5/21/2017 HUGE update on this topic!
Last week, Instagram released a mobile web browser app, meaning you can upload images from a mobile web browser without using the regular IG app. How does that affect uploading from a dekstop computer?
You tell Instagram you’re using a mobile web browser.
What you’ll do is change the “User Agent,” which is how a browser tells a server which browser it is. It’s fairly easy to change the user agent for purposes of posting to Instagram, and this blog post at PerspectiveIX will explain how. I’ve already tested it on Chrome from my laptop to my personal IG account, and it works. The method I share below still works, but I suspect this new way will be much easier.
In my efforts to expand my reach on social media, I set up an Instagram account. Even though I love taking photos, I don’t take a lot of pictures on my phone, and Instagram makes it something of a pain to post from any other medium. You can read posts from your desktop all day long, but you can’t post from there.
But I set up the account anyway, and I’ve been trying to post something about once a week there. I’ve got about 50 followers right now without trying to up that count and many of them are people who aren’t following me elsewhere, as far as I know. So it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to try and somehow link my blog posts to Instagram.
What I learned after a couple of hours of research is that it’s not necessarily easy to do this. Bloggers have to realize that it’s due to the design of Instagram. The platform isn’t necessarily meant to be an advertising medium, or a blogging platform. But it is another way to connect with readers, and authors and bloggers are always (or should be) looking for new ways to connect.
I said “connect” there for a reason. If all you’re going to do is yell, “READ ME! READ ME!” on every single social media platform, you’re not going to get very far. I think that’s the biggest mistake authors make, and it’s not limited to new authors. I know I was doing it wrong for a long time, until I met Rachel Thompson via social media. She’s got about a metric crap-ton of cool stuff for anyone using social media, but especially for authors. Check her out.
At any rate, your goal is to sell books. But to do that, you have to connect with people, and engage them. That’s when they’ll buy your books.
So we have a visual platform here, all about sharing images. How do we share blog posts on a visual platform? I found this post from FaithfullySocial, but the photo transfer that didn’t quite work for me. Another Google search led me to this post at SocMedSean, and his Dropbox idea worked for me. So here’s how I do it.
- Get and activate a Dropbox account (that’s a referral link. I get extra space if you sign up from there. You can do the same thing after your account is set up.) Install Dropbox on both your desktop/laptop, and your phone and/or tablet.
- Designate a folder on your computer for blog images, and make sure it’s part of your Dropbox folders.
- Locate the perfect Instagram image for your blog post, which may not be any of the images you’re using in the actual blog post. For my first try at this, it was. But for this post, I chose an image that doesn’t appear in the post at all. I’ll leave you to learn the best tips for choosing Instagram images (but if you find any good ones, would you share?).
- Save that image to your blog images folder on your Dropbox account.
- In Instagram on your phone or tablet, create a new post. In the top left corner, it’ll say “GALLERY” in a drop-down box. Tap that, then choose “Other.” That’ll bring up a box that will let you choose Dropbox. Navigate to your blog images folder and select the appropriate image.
- Follow Cristina’s tips about the Instagram caption and keywords, and Post! For my first try, I put the bit.ly link in the caption, and the long link in my profile. I don’t know how I like updating my profile every post, like Cristina suggests. We’ll see.
I spent some time researching how to do this. While there are several apps that claim to work, I’ve noticed lots of comments about lagging apps or computers, or Instagram disabling accounts of people who use some apps, like Gramblr, so I think this is probably the best way to do it until Instagram puts out an API that will let bloggers post directly.
Did this help? Have you found a smoother way to do it? Let me know in the comments.