I have a love/hate relationship with Instagram, but it’s still my favorite social media app and the way that I connect with all of you the most. Creating connections is an essential element when it comes to building relationships and the more relationships you build, the stronger your community becomes. This is extremely important to me and I think it should be important to all bloggers. Everyone always asks, “How can I get more followers?” You have to ask yourself why this question is important to you. Is it because you just want to have a higher number on the app or is it because you want to continue connecting with more people? For me, it’s the latter and I hope that it is for you too!
I’ve been on Instagram since 2011 before I even started blogging. It’s definitely changed drastically over the years. It has become much more difficult to grow and of course the new algorithm slowed things down even more. I’ll be the first to admit that this drove me crazy for awhile. I had to change my perspective. Instead of solely focusing on ways to “get more followers” I started focusing on ways that I could build my Instagram community. I started to think about the ways in which I could create a stronger connection because to me, this matters more than the number at the top of my profile. Otherwise, it’s just an empty number with no real value. So in continuation of this Behind The Blogging Scenes series, I decided to share 6 tips for building an Instagram community. I hope it gives you some new insight!
I connect with the most people each day through insta-stories, not my feed. What I love the most about it is that it creates a conversation that my posts sometimes lack due to the algorithm change. I never know which photos will reach the most amount of people. I honestly can’t figure it out. Just the other day my photo reached 24K and the response was awesome, but the very next day my photo only reached 9700. That’s a huge gap. It used to frustrate me so much until I started using insta-stories more on a daily basis. I realized that I could always count on conversation here. Since they disappear in 24 hours, it’s important to try and have a constant presence. It allows me to share more bits and pieces of my life and I have so many “life chat” moments that seem to resonate with people. Sometimes I even do little singing clips. It’s also my new favorite way to connect while traveling solo. I was able to share so much of my experience and the response was overwhelming beautiful. Insta-stories is a great way to give people more of an insight into YOU. It’s OK if you are not completely comfortable to get as personal as I do, but let everyone see you for who you are, beyond the curated photos. Let them in, even if just a little bit, on your daily life. Take them along for the ride. They will appreciate it and feel more connected to you. With so many people posting stories as well as photos, things can still get lost in the mix, but you will start to form your own little community within Instagram through your stories. I love my IS fam!
Engage With Others.
My growth has pretty much been at a stand still for awhile now, so instead of stressing over “getting new followers,” I am focusing on the people who are currently choosing to follow my journey. How can I get them to stick around? I love talking to everyone. I try to respond to every single comment. Conversations are not one-sided. It’s important to acknowledge those who take the time to leave you love. When they give you a compliment, just say thank you! When they ask a question, make sure to answer it. If you have a ton of followers then you will definitely miss out on some comments at times, but I think it’s important to respond as much as you can, when you can. I also make sure to go to other blogger’s profiles to leave them love too. With the new algorithm change I definitely miss a ton of photos in my feed. I always search for some of my favorites to catch up on their posts. Sometimes I even search in the hashtags for new people to follow and engage with. I’m always looking for new inspiration, especially when it comes to travel. I’m not a fan of that whole “follow/unfollow” game or spam liking someone’s account just for them to follow you. (and then you don’t even follow them back!) I can admit I did this a few times in the past, but it was just a tactic. I quickly realized that this was not the way to do it. Just be genuine. Acknowledge others. Spread the love. Give support back.
I have not gone LIVE in awhile, but it’s definitely something that I would like to start doing again. When it first came out, I used it several times and it was such a cool way to connect with everyone. It’s just you, completely unfiltered and unedited. It’s pretty mind-blowing to see all of the different countries that people are tuning in from. This is a great opportunity to do a Q&A and give your followers the chance to know you a bit better. Maybe you can make it a weekly thing and center each LIVE around a specific topic. Or instead of planning it out, just be in the moment and see where the conversation takes you. This could also be a fun way to collab with other bloggers. I’ve been thinking a lot about doing some interactive LIVE chats with some blogger friends, similar to my blogger edition posts. I also want to do a LIVE the next time I travel. I wanted to do this while in Spain, but I never did and I wish I had!
Mix Things UP.
Content can get a little stale sometimes and it’s completely normal to fall into a creative rut or to feel creatively drained. It happens to me a lot and truthfully, I am going through it right now. Whenever you are feeling this way, take it as an opportunity to mix things up and try something new. Have fun with your content! Play around with your feed’s aesthetic and layout. What do you want your 1:1 photos to say about you? What’s your point of view? What are people responding to the most? You don’t have to only stick to one color scheme. Experiment with different ideas and see what works the best. I think that we have to be able to challenge ourselves creatively at times. I love that photos can tell a story. This is something that I want to try to do more of. Instead of just saying, “Here’s my #ootd,” think of ways that your photo can speak to people differently. Maybe instead of only sharing photos from your blog, start to incorporate other aspects of your life too. Show that you’re relatable. For me, I love sharing a mix of everything. I like showing that my life is not perfect. With so many bloggers and creatives on Instagram, you just have to find and create your own path. Get inspired, but give it your own unique spin. It’s OK to be different. It’s encouraged!
Speak To Your Audience.
Just like with my Life Chats here on the blog, I enjoy getting personal with real talk, in-depth Instagram captions. Or, I share inspiring quotes that really speak to me in the moment. When there is a message on my heart, it’s difficult for me to not share that with others. This creates authentic conversation and I absolutely love reading everyone’s replies. One of the best feelings is when someone writes, “I needed this message today” or “Thank you so much for sharing this.” That means something to me. It makes my day. I know sometimes people have a habit of scrolling by without reading. It happens. However, there WILL BE people who are going to stop scrolling and read what you have to say. Share your truth. Tell your story. You’d be surprised how many others can relate. It’s an amazing thing to show others that they are not alone with how they feel or what they are going through.
I know it sounds a bit cliché, but you’d be surprised by how many people can lose themselves in this industry. You will be the most relatable when you are simply just being yourself. Don’t lose sight of that. Stay humble, always. Don’t get too caught up in the numbers game. Don’t let that define you. Don’t buy followers and likes. Let your true personality shine through everything that you do. It’s OK to be transparent sometimes. Don’t take on brand partnerships that aren’t genuine. Part of building a community means that you have to build trust. You can’t expect people to trust you if you aren’t being authentic.
What are some of the ways that you work on building stronger connections via Instagram? Is this something that is important to you? Thanks so much for taking the time to read this post and hopefully you found it helpful! You can check out other Behind The Blogging Scenes posts here and here. 💛