How to create and design Instagram profile/blog: step-by-step instruction for beginners (+ hashtags, promotion, analytics, etc.)
Nowadays social networks are not only the means of entertainment or communication but also a convenient multifunctional platform, allowing you to do business, actively promote your private matter, and have a personal blog.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the opportunity to start blogging. And there are the following reasons for this: lack of confidence in yourself and your strengths, doubts about the effectiveness and benefits of the blog, fear of the audience, lack of a clear goal and plan, incorrect prioritization, etc. This list of excuses goes on and on.
If any of the following applies to you, then try to concentrate as much as possible on the information you are going to get from my article. In it, I will try to sort through everything you need to know to start a blog. Throughout the narrative, I will share with you my tips, as well as a sequence of steps to take on your way to successful blogging.
Are you ready?
Let’s get started then!
Step 1. Set a clear goal
This question must be approached extremely seriously since a lot of things in the future will depend on this particular point: the direction of your activity, constant motivation, a burning desire to learn and become better in your field. Moreover, a correctly set goal will never let you give up what you started at the first defeat.
Of course, the question is individual, so take a sheet of paper and a pen, sit in silence, and for a moment forget about all your problems, worries, and deeds. Write down your main goal clearly, and then think about it every day and imagine that it is starting to come true. But remember that just thinking is not enough; it is also important to take some action.
Since our theme is related to Instagram, we will set a goal related specifically to creativity and interaction with other people. Your goal can be absolutely anything – to start a blog for a photographer or fitness blogger; a blog where you want to share your experience and knowledge; a training blog.
Perhaps you need a business account to promote your own brand. Or maybe you have changed your country of residence and want to broaden the horizons of other people, share interesting facts, and, in general, talk about life in a certain place.
As you can see, there are just a million options – choose the direction that is really interesting to you and that gives pleasure and happiness. Just follow your heart and enjoy your chosen path!
Step 2. Action plan
On the same sheet of paper, write down, point by point, how you will proceed: what you need to do, what it will take, and when you start. Then follow the outlined steps. For example, to create your blog, you need to decide on the following: blog topic, schedule, number and time of publications, ways of interacting with the audience, analytics etc.
Before starting something, it is important not only to set a clear goal but also to set priorities, to outline the sequence of steps.
Step 3. Creating an Instagram account and designing it
After you’ve downloaded and registered on Instagram, analyze this social network and get used to the interface (especially if you opened Instagram for the first time). You will look for acquaintances, subscribe to celebrities and idols later, now this is not your goal.
Go to “Settings”, then click on “Switch to professional account”. Now you need to choose the category that suits you, for example, a personal blog or a company. Then confirm the phone number and mail. If needed link the page to Facebook. Now your occupation will be shown under your photo.
The first thing to do for both a personal blog and a business account is to tidy it up and arrange it correctly. Follow the steps below:
а) Choose a nickname and name
Decide if you will be blogging with your real name or not. If suddenly you want to change the nickname of your account, go to “Settings”. It is important to come up with such a nickname so that it is unique and distinguishes you from hundreds of other similar accounts.
If you have a personal blog, you can use your last name and first name. Pay attention to the fact that the nickname of the account must be filled in, since without it it is impossible to use the social network, and indeed create your own account, but it is not necessary to indicate the initials in the header, however, I strongly recommend registering your last name and first name or brand name in both input lines.
So, you can use both your real last name and first name and your nickname. For your own company or brand, it is more logical and correct to use its name.
b) Choosing the right photo
You don’t need to display different characters, youth avatars, memes if you want people to take you and your blog seriously. Remember: the first impression your profile makes on a person will determine whether they subscribe to you or not. The first thing every person pays attention to is the profile header, the second is your posts. From here, a person understands who you are and what you do in general. Most likely, the person will want to look into the description of your photos to see how and what you write about. Get ready for all of this.
For a personal blog, it is best to post your photo as an avatar, and for a business, a brand name, company, or logo is suitable.
c) Description in the profile header (bio)
Here you have to turn on your imagination and get a little creative.
What do people usually write in the profile header?
1. Talk about themselves and their activities;
2. Briefly describe their success and achievements;
3. Leave links to their website.
In general, they do everything to maximize your interest and make you a part of their audience. Of course, not everyone makes a gorgeous profile description, since many do not take it seriously or even clog it, which is very in vain. But we all know that this is not necessary, so start coming up with your unique description now.
This completes the design of the header. You’ve probably noticed the blue checkmark on some accounts.
A blue checkmark is a sign of account verification. In other words, a checkmark indicates that your account is real, not a fake. Mostly the blue checkmark can be found on celebrity accounts. You need to be a public figure to get this tick. There must be publications about you in major media.
If you verify a person’s account, then from the documents you need to attach a passport photo or driver’s license. If the account is verified for an organization, prepare a certificate of incorporation, tax documents, and corporate articles of association. To apply for a blue checkmark, you need to go to “Settings”, then “Account” and “Confirmation request”.
Attention: to make your account available for viewing by strangers, in the privacy settings, remove the slider from “Private account”. If you want your posts to be visible only to those who follow you, then make your account private. However, if you plan on blogging, then of course you don’t need to make it private. A private blog is suitable if you have an account where you share your personal photos with friends and acquaintances and do not want others to see them.
Step 4. Create and publish your first post
So now that your account is ready, you can start working on your first post. Here everything is individual and depends on what your blog is about. If your blog is about photography, you can start sharing your works and then offer your services.
If you are active in sports or a fitness trainer, you can start your sports blog: post-workout videos, sharing secrets, and creating your training course. And if you have your own business, then Instagram can be used to promote it and attract a new audience.
People are divided into two types: someone who just maintains a regular page on a social network, but then at one point he wants to turn it into a blog, and someone who deliberately starts an account to engage exclusively in blogging.
What’s the first post people usually post? For some, it’s just a photo from everyday life, while others immediately publish a ready-made post with basic information about themselves for review. For a business account, important information about a brand or company can be published as the first post.
Don’t expect a stream of new subscribers from the very first post published. You will have to work hard to earn the desired number. The main thing is to remember that no one succeeded without defeat and difficulty. And also, no one has achieved perfect results from the first attempts.
Believe me, most likely, your first posts will be unsuccessful, ugly, or boring, but over time you will gain experience and become an excellent blogger. Every person who has achieved success started with something small (just look at the famous video bloggers and their first videos), so there is no need to try to do everything perfectly at first. Perfect just doesn’t exist.
What types of posts exist?
1. Photo and video;
2. Carousel (a post that contains from 1 to 10 photos or videos);
3. Collage (an image consisting of several photos);
4. Boomerang (repetition of a specific segment of the video).
Please note that you need to download the Layout application to create a collage. To publish a boomerang, you need to download the Boomerang app.
So now let’s get straight to the action. How do you publish your first post?
1. Find on the bottom panel “+” and click on it;
2. Decide what you want to publish: video or photo (it is good if what you are going to post has already been processed or edited);
3. Optionally, process the photo using filters or the Instagram editor (it is desirable to be able to independently process photos, for example, in Photoshop). Of course, if you want your blog to attract with its appearance;
4. Add text to the description. It is desirable that it be literate, interesting and useful to the readers;
5. Indicate the necessary hashtags (we will talk about how to choose the right hashtags for your posts a little bit later);
6. Do not forget to also indicate geodata (your location). This is necessary in order for people living in the same city as you to find your post. To specify geodata, click on “Add place”;
7. If necessary, mark people in the photo. To tag people, click on “Tag People”;
8. Optionally, you can publish the post to other social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr);
9. Now you can safely publish your first post.
As you can see, there is nothing difficult. Just try this algorithm once, then you will immediately understand everything.
Step 5. Stories: what they are and when to use them
After you have posted your first post, you can start mastering Stories.
Stories is an opportunity to publish photos and videos, which will be available for viewing within 24 hours. In other words, what you post to Stories will soon automatically disappear from your account, while posts are visible until you delete them yourself.
Stories are needed in order to share moments from your life, publish news, promotions and novelties (if you have a business account), and also communicate important news to your audience (for example, an announcement of a course, or a new video). And in stories, you can interact with subscribers: conduct polls, answer questions, draw attention to your new post, and many other possibilities.
How do you create Stories?
1. Open your Instagram profile;
2. In the upper-left corner there is a camera icon, click on it (the camera will open);
3. There are two options: take a new photo/video or select a file from the gallery (in the lower-left corner there is a corresponding icon);
4. On the bottom panel, you can add effects (try to figure them out on your own through practice);
5. Publish your story by clicking on the “Your Story” button in the lower-left corner. If you click on the “Close friends” button, then the story will be visible only to the people you have selected.
What can you post to your Stories?
a) Memories or moments from life;
b) Promotions, sales, new items;
c) Polls, stickers, texts;
d) Photo and video;
e) Advertising (with text, music, or video);
f) Information about yourself, facts;
g) Important news;
h) Subscriber games;
i) Anything that your imagination suggests.
What are the types of Stories?
3. Free hands;
4. Normal mode.
You can also upload photos and videos to stories from your phone’s memory. Optionally, select a filter, write text, add hashtags, tag people, attach stickers, etc. In general, we turn on imagination and creativity.
Remember that videos uploaded to Stories are 15 seconds long. If the video exceeds these 15 seconds, then it will be split into several stories.
Another great thing about Instagram stories is Highlights. With their help, you can collect a whole collection of your favorite stories (they can be constantly revised by your readers).
Highlights have a cover. Any photo added to Highlights can be used as the default cover. However, for a beautiful profile design, people make covers on their own (using Photoshop and applications on the phone, or resorting to the help of other people). For the cover, they mainly use elements such as photos, icons, and text.
Stories format – 9:16 (recommended aspect ratio);
Stories size – 1080×1920 (vertical);
File size – no more than 2.3 GB.
Tips for a business account:
1. Add a link to your story (this function is available only after 10,000 subscribers have been recruited);
2. Use geolocation and hashtags;
3. Broadcast live (if possible). Don’t forget to announce the broadcasts to attract more viewers;
4. Monitor statistics constantly;
5. Use Highlights;
6. Conduct polls and contests;
7. Use a game format;
8. Connect with your audience.
Posts without hashtags will generally only be seen by your followers. And if the account has not yet been promoted, then what kind of subscribers can we talk about? Therefore, at first, be sure to use hashtags.
Remember: each used hashtag affects your account: positively or negatively – it depends on you.
What types of hashtags exist?
1. Unnecessary – this is a kind of rubbish that will never help you unwind.
These include: #love, #fashion, #me, #followme, #cooking, etc. The fact is that there are millions of such posts. MILLIONS. Do you want to make your account successful and popular?
2. Categories – hashtags that bloggers come up with on their own for their subscribers.
This allows you to group posts by specific topics and finds them. For example, #tips_from_jennifer: #travelingwithcassie and others.
3. Branded – unique hashtags used by a specific firm or brand. They allow you to find the posts of the desired company.
4. Contest – hashtags that are invented specifically for contests.
5. High-frequency – from 100 thousand publications. This includes the following hashtags: #manicure, #freelance, #photography, #English.
6. Mid-frequency – from 10 to 100 thousand hashtags.
For example: #trainingbuttocks, #tattoos, #California. It’s the hashtags that should be used most of all, as they allow you to find the target audience, thereby promoting your account.
7. Low-frequency – there are no more than 10 thousand publications on them. These are the most specific requests. And they are most often long: #fitnessgirls_g13, #howtobecomeablogger, #myphotographerstory.
So how do you combine hashtags right?
I think you have already understood that one of the factors of successful blogging is the use of effective promotion methods. And this is just one of all sorts of factors (we’ll talk about what makes your account viewable, attractive, and successful in step 7).
So, how do you combine hashtags in your posts?
The first thing to know is that no more than 30 hashtags are allowed per post. Less is possible, no more.
As I was writing this chapter, another thought came to my mind about hashtags and stories. If you don’t want people to see that you are trying to promote yourself on hashtags (or you just want them not to spoil your beautiful photo), write a hashtag, and then put a sticker or emoticon on top of it.
The same can be done not only with hashtags.
For example, hide prices behind stickers, if there is a discount, or announce a new post, while hiding some important fragment of the photo in order to interest subscribers. In general, here you have to mix creativity and psychology.
Step 7. What makes your account viewable, attractive, and successful?
In the last chapter, I promised to tell you what influences the attractiveness of your account. Well, let’s figure it out:
a) Profile photo;
b) Profile description;
c) Links in the header;
d) Activity and frequency of publications;
e) Communication with the audience (live broadcasts, answers to questions);
g) Information you share with subscribers.
Of course, the attractiveness of an account also depends on the attractiveness of your personality. I’m not talking about appearance, but about the character and set of your inherent qualities.
If you are a positive person, you easily cheer people up, inspire them, and gladly make contact, people will reach out to you themselves. And if you are a negative and boring person who always complains and envies everyone, then you understand what will happen.
Try to post photos in the same style, as this will make your page much more attractive, and it, in turn, will catch people’s attention.
Check out photographer blogs for an example. Plus, post quality photos and videos. If you went to someone whose photos were blurry and of low quality, how long would you last on their page? And what is the chance that you would subscribe?
Step 8. How to negotiate with bloggers
In social networks, just like in real life, communication, and interaction with other people is important. Bloggers are busy people who have a schedule every hour, so you need to adhere to certain rules if you want to come to a profitable agreement and cooperation.
Before you write a message or letter to a blogger, you first need to tidy up your account, because the probability that a person will come to you is very high.
For what reasons can a blogger refuse to cooperate with you?
a) They don’t like your brand or blog;
b) There is no benefit to him from working with you;
c) Rude attitude on your part;
d) Lack of a clear goal of cooperation;
e) Too low price (if advertising);
f) You expect too much from a person or a partnership with him;
g) You haven’t learned the basic information about the person and their blog/brand;
h) Blogger’s individual reasons.
Remember that even if you’ve been preparing for cooperation with a person for several days, actively studied his blog, wondered why collaboration would be beneficial for both of you, rewrote the same message, trying to make it clear and perfect, but as a result, got a refusal, do not be upset. Keep looking and trying. If the person ignored you, perhaps he did not notice your messages (due to the large number of them), try to write to him again. Not necessarily to the same social network, you can email. And if you were refused, then there were reasons for that. Most likely, the blogger will tell you about it himself.
a) Take some time to prepare
Study all the basic information about the person, what they do, what products they sell, what kind of audience they have, etc. Analyze posts, stories, and ask yourself the following questions:
1. Why do I want to cooperate with this particular person?
2. Will this cooperation be beneficial to me? And what about the blogger?
3. What content is this person creating and what is their audience?
4. What conditions can I offer him?
5. What products is he promoting?
b) Formulate an offer of cooperation and send it
It is important to make a good impression and build the right dialogue. Bloggers love specifics, so if you don’t let them know what you want right away, the conversation may end before it starts.
The secret to any successful negotiation is caring for others. Nobody cares what you want. And no one will set conditions that suit you personally. Lure the blogger yourself with an interesting proposal for an effective and profitable partnership. Tell them about all the benefits.
This, of course, does not mean that everything should be done for them only. You need to be able to interest a person, offer yourself and your services, and come to beneficial cooperation for both of you. The main thing is not to talk all the time about what exactly you want. It is necessary to focus more on what the person will receive as a result.
c) Respect each other
In spite of everything, it is important to always remain human. There is no need to insult others or complain if you are unhappy with something. Respect the time of the person with whom you communicate, do not waste it. Get down to business right away. Be the initiator, but don’t act like a boss. There is no need to demand anything, but especially to command. In general, I think you understand the meaning.
1. Remember to call the person by name;
2. Praise him for creativity, perseverance, and creativity .;
3. Briefly describe your achievements;
4. Tell the blogger that he inspires you and that you value the communication with him and the time that the person has given you;
5. Attach your portfolio or examples of work to the message (if your activity is related to creativity).
Step 9. How and when to publish posts
It is difficult to give a correct answer to this question since it simply does not exist. They say that the best time to post is when people go to social networks, and this is in the morning (when they go to work or lie in bed), in the afternoon (during lunch), and in the evening (before bed or after dinner). But there is a way to find out when your audience is active.
Write down the schedule of posts on a piece of paper, and add the time next to it (and change it every day). This will help you figure out when is the best time to post. However, if you have a large audience that is interested in you and your life, then there is no need to post a post at a certain time (they will still sooner or later go to your profile or see your post in the feed).
Step 10. Analytics
You can analyze statistics both independently in Instagram itself, and using special services. I will give as examples just a few of them:
1. Picalytics (one of the most popular services), but you can use it for free for only three days);
2. Picaton (if the number of your subscribers is less than 1000, then this service allows you to use the application for free, then you will have to pay a certain amount, it will already depend on how well your account is promoted);
3. Popsters (free test week is given);
4. Minter.io (trial period – 2 weeks);
5. Smartmetrics.co (use is free if less than 1000 subscribers);
6. Appaction (free trial period – 2 weeks);
7. FlyStat (the price depends on the promotion of the account).
Now let’s look at the main metrics by which you can track statistics and the effectiveness of Instagram promotion:
1. Subscribers. The total number of people following you;
2. Likes. How many likes this or that post has;
3. Mentions. How many times other users have tagged you;
4. Comments. The number of comments written under a specific post;
5. Publication coverage. How many unique users saw your post;
6. A number of shares. The number of users who have sent your post to someone;
7. Saving publications. How many people have bookmarked your post;
8. Clicks to the site. How many people followed the link in the profile description;
9. Interactions. The number of visits to your profile;
10. Coverage. The number of unique users;
Impressions. How many times users have seen your post in their feed.
You can see the statistics of your audience separately:
Other metrics allow you to analyze certain statistics more narrowly, but they are more complicated. If you are interested, you can deal with them yourself.
The essence of analytics: you post posts, interact with the audience, and analyze its activity. And if your audience is not very active, you can try to change the situation in different ways and then analyze the result.
At this point, I will probably stop writing. This is the information that will be useful to novice bloggers (and maybe not only). There is certainly a lot more to talk about, but it will take a lot of time. Thanks for reading this article. And I wish you success in blogging and millions of subscribers. Good luck!