Instagram is my favourite social media platform.
If Facebook is a curated view of people’s lives Instagram is definitely so. To me Instagram is inspirational, artistic, real yet surreal. It energises me, when I spend time flicking through my timeline or catching up on favourite accounts.
Just recently, I was updating my press pack and spotted my low-low numbers for Instagram on there from just 5 months ago. My numbers on the sheet coincided with the time when I truly fell in love with Instagram ( I had started my account back in 2012). Then at the end of last year I started to focus more on my account, what, how and when I post. Since then I have gained about 1000 real, engaged followers month on month: people who like and comment on my content.
I hear some of you say, what’s 1000 followers? I get that in a week. Heck, some get it in a day!
I know, I am far from the folks with 10s of thousands of followers, but none-the-less I appreciate each follower who is interested in my snapshot of the world, each like and comment. I feel my growth is a real achievement.
The pros say that the success on IG is dependent on interaction and content. (and they often add that it is also a good dose of luck… adding that they got lucky when they became a featured instagrammer).
I’ve never been featured and don’t expect I’ll ever be. I was, I think, always relatively good on interaction- liking and commenting often, being part of a community.
However, I felt I needed to look at my content more critically. Have a look at what I posted 5 months ago and now:
What do you think?
A Content strategy
On taking a critical look at my feed, I decided to implement a bit of a content strategy.
Instagram has always been a platform to document our lives with a snapshot typical of what we are doing at that time. This, principally, hasn’t changed, but I have become more focused and created a feed that’s:
1, a Curated feed
I only post the BEST of my shots of a specific location, subject or event (… and have unfollowed many who just keep on posting newer and newer pictures of the same things from a slightly different angle within minutes. I’m not interested in the person’s inability to curate… by all means do it on your feed, but I’m not going to waste my time with your content spamming my feed)
Unless I’m utterly enthralled by a place or an event I tend to post maximum 2-3 posts a day. In fact, most days I’m happy to get 1 post up.
2, an Aesthetic feed
I’ve tried to pay more attention to my pictures- I crop and try to use some general photographic principles about aesthetics, like leading lines, rule of thirds, light, etc. I feel my photography skills have come a loooooong way (still long to go, but I’m not aiming to go pro on photography.)
Having listened to lots of experts on the subject, I tend to revert back to basics I’ve learnt from Lucy from Capture by Lucy. I love her style (check out her Instagram!) and the way she can teach. On the technical side, John’s lecture notes from Blogcamp are ones I revert back to. John’s website, a Photo Walkthrough is also an interesting resource.
3, a Real life feed
Although I’m all for keeping the feed curated and aesthetic you won’t find me with a colour or a theme running through all my photos, like some big accounts advocate.
Gosh, that would need über discipline, time and attention to detail. I have limited amounts of all. I have a real life and ultimately that’s what I want to capture snippets of, letting my followers glimpse into my crazy day to days and for me to scroll back in years to come and remember what certain days meant.
4, an Optimised feed …but not dogmatically
There are so many ways to optimise your feed:
- the time you post,
- the type of content you post,
- the hashtags you use.
…just to name the top ones.
I subscribe to Iconosquare Pro and look at my stats about once a week. I look at the post that have done well, and those that haven’t. I use this to learn about composition of a post- the picture, the filter, the text, the hashtags- and improve it next time. If a post has done really badly and it doesn’t really click with me emotionally (often bad product placement from an event), then I delete it.
The Iconosquare stats could help totally guide the time and type of content to post based on likes and interaction. However I need my creative freedom. Personally, I can’t always post at optimum times, or on the most liked theme. Sorry, this links back to 3- it’s a real feed.
Hashtags, now that’s something I do try to max out on for every post. I love the new followers certain hashtags bring.
I have a little lists of hashtags to use for different content. 😉
Would you like to see my little lists?