10 Ways to be AWESOME at Instagram

*Last update to this post was done August 2014*
  S0, read on grasshoppah!
If you have any questions or suggestions, leave me a comment here or on any of my social media sites.
SUP!? Glad you are Here!!!

I had the opportunity to teach an Instagram class to a room full of some amazing bloggers! 
I wanted to share with YOU what I was able to share with them!

1~ What am I trying to achieve with Instagram
Ask yourself: 
  • "Why do I Instagram?" 
  • "Is it for my family?" 
  • "Is this my virtual journal?" 
  • "Is it for my business?" 
  • "What do I want to portray thru my photos?"

If you are a business owner or blogger and you are posting lots of random pictures of your kids and your dirty laundry, you may want to think about starting a new instagram JUST for that... or make those dirty laundry photos pretty and interesting to look at... Which we will get to in #8 and #9.

Every time you post, you should think:
  • "Does this further my brand?" 
  • "Is this what I want people to think of me?" 
  • "Is this what I want to show the world?"
It's OK to put your best foot forward! 

2~ Engage your followers
  • Make sure you respond to comments and questions. (I have un-followed people because they never responded to any of my comments or questions)
  • Comment/Like your followers photos
  • Install an Instagram widget on your blog
  • Have Insta-friends meet-ups (This is a great way to meet people who share your interests)
  • Use hashtags in your posts (we will talk about this more in #4)
  • Hold contests or giveaways
(This is a fun meet-up I organized, and I met some amazing new friends!)

3~ Gain MORE followers
  • Go looking for new friends! Click on hashtags that interest you, scroll thru the photos until you see ones you really like, then give lots of praise! Seriously though, comment and like the crazy out of their photos and 9 times out of 10 they will become a follower.
  • Seek out other bloggers and people you may know... comment comment comment.. it works in blog-land, and it works in insta-land too!
  • The more people YOU are willing to follow, the more will follow you back!
  • Watermark your photos. This may seem obvious, but you are establishing your brand, and people will start to recognize it and follow along.
  • Post pretty pictures, if you have good content, you will gain more followers.
  • Don't post too many pics in a day, you will loose followers this way
  • Have an Instagram Giveaway 
  • Put links to your intagram feed in your blog posts, on FB and Twitter (or whatever social media you use) (mine is: http://instagram.com/andreaqueenb)
  • Network with other insta-friends or bloggers and do shout-outs for each other, or share each others photos.
4~ What's the deal with hashtags?#ilovesillyhashtags

Hashtags are those funny little snippets of words all mashed together you see in someone's feed with a # sign in front of it.

Hashtags are used to describe your photo, describe your feelings, or to be plain ol silly!

Using hashtags can be beneficial if you want a lot of people to see your photo, or you want more followers.

When you use a hashtag it groups your photo with everyone else that has used that same hashtag on their photo.
ie: #rhonnadesigns If you click on that hashtag you will see lots of beautiful photos that are embellished with beautiful insta-art, you can scroll thru those photos to get inspiration or find new insta-pals!

5~ Using Instagram to drive traffic to your blog (or website, etsy store, etc.)
  • Make sure you have a link to your site in your profile
  • Watermark your photos
  • Take pretty pics (sneak peaks) of what you are working on
  • Giveaways and other "calls to action" 
  • Again.. RESPOND to comments and questions, this connects you with your followers!
  • Direct people to your site either in your photo or in your description

6~ Be Mindful of others
Unless you are private, remember EVERYONE can see your photos!

Like I said above.. you CAN post TOO much.. this gets annoying when scrolling thru someones feed. Set a happy medium... If you are being paid to instagram about an event, set a cap on how many photos you'll post. I think 4 to 6 is plenty! Believe me, people get the point after the first 3.
Also we have all been in the position of feeling left out.. it's hard when an event you wanted to go to is getting crammed down your throat thru your insta feed.. be patient, it will pass.

7~ Insta Giveaways
There are many different ways you can do this.. here are a few good examples I have found.
The first 2 are tagging yourself and a friend below their picture, the 2nd 2 are using their hashtag and reposting their photo to your feed. It's totally up to you how you do this
This is one I did with 11 other bloggers, and we directed people to our websites to enter, which created more blog traffic.

8~ My Fave Photo Apps and how to layer them
Oh Dear I have SO many, and unfortunately for you Android users, I have no clue if you have access to these apps or not.
Here is one example of how I create a photo I love...
In #6 above, I talk about adding text/designs. You can upload fonts from your computer to use in the app phonto. You can also  add designs and fonts with the Rhonna Designs app purchased in the app store (or iphone and Android)
I take most of my photos in Camera+
I love that I can use the focus/exposure feature then quickly edit each one and save them to my camera roll.


After that, I start uploading my pictures into many of the different photo-editing apps that I LOVE!
Some of these are free, some cost a small fee, but I use ALL of them at one point or another.
The ones in the middle are my favorite and I use them most often.
Just start with a few, upload a picture and PLAY. That's the only way you will know if you like the app.
(ABM stands for A Beautiful Mess, for those of you that have asked)
If YOU have a favorite app that isn't listed above, PLEASE share it with me, I'm always looking for fun new ones!

9~ Post Pretty Pictures
Never Underestimate the power of a pretty picture! 
  • Experiment with different lighting and angles. 
I am still not where I want to be in my picture taking skills, but I am WAY better than I use to be!
photo courtesy of www.luckyfacethreads.com
  • A good way to get creative and practice is by creating a flat lay... it can be with anything! Your office supplies, your favorite candies, or like this one.. a darling outfit for a dapper little dude!
  • When you post something on your facebook page or on instagram it is out there for the world to see (unless you are private of course)

I don't ALWAYS post super duper photos, but for the most part I try to. It comes down to what I wrote about in #1, what is it that you want to achieve? What is it that you want to put out there to the world?
  • You can uplift, inspire and offer personal insight to your audience using a pretty picture or quote.

10~ Be a Positive Inspiration
Share your best self and wise words with the world! Don't be afraid to be a good example! We all need to be uplifted everyday, it's what drives us, and makes us feel like better humans... SO why not BE one of those people to help[ uplift another. We all need to focus more on the positive.. leave positive, reassuring comments to people, do what you can to brighten someone else's day! I promise it will brighten your day as well!

If you have any other ideas or insight, please let me know!  Thanks for taking the time to read, I know it's A LOT!
Have a great day, and go have fun creating beautiful images!


PJ @ Planned in Pencil said...

These are great tips! Thank you! Following you on IG now.

Jeanette said...

Great Info! I'm just learning how to use Instagram effectively. Following you on IG too!

Angelina- JoJo & Eloise said...

Okay!!! I am so SUPER jealous that my big ole MUG isn't in that group photo ;) This is such a great wealth of information. I was so excited when I learned about the Bubble Frame app.. And about fell out of my breeches when Holly came by my IG page, I called her the BubbleFrame Lady, LOL!! :) She told me about Rhonna designs.. I have successfully loaded Phonto to my phone, I was in the middle of purchasing the Chalk Art set ( I think that's what it was called) and then got side tracked with Sewing (yeesh) and never made it back. I am unfortunately technically challenged and it's going to take my husband sitting down with me to explain all of this.. So come to think of it, it's probably a GOOD THING, I wasn't at your party.. I would of been the Girl with her HAND up in the air SHAKING it wildly the whole time saying "UH,UH,UH,UH... You remember those kind of kids in school :) Well one things for sure I am going to own every APP that you just showed us by the end of the night :)
And I will be coming Back and Back again to re-read it all.. So your Page views will probably SPIKE!!
Thank you so much and so glad to have met you on IG.

Angelina- JoJo & Eloise said...

Okay, So I LIED!!! It will be tomorrow that I own all the APPS.. I just looked at the clock.. LOL!! Thanks again xo

Aimee Lane said...

Thanks for this tutorial! I think I'm still lost, but hopefully a little playing will catch me up! You're definitely an instagram genius!

XO, Aimee

Kacey Kalmar said...

Thanks so much for this info. Just what I was looking for!!

michelle lea designs said...

I love your last tip... be a positive inspiration!!! You are an amazing inspiration on instagram, the blogging world and I'm sure the world in general. Thank you for all of your wonderful tips and daily sweetness :)


nikkisyther said...

Hi! Thanks for sharing so useful info! I just started using instagram and I was kinda lost about getting followers and interacting with others, but now I have an idea about where to start.

Nikki :)

Amanda @ Semi-Health Nut said...

Thanks so much for this! Such a wealth of information!! Pinned this!

Kimberly Swanson said...

Thank you for this! I am new to Instagram and this post is extremely helpful to me. Following you!��