Have you got an account on Instagram? Lately you must have been hearing about all the different ways celebrities have been making money off Instagram, which allows for the sharing of photos and 15-second videos in one go. It definitely has got us going back to the application ourselves and trying to understand how we can build up our own Instagram enterprise as well, with the tools we have got. Most importantly, if you plan on turning any sort of revenue or holding any power through the app, it is imperative to pick up major numbers of followers, which effectively will lead to so many more likes. Then again, not everything you post up will inspire those who see your photos to double click or press on the heart. As such, we have picked up a few tips for becoming a pro at putting together an incredible Instagram profile and getting more likes and followers.
We’ve been intrigued by the app itself since its inception 5 years ago, launched on October 6, 2010, by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. Today it has a stock market value that keeps on rising, is available in 25 languages and is perfectly free to download onto your iOS, Android or Windows Phone devices. It also now belongs to Facebook since 2012. That already makes it all the more intriguing for us. At the moment, there are over 500 million users on Instagram and that makes it perfect to create a business with, the market having already been there on the social medium.
Before You Get Started
Check out some of the accounts you can find through your friends’ profiles to understand just how the whole system works. If you haven’t already, download the application yourself and sign up for an account. This is going to be the canvas you paint on. If you already have an account and your photos are failing to attract visitors, you might want to really start looking at a few important things:
1. How many Instagram followers do you have? If you have friends on Instagram, add them to your follow list and chances are they will be returning the favor as well.
2. Do you like your own photos? If someone else had posted them, would you like them yourself? Many a time, people post up photos that lack in quality, context or generally do not inspire any form of reaction from the viewers. Seeing you showing your feet is not really going to get you likes unless there is some really cool nail polish on there or you are standing somewhere truly crazy.
3. Do you just post a lot of selfies? People don’t normally care for seeing selfies on end, even if that was one of the top trends that Instagram brought to the social media photo-sharing world.
4. Have you considered using hashtags? We’ll get into the types of hashtags that will get you more views and likes, but it might be interesting to check out what hashtags your friends are using when they get a lot of likes on their photos. It is observational research that you can do while riding the subway to school or work every morning as well.
5. At the end of the day, what do you plan on using Instagram for? What types of images are you planning on posting and who exactly is your target audience? This is a tough one, since many of us just get Instagram because it is a big fad and everyone else seems to have it. We emulate their photos, try to compete with their popularity on there and just end up disappointed when we end up falling short.
For those who have a personal brand they would like to develop or a business they run, those who love to dabble in amateur photography or merely want to have a place to document everything from a trip that is for those in the private circle only, Instagram is a great tool. We especially recommend having an Instagram account if your business actually sells products. This is where things can really begin to get interesting, and the number of likes on each photo can help indicate on exactly what your customer loves best.
It is a free and very useful promotional tool and one that can later be used to become its own business as well once you have a good amount of followers to advertise to. So many get paid a good lump sum of money when they post up a picture promoting a certain brand or product. It is certainly a good line of work to look into down the road if some extra petty cash becomes more than a little necessary.
Note: If you connect your Instagram to your Facebook account, it will allow you to see when a new account has been opened by a friend, automatically adding him or her to your own list. From what we have seen, over 20% of Instagram users are actually coming in from Facebook, anyhow.
How to Gain More Likes on Instagram (Without Adding More Followers to Your List)
Often we feel the need to follow every single person that follows us back. Do not do that. You want to have a healthy balance of course, and follow those who mean the most to you or who have the most relevant photos and videos, but unless there is something that captivates you on the follower’s page, there is no need to return the follow. Here are a few tips you can use otherwise to attract a good amount of attention to your own photos and gain both likes and followers yourself.
• Timing is your best friend: If your photos are to appear at a certain time of the day when you think that people would be checking out such content most, you will end up with more likes.
• Liking other people’s photos will be reciprocated: If you search through Instagram and find photos similar to yours and like them, chances are you will be getting more likes and followers soon enough.
• Use popular filters: While there are multiple filters available on Instagram, only a few are most aesthetically pleasing, depending on the lighting and stylization of the photo taken. You can leave normal and just play with saturation, warmth and contrast, or you can add Earlybird, X-Prll, Hefe, Rise, Valencia, Amaro, Brannan, Lomo-fi, or Hudson to liven things up a bit. Note: It might actually serve you best if you use no filters at all.
• Use some of the most popular tags, including the trending hashtags of the moment when you post:
• Do picture combinations, putting in a few into a nice vignette. If you have four, for example, you have a great square photo portrait that will capture hearts, literally.
• Ask people to like or comment in the caption, as that has been shown to trigger something in the bran that gives 89-2000% more engagement.
• Go for something edgy and relatively unedited, which is more pleasing on the eyes.
• Colors are very important so steer clear of yellow, pink and orange, but really include gray, blue, and green in there.
• Make sure your photos are nice and bright, with sharp contrast and great definition. The clearer things are, the more likes you are to receive.
• Show off behind-the-scenes materials, personal stories, and images of family members (including pets). Nail art, flower arrangements, table set-ups, fun outfits and street style along with some cookies really get the likes rolling in actually.
• Tell a story in your caption that plays on some form of emotion. Those are often the most engaging.
• Engage with your own followers, through replying to likes and comments.
• Engage with others through the Explore button, most especially strangers who have content that interests you in one way or another.
Advice from the Experts
A last bit of information to dwell on is a composite of tips and tricks given by top names in the fashion industry, who absolutely love Instagram themselves.
• You must always be yourself, raw and real. Your identity is your own, so do not force it! Build a rhythm by posting regularly and avoid posting too many photos of the same thing or a few all at once. – Advice from Laura Brown, Executive Director of Harper’s Bazaar.
• Have a general aesthetic theme to your stream of posts, giving your followers a sense of who you are, allowing for a better connection and thus better engagement with your material. Also, take care of the time you post something up, making it just right for those in the time zone you are targeting to see at the top of their feeds. – Advice from Christene Barberich, co-founder and global editor-in-chief of Refinery29.
• Sign up for an analytics site that will be able to tell you when are the best times to post which types of photos and/or videos, but refrain from actually buying the followers and likers for they would not be something you can monetize on later. – Advice from Craig Arend, a freelance fashion consultant and photographer.
• Make sure that you are consistent in what you post, the quality and the times, which helps them wait for your next update and feel better satisfaction when you deliver as promised. – Advice from Laurel Pantin, senior fashion editor from Sweet.
• Honestly, just post good photos as Instagram is home to the better quality photo productions. Also, posting early in the morning gives everyone the chance to see what you put up soon after they sign into their accounts early on, giving you a good edge. – Advice from John Jannuzzi, a freelance writer.
• Collaborate with others to build up your following, which will effectively lead to both of your photos being liked. Also, participate in trending topics, use hashtags and edit good photos you took in a consistent manner. – Advice from Chriselle Lim, a stylist and fashion blogger.
• Use short, sweet and humorous captions to the photos you post up as people are generally too lazy to read whole paragraphs. We are surprised you got this far! – Advice from Kristie Dash, the digital beauty editor for Allure.
• Success is found through posting different genres on your page since that will appeal to a wider public, particularly if you put up images of things the public does not normally have access to. – Advice from Scott Lipps, the founder and president of One Management.
• Show the human behind the brand for best results. – Advice from model Bridget Malcolm.
• Hang out with interesting people and post that up for the world to see, while keeping captions short, even to just 2-3 words if need be. – Advice from Danielle Prescod, accessories director at Instyle.
Photos courtesy of @negin_mirsalehi, @lenaperminova, @tuulavintage