Our attention spans are shorter than ever and we’re in a constant battle to try and grab people’s attention, especially when it comes to apps such an instagram. It’s a fabulous place to reach your audience or even build your audience from the ground up – I’ve seen many people do it well and have amazing successes, both financially and personally. I think there are a few key factors to grabbing people’s attention with your instagram profile, so I’ve compiled it into ten handy instagram tips that you can start testing out TODAY!
1. Have a ‘thing’
On instagram, people rarely follow an account that does it all. They will follow one account because they post great breakfast pictures. Another for baby / family stuff. One for fashion. One that only ever posts pictures of patterns. You need to have a ‘thing’ that people will follow YOU for. Of course you can add other elements in too, but consider if people were to know you for one thing, what would it be? Make sure that shows up in your feed, often.
The fabulous @symmetrybreakfast who do one thing very well.
2. Have a photography style
You need to grab someone’s attention within the top 6-9 images on your feed. People will click through to a profile and within a split second decide if they want to follow, and it’s based on those top images. In order for it to grab attention it needs a ‘thing’ (see above) and a look. Decide on what photography style you like and stick to it. Have you noticed instagram is all about being consistent and predictable? Look through other images you like, put them side by side and find the common photography style. Are yours soft and muted or sharp and punchy? STICK TO IT!
I took a beginners photography course a while back and learnt some important stuff that I’ve applied ever since, you can read the blog post about it here!
@meanmail use the same style of photography throughout their feed…
3. Use a strict colour palette
I think you are probably starting to notice a theme now right?! All of the popular accounts on insta have a colour palette that they consistently use. Whether it’s all natural colour, some people love to use pink, other mix it up. Are you a pastel kinda person or prefer vivid brights? Do you use black white and gold? There is a great book called ‘How to style your brand‘ and it focuses a lot on colour palettes and what they represent. Find one that sticks to the vibes you want to give off.
4. Post at good times of day
What’s the point in posting if no-one will see it? This blog post is more focused on creating an interesting account itself, and so though this tip borders more on engagement it’s an important one. How will you be able to grab attention if you’re posting at a time of day when no-one is looking? If you have a business account on instagram you can get some interesting stats which will show you when your audience is online most often, so you can try posting at those times. Personally I have found morning between 7.30-9am is good because people are on their way to work and probably scrolling through insta on the commute. Also evenings work well after the kids have gone to bed and people have had dinner – say after 9pm. But every audience is different, so find what works for you!
5. Write interesting captions
I noticed my engagement go way up when I started writing longer, more personal captions that had an element of storytelling. So instead of just posting a picture of a sofa I liked I would talk about where I found it, why I liked it, what you could look for in finding your own sofa and stuff like that. You need to give value. Instagram is more than just the image nowadays – captions go a long way in whether your audience will stick around and want to hear / see more of what you have to say.
@mummas_heath_hub shared her story about adult acne to an overwhelming response…
6. Use a planning tool
Tools like Planoly and UNUM will allow you to load pictures into their app and see how they will look on instagram BEFORE you post them. You can drag the images around the grid to get a layout that works for you and then post in that order. This is so key in laying out a feed of images that looks great and doesn’t have any clashing colours or image styles. You don’t want your feed to look to busy or confusing, so I’ve found these apps really help.
7. Edit yourself
Your insta feed is not the place to be sharing pictures of you and your mates on the piss, or your friends new puppy… unless that’s totally on brand for you of course! What I’m saying is – stick to the message. If your ‘thing’ is to talk about cool kids clothes then don’t go off message and start showing you on your date night. Sometimes you’ll want to post stuff and you just can’t. That’s part of the sacrifice you have to make if you want a strong insta profile and you’re doing it for your business or brand. If it’s personal and you’re not bothered about it being consistent or it growing, then fine. But based on the fact that you’re reading this post I would say get used to editing yourself. I have loads of cool pics I want to share but the colour palette isn’t right, so I edit myself and I don’t post them in the feed. That’s what insta stories are for! Save the best for the feed and be more relaxed in your stories.
8. Read your own visual language
Think of instagram as a story with no words. If you go onto someone’s profile and just look at the images, what story does it tell? Images are like another language. They tell us so much without using words. So take a look at your own profile as if you were an outsider. What story are you telling with your images? If you want to say ‘cool and edgy’ then posting a million pictures of babies and flowers probably ain’t doing that. For the record, I love flowers and babies, I’m just sayin!
It’s clear to see that @2lgstudio are all about interior design…
9. Get personal
I see loads of instagram accounts lacking in engagement or being attention grabbing because they a) recycle other images that everyone else has already used, and b) talking about everything other than themselves. Believe it or not, people use instagram for connecting. Even though it’s an app and it has a hella bad rep sometimes the underlying function of it is to discover new people and build relationships. Get personal. Share your own images rather than other people’s. Talk about your own experiences and how they might relate to someone reading. I always say don’t make it ALL about you (because that’s just boring for everyone else) but you can infuse what you’re doing with your personality. That’s what’ll help you stand out over the million robot accounts and soulless profiles.
I shared thoughts on my daughter’s first day of school on my instagram profile…
10. Ignore the rest
This is the hardest one. You need to find a balance between being aware of what other people are doing but not copying what other people are doing. It’s hard because we see these accounts that have beautiful feeds and loads of followers, so it’s natural to think ‘maybe if I did something like that it would work’. but I promise you, it’s unlikely to. Because that already exists, and it’s probably being rinsed and rinsed over and over again. How can you put your own spin on something? Wouldn’t you rather be the person that everyone else looks and and tries to copy then you be the copier yourself? It’s a harder road to travel, I know, but it’s more worthwhile. In my opinion anyway.
Key instagram tips to take away are that Insta is all about being easy to digest and people understanding quickly what you do and your style. People need to understand you and put you into a box, fast. Don’t worry – it’s a good thing! It’s all about making it simple.