If you didn’t Instagram your vacation, did you even go? Probably not. Especially not if you don’t get double-digit likes (triple digits for those in their earlier 20s).
Instagram is suddenly one of the most used social media platforms of our entire generation. I don’t remember a morning I didn’t wake up without scrolling through my feed to catch what I missed. It either makes me feel FOMO or not want to eat for the rest of the day.
And, still, I double tap, I crop, ponder captions for hours and filter like my life depends on it. It’s actually kind of crazy what goes into how we want to portray our lives to our friends and even strangers. Scratch that, not kind of, it’s just plain crazy.
What’s crazier is that Instagram is one of the best places to subtly advertise your brand. There are so many people out there that make a living off of their Instagram profiles. No, I’m really not kidding. People make their yearly salaries off of their perfectly filtered photos.
Instagram can be used to advertise one’s life that leads you into checking out his or her profile and venturing to an outbound link for more. It can be used to highlight a product or a service through perfectly natural photos that are in totally candid. Or you’re just an Instagram model, sigh.
Instagram is not only self promotion, but it’s also a business. I was pretty unaware of this before I started blogging. Then I started to notice fellow bloggers with more fans than my yearly salary. It was really daunting and I couldn’t figure out what would make anyone come to my Instagram over someone else’s. My cat is cute, but he ain’t that cute.
So while I struggled to get to that 11 likes threshold just so I could like my own photo and then stalk it until it reached a number I was happy with… I came across Hilary Rushford’s website and I was amazed with her wittiness and colorful photos.
I noticed that she offered an Instagram class, which appealed to me and my lack of likes as I tried to expand my account from just personal to brand. The day of the class I got into my jammies with a big glass of wine and settled in with no filter.
Sure it felt weird to be taking a class on Instagram, and my roommate made fun of me for it, too. But I surprisingly learned a ton in this free one-hour online class and absolutely consider getting the paid expanded version that she offers.
Now, I don’t want to give too much away because I highly suggest you take the class yourself, I can give you a high-level overview of what I got out of the class. She also does a dance party in a lot of her Periscopes, so I’m going to include one too:
Lesson 1: Is your first impression pro?
Key takeaways: What’s your bio say about you as a person? What’s in it for someone looking at your account? Where are you located?
Lesson 2: Your marketing prep
Key takeaways: Include a link, be findable (via username and account name), “make it crystal clear where your party is at,” and communicate clearly.
Lesson 3: ABG photography (Always Be Growing)
Key takeaways: Post beautiful photos with two audiences in mind (new followers + current followers) and use photography 101.
Lesson 4: Superhero cape – apps
Key takeaways: Find a filter combination and try to stick with it for all of your photos using an editing app such as: VSCO, Snapseed, or Afterlight.
Lesson 5: Brand story
Key takeaways: What do the first nine photos say about you? Why should someone follow you based off of those first nine?
Lesson 6: Color palette
Key takeaways: Think of your account as an online magazine; a color indication makes your profile more cohesive. Plus, it’ll be easier to choose whether or not to post something if it “matches.”
Lesson 7: Lay it out
Key takeaways: Choose just one layout – whether it’s all square, all rectangles, circles down the middle, or whatever you fancy. Just pick one and stick with it.
As a visual example, here’s what my Instagram used to look like:
How much anxiety does that give you? Like, a lot. And I never even noticed. Now this is what my Instagram looks like now:
Am I over thinking it? Maybe. Yet following just these guidelines I’ve gotten 100 more followers in two months, and deleted like 300 because everyone needs to clean it up every once in awhile. So while I have yet to double my Instagram following, I’m still learning the ropes and competing with the 16 year olds that have 4K likes on their sneakers.
Sorry! Maybe error link or deleted link.
#InstaGoals for 2016