So…I fear I may have click baited. I’m not an Insta-guru (shocker) and I don’t really think there’s a ‘doing it right’, there’s just doing you and it’s all good.
But before I knew about pensions and tax and stuff, I knew a bit about social and a authentic marketing (I know, ME!) I’ve started taking Instagram a tiny bit more seriously lately and have really seen a difference in my engagement levels. I don’t take stunning pictures but I’ve upped my game a bit in other ways. So, yep. These are the only pearls of wisdom I have.
There are some really breathtakingly good photographers using Instagram; I know I’ll never be one of those and so I endeavour to be genuine. To be unapologetically me. That’s not to say I don’t make an effort to take and share pretty pictures, I use VSCO to edit and try ever harder to capture a nice shot. But I don’t lose any sleep over the gazillions of better photographs there are out there. My shots represent my life and sometimes they’re not half bad. Once I made my peace with that and relaxed, the whole thing got instantly more enjoyable.
This cuts both ways, I always try to invite feedback or post something people will want to comment on with but that doesn’t work without reciprocating. I seek out Instagram accounts that do what I want to be doing, those that I can’t help falling in love with and I engage: I follow, I like, I comment, I just get involved. I don’t say ‘nice shot, f4f?’ because I’m not a moron, it’s just about real authentic engagement. Do it.
Be a bit witty
I have, on occasion, spent longer thinking of a witty caption for a picture than I have taking the damn shot. Instagram’s an entirely visual medium, a stunning shot will always do well. A good enough shot with an interesting caption will also work.
Be a hashtagging demon
They work, use them. If you’re really on it you can do that thing where you save them as a list on your phone and paste them into a comment. I’m not one of those people but my phone saves the ones I’ve used previously and helpfully suggests which ones I might use. I’m all for live and let live but don’t put the hashtags in the caption. I hate that.
I struggle most with consistency, it’s hard to take an Instagram worthy picture of my perpetually odd socks and a bowl of Weetos and then, well if you’re at home all day what else is there? Sometimes I recycle an old photo I was particularly happy with, sometimes I’ll attempt to do something semi-arty with a twig and some green tea in a glass vessel. I’ve found that the more consistent I am with posting, the better results I get. Be like Michelle, be consistent (oh god, I’m so sorry. SO sorry).
I love Instagram. Really I do. It makes me look all outdoorsy and like an enormous ruddy-cheeked wellie-wearing dog botherer. It would appear in spite of my constant blathering on about having an ‘anti-aesthetic’ I’ve inadvertently created an actual aesthetic. It’s not polished and it’s not uniform and it’s not all Clarendoned up to the eyeballs. It’s definitely not full of stunning photography. The aesthetic seems to be that of my actual life. Who knew?
Those Instagram accounts I enjoy the most are full of personality, fun captions, pictures of random dogs. That’s what I want mine to be. I want it to be engaging and relatable and real and with as few pictures of my face as possible. Like my blog.
It’s for this reason that no matter what the Insta gods do to their algorithm in the future, you will never get a ‘turn on notifications’ plea from me. I love a new follower or a healthy bunch of likes as much as the next narcissist but really, I just hope those people with me on Instagram are there because they genuinely relate to whatever I snap and stick up there and that ain’t changing any time soon, it’s my life innit? NB: it’s not the bit of my life where I sit in my PJs bingeing on Scandal and shoveling in Tikka Masala with a soggy poppadom or the bit where I’m washing dog poop off my wellies but it is pretty close.
So, my life and my insta share the same theme. Apparently that’s a thing. What about yours?
It is possible to have a spiffingly engaged and growing Instagram profile without being Mario Testino. Are you one of those who takes stunning pictures? We might have to see other people (and also don’t listen to a word I’ve said, you’re already winning).
Find copious puppy shots and far too much outdoor stuff over on Instagram @michelleoutsidelondon