What makes a successful Instagram account? The content? The amount of followers you have? The amount of likes you get? ‘Insta blogging’ is a thing now and it’s only getting bigger. If your aim is to develop your account into an influential platform, with people desperate to visit your stream to admire your content, find out your thoughts on a particular product, or simply to see what you are up to, then unfortunately it’s not going to happen overnight. Behind the Crema filters and love heart emojis, it takes a lot of work, time and commitment. Here are a few tips to help you improve your Instagram game…
Instagram is HUGE. 700m users are on the platform as of April 2017 and that figure is growing daily. Unless you’re a close relation of the Beckhams you’re unlikely to acquire followers simply by being on the platform, so start by deciding who you want to attract/influence. If your thing is health and fitness, seek out accounts using the kind of hashtags you want to use – #fitfam, #fitspo, #exercise #nutrition… and so on, and use them yourself, and follow the people who use them. If it’s knitting (er, why?) or nail art or whatever, that’s how to find your audience. Now let’s get onto the good stuff.
Your content is THE most important element of your profile. It’s pretty simple; if your photos aren’t on point, then people won’t want to know. You have a lot of high quality photos to compete with, so it is important that you only post pics that people are going to enjoy looking at; whether it be an avocado on toast (standard Saturday morning), a product with a marble background (how very ‘bloggerish’ of you), or you and the love of your life walking along the beach with the sunset behind you (cute, but who actually takes the photo?). What I’m saying is, whatever the subject of your snap, the photo needs to be clear, eye-catching and tailored to your audience.
Believe it or not, the filter you choose has an effect on the success of your account. Using different filters for each post is a big no. A Valencia for the selfie, a Juno for the sunrise and a Sierra for the #throwback when you were in Spain last year will leave you with only family and friends for followers. Your feed won’t be consistent and just won’t have that professional look. When I edit photos, I disregard the filter completely and focus on the brightness, contrast, highlights etc. – it creates a much better look.
Follow to lead?
It goes without saying that your following to followers ratio is a pretty crucial signifier of a successful account. If you’re just starting out, then you are going to need to follow a lot of people to get yourself out there…. yes, you will have to be that person that follows to unfollow. That’s the Instagram life.
Like and comment
Now, you may have heard the saying ‘you don’t give to get’… but in the world of Instagram, it certainly does help. If you don’t give the love, you have less chance of getting the love back. Not only does liking and commenting on other ‘grammers’ posts help to increase your own posts’ engagement levels, it also helps to spread awareness of your account. Remember, it’s more effective to like posts that are similar to the content that you upload. For example, people who post about makeup products aren’t always guaranteed to like photos of nature. Save your effort for like-minded individuals.
Instagram just wouldn’t function without hashtags. Well it would, but if your aim is the gaining new followers and the jumping on the bandwagon of events, discussions, and so on, then without the correct hashtag, you’ll struggle. Hashtags help to connect you to a bigger audience, and using the right hashtag at the right time will boost your reach, getting you more involved in the Instagram world! Little tip: if I’m scrolling through my feed and come across a gazillion hashtags in the caption, I’ll skim straight past it (soz). To prevent this, put your hashtag in the comments, rather than in the caption – it makes the post a lot easier for the viewer to read and looks less spammy.
Right on time
Consider the timing of your posts. When is the majority of your audience going to be online? If it’s a photo to prove you went to the gym that day (#gains), you may want to post it in the evening, when other fellow gymers are also done for the day and flicking through their feed. Instagram’s algorithm can be a pain so unfortunately although you won’t be guaranteed to be at the top of a followers feed, it is still best to upload your photos when appropriate. So don’t go posting your breakfast in the Coronation Street adverts.
Don’t be shy
Finally, if your account is set to private, it makes your hashtags worthless, it decreases your chances of people following you and it’s basically building a brick wall around your work. So, either sit and wait for that one follower to make the request to follow you or go into your settings and release your creativity into the online world!
I hope you find these tips helpful. Just make sure you keep at it, the only way to build a successful, organic Instagram account is with commitment and application.
I’m taking my own advice on board and in the process of developing my photography account, @_cyp_photography_ – take a look!