Instagram is a unique social media platform that only allows users to share various forms of media with smart phones. It doesn’t have a sharing option for external links, making the platform seemingly useless for individuals looking to promote articles or blog posts outside of Instagram. Despite the lack of sharing capabilities, there is an unorthodox way to broadcast content to your Instagram following, which will be explored in this quick guide.
How bloggers use Instagram to promote blog posts
Getting the right image for Instagram
One of Instagram’s quirks is having an image size of 1080px wide and 1080px high, making it important to use an image that meets these sizing parameters. There is a bit of compression involved and smaller images will be stretched, but using an image that’s closely-sized to 1080px by 1080px will create the sharpest display possible.
I use free photo sites such as Pixabay and Pexels to find fantastic photos that are offered at several different sizing options. Whatever photo you choose, just make sure that the text is centered and preferably in landscape. After choosing the right photo, simply download it onto your phone as Instagram can’t be used on a computer.
*Note that the web app still displays images in a box of 600px by 600px, but uploading an image with 1080px allows for the best quality across multiple devices.
The next step is to write an appropriate caption to describe your article. Optimal caption lengths on Instagram are 125 characters because captions are cut off after the first three lines. Consider a call-to-action and frontload the caption with valuable information while leaving hashtags and other information toward the end. There are no negative correlations between more hashtags and a drop off in views; some studies suggest sticking to 11 hashtags, but make sure that they’re relevant to your content.
It’s important to let your readers know that you’re promoting a new blog post by marking your caption with a hashtag such as #newblogpost and directing them to where they can find your content. Instagram doesn’t allow external links so you need to direct traffic to your bio page by adding a link for your website or newest article there. For links that don’t meet the length requirements, link management platforms like Bitly can be useful. Once you’ve added your call-to-action in your caption and an accompanying link, it’s time to publish your content.
Why Instagram is great for a loyal following
It might seem as though directing traffic in this way wouldn’t produce clickthroughs due to the amount of legwork users have to do to find your content. The biggest benefit of promoting content on Instagram is having a lower bounce rate and higher engagement rate from users who follow your link.
Users that are invested enough to do that amount of legwork to find your content are more likely to view your work compared to other social media users who casually follow the link you provided on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Instagram users have a longer time spent on your website and are 40 percent less likely to bounce off a page.
As a recap, here’s what you need to do to share your article or blog post on Instagram:
- Find an appropriate photo that’s close to 1080px by 1080px
- Save the photo to your phone
- Write a caption about your article and insert relevant hashtags at the end
- Include in the caption a call-to-action to view your bio for the link
- Place a link to your article or website in the bio for your profile
- Publish your content
Hopefully this blog post was helpful in promoting your content and producing some great metrics from Instagram! If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the latest Instagram algorithm changes and how it determines what to show users in their newsfeeds.