Oh Instagram. It’s that social media platform that everyone pretends to hate but secretly obsesses over night and day. I know this because I see it firsthand and because I am constantly being asked for tips on what to post, how to edit photos, and what I did to gain my following. I figured I’d answer that question with this post that gives you my top tips for Instagram
Please take this all with a very big grain of salt. It’s a happy post and I’m giving you all very superficial tips for a superficial platform. As we all know, life on Instagram doesn’t show the whole picture. It might feature a photo of an amazing meal but it doesn’t capture that you and your best friend had a huge fight while eating it. You might post a picture of, “like OMG the cutest mini cupcakes ever!” but it doesn’t get the message across that you ate too many of them and felt ill all night.
As bloggers, we (or at least I) feel the need to portray a happy and upbeat lifestyle at all times. So when I start to get Insta-envy over someone else’s feed, I remember, as should you, that it’s only showing a small sliver of that person’s life.
That being said, I know a lot of you want to grow your Insta-following so here are my tips for doing just that. I hope they help! Now I’m off to eat a plate of macarons wearing a sparkly necklace while in a yoga class wearing my new Manolos.
1. Your photos should always be bright and clear. People don’t like fuzzy or out of focus images that use a lot of filters. I take most of my photos directly from my iPhone and use Snapseed (best photo editing app ever) to brighten, add contrast, and saturation to certain areas of the photo. I spend probably around 5 minutes editing photos before they go live.
3. Feature color whenever possible. A photo of all brown food on a brown wooden table is not going to get you very many likes. It might taste delicious but does it look good? Probably not. A plate of colorful fresh fruit? That’s a different story.
4. Start a series using hashtags. I started #lsworkattire to document what I wear to work every week. Oftentimes, people will go back and look at old photos within that hashtag and engage in more than one place. For my series, I take a photo almost every day of the midsection of my outfit to keep it consistent.
5. Network with top Instagrammers. I built my first 8,000 followers with a ton of help from brands like Glitter Guide, C.Wonder, and Bauble Bar. Collaborate with other companies and influencers that will promote you on their Instagrams. As a blogger, I try to always include that in my terms when partnering with a brand. Keep in mind that if you aren’t yet in a position to do that, you can always take great bright photos of a brand’s product and they might re-gram you!
6. Timing matters: When I post at night or on weekends, I get double the likes that I get during the day. My highest liked photos are always at 9:30 or 10pm on weeknights or early in the morning on weekends. Apparently that’s when my followers are online! Of course you have to test out timing on your own Instagram.
7. Figure out what your followers like. Mine like pretty flower arrangements and home decor pics so I try to focus on that whenever I can. People do NOT like photos of me with other people for whatever reason. My poor husband basically doesn’t exist on my Instagram as far as followers can tell (I still love you, baby!).
8. Keep your followers happy per the tip above but change it up once in a while! Flowers or cupcakes in every post can only go so far. Go outside, take a picture of the sky! Or a cute dog on the street. Just keep it fresh and fun.
9. Be consistent in timing. I try to post at least 2 photos/day. I’m leaning towards one around lunch time and one at night. On weekends I do 4-5/day. You don’t want to over-post because then people get sick of seeing your updates but the more you post, the more engagement you’ll get which means more likes and followers. Find your balance.
10. Frame your photos well. This photo seems random but I spent a few minutes setting it up, moving things around, and making sure it was well lit. It was a mid-day pic that got a good amount of likes so it paid off!
11. Be authentic. So many of the people that I follow just copy what other bloggers do. That’s fine to a certain extent but just be yourself. I think (not sure but I’m guessing) that people like my photos because they document my real life at work, at home, and while I travel. It’s not over the top aspirational but it’s inspiring.