In this post I figured I'd summarize few observations on how to grow your presence on Instagram which, in my opinion, is the biggest platform at the moment to display your work whether. Although, I try to keep in mind that IG is just a game and it has certain rules - I am trying not to take it serious and not become a victim of it's changing algorithms and still be true to myself and the subject of my photography.
Here we go - please feel free to leave comments and share your own experience in the comments below:
1. Post Consistently - at least every day, or even twice.
I conducted a few experiments when I was not posting for 3-4 days, and hence, the following started dropping tremendously.
2. Post At Certain Timewhen your audience is most active.
For me, I noticed that posts are going to be more popular and more noticeable right away if I post between 7:10-7:45am (not earlier, or later), and between 5-7pm. First timeframe is when people are commuting to work and actively scrolling through their apps, and second - when they are coming back home from work. Sometimes, posting between 12-1pm was actually as successful as first two timeframes - I guess, that's a lunch time, so yeah, people scroll more again.
3. Do Not Skip Weekends.
I guess, people have more free time and often are bored, and, hence - scroll a lot. Although adjust time of posting to later in the morning.
4. Be Consistent In Style And Tell Stories.
It definitely helps if your feed looks consistent and gives a certain feel when just looking at it first time.
It is VERY good if you are telling a story with your photographs, not just post random stuff - people like to hear and see stories, it keeps them engaged longterm.
5. Plan Posts Ahead
Unless you really adore a photograph and want to share it right away, it's never wrong to plan your posts ahead. I use post drafts in IG to see how photographs look when they are combined together, and if I like what I see, I post.
6. Be More Criticalto what you post.
This took me a while to implement, but I guess over time I became more critical to what I post. I let my images rest for a month or two, and if they still evoke emotions in me, I post.
7. Comment and Respond to Comments and Direct Messages.
I find this important. Always comment other people's work if you like it or have something to say, and always respond to comments and direct messages that you are receiving (although it becomes more and more overwhelming once you reach a certain point). I find that artists who are interactive with their audience have, in general, better public image and likeability (at least, I like them more).
8. Be Active In the First Hour after you posted.
This may be questionable, but I noticed that if you stay active during the first hour after you posted, you have higher chances that your post will get more exposure and might even get to the Explore page on Instagram which guarantees a huge success of that particular post and your account in the next 24 hours. Although, only Instagram knows how getting into Explore page really works.
9. Follow Communities and Tag Them.
I believe that getting into Explore page and being featured by Communities is what really helps you grow the following. So tag them and be active there.
10. Do Not Buy Followers or Play Fake Following Game.
Personally, I don't respect people who buy followers or use some tricks to increase numbers. I prefer quality over quantity and actually block fake followers - this way you know that your 10K consist mostly of people who like photography and following you for that reason. I also have more respect to accounts who follow less people but have huge following rather than have 200K followers whilst following 150K people yourself.
11. Be Active in Instagram Stories
As Stories are developing and become more powerful, a lot of people are not even looking at feeds - they find you through stories. Hence, curate them, tag stories, be interactive by using polls, and don't disregard them.
12. Curate Your Highlights.
I personally love Highlights - those circles under Profile Picture, because this is a way to create sort of albums in IG and combine your posts thematically, or stylistically, and deliver a message.
13. Show Vulnerability.
This may be questionable for a lot of people, but I think that showing your vulnerability lets people relate to you even more than just watching your perfectly curated world. That's why once in a while it's good to indulge yourself in sharing your vulnerable side - whether it's a story, or "blinking" post - I call posts that will stay in my feed for about 24 hours and will be removed later.
I guess that's enough for now.
Please feel free to share your thoughts in comments below.