3 Tips from Bullet Journals on Instagram

How to maintain high engagement rates without showing your face

Instagram has always been the social media platform known for its immaculately curated, aesthetically pleasing posts. In a previous article, we talked about how brands and influencers have been putting the 3-grid layout to good use. Today, let us look to Instagram accounts that dedicate themselves to bullet journaling for some more inspiration.

Why Bullet Journals?

Research on social media has shown that Instagram posts that feature faces receive more likes. Yet many popular bullet journal accounts have engagement rates (number of likes + comments / number of followers) that are relatively high.

In the example above, one of the largest bullet journal accounts, @focusign, has an engagement rate of 4.64%, which is higher than the worldwide average, especially for an account of its size.

How have bullet journal accounts managed to do this? What are some of the things that we can learn from them and apply to our own public Instagram accounts or Instagram marketing campaigns?

I. Hashtags, hashtags and more hashtags

If you’re in a niche market, always make sure you use hashtags. This ensures that your post appears whenever someone searches for the niche you are posting about. While larger brand and influencer accounts can choose to create their own hashtags and encourage others to use them, smaller account should make sure they do their research on what the trending hashtags for their niche are.

Whether you have a small or a large account, hashtagging does wonders to bring traffic to your post. For an example, @_bujogenie, a relatively small account with approximately 900 followers at the time of writing, hashtags their post with 27 different hashtags.

@_bujogenie hashtagging their post with 27 different hashtags.

While many of the hashtags are generic ones related to bullet journaling, some of them (#kpopstudygram, #kpopstudyblr, #kpopbujo) are specific to the Instagrammer’s journal. If, like @_bujogenie, your account is a niche within a niche (in the case of this post, K-pop related bullet journaling), hashtagging the smaller niche is also important as it flags your post out for those who will be truly interested in your content. Since each post is limited to 30 hashtags, make sure you choose the ones you want to use carefully.

In the example above, @_bujogenie chooses to place the hashtags in and immediately after the caption. For those of you who think that hashtags make your caption look ugly, or make you appear desperate, there are ways to get around this problem.

@studyihng hashtagging their post after a series of dots and fullstops.

One common solution is to place your hashtags only after a series of dots or fullstops. This is done because Instagram does not allow users to use more than one line break in succession. This pushes the hashtags down to the bottom of the caption so that followers do not have to look at what some may consider an unsightly mess of blue.

@coldbujo inserting the hashtags in the first comment rather than in the caption itself.

Alternatively, one can also choose to place the hashtags in the comments (right after posting), instead of in the caption itself as @coldbujo has done above. Doing so hides the hashtags from view, especially if the account is popular enough that it receives many more comments after the post.

II. Engage with your audience

Brands and large influencer accounts have a tendency to make social media interaction a top-down, one-way experience. Captions used are typically short, and factual–neither of which invites comments. Popular non-celebrity influencers sometimes also use captions that are wholly unrelated to their post. Accounts with such a style of interaction typically do not have very high engagement rates. While speaking to your audience through your caption may not necessarily get you more likes, it does help to increase the comments on the post.

@annastudied explaining her spread to her followers.

It is not uncommon for bullet journal accounts to make it a point to explain their spread, telling their followers about the color schemes they chose or the new sections they are trying out in their journals. This invites users to comment on the new project, whether they like it, or if they preferred something else that was posted before.

Another good way to generate interaction is to ask questions.

@focusign asking their followers a question.

This post, which is also @focusign’s most commented post in the month of November as of the time of writing, received 80 comments–more than twice the number of comments the Instagrammer usually receives per post. Ideally, questions ought to be related to the photograph or video posted, but as @focusign’s question about wake-up times indicates, this does not always have to be the case.

III. Hold giveaways

Another good way to increase engagement is to hold giveaways. Of course, this should only be done when your account has at least a few hundred followers in order to ensure participation.

@my_blue_sky_design holding an international giveaway after hitting the 10000 follower milestone.

If the giveaway is held periodically, this gives your followers something to look forward to.

@my_blue_sky_design holding a second giveaway at 20000 followers.

In this case, the account owner appears to intend to hold a giveaway every time she reaches 10000 new followers. Accounts which have markets that are not so niche and/or experience a very large audience growth within a very short period of time can consider holding giveaways with in larger audience growth intervals (e.g. every 100000 followers).

Giveaways can also be held on other special occasions, such as during special holidays or celebratory events. Do also make sure to use your giveaway as a chance to promote your account.

@focusign holding a giveaway of 5 Quizlet Plus accounts

As @focusign has done above, ask participants to follow your account (if they have not already done so), to like the post and to tag a few (usually no more than three) friends in the comments. Some giveaways also ask participants to write about what they would do with the prize or why they wish to win it. All of these actions help to increase follower count as well as engagement.

We hope these bullet journal accounts have given you inspiration, either as an influencer or as a brand.

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