As bloggers, we all know that social media branding is a cyclical process that constantly goes through transformation and reinvention. After all, social media trends change almost as fast as fashion trends!
As such, we recently re-strategized our own social media and are excited to introduce you to our new, engaging, and inspirational content on Instagram!
Although Blogger Babes is a business and our posts reflect that of an organization rather than an individual, we think bloggers can learn a lot from our Instagram revamp process—the good, the bad and the ugly.
Getting started with Instagram
We’ve previously shared numerous Instagram tips for
- getting started,
- using the photo-sharing platform to promote your blog,
- creating appealing short-form videos,
- enhancing visuals, and
- even taking your profile to the next level.
Other sources have shared some awesome benefits such as,
- business promotion,
- getting serious with smartphone lenses,
- gaining rapid success, like going from a factory worker to a star
So, we took our own advice and revamped our Instagram accordingly.
We all have those few blogger idols whose social media presence and visual appeal we admire. Even as a blogger network home to over 5,000 members, we turned first to our favorite Instagrammers for inspiration when approaching our new social strategy.
I personally love the aesthetically pleasing Instagrammers below for the following reasons:
- @thenectarcollective: With her gorgeous color schemes, it’s a long way to achieve this kind of beauty. She also makes the best use of her bio space with a call-to-action for her free gift. Thanks, Melyssa! 😉
- @goop: I like the simple, quotable images and the fact that this is for a lifestyle blog. This account has random gorgeous pictures even though they don’t match perfectly like the previous one. This is more achievable in the long run, as one must still be realistic with time and resources. Gwyneth Paltrow’s name in the call-to-action bio doesn’t hurt either!
- @_ifb: Our biggest fashion blogger partner. I like their use of random fashion posts because our target market are fashion-oriented women. Since we have tens of thousands (no lie!) of Heidi’s professional photos in Dropbox, it’s finally time to start publishing them.
- @byreginatv: Regina’s use of candids intermittently with her branded behind-the-scenes work images show all the hard work involved in the life of a successful, professional blogger. These photos and her bio encourage you to hop over to her blog for more details. We have so many pictures of this type, reminders that life as a blogger is not all that pretty sometimes, and keeping it real is being transparent about our profession.
- @collectivebias: Our long term partners, I love how they feature their live events! We’ve got a gazillion of pictures from two separate New York Fashion Weeks, the Oscars, Emmys, and with a growth into Miami and Heidi’s BB Asia tour last month, we have global events we need to start sharing.
- @sitsgirls: I love how they highlight Brand-Blogger campaigns they have worked on. It’s a way to feature our clients—brands, companies, and partners— and you, our members. We can’t wait to show off all your great work!
- @daniellelaporte: Gotta love the simplicity of her #truthbomb quotes! If you don’t know who Danielle Laporte is, you’re totally missing out on some wonderful stuff with professionally and personal lyrics. So follow her Instagram, blog, books, and more!
Instagram organizational steps
After I picked out my top picks and detailed what and why I love them, it was time to get organized. Below is our six-month long process. Steps four and five took about two months. Stick with us to the end of this article to learn how you can cut out months of work and literally be up and running less than a week—or if you’re really ambitious, one day!
- Establish your Instagram goals—Blogger Babes is a global blogger network primarily focused on fashion, beauty, and lifestyle niches with an extremely strong educational component. We are professional female bloggers helping aspiring female bloggers to live the life of their dreams. Our goal is to share beautifully branded engaging images associated with a female blogger’s unique lifestyle.
- Assess your resources—Knowing what you have to work with is critical to success.
- Do you have a stockpile of photos sitting on your hard drive you can use now?
- If not, who will be taking your photos?
- Who will edit, format, or design unique images?
- Will the photographer be the same person posting the photos?
- How often will you post? Will you be sporadic and random, or will you schedule and future post?
- When will you schedule time to take photos, post, and reply to comments? Will you delegate this task?
- Hire a social media strategist—Prioritizing this platform, Heidi hired a social media strategist to give us some tips specific to our unique business model. Here are some we liked the best and knew we could easily implement:
- #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesdays) of aspirational fame bloggers across all our niches: fashion, beauty, lifestyle, travel, food, and home.
- #TBT (Throwback Thursdays) of past live blogger babes events.
- Tying in @theambitionista, our founder Heidi’s blog, with behind-the-scenes photos of #fashionblogging or regular #fashion tips
- #bloggereducation tips, quotes, recommended tools, and more.
- #BloggerBabes member highlights, live and past events, brand blogger online campaigns, our clients, and more.
- Ask your readers for input—We gathered a few Blogger Babes members to volunteer their ideas for things they’d like to see from us on social media. Shout-out and thanks to Delaila of M3 Glam and Bethany of Twenty Something Plus! They both reiterated their interest in #BloggerBabes member highlights, our events, clients, and campaigns.
- Read, review and compile—After six months deferring our social media efforts (so much for setting priorities, right? Lol it happens ;-)) in order to focus on other projects (and my sick leave), we revisited it and assigned Danielle, our PR Assistant, to:
- Review hashtags we wanted to use, such as #WCW and #TBT and offer a unique twist to them if we can
- Create an applicable hashtag, such as #BloggerBabes
- Assess what photos we already have (professional and candids)
- Batch the photos into themes, hopefully within the above hashtags
- Draft sample comments with selected images
- Edit images or design a quotable image. While Instagram allows multiple sizes now, the homepage and app still look much better when sized correctly with 640px by 640px dimensions, so we resized all the images.
- Review, edit, approve. (It took Danielle two rounds of trial and error spreadsheets and brainstorming before we settled on content.)
- Establish an editorial calendar—Potentially the most important part of revamping our Instagram was creating a realistic editorial calendar that we can implement and manage.
- Publish and future post—We have a social edit assistant who we share our completed weekly calendar with.
- Engage with your followers—Replying to comments and liking or commenting on followers’ posts is key!
- Promote, promote, promote!—This blogpost and our editorial calendar template are two immediate ways to encourage you to start following us. We plan to unveil our Instagram highlight in our weekly newsletter next week, and try other strategies that we’ll share with you as we unveil them.
- Assess and adjust your plan—We’re going to give this strategy at least one quarter, three solid months, of giving it our all. We will adjust according to our measurements and feedback, such as number of likes, comments, and followers, as well as the content of the comments we receive.
Free Instagram editorial calendar template
Want one for your own Instagram posts? We created a free editable Google Spreadsheet Instagram Editorial Calendar Template just for you! This alone should save you tons of time and research!
How to use the Instagram editorial calendar
1) Request a copy of this calendar.
We made it easy for you to implement. You can request for us to share a copy of this spreadsheet by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line, “Instagram editorial calendar please”. We will make a copy from our email@example.com account, and you can play around with it as much as you want!
(Unfortunately, Google Sheets doesn’t have that single link where you can automatically request to share anymore. If they do and it’s hidden, please comment below to help automate this process for us.)
2) Leave room for time sensitive and much-needed “real time” Instagramming efforts.
Note: the template doesn’t address the following:
- Instagram take overs
- Live Instagramming from live events
- Posting timely Blogger Babes in the news
- Instagram chats (BTW, Heidi and I loved being Instagram chat guests for Latina Bloggers Connect’s Instagram chat, and we look forward to more in the near future!).
3) Fill in the editable calendar.
Our initial BB Instagram editorial calendar is protected, so you always have our tips to model. Then there is room for 4 weeks to fill in yourself.
Strategizing was a lot of fun for me as I cut, pasted, and amended Danielle’s research for final approval. We highly recommend you play around and get some feedback with your daily post ideas like we did. Colleagues and followers are best to assure you meeting your overall Instagram goals.
4) Duplicate a new sheet for each month.
Starting from Sheet 2 (November 2015), click ‘duplicate’ and make a new sheet for each future month. This allows you to better plan events, featured hashtags like #WCW, and other campaigns.
Follow us at @bloggerbabes and comment/like our content!
While we’re literally jumpstarting our Instagram account this week, by no means do we claim to be experts—although Heidi can be seen as one, with over 163,000 followers! However, we’re up for the challenge and excitement, so:
- Follow us
- Comment as we progress. Let us know what you like about what we’re doing, and be kind about what you don’t!
- And if you love anything, please like it!.
We’ll keep you posted of our progress—our live Instagram case study! At the time of publishing this tutorial, we have 230 followers. Let’s see what happens over time!
We’ll meet you on “The Gram” to chat more over at @bloggerbabes!
But before you go, please request your template now, and tell us what you think of our Instagram strategic plan of action below.