I don’t know how often people save favorite Instagram posts, but I’ve found saving is a great way to compile references to ad campaigns (promoted posts), or keep something I want to find out more about, or simply keep because it’s exceptional in some way..
I’ve been taking a research class this quarter and the focus has been a small business that has a goal of launching as a CSA (community-supported agriculture) subscription service. I’ve seen a number of CSAs promote their subscription services on Instagram, so it was useful to keep them on file. If and when the CSA gets off the ground, being able to reference competitive marketing will be helpful.
But note saved ads or promoted posts only appear on your device and not on the website. Also, they don’t allow you to copy a link to reshare. That’s why I haven’t shared any of them here.
How to save a favorite Instagram post
It’s easy to save a post. Usually, the “badge” icon is directly below an image off to the right. So if you see something you want to save, just tap the badge. It goes from an outline to solid black. That’s it!
To access saved posts on an Android versus an iPhone are similar but varied. There is a navigation icon on the top right —either a hamburger menu or three vertical dots. Tap and scroll down to “Saved” to view saved posts.
On the desktop (I’m on a Mac) there are a series of icons on the profile page. Just click “SAVED” to view.
Sometimes I see something that strikes me as funny, and I save it so I can show my son or husband later. Note, this is a bit of insight into my weird sense of humor.
Special moments are worth tagging because I’m pretty sure I’d have a hard time digging up this post from 7.5 years ago. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg was doing a recruitment event at the Seattle Facebook offices and I was lucky to be sitting in the front row.
And finally, once in a while I see something that looks useful, like a recipe or some kind of hack. I’ve been parallel parking for a long time, but when I saw this, I was like, Ohhhh. So this is what I should be doing.
If you’re on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed some people post multiple Instagram photos at once.
There are several reasons why it’s useful to post more than one photo. Sometimes you might be attending an event and shoot a number of photos that are similar. You can post a progression of images that follow throughout the event. Or maybe you’ve shot variations of your garden, but can’t decide on a single photo.
It’s super easy to post multiple Instagram photos at once, and I’m going to try to explain it now.
Choose two or more photos that you would like to share in the same post. If you want to take the images and first edit in an app like Pixlr, go ahead and do that first!
Once you have the images selected, go to your photo album and choose the first image in your multiple-image post. Hit the double square icon in the lower right corner. This tells Instagram that you intend to choose other photos.
In this example, I’m going to add a total of three images. Notice the first photo has a “1” over the ghosted preview.
Now the second photo has a “2” showing it is the second picture in the post.
Now The third photo has been selected. Notice Hunter is moving in the lower right corner! Hit “Next.”
The third image has been added to the series, denoted by “3.”
After selecting your images
At this point you can change the order of the images pressing on the white circle with diagonal hashmarks in the lower left corner (see example below). This will allow you to move a photo from one position to another.
And this is the time to apply various Instagram filters to the images if you haven’t already pre-processed it elsewhere. If you don’t want to use a filter, no worries! Just move on to the next image by hitting “Next.”
I think I used the “slumber” filter on the first image and “hefe” on the next. You can tweak the filters if you change your mind, and you can apply different filters to each photo.
Time to insert a caption and hashtags! Also, you can designate your location as well as cross-post to Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. In this case, I chose to cross-post to Facebook.
The final post shows the name, location and first photo with “dots” ••• underneath. The dots indicate the number of photos in the post.
Multiple image posts are seen more than once
Sometimes I see my instagram friends post single images from the same event. The thinking could be they want each image to be seen.
Multiple image posts have a longer than normal viewable life than a single image post. Multiple image posts will re-appear if a viewer sees only your primary image. The next time around, the second photo in the gallery will show up, and so on.
I hope you’ll give it a try and tell me what you think! Enjoy!
Here are a couple of posts that might be of further use:
I’m seeing more people write longer captions to go with their images. Some give up the fight and write a solid block of prose. Others employ various methods to create a space between thoughts
In the examples above and below you can see:
Typing a period on a fresh line, then hitting a line return and then typing another period and another line return will do the trick. The advantage of this is being able to compose the caption directly in Instagram.
Sometimes Instagram will ignore one of the “line return – period” so doing it twice ensures you will see at least one line of space between paragraphs. The sample that follows shows an enlarged example of the extra periods and line returns.
I recently came across an application called Instaspacer that is the answer to this problem. There is a caveat. You have to type your caption into the Instaspacer app, then copy and paste into Instagram. It’s pretty easy. After you write your caption, click one button to copy it.
Many of us are already using at least one external app before posting into Instagram, so it’s not that big of a deal. And the benefit is worth the effort.
With Instaspacer, the line returns are retained when they’re copied and pasted into Instagram:
How do you “Like” or Comment on Instagram? Engaging with followers is one of the most fun parts of being on Instagram. It is gratifying when you share an image and people respond to it by liking it, commenting or even reposting it.
But in order to engage with followers, you first need to have some! Even a few will work to start! If you’re new to Instagram, you can check out recommended follows, or simply follow brands or celebrities you like. Many brands and celebrities don’t reciprocate with likes or comments but you can get the flow of what happens on the platform, and later tweak the list of people whose content you follow.
But how to “Like” or Comment on Instagram? When scrolling through your feed, it takes only a moment to “like” and leave a comment. Some people post the exact same comment on various images so they can rapidly post comments! It’s disingenuous and think most people can tell. Furthermore, if engagement is a goal, making the same comment over and over is more like a bot than a person. Still, any kind of comment takes more effort than a simple “like.”
I will often scroll through a newly followed account and like three or four photos, and if one warrants a comment, I’ll leave one. Likes can lead to engagement. If someone sees you’ve liked a number of their posts, often they will visit your feed. Then if they see something they like, they’ll offer likes or comments. That is simply how it can start.
Likes and Comments
A comment like, “Beautiful shot!” or “Your cat is too funny” means a lot to the photographer, and the likelihood of a response is high. How high? I haven’t personally measured, but even a short comment can lead to back and forth conversations. That’s how you become acquainted with people.
Another way people engage (especially true if you are following people who live in non-English speaking countries) is by using emojis. It’s surprising how much can be communicated via emoji.
There are apps you can buy to “fake” your engagement. Software can automatically go through and “like” posts. But simply “liking” a post isn’t considered engagement. In fact, there have been adjustments to the Instagram algorithm to determine whether a comment is considered engagement or not. I found this fairly recent post that says a 4-word comment is required in order for it to be recognized as “post engagement.”
@LuzzietCastilho has 256 likes and 123 conments on this image! Nice!
Use content as a catalyst
Your content and description will be the single best catalyst for soliciting feedback. Despite the quick-scan nature of Instagram, a keyword, phrase or comment along with a good image often will catch someone’s eye. So if you decide to post pictures of what you’re eating for dinner, make sure you say something about it, like @Alaskanamber’s caption:
Most people on Instagram are friendly and are looking for reactions to their photos. If you take a moment to give a compliment, you will most likely be rewarded with a response, and in time, could find yourself with a new friend in Sweden or the Arctic Circle, like my friend, @_wildernesslife_in the Arctic Circle. She offers Arctic experiences to guests. It looks amazing!
Now that you know how to “Like” or Comment on Instagram, as Nike says, “Just do it!”
What can you do to salvage an image that is “almost there,” but is in some way deficient? How can you make Instagram images better?
If you’re shooting with a professional camera, likely you are using Lightroom, Photoshop or some other professional software to process your images. When you are editing a raw file, the possibilities to correct an image are extensive.
shooting With an iPhone VS Android
There are great apps on both the Apple and Android platforms. Two that are available on both platforms that I think offer to do many things and are fairly intuitive tools to use are Pixler and Snapseed.
Both offer some of the same basic tools including cropping, rotation, the ability to create collages, auto-balancing of color, focal blur, image filters or effects, the ability to add type or borders, and easy resizing, and many people wouldn’t want to do more than the basics.
And of course Instagram is famous for their original offering of built-in filters/effects, but both Pixlr and Snapseed offer options that are specific to their apps and both help make Instagram images better.
Pixlr (formerly Pixlr Express) is the right photo editor for everyone whether you have never edited a photo or are a pro. This app has all the tools and effects you need and then some. I like the ability to easily dodge and burn in this application because sometimes you want to darken or lighten an area of an image, and it’s fairly easily accomplished here.
You can favorite your “go-to” effects and add stylizations that make your image look like a pencil sketch, pen and ink sketch and more. There is also the ability to focus on one color to create impact.
Pixlr offers in-app purchases available for higher functionality.
Pixlr’s complete list of features:
Create photo collages with a variety of choices for layout, background, and spacing.
Balance color in one easy click with Auto Fix.
Layer multiple photos and blend them together to get a unique look, using Double Exposure.
Stylize your image to look like a pencil drawing, an ink sketch, a poster, and more.
Make your selfies beautiful with simple tools to remove blemishes and red-eyes or to whiten your teeth.
Focus on one color with Color Splash or add impact with Focal Blur.
Choose from a pool of effect packs to give your image the look and feel you want.
Adjust the mood of the photo with overlays – amplify the tone, cool it down, or add surreal shades.
Mask your photo with captions or overlay it with text. Choose from a variety of fonts.
Finish off your editing process with the right border – pick a style that suits you.
Keep things fresh with our growing catalog of additional effects, overlays, and border packs.
Keep track of your favorite effects and overlays with the Favorites button.
Resize images quickly and easily after editing.
Share your photo directly with friends through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or email.
My favorite editing tool for Instagram is Snapseed, a Google application.
Snapseed’s “Details” tool is like the equivalent of sharpening in Photoshop. It can come in handy when you’d like to see more sharpness in the details of an image. “Curves” is also a professional tool in Photoshop that allows the adjustment highlights and shadows. The Perspective tool is fantastic for architectural images that are not quite perpendicular and enables corrections to look perfect.
The HDR tool is amazing though some users have a tendency to over-process their images with it. It affects the entire image and makes colors and details pop and especially affects shadow and highlight areas. It can turn clouds into a tumultuous sky. HDR can surprise you because you discover things in the image that you didn’t even know were there.
29 Tools and Filters
Opens JPG and RAW files
Save your personal looks and apply them to new photos later
Selective filter brush
list of Snapseed tools and effects
RAW Develop – open and tweak RAW DNG files; save non-destructively or export as JPG –
Tune image – adjust exposure and color automatically or manually with fine, precise control
Details – magically bring out surface structures in images.
Crop – crop to standard sizes or freely
Rotate – rotate by 90°, or straighten a skewed horizon
Perspective – fix skewed lines and perfect the geometry of horizons or buildings
White Balance – adjust the colors so that the image looks more natural
Brush – selectively retouch exposure, saturation, brightness or warmth
Selective – the renown “Control Point” technology: Position up to 8 points on the image and assign enhancements, the algorithm does the rest magically
Healing – remove the uninvited neighbor from a group picture
Vignette – add soft darkness around the corners like a beautiful, wide-aperture would do
Text – add both stylized or plain text
Curves – have precise control over the brightness levels in your photos
Expand – increase the size of your canvas and fill up the new space algorithmically
Lens Blur – add a beautiful Bokeh to images (background softening), ideal for photographic portraits
Glamour Glow – add a fine glow to images, great for fashion or portraits
Tonal Contrast – boost details selectively in the shadows, mid-tones and highlights
HDR Scape – bring a stunning look to your images by creating the effect of multiple exposures
Drama – add a hint of doomsday to your images (6 styles)
Grunge – an edgy look with strong styles and texture overlays
Grainy Film – get modern film looks with realistic grain
Vintage – the style of color film photo from the 50s, 60s or 70s
Retrolux – go retro with light leaks, scratches, film styles
Noir – Black and White film looks with realistic grain and the “wash” effect
Black & White – classic Black and White look straight out of the darkroom
Frames – add frames with adjustable size
Double Exposure – blend two photos, choosing from blend modes that are inspired by shooting on film and by digital image processing
Face Enhance – add focus to the eyes, add face-specific lighting, or smooth skin
Face Pose – correct the pose of portraits based on three-dimensional models
Shared directly from the application to your social media channels
Try it, you’ll like it
It’s undeniable that most every image can be improved in some way through an editing app. I’ve tried dozens of them, as well as dozens more of specialty apps because each offers something different, but I always come back to Snapseed. In discussions with other Instagrammers, it seems to be one that is widely used and valued.
Both Pixlr and Snapseed are free (again, some Pixlr extras are available only via in-app purchase), so download both and see which one you prefer. Either way, apps such as Pixlr and Snapseed will help you make Instagram images better.
I’m curious to know what you think. Which is your favorite?
What if you didn’t know the real names of your doctor, lawyer or accountant? Transparency matters!
Most social media acquaintances aren’t exactly on a parallel plane with professional or collegial relationships — but how about your friends?
In 2008 when I began on Twitter, it wasn’t unusual to see people using descriptive monikers instead of their real names. I viewed it as a holdover from the days of bulletin and message boards. When the internet was young, “screen names” were de rigueur. This practice is still somewhat true on Instagram.
In the early 2000s, major personalities on social media who were using pseudonyms realized they were gaining traction, and their major growth was still ahead of them. Instead of building recognition in an abstract name, they started to use their real names. It enabled them to build equity in their personal brands.
It’s about trust
I think most of us appreciate it when connections on social media are transparent about who they are. If I’m being honest with someone, I appreciate when they afford me the same courtesy.
A cloak of secrecy signals more than mystery. There are reasons people want to remain anonymous. It could have something to do with their pasts or their concerns about how their opinions could reflect on their jobs. But generally speaking, withholding one’s real identity is a form of deception.
There is a trend among millennials I’ve noticed where many of them use pseudonyms. When I’ve asked why, they’ve given a variety of reasons, but the main one seems to be they don’t want to be identified, judged or held responsible for the content they post. In other words, they don’t want to be held accountable.
How people perceive your brand
Transparency matters when you’re establishing yourself as a brand. Your name and avatar and consistency are important. Your behavior both on and offline matters. When using your real name, you invite people to trust you. And by maintaining a consistent and positive presence across channels, you can build relationships with people, and reinforce the belief that you can be trusted.
People acting on behalf of a company will often append their initials for identification purposes. Knowing who is tweeting is a good thing. Most people would rather tweet with a person, and there is also an element of accountability. In this era where it’s possible to engage in a customer support call with a chatbot, it’s nice to connect with humans.
Descriptive moniker + plus + your name
Highly recognizable and respected people very successfully use screen names but self-identify using their real names. Reg Saddler, or @zaibatsu is well-established across social media channels. He uses a memorable handle that evokes a strong image of his brand.
If you’ve been using a name for a long time and have earned recognition in it, it makes sense to maintain it. But it’s helpful and important to include your real name somewhere in your profile. Here are several reasons why:
First —You are creating a climate of trust by using your real name.
Second —It allows people who know you to find you by name. or by moniker.
Third — exchanges with someone whose name you know is more personal and engenders the creation of relationships.
Fourth — By using your name, rather than building equity in a pseudonym, you are building equity in the recognition of yourself and your personal brand.
At the end of the day, in all social media, recognition is a form of currency. If a brand wants to enlist your collaboration as a micro-influencer, it needs assurance they’re working with an authentic person with a respected reputation.
Short and easy versus long or difficult
Clever handles can be fun, but if they are not exactly memorable, it can be problematic. This is particularly true if you don’t include your real name SOMEwhere. For example, I had a Twitter friend who lives in the Baltimore area. I was there on a business trip in 2016, so we met for dinner.She was from Ethiopia and had an unfamiliar name, plus she didn’t use her real name on Twitter. So we have lost touch and I have no way to find her.
The substitution of numbers for letters may be good for building a password, but expecting others to remember quirky configurations is unrealistic. Also—adding characters that require changing case on a smart device (phones, tablets) makes it inconvenient for someone to type your name on a device. (Included are underscores and numbers or other special characters.) Some applications will “autofill” a name if it’s previously been typed once. But still—isn’t it easier to simply avoid extra keystrokes?
Changing your moniker
Once you’ve established your handle, try to keep it. If you change it, your account will retain your friends and followers, but unless you’ve prepared them for the change, they may not recognize you.
Help your followers recognize you by posting something in your profile. You could include “formerly @whatevermynamewas. You can also post something that announces your intention, tagging both names in the caption. People who are searching for you by name or former name will be able to find you. Success depends on whether enough people will remember your name in the first place. So remember—use a name that is short and easy to remember.
Establishing a consistent presence across social media channels — with hope, both in name and avatar — reinforces the identity and recognition of your brand. Think of it this way—your avatar is your social media logo. If “Starbucks” changed its name or logo from location to location, how would you recognize it?
You might know someone on Twitter by “@whatever,” but if they send a friend-request on Instagram using another name, they undermine the chance of connecting.
Across the majority of my social media accounts, a version of the lime green avatar below will be associated with my brand, and since it is my “Gravatar,” it appears here on my blog. The lime green was strategic. When my avatar appears on the feed, it is instantly recognizable. I don’t use the branded version on personal accounts where friends and family are present.
Trust is the foundation
By using your real name, you are inviting people to trust you, too. By building recognition of your name and avatar, you establish a “brand promise” that sets up what others can expect when they encounter you or your company online.
Relationships matter in personal life and in business. People DO want to know who they are dealing with. By being transparent, the potential gain is greater than the risk.
Do You Think transparency Matters?
Are there good reasons for obscuring one’s identity? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
For a long time, it wasn’t possible to use automation for Instagram scheduling. People could use an application called Buffer that would send reminders that it was TIME to post an Instagram update, but that was as far as it went.
Other applications got into the game. One of the main issues is, it is hard enough to manage content on your phone, so apps like Buffer made it possible to control things from your PC. It was a big game changer as it also allows collaboration by members of a team.
It has been shown a regular posting window can be beneficial in terms of one’s audience on Instagram. You begin to encounter some of the same users in a specific time window. For example, I have a tendency to post pretty late at night (anywhere from 9 PM up until midnight), so that means many of my followers and those with whom I most actively engage are either night owls in the United States (except Hawaii, which is 3 hours earlier!) or those in Asian, Europe or even in the southern hemisphere.
So predictable posting times can work in one’s favor if cultivating a dedicated audience is one of your objectives. Buffer is able to schedule photo posts as well as video updates including captions and hashtags.
There are scheduling and monitoring/engagement “deck” platforms similar to Twitter’s Tweetdeck, with Hootsuite being a long-established and versatile application for scheduling/monitoring; engagement with content; and allows oversight of specific account streams, hashtags and more.
Hootsuite is an expansive tool and allows connection to myriad social accounts if you have a paid subscription. Otherwise, free account users are allowed three connections and basic analytics reporting and message scheduling. Some of the additional social profiles that can be used with Hootsuite include Facebook profiles/pages/groups, Twitter pages, LinkedIn profiles/groups/companies, YouTube, WordPress and Instagram accounts. It’s also possible to connect to Tumblr, Flickr and others.
A few other Instagram scheduling apps you might wish to explore include SkedSocial, OnlyPult, BufferGram (soon to relaunch as BUSY.IO) and AutoGrammer.
If you are new to Instagram, or work as a social media assistant to a small business, it is important to note many apps have free versions for a single user.
If you are working with a team with numerous people curating content, it may be worthwhile to investigate Enterprise or Team options. Also, depending on your needs, services such as Buffer and Hootsuite allow scheduling and monitoring across many platforms. Click the links to find out more.
For the most part, I would say 90 percent of those I follow provide informational captions, identifying what is in the photo, or maybe adding a few hashtags. So I’ve wondered — do captions make a difference?
Those who delve into more storytelling generally garner a greater response from their followers.
But the single thing that makes the most difference (in my opinion), is an acknowledgment to any comments that are made.
Let’s take a look.
@Sensastone is in Sweden, and he has become one of my favorite friends on Instagram. We have some really great conversations about the world and the forces at play, whether environmental, political or otherwise. He has fewer than 3,000 followers today, but here is something amazing — the center picture above has 688 likes and 216 comments, which is phenomenal engagement. He responds to comments in such a thoughtful way, it blows me away sometimes. In fact, his engagement was so epic that I realized I needed to something to change up the way I was sharing.
Here is the caption and hashtags that accompanied the center photo:
My wonderful daughter-in-law, @queenhorsfall, along with the next three people are hugely successful influencers on Instagram. @queenhorsfall has more than 60,000 followers. She, along with @ryanintheus, @helloterumi, and @shilpiboseofficial collaborate with sponsors in various capacities.
In addition to posting sponsored or personal content, @queenhorsfall consistently posts Instagram stories and they are available to view in the category circles you see on her profile. (Examples above: Cooking, Apps, Malta, 2 Days, Sale Alert, Netherlands, Shop, etc.)
Captions are necessary when posting content that has been sponsored by a company or entity and in the U.S., are required by the FTC. (Federal Trade Commission)
@queenhorsfall will sometimes write an extended caption and enjoys tons of positive feedback no matter what she shares. In this instance, she received 3,243 likes and there are 73 comments on this post. The caption and hashtags that accompanied it:
Seattle via Australia friend, @ryanintheus tells epic stories on his Instagram, and his case, captions make a difference. Also, note the small black circle in the lower left corner of the image below because it signifies he has tagged a person (or persons) in the post. He received 1,949 likes and 182 comments. The #sponsored hashtag means he has posted this in collaboration with a sponsor.
Note: when viewing Instagram on the web, you can hover over an image to quickly view the likes and number of comments, as shown below. This is a post by Ryan that had amazing engagement. It appeared with the italicized caption below it.
Excerpt:A lot of people talk to me about the importance of the father, daughter relationship given I’m a single dad with 50% custody of a seven and a half year old daughter. As they should. With all that’s going on in the world, more than ever we need dads to be modeling to their daughters what a real man looks like, so that when they grow up, they know what to look for… (For complete post, click here.)
Another Seattle friend, @helloterumi, below shares a sponsored post for Fage yogurt. Terumi and I have partnered with #VerizonWireless as #brandpartners. On the post below, she received 423 likes and 32 comments, which I’m sure will make Fage happy because of the engagement, and also the earned media this mention adds to the share.
The FTC has pressured companies who partner with social media influencers to ensure their content is labeled as an ad, promotion or otherwise sponsored post. Note the first hashtag in her caption below.
#ad Are you making health a priority in 2019? I am! And I’m so glad FAGE Total Split Cups are helping me with this-especially now that the have 30% less sugar too. Find out more about the “less is more” philosophy I’m working on this year on the blog☝️and I’d love to hear about your goals for this year too! 👇 @fage#SplitCups#30PercentLessSugar#FAGE
The final example is @shilpiboseofficial. Shilpi and I have been friends on Twitter for more than 10 years. Shilpi is and has always been a beautiful woman, mother, wife, and friend. Who knew she would become “Mrs. India!” Since then, her Instagram feed grew so significant that there was a need to create an offshoot account for her fans.
Shilpi’s post garnered 3,246 likes and 81 comments
This year 2018 has created a big impact in my life. Followed my passion, worked extremely hard, been upset, tried to give up, went through ups and downs, highs and lows. Achieved success, some dreams came true. Been genuinely happy, learned to find happiness within myself. Learned so much about people and how only few people are real and good to you. If you’re there in my life, believe me I value you. 2018 will always be close to my heart & I am grateful. Sporting a @sheinofficial@shein_in tee! Never a basic girl! Photo courtesy: @dhavalgajjarphotography .
To caption or not caption?
Since I began posting extended captions to my instagram posts, my engagement has increased ten-fold. I attribute the increase to a couple of things:
Stories that are personal, interesting or informative can be rewarding and invite connections with fellow IGers.
By asking those who are viewing whether they have thoughts or experiences that are similar or different can cultivate conversations and also grow the relationships you create on Instagram.
So for me, captions make a difference.
In many cases, micro influencers who are being compensated in some fashion have received suggestions regarding possible content points to make in a given post. Sponsored content will often read more “ad-like” than a personal post. @RyanintheUS is definitely exceptional!
I’ll often have no idea of exactly what I will say when I post on Instagram, but I try to tell a story where the images are there to draw in viewers. The images don’t necessarily relate directly to the captions. I line up the photos (usually I post 2 or more photos in a series), then write on the fly.
It has been great for me, but it can take a while and probably won’t work for everyone. It would likely be easier if I composed the caption in a text document, then pasted it into Instagram.
But if you make a note of @sensastone’s very brief caption that perfectly reflects his personality and sense of humor, you’ll see you don’t need to write a novella. At the very least, take a moment to say SOMETHING about your images. It provides insights to viewers about what they are viewing!
After you create a new account, you might wonder how to build your Instagram following?
Instagram will provide you with a list of people you might want to consider following. In your settings, under “Follow People,” it could take you to “Discover People” and several tabs which could include “Suggested” “Facebook Friends” or “Contacts.” Suggested people often are people who are new to Instagram. They might not have many followers yet, so maybe you’ll be among the first to discover their photos.
You can follow those you know
Maybe you’ll be more comfortable adding people you know, in which case you might choose to add from “Facebook Friends,” or “Contacts.”
If you choose to follow the accounts of friends, then find you aren’t interested because you already see their content on other platforms, you can quietly “unsee” their content by “muting” them. They won’t know.
You can search for hashtags
Hashtags are great for attracting people to the topics you are sharing, or for you to find. If you go to “search” and type in a word or two that reflects what you are interested in, you’ll be able to find accounts to follow. In many cases, a percentage of people will follow you back. For example, if you are interested in landscape photography, search for #landscape. You’ll be presented with popular images associated with that hashtag. You can take a look and see if there are any interesting accounts to follow.
You can also look at the people who are liking or commenting on the content of those you follow. If you were to follow them, there is a possibility they’ll also be interested in your content.
quickly build An Instagram following
Another strategy I’ve noticed new accounts employing is to follow as many people as possible. The reason I don’t recommend this is, in discussing with various users on the platform, new accounts with apparent imbalances between “followers” and “following” are frequently perceived as spam accounts. For example, if you have 50 followers but you have followed 1,500 people, many will look askance and avoid you, or even report you as spam. Spam accounts are frequently blocked. If enough people regard you as a spammer, you could find yourself locked out of your account.
Don’t buy fake followers
The final, and worst strategy is to buy followers to make your account look more successful than it is. Lots of famous people, under the misconception that the more fans and followers they have make them seem cooler. But platforms like Twitter and Instagram, periodically go through and clear out fake followers. This means accounts that inflate their popularity through artificial follower numbers benefit in only a temporary way, and have to reinvest money to maintain the illusion.
There are also tools and apps that users can deploy to automatically follow people, and apps that will unfollow people if they don’t follow back.
Bottom line – start slowly and have fun!
A best practice is to let your account grow naturally through organic following and engagement. And importantly, it needs to be fun. If you enjoy it, you’ll stick with it. And if you stick with it, you’ll succeed!
It’s possible for an average person to look like a professional photographer through using Instagram’s built-in filters and additional applications. It can feel like a magical experience to see your photos come to life through adjustments and filters.
In addition to Instagram’s built-in filters, there are hundreds of apps and filters available to explore. I’ve downloaded dozens of them taking up two screens worth of icons on my iPhone, but at the end of the day, I use only a few. Some apps are available only on iPhones and others are only on Androids, but there are many that work for both.
Instagram has caused me to view the world in a completely new way because all around us there are interesting things. I’m a firm believer that almost every average-quality photo, even of the most mundane subjects, can be processed into something pretty nice on Instagram and make you look like a professional photographer even if you only use Instagram’s built-in filters.
From simple to complex edits
Because Instagram has the ability to correct lighting, you can take under- or over-exposed photos and often still make them work.
It’s possible to save a lot of dark photos with Instagram’s brightness adjustment, but it’s helpful if you have some highlight and shadow detail in the first place. If you shoot during the day with available light, you’ll probably be fine. At night you might find your images become grainy. I’m not crazy about the way photos look with a flash, so I usually try to shoot with available light, even at dusk. But the application is so forgiving, that even if you don’t start out with a reasonable shot, you can often adjust it to work.
There are specialty apps that will create “mirror” images, convert your photos into paintings, add bokeh effects, snowflakes and stars, and any effects that are impossible to even imagine. Take a look through the Play Store or App Store by searching “Instagram.” You’ll see what I mean.
Additional apps to bring different things to the party:
I really don’t think there is a right or wrong way to shoot photos for Instagram. Some of the weirdest pictures can become wonderful. Just enjoy the surprises you discover once you’re processing your photos, then share them for others to enjoy!
Do you have a favorite filter or favorite auxiliary application to use with Instagram? I would love to hear what they are!
Instagram is a fantastic outlet to express your creativity. But in addition, it has the potential to be used for marketing. Maybe you have an Etsy store or an online business? Instagram creates opportunities to show potential customers what you do, as well as simply giving you the chance to connect and communicate with interested people. But you’ll want to shoot in focus to make the most of Instagram!
Having spent decades of my life standing next to pro photographers as I directed photo shoots, it’s a fun to be the actual shooter. Through trial and error, I discovered ways to shoot better photos. My primary tips: Shoot pictures that are in focus and think about framing.
Available and low-light
Your photos will look best if they are in focus, and shot in available light. What is available light? This means: don’t use the flash. It’s 2019, and more smartphone cameras have improved their low-light capabilities and many compensate for low light. In fact, Google Pixel 3 has a very cool feature called Night Sight, and it’s really quite amazing.
Low light can create challenges for focusing, so if you’re in a very low-light situation, a tripod will help as it stabilizes the camera. It’s easy to throw an image OUT of focus on Instagram, and you can “sharpen” a photo’s details, but you can’t really make a blurry photo sharp.
How to focus
On most camera phones, tap the area of the screen you want to be sharp. The camera focus circle or box will appear, and the lens will adjust. Simply anchoring your phone against a solid, plumb surface, like a table or wall or door jamb will go a long way to make sure your shots will be in focus AND perpendicular to your horizon line. If your shots are hand-held, the key is to be as still as you can. By anchoring your biceps against your body (like a support brace) and holding your breath when you shoot, it improves the chances of a sharp picture.
A sub-category of shooting sharp, (in-focus) photos, is shooting straight. For example, when you shoot a lake, and the horizon line is leaning a bit, it can look odd. The same goes for buildings. So if you find your shot is skewed, don’t worry. Instagram has an option to correct the rotation. OR you can purposely tilt your camera, which can result is an interesting photo.
If you do a search, you’ll find it is a common belief that an Instagram theme for your Instagram will help in myriad ways. So I think it is worth considering whether you have had an Instagram feed for a while, or are just getting started on the platform.
Instagram Theme samples
Hubspot provides a list of 12 ideas to consider as a theme for your instagram:
Black and White
Black or White Borders
In the years I’ve spent on the platform, I’ve noticed others. Here are a few more themes for your Instagram
Fashion (different styles)
Food – pictures of cooking as well as prepared food
Art (painting, professional photography; other media)
Flowers or plants
Landscapes and seascapes (including sunrises, sunsets)
Quotes or quotes with images
Travel and architecture
Collage (where 9 images form an image)
Macros (butterflies, bees and other types of bugs; flowers and more)
Animals (dogs, bunnies, horses, etc)
Kids/families doing stuff
Knitting. (Yes, Knitting!)
Why Themes are Useful
One reason why an Instagram theme is useful is that, as the curator of your feed, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every day. If you post flowers, you know you can go for a walk in the afternoon and look for neat flowers—Piece of cake!
Another reason a theme is helpful is that it facilitates connecting with people who relate to your content.
For example, there are many people on Instagram who post only photos of their cats. Upon inspection of those who follow “cat accounts,” I’ve discovered many have “cat avatars,” and self-identify as fans of cat photos. (NOTE: If your avatar is a flower and you post flowers, or depicts the most often posted content on your feed, it allows people to quickly identify you as someone they might wish to follow.)
People search for hashtags, and if your content has a consistent focus and you use hashtags, your images could pop up on search. It enhances the chances of being found and followed because of the hashtags you use. For a list of current popular hashtags, click here.
There are also apps that provide you with common hashtags based on the kind of image you are posting. One problem with them is Instagram doesn’t look upon them too kindly and will sometimes delete a post that uses “canned” hashtags.
That said, if you decide to focus your Instagram feed on your orange cat, you might choose hashtags like #cat #cats, #catsofinstagram #catlover #tabbycat #orangecat and other similar words that might lead people to find your content. And part of Instagram is posting images that others will view, like or have reactions that they want to share with you, right? Very few people want to post in a vacuum.
Share What You Enjoy
Even though I have been aware of the importance of following an Instagram theme, I’ve elected to post whatever I want! Because for me, life is multi-faceted and I don’t want to limit myself to one visual niche.
Another thing is, you can choose a theme, like black and white, or pastels, and STILL be able to shoot anything you want. If you enjoy the photos you capture, you’ll be more inclined to share.
Do you use Instagram? What do you like best about it? I would love to read your feedback!