It’s safe to say that Instagram has become a major player in social media. Having a beautiful, engaging and unique Instagram account can enhance your business and can create amazing opportunities. So how do you make your Instagram stand out among the crowd? It’s not an easy feat, but today, Taylor is sharing 10 tips that have worked for her and for our team here at Glitter Guide.
1. Choose A Style.
One thing that developed for me over the last few years is creating more of a style to my Instagram feed. Before this, I was simply posting any picture I took that I liked. I wasn’t really thinking about the entire look and feel of my grid. For some people, this isn’t something they care about—especially because most people are only looking at your individual image as it appears in their feed. However, if you’re portraying a brand, whether it’s for yourself or a business, it’s important to think about the overall vibe you want to create with your Instagram grid.
Some people take this very seriously and only post specific photos that are their style or work in their grid (think colors, angles, mood). I fall into it loosely. I want to have my feed feel and look cohesive and beautiful, but I don’t like to get too strict on myself where it stops me from just being authentic and spontaneous. I like to edit with only a handful of filters (more on that later). I like muted colors that feel soft and light. I also like to have a mix of promotional things, but also things that are personal and that I like.
2. Have Lots To Choose From.
One thing that I’ve learned over the past few years of using Instagram is that having a lot of photos to choose from of one thing can be so helpful. It can be a tad annoying when you’re out and about and quickly trying to snap things, but it pays off in the end. It allows you to see things from different angles and it gives you more options when playing with the image in your overall feed. I will take about 5 to 10 pictures of one thing that all look slightly different. Just remember to erase any that you never plan to use after or you will end up with that terribly annoying “storage is full” alert on your phone.
3. Edit Your Photos.
This is something that has become like an art form. Having a beautiful image is one thing, but editing it is what really makes the image POP! First you will need apps that can help you. My favorites are: Afterlight, VSCO and A Color Story. Here’s why:
This is where I typically start. I like to use Afterlight for cropping, adding brightness, contrast and sometimes sharpening and playing with shadows. You can use the other apps for these things too, but I happen to like Afterlight the most for it. Once I do that, I will use the other two for more editing.
A Color Story:
I love A Color Story for the amazing color ranges it has for editing photos, and I am so stoked Glitter Guide was able to create our own custom collection of filters. Our collection of 14 filters are all very light, glowy and will give your photos a pastel effect (like you see in the photos in this post). We also have some that will give your photos a bright pink or orange glow, too. My favorite filters are the “EVELYN,” “CASSIDY” and “VALERIE.”
VSCO is also an amazing app for editing the color of your photos. I use its filters when one of the #glitterguidexacolorstory ones don’t work well on a photo of mine. I love “A4” and “A6.” I also love VSCO for planning out my photos in the grid. See below:
4. Plan Your Photos.
This is something I only started doing a year ago and it’s great if you’re looking to create a more curated grid. I blame my photographer friends for getting me addicted to planning out my next few photos—it’s an obsession. However, like I mentioned before, I am trying to allow myself to sometimes not be so picky about it so I can also still be real and genuine and not too artsy. I love that on some people’s feeds, but for my account, I like to have a mix. VSCO is great for uploading your photos and seeing them in a grid format. I use that for my personal feed. For Glitter Guide, we use PLANOLY, which is awesome. We can plan ahead, schedule, write our captions and see analytics for our account. It’s really great when you have a social media team and want to work together.
When planning out photos in your grid, look for what appeals to your eye. For me, that means never repeating the same style photo too close to one another. I also don’t want it to feel too busy. So if you have a picture of flowers, maybe you wait until it’s out of sight before you post another one. Or maybe it’s that the next one you pick looks very different from the other one and it won’t matter, but for me, this is something I strive for when possible. This can be tricky when you have to post something for work or really want to post something that is time sensitive. Instagram is still meant to be fun, so don’t sweat it too much. Just post it. You can always delete it later if you want.
5. Engagement Is Key.
If you’re looking to really grow your following, then engagement is critical. Especially now that the algorithm is in place. People want to feel a part of your community. They want to feel like they know you and have you acknowledge their voice. That means that when you can, you should reply to comments, like other people’s photos and comment on them. This will not only have you form a closer relationship with your followers, but it will also mean more of your photos will actually be seen by them. This is something I really struggle with. I want to be connected to my audience, but I don’t want to feel glued to my phone. So, it’s a work in progress for me.
Timing is also a big component now. There are ideal times for your specific audience for you to post things if you want more engagement on your photo. Again, this is something I do loosely because I don’t want to feel totally tied down by my account. However, if you’re a business or really striving for a larger, more engaged audience, then this is something you should pay attention to.
Call things to action with your audience. Ask them questions. Be involved. Have them comment with things or tag people. These can all help grow your engagement and audience.
6. Take Photos In The Camera App.
I don’t like snapping photos in the Instagram app or using Instagram filters (however, I’m sure they have vastly improved). I like to use the camera app on my phone. I also make sure that I get the very best lighting I can. Natural light is better for my preferred style—I never use the flash. It’s also great to remember to use the tools in the camera app, like focusing and adding or removing light from the shot by tapping on the photo.
7. Stay Consistent.
I think that posting consistently and around the same times is really helpful for improving your engagement. It can vary from person to person, but typically I think posting daily is important for staying in your audience’s view. That way they don’t have to check out your profile to see if you updated. I also think posting 1 to 3 times a day is ideal for personal brand and maybe more if you’re a brand that has a lot of content. Just make sure to keep them separated and not all at once. I like to do one in the morning, afternoon and evening. Sometimes, I will only get to one and that’s OK. Again, I’m trying to remain somewhat flexible.
8. Follow Content You Love.
I’m working on cleaning up my list of who I follow. It’s not a personal thing, it’s more the fact that it’s harder and harder to see photos from people I really want to see. So, it’s important to clean out my list to people’s pictures that really inspire me. It also helps drown out a lot of noise for me and makes Instagram more enjoyable.
9. Use Hashtags.
I have a love/hate relationship with hashtags, but they do really work. If done correctly, it helps to showcase your photos to specific audiences and it gives you the chance to get your photo featured by a larger Instagram account. This can help grow your base of followers. Some of Glitter Guide’s popular ones are: “#flashesofdelight” “#GGathome” “#GGLocalGems” and “#thatsonecoolride.”
Hashtags also help people know if the photo was edited with something (#glitterguidexacolorstory), if it’s part of a group and also if it’s sponsored.
10. Don’t Follow Rules.
I know this makes no sense after I just listed a bunch of “rules” for you to follow, but ultimately Instagram is meant to be fun. If you turn it into a tool you’re simply using to gain followers from and only follow all these strict guidelines, it will lose its magic. I try to maintain a balance of using strategies and guidelines to improve and grow my account, but then also make sure to check in and see if I am being genuine, having fun and feeling inspired. In the end, those are the things that will really help improve your Instagram.