It can be difficult to look at Instagram as anything deeper than a popularity contest, but the truth of the matter is that Instagram acts as a tremendous, and completely free, tool to promote and market your personal brand. When done properly, a single 'gram can generate thousands of views, hundreds of likes, and in some cases a new career opportunity. For this reason bloggers, social influencers, and average joes alike should take pride in their feeds and curate with intention – but, as with most things in life, this is much easier said than done.

There are a number of unspoken rules to follow when posting a new Instagram in order to ensure it's well received by the general public. And while most star influencers are aware and follow these guidelines, there's a vast community within Instagram who are trying to gain internet popularity yet go about it all wrong. This can come down to something as general as the content they share, or as detailed as the way they are interacting with others on the app (hashtags, comments, tags). So today I'm sharing the five tips I implemented into my social media strategy that have, and continue to, result in increased interaction and popularity on Instagram, in hopes that they may help some of you as well. 



01. Develop an Aesthetic – In order to market your brand, you must first understand the voice of your brand, your target audience, and the overall aesthetic of your website/product. Creating a cohesive Instagram will not only target your specified audience, but also generates an ease in determining what to post, and provides an insight for how to shoot future photos. However, developing an aesthetic can take some time, so spend a few days sourcing inspirational Instagram feeds that you aspire to. Mimic them, but never copy. For myself, the aesthetic is minimal and devoid of colour – similar to the likes of @EMILYCOCKLIN, @THEHAUTEPURSUIT and @NATALIELIAO

02. Take Purposeful Photos – It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that, given our society, some photos are bound to be more popular than others; think an attractive selfie, a flat-lay of make-up, or an artisanal latte. Having this knowledge is key, but perfecting the background can be equally as important – and just so you know, it doesn't take a Pinterest-perfect house/studio to achieve. I was at a loss trying to create a minimal feed, until I got the tip that Jeanne from Grey Layers uses marble slabs as her background - genius! Now I have my own marble slabs, which I picked up from my local Habitat For Humanity (for a mere $4 might I add), that act as a background for the majority of my blog/social media imagery. Being innovative in this regard is essential, especially when you are 'on the road', aka at an event or simply enjoying a day off with friends. It's important to always be aware of your surroundings, not be weary of moving products/people in order to get the ideal shot, and be willing to make use of friends, chairs, and whatever else is in sight to achieve the perfect angle. But above all else: be selective and purposeful in what you share. 

03. Edit to Perfection – Having an app/filter that you consistently use to edit your photos will help create cohesion, and ultimately decrease the time it takes you to share a photo. For myself, VSCO Cam and FaceTune are the two apps I couldn't Instagram without. I first edit my photos in VSCO Cam, which acts as a mini Instagram feed allowing me to monitor how my latest photo will interact with the photos currently in my feed. There are a number of free filters available on this app, alongside countless filter collections to download/purchase. I personally use the Hypebeast x VSCO filter in HB1, which I downloaded for free, to edit my photos as it provides bold and modern presets that help accentuate my feed's minimalism. I then play around with the contrast, exposure, and sharpness of the image until I am pleased with the results. From here I upload the image into FaceTune to further whiten the background, or blur out any imperfections my photo may have. This sounds like a lot of time and effort, but once you've mastered your aesthetic it will take less than two minutes to edit and upload a photo.   

04. Hide Hashtags – Hashtags are essential to promote and generate new interest in your Instagram, but having them visible simply looks tacky. Despite the countless Internet guides on how to hide your hashtags it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I mastered the trick. The steps are rather simple, and are as follows:

  • Use the Notes section on your iPhone to save all your hashtags in one paragraph.
  • Add 5 dots, with each dot on a separate line.
  • Add all your hashtags below the last (5th) dot. Ensure they are on a new line.
  • Copy & paste all the dots along with the hashtags into a comment on your photo immediately after uploading/captioning it.

05. Interact and Grow – If you've implemented the above steps you are bound to see an increase in interaction with your feed. Don't sleep on it! Reply to those who leave a comment on your photo, follow new 'grammers, explore the hashtags you are using and like photos that resonate with you. The more you interact with the Instagram community the greater the results. And hey, you just might meet a new friend in doing so!

What Instagrams do you lust over?
Let me know, along with any tips + tricks you might have in the comment section below.