Here are my best tips for keeping your Instagram game strong and cultivating a community.
1. Consistency: I post on Instagram 1-2 times a day. But more importantly I share at night or first thing in the morning. The reason I do this is because I am more consistently than not, speaking to mothers, and when do mothers have time to be online? First thing in the morning and then after the kiddos go to sleep at night. I actually discovered this information through a site called Iconosquare. When you sign up it calculates your Instagram analytics (you can do a free trial) so that you know when your audience is the most engaged and what content they are engaged in. This really helps with consistency so that your followers are seeing your posts when they are online.
*Consistency also means keeping the look across the board the same as well. Maybe you love only black and whites or maybe you do more blue tones and then every 3rd picture has pink tones. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it is consistent so your followers know what to expect.
I really like what these Instagrammers are doing…
2. Quality: Taking pictures with your camera isn’t completely necessary, I do think some Iphone pictures come out just as nice. More than 50% of my Instagram photos are from my phone. If you are going to take them with your phone make sure you are editing them before you post. I use VSCO, Prime, Color Story and Photoshop to edit my photos before posting them. If anything at all, use the “clarity” function on any of these apps to avoid fuzzy/blurry photos. Which leads me to…
3. Color and Clarity: Your photos should always be really clear. It can be really hard for people to connect to an image they can’t see very well. There is such a thing as “over editing” them where they don’t even look real anymore. If you are going to use a filter make sure you are not compromising the image. You can “up” the clarity on any of the apps above but I also suggest you use the “brightening” function. Studies have shown that people “like” a photo with cooler or blue tones.
4. Remember your Top 9: You should always be sharing your best photos! However, look at your top 9 images, that is what people will see when they come to your Instagram. Do those 9 photos reflect you, your style and what you want to say/put out into the world? If they do then amazing! If not, brain storm what your core message is and how you can use images to convey that message.
5. Community: Cultivate your community and keep them engaged. Ask your followers questions or advice and offer them advice as well. Most importantly ALWAYS respond to their questions, comments or concerns. Not following up is like never responding to a text message, it would be super rude and leaves the person feeling pretty bad.
Bonus: Yes, I think you should plan out your Instagrams. I don’t think you need to plan weeks or even days in advance but I think you should have an idea of what you want to share at least 24 hours ahead. A great tool that I use is Planoly. It allows me to schedule my Instagrams but also see how my feed looks with the scheduled post.
*bonus #2 A few times a year I hire or do a trade with a photographer friend to help me capture images that I know are beyond my learning level. Like above! This photo is by First Mate Photo! Make sure to always credit the photographer though if you are posting to social media, photographers like that:)
*bonus #3 There is a ton of fuss over whether or not to use hashtags. I DO use applicable hashtags and I do think they help!