My name is Caroline Hughes, and I am the creator behind the fashion and lifestyle blog Happily Bleu. I am so thrilled to have the honor of contributing to the Style Collective blog today! I first began blogging when I was sixteen on a sad little layout, a part of Blogger. I could look back on those couple years of my life and think, Oh, the time I’ve wasted! Instead, I see seven hundred and thirty days of learning and growth.
In those aimless and experimental days of blogging, I learned how to grow my influence on Instagram and how to drive traffic from my Instagram to my blog through trial and error. The small distance between an image on your feed to a tap on your link is rough terrain that requires strategic navigation. For those of you who are stuck in a traffic rut, I am sharing my top four tips to turning Instagram likes into blog traffic and subscriptions!
Establish your core values.
The heart of every shop, clothing line, and (for our purposes) blog is rooted and driven by passion. Your blog is your outlet for your passions (i.e. fashion, exercise, etc.). As passion serves as the primary animator for our ambitions and values, there is no question as to why it’s number one for creating your top-notch brand to market on Instagram.
To find and establish your core values, define your top three passions. These should correlate with your desired final outcome. From these three passions, define/prioritize (1, 2, 3…etc.) values. In pursuit of your goal, some values will have to trump others. Examples of values derived from passions are: Social Awareness, Accessibility, Authenticity, Creativity.
Narrow it down. What is most important to you? It doesn’t have to be directly correlated with your desired outcome for your blog (i.e. monetization).
Organize. Go through each step with every blog post and decide whether or not that post suits your passion and expresses your values effectively. If it doesn’t, remove it. Yes, it’s painful–you worked hard–but, do it for the sake of your brand and for consistency.
Presentation is key.
If you’ve been on Instagram long enough, I’m sure you’ve picked up on the obsession with aesthetic. Sometimes–I will admit–it can be frustrating when an amazing moment doesn’t yield an amazing picture. You battle yourself: you want so badly to post it, but it corrupts your feed aesthetic. All of this may seem super obvious, but it is SO important. Quick Tip: if there’s anything that doesn’t work with my Instagram aesthetic, I post it to Twitter.
Another aspect of presentation is accessibility and transparency. If someone really loves your Instagram feed, but attempts to follow a failed hyperlink to your blog, they will GIVE UP and MOVE ON. A major component of transparency is an engaging short bio. You may be surprised by how many people are turned off by something as simple as a failed link or lazy bio.
Clean up your feed. Delete anything and everything that goes against the grain of your feed. When people click your handle on an image they like, they are expecting some level of similarity between photos.
Artfully construct your bio. Get inspiration from your blogger idol! Make it unique, but uniquely you. Mention what makes you different from other bloggers. Cross-reference one of your other most engaging accounts. ALWAYS have an updated and relevant link to your content.
Define and engage your target audience.
“Target” has always seemed a harsh word, but it is completely necessary strategy to drive not only traffic, but the RIGHT traffic to your blog! However, in order to target an audience, you need to define your target audience.
Define. Make a detailed description of who you want to enjoy your content and purchase your product (if applicable). Take some time to experiment with different types of photography and analyze engagement trends. Identify people in your network who can advance you toward your goal. Style Collective actually has a course for contacting brands for collaboration opportunities, AND a brand directory for members! This is such a powerful tool we should all utilize!
Target and engage. Produce great content relevant to your audience description. Make sure you are posting regularly so you don’t lose followers over inactivity. If you’re running low on original content, share your competitor’s content to support people in your circle and get their attention. When you repost, ALWAYS give credit. Reposting connects you to bloggers of higher influence, which draws attention back to you from their most engaged followers. Analyze the content and find similarities based on the most likes/views, and post accordingly.
Instagram is the ultimate traffic conductor.
Instagram is your best friend and a means to an end: your success! Think of your Instagram feed as your personal, free marketing executive. You get to do all the creative decision making, and they do all the promotion work! Here is my final tip to make Instagram work for you:
Continuity of content. The images you share should be reminiscent of your blog. Don’t betray your values for a mediocre photo.
Remember, Instagram is a means to an end. In the past, I’ve found myself putting far too much attention into my Instagram account, rather than my blog. Of course, this is fine if you just have an Instagram and you’re not worried about like–oh, I don’t know–living YOUR LIFE!
Take a deep breath: you made it! All you have to do is begin the process of perfecting and promoting your brand! Best of luck!