Obsession with all of the social media platforms and learning how to master them comes with the territory as a PR girl. Some are immediate hits, and some fade into oblivion (looking at you, peach 🍑), but one that’s here to stay is Instagram. It’s easily my favorite app to check throughout the day – and I’m on it a lot. I manage accounts for clients, the agency, and even my dog (although I’ll admit I’ve been slacking on that last one).
I’ve learned a lot about the platform just by using it on a daily basis and reading tips from industry pros and bloggers. I even took a SkillPop class on Instagram best practices. Through it all, here are some of the best tips I’ve picked up on how to kill it on Instagram:
- Lighting is key 🔑
When possible, use natural lighting in your photos. This means staging your photos outside or setting up flat lays near windows with lots of bright sunlight. If you have to use flash, just don’t post it. (Trust me.) However, sometimes even when you’re outside, photos can come out a little dark due to shadows. When that happens, fix the photo with an editing app. A favorite among bloggers is VSCO, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret: my favorite app for editing photos is actually Twitter. Its photo editing features are 💯 – especially for brightening. I often run my images through Twitter using the Enhance feature or Radiant filter before posting them on Instagram or my blog. I would say that 90% of the time it perfects my photos. Give it a try!
- Keep your grid in mind 🖼
When people check out your Instagram account, the first thing they’re going to see is a grid of your last 6-9 photos on your profile page. It’s important to keep these photos varied, yet consistent. This can be achieved by switching up photo perspectives (ex. square vs. full rectangle photos, and a mix of photos that are aerial, head-on, and taken at an angle). Don’t post too many flay lays or straight forward fashion shots in a row – mix it up! However, the way to keep things consistent is in your photo editing style and theme. Try to use the same filters for your photos so they match, and only post photos that fit in with your overall brand.
- Don’t fear the hashtag #️⃣
The max number of hashtags you can use in a post is 30 – and you should use all 30. Search for relevant hashtags that fit your theme by researching similar accounts to yours and what hashtags they use. There’s also sites like hastagify that will help you find related hashtags. However, you can’t just put 30 hashtags in your photo caption because that looks sloppy. The best way to do it is to hide the hashtags in the photo comments with a “…” by using the following method:
#prgirl #prlife #agencylife #prgirls #prgirlshustleharder #goaldigger #prgirlsdoitbetter #womeninbusiness #bossbabe #prbunny #theeverygirlObviously, this is an example with hashtags I frequently use when posting photos related to work. Here’s how you can leverage it: Copy and paste the hashtags and dots into your notes app, replace the hashtags with ones relevant to your account/brand, and then paste them into a comment on your Instagram photo. Voila! They are hidden and your photo is still searchable 👍🏻
- Use tags strategically 🏷
If you’re trying to get the attention of big brands or accounts, the best way to ensure they see your photo is to tag their account in the photo, versus in the caption. Large accounts receive a lot of attention, and as a result their notifications are limited. But they will see that they were tagged in a photo. This is a great way to possibly get regrammed or get on the radar of brands you’d like to work with. Be strategic with your tags though – limit tags to five or less in one photo so it doesn’t scream self promotion.
- Experiment with posting times ⏰
I’ve found the most engagement on Instagram early in the morning (7-9 AM) and during prime time (7-9 PM). Start posting at different times on different days to see when your audience is the most active. You never know, sometimes it’s best to post a photo right when you take it!
What are your best tips for kicking butt on Instagram?