Behind every great Instagram account is a super savvy snapper with a foolproof strategy. At least that’s the idea behind “Read This If You Want to Be Instagram Famous,” a new book written and edited by best-selling author Henry Carroll ("Read This if You Want to Take Great Photographs"). Whether you’re an aspiring lifestyle or fashion influencer, believe you parent the most Instagrammable pet around, or have a design fetish that needs more digital exercise, this book claims to give you the tools and tips you need to build your online following…but it takes a bit of work.
The main premise of the small but mighty guide is basically that that avocado toast pic you snapped can only go so far without the right master plan and thought behind it. This strategy might sound a little much for a brunch snap, but the book makes a compelling case: 50 influencers featured in the book have given up their jobs to focus on their feeds full time.
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Keep scrolling for 8 of the best tips this book has to offer and get to ‘gramming like your fans depend on it.
Mix Business with Pleasure
“People connect with pictures they can relate to,” writes Danielle Peazer, who runs a personal account with over 1.2 million followers. So an even split of business and personal pictures is necessary. Anyone with an emerging account should tag restaurants, airlines, and hotels, which may help create business contacts. And tagging clothing or beauty brands always grabs those companies attention, too.
Keep It the Same but Different
Accounts with a consistent feel instantly draw more eyes to them simply because they have an aesthetic. “While it’s tempting to try out different effects and filters, try to stick to the same apps and editing tools,” writes Caroline South, who runs the soothing, popular minimalist account @Caroline_South. It’s important to think about how pictures will appear next to each other, she explains.
Unleash Your Inner Weirdo
“Do what you think is funny and don’t alter your vision or stifle your instincts to fit in,” writes Samantha Raye Hoecherl, who runs wildly popular @TasteofStreet, which features digital illustrations of Meryl Streep combined with various foods. “My account came out of left field and that’s why it attracted so much attention so quickly.
Tell True Stories
If you think too many Instagram accounts look too perfect, you’re not alone. “It’s boring to see someone’s ‘perfect life’ all the time,” says Ekaterina Kolenbet of @Kiki_Sunshine fame. She suggests using the Instagram Stories feature to express emotions and show off more real experiences. But don’t overdo it. “Don’t post anything that you might live to regret, especially if you want to attract brands.”
To Hashtag or Not to Hashtag
The book also features a handy guide to hashtags. First and foremost, make sure your account is public, otherwise, there’s no real point in using tags. Second, choose them wisely and be sparing. It’s about reaching the most relevant audience, not the biggest. Instead of #London, try something more specific like #OldStreet or #TheHoxton to pull in more like-minded engagement.
Shoot Full Frontal Fashion
From Aimee Song to Danielle Bernstein to Gabi Gregg, fashion bloggers and influencer are the bee’s knees on Instagram and the bulk of their feeds feature fashion shots. “A good full-length portrait isn’t all about you,” writes Gregg, who runs @GabiFresh and boasts over 400k followers. “Think about the background and how the colors and patterns relate to the clothes.”
Did anyone else know that @IHaveThisThingWithFloors was actually run by three individuals? That’s because account holders Edith, Josha, and Pien recognized the work it takes to build a successful following early on and so they built it together. “The three of us share the same enthusiasm for our account but there are always times when one of us needs a moment off,” they write. They communicate via WhatsApp for seamless planning and posting.
Be a People Person
According to data from Instagram, engagement increases by 38 percent when your picture includes a person or a face. And Daniel Ernst, who runs a stunning account focused on travel and nature, can vouch for that: “I try to put a person in most photos to give landscapes I shoot a sense of scale as well as a way for viewers to imagine themselves in the picture.”