Ten things successful bloggers do on Instagram – part II

If you haven’t read the first part of this post, you can do so here.

6) They encourage reader participation
Bloggers often solicit participation and contributions from their followers by asking questions, running exclusive giveaways and competitions, and requesting recommendations for places to visit when they’re travelling.

Some popular bloggers also reply to comments left on their photos, which strengthens their relationship with readers and in turn encourages further participation. Researcher Kayla C. Boyd suggests in her paper ‘Democratizing Fashion‘ that these blogger-reader interactions establish a sense of community and allow followers to ‘build self-confidence by exploring their identity with like-minded others.’

Gustavo Gomes
Photo by Gustavo GomesCC BY-NY 2.0.

7) They interact with their followers in real life
When bloggers become sufficiently popular they often host meet-and-greets for their followers, particulate in industry events, and occasionally run workshops, masterclasses or retreats, some of which are conducted through The School Instagram.

The workshops I’ve come across have ranged from photography to styling to cooking to calligraphy to writing, just to name a few. These courses run from anywhere between a few hours to a few months, and may even be conducted virtually.

8) They post at the right times of the day
This point is a little arbitrary, given that many bloggers have international followings, but most successful bloggers tend to post at times that are optimal for their primary audiences. An
article in The Huffington Post has shown that 2am and 5pm EST are the ‘best times to post [on Instagram] if you want your followers to pay attention to you’, and that ‘the worst times are 9am and 6pm’.

These are logical statistics: at 5pm, as the article suggests, people are finishing work and will likely browse through social media as they wind down and head home for the day. The article shows, however, that optimal times vary significantly throughout the week; that while a post is likely to perform well at 5pm on Wednesday, the optimal time shifts to 7pm on Monday and 8pm on Friday, and so on.

Gustavo Gomes4
Photo by Gustavo GomesCC BY 2.0.

9) They accept sponsors strategically

As bloggers become more popular they invariably receive requests from companies to endorse certain products. Many bloggers have openly stated that they are careful about the sorts of products they choose to feature; they don’t promote items they don’t use or believe in, they clearly disclose sponsored posts, and they ensure that a partner company’s image and values are compatible with their own.

10) They integrate their Instagram account with their blog and other social media
Specifically, they excerpt and promote their blog on their Instagram account, often sharing numerous photos from a single blog post over successive days to maximise click-throughs. They provide a link to their blog (and sometimes other social media accounts) in their Instagram header, and their blog in turn contains links to accounts on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and so on.



Ten things successful bloggers do on Instagram – part I

As someone who (I’ll admit it) browses Instagram almost every day, whether for enjoyment, inspiration or simply to keep up with my friends’ accounts, I’ve occasionally found myself reflecting on the reasons behind certain bloggers’ success. Still, I was surprised at how quickly the ten points below came to mind when I finally sat down to write this post. I suppose it wasn’t until I had to put my thoughts into words that I realised just how much I’d noticed.

While I jotted down these points with Instagram in mind, they’re applicable to a whole range of social media. Without further ado, here are some of the things that successful bloggers do on Instagram:

1) They post consistently
Most well-known bloggers post at least once – and sometimes even up to five or ten times – a day. They maintain a connection with their followers by constantly updating them about their activities, projects and events, and if they’re going to be inactive for a while they generally let their readers know in advance.


Photo by Sara Tasker (Me and Orla); used with permission.

2) They pay attention to composition
Really good bloggers have a keen eye for tone, texture, colour, contrasts and perspective. They’re able to manipulate these elements to produce photos with a particular feel and atmosphere with seemingly little effort.

3) They edit their photos carefully
In other words, they don’t simply post without first checking basic things like brightness, contrast and saturation. They frame and crop their images thoughtfully, and often post-process their images, applying special filters with apps like VSCOcam.

4) They write clearly, authentically and thoughtfully
High-quality writing is more important now than ever, given the morass of content saturating Instagram and the internet. The best bloggers write honestly and idiosyncratically; their photos are almost always captioned; their captions are well-thought-out; they use language in vivid and interesting ways; and they are often open about both the personal and the professional challenges they face.

Bloggers such Beth Kirby (Local Milk), Sara Tasker (Me and Orla) and Melissa Findley, for example, have been direct and honest about issues such as perfectionism, anxiety, depression and the death of family members.


Photo by Sara Tasker; used with permission.

5) They use links, tags and hashtags effectively
Popular bloggers will rarely post a picture that isn’t tagged or integrated with other social media in some way. They tag the subjects of their photos; branded accessories, clothes and other products; those involved in a photo’s production; the accounts of places they visit; the apps they use for editing; ‘feature’ accounts that collate the photographs of various Instagram users; and popular associated tools such as LIKEtoKNOW.it, which uses the hashtag #liketkit and enables users to get detailed product information for a particular photo sent to their inbox, if they register their email at the app’s website.

They also play into hashtag trends in order to maximise their exposure and to gain the attention of specific user groups. Among the hashtags currently trending within creative communities on Instagram, for example, are #inspiremyinstagram, #momentsofmine and #thingsyousee.

Continue reading this post here.