….or at least how to become better at it. Let’s get real. No one knows everything, even little old me but I can at least help you succeed!
Instagram is one of the most popular social media sharing apps, with more than 800 million monthly users and climbing. Most everyone we know is scrolling, posting, and liking around the clock — but despite the app’s ubiquity, there is still some mystery about how to use it to its full potential.
How do you even get a “following,” much less get tons of likes? Is it all a sham, or is it actually possible to get “famous” on Instagram? Do you enviously wonder how your favorite accounts got so big? What do they do that you don’t? Well I am in NO WAY saying I’m Instagram famous. I’m not. I did however grow a following organically in one year with over 20,500 followers. How? Well, LOTS of work and time. A ton of genuine work! Also, a lot of trying and failing to find my “theme”.
Want my tips? Well, here we grow!
1. Research Like Crazy.
Just like anything else it’s helpful to set real goals. What do I mean by “real goals” though? I mean they need to be reasonable. I know I’m not going to gain 5 million followers in a month, no one does (unless you’re Ariana Grande or Khalid maybe lol!) but what about 100 this month? 50? That’s way more realistic!
Begin your IG revamp by researching accounts you love with a lot of success. What is it about their accounts that makes them so appealing? Why do you like their feed? What can you do better or slightly different? Can you change it up a bit? Decide what you want out of your Instagram by setting an aesthetic tone. This can be achieved by a certain color palette (white, pastels, pinks, blues, or dark earth tones). Choose what makes you happy! Studies show that people will stay with your account longer if it is pleasing to the senses and it is consistent. So think PATTERNS! The Preview app is a great tool for testing out posts to better design your grid. It’s a good way to find your pattern without having to do it live on your IG. Take some time to play with it and try out new looks.
What story are you trying to tell with your IG? What’s your theme? What’s your storyboard? Make it yours! Look through these famous IG pages you love and pay attention to what they do, how often they post, the hashtags they use, how they interact with followers, etc.
2. Go For Quality.
Taking quality photos is easier said then done. I get it! There are however lots of apps to help you improve the quality of your photos. Fill your Instagram grid with quality images that people want to see. A thoughtful selection leads to a consistent aesthetic, which will help in attracting a core follower base. When it comes to photo editing, there are a million apps that can assist you. Popular apps include Snapseed, VSCO, and A Color Story. Avoid using the Instagram-provided filters and stick to the editing tools: bump up the contrast, straighten your image, add some “structure.” DO NOT over edit your pics though, especially if it’s a photo of you. Sure a touch up here and there is fine but please don’t smooth your skin out so much that it looks like you don’t even have skin haha. The more genuine the better!
Remember light is the key to every great photograph. You can ever post vertical images to maximize screen ‘real estate’ and grab people’s attention.
3. Really Put Thought into Your Hashtags.
If you can think it, it can be a hashtag. But to make a hashtag work in your favor, you’ll need to think strategically. #You #Do #Not #Need #It #All.
Instagram will let you add up to thirty hashtags in one post, but it’s better to select the top 12 or so that are extremely relevant to your image. Hashtagging the type of photo, the device you used, where it was taken, and the app you edited with are good places to start. There’s also a third-party app, called Focalmark, that can offer hashtag suggestions you can copy and paste.
Within Instagram, hashtag popularity will pop up as you type. Find the ones that are NOT super popular, but instead popular ENOUGH! #Cute and #travel won’t get you any attention, since your post will immediately get drowned out by all those other posts. But a well-chosen hashtag has people looking at it but not so many people posting. So instead do something that has below 1 million uses. Notice that it does indeed tell you how many people have used it when it pops up. For instance, #travellikealocal will get you more attention.
4. Build Your Engagement Up.
Engagement is allowing your follower base to come to know you (or at least a version of you). Consider telling a story or anecdote in the Instagram caption. You can also be witty — whatever your narrative calls for the caption is the best area to express that outside of images. When you’re commenting on another account’s post that you love, share your thoughts and try to personalize it so it doesn’t come across as spam. Commenting on other peoples IG posts is tricky but make it legit, more than four words, and not just emojis. For example:
This makes you look like spam and will be marked as such. ⇒⇒ Cool! 🙂
This makes you look legit. ⇒⇒ That’s so cool that you got to travel to Mexico this year! What was the best part of your trip? 🙂
Remember to interact with your followers too! When they comment on your posts, like it and comment back in a timely manner (if possible within 30 mins). Again, being genuine is everything and gets you lots of adoration, love, and respect. Remember, it’s fun to get to know people so hop to it!
If you’re traveling abroad or staying local the engagement via the local community can be quite beneficial as well. Through geotags and localized hashtags, engage with the community around you as they may be interested in your posts while you’re sharing from that location.
The frequency of posting also matters. It’s best to decide what sounds right for you and what times of day you notice your followers are more active. I suggest AT LEAST 3 times a day. I currently post 4 times a day. My high times are 7:30am, 12:30pm, 7:00pm, and 9:00pm. Find your high times and fit that to you! It’s different for everyone. Trial and error, my loves!
5. Use An App to Schedule Your Posts.
I know this sounds crazy but trust me….it helps a lot! If you’re super busy during the day like I am and want to stay consistent then definitely take this advice. Scheduling your posts to pop up through the day without you is essential to your goal! I use Planoly like it’s going out of style, y’all!! It even has a way to save hashtags that you use frequently, has an image splitter, etc. It takes a little bit of time but I promise it’s one of my keys to success.
6. Keep your IG Stories Current.
This one is huge. People love to see what you’re doing RIGHT NOW too! Make it fun. Make it goofy. Show us you traveling places, adventuring around, shopping for the perfect outfit, having dinner with a coworker, whatever! Just remember to show us.
7. Remember What NOT To Do!
Don’t buy followers, don’t act like a spammer, don’t regram other people’s posts, and don’t lose your own sense of style and personality on your Instagram. It’s an app to sharing your life, not to stand in for it. Be YOU because there’s just no one better! 🙂
ok Tribe, that’s it for now. Let me know what helps you grow, what doesn’t, and anything in between! Comment below so I can see it. Oh and please get in touch too if you need any help or have suggestions/questions. I don’t bite that hard lol. Connect with me on whatever platform works best for you. My links are on my website!
Until next time!
With Love and Magic,