram has been the place to be for that – many of my blogging friends now call it their favourite form of social media. It is invaluable for interacting with readers (especially ones who don’t have a blog), and for finding new ones that aren’t coming to you through the usual channels.

It takes two seconds to upload a snippet of your day and check in with what’s happening. Instagram routinely gets plenty of interaction and engagement from fellow users, and while a tweet can sit in the ether feeling sorry for itself, an image is far more evocative. It also doesn’t take much for your followers to “like” your image, and you’re always in their feed as it’s not based on algorithms only Einstein could understand.

Instagram doesn’t take much brainpower to engage with – it’s not a tweet to be read, it’s not a Facebook status to understand – so people check in on it much more than they do other forms of social media. You can flick through while waiting in the doctor’s office, in the car at school pick-up, before a meeting, or even while waiting at the checkout. So the more you pop up in people’s feeds, the more your name and brand begin to get familiar. And because it takes one tap to engage – people are more likely to.

Folks love to share, and are often found snapping a picture of their freshly-made bed, a beautiful blue sky, or even their kids who painted their face instead of their paper. And they don’t just share and run, often they scroll through for a bit as well to see what everyone else is up to. Then they check back to see if anyone has chatted to them, which results in more scrolling. It would be silly not to capitalize on this, and be where the people are.

If you’re looking for 150 million monthly active users globally, you can’t go past Instagram. The 65 million photos uploaded by users every day result in a billion likes – and some of those could be on your content. Instagram says users spend three times as long on Instagram as they do on Pinterest and twice as long as on Twitter.

You don’t have to be funny or clever, you can just snap a picture of something intriguing and share that. There is always the lure of the “behind the scenes” images, so if you’re a business, upload some shots of what you all get up to in a day’s work. You might think it’s just for the young, but you’ll be surprised how useful it is to find new readers of any age, and how easy it is do do.

Less effort for more readers? You’d be crazy not to do it.

Stacey Roberts is the content ninja at ProBlogger.net, and the blogger behind Veggie Mama. Can be found making play-dough, reading The Cat in the Hat for the eleventh time, and avoiding the laundry. See evidence on Instagram here, on Facebook here, and twitter @veggie_mama.

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Comments

  1. Perry says:

    Your post doesn’t indicate how it would bring readers to your site – and away from Instagram. “Liking” a photo on Instagram does nothing for my web traffic.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      You’re right. Being on Instagram really is more building your brand recognition, and connecting with your readership in diverse environments.

  2. Neill Watson says:

    I’m coming late to Instagram. Two things I’ve struggled with.
    First off, their terms and conditions were punitive in terms of how they can use your images, something to be aware of if you’re a brand.
    Second, it bugs me that any web links you put into your captions are stripped out, so that you cannot post an image with a caption such as ‘find out more about it here…’ This severely limits any possibilities of getting traffic from Instagram.
    But there’s no denying, there are some Instagrammers with huge followings who are almost making a career out of simply being an Instangrammer.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      The inability to not hyperlink in the caption or comments is seriously annoying, I agree.

  3. sameer says:

    I like your post, but I have a question My blog is related to Jobs and i never upload any picture on my blog, So to be active on instagram to gain readers what should I do ?

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      My advice is to snap a picture on your phone anyway that might be representative of your post or your blog, and inform your followers that you’ve published a new post, or that the post you’ve written might be interesting to them. You don’t really need images on your blog, but using Instagram obviously is very visual. It doesn’t matter if there isn’t an image on your post, or if the image is different on Instagram than the one on your post.

  4. Stacey, you have really convinced me to start using Instagram.

    I used to be but abandoned it because I don’t really like taking photos.

    But with your post, I will start using it and including text to my pictures or my Blog pictures to really pass the accurate information.

    Thanks…

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      I don’t think I’m very good at taking photos, so I understand what you mean! But it can be a really fun way of doing something a little different to get your blog noticed.

  5. John says:

    Instagram is something I’ve tried from time to time, but in general I’d have to say I haven’t had much success converting the followers to readers. You can’t really link back to your site with a photograph – therefore you’re relying on people to go a step further to convert.

    Are you saying that you’ve had success converting people on instagram to traffic to your website and eventually sales of products? I’d say pinterest, youtube and twitter are better platforms to spend your time. At least that’s where I’ve personally found more success.

    Would love to hear more about how you convert readers from simply viewing a photograph you’ve taken to buying a product or service.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Hi John, thanks for your comment.

      I agree, it’s a bit of a pain that you cannot direct link to blog, websites, products or services in the caption or comments. I see a lot of bloggers tell their followers that their link can be found in their profile, using the hashtags #ontheblog and #linkinprofile. You are requiring a step further to convert, and if you’d prefer not to do that, then perhaps Instagram isn’t for you.

      I also agree that Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter are wonderful for converting traffic. For the people who embrace Instagram, and more importantly, the community on Instagram, they do have success moving people from the app to their website. I know I certainly do (although it is hard to measure, obviously), although I might not be much help to you as I have nothing to sell.

      Where I have found success (and I spend more time on Instagram than I do on almost any other social media) is posting a picture of something I know my readers are interested in. They will then ask me where they can get it or how they can get more information, and I then direct them to my site via the hyperlink in my profile.

      having said that, Instagram isn’t for everyone. There is a bit of an art to it, but if you are interested more in pure reader conversion and selling, then you’re better off spending your time on the channels you know work. If you’re interested in brand recognition, engagment, and being where your readers are, then Instagram can be very useful. And fun!

    • Darren Rowse says:

      John one interesting case study I heard about on Instagram was the swimware brand Sheridan who have seen real success in driving sales of their swimware via Instagram. Their account just needs to post a photo of a swimsuit that is on sale or that is new and they see sales. Their account is http://instagram.com/sheridynswim/

      Of course not every business/blog has content that is so perfectly suited to Instagram but it’s an interesting example

      • Stacey Roberts says:

        Sheridyn does it really well! so does Down That Little Lane http://instagram.com/downthatlittlelaneshop, who say “to find, search ‘mini hangers’ via dtll.com.au”, or whatever the search term is for the image. A pretty easy way of directing people without a super-long, unclickable link.

      • John says:

        Wow – cool examples and I’m sure there are hundreds of more like them. I think in general the idea behind this article is great and I’m all for trying alternative ways of reaching new people – but I wonder if maybe – the post title is a bit misleading. If you swap the word ‘blog’ with ‘brand’ I think it’d make a lot more sense as, at least in my eyes, Instagram is very much a brand builder, but not so much a blog traffic converter.

        I could see Instagram working really well with Physical stores. Where you can photograph your new item with a hashtag or two and tell people to come on down so to speak. But not being able to link back to an e-store makes it difficult.

        Anyway – it’s obviously a discussable topic and something different for a chance – so I’m happy you brought it up! :)

  6. Abhishek says:

    I am gonna put my blog on instagram now and see the results from it. thanks a lot for this informative and helpful post.

  7. Stacey, I’m not big on Instagram, so I was going to skip right over this post today, but on second thought, figured I better at least get a sense of your point of view.

    So glad I did!

    While I’m not a visual person, I LOVED your word pictures and the way you put things: tweets sitting “in the ether feeling sorry for themselves” and “algorithms only Einstein could understand.”

    Love the way you put things! Thanks for drawing me in on a topic I would otherwise have passed on by.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Oh I’m so pleased, what wonderful feedback! Thank you! Glad you got a giggle out of it :)

  8. Chris says:

    I’m with sameer. We’d love to participate on another social network. If you have a blog about viral videos, though, what can you post to Instagram? Also, I believe you can only post to Instagram from your phone, so unless you’re taking cell phone pics of videos, it would be difficult to come up with content. We’ll go follow a few big brands on Instagram and see what they’re posting. Time for some market research.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Oh yes, market research will get you everywhere! I find that cell phone photos of viral videos with a funny caption do send followers off to watch the full thing on a site somewhere else. Also it is possible to post video to Instagram, so the options are endless there.

  9. Imran says:

    Very informative blog post thanks for sharing this. Instagram seems very powerful.

  10. mike says:

    Stacey, great post! The one thing I’m not clear on is this; what does the connection between IG & the blog look like // how does IG traffic drive traffic to the blog? …IG pics promoted on (automatically fed to) the blog? Main blog images from posts also fed to IG (w/link in the description)? Does the IG profile name mirror the blog name? etc. what does that link look like? Thank you!

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Thanks so much, Mike! I’ll try and answer your questions…

      The connection between IG and the blog is that it is an extra social media channel where readers can connect with you. I find more of my readers are using the app these days than they are on facebook or twitter, etc. It’s fun to engage with them there.

      IG drives traffic to the blog (in my case) by me posting a picture of something I know my readers are interested in. They will then ask me where they can get it or how they can get more information, and I then direct them to my site via the hyperlink in my profile. Also if I’m just posting pictures of things I like, and snippets of my life and work, people are interested and want to know more, so head to my blog.

      You can get IG fed directly to the blog. I use a widget on my WordPress site, which updates my last four images on the sidebar.

      I don’t promote my blog posts on Instagram (unless a follower there has asked me for a specific one and i’m letting them know it’s been published), but I have seen bloggers post the main image of blog articles posted to instagram, with a short blurb in the caption, and that the link to the blog is in their profile.

      I think the IG profile name should mirror the blog name, yes. It creates brand cohesion across your social media channels.

      Does this help? Please let me know if you have any other questions!

  11. We are HUGE fans of Instagram!! We find that our IG followers are the most engaged + are super doooooper lovely!! We love that you don’t schedule posts…it’s just pretty much the random stuff we get up to with a few canva infographics here + there. For us, it’s the easiest of all social media channels. We follow you @veggie_mama!! We are @themerrymakersisters. :) Emma + Carla.

  12. Stacey, I enjoyed your post. What do you think the best way would be to promote a blog post on Instagram?

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Hi Bjorn,

      I have seen people use an image, or take a screen shot of that day’s post, and invite people to read their post in the caption. They often let their followers know their link is in their profile. But I also know that Instagram is more a place for sharing and connecting, and less a place to constantly promote your blog – I think if you find the balance, it can be great!

  13. Karen Main says:

    I have a small and lovely following on Instagram, a completely different group of people to those who follow my blog. I photograph lots of things everyday, more photos than I would ever use on my blog and Instagram gives me a place to share them with a little story as well behind each one. It is also a good place for gaining inspiration if you follow the right people.

  14. Govind says:

    Yes You’r right it is also inspirational.

  15. Matt says:

    Ehh….

    Instagram is okay with connecting via people that like to use Instagram as their choice for social media but it’s hard to convert traffic. I stopped using instragram. One issue I struggle with is that there’s not enough time in the day to keep up with all these social media outlets. There’s too many of them.

  16. Neill Watson says:

    Following on from my first comment, it’s interesting that you should write this as I’m conducting my own Instagram experiment. One of the things I’ve done is create an Instagram landing page for my profile, along the lines of Darren’s Twitter landing page. I’ll tweak and craft this with useful links and experiment with my Instagram profile wording to try to encourage clicks through. Anyone interested can follow my progress on my Instagram page here http://instagram.com/neillwatson

  17. Nisha Salim says:

    Instagram is suitable only for a certain type of business or blog which banks on the visual appeal of images to communicate, engage and ultimately sell to their audience.

    IMHO it is not worth spending time on, if your business or blog is such that pictures cannot convey the brand’s story or authenticity. Posting pictures just because you can is nothing more than spamming.

    I’d say that Instagram does not allow hyperlinks precisely for this reason – they want to discourage users from randomly posting pictures only to link back to their main blog or website. Being selective about the users you attract is a great strategy, and that’s one reason why Instagram does so well.

  18. Sunday says:

    Instagram could be a powerful marketing tool for bloggers only if they understand how to make the most of it.

    Many never get to understand how to explore this social network effectively because they think it is a platform for sharing hobbies.

    With the ideas from this post we now know better. There are lot more to using Instagram that meets the eye! So, its good inculcating this platform into blogging!

    The above comment I have also left in kingged.com – the content syndicaton and social aggregation website for Internet marketing where this post was shared and bookmarked.

    Sunday – kingged.com contributor

    http://kingged.com/not-on-instagram-your-blog-could-be-missing-out/

  19. Kalen Bruce says:

    I have a personal Instagram, but I haven’t started on for my blog yet. I may do that now though. Instagram seems like a more personal type of website, so it could be fun to post more about my writing process and my day instead of just stuff from my blog. Thanks Stacey!

  20. I LOVE instagram, but it’s purely for fun, for me – the ONE place people aren’t jockeying for links and trying too hard.

  21. Terry says:

    WOW! Never thought of using instagram for promoting my blogs. It’s a great idea and I should be doing it right now. I think instagram is an easy to use app and it is powerful. Thanks for the advice. One more thing, is you talk about the power of it but where is Problogger’s link to it’s instagram account? I see all the other social media links.

  22. Stacey,

    I hopped on the Instagram train with both feet last week. So far, so good!

    Smart share here, thanks :)

  23. karan says:

    I didn’t use instagram till now but after reading your article i will definitely try it, lets see how much traffic i get from this site.

  24. Sara says:

    I love using Instagram as a blogger. I post images of vendor products which keeps them coming back for advertising and when I upload images from the day’s blog post and tag the photographer it leads to more submissions and high quality content (I’m a wedding blogger). Instagram has been great for me. Not as good as Pinterest but way better than twitter. Fab post & mahalo!

  25. Max says:

    Dead sure, Instagram largerly contributes to brand recognition and adds to your audience awareness. It’s pure fun and doesn’t drown you in muddy infostreams. But on the other hand, it’s more mobile set – Instagram usability on a stationary computer is a bit lame. Also, there is no thematic/folder categorization, but one faces oceans of hashtags instead. So, to my mind, Instagram will serve you well, but won’t bring you a huge lot of profits – it’s more of an extra PR tool.

  26. SUPer says:

    The big traffic on Instagram is because people prefer to see photos rather than reading boring tweets about guys just drink their coffees or brands launched their new product. A picture is worth a thousand words!

  27. Rohit Batra says:

    After Pinterest , Now Instagram is going to rock the market. Pictures are something in which you can express your whole post without saying even a single word.. These are the heart of your blog…

    Thanks for providing such an awesome post.

    Cheers
    Rohit

  28. Hello Stacey, your entry is appreciated with all sincerity. I am not an ardent fan of Instagram but with your arguments, I believe it will sure help.

    One network that surprises me in terms of traffic is Pinterest..,and I think they both share similar attribute: and I was reluctant to join the two at first!

    Always,
    Terungwa

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      I think there is a way for all things to be useful, you’ve just gotta concentrate on what works for you!

  29. Dawn Garvin says:

    Thanks Stacy,

    I’m a new blogger and I have an Instagram acct that is setup but, I haven’t used it yet. I will take your advice because of the great information I’ve received here, and began working it. Besides Instagram does have a great following and I’ll test to see how much traffic I draw.

  30. The only thing I hate about IG is that you can’t actually click/tap links in comments

  31. Keta M. says:

    Hi Stacey,

    It’s weird to read an article about Instagram for bloggers because yesterday I had a similar conversation with my friend about the topic (intuition maybe). As a music blogger, I thought Instagram would not help,my site because its just pictures and clips, but my friend though otherwise because he uses it everyday and he discovered new songs from his favorite musicians and more… I will give Instagram a try starting today and see what happens!

    Thanks
    -Keta M.

  32. Andy M says:

    I’m reading a lot of frustration about being unable to link back to a page or post from Instagram. But why not look at it a different way? Instagram is just another way for people to consume the content that you produce, and you may even find a new audience by dipping into Instagram.

    You could also grab your images from Instagram and pull them into blog posts. Boom! Repurposed, original content. :)

  33. gobizen says:

    I concur your idea before I ever concentrated instagram. Now going to concentrate your tips too. Thanks for the information.

  34. SEOinUS says:

    thanks for sharing..!
    Instagram is undoubtedly a great platform to drive huge traffic to blogs….
    I am going to apply this tactics for my fb page…!

  35. One of the things that I realized last year is that I did missed out a lot because of Instagram. I’ve been reading reviews and I did make a mistake of not being active in Instagram.

  36. Bob says:

    Stacey,

    This is a great post! I understand the frustrations surrounding the inability to link back to a site, but brand recognition is key! I signed up for instagram after reading your post, and look forward to expanding out my brands.

    Bob

  37. Johnny Ringo says:

    I run a female wrestling company with a lot of pretty women so Instagram is something I’m considering as we have a lot of excellent imagery to be certain.

    It does bug me a bit that they strip out the links in the comments, but you do get a link on your main page somewhat like Twitter, and I imagine that link could probably increase in value (linking to you) based on your followers. (If not now, I’m sure something like that will be set up if it isn’t already)

    With so many photo sites now, it seems like a good business idea for someone would be to create a WordPress plug that could send a picture instantly to a large number of sites.

  38. Lee Cole says:

    Great article! There’s more to Instagram than meets the eye. Got a good friend who’s a very good network marketer. Uses Instagram to find prospects for his business. Works like a champ. A little “out of the box”, but that’s what works!

  39. Kimberly says:

    I still have yet to understand how exactly Instagram works. I have tried to sign up but it wants me to download an app to a smartphone or tablet. Having neither of these, apparently I am not allowed to just upload photos from my computer? Or am I missing something?

  40. Project Aili says:

    Never thought about Instagram before. But, your posting reminds me on the power of social media. Will give it a try with Instagram. Thanks for sharing it.

  41. Hmm.. this is a good concept and I think I might have to start using Instagram now. My website has a lot of eye catching pictures and I guess I just never thought about capitalizing on Instagram. Well here goes, I will keep you guys posted. Good Article!

  42. Debarpan says:

    Instagram is no doubt a powerful site to build a great online community but I guess it’s mainly for fashion or food blogger,so as a tech blogger I never used it.Do you think I should go for Instagram?

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      It can’t hurt to give it a go! It’s not just for fashion or food bloggers. Millions of people from all genres are there to connect.

  43. Santhosh R says:

    Thanks for the great information. Hope It will help to improve my site growth.

    Once again thanks Darren Rowse!!!

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