How to Use Instagram for Micro-blogging
If you want proof that the speed of innovation is rapidly increasing, consider this: Blogging, a communication medium that emerged just 20 years ago, has already begun to change dramatically. Although there are still blogs that focus on long-form writing, many have shifted to image-heavy designs and content. Some blogs have shuttered altogether in favor of other social media platforms, especially photo-centric Instagram. Others have chosen to combine elements of blogging with the ease of sharing Instagrammed images in a hybrid medium called micro-blogging. Here at Soulful MBA, we are BIG fans of microblogging as a clever, effective way to engage and interact with your online community!
What is micro-blogging?
Just as you might expect from its name, micro-blogging is the practice of creating information-packed, short-form blog posts that accompany Facebook, Instagram, or even Pinterest posts. Doing this allows you to convey important news, helpful tips, and other rich content quickly and effectively, without cooking up a traditional, 500-800 word blog post. Research shows that users tend to read only 20% of the content they’re shown, so short and sweet is definitely the way to go. Pairing a quick, information-packed story with a compelling visual increases your chances of capturing audience members’ attention.
Since Instagram is still experiencing rapid, exponential growth, we’re focusing today on micro-blogging via Instagram. Although this practice can be applied to many social media platforms, we believe that it has the most potential for impact on Instagram.
How to micro-blog with Instagram
If you want to adopt micro-blogging as an ongoing practice, our first piece of advice would be to ensure that your content is unique and original. Yes, you can link up all of your social accounts and post the same images and info everywhere, but doing so makes you look a tiny bit lazy. When you start adding meaty, engaging captions to your Instagram posts, try using stories, tips, and information that you’re not sharing anywhere else.
Sound challenging? It might be, especially if you’ve gotten used to sharing everything you post across multiple platforms. Many entrepreneurs use their blogs and websites for business-only posts and tend to get a bit more personal on Insta, which creates a natural delineation of content. You don’t have to share the inner workings of your love life or health issues, but if you’re comfortable being a little more vulnerable in your Instagram posts, go for it. That honesty and openness will likely build loyalty among your followers.
A few other tips for micro-blogging on Instagram:
Lead with the most important information: Although Instagram allows 2,200 characters per caption, most of that text won’t be shown until a user clicks “more.” This means that a cute or clever first sentence for your caption might actually prevent fans from clicking to read the rest! Open with something akin to a headline so everyone knows exactly what they’ll be reading about.
Encourage comments and interaction: Ask questions in your captions, and ALWAYS reply to your comments. Request input and opinions, and thank anyone who chimes in. Insta’s algorithm pushes posts with lots of comments and engagement to the top, so do what you can to drive conversation!
Share relevant tips and tricks: Although personal stories and insights are always welcome, mini-tutorials, insider tricks, and life hacks are also a great way to draw people into your posts. The accompanying image can include text referring to the info in the caption, or you can just use those first few characters to set up the post content.
Offer a peek behind the curtain: People LOVE getting behind-the-scenes access! Show them your office, your messy laundry room, your renovations-in-progress, and you’ll win their hearts. Since social media tends to be heavily edited to show only the best, most highlight-worthy moments of our lives, being honest about imperfections creates instant trust.
Run a contest: Nothing drives engagement like a shot at a freebie. If you’re in a position to offer free coaching, limited access to your video archive, a one-on-one session, or even branded swag, consider setting up a contest. The best way to do this is to encourage followers to create and post content of their own, using a contest-specific hashtag. Then you can select the winner from among the contestants.
What else can I do to make my Instagram posts engaging?
Writing a strategic but authentic micro-blog caption should top your list, but there are several other steps you can take to ensure your Instagram posts perform well:
Use location tags: Whenever you can (and feel comfortable doing so) forego mentioning location in your caption and simply use the geotagging feature instead. Users love to know both what they’re seeing, and where it is in the world. Plus location tagging increases engagement by 79%.
Lean on “link in bio”: Although Instagram makes you work for it, putting in the extra effort to direct people from your posts to your business website pays off. At the end of each caption, include the words “link in bio” then create a trackable, unique URL with a tool like bit.ly so you can monitor traffic flow from your Insta posts to your site. (We also use and like the paid linktree software.)
Use hashtags: Yeah, we know, hashtags are kind of a pain. But they’re also a great way to get your content in front of people who aren’t following you yet! Using hashtags allows your posts to appear in search results with all other posts sporting the same hashtag, exposing your brand to a wider audience. Start typing related keywords and Instagram will show you the most popular related hashtags.
Interested in checking out some active Instagram micro-bloggers? Here are some of our faves:
Even if you truly enjoy writing long, thoughtful blog posts, micro-blogging on Instagram can be a great way to build your business. It piques the interest of a different segment of your audience, engages them less deeply but more frequently, and gives you the opportunity to share ideas and content that might not fit neatly into your primary brand.