It's become apparent that people have been cheesed off over the many issues with Instagram and it's been a problem for a while now, with some improvements already happening. I am one of those people; believe me when I say I've had many days where I've been close to deleting the app and not going back! What has stopped me from doing this is the changes I have made to the process; ignoring some of the faults and fall back in love with the platform and you can do the same.
Last year I was rarely using Instagram for my blog. I would go through phases of loving it and then avoiding it for a week and keep repeating this love hate relationship until I decided to make an effort to get back to how I used to use it and change a few things.
Right now I am really loving Instagram and I have been for a few months now. This is a surprise since I've criticised it a fair amount in the past. Despite all of the previous complaints I've made, which we all have at some point I'm sure, I am loving Instagram now and really proud of how my feed is looking. So I'm not necessarily loving the whole app as such, there's still so many cracks that need to be filled, but in terms of my feed and how my photos are looking I'm pretty damn happy.
So how have I got to this stage?
You can find out more about my photos here.
The biggest change I've made to my Instagram are the photos; the way I present them, edit them and fit them into my feed, a.k.a sticking to a theme (which we will come back to further on down).
So let's start by sharing the process of how I edit my photos. It is quite simple as I more or less edit them all in the same way. I believe this is what allows my photos to reach more people and drive traffic to my feed -> quality over quantity, always.
Photoshop/Lightroom and VSCO
Photoshop - See how I edit my blog photos here. I use exactly the same method with my Instagram photos, with a few alterations depending on the photo and it's lighting/contrast.
Lightroom - I have only just started using Lightroom and I have a good feeling that Photoshop will get abandoned. All the photos in this post are edited in Lightroom and I love how much editing with the colours you can do. It's much simpler than Photoshop but I feel you can do more complex editing with Photoshop, which I won't need for editing blog photos. So yeah, Lightroom is amazing and I don't know why I've only just started using it when I've had it downloaded on my laptop for about 2 years...*shrugs shoulders*
VSCO - Once I downloaded VSCO and properly got my head around it I fell in love with it and it's the main way I use to edit my photos for Instagram. I may do a post in the future because I think it may come in useful to others. I add the same effects to every single photo, sometimes making a few adjustments. I aim to add a light theme, strong clarity and occasionally increase the saturation if I think the photo is too desaturated, but I go for the desaturated look anyway.
BEING ORGANISED AND UPLOADING
This is where I become a little bit of a perfectionist and plan ahead with my Instagram content.
Having a theme isn't everyone's cup of tea but I gave in and now I can't upload photos which don't fit into the grid. All my photos have a similar effect combining a bright look, strong contrast and desaturation.
A lot of instagrammers stick to a theme to keep their feed flowing nicely and look more appealing. Does having a theme make a difference to your followers interaction? I'm not entirely sure but I can say that it's made a difference to my Instagram. I guess it depends on your followers and what sort of photos you're posting. In February I dedicated the whole month to travel posts which boosted traffic to my feed massively. Maybe just a change of content will do the trick!
The APP I use to organise and plan my feed in advance, and very similar to Preview which I mention in this post, and is popular amongst many bloggers is UNUM. It basically works exactly the same as Preview, although it allows you to move photos in between photos already in place whereas Preview replaces a photo with the photo you are moving (which irritated me a lot and I have now started using UNUM). I find it really helpful to do this so I can see my feed and make sure I'm sticking to my theme.
PREPARING AND UPLOADING
Planning and preparing images beforehand is what saves me a lot of hassle in the mornings when I want to post content. If I know what I want to post for the week then I save them in Instagram, along with the caption and hashtags written, so it's a quick preview and share on the day of uploading.
There are 3 main factors I think about just before uploading and they are the following: Caption, hashtags, time of uploading. I go into a little more detail about these aspects in a post about creating a fabulous Instagram feed, so I won't go any further into explaining them but you get the drift that these are the go-to moves to make before you press that share button.
Something which is important to stay engaged with your followers is using Instagram stories. Bare with me as I'm still not a pro at using stories as a way to interact with people but I do know a few ways how to use them;
- Share little things throughout your day
- Promote your latest grams and blog posts
- Share the love and mention your favourite instagram accounts of the week
- Include links to the products you've been loving lately
There are so many ways to use stories to share content and lots more. It just sucks that you have to have 10K followers to use the swipe up button...PRAYING they lower that or just give the function to everyone.Ever since interpreting these small but vital activities into my Insta game, I've notices so much more engagement from my followers and I'm that little bit closer to 1K (follow me here, shameless plug)
DON'T FORGET ABOUT YOUR FOLLOWERS!
Last but certainly not least is your followers. Don't neglect the people who are supporting you and helping build up this platform. Give the love back, share their content, like and comment on your fave photos; they're supporting you so you should be giving that support back to them. We're all in the same boat here, we can't get anywhere without each other.
We all have our ups and downs with this platform and I don't expect too much to change for a while, although we have seen some recent changes which have improved it, but you can change the way you feel about it by mixing it up a little and use it differently to how you are at the moment.