double rainbow

5 Ways Your Instagram and Blog Can Play Together

A commenter recently asked if I believe blogs are “dead.”

I don’t, but I think their role in the online world is changing. One way to flow with blogs’ evolution at the moment is to integrate social media into your blog and vice versa.

According to Pew Research Center, the most popular social media platforms right now are YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram (It will be interesting to see if Facebook still holds second place after the recent revelations). Instagram seems to be the platform that still brings my clients and peers joy (even though it’s owned by Facebook), so let’s look at some ideas for how your blog and Instagram can play nicely together.

#1 Use your Instagram photos to illustrate your blog posts. According to this post (which is rather old, but quoted everywhere), “Articles containing relevant images have 94% more total views than articles without images on average.” And according to this piece, “people can recall 65% of the visual content that they see almost three days later. In comparison to about 10% of written content three days after it’s read.” You get the picture. Visuals are powerful.

#2 Include a link to your Instagram account in the header, footer, or sidebar of your site. I know this seems like a no-brainer, but people forget to do it.

#3 Let your Instagram followers know when you have a new post up. Create an image with the title of your blog post, or take a screenshot of the header of your blog post. Share the image with your Instagram followers with a little info about the post. Temporarily change the link in your profile to link to your blog post, and include “link in profile” or #linkinprofile in your description (e.g. Rachel Cole). You can do something similar if you have a new product, or service you’d like to share (e.g. Susannah Conway).

#4 Create a community building event that takes place on blogs and Instagram. For example, the company Phat Quarters (they sell fabric) hosted a Fabric Blog Tour to coincide with the launch of a new fabric line called “Journey” by one of their suppliers, Monaluna. During the blog tour, Phat Quarters published blog posts with links to posts by bloggers about the bags, clothes, and other items they created with the fabric line. Monaluna posted a round-up post with links to the bloggers on the Tour on its blog as well. Both companies also shared images of projects the bloggers made in their Instagram feed: (e.g. phatquarters, monaluna).

#5 Give Link.tree a whirl. I’ve never tried Link.tree, so I can’t personally recommend it, but I’ve noticed more Instagrammers using it (e.g. laladelia). Instead of putting a link to your website in your Instagram bio, link to your Link.tree profile which, when clicked, offers links to multiple places to connect with you online. One of those links could be to your blog, or to a particular blog post.

pink skies and moonrise by Britt Bravo
Pink skies & moonrise by bbravo

If you’d like to connect on Instagram, you’ll find me at bbravo sharing photos of sunsets, hummingbirds, and other things I find beautiful.

What are ways you’ve seen Instagram and blogs play nicely together?

Photo of a double rainbow by Abigail Keenan on Unsplash

6 Tips for Building Community on Your Blog


“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.” ~ Dorothy Day

A recent study found that,”when isolated people who have health problems are supported by community groups and volunteers, the number of emergency admissions to hospital falls spectacularly.” Another nine-year study discovered that, “those with close social ties and unhealthful lifestyles (such as smoking, obesity and lack of exercise) actually lived longer than those with poor social ties but more healthful living habits.”

Creating opportunities for true connection is not just a nice idea. It’s imperative for our personal and societal well-being. If part of your work requires an active online presence, why not use it to build a community whose success is measured by meaningful interactions, not just size and sales?

Based on the response to my post “Let’s make blogging about connection again,” it sounds like there are many of us who are hungering for an online world that builds connection rather than division, and relationships rather than clicks.

But how do we do that?

Below are 6 Tips for Building Community on Your Blog

#1 Have a vision for your community

It doesn’t have to be all fleshed out, but it helps to have a general idea of the kind of people you’d like to be a part of your blog’s community, what need it might fulfill in their lives (e.g. education, inspiration, support, entertainment), and what a successful community would look like for you. Your vision will evolve as you go, but having even a basic plan for your blog will help you make decisions about post topics and how to grow the community.

#2 Engage your readers

Social media is supposed to be just that, social. Its purpose is to encourage connection and conversation. We all have at least one friend who talks only about herself and never asks how you are. After a while, you don’t want to hang out with her anymore because they want an audience, not a relationship. Don’t be that kind of friend to your readers. They may be shy and prefer for you to do a lot of talking, but they will appreciate that you asked about them too. Some ways to engage are:

  • Ask questions at the end of your posts.
  • If a reader’s comment inspired a post, mention them in your post (note: If their comment to you wasn’t public [e.g. an email, a private Facebook message] ask their permission before you mention them).
  • Include a poll, or survey in your post, and/or if you have a Facebook Page for your business, or blog, post the poll, or survey there, and share the results on your blog.
  • Ask a question on social media and compile the responses into a blog post. Share the post with the contributors and thank them for their ideas.
  • Host a Facebook Live chat so you can interact in real time.
  • Host a group project you can do together (e.g. a 30-day challenge).
  • If your readers live in your area, or a place where you are going on a trip, host a local face-to-face meet up (Please use good safety sense. Meet in a public place and don’t share where you live).
  • Share your posts on the social network where your readers spend the most time (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram).

#3 Be a generous blogger 

Attention is the currency of the online world, and it has become increasingly valuable. Part of building an online community is reaching out to your peers and highlighting their work and writing. Some ways to do this include: Continue reading

Let’s make blogging about connection again.

spider web with dewOne of the reasons I fell in love with blogging as a medium in 2005, is that it felt free of rules. It was a space to express whatever I thought in whatever way I wanted. And it was about connection. Real connection. And community. Not about people as numbers, or demographic characteristics in Google Analytics.

In her memoir, This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart, longtime blogger Susannah Conway writes about how blogging saved her life after the sudden death of her boyfriend:

Continue reading

How can you use social media to lift us up?

Do this . . .

Don’t do that . . .

Listen to this . . .

Don’t listen to that . . .

Read this . . .

Don’t read that . . .

Think about this  . . .

Don’t think about that . . .

Believe this . . .

Continue reading

Are You Hiding Your Writing Behind Busyness?

I haven’t posted in a while for a number of reasons that could be tossed into the bucket we call “busyness,” but the reality is, I’ve been having a bit of writer’s block, and being busy was easier than dealing with it.

Ironically, being busy is a terrible way to move through writer’s block. As Brigid Schulte observes in, “Why being too busy makes us feel so good”:

“[N]euroscience is beginning to show that at our most idle, our brains are most open to inspiration and creativity.”

Our bodies and minds are built to expend energy and rest, expend energy and rest. In “Relax! You’ll Be More Productive,” Tony Schwartz shares that when he wrote his first three books, he sat at his desk for up to 10 hour a day, and each book took him a year to write. Then he changed how he worked:

“For my two most recent books, I wrote in three uninterrupted 90-minute sessions — beginning first thing in the morning, when my energy was highest — and took a break after each one.”

He completed each of those books in less than six months.

In the United States, being “busy” can be a status symbol, as well as a privilege. As Tim Kreider writes in “The ‘Busy’ Trap”:

“[I]t isn’t generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the I.C.U. or commuting by bus to three minimum-wage jobs who tell you how busy they are; what those people are is not busy but tired. Exhausted. Dead on their feet. It’s almost always people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed. . . . They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.”

So, if we find that we’re not writing, or creating in the medium of our choice because we’re “busy,” perhaps we need to: 1. Take more time to rest, and 2. Ask:

What don’t I want to face on the blank page that busyness has helped me to avoid?

Photo by me.