Instagram is fast becoming the 'IT' social networking site - it recently surpassed Twiter in user numbers and in the blogging world specifically, there isn't many bloggers who don't use it! Its definitely my favourite social networking site as I love scrolling through my feed and looking at all the pretty and inspirational photos. I'm also addicted to uploading photos to my own account and not a day goes by where I haven't uploaded something. Whether its beauty products, an 'ootd', my dinner, an inspiring quote or a selfie, you'll find it all over on my instagram. You can follow me here if you're interested in seeing more!
I think the reason Instagram has become so popular is because images are more appealing than text. You could write the most inspiring / funniest or sweetest tweet in the world but if its accompanied with an image, its 10x more powerful and will catch people's attention a heck of a lot more.
Instagram is also another form of blogging - there's a lot more 'instagram bloggers' who promote companies solely on their instagram accounts and brands are becoming more interested in how someone can promote their brand to their hundreds or thousands of instagram followers. Its also a great way to promote your actual blog if you have it linked in your bio and post sneak peeks of your new posts! With this being said, I thought I'd share a few tips I've picked up over the past couple of years I've been using the famous app. I'm not saying my Instagram account is perfect by any means but there are a few things I do to ensure its visually appealing and encourage people to click follow...
Quality over quantity
When it comes to the photos you post on instagram, quality really does matter. Much like a blog, out of focus imagery just isn't appealing and people are less likely to click follow if they see blurry images. The kind of instagram accounts I like to follow all have a similar theme - they're light, bright and have sharp clear images. A good tip I have for this is to use your actual camera to take the pictures - I often take a batch on a weekend when I've got lovely natural light and I then email them to myself ready to upload throughout the week. Obviously this is quite extreme if you're not a blogger and just have instagram to share things with your friends but if you want to make it more professional, I'd highly recommend doing this. You can even get digital cameras that you can upload photos straight to instagram from. I'm definitely adding one of those to my birthday wish list!
Keep it consistent
As I mentioned before, all of the instagram accounts I like to follow have a few things in common - their photos are light, bright and high quality. If I click on a account and see these things, I'm likely to follow! With my own feed, I tend to stick with the same filter on every photo as this gives it a nice consistent look. My favourite app for filters is VSCO cam - I'd highly recommend it if you want to try out some new filters! I also really like 'Valencia' on instagrams own filters as this gives a nice creamy candlelit finish! I also like to use Afterlight to brighten my images - I often adjust the brightness, exposure shadows / contrast and highlights until I'm happy with it. I've popped an example below - as you can see, it makes a huge difference! For this, I added a VSCO cam filter, upped the brightness and contrast and then cropped it!
Post at peak times
Its probably quite an obvious one but if you want your posts to be seen by more people, think about the time your posting. For example, if you post a picture at 2am in the morning, its less likely to be seen as people will be in bed. However, if you post at 7pm when people are likely to be home from work and scrolling through their phones, your post will be seen by more of your followers and therefore get more engagement. I usually post two to three times a day and find posting around 8:30am or between 6 and 9pm in the evening works best for me! Its best to just play around and with different times and see when your followers are most engaged.
Analyze your activity
If you're really interested in what works and what doesn't on your instagram, you can always use Iconosquare (formerly statigram) which gives you monthly instagram stats. You can find out which posts were your most liked / commented on, how many followers you gained / lost, where your followers are based and the times / days in which your followers are most engaged. The only reason I really know about this is because I sometimes use it for work but it can be interesting to have a look now and then to see what's working best for you and how your account is growing month on month.
Follow and comment
Just like its important to follow and comment on blogs to build relationships and get your blog out there, the exact same applies to instagram. There's been so many times recently when someone has commented on my photo and I've clicked on their account, liked what I've seen and followed them back. Its important not to do just for the purpose of gaining followers or spam people with 'SFS' or 'follow for follow' type comments but if you genuinely like a photo, let the person who uploaded it know. I love having discussions with people on my posts!
Relevant hash tags
Just like leaving comments, using hash tags can become spammy if you use too many. However, using a few hash tags that are relevent to the thing you are posting is great as people who are interested in what you're sharing might see your image and like / comment or follow you. For instance, I usually always hash tag #beauty #makeup or #bbloggers if I'm trying to promote my beauty posts or #fashion #style #outfit #ootd and #fbloggers if my post is more fashion based! Its entierly up to you what you use - just make sure they're relevant and don't use too many!
I hope this helped in some way - I'd love to hear any tips you have for improving your instagram feel and promoting your images!
Lots of love,