Wednesday, 16 March 2016

How To Simply and Successfully Increase Your Instagram Presence


Instagram might not the biggest of the social medias, the daddy title of that does indeed go to Facebook, but that doesn't mean it's time to put the camera down and never look back. Instagram is the fastest growing social network of 2015, and if the millions of post centred around it, mine included, have anything to say about it, it won't be slowing down in it's growth either.

Did you know there are over 75 million people on Instagram every single day, each of them more engaged, more excited and more interested in your content than say, users on Twitter and Facebook? Did you know that we process information 94% times quicker if it's in the form of an image? Did you know that, user for user, Instagram actually has MORE than Twitter, and they're 100% focused on your content when they check it out, rather than overwhelmed with information from numerous angles like they are on Twitter.

Instagram is my most favoured of the social medias, and here's why..

Over the last 10 weeks, I've grown my following by 35%. I didn't use any gimmicks or quick and easy solutions, I worked hard, I put in the time, and the effort, researched the best tools to help me along the way, and have now broken the benchmark of the illusive 100 likes.

Along the way, I've taken over 600 photos, and used a mere 10% of them, I've found and used hashtags that really do put your content in front of more users, and I've learnt how to fall in love with using Instagram every single day. You can do it too, and I'm going to show you how.

1. Good-looking, attractive photos are a must


Bah, I know you're thinking. No, seriously, I really do. You're not a professional photographer. You don't have fancy equipment, or a degree in photoshop wizardry. Hell, you don't even know where to start when it comes to your cameras settings, you just shoot manual and hope it works out okay.

I know it. I've been there. I also know you don't need any of that. No magic tricks. No $3k equipment.

There's only so much preparing for photoshoots you really can do, although I do find it's extremely helpful to do, but sometimes, even preparing can't bring out the photo you really wanted to start with, but one thing that can is practice, and she's your new best friend. It's what makes the difference between throwing some books on the bed and going for it, and tweaking it slightly, taking a new angle, creating a focal point, considering the light, it all comes with time, hard work, and patience.


You will not become a professional photographer in a day, but you can sure as hell be a good one.

So what do I do? I use my Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo camera on Pro mode, and switch between daylight and cloudy, depending on my source of light available. In terms of taking the photo, that's the only equipment I have, alongside my shaky hands which are slowly learning the art of not shaking. I'll almost always stay in my room and take photos around my window, either on my bedsheets or my bookshelves, with the sunlight hitting or flitting around the subject.

No fancy equipment.
No extra photographer.
No big ass qualification.

Just me, my camera, my light source, and my subject.

2. Edit your photos for maximum impact


I can pretty much guarantee that I wouldn't have seen the growth I've seen if I hadn't perfected my editing style, and yes, before you ask, editing your photos really does make a difference. Let's take a look at a few photo comparisons for just one moment to show you the difference.


The left side are the unedited photos, which really, don't look all that bad, while the right are the edited versions. Tell me, which ones look better to you? You don't even have to be an editing guru to achieve it. I manage to edit my photos in just 5 quick and easy steps with Picmonkey, something I doubt I'll ever be able to change no matter where life takes me.

3. Post consistently, and regularly


We are all busy, and even when we're not, we have a nack for suddenly becoming busy or 'preoccupied' by other tasks and things that need doing. Understandable that it is, you can't expect to get something out of Instagram without actually putting something in.

Graph depicting avg. likes against # of likes between 2014-2016

If we take a look at Squarelovin' and some of my statistics from 2014, you can see that more content, and more regular postings converted into more interaction, more likes, and more followers. However, when we take a look at 2015, you can see that the opposite was also true - when I posted less, I got less interaction, and my graph looks very sorry about it too.

Now take a look at the latter quarter of the graph. You can so clearly see that, the more I've posted, the more interaction I've gotten for my hard work. When you pair that with a 35% increase in followers alongside that lovely graph, you can quite clearly see that posting more consistently, and more regularly can make a huge difference to your Instagram presence.

Quantity of content posted between 2014-2016

I find that posting at least once a day works well for my schedule, although I will dabble in twice a day if I have a good collection of images just begging to be posted, and with the help of Squarelovin's Optimization feature, I've found I get the most, and best interaction between 10:30 and 11:30 GMT. With the help of Latergram.me, I get schedule, prepare and organise my Instagram posts to be ready to post exactly when I want them to be, and with the simple click of a few buttons, my job is 10x easier.

Related: 2 Social Media Apps That Have Changed How I Use Instagram

4. Interact and get involved in the communities


I can absolutely put a lot of my growth in the last 2 months down to getting involved in numerous communities, tags and challenges, although we'll get more into the hashtags shortly. It's easy to forget on other social medias that between promoting and marketing and getting the statistics and doing what the internet tells you to do, that it's called social media for a reason.

To really get yourself into a community, one of the easiest methods is through a challenge or months worth of prompts, much like a 'photo a day', just more in depth and much more creative. Not only do you get to experiment, try out new styles and looks and get more people to check out your content, but you then have a community for you yourself to explore through the tag and challenge. I've found at least 20-30 new blogs through the last two monthly challenges I've gotten involved in, people who's images not only look appealing and excite me, but help create a feed I love to scroll through, one that follows my own feeds idea; happiness, positivity, and creativity.


I personally get myself involved in book challenges that involve prompts that inspire me to get creative and so something people haven't seen before. I always like joining numerous challenges at one time, not only because it gives me more communities to get involved in, but it also means my posts are getting in front of more eyes, and that's always a good thing. It's never too late to join a challenge, and if you look hard enough, you'll find one based on what you like to get involved in. Better still, if that fails, create your own and get your community started.

It's also super important to actually be interacting with other users, especially those you follow or who follow you. I like to go through my feed on Squarelovin' at least once a day and go on a big liking spree, as do I do smaller, more brief versions on my phone at least once a day. I tend to find I get the best interaction in return when I focus my efforts on other up and coming users, people with creative content who don't get the larger number of likes, as it's always nice to be succeeding around others who are very like yourself.


5. Start using a lot more hashtags, a lot more


Speaking of hashtags earlier, they've also really impacted the amount of interaction I've been getting on Instagram, and not just through the challenges or communities either. Specific hashtags relate to certain subjects, and I've really learnt over the past few months that certain hashtags are great for different photos and prompts, and sometimes, you can seriously mix them up too and reach an even bigger audience.

Some of my best examples of this are my less or none-book orientated posts. The best is my image of Simba getting a little too curious for his own good around my Blog Planner hit up a storm, all because of the hashtags used, and only one of them was book related, which means most of my likes and engagement, over 70% of it, came from people surfing those other hashtags.


There's a reason you can use up to 30 hashtags, either in your caption or in a comment underneath, and it's so you can maximise the amount of screentime your post is getting when other people check it out. Some people in the bookstagram community don't follow that hashtag, and they prefer #bookworm, or #instaread/instabook, so it's worth putting them all there in order to reach the most people. It's also worth having a quick research of the tags with good engagement that match your topic, style or interest. For me, it's mainly books and blogging, so I focus on those types of tags first and foremost.

Examples I enjoy using include: #bookstagram, #bookstagrammer, #instaread, #instabook, #bookish, #bokphotography, #blogger #linkinprofile, #ontheblog and so many more. It's good to have favourites.

In terms of where to put the tags, I recommend putting them in a comment, at least, most of them. Due to Instagrams most recent design, the entire caption isn't shown anymore, but you should really be saving your caption for the reason behing the photo, be it to share a blog post, because you've been tagged, because you have something to say, that's what you captions should be for, so it's better to hide your tags in a comment, because comments especially don't show when you're scrolling through, keeping you looking clean and tidy when somebody spots your content.

Related: How To Use Hashtags on Instagram To Get Big Results via A Branch of Holly

Instagram really has become my favourite, go-to social media. It's become a staple in terms of checking it throughout the day, planning content, visiting and liking other peoples content, and generally becoming more social and interactive in my creative endeavours too. I've learnt so much in terms of myself, my photography and through my experience with Instagram, I've learnt how to achieve steady growth, constant positive interaction and how to produce content I love. If you're not already on the bandwagon now, I suggest and recommend you consider it.

Are you on Instagram, and if so, who's your favourite user?


22 comments:

  1. I started an account on IG (and followed you, yay!) but I'm not planning to leap on the bandwagon just yet -- still thinking about how to better streamline all my social media. These tips are super helpful for deciding how to create a system for IG, though! Love this!

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    1. Thanks Alyssa! I'm enjoying what you're coming up with so far, so be pleased :)

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  2. I joined IG only last month so as Instagram newbie, this post comes handy! Thanks for sharing, Amanda :)

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    1. You're welcome Lucia, hopefully you've kicked some blogging ass since then! :)

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  3. This post is so helpful! I have actually started to take a few photos for my new bookstagram which I am planning on starting very soon, now Im even more excited because this post is sure to help me!

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    1. Ah, so pleased Maya, can't wait to go and check out your content :)

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  4. This post is so incredibly helpful! I've been wondering how to get more interaction on my Instagram posts so I'll definitely implementing these techniques! :)

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    1. Such good news, I love your Instagram feed so far and think you're doing fabulous Kyra!

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  5. I'm a huge fan of instagram. xD I basically post everyday and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. And yesss hashtags are amazing. I actually am surprised at how many people I follow who don't use them very often? I mean, I know not everybody is out there to grow their photos, but it just seems strange to me sometimes. hehe ANYWAY I need to work on putting my hashtags in my comments. I haven't got into the habit of that yet. AND EDITING IS A MUST. :D i do forget to be social on there. Oooops. That's definitely a goal for mine this year; get more social on social media. xD

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    1. I'm the same Cait, it's my favourite of the social medias right now. I couldn't agree more, it seems so strange to not use the hashtags, they're there to help you! I suck at being social too, so it's okay, I still work on that ALL THE TIME.

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  6. I love Instagram, I'm just having fun with it. I don't use that many hashtags, but I do use some thanks for the tips.

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    1. As long as you're happy doing what you're doing, stick with it Skye! :)

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  7. I am a huge Instagram fan. I am far too addicted to it at times. I love seeing other peoples photos, as well as taking my own. I try and post at about 11 at night, that is the best time for me. I just love all the beautiful bookish photos. It is just super addictive!!! :)

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    1. I'm the same Charnell, midday and late night are my peak times, so I stick with them. It's definitely easy to lose yourself in it I find, but it's a good lost :)

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  8. I LOVE INSTAGRAM. I post every day and sometimes twice a day because I'm clearly just obsessed haha. And I love all the things you tag me in - but completely forget to do those tags. Oops. ANYWAY, I've grown my following by a large percentage recently as well - it really is possible without fancy cameras :)

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    1. Aw, that's okay Emily, I tend to collect tags and then do loads of them at once, it's a bad habit. No fancy camera needed for photography, just passion and practice :)

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  9. I love all of these tips! On your recommendation I just started using squarelovin' and I LOVE IT. It makes it so much easier to look through your feed and connect with others! I love bookstagram and I haven't been able to really get into it as much as I'd like to, but I keep trying to post content that hopefully is eye-catching and hopefully one day I'll get there! Thank you for all of the bookstagram tips you provide!

    -Cristina @ Girl in the Pages


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    1. Checking out my feed on Squarelovin' is one of my favourite parts of the whole website. I definitely takes time to build up a place in the community, consistent posting, being social, using the hashtags, it's a commitment, but worth it :)

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  10. This is a wonderful tutorial Amanda! I completely agree about using hashtags, editing your photos and interacting with the community and posting regularly. I'm currently posting everyday and I've gotten so many new followers from it, but I don't think this pace is maintainable for me, so I'll probably go back to every 2nd day or so afterwards. Love squarelovin as a resource as well!

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    1. Thanks Jeann. I do think that even every other day or few days works too, it's all about expectations and setting up a schedule. If people know you'll post, there'll look for you or find you, and it's super nice that they will. really hope to write a post on Squarelovin' to show of it's best bits :)

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  11. Hi Amanda,

    Thanks so much for your thorough articles especially this one. I have gained a relatively large following and at one point (for couple of months) I barely posted. Once I began to post again I noticed that I no longer get the same interactions I used to. I was searching to find the best way to optimize my time and continue to grow my following. I don't want to pay for the Iconosquare's subscription, so I started to look for an alternative and landed on Squarelovin'. During my research I've found that people have experienced even if they change their time zone, the optimization time reflects the Germany timezone. Have you experienced this? I want to be sure I'm reading the best times to post correctly. Thanks you!

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  12. Hi Amanda,

    Thanks so much for your thorough articles especially this one. I have gained a relatively large following and at one point (for couple of months) I barely posted. Once I began to post again I noticed that I no longer get the same interactions I used to. I was searching to find the best way to optimize my time and continue to grow my following. I don't want to pay for the Iconosquare's subscription, so I started to look for an alternative and landed on Squarelovin'. During my research I've found that people have experienced even if they change their time zone, the optimization time reflects the Germany timezone. Have you experienced this? I want to be sure I'm reading the best times to post correctly. Thanks you!

    ReplyDelete