Before I dive in, I would just like to say that Instagram is truly an amazing platform to use. It holds an incredible community of creative people and businesses from all corners of the world. We often focus solely on the perfect Instagram photo and forget that there’s real humans behind each account (well, mostly).

I believe that increasing your engagement on Instagram is a combination of beautiful imagery, engaging captions while also adding that human touch. I’m still learning the ins and outs on my account as it is a process. It’s a process that may take a couple of months or years. Once you discover what works for you, the rest becomes easier.

Here’s my five tips.

#1 Be creative with your feed

Going outside the norm will make sure that your new followers remember you and your current followers engage with you. There’s so many ways that you can be creative with your feed.

Some ideas include:

  1. Make every three photos similar to each other.
  2. Spread your image across 6 or 9 photos
  3. Every 6th photo, upload the same type of image (i.e. a quote)
  4. Create a theme for a day each week (i.e #typetuesday)

Creative Instagram accounts:

@theseventeenthcreative
@asaprocky
@preview.app
@samandashleigh (my experimentation)

Tap on an image to discover the feed.

Note: If you do decide to be a little creative with your feed, I recommend planning your images on the Preview App. There’s nothing worse than missing a post and ruining your feed’s pattern.

#2 Make your content shareable

The more shareable your content is, the more exposure your business is going to get (plus, it’s free). Most small businesses don’t have the time to upload a photo of their own everyday. Hence, they’re often scouting for photos to use on their own feed.

The most shareable type of images are:

  • Inspirational quotes
  • Greenery / flowers
  • Dreamy offices / places

If you have a specific Instagram account that you want to be featured on, make sure that you follow their style on their page. Spend a good amount of time analysing what they like in a photo. For example, the business may have bright and high contrasting flatlays against bright white backgrounds. Do the same, and add your little touch of creativity.

Note: If you have an Instagram Business account, you can now see how many people save your posts. I’ve found that the quotes on my pages are saved the most.

#3 Shoot your photos in bright light

Taking a photo in the natural sunlight can result in a beautiful, high resolution photo. The more flattering your photo is, the more engagement you will receive. Light helps bring out the details in your photos, where as bad lighting results in a grainy or blurry photo.

If you can’t take a photo with bright light and the photo is against a white background, I recommend using the Preview App. You can whiten the background while leaving the foreground untouched. Then use can use Preview’s brightness and contrast tool and you won’t lose as much detail in the photo.

Here’s an example of a recent photo I shot where I used the Preview app to make the photo brighter:

ORIGINAL

AFTER WHITENING

AFTER BRIGHTNESS + CONTRAST

#4 Give and you will receive

You should always give more than you receive. Taking the time to comment on other people’s posts, shows that there’s a real person behind your account. Don’t make your comments generic like “Love this!”, as people actually pay for bots to comment on people’s photos. A more thoughtful comment like “Oh wow, this photo looks amazing. How did you do that?”, will spark up a conversation with the other person.

Tip: When you upload a photo, always like a few photos from the people that have liked your photo. It’s a way to say thanks, while showing them you’re human!

#5 Speak to the camera in your Insta Stories

In order for you to build a loyal and engaged following, people need to feel connected and engaged to the person behind the account. There’s an amazing community that exists on Instagram, so why shouldn’t we leverage off that?

The best way to connect and engage with your followers, is to put your face in front of the camera. It doesn’t matter if you’re awkward, shy or whatever. People are more likely to relate to you if you’re not perfect. Plus, people don’t remember what you say or what you do, they remember how you make them feel.

I took on the challenge to talk to the camera on Insta Stories. It probably took about 30 takes to get it right. It was scary as hell. Especially when you’re putting yourself out to the world to people you’ve never met before. All I can say is, if I can do it, you can do it too!

Insta accounts who constantly talk to the camera (and I’m a loyal follower as a result):

@jasminedowling
@stephclairesmith
@tylerjmccall

Do you know any others?

Darwin-born Bree recently finished her New Media degree and has now set her sights on freelancing in the fields of web and graphic design. She loves being creative on her Instagram account, while also helping other businesses engage with their followers too. In her spare time, she enjoys photographing food and playing Boggle at the local coffee shop.
Find Bree on her Instagram, website or send her an email to say hi!

+200,000 Instagrammers are already using Preview App to edit, plan & schedule their feed. If you haven't tried it, you're missing out.

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