I increasingly find myself in extensive conversations at parties with fellow 20-something strangers discussing Instagram. It has led me to conclude my anxieties to constantly be up-to-date on viewing my feed, are well, completely, normal---er--- common.
But more often than not, I find myself, giving advice to those aspiring to step up their Insta-game, so here are several tips from an Instagramer with a modest, yet growing following, who tries way too hard.
Life On Instagram
1. I used to set aside 15 minutes every Sunday night to plan out my week (or should I do gym first, and THEN get coffee with Liz on Tuesday), but gone are those days. Now, I outline my week in terms of potential Instagrams, going so far as to look up the Empire State Building light schedule in case there's going to be a deep maroon or electric blue one night.
I suggest posting 2-3, per week. It leaves your fans (yes, begin referring to them as 'fans'), wanting more, but it's enough where you're still on their minds.
2. When a friend invites you to their birthday bash, the first thing you should ask yourself before, 'what else you'd rather be doing', is WTIO? What's the Instagram Opportunity?
And a drunken selfie with your four college friends, is not worthy (see #8-10 for more on this).
3. It's always awkward when someone at a party says they'll follow you on Instagram and you really don't want to follow them back -- after all, you need to keep your "Following" number down as much as possible. In those cases, I openly flat-out tell them, that they're on a one-week trial. Of course, they'll think you're being funny, but sure enough seven days later, I assess what they posted, and sometimes un-follow, hoping they'll never find out and/or I'll never see them again.
What's your number?
4. No longer are you judged solely based on your follower-count. The real metric is your yields. For instance, if your post gets 50 likes, and you only have 100 followers, your yield is 50%. If your friend gets 200 likes, but they have 1,000 followers, they only have a 20% yield, meaning far less engaged fans. So, in the new rules of Instagram, you win.
5. Grouping: What's your number?
Grouping is the term for hitting the double-digits where you can only see a single number instead of individual usernames below your post. Everyone needs a number. For instance, if I don't 'group' within 10 minutes of posting, it's often indicative of a lackluster post that won't help my yields, and thus, I'll delete it. (please note, posting midnight - 7am, you can double the minutes).
5b. And say for instance you don't group as fast as you'd like, or maybe you didn't group at all (IF SO, STOP READING THIS AND DELETE THAT PICTURE). In those cases, I always scroll to the bottom of my profile feed, and scan over the old days where I'd get three likes and not have an anxiety attack.
LoadingLove this lake.
So you want more followers, huh?
6. Yes, it's true, a simple Google search on "buying instgram followers" can bring you in around 5,000 for as little as $50, but before you do that, you should know something. As an Instagramaster, I can easily tell if someone did that. The newly 'bought followers' will never like any of your pictures, so when I see a colleague (this is a true story) who has over 25,000 followers, but is averaging 27 likes per picture, I know something's up.
7. Want organic followers? It's a lot of work, but it can be done. Pick a hashtag, anything in the world. Scan through the photos and 'like' them. This intrigues people to your profile, and some will start following you. Say you go to the Annual Pickle Festival in Lower East Side, post a pic, then like all your fellow posters from the event. Most won't necessarily start following you, but some will, and many will at least contribute likes to your pictures.
Lately, I've been getting high returns on "#OliveGarden", "TableFor1", and "#PuertoRico"..
Loading#pool #sea #morocco
The New Rules of Posting
8. The days of boasting "#nofilter" under your Instagram, are numbered. As your fan, I'd rather you use a filter that turns that lackluster sunset into a wall calendar worthy visual, than see you bragging that you didn't have to use a filter.
Just use a damn filter, but don't over do it. Think of a filter as a way to enhance your photo, it shouldn't look overly edited.
9. Throw in a hashtag or two when you post - especially if it helps relate to the caption, but don't over do it. You don't want to look like an Instagram-obsessed user who reads this far down in blog posts about how to be Instagram famous. You just want to look, like everything in life comes naturally to you, even your massive IG following.
10. As depicted in some of my examples above, arrogance is key. Just embrace it. If you're going to post a picture of yourself on the Great Wall of China, throw in that "#hike" to sound as if it's a casual Saturday afternoon. You'll lose a follower here and there, but it's Instagram, for god's sake.
If you want to take social media seriously, go to Twitter.