Become A Better Blogger - What About Instagram?

Published: Mon, 02/16/15

Do you love Instagram?

As a blogger, Instagram is not one of my favorite social channels. I think it has certain pros and cons, but whether we love it or not, as bloggers we can't ignore it.

I'm not an Instagram expert, but I thought I'd take this issue of our “Become a Better Blogger” email series to share where we're at with Instagram

What I Like About Instagram

When I visit a new blog that I like, I quickly click through to all their social channels to get a feel for the blogger(s) and follow them on all their accounts.

I'll follow their Twitter handle, add them to one of my Twitter lists and maybe browse through their recent tweets and hit RT on one of them.

Then I'll hit "Like" on their Facebook page and maybe comment on a recent status update.

Next up, I hit "Follow" on their Pinterest account, so I follow all their boards. 

I will usually also add them to a Google circle and notice whether or not they actively use Google+.

If the blog is run by an individual blogger, to get a good idea of who she is behind the scenes, I click through to her Instagram profile. I may comment on a couple recent photos, and I'll scan through a few dozen of her shots and quickly find out if she has kids, if she likes to cook, bake or do crafts. If she takes selfies, I'll see what she looks like outside of her profile photo.

That's what I like best about Instagram... Getting a quick insight into a blogger's real life. 

I also think Instagram is perfect for watching hashtags for live events... especially if I'm not there.

What I Do Not Like About Instagram 

While I love watching other people's Instagram feeds, I admit that I don't love filling up my own feed.

I almost never take selfies and I often forget to stop and take enough photos in my real life to share on Instagram. So my feed isn't as full and current as it should be.

But as a blogger, I mostly don't like Instagram as a social sharing channel because I don't like that we can't link to blog posts.

I also hate that I can't update it from my laptop and that I can't schedule posts.

Love It Or Hate It, We Must Use It

But whether or not I like Instagram is beside the point.

It's here to stay... and it's going to grow... and brands do look to see if you have a following there.

So I think that even if you're not emphasizing Instagram in your growth plans, you should still regularly post and gradually gain followers.

What Should You Post

There are varying opinions on what exactly you should share on Instagram. But I think that as a mom blogger, it's a good idea to share the following...
  1. Some photos of yourself. Even if you're like me and you don't take many selfies, it's important for you to be in some of your Instagram photos. I think a feed that is full of selfies isn't great anyway, so don't worry about having to take a photo of yourself every day... just have a few there so people can see who you are.

  2. Your kids and family life. If you're a mom blogger who regularly shares photos of your kids on your blog, then it makes sense to have them on Instagram too. However, if for privacy or safety, you choose not to have them on there, that's cool too.

  3. Your interests and hobbies. If you're into healthy eating, exercise, baking, cooking or crafting, those are all perfect for sharing. 

  4. Photos from your blog posts. We're starting to share some photos from our blog posts - especially recipes and crafts - on Instagram as well. Not every photo in your Instagram feed needs to be taken on your smart phone. 

  5. Videos. While I haven't yet been sharing many videos on Instagram, I'm going to try to start. Videos are a major growth area everywhere online, and Facebook (the owners of Instagram) are investing heavily into that side of the platform.

  6. Regrams. I like to occasionally regram other people's images especially if they are inspirational or funny.

A New Type of Giveaway

One of the new trends with Instagram is what's known as an Instagram Loop Giveaway.

We participated a couple weeks ago in our first such giveaway as one of the stops in the "loop" and today we are hosting a new Instagram Loop Giveaway.

Unfortunately, this loop giveaway is only open to Canadians, because the sponsor providing the prizing is Clarins Canada.

But if this loop giveaway goes well, we may run more of them that are open to the US. (It is rare for one of our giveaways to be Canada only as usually they are US only.)

If you are Canadian, definitely click over to enter the Loop Giveaway as we're giving away a $200 Clarins Cosmetic Prize Pack for the winner and ANOTHER for her friend.

But even if you aren't able to enter, click through to follow us on Instagram and check out what an Instagram Loop Giveaway is like... you may want to try running one yourself.

Let's Connect on Instagram

You can find me on Instagram as @5minutesformom and Janice as @janice_5minutesformom.

If I'm not yet following you on Instagram, reply to this email with your address and I'll be sure to start following you.