Hi everyone, this post has been highly requested across all of my social media channels so I thought I’d sit down and take you through the behind the scenes of katiethetourist. Today I am mainly going to be focusing on growing my blog and Instagram. This is mainly because these are the easiest platforms to monetise on, and ultimately this is my goal – to make blogging and travelling the world my career. I recently asked my Instagram followers what their ultimate goals were.. and a lot of you said that you wanted to become full time influencers, so here we go. I am going to show you how I’ve started to grow since beginning my journey in September, so you can follow my journey and we can all grow together.
Behind the scenes
First up I’m going to explain how I run my business and basically just talk you through my routine and motivation for doing my work AS WELL AS studying pretty much full time. My routine is quite unconventional, a lot of influencers say you should work in an office or at a desk. But for me, where I am most relaxed is where I feel most motivated, so when I sit down to write a blog post or edit some photos or plan my social media week, I tend to do this from my bed, surrounded by lights with a cold drink by my side! (usually elderflower cordial – I am officially obsessed!!) I don’t know about you but I can’t work in the quiet, so usually I have motivational YouTube videos from other travel bloggers, a Netflix/TV show, a film or even some music just to keep me focused.
For my business itself I use really basic equipment – a phone, a laptop, an Ipad and a camera! I also use wordpress.com rather than .org which I know is controversial but honestly you can do the same things with your business on their business plan than you can on a .org just without the extra work of doing all of the coding yourself. However in the long term, if this becomes a full time career I may consider switching to self hosted! Let me know what you think and whether the coding on self hosted is easy to learn?
(You can follow me here 🙂 – for more growth tips coming soon and to follow me for travel content and to join the family! Lets all grow together!)
Ever since starting my Instagram back in September along side my blog I have tried a whole load of techniques to grow both my engagement and following! I’m here to save your time by telling you which growth strategies actually work! All of these strategies are tried and tested, for free, so brilliant if you are on a strict budget! I use this money saved from using organic methods to create content by travelling more! I have currently grown from 0 to 1.9k in 6 months of running my Instagram account – which I’m pretty pleased with given the fact that this is not my full time career (yet!)
Lets start with my profile, as you can see I have utilised every aspect of the app, which is great for showing the dreaded algorithm that you are a dedicated user. For example, since adding highlights last week, my engagement has increased by 2.1% showing that the algorithm favours people using all of their features. I have utilised the bio, profile picture, email and website in my account – making my account look more legit. Using highlights and Instagram stories also encourages people to spend more time on your profile, showing the platform that your account is engaging.
My favourite hack from my profile page is to put your niche in your name, so that when for example people search for “travel blogger” my account is more likely to show up because it’s embedded in my name. Rather than simply using your name or business title.
This is an example of the “perfect features of an Instagram post.” These are the things you should include in each of your posts to appease the algorithm and maximise your engagement. As you can see, both of these posts have received high engagement – 880 likes, 151 comments and 1012 likes. This is still continuing to grow despite being posted almost a week ago!
Things you need to include when you’re posting to Instagram:
High Quality Image – beautiful photos always attract bigger engagement, if you’re getting comments telling you how great your content is then keep doing what you’re doing! If you’re not then tweak your content until you start to see a change! I promise you its worth it!
Engaging caption – treat your caption like a mini blog and make sure to include a question to spark conversation in the comments as well as a call to action e.g. “make sure to follow for more ___________ photography coming soon!” or “leave a like if you like this photo/agree with my caption.”
Tag relevant accounts – not only does it notify the account of your post meaning they could possibly engage or even repost. It also allows you to show up in their account – free advertising!! Especially if they are a bigger account with lots of followers! However, make sure to only tag related accounts to your post otherwise it can get annoying and be seen as spammy.
Add a location – I know when I’m planning a trip, the first thing I do is research the location on Instagram and save posts that give me inspiration! By adding a location, not only could you help someones holiday plans but you could also gain extra followers or engagement if they like your content!
30 hashtags – I’m here to tell you that all of those influencers telling you not to use all hashtags is a total myth! As long as you change up which you use to avoid being hashtags it is perfectly sensible to use all 30! Make sure you take the time to do the appropriate hashtag research and compile a document on your phone with all of them and just mix and match! For my hashtag research I like to search for travel bloggers on the explore page and see which hashtags are working for them. I also like to use related hashtags to my niche but there are also plenty of sites that you can pay to do it for you if you don’t have the time! I personally haven’t done this as I find researching bigger accounts in my niche helpful anyway but you do you!
Here is an example of my insights from a post that I used all of those above techniques. As you can see I got really high engagement including 38 saves, which the algorithm really favours! I can also see that this post directed traffic to my blog as well as getting me an email from who I now know to be a client! (coming soon!!) In terms of where the engagement came from, you can see that the majority came from hashtags but there were also quite a few from location – showing my post is ranking quite high in the feeds for these hashtags and location – the algorithm’s way of favouring my post for using all of the features!
Instagram stories – using Instagram stories has been proved to dramatically increase engagement, as soon as you post you should upload to your story with an incentive to check out your new post. Lots of people click through stories, a bit like with Snapchat, meaning that people who may not have otherwise been aware of your post are now more likely to view it if your story is engaging. You can also use stories to ask questions, become more engaged and generally build a more personal bond with your followers. Utilising hashtags and location in stories also makes them available to people who follow certain hashtags or locations, who may not have otherwise ever known about your account.
Following people who have liked a competitors recent – It goes without saying that if you have a direct competitor with similar content, that people engaging and liking their posts are probably going to be interested in your content too. So why not follow them or like and comment on some of their recents or even send them a DM (e.g. hey ______, I saw you liked _______’s content, I make similar content and wondered if you’d had the chance to check it out. What do you think?”) making this an open ended question can not only gain you a follower but also be a part of your market research. Being personal makes it more likely that you’ll get a reply and makes you seem less spammy. You have nothing to lose, if you have a standard message template saved in notes, it takes 5 seconds to send a message that could drastically improve your engagement.
Going through a competitors recent and liking and responding to comments – this is similar to the previous tip however doing this shows how engaged you are within your niche. If a random comment like or reply comes up unexpectedly about something you commented on someone else’s post, it’s going to make you curious as to who liked or replied. This means they will probably click on your profile and discover you make the same content, and if anything that increases circulation on your page.
Leaving comments on competitors images – seeming genuinely interested in their content can help you build a relationship with this page as well as the fact that if you are one of the first to comment on their page you are more likely to get likes and engagement passively from their followers. Why not start a conversation? If you leave a thoughtful comment people are more likely to engage with it! You can also do this with brands that you might like to work with, follow them and be really engaging and they’re more likely to respond to you and possibly even ask you to work with them. If you can show the commitment to stay active, it’s going to show you really love the product or service – showing the company how much of a dedicated promoter you would be for their company.
Engaging with people in your niche and people interested in your niche – this is really important, it can help you grow not only future followers but also future collaborations. Especially if you target some smaller accounts in your niche, the possibilities are endless with what you can offer. For example if you have more followers than another aspiring influencer you could reach out to them and ask if they’d like to collaborate or even if they’d like you to do some paid work for them. Things I’m considering in the future include: social media management for small and large pages, social media growth consults etc. For more information click here.
Following hashtags and engaging – following hashtags allows you to track your competitors accounts and also which hashtags are doing well. It also allows you to see what types of content are doing well and how to mimic that for your own style.
Facebook Groups – I love using Facebook groups to connect with like minded influencers and business people, who are often in the same position as you. I wouldn’t say to use it as a main traffic source because it’s very time consuming, but I would recommend it for a tiny bit of engagement and advice because it’s just an amazing sense of community.
Instagram DM Groups – much the same as Facebook groups except these are more targeted and personal. I am apart of some incredible groups with some exceptional and lovely ladies and it’s just such an encouragement to get their support. I would really recommend joining 2 or 3 and building some amazing relationships!
Like comments and engage with people you’re following and new people just before and just after you post – If you start liking comments and engaging with lots of people just before and after you post, most likely they’ll see your notification and be curious what you engaged with them about (especially if you like around 6 posts or like a comment or leave some thoughtful comments) this will then encourage them to view your profile and makes them more likely to see and engage with your new post.
Using an app to see when the best time to post is – The app I use is called WhenToPost but unfortunately it’s only available for IOS so I use my Ipad for this. But it is a total lifesaver, it’s free for the basic version and tells you the 3 best times each day, for example today is a Saturday and my best times to post are 8:30am, 5:15pm and 7:15pm. It gives you a countdown to when you should next post and below gives you an overview of when the best times are for each day of the week which is really useful when it comes to planning your content for the week.
Post consistently – Don’t leave content to a spur of the moment thing, plan out a weeks worth so you know exactly what photos you’re going to post and you can edit them in advance, plan a caption, do post specific hashtag research as well as using standard hashtags that relate to your account – don’t just use hashtags specific to the post as people searching them won’t necessarily like the rest of your content. Plan which accounts you are going to tag and add the time of posting to your calendar so you know you are definitely free. This is great for growth because your audience knows what to expect, for example if you commit to posting once or twice a day etc. Lots of people do this in a specific app but I prefer just to keep a weeks worth of captions/hashtags/tag accounts under titles describing which photo relates to it in one note document so I know where it is, and then I keep the edited photos in a folder in gallery. I have a specific note app just for my business and travel so it’s really helpful and easy to stay organised on the go.
There isn’t much to say about the other social media platform’s I use, because I repost my Instagram content to them. But they are all still essential for blog traffic, I use Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Out of the 3 I am most active on Pinterest but they are really just set up for diversity and I’m not focused as much on their growth, mainly because I don’t have the time all the while this isn’t my career. However, I am looking to increase my Pinterest presence so if you have any resources for growing organically on Pinterest then link me in the comments!
Most of my growth on my blog comes from social media, but it also comes from utilising tags, SEO and of course building my follower list (I currently have 125). Here are some of my stats so you can see my growth since September.
This is a screenshot of my recent post analytics, as you can see my biggest engagement is from the comments and this is because I like to ask questions in my posts and create content that starts conversations! I love receiving comments and it really is a confidence boost so it really is important to utilise this in your content.
Doing well known challenges can really help your growth – for example after only less than 1 month of katiethetourist running I did Blogtober, and then 2 months later I did Blogmas. Both of these challenges were really demanding but really rewarding in terms of establishing my blog and growing my audience in the first few months. If I became a full time blogger I would definitely blog more than once a week and do a lot more blogging challenges!
Here are my current blogging stats:
The most important thing I want you to take away from this post is that when trying to grow on any platform you have to be unique and loyal to the brand you want to grow, it shouldn’t matter who see’s it – whether it’s 100 people or 10,000,000. It’s your creative outlet and yes I do want to make it into my career, but you can only do that by protecting it and staying faithful to your dream. There’s no point in doing what you think people want to see, because it won’t make you happy and people will know it’s forced and fake. Just be you and the rest will happen as it happens. You just have to keep working and keep dreaming and eventually you’ll get there, I truly do believe that.
Thank you so much for reading, I hope this has been helpful to you! If you need anymore help or guidance on any of these tips or just want to ask a question feel free to send me an email here and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!
Want to take part in my next guest blogging weekend?
I’m looking for people to provide guest posts of 500+ words for my website http://www.katiethetourist.com which gets a DA of 100. This post can be unique or previously shared. I am looking for you to share any travel experience you have and must include at least 2 pieces of own photography. Or a post about advice for fellow travellers. I would heavily promote your posts and there would be link backs to your blog and 2 social media accounts of your choice on your guest post. I look forward to working with you and reading your posts! For more information pm me or email at email@example.com
Thank you ❤️
Want to work with me?!
Are you a brand or company? Do you have an awesome product or service? Want to work with me? Email me Katiethetourist@hotmail.com
In the market for some new beautiful clothes for your travels?! I am a new brand ambassador for Poppy Apparel! You can use my discount code, Katiethetourist10 for 10% off all purchases! Here’s the website: Poppy Apparel!
For more photography and sneak previews follow my Instagram and twitter:
Want to read more?! Check out one of my previous posts here: A 7 day trip around the Almeria Province in Spain