I am slightly (ok more than slightly) obsessed with Instagram.
I’ve had a personal account for a long while, but it was only when I opened an account for this blog that I became overly excited about it and started checking it multiple times a day.
I’ve spent the last few months testing out different ways of making it work for me. I’ve been posting on average 1-2 new photos to Instagram every day (one first thing in the morning and another late afternoon), and I’m getting a steady flow of new followers.
Whether you’re an aspiring travel blogger, or just want to proudly show off the awesome travel experiences you’re having to the people you know, Instagram is a great tool for sharing and gaining a following.
Want to get more followers, take better photos, and be generally awesome at Instagram? Here are my 6 tried and tested tips to becoming an Instagram pro!
1. Choose a theme for your feed
My theme is obviously travel related – I upload my travel photos that I’ve used in my most recent blog posts, plus some older travel photos and the occasional spontaneous pic when I’m out and about.
Themes can vary greatly. Yours could be anything from pics of your home town, food photos from local cafes, or your quest to try every pizza in your city.
Not every photo has to abide by your theme, but having one makes your feed more interesting. Take photos that fit generally within your theme and keep it fairly consistent. That way, when people that are interested in your theme check out your feed, they’ll be more likely to follow you.
2. Upload great Photos
I mostly take photos with my DSLR, transfer them to my laptop, touch them up and resize them in Photoshop, then upload them to Instagram.
It’s best if the photo is fairly high quality before you upload it to Instagram. I keep mine at a minimum of 1500px wide to avoid pixelation.
If you’re using your phone to take photos, make sure they’re the best quality you can get. Most of us are guilty (myself included) of occasionally uploading blurry, under/overexposed photos at some stage. If possible, use only good quality photos to make your feed look fabulous.
Most importantly, make sure the photo you’re uploading looks good in a square or portrait format. Landscape oriented photos don’t do as well on Instagram, so there’s no point uploading something that was meant as a panorama. It just won’t look good.
3. Don’t go overboard on the filters
One of Instagram’s recent features is that you can scale your filters. I think this is GREAT, as some filters go a little overboard. So if X Pro makes your pic a little too dark, you can double tap on the filter and scale it down to 50%.
Take note of anything that might make your photo look better. Are the shadows a little too dark, or could the colours be a little brighter? Use Instagram’s tools to scale the brightness and saturation levels. The vignette tool (darkening the areas around the edge of your photo) is also a great way to draw your eye to the centre of your photo.
By the way, I know it’s tempting to up the saturation level to 100, but please try and keep it real! There’s nothing worse than seeing a pic where the user has been a little tap-happy with the saturation.
4. Use hashtags
I follow a bunch of accounts that re-post great travel photos. These accounts have hashtags that they use to search for Instagrams to re-post, so I post these hashtags in a comment immediately after I upload the photo (so that my description isn’t overrun with hashtags!). Try to limit your hashtags, I think 15 or less is best.
Even if my image does’t get re-posted, it will often get liked by the account and some other people who follow the same account. It’s common for people to go through the hashtags to see what other people are submitting.
It’s also helpful to use hashtags for the location of your photo as other users might search for photos of particular places. For the photo above, I used #BostonPublicLibrary #Boston #BostonUSA #bostondotcom #massachusetts #igmassachusetts #VisitMA #BostonMA #VisitBoston #discoveramerica. Anyone who searches any of these hashtags will see my pic come up the feed.
5. Tag high-profile users relevant to your image
Before you upload an image, search for a user that might be associated with your photo. If you’re in a café eating a fab meal and take a photo of the avocado and eggs on toast that you’re about to eat, see if the café has an Instagram account, and if they do, tag them in your description. This will increase your chances of getting followers from other users that have eaten at the café, and your photo might get re-posted and get more recognition.
6. Be social
I often go through the hashtags or geotags that I’ve used and see who else has used it, then I like/comment on some other great photos. By doing this, people will know that I’m interested in their photos and in return they might check out my profile.
When people like or comment on your photo, return the favour! Head into their profile and if you see anything you like, comment on how awesome it is. They’ll appreciate the gesture and might follow you once they know how approachable you are.
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