Instagram is bae. About three months ago I decided to grab my Instagram by the balls and seriously sort my game out. Probably hundreds of Pinterest articles later, (I can’t be the only one?) I did eventually find some success in increasing my posting consistency, designing my feed and growing my account (ever so slightly).
Today I’m going to share with you the six ways that I believe have made the biggest difference to my Instagram amount – I genuinely believe that if you’re looking to improve your Instagram feed, interaction and experience, then these steps are where you should start!
Disclaimer: I’m not a big Instagrammer by any means – I thoroughly enjoy the platform and like to use it as my main social media platform – what works for me isn’t guaranteed for everyone – although these steps are ace.
Have A Plan
Before you do anything (Instagram or no Instagram) you need a plan – decide what your Instagram is for, who it’s for and what you want to share on the platform. It’s surprising how hard it is to grow your account without knowing these things so (even if you don’t broadcast them) make sure you have an idea about why you’re stepping up your Insta game in the first place.
Also planning on how many posts you’d like to post per day or per week gives you a great goal to aim. I keep my plan relaxed, aiming for 2 to 3 posts per day, this way allows flexibility in case I’m not 100% into a post or am taking a long social media break (side note: take these often).
Explore Your Style
Most Instagram tips will tell you to have a theme, but personally, I find this method very restrictive, not to mention repetitive and boring to look at. Instead, I’d recommend defining the style of your photos by analysing the kind of photos you like and the photos you already take. Having a style allows for development and experimentation but still keeps your entire feed cohesive and branded to you.
My style is high contrast and colourful but I do like to use white space, crisp white and busy colourful images – alternating busy and minimal images with the same vibrancy of colour works best for me!
TIP: if you’re confused just start by editing all your photos the same way – I love the A Color Story app for this, where you can save your combination of filters and re-apply to all your pictures – genius!
Know Your Timings
When to post on social media used to be the big question that needed answering but nowadays you can find a tonne of posts telling you what time is best for each platform, each type of content, younger audiences, older audiences – the whole shebang! This topic has been analysed and analysed again so you can do your own research on that one – the point I’m making is to know your timings.
I found that some more popular times (according to statistics) don’t do as well for me as others. With trial and error I’ve settled on posting at the times best for me – not an hour earlier than I usually get up (because I feel like that’s straight up fraudulent – no way am I starting my to-do list at 7:30 am…).
Decide when you’re going to post and stick to it, every day that you post – it keeps your audience’s expectations in place and it adds structure to your Instagram-day.
If you’re a seasoned blogger or internet-for-business person, then you’re probably sick of hearing this one – I give you permission to move on if you have – but it’s seriously so important for growth and recognition.
I never used to use hashtags on my posts, and that meant that when I hit 11 likes I was pretty chuffed. As soon as I started using hashtags (12-15 per post), the average number of likes I received skyrocketed. No, most of us aren’t just after likes, but with more exposure comes a higher chance of interaction, link clicks and the start of a community. So you know, use those hashtags!
Some of my favourites hashtags include: #pursuepretty #makeitblissful #lovelysquares #documentyourdays #creativelifehappylife #petitejoys #calledtobecreative #howyouglow #flashesofdelight
Tools Are Your Friends
I don’t think I could imagine my life without Buffer or Later (formerly Latergramme). Both social media scheduling tools, both very popular and both game changing.
Personally, Later is my go-to for Instagram planning and scheduling – Buffer has similar scheduling features, but I’m more used to the interface and flexibility of Later (and I’m working on getting more accustomed with both).
Not only can you plan a time schedule for posts (very helpful for sticking to a consistent posting schedule), you can also preview posts (on Later) and how they will look on your feed. I love this feature because it helps me balance out strong photos with cleaner ones and it really is a life-changer if you’re committed to creating a cohesive and flowing feed (which you probably are, since you’re reading this!).
Connect With What You Love
Finally, I have to say that if you’re not using Instagram for what it is – a social photo sharing platform – then we may as well abandon all our accounts! The thing that I urge you to try and remember most, is to use Instagram to connect with what you love.
Interiors, food, make-up, luxury goods, flat lays, pictures of the sky, self-improvement tips or #mondaymotivation – whatever you enjoy seeing, reading, watching or learning about, don’t let it fall by the wayside.
I believe that Instagram, probably above other platforms, should be an extension of yourself, or whatever it is that you’re sending into the world. When you naturally start interacting more with accounts you like and influencers that inspire you, your account will grow, you’ll be more motivated to take the above steps to improve your feed and you’ll start actually talking to and learning from similar and influential Instagram users.