I always get messages from people asking how they can increase their exposure on Instagram. Whether this is by getting more likes or comments but generally just how to go about this process of getting their work seen by more people.
Before I begin I want to make it clear I in no way believe I am an Instagram expert. These tips or pointers are not a sure fire way for you to become “Insta-Famous”, although saying that I don’t think it should really be something you aim for but if you are it doesn’t work overnight.
I believe if you utilize the tips below they will help any photographer amateur to professional increase the amount of exposure their image gets on Instagram. I’ve chosen not to use to word impression for a particular reason as I believe it is an inaccurate factor created by “Facebooks Instagram” in order to obtain more paid advertisements via brands and businesses. A high number of impressions is not what you should be looking to achieve, engagement is key…in both directions.
Increase Your Exposure on Instagram In Just 5 Steps
What is your niche
Before you can even begin to think about growth or how to increase exposure on Instagram, you must first determine your niche. When you’re creating or reformatting your channel you have to decide on the type of images you want to produce. This could be Portraits, Street photography, Fashion photography or Travel landscapes. Picking a style and sticking to it can be beneficial as people know what to expect when coming to your page, consistency is key.
What are your images trying to say
Once you have figured out your niche you have to determine what your images are trying to portray, this may seem like a slightly heavy-handed question but it’s actually quite simple. Many fashion or style accounts serve to update people on the latest trend, whilst many travel accounts serve to provide wanderlust or bucket list inspiration.
Remember to be unique, you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.
Photographs: Colours, images, and layout
You’ve done it! You’ve figured out exactly the type of account you want to be, you know exactly the type of images you want to post, now here’s where the real work begins to increase your exposure on Instagram.
Now you don’t need a professional camera to stand out but there are considerations you have to make before we move any further, how good are your images? if you’re in any way unsure read This before continuing.
When it comes to uploading a picture you have to consider everything from the colour to how the position of the image will affect the overall feel of your channel.
Images that are brighter and contain more blue tones are known to do more favourably on Instagram.
Applications like UNUM and Later work well in helping layout where you place your images. Common feed themes are the Rule of three: which display three alike photos in a row, Alternating frames: which see two horizontal white framed images surrounding a vertically framed image.
Probably the reason why most of you came to read this and potentially the most important. Hashtags are beyond KEY in ensuring you increase your exposure on Instagram alongside engagement but also to maintain growth.
Going back to Step 1 know your niche, if you don’t have this down your hashtags will be useless.
When deciding what hashtags to select and use for your images, know they are temporary. By this I mean, I tend to change my hashtags every few months, this is because my account may outgrow hashtags or hashtags might outgrow me (too much competition).
To determine what hashtags are best suited for your account you have to do the research. You have to see which hashtags are in the correct size range (i.e. How many people have used them), What sort of accounts are using them and lastly what engagement the Top 9 photos are receiving.
My recommendation: (Account size/Total amount of time tag used)
100-999: 1,000 to 50,000 Total Tag Use*
1k-4.9k: 3,000 to 100,000
5k-9.9k: 5,000 to 500,000
10k-29k: 15,000 to 800,000
30k-49k: 20,000 to 1 million
50k-99k: 50,000 to 1 million
100k+: 100,000 to 3 million
These will vary depending on engagement levels if your levels are lower or higher than expected adjust accordingly.
It’s good to select a range as you have a higher chance of becoming a top 9 photo for that particular hashtag and showing up as ‘recommended’ for similar accounts and those who are interested in your niche.
When it comes to deciding what tags to use, always select between 25-28 Tags. As I am unfamiliar with other niches other than travel, I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending any, however, I can tell you the system I use to determine my tags.
Find the most common/biggest tag i.e #BeautifulDestinations
As you can see its current usage is at 13mil+ which means many accounts will be tagging their pictures with it daily. This also means unless you’re already a big account receiving large amounts of engagements it’s highly unlikely your post will be seen by anyone.
Find the smaller more niche tag
By looking at the Top 9 posts, I aim to find the one that got there with the least amount of engagement. I then look at what hashtags that particular account used on that photo. Here you now have access to a new range of tags you may have never thought of and by reading/clicking through them, you can determine which ones will be of most use for you. These tags could hopefully be more relevant to you, fitting within the range I described above, and have Top9 photos similar to yours.
Once you’ve done all that, you can start using them! You’re on your way to increase your exposure on Instagram.
Should you or shouldn’t you tag ‘repost’ accounts? This is a tricky one as you should limit your expectations. I would say it’s worthwhile tagging these accounts in photos you truly believe will have a chance at being reposted, just remember even if they are your extended exposure will be limited to that day (dependent on the repost frequency). For example, I got reposted on an account with 9.7 Million followers, my reposted image gained over 130,000 likes but over the course of 24 hours I gained maybe 100 followers?
When it comes to how much to post or when to post this will all vary on your account size and audience. The more you begin to understand the latter the more likely you will increase your exposure on Instagram and experience account growth.
It helps to think about when people are most likely going to be on the app, it could be office workers on their lunch break between 1-3pm or people on their way home from work at 5-6pm or people at home in the evening flicking on their phones 7-10pm.
In order to maintain exposure, you have to keep up interactions not only with your followers but with the wider community of your potential audience. When I say interactions, I mean liking, commenting and direct messaging (when appropriate).
Take the initiative to gain insights into what your audience is doing, what type of images they are posting and what type they are usually engaging with. Remember this is social media, so be social. If someone takes the time to comment on your images try to respond either directly on your post on via message, this will make the other user feel more appreciated and could result in further post interactions potentially leading to higher follower exposure due to the Instagram algorithm.
Well, I hope you guys found this guide quick and easy to follow! Let me know below if you have any questions!
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