I have blogged before about my new found love for Instagram. I want to share with you some things you can do today if you feel you need to up your Instagram game.
I used to treat Instagram as another platform like Facebook, I would post any pictures of our days, occasionally an inspiring quote and I didn’t really ‘get’ Instagram. Then, I went to a couple of Instagram workshops one with Fable and Folk and the other with Capture by Lucy; these workshops helped to change my Instagram life! In a conversation with Lucy, I shared that I struggled with the idea of Instagram being too contrived and not real, her response was that I should think of it being
Curated not contrived
Those words of wisdom stuck with me and formed the basis of a huge transformation of my feed and also of my feelings towards the platform. Her wisdom had paid off for me, I made changes and my followers have grown hugely since doing so. In October last year I had about 2.5k followers and I now have 6.4k (as of the start of March 2016). I don’t know about you but I think almost 4k growth in 16-20 weeks is pretty good.
So, I wanted to share with you how to curate your Instagram feed to help boost your follower numbers.
Choose a theme/aesthetic
Some people pick a topic and only post pictures corresponding to that topic, for example food. You may find this is a little restrictive, if so, then it might suit you better to pick a particular aesthetic and stick to that. Do you like bright, colour pictures or are you a fan of the darker palette? Figure out what you like, then think about what is practical for you to achieve. You may love photos using props, but unless you had lots of props it might be difficult to achieve.
Here are some examples to illustrate how a particular aesthetic can be used to unify a feed.
@mrsanjolson – I am a huge fan of Ang’s feed and I think I would know her pictures if they appeared anywhere, which shows how much she is killing her aesthetic. Anj’s images are thoughtful, dark and stunning.
@littlewoodlife – Emma’s aesthetic is lighter and gives off a totally different feel. Although her images have colour, all of the pictures are light and share the same tones. See how they all fit together, even though there is variation in the subject?
@mummydaddyme – Katie’s feed is a great example of a bright, colourful aesthetic. Katie’s children are her main subject and the colour of their clothes add to the bright captures.
Stick to a particular edit on your images
Editing your images can be as easy as adding one of the stock Instagram filters. However, if this sounds like you, I would recommend trying VSCO cam, this is an app which gives you more filters and more flexibility to adjust filters to get your image exactly as you want. Maybe you want to edit your images in lightroom and then upload; whichever works best for you, find a look you like and stick to it.
Look at your feed in it’s entirety not just one image
You need to look at your feed as a whole, rather than just focusing on each image at a time. Think about how your pictures will look in the grid. Do you post close up portraits, black and white, landscapes? Try not to clump the same type of picture on your feed. So for me I will try to mix it up, post a close up, then a wider shot, then a black and white. I would never post two black and whites side by side. You want your feed to look balanced, when someone looks at your feed as a whole.
Protect your aesthetic
When you have spent time crafting your theme and you have a lovely gallery of images that all tie together and tell your story, don’t wreck it my posting something which doesn’t fit and will stand out like a sore thumb. It will spoil your aesthetic and people will unfollow you, yep they will unfollow you on the basis of one duff picture. I have turned down paid brand work because the product wouldn’t fit with my feed. So protect your feed.
My friend Amy and I joke that there is nothing ‘instant’ about our Instagram feeds. It is real life, but it is the more beautiful moments and might be a day or so later than it happened. I would recommend setting some time aside to plan your images for the week and write your captions. You can then use a scheduler such a Buffergram so you can have a week in the bag!
This alone will not take your feed as far as it can go in terms of building your followers, but I will talk in more detail in a future post about what to do next when your feed is red hot!