This has been weighing on my mind lately. I’ve had several people ask me about my Instagram growing recently. They also ask how I get the photos I do and how I edit them. I thought it would be fun to show you how it has been changing and growing. I thought I would whip up a quick list as to how I did this and how I DIDN’T do this. There are a lot of “dirty little secrets” of Insta and no, Happy Little Shopping Secret didn’t do most of them.
Below, you will see four stages of growth in my feed. I would show you more but it just hurts my eyes.
- The first stage I posted was from a free challenge I participated in called “The Instagram Lab” by Jenna Kutcher. Each day she would challenge us to post something about ourselves and to be more personable with our followers. This also started my resolved to post more high quality images instead of crazy snaps from my phone. That helped me get more engagement without trying super hard.
- The second stage I posted I was a little lost but kind of getting my groove a little more. Sadly, I wasn’t feeling that creative because I was trying to graduate college, so my feed suffered. At the bottom of the feed, I wish I would have not posted anything because the content is not what I would liked for my feed, but it’s a growing process.
- The third stage I started showing promise. I was reading blogs about creating content. Friends were adding me to Instagram and Blog support groups. As I read more about creating content, I became more inspired. I also would read about trending hashtags which helped my engagement more.
- The fourth stage, I realized what I wanted my feed to look like. Every time I took a photo, which I was now almost always doing on a camera (not my phone), it was being edited the same way. I am trying to learn to take better photos on my IPhone after reading Aimee Song, Song of Style, book “How to Capture Your Style”. I now am able to plan out content in advance. As I create more content, I have been more inspired. I am still seeing the most growth from this process.
On my feed, I like to keep colors mild except for about every 11-15 photos I pop a bright colored background in. I’m not sure if I love that yet, but I love bright colors and I love a more subdued background so I’m not sure which way to go yet! What do you guys think? Also, something weird is that my flat lays always end up in the same column. Love!
Some easy tips to make an interesting, growing feed–as told by me:
- Don’t betray your niche!!! If you love dogs, if you’re a fashion blogger, if you’re a food blogger, DON’T betray that! Stay true. Your people will find you.
- If you’re going for a white/light feed..Commit! It will pay off. They are super trendy right now. Buy some white/light sheets for your bed. Also, always be sure to have dreamy, soft light in your shots. You can always turn up the light like the rest of your feed in your editing app. (Although, if it’s a can’t miss moment people will still love it and so will you!!)
- Invest in a foam board. It literally took me forever to realize that no one has unlimited white space in their homes that they are taking pictures on. If you want to have a perfectly white/colored background invest in a foam board. Yes, that goes for those hot pink/colored backgrounds on A Beautiful Mess’s feed, too.
- Always edit photos, unless it’s amazing. It makes a huge difference. See below.
This one has a shadow, but I was OK with it because I loved the photo. I don’t believe in a face smoothing or editing tool. I try to keep everything natural when it comes to editing. (I use VSCO because it gives the photos enough exposure/brightness without making them seem weird).
- Get comfortable with a self-timer. I used to want CJ to take my photos of something interesting I was doing. My friend Lexi also took a lot of outfit photos when I needed to do a post. The reality is that it isn’t really possible for that to happen every time. Learn to use yourself and your self-timer. Here are a few photos that we have used the self timer on:
See! It’s easy to get cute content with a self-timer. Some of these are my very favorite because we were just being us, or the camera captured the perfect moment by itself.
- Photo Inspo-when it’s OK to copy and not. We’ve all seen it before. When people totally rip off your photo. It makes you feel a little annoyed inside, but you try to tell yourself the mantra of “Copying is the highest form of flattery”. I believe it’s OK to copy other peoples poses in photos. There are so many fashion bloggers and only so many ways to pose yourself. People know that you can only do so much. In other senses, try not to copy a photo verbatim. Add your own twist. It will look more genuine to followers. A picture that could have easily been the same as every other flat lay. Try all the angles when product your own stock content. I like this one best because it’s more interesting than the others.
Last but not least…
FOLLOWING. I personally don’t believe in the following and unfollowing scene. ( In all honesty, I think it’s not very nice.) Some people do and that’s their prerogative. One of the challenges I had been a part of told me not to do that. Instead I focus on people who are in my target audience, follow them, and try to make connections with them. I actually have ended up becoming friends with a lot of them. Chances are if you followed me, I probably followed you back. I ultimately had to realize that people are people behind screens. They are not just people who need to follow my blog, I need to support and uplift others as well. I do have friends that like my content and typically comment on it, which helps my engagement. I am grateful for them and there help to get the conversation started! I also have really good sisters who always say incredibly nice things on my pictures and blog posts.
Instagram is king currently. There are more ways to market yourself on Insta than ever before. I promise that if you follow these tips, you will create interesting content for everyone! That could be from your InstaStory, Twitter, or Facebook as well.
Well, that’s all for now. You are probably like, “Woaaaah. Novel for sure.” Haha. I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.