February 19, 2016

How I Got Serious With Instagram – Part Two

gain more instagram followers

As promised, lets get back to my super intense relationship with Instagram and a few more things I’ve picked up along the way. If you read my first novel instalment and despite that, you’re back, hungry for more, I salute you! And yes, I have more. You have been warned.

Hopefully by now, you’re in a very serious relationship of your own with the wonderful world of chic 3 X 3’s? But perhaps you still feel like there’s something missing, something else out there? Fear not, you’ve come to the right place.

In this instalment, I’m covering a few more Instagram hints and tips including the merits of pineapples and the odd unexpected naked bottom popping up on your screen. Don’t ask…all will be revealed below. If you’ll pardon the well placed pun…

CONSISTENCY IS KEY

If I have a favourite feed that inspires and fulfils all my tonal desires, you can bet your copper pineapple decorative object, that I’ll go back regularly and check for new updates.

Woe betide the ‘grammer who hasn’t posted anything for the last two days – they’re generally on the receiving end of my disappointed face. If you’re creating a beautiful feed, it needs to continuously flow and be consistent with timings wherever possible.

Commit to posting two or three times a day in the beginning – if nothing else it helps you get into a natural rhythm, find out what works and can help you gain more Instagram followers in the long run.

Hero

MAKE FRIENDS WITH A HASHTAG

I used to think hashtag was a bit of dirty word in Instagram world. Why pepper your pretty pictures with lots of these odd looking words prefixed with a #?

And then I woke up and smelled the expertly snapped coffee atop it’s marble table – they’re actually pretty darn important. For the uninitiated, hashtags denote a theme to your image/feed/ Hence my tendency to always be banging on about #ElevateTheEveryday or #MinimalStyle #Monochrome and #FlatLay.

Once you’ve posted your image with it’s caption, add your chosen themed hashtags in as the first comment on the picture. This will enable others who share similar interests to find you and likewise, help you to find them.

Personally, I find sticking with a few well thought out hashtags relevant to you and your feed to be the best strategy. Pick some and alternate them as appropriate. Don’t be THAT person who adds a gazillion random #’s on to every single picture. #Overkill #JustSayin.

I should add a disclaimer at this point. There are some spammer folk who like to add all kinds of hashtags to their pictures of their bare bottom (or worse) just to get it out there and into your eye line. Note to said spammer folk: Your naked parts do not elevate my everyday in case you were wondering.

GET ENGAGED

I’ve read countless times that engagement is key in all areas of blogging and social media so Instagram shouldn’t be any different. My work isn’t done once I hit publish on yet another carefully laid out and edited monochrome flat lay.

If someone asks a question about the product I’ve photographed or leaves a comment that warrants a bit of a chat, I always try and make time to reply. Sometimes it might take me a few days to get around to it but I think the conversational element of Instagram is really important.

Likewise, any narrative you might add in to your picture caption at the point of posting is equally crucial. Some people like a bit of a story or a micro blog post and and some get by on a humorous one liner. Me? I’m partial to both. What about you?

Instagram Props

PROPS TO YOU

Or more importantly…FOR you. There’s that pineapple thing again that I promised you.

Once I began to think about how I wanted my feed to look, I could no longer go anywhere (store/beach/forest/restaurant) without thinking “Ooh that would make an excellent Instagram prop!” I’ve yet to walk into a Chanel store, point to a 2.55 bag and say those exact words to Mr OS. Just to see his reaction.

But having a few props to hand to style your shots with helps to build a theme to your feed. Not to mention assistance on the hashtag front. I’m looking at you #Pineapple #Marble and #Succulent.

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME

Light is your friend – daylight to be specific. The more natural light you can photograph in, the less time you’ll have to spend editing afterwards.

Shadows and overhead lighting are quite frankly the devil when it comes to getting a great shot. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve swapped sides of the table for a moment with a fellow blogger so that I too can avoid a shadowy brunch pic. The struggle is real people!

REFLECTOR

My photographer Marlene introduced me to the wonder that is the reflector. You can pick them up here for approximately £8 on Amazon and they are the most helpful round circles of fabric I have ever encountered. With interchangeable gold, white, silver & black screens, you can see the difference to light and tone that using one makes in the example above.

These have made shooting on dark winter days so much easier so if you’re serious about Instagram, I recommend buying one and playing around with the improvements it can make.

TAKE STOCK

With a view to consistency and the above point about lack of daylight, building up a great stock of photos that you can post regularly into your feed is the way forward. You have no idea how long it took me to realise this!

As a forty something blogger who lives in the New Forest, is a parent to a 10 year old with a busy school and social life and who owns a crazy labrador who loves mud; it may come as no surprise that daily life does not provide endless opportunities for super cool or glamorous photo ops.

In boston tea party cafe

Photo: Marlene Lee

However, blog trips to London, occasional lunches, coffee shop visits, getting dressed up for meetings, photo shoot days and product shooting all does..in spades. So when I get to indulge in these, I stockpile my images. This really helps when I’m chained to my desk for five days straight creating content, meeting deadlines… or when that thing called life happens!

Anyone who blogs knows how time consuming and distracting social media can be but neglect that Instagram feed at your peril. A flourishing Instagram account is a well tended Instagram account and one that’s given regular attention. Kinda like plants. Except I generally kill most plants so lets not make that comparison…

And so that brings my Instagram ramblings to a close…for now. I’m still learning so much all the time and my obsession shows no sign of waning yet.

I hope you’ve found the two posts useful and enjoy creating a beautiful feed that fulfils the subject matter of your hearts desires!

Happy ‘Gramming! xx

Recommended Reading & Resources

5 Tricks On How To Up Your iPhone Photography – Fashion Mews

3 Simple Ways To Gain More Instagram Followers – Coco’s Tea Party

Sign up here for Marlene Lee’s Instagram workshop at Hero – the best thing I ever did!

 

8 comments on “How I Got Serious With Instagram – Part Two”

  1. I LOVE this post and the first post which I have now read too. It is exactly the type of article I have been looking for – in depth, practical, helpful and easy to understand. I really think this is going go to help my instagramming skills ☺️ Thanks for taking the time to write the post x

    1. You’re so welcome Kate! I worried that it was a little too in depth…I could seriously go on and on and on about Instagram! Have fun putting some new found skills into play – I find it to be a brilliantly creative outlet! Have a lovely weekend! Amanda xx

  2. Hi Amanda, thank you so much for this guide to ‘gramming. As a relatively new blogger, I really want to improve my Insta feed as I do realise how vital a social media tool it is in gaining new followings and finding others with similar interests. This is a very clear and informative guide to getting the basics right! Now I need to get that photo stock built up … x

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