September 17, 2014

INSTAGRAM MINI-CHALLENGE: Bloggiesta Sept. 2014



Hello, Bloggiesta-ers! Welcome to the Bloggiesta Instagram Mini-Challenge!  
I've never run a mini-challenge before, so I am a tad nervous.  I hope you find this helpful!  Let me know how you like it!  


Instagram is a great social media tool to share pictures of your loved ones, fun nights out, and adorable pets.  But it can also be a great tool for boosting up your blog!  



At the end of the challenge, I have a giveaway for $10 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble, your choice.  All you have to do is link up to your Instagram account and tell me one thing you did from the challenge!  


Challenge To-Do List.  Pick any bulleted item or try them all!  

  • If you don't have one yet, Set Up your Instagram account.  Download it onto your phone via your App Store for free.  You don't have to choose a username that is recognizable to your followers or that people will associate with your blog (I didn't), but it is a good way to use Instagram to develop your brand.  
  • Link up your Instagram account to your other social media accounts, like Facebook and Twitter.  Instagram will allow you to tweet out when you post to Instagram, which will draw in people that follow you on Twitter, and to share the image itself on Facebook.
  • Take your first picture and post it!  (The camera is the middle button on the bottom of your screen.) Maybe it is a picture of you or your favorite book or your kids doing something adorable or your morning coffee.  Just get started! 
  • Try a new filter.  I'm not saying you have to go all crazy and try to be artsy or pretend you took this amazing sunset shot when it is just a filter or anything. Just play around with it and have fun.  Choose a picture and then try giving it 2 new filters.  (You can easily post a picture multiple times using your phone's camera roll.) For an example, here is random picture of me from a few months back that I put on Instagram. I took it and used 2 different Instagram filters, making the photo look completely different each time.  The top photo is Normal (No Filter), the second uses the Willow Filter, and the third uses the Brennan Filter.  

 


  • Lead New Visitors to Your Blog.  How?  Make sure that your blog URL is in your Profile.  The button on the bottom of the screen on the far right is your profile.  It is where all your photos will be, as well as a large button that says "Edit Your Profile".  Put your URL in there and it will link up automatically back to your blog.  Easy-peasy and now your new Instagram followers can find your blog easily! 
  • Follow people that you know.  They will most likely follow you back and begin interacting with you on Instagram.
  • Follow people that you don't know.  Perhaps someone who follows you and likes and comments on your photos a lot.  Perhaps someone who is in the book publishing world or is an author.  Perhaps another blogger that you would like to get to know. They might post some interesting pictures that will get your own creative juices going!  If you decide they aren't for you, there is always the unfollow button. 
  • Piggy-backing on the bullet above, click on the star button that is on the bottom of your screen, next to your home button (which is your news feed).  This star is the Explore Feature.  Use it to search users or hashtags.  Use it to just browse what people have posted recently.  Click on an image you fancy and like or comment on it.  You never know, perhaps that user will come by and check out your photos as well.

  • #Hashtag #Help.  Speaking of #hashtags, use these suckers!  But use them wisely.  I cannot stress this enough: DO NOT tag your photo using every possible term under the sun.  This is not only majorly annoying to your followers, but you're not going to attract the type of people who find your posts relevant and awesome.  Use one, two, even several is okay.  Just think about what you are posting.  I have seen teenage girls trying to show off their...um..assets linking up to #books and #catsofinstagram.  Yea, the people looking for pictures of cats and books don't care, girls.  Likewise, the people looking under the hashtag #tweetfordolphins or #ootd (outfit of the day) probably don't care about your latest Mailbox Monday stash.  Know your audience!  Use relevant #hashtags and the followers will come!
  • Don't be afraid to post about topics other than books and your blog, though.  If you want to discuss your #ootd, do it!  Show it off!  If you want to share a picture of the beautiful weather or the way your cat smushed itself into that tiny box or how you are enjoying that delicious beer on the back porch, do it!  Let your followers see other sides of you, which will make them feel closer to you as they get to know you better.  Building a rapport with your readers is a great way of developing your brand, plus you make new friends!
  • Post on Instagram when you have something cool coming up on your blog - say a readathon, an author interview, a giveaway, Bloggiesta....Use a screenshot of your blog post and upload it to Instagram.  Be sure to tell followers that the link to your blog is on your profile.  (Which it is now, right?)  There is an example of this on my Instagram account, as well, where I posted the Mini-Challenge button I made above. 
  • Consider installing an Instagram Widget on to your blog.  Here are the instructions: SnapWidget  You can take a look at mine to see what it is like.  Find it on my sidebar, about halfway down the page.
  • Use a fancy App like InstaQuote to add wording to your pictures.  This works better on some pictures than others.  I added 4 photos to my Instagram account showcasing different ways to use InstaQuote (all free versions).  You can also use apps like Retrica, Framatic, Instagrab, (all free apps) and others to help you make better use of your Instagram account.


And Now, the Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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