Social Media For Bloggers | How To Grow Your Audience & Gain Exposure Using Instagram

Hiii & welcome back! Today I'm bringing you something that I'm really excited about because I really think this can help my fellow bloggers in their ventures. As I mentioned before, I work at a social media creative agency--aka we create the content you see brands posting on their social media channels (yes, people get paid to do this!) and I've learned a ton these past 2.5 years.

I've already begun applying some best practices to my blog's social channels and I have seen such a difference in engagement and exposure. I decided to put together a little series with best practices for bloggers across all social media platforms and today, we start with my favorite platform, Instagram!

Tip #1: Photography
On such a visual platform, it's a give in that photography is super important-- But you don't need to be an expert to take beautiful photos! I'm by no means a photographer, but watching my co-workers shoot and edit photos for our clients, I've be able to pick up on some tips and tricks for us iPhone photo takers :P

  1. Lighting - Lighting is SO important when taking photos. I personally love natural lighting, so I'm always sure to take my photos in the morning/early afternoon right by a big window. It puts some limitations on how often I can shoot, but it really makes a huge difference in how my photos look. You can also purchase photography lights, but honestly, the window works just fine!
  2. Backgrounds/Props - Different colored backgrounds and props can bring to life your product photography. I used to think I needed to spend tons of money on backgrounds, but something i learned is if you're photographing small products, you can just buy a bunch of scrapbook paper to use! Every photo I take is on scrapbook paper and I love it. It's an easy way to change up your surfaces (I have a bunch of different wood table looking patterns) as well as mix and match them to create some contrast. Just be sure to stick to solid colors and patterns that would look natural as a surface, like wood, marble etc.
  3. Options - You should take 10-20 photos for every 1 photo you plan on posting. Seems crazy, but the more photos you take and change even the slightest can help result in the perfect photo. Different angels and switching up the positioning can make a difference. I almost never use the first photo I take, so I love this tip.

Tip #2: Choosing What To Photograph
This tip is certainly geared a little bit more toward beauty blogs/blogs that post a lot of product photography. One thing that kills us at work is trying to find great UGC (User Generated Content) that only noticeably features our clients' brand. Brands & bloggers a like should love & embrace UGC because it's a win-win: The brand gets a great piece of content to share with their audience, and the blogger gains exposure from the repost/like/comment.

The struggle, though, is finding great photos that only feature one brand. Most brands are not okay with showcasing competitors or other brands in general in their photos, so if you're looking to get reposted, I suggest taking some photos of just one brand's products. I don't think you should only do this (unless your blog is all one-branded tutorials :P) but it certainly will help getting a brands attention.

Tip #3: Hashtags & Tagging
We all know hashtags help build exposure, but the right hashtags will make all the difference. I also know that some people are turned off by a ton of hashtags, but when you're just starting out and trying to get your content seen, hashtags are your friend. One caution though, is sure you're using relevant hashtags. I like to hashtag the brands and/or products, plus some blogger hashtags like "bblogger," "beautyblogger" etc.

Another HUGE thing I've learned, is when you're tagging a brand, make sure to physically tag them in the photo and not just in the caption. Brands receive thousands of Instagram notifications and Instagram only stores up to 80 in the notification tab, so your post will get lost very quickly. Remember, these are just normal people like you and I monitoring the channels, so they're not looking 24/7. If you tag them, they're much more likely to see it since that feed is usually much more manageable than the notification feed. Even just a like from a brand can spur TONS of engagement and follows. When Lorac liked this photo, I gained over 200 followers & 1,200 likes :O

Tip #4: Follow The Right Accounts & Interact 
This one is huge in my opinion. Following accounts like your own not only helps you find inspiration, but it also helps you form relationships with other bloggers in the community. You can gain exposure from people just liking your photo so it's important to be following and interacting with similar accounts.

I underlined interact above because it's so important, but you need to be doing it right. Don't comment random things on someones photo in attempt to get a follow back or a like. You need to interact with content that YOU actually like. Forming relationships with fellow bloggers will not only help your exposure but will also help make this whole experience better :) I still have friends from my tumblr days that I never met in person, but we still follow each other on our personal account (I'm lookin' at you, xxojess :P) and I love it, it makes blogging more fun!

And that's it for now! As I was writing this, I realized I have so many tips and tricks that I may end up doing a more in depth post for each point I made here. Let me know if you'd be interested in that! Thanks so much for reading :)


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