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.
2. Avoid yellowy shots. Tone down the “warmth” using Snapseed so that photos look more editorial and less amateur.
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.
Great post Julia! Thank you so much for the tips. Just followed you on instagram 🙂
These are great tips! Your branding is so consistent on Insta and Lemon Stripes, it is refreshing to see a “real” personality shining through. Inspiring! x
These are great tips! I’m definitely going to try out that editing app.
Amazing tips! I haven’t downloaded Snapseed yet, but I really need to get on that. I hope it helps a lot of my white balance issues.
Oh it totally will. It changed my life for real.
Thank for these tips! You’re so sweet!
Great tips! Thanks for sharing – I’m not very good at ‘photoing’ on Instagram and have struggled with gaining a following. I am bookmarking this and going to follow your lead! : )
It’s all about editing, trust me!
This are such great tips! Need to go check out that editing app!
Love these tips! Thanks for sharing!
Such great tips! I’m off to download that app now!
Great post and very helpful!! Thank you!
What a great post, Julia! I adore your Instagram feed–it’s one of my absolute faves! And so funny about your viewers not liking photos with you and other people in them. I find the SAME thing. Poor Mitch. 😉
Hope you’re having a great week!
Hahah our poor husbands! They’re so cute though 🙂
Fabulous tips, Julia! (Yes, I am Instagram-obsessed, and you are one of the accounts that I love.) Agreed on the less likes on photos with other people…why doesn’t everyone love my husband and friends as much as I do? 😉 XX
Love this post, both for the honest intro and the tips!
great tips, especially the piece about remembering it’s just a small portion of our lives!
So important to remember!
This is awesome I always struggle trying to find out what pics to put up and what not to. I dont get many likes so that must mean its time to re evaluate what I’m putting up.
Guilty of Glitz
This was insanely helpful, thank you for sharing!
Great tips Julia! I’m so excited to try these out!
Natalie Trento Events
These are cute tips! My boyfriend basically doesn’t exist on my instagram either – poor guy haha! Instagram is one of my favorite social medias, I am such a photo girls!
Love your photos!
You have such beautiful pictures on instagram! I love scrolling through on my lunch breaks and in the evenings, it’s full of inspiration!
Five Minute Style
Amazing tips! Do you write down what times work best in a notebook so you can remember when you posted the photo that got a bunch more likes?
LOVE these tips! and love you!
Awesome tips! I’m definitely going to give a few of these a try 🙂
Great great tips!!
This is great! Thank you so much for sharing your tips, I still feel so new in the Instagram world so I always love hearing tips to attract more followers and fans. Enjoy today!
love this! thanks so much for sharing!!
Love these tips! Thank you for being honest and sharing. Always appreciated! Thecityfeline.blogspot.com
These are awesome tips! Just downloaded Snapseed. I appreciate your authenticity and your self deprecation! I really enjoy your writing style 🙂
The beginning of this post totally cracked me up! And great tips too. 🙂
Thanks for the tips. I have a big question: When you post to Instagram do you also post the same picture to twitter via the link? Or do you keep Instagram and twitter separated?
These are GREAT tips!! Thanks for sharing, Julia. Hadn’t heard of Snapseed before.. Downloading it now! 🙂
Ruthie & Rose
Great tips! Thank you for sharing!
Great list of tips. I like the tip about setting up random pictures. I do the same thing, set up a picture, take 20 shots & choose the best one lol
Love the tips! Thanks 🙂
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I love instagram and have spent more time on this recenty so these are great tips. I’ve also written a post on photo tips and compositions guidelines for Instagram here. http://travelphotodiscovery.com/15-instagram-tips-for-better-photos-and-compositions/