Instagram can be a huge tool for blogging, but if you’re not seeing growth, there may be some reasons that your Instagram isn’t growing.
Even before my days of blogging, Instagram has always been my favorite social media platform. It’s probably because of my photography background, but whatever the reason is, I just love looking at beautiful photos. There’s been some talk about how pretty photos aren’t authentic on Instagram, but I know I personally enjoy a well thought out, curated and pretty photo over a blurry snap of your puppy, even if he is super cute. Just sayin’.
Instagram is a neat platform for blog growth because it’s less about the blogging and more about a behind the scenes look at the blogger. I love following some of my favorite bloggers on Instagram so I can see into their lives and feel like I have more of a personal connection with them. This is a powerful way for you to get your readers invested into your life outside of the blog world but that can only help your blog growth down the road.
What I’ve noticed about Instagram and blogging is that your Instagram account may not bring direct traffic to your blog BUT what it will do is to help your readers see you as a real person, not just a blogger. Instagram is the perfect way to share behind the scenes photos of your blog posts or just behind the scenes photos of your life.
If you’re wondering why your Instagram account hasn’t seen the growth you’d like, you might want to see if you’re doing any of these five things that might slow down your growth.
Five Reasons Your Instagram Isn’t Growing
You’re not connecting
Because Instagram can be such a big tool for blogging, there is a big trend of people leaving lots of comments on other Instagram accounts in order to try to gain more followers. In my experience, this doesn’t work. I can guarantee that if you comment a single word or emoticon on my photo I’m not going to check out your account. However, if you leave a genuine comment that is engaging, I’m 99x more likely to click over to your account and see if your feed is one I’d like to follow.
I’m sure there are a lot of people who have seen success in the follow and unfollow strategy on Instagram but to me, it’s ingenuine. If you’ve been trying to follow tons of people just to get them to follow you back, try taking a step back from that method and try really connecting. What is it about the photo that stopped you while scrolling through your feed and caused you to double tap to like it? If it’s a personal photo, do you have a similar personal experience? If it’s a drool worthy recipe, maybe you can comment about the grammers use of a certain ingredient. Connecting in this way takes more time, that’s for sure, but in my experience it’s lead to more authentic connections that won’t simply unfollow you the next week.
Not connecting with your current or future Instagram followers can be a huge reason why your Instagram isn’t growing like you’d like it to.
You’re not curating
Okay, I know there might be some people who disagree with me here, and I’m okay with that. I’m not saying that your Instagram feed should be perfectly curated with not a single detail out of place. I’m not saying you should stage every moment of your life to make is Insta-worthy. What I am saying is that people are more likely to stop in their tracks when something attracts their eye. Again, your blurry puppy? Probably not going to stop me and cause me to double tap. And I love dogs, so it’s not that. Pretty photos evoke emotion out of us quicker and deeper than a photo you just snapped and posted. If you’re interested in those types of candid photos, maybe try connecting with your followers via Snapchat.
Curated photos don’t have to be staged, fake or impersonal. There is nothing wrong with wanting to share a pretty photo. It’s a seriously fine line between posting curated, styled images and posting a set of images that are unreal. You have to be super careful. BUT if your feed is curated and a potential follower can look at your feed and know what to expect from you, it will immensely help people decide to click the follow button.
You’re not showing real life
Does it sound like I’m contradicting myself? The biggest thing is your need both curated and real photos. They aren’t the opposite of each other, even if it seems like it at first. In order to create a balance of styled photos that aren’t fake, you have to show some real life. But these “real life” photos don’t have to be ugly, either.
Here’s the difference in the mentality I have when taking a curated photo versus a real life photo. Take the photo on the left. This photo was a curated/styled photo. I was working on a post and wanted to share a little sneak peek of what I was working on. So I styled some of the items I was using for the post together to share a little square snapshot of what I was working on.
The photo on the right is a real life moment. I was sitting, looked down and saw the photo right there in front of me. I didn’t need to stage it, it was just organic. There’s also a difference in the language I use for the captions when sharing a styled versus real life photo. The styled photos are more “promotional” in a sense whereas the real life photos are for storytelling. I truly don’t think my Instagram would be authentic and a blogging tool without both of these types of photos.
You’re posting frequency is off
If you’re not posting frequently enough, your followers might forget who you are or why they followed you and are more likely to unfollow you when they see you post. If you post too frequently, your followers might get annoyed and unfollow you. So, what’s the sweet spot? For me, it’s posting a maximum of twice a day and minimum of every other day. I try not to let three days go by without posting a photo and I have an idea in my head of how many likes on my last photo is enough to go ahead and post a new photo. For example, I get a range of 70-120 likes per photo, depending on the subject and time of day. This isn’t hard research I’ve done, it’s just the trend I’ve noticed on my photos. So if my last photo only has 30 likes and it’s only been 6 hours, I won’t post another photo just yet.
The key to posting frequency is making sure you’re active enough that people remember you, but not too frequently that you have multiple photos in a row showing up in your followers feed.
I will also mention that you can tell a lot from how many unfollowers you get after posting a photo. Don’t get caught up in people unfollowing you but if you post a photo and have 25 unfollows, that should tell you something. This is, of course, exponential depending on your following, but for me I have around 2600 Instagram followers and get around 3-5 unfollows with every photo I post, no matter the content. What sends a red flag to me is if I post a photo and have more than the usual 5 unfollows. Then, it might not have been a photo that my audience was interested in and I make note of that.
You seem like you’re just trying to get page views
Remember how I said that Instagram might not bring direct traffic to your blog? One thing I see some bloggers do is post a new photo every time they have a new blog post. There are some niches that this makes sense, like food bloggers and fashion bloggers. But for a lot of lifestyle bloggers, posting your pinable image on Instagram doesn’t make sense. If you’re only sharing photos and saying “CLICK THROUGH TO THE BLOG” on every caption, it’s going to get annoying. This style of promotion is much better for Twitter or Facebook. People will naturally find your blog if they’re interested in finding it. A little side note of “you can find the recipe on the blog” is all people need. Instagram isn’t a platform for seeking page views. There will be some automatically, but don’t force it. The way I look at it is that people will make the effort to find your blog if they’re interested, but if you’re pushy or spammy with your promotions, it could be a big reason why your Instagram isn’t growing.