While this past decade has introduced a myriad of exceedingly popular social networks to the world, there is none quite as popular than that of Instagram.
With well over 150 million members at this point in time, Instagram has become the go-to social media hub for many people from around the world. However, it is due to this huge popularity that it can be difficult to set yourself and your pictures apart from all the rest. You want people to follow you because you feel as though you post the best and most interesting photos. This may seem like a monumental task to undertake. Thankfully, there are a number of tips, guidelines and rules to Instagram that will allow you to get more followers and likes in next to no time.
Here’s an in-depth look at what some of those are.
#1. Types of Photos to Take
Unless you’re famous, there’s no surefire way to ensure that your Instagram photos will receive the attention that you feel they deserve. Ever so often, you might take a photo that will strike gold and go viral, but that’s not something you should be trying to attain every time you log into your Instagram account. The easiest way to ensure that your photos gain traction and you start to get more followers on Instagram over time is by posting only the most interesting and personal photos.
With millions upon millions of members on Instagram, there are a vast amount of photos shared every day. The only way to differentiate your photos from those of everyone else is by making them solely about you.
That being said, when taking photographs of yourself, there’s a chance that you will run the risk of being too, for lack of a better word, boring, which is why it’s equally important to take exciting and appealing pictures. If you can combine the “personal” with the “excitement” factor, then there’s a high chance that you will at least have a photograph that will be better than many of those placed onto the site. While any type of photo can suddenly become popular, the aforementioned tips help greatly in increasing your chances of gaining more followers.
For instance, taking a picture of your face in front of a dark background may be considered artistic and seen as appealing by some, while taking a picture of yourself in front of the Eiffel tower can be construed as interesting by those that are already following you, which pushes them to comment on the photo and like it, therefore allowing it to become more popular and increasing the odds of others seeing it and “liking” it as well.
#2. How to Utilize Tags and Filters
Understanding what it takes to post a picture worth people’s attention is merely a small portion of what you can do to gain more followers. While it may not be readily apparent when using the Instagram app, adding tags and filters to what you post can heavily influence the amount of popularity that your picture garners. In regards to tags, or hashtags, many Instagram members utilize the sites search engine or Webstagram in order to search for the type of photos they want to see.
By placing tags under your photo, you increase the odds that your photo will be seen when someone conducts a search. However, while Instagram has made it possible to add up to 30 separate hashtags under one photo, it’s recommended that you narrow that down to 2-3, or up to 5 at most. Users will ignore posts that use too many tags at one time, as it may seem as though you’re trying to hard to gain viewers. Some of the most popular tags include love, beautiful, girl, photooftheday, me and follow. Overall, simplicity is the key to Instagram hashtags.
Filters are another thing that you can add to your photos. In essence, Instagram has provided a myriad of filters that anyone can use to tweak their photos and make them look more professional and unique, adding to the sense that no 2 pictures are alike. As there are 20 different filters to choose from, it’s easy to get lost in the choices you have when editing your photo. You want others to follow you and like your pictures, which is why it’s essential to make sure that each photo you take has a personal touch that users may not see anywhere else.
For instance, if you would like the colors within your picture to pop out of the frame, then the Hefe filter is perfect for this task and really helps to make the photo bolder and more appealing. The other 2 filters that are found to be the most popular among Instagram members are that of the X-Pro II and Earlybird filters. The X-Pro II filter allows users to brighten certain objects in the picture, in order to set a contrast against the other objects within. This can be used to great effect by highlighting certain objects that you would like to stand out more than others. The Earlybird filter mutes certain colors and makes photos look vintage and older, an effect that has increased in popularity over the past few years. No matter what filters you use, you will soon find that there is more to gaining followers and likes than meets the eye.
#3. The Art of “Following”
In order for others to become more aware of you and, in turn, start giving more attention to your photos, you cannot simply sit back and let your pictures speak for themselves. While that may work for a short while, it’s important to engage with others so that they can match a personality to those photos. As such, you are going to want to “follow” other members and comment on their pictures as well. In essence, these 2 acts allow others to feel the need to reciprocate what you have done for their pictures to your pictures.
There are a number of reasons as to why this holds true. As is the case for all social media platforms since their inception, following someone will give you a much better chance that they, in turn, will follow you and begin to look at the pictures that you have posted. However, there are other ways to be active. Liking and commenting on others photos gives them the opportunity to see what you have done for them and do the same for you.
Comments are, in the grand scheme of things, much more appreciated then likes, as comments are generally harder to come by. It can be easy to garner hundreds of likes for one photo, but reaching even a fraction of those likes in total number of comments is another thing entirely, which is why doing so will give those posters an incentive to respond in kind. There’s also a chance that someone else looking at this picture will spot your comment and decide to follow you, which is why it’s important to put a little personality behind your comments if possible.
#4. The Key to Popularity is Timing
The phrase “timing is everything” has never been more apt than when dealing with the question of when to post a photo to Instagram. Thankfully, there are a few bits of data that can help us to understand the optimal times for doing so. First of all, time zones are everything. If you live in the U.S., but find that many of your followers, or even those you think would appreciate your picture more, live in the UK, it would be unwise to post your photos at 8 PM, as it would be 3 AM in London. As such, no one would be awake to see your post and it would, most likely, go unnoticed.
You must also pay strict attention to your audience. If you are a new parent and are posting photos that pertain to this, it’s important to remember that many working adults are not back home from work until after 5 PM, which is when you should focus on posting.
If you’re a teenager, it would be foolish to post during school hours when no one will be around to see them anyways. It’s important to take all of this into account in order to maximize your likes and followers. Posting early in the morning will also help your chances of the post being seen before it is lost among all of the others.
#5. Similar Methods and Tips
There are a few other methods you might want to employ to increase your popularity on Instagram. For one, you can create a contest centered around who can create the best picture and inform others by placing the info in hashtags. It’s also important to offer prizes to the winner(s). As there are a plethora of contests run on Instagram these days, it may not gain you a ton of followers, but it should help.
Placing a “Call to Action” at the bottom of your posts can also help to drive in traffic. A call to action is something like “Double-tap if you like this” or “Comment if you love Instagram”. This is a form of interaction with other members that gives you a much better chance of attracting additional followers. It gives a fun and enticing vibe to the photo that may otherwise be missing.
You also need to know how often to post. Spamming the feeds of those that already follow you with dozens of posts per day is something that no one enjoys and will make them much more likely to un-follow you, which is the opposite of what you should be doing. However, it is essential to post on a consistent basis in order to keep overall interest up. As such, try posting a couple of photos each day, half a dozen at most.
Lastly, you may want to consider connecting your Instagram account to that of your Facebook account. If you have a lot of Facebook friends, this is a great way to ensure that all of your Facebook friends are updated each time you post a new photo on Instagram.