My Little Tips & Tricks to Growing Your Instagram

In case you haven't heard, Instagram is all the rage. If you're not on Instagram, who are you?! Kidding. Kind of. But seriously, Instagram is muy importante (read: very important) whether you're a blooming blogger or a serious business. Having a visual of your brand can make or break your product. I wanted to share my tips that I use for my Instagram, hoping it will help others grow theirs! (Give my Instagram a follow, if you'd like!)

1. Think like a photographer
It doesn't take a professional photographer to have a successful Instagram account. Trust me. However, it is important to think like a photographer. It's usually a good idea to stick to a general 'theme.' I have a tough time with this and since I'm still growing my Instagram, it's definitely still a work in progress, but I think I've figured out I like posting bright, bold pictures, which often happen to be food (I like to eat okay?!). Some people choose to do all neutral colors, or mainly portraits, or pastels. It all depends on your taste and aesthetic. People are generally turned off from accounts that don't have much cohesiveness and just post random photos.

2. Edit right
I use so many apps to edit my pictures. I'll often edit the same picture with three apps. It all depends on what I'm trying to do. Here are a few of my favorites:
  • Color Story: great to make your photos really pop. This one is perfect for highly saturated, fun photos.
  • VSCO: a classic. Great for your artsy pics. This app also doubles as a social media platform if you choose to use it that way.
  • Afterlight: what I use on my personal pics. If it's going on my personal Instagram, I'm going to use Afterlight. There are tons of filter options and I can always find something I like!
  • Avairy: I use this one if I need to blur something in my photo. I don't like its options for filters but the tools are sometimes helpful.
Editing can truly make or break a photo. While Instagram has really upped its in-app editing features, I like using third party apps to make my photos beautiful. It's rare a photo can go onto Instagram without a little editing. A helpful hint to make editing faster is to save your editing steps in-app. I know both Color Story and Afterlight let you 'save' your editing steps so all you have to do is click one button and it transforms your photo into what would usually take 6 different steps. I only do this occasionally, but if time is an important factor for you, it can be a total game changer.

3. Plan it out
This is something I'm still messing with. It's important to post Instagrams at the right time in order to maximize your audience. The simplest way to do this is to think logically. How many people will really be on Instagram between 12am and 7am? How many of your followers are working between 9am and 5pm? Things like these are important factors to when you post. I've started using an app called "WhenToPost" that suggests when the best times are for you to post an Instagram, based on your followers. I haven't quite figured out if it's completely accurate yet, but it's worth a shot!

Once you figure out when to post your 'gram, it's time to schedule! Scheduling is a great way to save time and to ensure that your photos are being posted at peak hours. I use an app called "Later" which lets you upload your pre-edited Instagram, add a caption, then schedule a time you'd like to post it. It takes so much of the trouble out of perfectly timed Instagrams!

* Because of Instagram's terms of use, third party applications cannot post on its behalf, meaning that when you schedule your post, Later will send you a notification to open up Instagram and post, with the photo and caption all ready to go.

4. Hashtag that ish
For my personal Instagram, I never use hashtags. And if I do, it's usually as a joke. However, in the blog/business world, hashtags are a major way to gain followers, likes and community. In order to keep it as inconspicuous as possible, don't add your hashtags on your original caption. Instead, add a comment once the photo is posted and insert your hashtags there. That way, the hashtags "disappear" when others comment on your photo, keeping your photos looking less "desperate" as I like to say. However, when you're using many hashtags, typing them out every time you post an Instagram can be quite tedious. I've followed the ways of some fellow bloggers and adopted an easy method of 'hashtagging.'

First: Type out all of the hashtags you want to use on a 'note.' These will vary based on what you're posting (blogging, food, fashion, etc) but make sure your hashtags are relevant to the photo, otherwise it's a waste of a hashtag. Some of my favorites include #photosinbetween, #mybeautifulmess and #thatsdarling. These were all created by different users and have blown up. (To read more about hashtags to use to grow, click here.) To save space, I don't leave a space between each '#'. The '#'s' separate themselves. Copy this entire note.

Second: Go to 'Settings,' then 'General,' then 'Keyboard,' then 'Text Replacement.' In the upper right-hand corner, you'll see a plus sign. Click that. It will bring you to a screen with two blanks: 'Phrase' and 'Shortcut.' In the 'Phrase' blank, paste the group of hashtags you just copied from your notes. In the 'Shortcut' blank, you can choose whatever combination of letter/numbers you want to type that will make all of your hashtags appear. I chose to do '##' because it was easy and I didn't think I'd be regularly using '##' in everyday texting conversations.

And there you have it! A successful Instagram is right around the corner, you just have to make the effort to get it! Let me know if you've used my tricks to better your Instagram, and tell me how it goes! I can't wait to hear!

Do you have tips to grow your Instagram? Comment below!

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