When you look at the people who are absolutely killing it on Instagram, it can seem like maintaining a successful presence on the picture-focused social platform can be like a full-time job. You don’t have to punch into your smartphone at 9 and out at 5 every day just to have a great Instagram account, though.
You’ve probably heard the expression, “work smarter not harder.” Well, one area where you can work smarter is in the selection and curation of content you are posting. By posting better, more creative, and more captivating content you can increase engagement, sharing, and your number of followers too.
If all you ever post on Instagram is selfies, you probably need to re-think your strategy. Same goes for product photos, or anything too self-promotional. Your Instagram followers are a community, and as such they want to see a mix of content that speaks to their interests and aesthetic tastes. It’s great to show off your products and promote your business. It’s also great to occasionally put yourself in front of the camera (aka ‘selfies’) and make you Instagram feed feel more personal. The keyword there, though, is “occasionally.” Too much of any one subject in your pictures is going to get old on and boring. You need to find ways to keep your stream of photos fresh and interesting so that your follows always know to look to your feed for great content.
Cultivate a Style
When you scroll through a single user’s Instagram posts, it is pretty easy to tell whether or not they have a consistent style or tone, and there’s a good chance of a correlation between how successful an account is and how consistent their style is. Your Instagram account should have a look at feel that is specific and unique to your brand. Pay attention to the color palette you are using, as well as environments, angles, and framing.
Do you take a lot of close-ups? Is there a focus on the outdoors? Perhaps you find yourself veering more toward reds or Earth-tones? All of this can contribute to your Instagram account’s style.
Do More With Less
Unless you feel like it’s part of a specific and well thought-out style, don’t go crazy with filters on all of your photos. Try to simplify and let your subject matter do the talking. When possible, it’s also good to focus only on the subject matter of your picture and exclude anything extraneous in your shot composition. One of the biggest differences between photos that seem professional and those taken by casual or amateur photographers is the elimination of distractions. You aren’t just capturing a moment in time with your pictures, you are telling a story and commanding your viewers eyes and attention to certain spot.
Rather than taking all of your Instagram photos from within the Instagram app, try downloading a more advanced photography app, such as Camera+ or ProCamera. These apps will allow you to have more control over the look of your pictures, make DSLR-style adjustments to attributes like aperture and exposure, and crop images so that you can be sure to include only the parts of the photo that you want. Once you start playing with some of the features in a pro-style camera app and getting used to the, you’ll quickly realize that the great photos you see on Instagram don’t just happen by accident or luck, they are the result of working with a better set of tools, and a smarter focus.