As a blog “coach” who works closely with women to craft their blogs intentionally I see Instagram as a great complement to nurturing a blog that is seeking to build a strong community. Since I work a lot with bloggers who are creatives, writers, DIYers, crafters and small business owners, the dynamics of the Instagram community are a good fit to these visually-driven content creators. I myself have been able to build a small but meaningful image-centric community around my blog’s name, Make it Blissful, through my own hashtag (also #makeitblissful). The community is driven by the core message of my blog site, which is “to find one’s bliss, joy and happy moments in the everyday, ordinary things, places and situations.” Instagram serves as a brilliant counterpart to the articles and workshops that I document on my blog, as well as the lifestyle it proclaims.
If you’ve ever wanted to leverage instagram as a blog-building platform for your brand or business, here are three strategies that have personally worked for me.
1. Find and fellowship with your tribe.
Creating your own Instagram community begins, first, with being an active member of other Instagram communities. The supportive and nurturing nature of Instagram makes this easy, but you need to put out the effort when you find a community that you would like to belong to. Always start by being friendly, genuine and approachable. Leave comments and observations on the accounts of Instagrammers you admire, taking note of their efforts to create beautiful visuals. (A great place to start is the weekly #WHP, or “weekend hashtag project” of the main Instagram blog, You can discover many beautiful accounts here, to get you started.)
When you find a community that you enjoy frequenting, remember to be a participative, active contributor as well. Take time to study the dynamics of the photos on these feeds. Find out about the creator of the feed; interact with him or her, and learn from his or her unique style. Sometimes the best potential blog advocates you’ll find on Instagram are those who regularly “like” and comment on your photostream, so make sure you reciprocate. Acknowledge their appreciation of your work, and use these as openings to connect, bond and share your love for the community you’re in. I can personally vouch for this habit, which has helped and continues to supply with me repeatedly with clients who want to build their blogs or seek consultations on their social media efforts.
2. Don’t be a “brand”, be a storyteller.
The most influential Instagram community users (whether they be blogs or businesses) are those who have truly leveraged the platform for its visual storytelling capabilities and have crafted their own style of telling stories through pictures. If you are a blogger on Instagram, you want to come across to your audience as a genuine, real person who is capturing a situation, a memory, a vignette with a purpose.
My friend, collaborator and Instagram celebrity Jelito de Leon puts it well when he says, “The best way (for brands or bloggers to engage real followers) is to make the photo or post relate-able. It's so much better than posting an ad or a product shot of what they're selling, what they’re offering. It's important to make the viewer feel something with you.” With this in mind, make sure your IG photos capture a moment, an incident, an emotion in an artful, inspiring manner. Learn how to create a “look” for your photos by playing around with photo editing apps and tools that help you achieve certain moods and tones. All these play a part in making you a storytelling worth following, and complements the story-telling that likewise appears on your main platform: your blog.
3. Create your own hashtag community, and make sure you nurture it.
Whether you are a personal brand like a blogger or a business, continued interaction from a faithful audience will help you build up your brand organically, in a way that no other social media network can or has done (yet). Creating a “hashtag community” or a photo stream that centers on a theme, is one way to complement your blog.
When creating a hashtag community, think of a unique phrase that activates your personal brand or business. Ideally, the shorter the hashtag, the better. Try and test a handful of options with close friends in the IG community; see which ones click. Once you find a hashtag that resonates with your brand, introduce it to your community through different channels: Your blog, your newsletter, your Instagram profile, and through a visually-engaging post on your Instagram account. You may even want to collaborate with other Instagrammer-bloggers on a community hashtag — an instant network boost, because you benefit from each other’s individual following.
Remain active and interested in your followers. Provide value to them by responding to comments sincerely and kindly, and go through their photos, especially those that they’ve tagged with your community hashtag. Believe me, this interaction and connection pays off, sometimes in inquiries through your blog’s contact form, other times in collaborations, and more importantly, in friendships made online.
Instagram can be a wonderful gateway into a world of creatives waiting to be inspired by your blog. Begin with being an active Instagrammer, a student of its best artists and community members, and then leverage your own creative juices by being generous with your ideas. Just always remain true to the essence of the blog your represent.
Martine de Luna is a blog coach, a freelance writer, and the “chief blissmaker” of the inspirational-lifestyle blog, Make it Blissful, where she and her team of contributors blog about home & family, continuous learning, and meaningful living. She has been a Featured Instagrammer, and manages the community hashtag #makeitblissful, a community of IGers who are passionate about capturing their meaningful moments at work, play and in their ordinary everydays. She produces workshops on blogging & social media, and collaborates with creative on crafting, writing and photography workshops. She hails from the sunny Philippine Islands, where she lives in the capital of Manila with her husband and son.