There’s not a day goes by that most people don’t log into a social media platform, whether it’s Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or Twitter, that’s unless you’re having a ‘digital detox’ for Lent, and even then you’ll make sure to hashtag with #latergram once your penance is over and you’re tucking into them eggs.
Over 60 million photos are posted on Instagram alone each day, making it one of the most popular platforms – and with just a swipe, you’re tapping, zooming and swiping your way through the vortex.
As one of our favourite past-times (read: addiction), Instagram is entertaining- but how DO people get all of the likes? How do they crack it? Well, we can help you hatch a plan to unwrap your social media superpowers – just keep your wits about you when it comes to images, so you don’t end up with egg on your face…
Pick a theme
Some might call it a vibe. Others a mood. Whatever slang you use, you need to pick a style or theme for your Instagram page if you want to expand your followers. Your account needs to reflect your personality, but in this case, you can pick whatever one you want. An authentic, but curated, page is best. But it takes a lot of upkeep. So what’s your theme – will it be minimal, botanical, dark, romantic or tropical? Are you all about the selfies? Or are you a full length kind of Grammer? The choice is yours.
What’s it about?
Your page isn’t just a photo album for family and friends; it’s a window into your brand. Yes, we said brand. Your social media page is curated by you, like a shop display on the high street – so what do you want on show, and how do you want to sell it? This is an extension of the theme. Think about what you want to post and talk about; some people want to include everything, but those that perform the best are consistent with their topics rather than flip-flopping between venting about a rude passenger on the tube to your favourite books. Look at your favourite influencers and take note. And never walk on eggshells, let your personality shine!
Unwrap these social media secrets and light up your IG like an OGKnow when to post
You’ll notice that top influencers on social media can post several times a day – remember this is part of their job. But you’ve got to get that content ready. To make the most of it, use an app to figure out what time of day suits your audience best. Recommended times can vary between first thing in the morning to even 2AM depending on where in the world your audience is.
These are an actual thing and get your hard work in front of a wider audience – if it’s done right. Picking the perfect hashtags can see your content at the top of a popular page, and racking up the likes quickly, which will lead to follows if the first steps are sorted. Some advisers recommend up to 20 hashtags (there’s apps that help you generate these!). You have to discover a sweet spot for your hashtags so you avoid being drowned out in some fields like #fashion or #travel. So you’ll have to figure out how to combine industry-specific ones with trending hashtags. Instagram allows you up to 30, but you don’t just want to sling these into your caption. Instead you can create a break with full stops – or create a hive of the hashtags in one comment below your picture.
Filter. Filter. Filter.
There’s a plethora of apps that help you enhance your picture and you might think that this should vary depending on lighting and your mood, but if you’re trying to build your following, you’ll stand more chance by using just one filter. Seriously. Not the eight combined that you’ve been using. Most of the biggest accounts use the same filter every time.
Content is king when it comes to social media. Make sure you’ve got plenty of it.Create a flow
Until now you may have thought that Instagram is static after you post and if you want to rearrange you’ll have to delete everything and start again. Well, with your theme and layout in mind you can adopt some tricks of the trade and use an app to show you what your page will look like – and how to make photos look so good. Influencers have a secret trick, where they try out pictures next to each other before they post so the balance, spacing and vibe is right.
Use natural light to make your photos pop. The right lighting can really make the difference, especially natural light. Why do you think everyone goes on about the ‘golden hour’? Photos that are snapped in good natural light come out better when using a filter. The best time to get the light is either in the morning or at the end of the afternoon for, you guessed it – ‘golden hour’.
Apologies if this is patronising, but you’ll be surprised the difference between a good picture quality and an outstanding picture quality. It really does stand out and will quickly rack up the likes. Blurred or pixelated images doesn’t attraction the same attention and certainly won’t have people (well, except for your mum) rushing back to your page. But a sharp, eye-catching snap will get those double taps rolling in. Avoid using the front camera on your phone, the back camera is usually much better.
Capture it, then caption it
Captions are as important as hashtags. Just an emoji or one word like ‘Love’, isn’t enough to help the storytelling process and engage your audience. You might think you’re being cute and mysterious, but actually it’s doing nothing to attract more followers. You might have seen celebrities do it, but they did have a head start on you. Long read captions might put you off, but you will find your social media voice and tone as you introduce this into your overall strategy.
Watch those tags. You don’t want any bad eggs!Don’t tag me
Want to forget that infamous night in the cheesy pop room? We don’t blame you – sweaty pits and smudged eyeliner might clash with your Blair Waldorf-vibes on IG. And we get it. To curate your social media page and increase your following, you will need to set some rules. One of which will need to be to remove unwanted tagged snaps from your profile. This will help you only feature the best snaps you want people to see. You can do this with the ‘hide from profile’ option. You might also want to consider changing your settings so that you have to approve tags first.
Plan your content
Content is king when it comes to social media. Get a few weeks’ worth of content together and schedule. Map out, much like a planned photoshoot, what type of shots you want and set out a plan of action to get the money shot. You might want to think about change of clothes, props and locations if you’re serious about the IG hustle.
Selfies have fallen in and out of favour in the past year but whether you still like them or prefer a full body shot, pictures with faces get more likes and comments. So always try to include a human in most of your uploads. Be mindful of what might be hidden in your pictures – yes, you might like your pout but what’s in the background? Check it’s all clear before posting…
Comment and like it
Believe it or not, you need to engage with your community. People have used bots to get more engagement on their own page, but genuine likes will increase your engagement and make you in it for the long haul. Create a community around your page and your interests, and watch it grow. You can thank us later.
So now you’re all set to be a social media star – and while you’re at it, there’s an incredible valuable egg that you need to hunt.
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