Since my return to blogging and designing earlier this year, I've really started paying attention to things like analytics, insights and ways to maximize my brand, in general. I am by no means an expert or consider myself one, but I've been thinking about this topic a lot lately and after polling some of you on my Instagram stories this week, I received a lot of interest in having me share some of what I consider best practices for growing a brand and what I've found has been working for me, personally.
I N S T A G R A M
We'll start with the most popular platform: Instagram. I recently made the switch from the default personal profile to a business profile, labeling myself as a blogger. The greatest benefit to doing this is being able to utilize the (free!) real-time metrics/analytics that comes with the territory. I have found these to be SO helpful, for a couple of reasons, the first being that it breaks down who your followers are, where they come from, what their gender + ages are and most importantly: what time of day they are most engaged and likely to see your content.
The reason this is such a big deal is because as many of you know, once IG sold out to Facebook, there was a major change to the algorithm. Gone are the days of seeing your feed in chronological order--now you're served posts based on who and what you're engaging with the most. This has understandably pissed a lot of people off (me included) and has left brands scrambling to find ways new ways to work around the new algorithm to recapture their audience. Knowing what time of day down to the hour that your followers are online, allows you to better plan when to post for maximum exposure. For example, the image above shows that on Tuesdays the best times for me are in the afternoon between 1-2pm or between 6-7pm in the evening. I've tested this out and I have found that I do in fact, have a much better rate of engagement when I post within those timeframes.
To take it a step further I've begun utilizing an Instagram planning app to get a better handle on my feed in terms of visualizing my grid, scheduling posts and organizing hashtags. Thanks to Vanessa over at Noirvé I discovered Planoly and have absolutely loved it so far. Not only is the UI on both the app and desktop gorgeous (what can I say, I'm a sucker for good design) but it's really easy to use and since I'm a total visual person it's nice that I can see the whole big picture at a glance. Seriously, I highly recommend it!
I've also started using a Linktree URL instead of just my actual website domain, in my Instagram bio and here's why: as a blogger, I'm constantly sharing new blog posts via my IG Stories and until I hit 10K followers (someday! ha) and am able to use the coveted "swipe up" linked feature, my only live link recourse is what's in my bio. With Linktree, I can create and share a link to virtually any URL. So, even if someone is not interested in the specific blog post I'm trying to promote they still end up on my blog since the link redirects to a page on my site. Other ways I'm thinking I can utilize this feature is linking to items I'm wearing/are in my home or even affiliate links that are featured in my Instagram photo. The possibilities are endless! Speaking of affiliates...
A F F I L I A T E S I T E S
By signing up with affiliate sites you can begin to make some extra cash and monetize your brand. The way this works is that you stand to make a percentage of the sale when someone clicks through to a specifically generated link and makes a purchase of an item. Popular sites include rewardStyle, ShopStyle Collective and Amazon's Affiliate program. rewardStyle is a little exclusive (it's application-based) but they do offer the biggest selection of available retailers to choose from. However, one of the biggest reasons I prefer ShopStyle Collective is because I still earn a percentage (albeit small) if someone merely clicks the link and doesn't necessarily make a purchase. It goes without saying Amazon is just plain awesome and also comes with a high click-rate because who doesn't love Amazon?!
You can also generate shoppable widgets with these sites and embed them into pages on your site (see mine here) or even blog posts as well.
C O L L A B O R A T E
The last thing I wanted to talk about is the importance of collaborating with other like-minded people/brands in your community. Since graduating to being a "mommy blogger" I've discovered and met so many amazing fellow mama bloggers, designers and entrepreneurs out there. I absolutely love when we get to combine our talents and work together whether it be via a guest post, giveaway or review in exchange for neat new products to try. The main thing I want to stress here is don't be afraid to be the one to reach out. Sure, you might get pegged as an *influencer* the bigger the following you have but there's also no harm in trying your hand at asking to work with certain brands that spark your interest, especially if they're local. There have been many times I've DM'd or emailed a brand I want to work with and asked if they would be interested in a partnership and they've said yes. So, don't be shy! The worst they can say is no thanks but at least you put yourself out there. Sometimes taking a risk can pay off!
So, there you have it! My two cents on my personal experience with ways I've learned to really engage with my desired audience and promote myself, my blog, my business and make new friends along the way. It sure didn't happen overnight (I've been blogging--in some form--on the internet for half my life) but I figure maybe someone out there who is trying to grow their online presence will read this and walk away with a tip or two they can use.
I'd love to hear your feedback on if you found this helpful at all and if this is a topic you'd like to hear more about around here? Let me know! xx