This article is part of a larger series on How to Make Money Blogging.
If you’re wondering how to start an Instagram blog with no experience, you’ll be happy to know it’s easy to start. Instagram blogging is microblogging because of the 2,200 character limit for captions vs no limit on traditional blogging platforms. Instagram bloggers with 15,000 engaged followers can make around $200 per sponsored post.
Many people start a blog on Instagram with the intention to sell products out of the gate. If this is your goal, you can get started for free with Square Online. It has the easiest setup process, and you don’t pay a dime until you make a sale. This is perfect for Instagram bloggers who don’t have months to build a full-fledged ecommerce store. Get started for free today.
Here are the eight steps on how to start an Instagram blog:
1. Create an Instagram Account
Creating an Instagram account is free and takes just a few minutes to do. The step that takes the longest is figuring out what you want your username to be. Keep in mind that unlike other social media platforms, you can change your username later on. However, many prefer to use their full name as a username so they build a personal brand.
Get started with your Instagram account in just a few steps:
- Download the Instagram app from the Google’s Play store (Android) or App Store (iPhone).
- Once installed, tap the Instagram icon to open it.
- Sign up with your email address or phone number if you’re on an Android. If using an iPhone, you’ll select Create an Account then enter your phone number. You’ll get a text with a verification code to enter. Alternately, you can use a single-sign-on by selecting your Facebook login.
- You’ll then receive a prompt to create a username and password.
- Make sure to have a public profile instead of a private one, unless you only want friends and family you allow reading your blog.
2. Choose a Niche for Your Instagram Blog
When learning how to start an Instagram blog, the key to gaining consistent growth is to give your audience what they’ve come to expect. If you are a travel Instagram blogger and then post a sponsored ad for a recliner, you’re not only going to confuse followers but you might cause them to unsubscribe. By choosing a niche for your Instagram blog, you’re telling people who come to your blog exactly what kind of content they’ll get going forward if they follow you.
It’s important that you take careful consideration when choosing a niche. While you can change your focus later on, doing so can confuse your audience. Some Instagram bloggers start with a broad category such as a lifestyle blog before deciding on a narrower niche like travel or parenting. It’s also important to understand that many Instagram bloggers also eventually create a blog on a website, which doesn’t have any limits on the number of characters you can write.
Within a travel niche, you can get even more specific. Some Instagram blogs focus solely on domestic travel or on international travel. There are entire blogs dedicated to just Disney travel. Other travel niches include solo travel, plus size travel, family travel, and traveling with pets. There’s even a travel Instagramer who dedicates her account to camping in her living room thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some Instagram travel bloggers find success monetizing through hosting travel tours. There are many bloggers who also teach others how to travel more, whether that’s by using travel rewards through credit cards or selling everything you own to travel. As a fellow travel blogger, I follow many travel bloggers on Instagram to get ideas for new places to visit.
A lifestyle Instagram blog often features photos and posts of everyday activities, hobbies, or insights. These bloggers tend to stick with a few categories rather than posting anything and everything they enjoy. For example, a lifestyle blogger may post about family, travel, food, and money.
Many lifestyle Instagram bloggers monetize their content through brand partnerships. These brand partnerships are often sponsored posts, where an Instagrammer gets paid to do a static Instagram post or Instagram story about a product. Sometimes, they do affiliate programs with different brands and earn a commission on any sales referrals.
Food Instagram bloggers come in many niches as well. You’ve got bloggers who talk about things like baking, grilling, sous vide, and candy. There are bloggers who are diet-specific such as keto, paleo, and gluten-free. Some bloggers also choose to showcase food found during their travels or only food of a specific location such as NYC food carts.
Instagram food bloggers can monetize their blogs through brand partnerships, writing cookbooks, or creating their own kitchen gadgets. A sous vide blogger showing a recipe that uses sous vide might give a list of their favorite sous vide machines while using affiliate links.
Instagram money bloggers write about many different money-based topics. These topics include personal finance, credit cards, paying off debt, making money, investing, and even investment-specific niches like Forex or cryptocurrency.
Money bloggers earn money through partnerships, sponsored posts, and affiliate links. Popular money bloggers have created their own tools like budget binders and planners. Online courses, coaching, consulting, and membership sites are also popular monetization strategies for money bloggers.
3. Create a Captivating Bio
An Instagram bio is a little snippet of text below your picture within your Instagram profile. An Instagram profile is where users view your profile, photo, and all of the posts you’ve created. It’s also where users go to follow you. This bio area is an opportunity to show everyone who you are, what you stand for, and who you serve within 150 characters. It’s a chance for you to make a good first impression, so you’ll want to spend some time crafting a captivating bio.
As an Instagram blogger, it’s important for you to give visitors to your profile a sneak peek at what they can expect if they follow you. Some users choose to give their contact information like an email address or a phone number—particularly if they are a business or if want someone to get in touch about collaboration opportunities. Others prefer to share a quote, their location, and maybe even some hobbies.
Whatever you choose to showcase in your bio, remember to tailor it to your niche and your desired audience. When you are very specific about who you are, you are more likely to attract people who are just like you and want to engage with your content.
4. Take or Source Attractive Images
Instagram is a visual platform where the photos you showcase matter more than the captions. Photos you share need to follow your brand identity design so that the style of your image is recognized as yours before a user checks to be sure it is.
This aesthetic should remain consistent throughout your Instagram posts. This helps create a cohesive look to your profile. It’s important to note that you don’t have to always use your own images to post. There are many free stock photo websites to use such as Pexels and Pixabay. Many of these images don’t require attribution, but it’s best to double-check what the restrictions are on each photo.
5. Write Your Instagram Blog Posts
An Instagram blog post is also known as a caption. Your captions can be no more than 2,200 characters. For this reason, many consider that using Instagram for blogging means that you’re microblogging compared to writing a full-fledged blog hosted on your own website.
Your blog posts don’t necessarily have to be 2,200 words to tell a story. Many times captions that are short and thought-provoking do really well on Instagram. The most important lines in your captions are the first line and then your call to action line.
The first line you write should grab a reader’s attention. Think of it as a one-liner—what’s going to stop someone from scrolling by your post in their news feed? This should be a relatively short line so they can read it without having to click “more” to view the rest of your caption. Give an intriguing statement, prompt an emotional response, or share an offer.
Your last line should give a call to action (CTA). The CTA can be as simple as asking your followers to engage with you in the comment section. Or, your CTA might ask to tag a friend, check out the link in your bio for more information, or hit the follow button. A popular CTA is “double tap if you agree,” referencing the act one performs to “like” your Instagram image.
Another important element when creating your Instagram blog posts is to make sure you’re breaking up the text if you’re writing a lot. It is difficult to read a huge wall of text without natural line breaks. You want your content to be easy-to-digest. Instagram doesn’t make it easy to do this within the app, so many people write their draft in notes or a word processing document before copying and pasting it into the platform to preserve the formatting.
6. Use Relevant Hashtags to Boost Discoverability
A hashtag is a word or phrase, preceded by a hash sign (#). These hashtags allow users to find messages about a given topic. For example, when entering the hashtag #travelinspo in the search field on Instagram, it shows travel photos.
You can use hashtags on both static Instagram posts and Instagram stories. With static posts, you can use up to 30 hashtags. You may add up to 10 hashtags in a story. When using hashtags, even non-followers can find your content if they’re searching for that particular hashtag. This allows Instagram bloggers to reach new audiences and grow their following.
To find relevant hashtags to use, many bloggers like the program Later.com. With it, you provide a hashtag you want to use and it will give you suggestions of similar hashtags, or hashtags commonly used with that hashtag. The program will let you know as soon as you’ve hit your 30 hashtag limit for your caption.
7. Geotag Your Posts
To geotag a post, you’re simply adding a geographical location to tell others where a photo is taken. Some users prefer to be very detailed about where an image was taken, such as the exact name of a coffee shop. Others prefer to be more general, such as tagging Manhattan or even New York.
Geotagging lets others see where you’re at. It also helps others find images from a particular location. A user can search Instagram by location to find others who’ve been to a spot they’re researching. Including your location allows bloggers to grow their audience because Instagram users can search for location-based posts and stumble upon any post that has a geotag. If a user likes what you’ve posted, you might gain a new follower—all because you’ve tagged your location.
8. Interact With Other Instagram Users
The entire point of using social media is to be social—this involves interacting with other users on Instagram. You can like and comment on other users’ posts, and you can follow them. When you interact with other users, they’re more likely to check out your profile and microblog. If they like what they see, there’s a chance they’ll follow you back or at least leave a like or comment to return the favor.
Use Instagram Stories
One of the most popular features of Instagram is using Instagram Stories. A story acts like a slideshow that is only available for 24 hours on your Instagram Story feed, unless you choose to feature it. When you feature the Instagram Story it will remain on your profile in the Highlight section until you remove it.
Within these Instagram stories, users can share images, videos, and text. Stories are much less curated than a static post that shows up in your Instagram feed and remain forever on your profile unless you choose to delete it. Many users choose to showcase behind-the-scenes footage of their daily lives on their stories. You can also create polls, share GIFs, and post a story for a select group of people to see. Bloggers can tag other users stories, and if they sell on Instagram, they can also tag a product.
If you have more than 10,000 followers on Instagram, you can use a feature that allows a visitor to swipe up on the story. When a user swipes up on the content, it takes them to a URL of the story creators’ choice. This is a great place to insert an affiliate link.
Comment and Like Users’ Posts
When you engage with another user’s content, they’re more likely to return the favor. The comments that you make on another post should be thoughtful, more than an emoji, and show that you actually read their captions. You don’t have to write a book—a sentence or two is the perfect length.
Follow Other Users
One of the biggest faux pas on Instagram is the follow-unfollow method. This is following a user only with the intention of them following you back and unfollowing them once they do. It’s a pretty common practice on Instagram to grow your followers in this way, however many consider it tacky.
Instagram has said they’re working on policies to prevent this practice from occurring. Your best strategy for growing your own followers’ list is to authentically follow other users you want to follow.
How to Monetize Your Instagram Blog
There are many ways to make money on your Instagram blog. These monetization methods include being an affiliate for someone else’s products and services, creating sponsored posts, and selling your own products and services.
While any links you add to the caption area of a post will not be clickable, you can add a link to your bio. Some people choose to create a free account with a website provider, like Square Online, and host a list of links there. This is useful if you talk about different links in each post you make.
Otherwise, you can use linktr.ee, which is another popular place to list your URLs. As a blogger with an actual website, I prefer not to use linktr.ee because I want to get the page views rather than giving it to another service. I’ve also seen instances where an update to the Instagram platform caused accounts using linktr.ee to temporarily shut down, so proceed with caution if using this method.
Use Affiliate Links
An affiliate marketing program lets creators earn a commission for referring sales to a merchant. These commissions are usually one to 10% of a sale, but sometimes pay if there’s a lead or a click on a custom link instead. Leads and clicks typically pay less than $1 each.
This is an attractive option for many Instagram bloggers because people usually talk about their favorite products and services anyway. They might as well get paid for it. Sometimes merchants and bloggers negotiate an incentive, like a 10% off coupon, for followers to use. This doesn’t usually eat into the commission an affiliate earns and instead comes out of the merchant’s marketing budget.
Instagram bloggers can sign up for an account with rewardStyle, which uses the LiketoKnow.it app to make it easy for them to share products featured in posts. The best part about this is that the blogger receives a commission for sales made.
Create Sponsored Posts
Instagram bloggers can create content for brands in exchange for free product, a discount, or money. What you earn for a post will depend on the number of followers and the engagement you receive. For example, a blogger with 15,000 engaged followers could earn around $200 for a post and $350 for a video. Instagram stories tend to pay less because they disappear after 24 hours. Learn more about setting your blog rates.
You can earn money even if you don’t have a lot of followers because brands tend to care more about engagement than vanity metrics. The reason for this is because it’s easy to artificially inflate the number of followers and likes you get by purchasing these. However, comments are much harder to artificially create. When you have an engaged audience, they’re more likely to trust you and listen to your recommendations.
Sell Your Own Products & Services
Creating your own products and services allows you to control not only the features, but also the production and quality of your offerings. You can create products like supplements, physical books, e-books, apparel, and kitchen gadgets. Services you can offer include design, consulting, and coaching—each of these tend to offer higher profit margins since you don’t need to create any physical goods.
If you don’t have an ecommerce website but have a few products you want to sell, consider using Square Online. This allows you to quickly create an online store using products featured in your Instagram posts—even past posts you’ve made. It takes just three quick steps to get started and you don’t pay anything until you make a sale.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on How to Start an Instagram Blog
This section includes the most frequently asked questions about how to start an Instagram blog.
How successful are Instagram bloggers?
There are Instagram bloggers who post regularly and have less than 100 followers and make nothing. You’ve also got bloggers who have millions of followers and also make millions of dollars. Your success will depend not only on how you measure success, but also your talent, resources, and commitment to blogging on Instagram.
How many followers do I need to be considered an influencer?
The number of followers you have on Instagram doesn’t determine if you’re an influencer. In fact, you can have five followers on Instagram. For example, if you make a post about a new tea mug to your five followers and they go buy that tea mug based on your recommendation, you have officially influenced that purchase.
How many followers do I need to get verified on Instagram?
The number of followers doesn’t matter when it comes to Instagram verification. Verification goes to accounts that are noteworthy, such as those who are often imitated. These include celebrities, athletes, and politicians. You can apply for verification and Instagram will conduct a review of your notable accomplishments using independent sources like news channels and magazines.
No matter the reasoning behind wanting to learn how to start an Instagram blog, you can get started very quickly. It takes just a few minutes to create your account, and then you’re ready to source images and create your first blog post. The benefits of using Instagram as a blog include getting to create captivating content very quickly without spending money, building a following, and potentially even making money from it.