If you’re clicking on this blog post I’m going to assume you want to step your Instagame up and are wondering how to do that. Though I am no expert, I have definitely learned a thing or two about the ever allusive Instagram in the many years that I have been using it. Yes! I’m an OG Instagram user, from the dark days of taking photos straight in the app, throwing a contrasty filter over top and calling it a day, I think it’s safe to say that my Instagram tactic has changed a little bit.
Today I use Instagram as one of the outlets to grow my photography, personal brand, and content creation business, and to manage a few companies marketing and outreach. Instagram is a great app to gain genuine followers and is the easiest way to engage with others online. Though Instagram get’s bad rep for it’s algorithm, I still think it is a valuable tool in reaching the masses. So without further ado, today we are talking all about Tips and Tricks on how to rock your Instagame! #RockMyInstagame
Your content on Instagram is one of the main reasons your followers stick around. If you share pictures of recipes but then suddenly throw in images of your eyelash extension business, you will confuse the heck out of your followers, and not to mention possible paying clients for your business. I recommend getting a good grasp on what content you want to share on your Instagram before posting too much. Download a planning app like Planoly, or Planner - I use these to pre-plan the look of my feed before posting, and sometimes to schedule in advance so I can plan ahead (this is very useful for vacation season)
The quality of the images and videos you post will also make or break your feed. Now I’m not saying you need to go out and buy the most expensive camera out there, your smartphone will do juuuust fine, but I am saying you need to start paying attention to elements that will make your photos stand out in a good way. Look for good light, proper framing, get rid of distractions, edit them in post with phone apps like Lightroom, or VSCO - oh and if you use a preset or filter, try to use the same one each time, this will help create a flow and cohesiveness between your images.
For fun, let’s throw in a side-by-side comparison of my Instagram from when I started 6 years ago, to my feeds today. As you can see I posted lots of random, for the lack of a better term, crap on my feed when I first started out. Pictures of dogs, cats, random snaps from the cottage, etc… no flow, no reason for posting. Even from this past summer to now I can see a slight change in my feed as I’ve been implementing these tips I’m sharing with you today. The images flow better together, each one with similar colours, style, and moods. My followers know what to expect in the quality of my content and stick around because of this.
I want to add that this growth obviously doesn’t happen over night, and clearly it has taken me a few years to grasp so please don’t pressure yourself, or compare your Instagram feed to another if you’re just starting out. Even if you have been trying for a year or two, your images will grow with you as you learn and develop your skills as a creator - just remember to have fun!
Engagement on Instagram is key!
Don’t know what engagement is? Engagement is basically the connections that you have with your followers through comments, stories, DMs, and collaborations. Engagement is necessary because it helps to create a genuine following that truly cares about the content you’re putting out into the world, but it’s also important because a higher engagement on a post or your account means that more people will see your content. Instagram’s algorithm favours posts with higher engagement and will make sure those posts get seen.
Some easy ways to create engagement with your posts is by creating something called a “call to action” in your caption. Now you can get creative with this but it can be something along the lines of asking a question, telling your followers to check out the link in your bio, asking followers to swipe up on your story, etc, etc… You want to start a real conversation on your Instagram post so that you can connect with your followers.
Here are two examples of posts with a “call to action” in the caption (that just so happen to both be about coffee… oops)
3. Go Deeper
Having a well thought out feed with quality content is only half of the battle. If you never show yourself on your feed, talk about some personal topics, or have weekly introduction posts, your followers will lack that genuine connection with you and might not stick around. Try to speak from your heart when writing a caption - a quote is great and all, but you can’t create a genuine relationship but starting every conversation with “live, laugh, love” … if you catch my drift. Tell a story about something that happened to you that week, discuss some matters in the news, share some reasons why you love your favourite restaurant. Try to be as authentic as you are in real life, online!
Another great way to be more personal with your followers is by making Instagram stories, and live stories. This is the easiest way to connect with your followers almost like it’s one-on-one. Take a quick video to check in, share something new or exciting, share a funny moment thats happening, or use the live feature to create weekly chats or discussions.
This is where you might have to do a bit of homework. Try to find the hashtags that best fit the target audience that you want to attract to your Instagram. If you’re a woman who hikes a good tag for you might be #WomenWhoExplore or if you’re trying to showcase the beautiful landscapes of Canada you might try #ExploreCanada - there are a ton of hashtags out there so it’s best to make a list of the ones that fit your content best and reference them when posting!
You can also take advantage of local hashtags for where you live. If you’re a blogger you could hashtag your ‘city name’ and ‘blogger’ (EX: #TorontoBlogger)
The placement of your hashtags is important too, but what I’ve found to work best is to put them in your caption but separated by dots (see below example) This keeps the hashtags away from your content, and doesn’t overwhelm your followers with annoying hashtags to read through.
It looks like we’ve come to the end folks! Those are my 4 key tips and tricks to jump start your Instagame and give it a little extra push! If you want, feel free to screenshot, save, share, the beginners guide below! Comment below if you have anything to add to this list, or if you’ve implemented any of these into your social routine!