Top tips for improving your Instagram feed

BritMums on Instagram

An image from the BritMums Instagram feed

The London Instagram Community started back in 2011 as a way for filter-lovers to meet up, take pictures, and facilitate photo taking and sharing opportunities. Its founders, Debs Coady and Jess Macdonald are at the heart of that community. Debs has spoken at BritMums Live and not long ago Jess passed along some top tips to our Family Travel Perspective group of bloggers, who focus on family travel. These are simple tips that make taking and sharing your Instagrams more fun and engaging. Here’s what Jess has to say:

The key to a successful Instagram account really isn’t the number of followers — its the engagement and the relationships formed that you will see  the benefit from. You won’t gain a million followers overnight but you can make a great Instagram account which will enhance your blog and add to all your social media platforms.

3 key factors

1. Good content

2. Regular content

3. Good engagement

What to know about good content

google snapseed logo

Apps like Snapseed help edit your photos to make them more eye-catching

Image:

Look before you post your image — is this photo good enough to post?

Look behind your subject — is there something in the background you don’t want to see?

Don’t just put random filters on your photos. Make sure they enhance the picture.

The best Instagram accounts have a style and a look that runs like an editorial theme or thread through all the images. Decide what you want your look to be. Choose one filter and stick with it or use none.

Edit your photos — use great apps like Snapseed, Camera Plus and TouchReTouch to get rid of the odd lamppost!

Text:

Look at the text you are posting with your image — check spellings (just in case!). What are you saying? Is this content good enough to do on your feed? Always refer back to your blog or write something like “More to come on my blog….” You can put your web address but it’s worth noting that URLs in Instagram comments aren’t clickable.

Use the best hashtags you can find — not just because you can. The more specific the hashtag, the better

Create your own hashtag and ask your followers to join in using it.

Regular content

Even if you don’t post everyday, go on Instagram every day! I suggest an hour each day but if you don’t have a spare hour, what about 20 minutes in the morning, 20 at lunch and 20 just before you go to bed? You will target different time zones if you do this as well.

Like your followers’ pictures and comment lots.

Follow the right people — those whose themes are similar to yours or that you have an affinity with — not just because they have lots of followers.

Repost old photos or old content fro your blog. A trip from last year can be unearthed and reposted with a comment saying, “Visit my blog for information on this holiday #Croatia #familyholiday” or “I’m remembering this trip from last spring and this restaurant…” Geotag old images by using GeotagMyPic App. Give shout-outs and recommendations to old favourite places — they might say thank you and follow you back.

Good engagement

Say thank yout o everyone who comments. I know this takes time but people appreciate it. Interact with them and ask them questions back — you might get tips or helpful information. Follow the right communities and use the communities to spread word about any contests or features you are doing. If it includes their area, they might want to be involved.

Attention is the currency we are trading with.

Grab their attention and keep them following you.

 

Join the Instagramers London group to keep up with the photowalks and activities they plan. By joining Instagramers London on Meetup, you can get updates on the latest events. You can also follow IgersLondon on Twitter. Or seek out your local Instagramers group to make connections.

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About Jennifer Howze

Jennifer Howze is the Creative Director and co-founder of BritMums. She blogs about family travel at Jenography.net, tweets at @JHowze and Instagrams at @JHowze. Previously, she wrote the Alpha Mummy blog at The Times and as a journalist has contributed to The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure, Budget Travel, CNN.com, Allure, SELF and Premiere, among others. She won The Maggie Award from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America for a health article in Seventeen magazine.

5 Comments

  1. 16 November 2014 / 08:33

    People who refer to their blog really put me off.It suggests the only reason they posted was for just that reason and not to share something of their lives, just because.I try to post 2/3 times a day and I go back and visit all those who have liked my photos.I do use Snapseed or Hipstamatic but I do find the improved Instagram editing works just fine for most shots.Just upping the brightness, adjusting the contrast and using tilt shift makes a lot of difference.I do make the effort to comment on photos as that’s just me wanting to be social.I’ve also noticed it’s more likely that someone will visit you and some don’t even realise they aren’t following you when you’ve been following them for a while.

    • 16 November 2014 / 09:31

      Aly, good points. I have to say, I do think it’s good to have your blog URL in your Instagram profile and refer to it. Sometimes it highlights to me a blog or a site I wouldn’t have otherwise known about or visited. But I do agree with you re: commenting. The more personable and out there you are, the better.

  2. 24 November 2014 / 19:33

    I am a huge snapseed fan and always take photos on my phone camera and edit before uploading, usually in snapseed, I have my favourite filters but don’t always use the same thing or the feed can look too similar. Most of my photos are outdoors here at Coombe Mill and I like the contrast of the odd black and white or totally different look every so many posts to break things up, though I totally agree you need a theme and style that is “you” overall.

  3. 02 December 2014 / 10:40

    I think this post is so helpful. I have only been using Instagram since March and I love it!!! I have definitely built up my following quickly, because I post regularly and in my style. It’s tempting to try and emulate other inspirational accounts but I say stick to your own way of photographing things. That was it’s easy for people to scroll through and see your personality shine through. It’s by far the most interactive social platform and I love how easy it is to reply to comments. And editing!!!! YES, just because it’s usually a phone snap doesn’t mean you click and press upload. I use PicTapGo which is a life saviour on these dark winter days. Just adding a brightening filter can completely change the feel of a photo. For me, a big tip would be to make sure you steer clear of blurry photos! An evening grainy image is one thing, we all know phone cameras don’t cope well in the dark! And I always share a photo from my blog posts as well as behind the scenes and teaser snaps, my Instagram is my mini blog! Happy snapping everyone xx

  4. 08 January 2015 / 09:11

    I’m confused; I read a guide to Instagram which said you should always use different filters so that you don’t end up with a feed where everything looks the same…
    Both approaches seem to make sense, but it’s one of those things where you have to choose one or the other isn’t it!