It's 2016, you guys, and that means we've gathered even more knowledge about what's working on Instagram — and what's become outdated (and this can change on a monthly basis). I'll do this every so often as our world of social media shifts, because I want you all to get the good word as soon as we catch on to trends.
Now more than ever, with y'all freaking out about the impending algorithm changes, it's important to make sure your content looks awesome, is keeping up to changing audience preferences, and being labeled in the right way so that you can be found.
Meh: Quote Cards and Text-Over-Images
I don't love photos with quotes or text on them. If it were up to me, every Instagram account would just be filled with nice pics, no text anywhere, and then we'd all go on to our beautiful lives text-free and high contrast. But when used right, they can be an asset to your account — and if not, your account can look a hot mess.
Here's an account that text-over-image works for: Instagram.com/KimberlyParryOrganics
And here's why:
- Consistent branding and FONT. FONT. FONT. Pick a fantastic font or a couple of complimentary fonts and a color scheme and *stick* to it.
- Enough posts in between pics with text (though, if it were up to me, I'd even throw a few more in there). I'd say to try to keep it at least 6 posts in between another text-over-image post.
Meh: Framing and Multiple Pic Grids
Unless you do it very infrequently and for a good reason, it can make your feed look messy. Remember, Instagram is for images to be viewed on a small screen. The more happening or the more there is to look at in your post, the more cluttered it appears — that's why photos with lots of blank space perform so well on a platform like IG.
Heck No: Posting Several Photos in a Row
Why am I still saying this? Why doesn't everyone know this already? There is nothing that makes me want to unfollow you more than three different angles of the lasagna you made earlier, or the several snapshots of you and hubs posing in front of a palm tree in fun, playful ways. Stop it.
Yass: Be a Square
Keep your images square. I'm all about how your feed looks when you look at it as a whole when someone's looking at your page — it's how you get new followers or clients, and you have to start thinking of your Instagram feed as an image-based representation of who you are or what you're selling. Posting non-square images won't allow you to control how that square is cropped on your account page (where you can see all the photos you've posted) when Instagram does it on its own.
Yass: Hashtags Still Rule
I've said this before, but if you don't use hashtags on your photos, you might as well not post anything. And you have to use the RIGHT ones, too (tip: now when you're searching within a hashtag, Instagram will usually show you related hashtags at the top of the screen).
You'll still want to post hashtags as a separate comment on your photo after your post — which you should add immediately after uploading your picture — and use the maximum allowed.
The dot-trick (which I'm sure you've been seeing) simply allows you to post all of these crazy hashtags as a comment without it looking so messy, and instead, just appears as a few dots.
On your phone (I do this on my iPhone), create a "Note" in the "Notes" app, where you can have clusters of themed hashtags already to copy and paste right into your photo when you need it.
Add 10 dots at the top of each cluster, as so (which I've included with some popular lifestyle tags):
#thatsdarling #darlingweekend #dslooking #flashesofdelight #livethelittlethings #liveauthentic #live folk #livebeautifully #gatheringslikethese #slowliving #lifeandthyme #nothingisordinary #visualsoflife #thesimplethings #chooselovely #mytinyatlas #exploremore
And the #1 rule:
Don't treat your Instagram feed the same way you would Facebook or Twitter. Instagram is less of a "social media network" and communication device in that way, and something that should be thought of more as a gallery and discovery tool.
I post completely different photos on my clients' Instagram accounts as I do on their Facebook pages, because it's important that the Instagram pics complement each other in the feed, separate from whatever you're trying to promote elsewhere. And if it doesn't fit the aesthetic, I don't post it — here's what we try to stick to with our client, Icebox Cafe in Miami: their brand is light and bright, so we keep their IG that way.
I'll have a follow-up post soon with suggestions for Instagram photo types that perform best! Stay tuned.