Instagram Archive

Top Ways to Get More Followers on Instagram

Posted April 19, 2017 By Callie

Instagram is all about showing off a way of life and using glamorous looking pictures to make your products and services incredibly desirable. While this is true though, it’s also only one part of how you can use Instagram to succeed and grow your business.

At the end of the day, you can have the most inspiring Instagram account in the world but if no one knows about it, you aren’t going to be selling many products!

So, the question is: how do you go about growing your Instagram account and how do you make sure that you find the right followers? Read on and we’ll look at some of the best strategies you can use.

Integrating Your Instagram With Your Existing Marketing

Hopefully, you will already have some form of marketing and this will most likely involve a website, a Facebook account, Twitter and more.

One thing you can do right away to grow your Instagram account then, is to bring in visitors from those other channels. One simple way to do this is to add a button on your website that people can click in order to follow you on Instagram. This way, the more people you bring to your website, the more you will be able to grow your Instagram account. This will then also work in reverse; so that as your Instagram account grows, you are able to send more and more people back to your website!

Likewise, use IFTTT (If This, Then That) in order to publish your Instagram pictures straight to your Twitter account. You can also get plugins that will show your Instagram pictures in the sidebar on your website, thereby helping more people to see the kind of content you are sharing there.

Ask People to Follow You!

This sounds a little too simplistic to be effective but in fact that is exactly why this is such a good strategy! One of the very best ways to get more people to follow you on Instagram is simply to ask them to go and check out your page. Just say at the end of your next YouTube video: ‘why not check out my account over at Instagram?’. You can do the same thing with blog posts.

Socializing

At the end of the day, Instagram is a social media platform and that means that it is a communication tool. Use it as such by making sure to comment on photos that other users have taken or to like them.
Research shows that Instagram users find it flattering when brands like their pictures. And chances are that when they are flattered, they will want to check out exactly who it is that likes their photos!

Influencer Marketing

One of the very most effective ways to grow on Instagram though is to team up with other creators and to promote each other. This is called Instagram marketing and when done well, it will give you instant access to a huge audience that the other creator has spent time growing.

Instagram is a powerful marketing tool that is not only the second largest social media platform on the web but also one of the biggest in terms of user engagement. A photo can tell a thousand words and if you consistently post great quality images that promote a certain lifestyle or dream, then you can gain a massive and highly engaged following that will be highly eager to buy from you!

But if you want to grow your channel even faster, then there are a few other tools you can use to give you an edge. Let’s take a look at some of the best additional software, services and more that will help your account to grow that much faster!

Pixlr

Pixlr is another photo editing program that uses basic filters like Instagram. Unlike Instagram there is no social element but it does actually give you access to a much wider roster of editing options.

For instance, Pixlr has the option to create image collages. This is ideal if you want to show a progression, that way telling a story, or if you want to show multiple photos of the same event.

The filters can also provide some interesting options, as can the ability to write over the top of pictures. The tool is quick to use and lets you share pictures directly to Instagram – definitely an important addition to your suit of options.

Photoshop/GiMP

For photos that you take on more professional equipment though, there’s no reason that you can’t get even more creative still with your editing. Transfer your photos over to the computer and then you can use the powerful editing software Photoshop in order airbrush people, increase brightness and saturation and much more. If you don’t have the money to invest in Photoshop though, you can always use GiMP instead which has most of the same features and is completely free!

Snapchat

Snapchat is another image-centric social tool but one that lets you upload ‘self-destructing’ photos for your audience to view only during a limited timeframe. This gives your photos a much more ‘immediate’ feeling and means that your viewers will feel as though they are much more engaged with the content that you create.

What’s very interesting though is that Instagram now offers a very similar tool in the form of ‘Instagram Stories’. These are similar ‘self-destructing’ photos that form a timeline for your viewers to enjoy for 24 hours.

So why not combine your efforts on both platforms? Just download the photos that you add to Snapchat and then share them on both platforms!

IFTTT

When it comes to synergy across social media channels though, there are few tools more powerful than IFTTT. IFTTT stands for ‘If This, Then That’ and lets you do things such as posting your photos as native images to Twitter (rather than having them show as just a link) or creating backups of all of your Instagram photos in a DropBox folder. This can save you a huge amount of time and ensure that all your accounts are active and promoting one another!

The Best Hardware for Winning At Instagram

Posted April 17, 2017 By Callie

If you want to make a big impact on Instagram, then you need to know how to take great looking photos – it’s that simple. Instagram is an entirely visual medium and in order to sell your value proposition and to stand out as a top creator, you need photos that immediately grab attention and that look the part.

Partly this comes down to your own ability to take great looking photos. But it is also a matter of your hardware; meaning your camera, your lighting and more. Just because Instagram is primarily an app that you run on your mobile phone, that doesn’t mean that every photo you take need to be made with your smartphone camera!

Let’s take a look at the best equipment for growing your Instagram account and how to create your own set-up.

The Camera

Some of the time you are going to be using your phone camera to upload to Instagram. There will always be a place for these kinds of photos because you are always going to have occasions when you want to quickly take a photo of something but you don’t have a professional camera to hand. Taking photos on your smartphone is simply quicker and easier too, which means you’ll be more likely to keep a consistent and steady flow of content coming to your channel.

Getting a cameraphone that has a relatively high pixel count is one good way to do this. You can also benefit from a wide-angle lens and other features like manual focus for when you want to create macro effects (where the subject is in high definition but the background appears blurred).

But when you have the opportunity, it will always be better to use a DSLR camera or a bridge camera and to pick something that will let you play with your shutter speed, your focus, your ISO and more. All this will help you to create more stunning effects and all your photos are going to appear more crisp and more high quality – like they belong on the cover of a magazine.

Lighting

Cameras are not everything when it comes to taking photos on Instagram though. What’s also highly important is the lighting equipment and a well-lit photo is always going to look considerably more professional than a poorly lit one.

A great way to get good lighting is with a ‘softbox’, which will enable you to increase the contrast in any photo without making it look overly bright. Try to light objects from the side for more interesting shadows and a more dramatic effect.

Another tip is to consider getting colored lighting, which you can achieve with bulbs from LifX or Hue. These can create some very attractive effects that will look great if you are taking photos of products – especially if you can place them onto a clean and somewhat reflective surface such as an oak desk.

This is something else to consider: the props, backdrops and other elements that you can bring into your photos. These don’t have to cost a lot of money but a few of the right props can make your photos much more exciting!

How to Use Instagram’s Live Video

Posted April 16, 2017 By Callie

Live is all the rage on social media right now. First there was Periscope and Meercat. Then came Facebook Live and now we are seeing live video on Instagram too.

There’s a good reason for this. Live video is one of the biggest and most important innovations in social media so far and is one of the best tools that marketers have at their disposal for engaging with their audience.

Why Live Video Matters

The first thing to recognize about live video, is that it can effective transport a viewer to another place, live. That means that you can invite your viewers along to join in in your workouts, to attend events with you, or to join you over your morning cereal.

Whatever the case, you will this way be able to more directly engage with your audience – while your audience will be able to share in a ton of different experiences.

While live video is only just catching on, there may well be a time when most of us are able to experience news live through the accounts of people we follow, or where we can get multiple different views of a concert or an event.

How to Harness Live Video

For now though, marketers and creators have a very unique opportunity. There is an audience out there that is excited for live video and yet it’s something that a lot of creators are not yet capitalizing on. That means that if you post live video, you will stand out as one of the only creators doing so – and that’s a great way to get more attention for your channel and to get more engagement.

And there are countless ways that you can use live video to promote a product or a service and to better engage with your audience.

One of the best things about Instagram Live Video for instance, is that it will allow you to see comments posted live on your videos as you’re filming them. That means that you can then respond to those comments live and your audience can feel as though they are talking to you directly.

Imagine how much this can improve your engagement and trust with your viewers, when they feel that you are a real person they can actually communicate with directly! Imagine if they can share their concerns about your products or services and you can directly put them to rest.

Imagine if your favorite content creator were to go live over a breakfast vlog and if you had the opportunity to ask them questions and to tell them how much you appreciate their content.

Imagine if you could look through their camera – live – and feel what it’s like to walk down a red carpet with them, or to stand at the top of a mountain on their holiday.

These are the possibilities that live video creates and this is why you should get involved in Instagram Live! Simply tap the ‘Plus’ symbol at the top of your Instagram account to open up your Stories camera and then select ‘Live’…

How to Take Better Photos for Instagram

Posted April 15, 2017 By Callie

Instagram is the second largest social media platform on the net and is one of the very best in terms of engagement. Instagram has an ability to inspire like almost no other platform thanks to its highly visual nature and the ethos of aestheticism that it promotes. Using Instagram, you can make your products and services look more glamorous and more exciting and sell a dream to your audience.

But in order to do all that, you’re going to need to learn how to take great photos. In this post, you’ll discover just how to do that…

Take Time and Consider the Details

One important tip is that you always need to spend time constructing your shot and thinking about the details.

In other words, it is not enough to simply point and shoot – you need to think about things like the angle of the lighting and the backdrop. All it takes is to notice the angle of the sun and to move around your subject to create a much more professional looking shot that will be more visually interesting.

As a general rule, it is usually advisable to try and create ‘Rembrandt lighting’. This means that the light will be shining on your subject from a right angle, thereby lighting one side and leaving the other side in relative shade. Use a window, or better yet: create lighting using a soft box or another accessory.

Likewise, you need to think about your backdrop. Make sure that the background is visually interesting without distracting from the subject.

Composition

When choosing an angle and setting up your shot, you should think about the foreground, middle ground and background. This will great more depth and give your shots a feeling of being three dimensional. Ideally, there should be something of interest at every level, as well as elements that will lead the eye from the foreground and into the background (such as a path leading into the background or a river).

You can also consider scale: ask yourself how you can portray the relative sizes and speeds of different objects. If you want to show how big something is, make sure it is surrounded by smaller items for scale and it will have much more impact!

Drama and Telling a Story

Finally, try to avoid photos that simply show an object. Instead, think about the emotional impact of your images and how they can tell a story. For instance, you can tell a story by using ‘clues’ in your photos to suggest something that has previously happened or that is yet to happen. Footprints in the sand can show that you have been jogging and are a little more interesting than a simple photo of someone running!

Likewise, you can create more drama or interest by choosing interesting ,contrasting items that wouldn’t normally be in photos together. Another tip is to change the angle of your photos, which can help you to present more dynamic and dramatic imagery. Having a photo taking from a lower angle for instance can make any subject appear larger and more imposing!

Part of your aim as an Instagram marketer, is to sell a dream. You want to promote a certain lifestyle and communicate a particular way of life that your audience will find inspiring and that will convince them to follow your channel and hopefully buy from you.

If you have a fitness brand for instance, then you need to portray a lifestyle that’s all about health and fitness and that makes you appear to be in amazing shape and to have everything going for you. If you have a clothing brand meanwhile, then you need to show people looking beautiful and attractive and thereby sell that dream.

So, the question is… how do you go about selling the dream?

Think About the Details

When it comes to painting a picture with your Instagram pictures, it’s crucial that you pay attention to the small details. You need to communicate an image of being successful, organized, healthy and confident. No one wants to buy from someone who seems as though they can’t get their own act together!

And it’s the tiny things you forget that can imply a lot about you.

For example, if you are taking photos of technology in order to make it look desirable on Instagram, then you need to think about the condition of the tech and you need to think about the backdrop. Is the phone that you’re showing off covered in dust? Because if so, then it’s not going to look premium or desirable!

Is there a coffee stain on the table? Because if so, it’s going to make your home look untidy and therefore unprofessional!

Even the weather matters. If you take a photo of someone outside in the sun, then that will look glossier and more professional than the very same photo taken in the rain.

Telling a Story

What you also need to think about, is how small details in your photo can allude to other things about yourself. Think about the story you are telling through the things that are present or absent in your image.

For example, you can take a photo of yourself running, or you can take a photo of your running shoes covered in mud with your headphones strewn next to them for effect. In just a few words, this is telling your audience that you’ve just been on a run and it says something about your determination and your love of fitness.

When you leave the viewer to fill in the blanks, it can often be more impactful than if you come right out and attempt to ‘say’ something with your photo.

Settings and Filters

Of course Instagram is all about the filters and this is one of the things that makes it so well suited to being used for marketing. A filter can increase the saturation and contrast in a photo, thereby making a sunny location look that much brighter and more vivid. Even if the viewers know it isn’t true to life, it’s all about the way it makes them feel.

Other filters can make a photo more retro, or more ‘grungy’. Think about the emotions you want to evoke and tweak your photo to suit!

How to Find Sponsors on Instagram

Posted April 13, 2017 By Callie

For many people, finding a sponsor on Instagram is the ideal way to make a living. Imagine being able to earn money by posting photos of yourself working out, using products you’ve been sent or just looking great in free clothes.

In short, you will be able to make money by doing the things you love and even getting moderately famous for it!
That’s an amazing dream but how can you make it a reality? Here are some tips that can help…

Finding Sponsors

The first thing to recognize is how creators get in touch with sponsors in the first place. The answer is that this can happen one of two ways: either the sponsors find you and get in touch, or you find them and ask if they want to sponsor you.

If you manage to grow your channel large enough, then you can rest assured that sponsors will get in touch and you don’t need to worry about chasing them. This is a pretty easy way to get paid for doing what you love, so all you need to concentrate on is getting big!

On the other hand though, if you can’t wait, then you can find sponsors by looking online at platforms designed to pair off creators and sponsors. Many of these exist and they’re very easy to use. Of course, the more followers you have though, the better deals you will be applicable for. Once again then, your priority is to grow your account.

Create a Strong Brand and Stay On Message

It’s not all about the numbers though. Another important tip if you want to find sponsors is to make sure that you have a strong brand and that you’re on message.

This is very important because sponsors are always looking to find partners that are aligned with their goals. That is to say that they want to find people to work with who echo the principles and who have the same values.

This is why it is so important to avoid controversy or to avoid being too off topic. If you make a controversial statement and you are sponsored, then effectively means that the sponsor is endorsing what you are saying. This is a quick way to put big brands off of working with you and it means that you will potentially miss out on opportunities going forward.

It’s also important to ensure that your message is consistent. Occasionally, your Instagram posts are likely to be ‘off topic’ but this is fine. Just try to make sure that for the most part, you stick with your niche whether that be fitness, fashion or music.

When a sponsor checks out your channel, you want them to find a long list of excellent images, all highly related to the subject matter that they are wanting to promote.

And of course you also need to ensure that your photos are high quality and that they have a professional looking sheen. No one will want to associate with grainy, poorly composed photos!

Do you sometimes look at the big brands on Instagram and Facebook and feel jealous?

Do you wish that you could earn a living doing the things you love and posting about it?

Would you love the fame that can come from having a personal brand?

Would you love to be able to earn money from a business that you created, instead of having to go into work every day?

What exactly does it take to get there? And can anyone do it?

The Set-Up

The answer is that anyone truly can build a massive online brand and gain hundreds of thousands of followers. But while this is true, it’s also true that it isn’t easy. It’s going to take work and determination and it’s going to take a good plan…

The first thing to recognize is that you need to choose the right niche. You need to choose an industry that you absolutely love and that you are happy to work at every single day. If you don’t truly love the niche you pick, then you will grow disinterested in no time and you’ll stop earning from it as a result.

And this is important because if you want to have a highly successful brand and make it your living, then you need to treat it as though it is already your living. In other words, you need to put in full-time work and you need to post consistently with high quality content on all your channels.

The Program

Once you’ve created a great brand and chosen a niche you’re passionate about, you should be able to start building on those strong foundations with regular posts. The good news is that this part is not complicated. In fact, you can follow this simple daily blueprint in order to be highly successful:

Every Weekday:

– Post at least one Instagram picture, ideally two or three. Keep a folder filled with lots of old photos, so that you have something to publish on days when you don’t do anything exciting.

– At least once every two days add some form of direct communication – such as n image on Instagram stories.

– Integrate your accounts so that these pictures also appear on Twitter and Facebook

– Post at least one comment to Twitter per day, ideally 2-3 times. Likewise, have a selection of comments you can share on days when inspiration does not strike.

– Every other day, write one blog posts (minimum 500 words) and post it to your blog. Promote that through your own social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter).

– Post at least one video on YouTube per week. Promote this on Facebook and Twitter.

– Every other day, write one ‘guest post’ and try to get it published on other big blogs.

– Spend at least 10 minutes each morning liking other posts on Instagram, joining in in conversations on Reddit and elsewhere and answering emails.

– Spend 10 minutes promoting old blog posts on forums, social sharing sites etc.

– Send one email per week updating your audience as to your activities.

You can do all this spending about 1.5 to 2 hours a day. If you can find this time, then you should find that you can very quickly grow a big audience. It really is that simple, it just takes commitment.

When it comes to social media marketing for business, a lot of companies and brands will tend to focus on Twitter and Facebook. In many ways, these are the ‘big two’ and it’s easy to overlook the others.

It’s important that you don’t forget the other social media platforms however as one of the central tenets of good social media marketing is to ‘be everywhere’. And more to the point, you specifically need to make sure that you aren’t missing out on Instagram.

Why? Simple: because Instagram is actually the second biggest social media platform on the web and is bigger than Twitter! If you are ignoring Instagram then, you are missing out on one of the largest audiences on the internet.

Another very important reason not to overlook Instagram is that it also happens to have some of the very best engagement on the net, as well as some of the very best ROI!

How to Use Instagram to its Full potential

The thing that makes Instagram so impactful is the simple fact that it is a visual medium. As they say: a picture can tell a thousand words and this makes it much easier to get an emotional response from your posts and to thereby encourage people to want to want to buy from you.

What’s more is that photos also take a fraction of the time to post compared with written content! In terms of the amount of time you put in versus the potential benefit, Instagram is pretty much unparalleled.

Your objective then, is to identify what the ‘value proposition’ of your brand is. What is your promise? How are you going to make life better for your audience? Once you can answer those questions, you can then focus on demonstrating this in your photos – showing people who are very fit and healthy, who look stunning in great clothes, or who are powerful and successful. This way you can inspire your audience and motivate them and ultimately show the promise of your products and services.

Instagram’s New Features

On the downside, engagement has reportedly been decreasing slightly over the last year or so as users have gone up. Simply put, it is harder than before to stand out as the platform has become more crowded.

But you shouldn’t let that put you off because there are now more ways than ever before to engage with your audience. Last year, Instagram announced ‘Instagram Stories and live video. Stories let you send short-term images for your viewers to enjoy that brings them along with you on your adventures and that helps you to stand out in the homefeed. Live video meanwhile gives you a way to interact directly with your audience in a live format that lets them speak with you directly. This is huge for engagement and can help you to drive more traffic to your sites than ever before while building a much closer relationship with your viewers!

Instagram Stories can essentially be summed up as Instagram’s attempt to jump on the SnapChat gravy train. These are photos that Instagram account holders can take and share with their users but which will ‘self-destruct’ after one hour, rather than being saved to that user’s grid.

This might seem like small or unexciting new feature for the platform but actually, it represents a bold step into the future for Instagram and a massive opportunity for marketers.

Why Instagram Stories Matter

Instagram Stories essentially give you a new way to communicate with your audience that is a lot more direct and immediate, which will right away help you to increase engagement with your audience.

This is because it makes your audience feel much more as though you are talking to them directly. By sharing a photo that they know you have only recently uploaded, they feel almost as though they are being ‘brought along for the ride’ and almost as though they are there with you.

What’s more, is that the temporary nature of the content will make it immediately more exciting because it will be time-limited. That means that if your viewers don’t check it out quickly, then they will risk missing it entirely!

Another thing to consider about Instagram Stories, is that they will appear right at the top of your viewer’s feed – thereby ensuring that they will be much more likely to see it.

How to Make Your Instagram Stories Successful

So, the question is: how do you go about making your Instagram Stories successful? What is the secret to doing this well?

Perhaps the biggest challenge for many creators will be in knowing when to use Instagram Stories and when to upload photos as usual.

One way to think about this is to consider the difference between content that perfectly embodies your brand, versus content that you want to share with your current fans directly.

Because sometimes, you might want to share a joke or a photo of your day with your fans. Letting your followers feel as though they are getting to know you is a great way to increase trust and brand loyalty and especially if you have a ‘personal brand’.

But the problem with this, is that it doesn’t really say much about who you are or what your business is all about. Thus, you might not really want it to appear as a permanent inclusion to your ‘grid’.

The question to ask yourself then is: would you be happy with this particular photo being the first impression that a visitor has of your brand? If the answer is no, then perhaps it is better suited for your Instagram Stories.

And then there are the other options that Instagram Stories give you: the option to create live videos for instance, or to make ‘boomerangs’ which are essentially short repeating videos much like GiFs. All of these provide you with new ways to more directly and personally reach out to your followers.