How are you all today? ♥
I've been prepping this post for a couple of days now, and finally it's looking like I want it to, so I can show it to you guys. And today, we're talking about Instagram - and how to make most of your account. (And sorry for no pictures, I couldn't get my computer and IG to work together enough to provide photos. Next time, I promise!)
I'm by no means expert at the field, nor the super popular cool girl on Instagram, but I've figured out some things you should and shouldn't do if you want to grow your audience and/or use the IG account as supportive platform for your blog. But always remember, no matter how many guides you would read on the subject, the main thing is to do things the way you feel good doing them, even if "experts" would consider it "wrong". Of course there's some science behind some of my tips - at least that's what some of the articles claim - but you definitely don't need to be a slave to it.
And no, I don't have all this fully applied to my own IG yet, but I'm getting there. But these are some of the things that make an Instagram feed worth following, to me at least. Nothing I say is the absolute right or wrong, but instead they're more like tips and guidelines you can choose to follow. And, I'm mostly looking at this from a blogger/vlogger point of view, not so much from the angle that I would have a personal IG for my friends and family. If you get what I'm saying.
- Take clear pics
Usually clear, well lit pics are prettier, which is important when dealing with such visual platform as Instagram. All my favorite accounts ha beautiful, clear photos that are fun to look at.
- Try to have some guidelines to your feed
I read a thread online where these young girls were saying how they hate themed IG feeds so much. I strongly disagree. While you certainly can have whatever you want in your feed, I think having an idea on your editing, subjects or other visual things will make your feed more professional looking. If you just want to share pics to your friends and/or just wing it, feel free to ignore this.
- Use proper hashtags - but not too many
The best way to get any exposure on Instagram is to use relevant hashtags to let people find your pics if they're looking for a certain tag. (Like #nails for a mani pic, or #ootd for the pic of your latest outfit). Be careful with these though, because it's so easy to overdo the amount of hashtags (been there, done that. And some might say I still do). If you don't know which ones to choose, find people with same niche as you, and see what they do to get tips.
- Make it unique and interesting
Because we don't want to be basic, right? With millions of active users on IG, it's not worth it to try to be super popular by copying someone else. Again, you can always have similar elements if you are into the same things as someone super popular, but never be a copycat. You're certainly interesting enough as you are, as you are unique. Remember that.
- Be kind
People tend to prefer the ones who are nice, and more than that, being positive brings around more positivity. Take for instance Kandee Johnson, who has the biggest heart in the planet. Can you ever see her posts and feel bad? That's what I'm talking about. I personally try to write at least 10-20 nice comments every day to other people, because I know how nice it is to get kind things told to you and I definitely want to pass that good feeling around.
- Be real
Being fake is not the way to do it (unless it's a carefully planned role, then it can be cool). Despite what people might think, it's actually quite easy to see who's a poser and who's the real deal. Real people have most of the time so many interesting layers to them - and they are not afraid to show that. And that makes people interesting. I don't know if you can call me interesting, but I will use myself as an example: I may write this girly blog and all, but underneath that I listen to metal, love ice hockey and F1 quite passionately, play video games and love to spend time with boys doing not-so-girly stuff. Also, my favorite animal is shark even if I love all things fluffy. And I try to bring that side of me up because I think it's more relatable than pretty nails and such (even if I'm a nail addict).
- Comment, like, follow - be social
Because then people know there's someone in there. Also, people are more likely to like and follow those who interact. And of course, because ignoring everyone on purpose (especially if there's not that many comments yet, like in my account) seems pretty stuck up. To me, at least. I know that people may have their reasons to not answer everyone/anyone on social media, but that really seems to go against the idea of the social media. One thoughtful comment has more potential of giving you likes and followers than any meaningless spam.
- Do challenges etc.
Don't know what to post? There are a ton of articles giving ideas for your IG posts, but I've found out that a good way to find friends is through challenges. Any photo challenge that is up your alley is good, just go with it, do your best and use the official hashtag, and people will find you. Also, remember to be polite (and moreover, curious) and go check out other's posts too.
- Find your thing, niche
Best IG feeds have an idea around them. Just like in blogging, discover your strengths, and use them to create cool content that looks like you. If you're aspiring makeup artist, do daily/weekly looks, themed looks, collabs... If you're a fashionista, build your feed around daily looks, flatlays of planned outfits, sneak peeks of hauls. I know I post lot of pretty random stuff, and while that's not wrong, it might sometimes slow down the growth - if people don't know what to expect if they follow you.
- Figure out the right schedule for you
Again, a similarity to blogging, you may need some schedule to this. I'm not talking about having a certain minute when you post everyday, but as a convenience to your current and potential followers, try to be consistent in how often you post. If you post daily, or few times a day, you can have some shots ready in your phone in case you get uninspired to photograph (or you're just too busy). I usually always have a couple of posts in store that I can share to keep my feed active no matter what. You can also use scheduling tools to help you remember to post at right times. NOTE! You don't have to be active daily, if that's not feeling good to you. Even if it's 1-3 pics per week, just stay consistent with that, so people know when to expect content from you.
- Remember credit!
Sometimes we all find pics worth sharing even if they are not our own photos. There's basically nothing wrong in that IF you remember to give credit to rightful owner, and you don't make money out of using someone elses photos. More on copyright in the Don't section, and in a future blogpost. Or you can google it.
- Expect everyone like everything you post
No one will ever post anything that every people on the planet will love. That being said, post whatever you desire, and don't feel bad about people not loving it. Even with over 1500 followers (Which is still not that much, I know. But I love my followers, it feels like a big number to me.) I still get likes pretty inconsistently. One pic might have well over 100 likes, while the other one doesn't hit 30. But that's totally okay, because that just shows me what kind of content people like more, and I can have those elements in some posts later on.
- Be purposely rude or judgemental
I haven't seen anything positive coming out of that. Ever. People don't like bullies. Also, as a blogger, it looks very unprofessional to attack on people. Bashing others online has never been cool, and it never will be. There's too much hate in the world without us spreading it around.
- Ridicule others
I know we all love those funny pictures of someone failing and so on, but always remember to ask if the person in photo is okay with being laughed at. I can imagine it being quite horrible to find that terrible pic from that night long ago spreading viral on the internet. Also, secretly taking pics of others in spite of laughing at them in social media seems like a definite no-no to me. Would you be game if someone did that to you? If not, don't do it.
Literally no one likes this. Taking pics every five minutes and posting them is more Snapchat material, so save everyones Instagram and carefully choose what to post. Also, don't spam with comments like "10 likes for 10 likes?" or "Pls follow me pls", because that's just unnecessary. Good pics get likes, when properly tagged. Spamming definitely seems like you're trying so hard to be super popular. And traffic through spam isn't really that good traffic for bloggers, because I don't think potential cooperators (companies, other bloggers) see that relevant to them. At least I wouldn't. Exception to the pic spam rule is if you're being in a big event or something else special, and you know your followers want lots of updates. Although Snapchat or a vlog might still do that better.
- Just take selfies
I know this one works for pretty girls, and that selfies do get quite a bit likes, but no one cares about anyones face THAT much unless you're a makeup artist or a celebrity. Of course, if that's your thing and it works for you, keep it up. But again, for any professional use it's not very good of a choice. Many people see persons taking lots of selfies as narcissistic, maybe not so pleasant personalities, which might work against you. Unless you are a model or you do all kinds of makeup things, when your face is a tool, basically. I love seeing different makeup looks from all the talented girls out there, so I'm not really against selfies. But there's a lot more to that then people just thinking you look good today. I could write a whole post about this, so I just tell you to google it. (And yes, I take too many selfies myself probably. But I usually try to show my makeup or hair in them so let's pretend it's not that bad.)
- Take blurry, too dark or unclear pics - without artsy purpose
Because you can do pretty much anything in the name of art, I'm gonna say you can totally rock a artsy account full of "bad " pictures. However, as a norm, clear pictures with good light and proper composition do well on Instagram. So no matter what you do, make it visually pleasing to your own eye, and others will love it too. (If you would follow similar account than yours is, it's a good one.)
- Steal pics
Nowadays it's so easy to get lots of piccs from all around the web and claim their your own. But that's basically a crime, because photos are compyrighted material. You can't take pics - especially if you make money out if it - and falsely say they're yours. You can get into big trouble for it if the rightful owner finds it out. Which is almost as easy as finding the pics in the first place. And yes, it's still illegal to take them if they're not watermarked. The owners tend to have the originals around, which can easily prove they're taken before the stolen one is published. There are also sources where you can borrow pics any way you like, and I will tell you about those later this year.
- Edit pics too much (unless art)
Too harsh editing in Instagram - or any pictures - can look so bad if not done correctly. In our super digital society, it seems people rather see real people and real pics instead of super polished and carefully done ones. I personally love photos that seemingly have quite a bit effort to them, but too much is too much. Especially in editing - and especially in selfies. So careful with the filters, darlings.
- Use too many (irrelevant) hashtags
This is totally my personal sin. I use way too many hashtags, especially in nail pictures. But I'm trying to cut the amount down especially in others than nail ones. Irrelevant hashtags look like you're spamming for likes and follows. Which is why I'm cutting the amount of mine down. If you look at professional accounts or very popular ones, you don't see that many hashtags. Of course, since the public has already recognised them, there's no need for that much exposure anymore. Even if you use loads of hashtags, make sure they're relevant to the pictures, and don't just take a list out of application without checking it through. That doesn't look like you put thought to it, but just that you took out first list you found and slapped it on a random photo. Don't do it.
- Buy fake followers
Where do I even begin with this one? You don't need fame that much to anything that you should lower yourself to do this. It's kind of against IG policies to even do that, although I think not so much so that they would ban anyone for it. But, Instagram tries to remove all the fake accounts every once in a while so why bother buying something they can erase if they want to. Even if you buy followers, it only makes you look more popular than you really are, but it doesn't give you real feedback on if your content is good or not. It's ridiculously easy to see if someone has fake followers once you know what a fake account looks like. It's such a fast way to lose your reputation - especially if you use Instagram as a working tool. Companies nowadays have social media experts who can go check out your followers anytime to see what kind of people you have in there. If they're all/mostly fake, how that it makes you look? I actually told a friend who's not on IG about this phenomenon of some people buying fame, and he couldn't figure out why people would do it unless they are out of their mind. So rather put a little effort to your pics and account and get real traffic instead. Save yourself from looking bad.
Do you have any other things to add to the lists? You can give your advice in the comment box!
That's all I have for you, and this was a borderline rant, but I have many thoughts about the subject. I hope this wasn't all too much, and I promise next post will be lighter as usual. If you have any posting ideas, you can leave those in the comments and I can try to make them happen.
But I'm off now to get some sleep. Tomorrow is another busy office day and I hope I will get loads done. Follow me on my social media accounts for more recent updates.
Have a fantastic day ♥