Be an Instagram celebrity. That’s what many people secretly aspire for. Surely, your tons of photos were not taken only to rot in storage. Who doesn’t envy the exciting lives of those people who either have so many perfect OOTDs or are always on a getaway to somewhere exotic and romantic?
Yes, we also tell ourselves that these are just filtered images, curated to project perfect lives. Many travel bloggers have shared how they actually clock in more work time than leisure, but we only see their fun time in their blogs and social media accounts.
Wanting to project the fun part of our lives online and get a lot of followers is not bad. As long as the intent is not malicious, there’s no one stopping you from sharing your vacations and occasional treats to others. Now, with a lot of downtime because of the pandemic, it is perfect to start your online ambitions. So take out your laptop and go through the files you synced to a cloud these past summers.
Here are a few pointers from what we know about this picture-sharing platform.
You can buy followers to feign popularity
Let’s get this out and done with at the very start. Buying followers is the easiest and most superficial way to Instagram stardom. There are even options if you want interaction on your posts. But it is like patting yourself on the back. You may fool your friends, but the one you are fooling most is yourself.
It’s another story if you aim to attract advertisers and collaborators. It may work, but as buying followers is like an open secret, companies are already on to this scheme, too.
You need a focus
Unless you are already a celebrity, you don’t exactly get followed because of your well-rounded interests. Sure, people would follow you for a while because you posted photos of your cute dog, but once you start posting about another interest—say, books—they might unfollow you.
Keep in mind that not everyone has the same interests as you. That’s why many Instagram users just follow hashtags instead of accounts. Notice that in most accounts featuring pets, videos and photos of the dog or cat have many viewers and likes. But photos of their humans posted in the same account—especially one without the animal—have a lower number of likes. Your followers liking your pet doesn’t translate to their liking you, too.
Maximize the use of hashtags and location settings
As previously mentioned, people can follow hashtags, and this is your chance to get introduced to potential followers. The location setting could also land you in the ‘discover’ section of people who have been looking up the place. Don’t overdo it, though. It gets annoying.
Accounts with a well-composed feed are more likely to get followers. So you posted an interesting photo. A potential follower clicks on your profile to see more of your account. What he or she sees next would be the deciding factor. One photo is not enough to make an individual follow you. So your account has to be consistent.
If, for example, you are using white borders in one post, then black the next, it could look messy on your grid. Some people who are invested in their accounts use paid apps to sort out and plan their posts. You can do that, but if it’s just a pastime, you just have to be consistent with your aesthetics. You can select from various themes and get a free app to instantly create the effect you want.
Timing is key to your reach
This is already common knowledge, but it is worth a mention again. There are times during the day when people are bored or doing nothing—like commuting to work or waiting for breakfast—and they just do mindless scrolling on their accounts. You want your post to be fresh at that time. Even with IG no longer showing a chronological order on your feed, you still have more chance of getting into the discover section of potential followers if your post is new.
And it’s not just the time that matters but also which day of the week. Social media planners offer services that include scheduling your posts according to your focus (ex. lifestyle, travel, fashion, food, etc.).
These notes are very basic. Instagram doesn’t have to be a rat race unless you are planning to leave your stable—but maybe boring—job and live off of social media. Various studies have been done on the effect of Instagram and other similar platforms on mental health. But really, it depends on the person viewing it. It could feed the envious, but it could also be inspiring.