Instagram isn’t just a platform to show gorgeous (jealousy-provoking) lifestyle pics. It’s possible to start a blog and grow your brand and business on Instagram.
While Instagram doesn’t necessarily work for every type of business, it works for more than you might think: home decor, home renovations, food and beverage, travel, parenting, crafting, cooking, and fashion are common categories.
In the gig economy, there are also many Instagram bloggers producing great content about more surprising topics like money and finance, infertility, adoption, real estate trends, car repair, books, music, car repair, hunting, fishing, weight-lifting, and GPS devices.
Believe it or not, there are more men than women on Instagram. It’s 51.6% male to 48.4% female. And 69% of Instagram users are age 25 or older.
If you’re a blogger and you don’t have an Instagram account, you’re missing out. Over a billion people use Instagram every single month. If you’ve got a brand or business that you’re growing, start Instagram blogging now. And if you don’t currently have a blog up anywhere, you can get started now.
Here’s how to start an Instagram blog in 6 steps
1 Open an Instagram Account
Open an Instagram account now. It’s free. If you already have a personal account, open another one that’s specific to your Instagram blog. Make sure that you pick an effective username (should be relevant to your business) and make good use of the bio.
There isn’t a lot of space in the Instagram bio area, but you can put your website, contact info, or link to the last blog post if you’re publishing on your company’s blog or another blogging platform. Free tools to shorten links can be very helpful.
Depending on your business, it may make more sense to create an Instagram business account. If your brand isn’t deeply tied to a personal story, or may have multiple users, this option makes a lot of sense.
2 Stick to Your Niche
What’s your area of expertise or your niche? Is your business or personal blog all about different side hustles you try, like doing paid surveys for gift cards or driving for Uber Eats, then stay in your lane. Everything you share on your Instagram feed should be related to gigs, side hustles, and ways to make money. This includes Instagram stories, too.
If you write about DIY home plumbing hacks in one post, and then the best gender neutral baby clothes in another, that’s going to confuse or alienate your audience.
Instagram is crowded and noisy. It’s hard work to gain followers, and when they do start following your Instagram feed, it’s to certain content expectations.
If your topic is more personal in nature (i.e. it’s about sewing quilts for your new baby), then it’s fine to work in some autobiographical content. But stay focused on your topic.
3 Tell Your Story
With each post, tell your story. You don’t need to be an amazing photographer or designer to create a meaningful, engaging post.
Some of the best Instagram blog posts I’ve seen have been of bloggers writing one compelling sentence on a letterboard. And then taking a pic (with just a smartphone camera) of that letterboard.
Some examples of compelling sentences I’ve read that can draw in someone scrolling through Instagram posts:
- I made one delivery for Uber Eats to get the $200 bonus.
- Our 3rd embryo transfer failed.
- 80 caffeinated hours later, this masterpiece emerged…
- Please let this finally work.
- 1 Leaky Pipe + 2 Oz of Gorilla Glue + 3 hours + 4 YouTube videos =
The reader is drawn in.
Then, you have 2,200 characters to tell your story. These 2,200 characters are your Instagram blog posts. Depending on word length, this can be up to 550 words. That’s plenty of space to share what you want to say.
And you can have additional images too. While your letterboard image might be the anchoring picture that draws people into your blog on Instagram, you can use the second and third photo slots (and beyond) for more pictures. Show people the masterpiece that emerged or the leak that you fixed.
As long as the primary visual is eye-catching, the other pics don’t have to be on point. If you’re not a photographer, it can be a non-professional image that you take with your phone.
In addition to static images and text, you can (and should) do much more. This can include inspirational posts (graphics with quotes), open-ended questions, testimonials, Instagram Live, reels and other video content, promotional posts (where you have contests), and eventually sponsored posts too.
If you want to be making money through Instagram, and growing your blogging business, you need to cover all of your bases.
4 Make Sure Your Instagram Blog Has a Second Home
Instagram blogs are amazing . And when you have engaging Instagram blog content, your followers will want to see what else you’re sharing online.
In addition to Instagram, you should also have a blog that is hosted somewhere off of Instagram like on WordPress, Wix, or Medium.
Through no fault of your own, you could lose your Instagram account (and Instagram followers) at any time. In a split second, you could your entire blog and audience.
That’s why in addition to your Instagram page, you want to have a blog account somewhere else.
- You’re always backing up your Instagram content and giving followers another place to follow you and connect.
- You can reach a different audience through Google Search and other discovery methods.
- You can create content that’s longer and more word-rich.
- You can share more photos and more visuals on a wider screen.
- You have additional ways to monetize your brand – affiliate links, reviews, unboxings, retail or eCommerce pages, and contact forms.
- You can link to other social media pages or other blogs you have. Maybe you have more than one blogging niche that you want to share with readers.
5 Use Hashtags
Take advantage of trending hashtags on Instagram, but make sure you’re only using relevant hashtags.
For example, Upromise is a reward site that helps families save money for college. It’s like a Swagbucks or Rakuten type shopping app, but instead of cashing out your earnings for cash (that you just turn around and spend online, probably) the money goes to your kid’s college savings plan.
At first blush, it might seem like Upromise has a very narrow target audience – people who are interested in finance and investing. And it might not seem especially creative and Instagrammy.
But, 40% of all households in the US have families with children. That’s a huge audience. And families with kids are definitely thinking about post-secondary education. The term 529 plan or #529plan has over 7,000 tagged posts.
Search Instagram for trending hashtags and see if any fit your plan. And in reverse, do a keyword search on Instagram for terms that are related to your business and see if there’s search volume there.
For Upromise, I needed to search the term “529 plan” to see if there was an audience on the Instagram platform for college savings. And, I found there were several thousand posts. Many hundreds of likes and hundreds of comments.
6 Engage Other Users and Followers
Engage with other people using the Instagram app. Follow their handles. Comment on their pretty pictures. Tag them in posts (where appropriate).
Ask questions in your Instagram posts. While it would be hard for a new blog to get a paid, sponsored post (unless you were a contestant on The Bachelorette), you can still offer contests and giveaways. Maybe it’s a free gift card or sample for your business. Or maybe a bouquet of flowers made you smile so you want to share the joy, and you ask people to tag two friends who could use a surprise burst of sunshine.
There are lots of ways to create engaging content. Just make sure that you’re creating a wide range of content. Some people only view stories, others may only go directly to your page. And make sure that you’re standing up regular Instagram posts. If you go silent for too long, or break with your regular posting schedule, you could lose followers.
Not only could your followers lose interest. Instagram decides what to share or not share in people’s feeds. If Instagram decides you’re not posting in a regular, meaningful way that is going to drive repeat visits to the Instagram app, Instagram won’t show your posts to viewers as often.
Final Thoughts on Starting an Instagram Blog
Whether you’ve already got a WordPress blog or not, grow your audience and have fun engaging with followers on Instagram.
With over 1 billion visitors a month, Instagram has tons of traffic and tons of potential to build your business. Your target audience already comes here; it’s all about creating content and posts to engage them.
And even if you’ve never blogged anywhere before, you can start a blog on this popular, high-visual social media platform.