Instagram is the Nr. 1 platform for almost everyone these days. I'm sharing some tips how to do your best at Instagram regarding building an audience, taking pictures, posing, engagement and tons more. + I'm revealing the secret on how I gained almost 4000 followers in less than a week.
As always if you prefer watching the video, instead of reading I've made one on the same topic.
Let's begin with why almost everyone should use Instagram. It's the widest platform there currently is, and the opportunities are ENDLESS. Whether you're a content creator, offer a service, travel, sell things, or basically if you just exist, Instagram is the place to be. There are huge amounts of opportunities, starting from brand deals, collaborations, paid gigs & etc. It's like your personal portfolio of whatever is that you do, in my case it's content creating, and there have been a number of times I have thanked Instagram for either an exciting collaboration, or just a meet-up I could arrange through there. So I would really encourage all of you, whatever is it that you do, to post it on Instagram, you never know what might happen!
Building an audience
A lot of people want to be "famous" or "popular", I guess it's fun being watched by a number of fans, but if you're just seeking fame, I can tell you you're not going to go far. First of all, you should figure out what your "niche" is, and what message you'd like to tell the world. For instance, I share menswear posts, along with stuff that's happening in my life. I try to inspire people to dress better, have an aesthetic and be true to themselves. Once you've figured that out, there are a couple of ways on building your audience (by audience I mean real followers, real people, not those fake followers, which are not really useful).
Begin by creating a tidy ( or not ) profile, that suits you and your aesthetic. People are going to look at your profile, and if it's not at it's best, you will be losing your potential followers, all though, remember to stay true to yourself & don't copy others, unless that's what you're going for.
Once you've done that, and think your profile is at it's best, and ready to be seen, you can start taking action. SECRET FOLLOWERS FORMULA -> Engage with the people, in your niche, that would like your profile. For instance, if you do food photography, do not engage with people who like cars, since they will probably not like your page.
In the end, you want to have an honest relationship with your audience, don't seem unreachable or very important, unless that's what you're going for, this will benefit your overall connection with the audience!
How to engage with people?
Engaging with people is pretty simple.
First of all, you'd ultimately want to find influencers, or people with a bigger following, whose content or niche is similar to yours. I recommend turning on post notifications for those people, and whenever they post, leave an HONEST comment on their picture. Don't spam "nice" or "cool", since that is just not very honest, and doesn't end up being helpful.
Also, what I do most, apply my basic engagement (will explain below) method to other people who comment on their photos. This is the best way to make sure the people you're engaging with are in your niche, and will most likely like your content.
Make sure to get back to people. Whenever you're followed, or somebody leaves an honest comment on your picture, make sure you check their profile out, perhaps like a couple pictures. Always (if you can) respond to the comment they left you, this way people will feel a strong connection with you, and will be back to see more from you.
My basic engagement method
The way I engage with people I'd want to follow me:
As mentioned above, I find a picture, relating to my niche.
I go the the comments section of the picture, and leave an honest comment.
Once I've done that, I scroll to the top of the comments and start this routine: Like the comment, click on their profile, follow them (only if their account is related to my niche and is personally interesting to me), like 3 of their pictures, and leave a genuine comment. I know this is a ton of work, but as far as I know, this is the best way to engage with people. I really avoid following a ton of people to just unfollow them, I don't think that's a nice thing & that people should be only following accounts they truly enjoy watching.
When I'm done with all the comments, I find another picture and then repeat everything again.
P.S Growing your audience is a TON of work! In the very end of this blog post I will tell you how I increased almost 4k followers in a week.
How I take & edit pictures:
I'd recommend you watch the video above, since there is more visual information on the picture taking & editing part.
Whatever the picture I am taking, I always have in mind to look at the: lighting, background, subject placement & overall aesthetic. Today, I like my pictures clean and sort of spacious, but this constantly changes. I recommend finding your own aesthetic & trying to stick to it!
Outfits: I try asking someone to take my outfit, whether it's a family member, friend or a stranger, they can snap that button. However, posing in front of the camera means you don't have much control over the picture. How I deal with this: 1. If I'm shooting on my phone, I set it to square. 2. I ask the person that is going to take my picture, be the subject, & I snap a picture of them, just the way I would like to be captured, and show it to them afterwards. This way they know exactly what you want, and it's pretty simple for everyone.
Lifestyle pics & details: These are all the pictures you have creative control over, so it's way easier. I usually find a background, that I'd like to use, and just play around with the subject of the shot, until I am satisfied with the result. P.S Most of the pictures (like 99%) on social media, shared by influencers are modified, or fake in one way or the other. I usually don't have such nice backgrounds in my environment, but I make it seem like it was just like that in the first place. Make sure you have this in mind, that social media is not real life, and you you should feel the barrier between getting inspired, and hating your "miserable, non instagramable" life.
Editing: I usually edit either on my phone or my computer, and I use the same app - Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, you can get it for free on your phone. The app itself is a bit complicated to use, but it gives you all the control you need to edit the pictures. When I edit mine, I usually lower the highlights & blacks, bring up contrast, shadows, and whites (if you have no clue what I'm saying, just watch the video). I also (depending on the picture) reduce the saturation of yellows, greens and blues. If I am in the picture, I usually bring up the luminance of the oranges. I also use air brush every once in a while. It's a free app you can get on your phone, it's really for your face, but I remove blemishes in my detail pictures ( of shoes for example ) and whiten everything that has to be white. (this is the secret to a white aesthetic) the app can make all the yellows, blues, oranges into whites, simply use the "teeth whiten" option.
How to gain a ton of followers in less than a week
Another tip on gaining exposure & followers, when your content is on point, is by tagging pages, who re-post pictures ( for example @OOTDMEN reposts men outfit pictures). When you tag them on your picture, you always have the chance on getting featured on their page, which is perfect, since it brings the people from your niche, onto your page!
I recently got reposted on a page with over 300k followers, which brought in a ton of new followers. I combined that with doing my "basic engagement method" for a week ( I mean i did it so much, Instagram wouldn't let me like pictures for a while). This got me almost 4k followers in a week, I went from 7,5k to 11k in 6 days!
In the end, for most people followers are just a number, and that's how it should be. However people who try to create a career as an influencer, depend on them, and real followers matter to them, since they are usually their main source of income. I don't think that growing your audience is worth the effort for everyone, and I wouldn't be doing it if I wasn't blogging or youtube'ing.