It’s common knowledge that having a broad reach is essential for bloggers and
being present on all social media makes it easier for people to find you. Instagram, with its 900 million monthly users, has clearly taken the world by storm and it seems that everyone is now using the app, not only to share their pizzas and selfies, but also to get inspired for their future travel destinations.
If you are a blogger and don’t have an Instagram account yet, 2018 is the year you are going to need one!
However, you can’t drop an account in there and expect magic. Instagram is a high-
maintenance tool. To be noticed on Instagram, you need to constantly share
amazing photos and videos, but you also need to stand out from the crowd and create a loyal and interested audience.
As I am (very generous) travel blogger and influencer, I’ve decided to share with you my secrets to help you grow your followers and make your Instagram account a great one.
1. Pick a good username
Your Instagram journey starts when you set up your account. If you already have an
established blog name, you might want to stick to that in order to be consistent across all platforms. Otherwise, think of something professional and catchy. Add to it a nice profile picture, a bullet-pointed bio and obviously a link to your travel blog. I was very lucky as when I started my Instagram account early in 2012 I picked @the_storyteller and back then, storytelling wasn’t a popular word as it is today and it got me a long way.
2. Select your niche (and stick to it)
Are you into landscapes or travel food photography? Do you love selfies or architecture? Pick one niche and stick to it. Not every single post needs to be executed exactly in the same way, but with a blink of an eye to your feed, anybody should be able to get the idea of what you stand for and decide if they like what you do or not. I choose mainly landscapes and this is what I mainly do.
3. Tell a story
Great photos are essential, but if you want to make your Instagram stand out, you also need to tell a story through your account. Use the caption area to introduce the place you are visiting, to share some odd things you discovered or maybe some historical facts. It’s true that a picture can speak a thousand words, but sometimes words and stories add that extra touch of interest.
4. Use relevant hashtags
Instagram allows you to use 30 hashtags per picture. You don’t need to use all of them, but it’s common knowledge that content with 11 or more hashtags receives higher engagement. Some popular and relevant hashtags I use are: #travelblogger #travel #instatravel #travelgram #tourism #passportready #wanderlust #ilovetravel and many more. Then add some more specific hashtags related to the image you are showing, for example I might use #Venice, #London, #Spain etc. Lastly, you should hope to get visibility with some of the most influential accounts related to your topic, for example I use #IAmAtraveler (Conde Nast Traveler), #passionpassport, #traveldeeper, #suitcasetravels and more.
5. Geotag your discoveries and places
By writing posts on your blog you are helping people understand whether they want to
visit a place or not. The same goes for Instagram: by sharing a pic about a city, you want your audience to know what that photo is about. On top of being nice, your post will appear when someone is exploring the content tagged to a certain location.
6. Follow, tag and engage with your Instamates
Following, engaging and tagging other influential accounts on your most amazing
pictures can help you get discovered. They might notice you and feature you on their own account or stories. You should always keep an eye open for competitions and giveaways which are great chances to get your content visible. If you are loving your meal in a restaurant or a hotel in which you are staying, tag the business on your picture. Your picture might get featured by the business and your content will show up when people look at that account.
7. Use the Instagram Slideshow to introduce your blog post
The new slideshow feature on Instagram allows you to build a story with a series of
pictures. You can create mini travel guides or present an entire meal you had at a great restaurant, or even different rooms of a hotel.
Pro-tip: you can tag individual photos to give credit to the places and experiences you are sharing.
8. Stories and more stories
It common knowledge that people tend to spend more time on videos than picture lately, so use the Instagram stories feature to show your followers the behind the scene of a picture (for example showing your editing process), to talk about yourself and get personal with them or to talk more about the place you are visiting. Some users have the additional possibility to add links to their stories, once you get this extra feature, make sure to direct your followers to read your articles.
9. Post regularly
Consistency is key in most things in life and Instagram isn’t an exception. In fact, the more regularly you post, the easier it will be for you to build an engaged audience that will be aware of your posting rhythm and habits. By posting at roughly the same time every day, you also increase your chances to connect with the same people and possibly to create a community around your account. Remember to always reply to the comments people leave on your pictures, it’s polite, but it also shows you care about the time people spent leaving you comments.
10. Engage, engage, engage. And repeat.
Unless you have money to spend on fake followers and likes (I highly suggest you to
steer away from all of that), the best way to build a credible and organic audience is by investing time and energy in your account. If you are serious about it, then you should reserve an hour or two every day to connect with people and engage with their content. You will need to study bigger accounts to try and capture the secret of their success and then you should always stay on top of things. By checking your statistics, you need to be able to change and adapt your strategy to what people like the most.