One topic I get the most questions about is Instagram; how I manage my posts, what apps I use to edit etc. Instagram has changed so much since launching seven years ago. With the recent algorithm changes, it is much harder to grow your following and reach new audiences. It can be frustrating to say the least. Below are a few of my tips and tricks I follow and use.
1.Content– Trying to stand out in a sea of bloggers can be REALLY hard. We all shop from the same stores, work with a lot of the same brands etc. The most important advise i can give is to stay true to yourself and your brand. Your readers will quickly see if you post something “off” and then they start to loose trust in your work. The quality of your content is also very important which I will talk about below.
2. Iphone vs Professional Images– This is a topic I hear bloggers talk about a lot. Professional images normally do not perform as well engagement wise compared to iphone snaps. It makes sense because, readers like to see real time photos and professional imagery can come across too perfect or unattainable. I try to keep my feed at least 60% iphone and 40% professional. Try a mirror selfie, a downward detail shot, an over the head outfit shot etc. Take the time to go thru your images weekly or monthly and see what performed the best. Same goes for professional imagery. Detail shots work better for me and full shots work better for one of my blogger friends. It is trial and error, but you will find a rhythm.
3. What Time do I post?– Gone are the days where there were specific times everyone knew engagement would be amazing. I do not know the secret, but what has worked for me is once in the morning and 1-2 times at night (after 7.) I typically like to show my readers two iphone outfits (day/ night) and one professional pic from a blog post a day. Does this schedule work everyday, not at all. There are good and bad days on Instagram and as hard as it is, you have to look past the likes. High likes do not always translate into affiliate sales as well. Keep up good content and the engagement will come.
4. Get to Engaging– It is so important to engage with your readers, it is actually one of my favorite things about being a blogger. What I can’t stress enough is that it needs to come from a sincere place. Not everyone has time to spend hours upon hours on Instagram engaging. I know I don’t with my day job, but I spend at least 3-5 hours a week engaging back with my readers. That could be answering DMs, commenting or liking photos on their Instagram pages, answering questions on my photos etc. If they are taking time out of their day to comment, I want to show the same respect. I want to also stress to not take the easy way out and use one of the many programs available to “auto comment” or “auto like”images. Not only does Instagram frown upon this, but I have seen way to many generic comments on pictures where they do not even belong. Do not risk the embarrassment and do it the right way! “When it comes to Success, there are no shortcuts.”– Bo Bennett
5. Captions– Before writing a caption I ask myself, what would someone want to know about this picture? Being a fashion blogger, I am 95% posting clothing so I try to always talk about the fit, the color options, sizing, price etc. I think this will be come even more important in the future after reading THIS article. You will need to start thinking of your captions like your typical SEO on your blog. Use keywords that are relevant to the picture that could be searchable if Instagram were to change (again!) I still believe showing your personality or sharing a funny story is important as you don’t want to come across robotic. Asking your readers a relevant question to your content is a great way to start an open dialogue too.
Favorite Editing Apps
Snapseed– This is hands down the most used app on my phone for editing photos. I love this app for so many reasons. The first is to adjust brightness, warmth, shadows and ambiance. These are similar photo editing tools in actual Instagram, but I find them to be better. The coolest thing about snapseed is the “selection” tool. You can use this tool to select certain parts of the photo. For example, if you only want to add saturation to your floral dress, use this tool to select the dress and adjust accordingly. It leaves the rest of the image intact. If I want to add a bit of “Grit” to my photos, I use the “drama” filter and adjust it down to my preferences. Lastly the brush tool is great quick fix on adding color or exposure to an image.
Snug– I will be honest, I have good and bad weeks on how my Instagram feed looks. I give MAJOR props to the girls have that amazing cohesive feeds. I still work full time so I usually have to work with what I have taken from the weekend or what I can snap quickly after work. The Snug app however is perfect to plan out your feed. I love that you can add and remove images, even ones you have already loaded to Instagram. If I have a full week of content shot Sunday I plan out my tentative feed with this app.
The most important take away from this is that Instagram is ever changing and will continue to change. Bloggers do not have ANY control on what happens and that can be very unsettling. The focus, as always, needs to be on your blog. Put your eggs in the right basket and use Instagram to help grow the platform you own.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the new instagram way of life. Do you agree/disagree? What works for you? Leave me a comment!