‘Bright lights altering our perceptions of reality, a click of a button defining identity,
Hunched shoulders at beaten desks, the glare of validation blinding eyes,
Airbrushed realities the norm, the loss of reality buried in the long-forgotten past,
Sluggish we tread through technology, mapping the visuals to find our way out,
But its too late and we are left to rot in the tangle of wires’
Founded in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform with a 23% increase in 2013. Boasting over 150 million unique users Instagram has become a social media hotspot for buisnesses and bloggers who capitalize on their feeds popularity and has led to sponsorships, jobs and payment in ratio to follower count. From 100K followers onwards bloggers can expect to earn anything from $500 to $5,000 a post, even for a picture of them sitting on the couch. Fashion is moving beyond ‘editorial’ modelesque photos and favouring a more realistic approach to photographing fashion. Therefore Instagram is signalling the production of a ‘fast’ economic economy where followers equates to financial income, all from home.
Four months ago I was a newbie to Instagram and was averaging 25 likes per photo. My engagement was low, with slow growth and rarely any traffic was transferred over to my blog. Two months ago everything changed and I began utilizing my Instagram, improving the quality of my photos, timing and posting Monday to Friday. From then until now I have gone from 400 followers to 1.2k and counting and that is all because of the simple tips I put in place in order to increase my follower count.
My Very First Photo
VS My First Photo To Reach 200 Likes
1.The key to an excellent instagram feed is to use compelling. thought provoking imagery or photos that channel the ethos of your brand
2. Stick to a niche and follow through with for at least two rows. Mine are nature and street art because it correlates with my blogs name Faded Spring
3.Make sure to use no more than two niches. You don’t want to confuse your reader but at the same time don’t be afraid to experiment until you have found your feeds style.
3.The colour scheme should correlate to the ethos of your brand. Because my blog is associated with image of faded seasons I use bright colours that are seasonly appropriate. My top two colours are blue and burgundy and those are colours that will continue to crop up.
4. Make your pictures stand out. Whether that is through editing or curating content that targets a niche audience be bold and be different. With my account I deliberately choose bold colourful images because that is what I am drawn to as a curator. A feed always has to represent YOU
Theme One Street Art
Theme Two Nature
Social Media Schedule: Instagram
Instagram is open to interpretation. Some sources credit ‘off-work hours’ between the times of 2am -5am as the peak time to post while others suggest a look at your audience metrics. Apps like Iconsquare tracks engagement with your account and the activities of your followers which will tell you the best time to post.
My Tips for Social Media Schedule
1. Post once a day or three at the most. Anymore than that and it will be considered spam by your followers. I post once a day and it allows to reach a wider audience.
2. Find out what day gets the most traffic. Mine is Monday as most users have a break over the weekend and come back ready to engage with my account.
3. Work out an average and that will determine what you could be doing to improve your account. Check my stats below.
3. Sometimes throwaway pictures can generate the most likes. Before most of my likes were generated on a Tuesday until a month ago when a photo got 300 likes in one day and that was not intended to be the most liked photo.Now I keep my favourite photo for Monday because I know it will generate the most likes
4.Pick a time which is between lunch and breakfast. I post at 10.50 am Monday to Friday because most users are online at this time.
5. Your most liked photos this week could be the least liked in two weeks time so don’t be discouraged if a photo is not performing well. One of my top photos ( see top photos at the bottom of the post) got 120 likes in a day but two weeks later is my second highest performer.
Monday Posts Likes
VS Friday Posts Likes
Audience & Interaction
1.Know your audience. Use apps to determine the average age range, interests and the types of photos that they like. I recommend using Iconsquare.
2. Grow your account authentically. Do not buy followers and don’t follow people who don’t share the same interests as you. Nine times out of 10 they will unfollow you and brought followers can damage your credentials.
3. Look at what your followers are doing. What pictures are they liking, who are they following and what have they posted? Fostering a community will help your Instagram grow and by liking the same photos that they have it will boost the chances of them following or liking your pictures.
4. Create a three quarter ratio between following and follower count. I have 1227 followers and am following 469. Remember never follow more people than are following you. I am only following 18 people that don’t follow back.
5. Have a follower clearout. I reccomend getting the app ‘Unfollowers’ to see which of your followers have unfollowed you so that you are not following anyone that isn’t following you. This is especially important if you participate in social threads because many ‘bigger’ followers will unfollow you to boost their account.
6. Have a ‘Liking’ strategy. For me I will like three or four photos of a persons feed-sometimes with comments- in a similar category to me. At the moment my feed is centred around street art and by liking or following feeds with the same content 75% have returned the favour.
7. Engage with your followers. Some users don’t interact with their followers but I believe we should make them feel a part of the community that you are creating
1. Research trending hashtags that are related to your audience and blog niche. For my feed I use
generic hashtags but if there is a particular event i.e LFW I will hashtag it
2. Use no more than 30 hashtags as it is prohibited by Instagram and delete all but four main tags so that your photos do not appear spammy after five days.
3.If your blog or platform crosses all genres i.e. lifestyle, fashion and food then check Webstagram for trending hashtags. Its top 5 include ‘instagood’ ‘love’ and cute generic hashtags that millions of users search for.
3. To stand out use a mixture of generic and niche hashtags so that users have less photos to filter through in order to find your account.
These four groups have been crucial to my engagement on Instagram
Types of Photos
1. From my own feed I have found that midshots get the most likes in one day whereas backgrounds and distance shots gain the least likes in a day.
2. Close-ups tend to get a medium amount of likes but can often be a gradual grower and as the example has shown below it can get just as much as a medium length shot.
The stats– 1228 followers following 469 engagement rate is high – avg of 45 coms per each photo – 69 photos- avg likes = 165 in 12 hrs 245 in a day- 290-300 in a week or two weeks – avg 60 likes in an hour
Top 5 photos
Notice a pattern between them?
*Please note that all research has been evaluated from my own findings and will not work for everyone. If you have any other helpful tips please drop a comment in the box below.
Photography: Jumanna Khanom
Locations: London Bridge, Soho, Shoreditch, Twickenham