I discuss the three main ways Instagram transformed not only my blog, but my blogging journey as a whole, in a positive way.
It’s funny to look back at how my blogging journey all began. It was such a combination of things.
Let me start this off by giving you some insight from the beginning.
Beyond the deep-rooted purpose of The Blissful Balance, which was a battle of over-exercising and food calculation of which I conquered and wanted to help others dealing with the same issue, I’d had a love for cooking and food blogs that I began sharing with friends way before the thought of a blog came to mind. And on what was I sharing my creations? Instagram.
It began my sophomore year of college, during which I started cooking on my own really for the first time. My freshman year consisted of dining hall meals and 1:00 AM runs for pizza sticks. So, it wasn’t until I had my first apartment that I really found my passion for not only food, but cooking. Coincidentally, this was only a couple years after the conception of Instagram, and it was really hot at this point. I’d gotten my first iPhone as a gift for my 20th birthday, and I immediately downloaded the Instagram app that everyone had been telling me to use. The first photo I ever shared on said app was a photo of chocolate cupcakes with strawberry santa hats. Oh, what a few years of practice can do.
I was simply, innately sharing photos of my food creations, without the slightest thought. It was just fun for me. I’d started following food blogs (almost every recipe I made was from Skinnytaste!), and my love for food kept getting stronger and stronger. Around the same time that I’d shared my story of my battle with balance for a fitness blog at an internship (which inspired me to start writing on my own), I had people telling me that I should start a food blog and share my recipes on the internet. The two thoughts intertwined, and The Blissful Balance (well, back then it was called ‘Food is Life’ *cringe*), was born.
I didn’t give Instagram much thought, truthfully, until around September-October 2015. It was around this time that I’d won Best Food Blogger in my city, and something clicked in my head to where I began looking at my blog as my business, rather than my hobby. Thus, playing to my strengths became a major thought. Instagram was where I felt most comfortable, and I felt like I understood its processes the best, so I put forth the most effort in that realm.
Now, to get to the main point here. Since 2015, Instagram has played a huge role in the growth of my brand, and even the conception of a new brand, in three major ways.
Instagram Drives Traffic and Engagement for Blog Posts
Instagram is not my top source of traffic. However, Instagram has assisted greatly in driving traffic to my blog posts, and creating hype and garnering engagement around my blog posts. It is the platform I pay the most attention to when it comes to sharing blog posts and understanding which times to share in accordance with my audience specifically. I believe that for food bloggers in particular, Instagram serves as a portfolio of sorts. It’s a sneak peek into the ‘real thing’ (the real thing being your blog), and it creates a first impression for your audience.
I even have people who follow me on Instagram for a while, simply to follow my photos. But then, I share a post one day that really sparks their interest, and they finally head to my blog. Then, they become a loyal reader. All it takes is that one piece of content. Additionally, in a recent reader survey I conducted, over 80% of responders had heard of my blog via Instagram. Crazy, right?!
Photo by Georgie!
Instagram Leads to Discovery for Monetization and Promotional Opportunities
Some of you may remember – I went on my very first press trip in January of this year. I was beyond excited and blown away that someone wanted me to travel across the country simply to write about their destination (read about my trip here). Guess how they found me… INSTAGRAM. Seriously! I’d extended my presence to another bloggers account, and the public relations representative for the Arizona travel bureau took notice, simply scrolling through on her own time (she was a fan of food blogs!). They’d been looking for one more person for their FAM trip in January, and I was her gal. This is not to brag, but to show you the power of social media (Instagram to be precise).
Additionally, many of the sponsorship opportunities I’ve experienced have been a result of initial communication via Instagram, me to the brand or vice versa. Instagram has also served as a great tool for big-name publications to take notice – my photos have been shared by the likes of @feedfeed, @infatuation, @huffposttaste, @greatist, and more, which has always resulted in a boost of like-minded followers (people who actually care about what I’m sharing!). Again, this sounds grossly braggy, but bare with me. Tip: I tag big-name accounts/publications/brands in just about every single photo I share.
Instagram Creates Connections and Helps Form Your Tribe
For anybody who does not know – Instagram is the [digital] place where I met the lovely Georgie, who is now one of my best friends, and my business partner. She lives on Nantucket, and I live in Florida, yet we’ve been able to visit and hang out three times now! And, when her and I met up in New York this past March, we met up with two other fellow bloggers and BGB Community friends, Ashley and Leah. It was like we’d known each other for years! I swear, Instagram is like Tinder for gal pals.
And those of you who follow me on Snapchat (christinav13) heard me say this the other day, but I can genuinely say that no matter how bad of a day I’m having, I can scroll through my Instagram account, see sweet comments from you beautiful people, and instantly feel better. It is truly humbling to know that two years ago I heard crickets on the other end of my platform, and now, my comments are full of sweet, inspiring people who make my heart smile. This is hands down the best part about all of this.
Photo by Anthony Ruiz!
Upon deep reflection and coming to the realization of the ginormous impact Instagram has had on not only our respective brands, but on the BGB Community, Georgie and I decided to create something based on the knowledge we’ve accumulated over the years and in recent months. We had so many ideas flowing through our heads, but we felt it still wasn’t enough. We wanted our first BGB product to go off with a bang.
So, we enlisted our good friend, Rachel of @rachLmansfield, to take part in this creation. Rachel has had enormous success building her brand first on Instagram, and creating her website after-the-fact. She’s built an incredible community around her brand, and we totally respect what she’s created! So, thankfully Rachel agreed, and for the past few months we’ve been feverishly scheming to create the very first BGB Community e-course: Influence with Instagram!
First, let me tell you what this course is not: it is not a get-rich-quick scheme, it is not a strategy to gain a high follower number in a short amount of time (this is about more than numbers!), and it is not an overnight process. Social media in a nutshell is the furthest from an overnight success, so have patience, my friends!
What you will get with this course, however:
- Five comprehensive lessons with outlined slides for note-taking and visual learners
- Complete audio of script for auditory learners
- Downloadable word-for-word script in PDF format
- Action items for each lecture to get you on the right track
- Entry into our Influence with Instagram Facebook group for help, coaching, guidance, and girl talk along the way
I cannot express to you how excited I am to share this with you – we truly have poured our hearts into this thang, and I’d love for you to check it out!
For more information, head to the Influence with Instagram webpage here.