By Laia Cardona, on 23 September 2015
You want your brand to go far in Instagram? Have you created an account on this network for your company, but do not know how to get more followers? Need to enhance your personal brand? With these 5 tricks, the network with the most popular photographs in the world will no longer have secrets for you.
1) Focus Before Shooting
Good planning is half the battle, and Instagram is no exception. The first trick to take full advantage of this network is to ask yourself what exactly you want to achieve with it. In other words, why do you publish your photographs? What are your goals?
Many of the most popular Instagram accounts are focused on a particular topic or have a very distinctive style. Defining yourself will help to highlight and connect with your audience. Speaking of the audience, you should also have it very clear about who you are targeting to. Rather than thinking in terms of age or geographical location, Instagram works based "tribes": what things is your target audience passionate about and what can you offer them to follow you?
2) Take (great) photos
Although much has changed in the nearly five years since the birth of Instagram, the basic function of this network remains the same: sharing. Make sure yours stands out by following these tips:
- Plan your photographs. The details are very important to get the perfect image, so you must prepare in advance. You can even make a weekly or monthly planning of the pictures you are going to do and publish.
- Take many, many photos. One of the great secrets of good pictures is as simple as repeating until you get the image you want. Think of a professional photo session shooting hundreds of times to choose only a handful of final images. Your perseverance will be rewarded.
- Use natural light. This simple trick will make your photos look much better. In particular, when you do pictures of people, make sure your face is well lit. And don’t forget to tell them where the camera is!
- Apply the rule of the three thirds. This standard basic composition helps you to achieve more harmonious images. To apply, mentally divide your screen into three sections horizontally or vertically, so you get nine rectangles. Now, visualize the four central points of intersection of the lines: that is where you should place the main reason for interest in the image.
- Use the golden ratio. If you have mastered the three thirds to perfection, the next step is to apply the golden ratio. A spiral where the relationship between segments is exactly 1.618034; it is believed that this ratio is aesthetically pleasing because it mimics nature expresses this mathematical concept. Use it as a guide to achieve more attractive composition images.
- Do not forget the editing. Filters, cuts, frames ... will give your image the final touch to really attract attention.
3) Applications, your great allies
If you want to succeed in Instagram, you can (and should!) lean on some of the many applications specially designed to enhance your photos and make the most of this network:
- Camera Awesome. This app adds all kinds of features to turn your phone into a real professional camera: Shooting Modes guides composition (useful to apply the rule of the three thirds which we discussed above), face recognition, image editing ...
- Afterlight. A quick and easy tool to put your images on the master touch through adjustments, filters, textures and more editing.
- Facetune. This special editor for portraits and pictures like "selfie" is the number one application of photography and video in 127 countries. With its various editing tools, make your portraits show their best side is a breeze. Who needs makeup?
- PicMonkey.This complete online editor not only allows you to improve the look of your photos, but also add all kinds of effects, collages and even ride create your own greeting cards online.
- Iconosquare. The imperative to analyze your Instagram account and to adapt your strategy tool. Analytical lets you quickly see the number of "likes" for each image, the most popular pictures, comments statistics, graphics growth of followers and many more details.
4) Do not forget the text
Although the images are the main focus, well maintained accompanying texts will help you tell your story. You can ask yourself the description of each image as if it were a small blog: tells the story of the photograph, explains what's going on, ask your followers their opinion ... And of course, uses hashtags with everthing to increase your visibility.
5) Optimize the process
If you want to use Instagram in a professional manner, you need a good working method. We will recommend these five steps to take your efforts to the maximum:
- Plan. Think in advance what kind of pictures are going to publish and what elements need to make your photo.
- Create and edit your photos. If you organize with time, you can take all the images of a week at a time and leave them ready to post.
- Publish your photos. Try to take advantage of the busiest hours and days for Users: Sundays at 5 pm and Tuesday and Thursday between 8am and 9am, noon and between 5 and 6 pm.
- Promote your publication in other social networks. Sharing your photos on your Facebook page and your Twitter account that gives you a visual, will help you to attract new followers.
- Measure the results. To get better you need to know what works and what does not. From time to time, reserve a place to see the results of your actions on Instagram, analyze the data and continue debugging your strategy. Good luck!
By Judit Pan & Laia Cardona
Photo Flickr by Anil Chudasama and Brian Boucheron