There's a bit of a love-hate relationship with Instagram at the moment within the blogging community. That sneaky little algorithm that we all despise so much is making it harder and harder for 'grammers, especially the smaller ones, to get their content out there. Nevertheless, we all continue to perserver and accounts are becoming glossier by the day – think white washed themes, professionally shot OOTD's and beautifully styled editorial content.
I try not to get too bogged down with worrying about the nitty gritty of the 'gram. Trying to stick to a strict theme is not only restrictive but also repressing of your creativity, however if you're a bit of a perfectionist like me then there is a temptation to agonise over ensuring those little squares all slot together like a very sexy game of Jenga. There are a few apps (or tricks!) I use to make life easier for myself, making more time for naps and Gilmore Girls.
4 Tips & Tricks for Upping Your 'Gram Game
1. PLAN AHEAD
Planning ahead means that you'll never run out of content to post and you can allow your inner crazed perfectionist to roam free and get that grid looking flawless – a bit like an Instagram Monica. I use the app 'Mosaico' to move my pictures around and work out what I like where, as well as make life a bit easier for future-me (and I am ALL about making life easier for future me) so that I never have that weird 'but what do I post?' panic.
A word of warning: don't lose sleep over making everything look absolutely brand-spanking perfect, some of the best accounts are creative, fun and have that lovely sense of spontaneity. By all means plan ahead, but don't feel you can't upload that cheeky selfie you just snapped or go back to the 'insta' roots and literally post a snap of your coffee before you've even finished sipping it's milky foam. Mad, I know.
2. THE ULTIMATE HASHTAG HACK
Okay, not an app, but this little trick saves me SO much time. In the iPhone keyboard settings (I'm afraid I'm not sure for other models) you can use the text replacement function to create shortcuts for different themes of hashtag. Think about the kind of categories of images you usually post and then carefully pick a handful of hashtags – for example I've got a go-to set for travel, lifestyle, fashion and London. I then add on a few that are relevant to the image or location and that's it – job done! Just be careful that you're not spamming irrelevant categories or over-using the same tags!
Settings > General > Keyboard > Text Replacement
3. POST AT KEY ENGAGEMENT TIMES
Gone are the days of carelessly chucking a quick selfie up at 3:22pm. Checking when your followers are most likely to be in engaged can be really important when you feel like you're struggling with your reach. Like with everything, try not to overthink it too much, but having an idea of when might work best for your account can be really helpful. Usually I just rely on the Instagram insights and my own common sense – I think about when I'm usually online (all day, lol) and when people are most likely to be having a little scroll, such as first thing in the morning or on the train home from work. However, if you don't have a business account then there are some apps that will track your analytics for you! I downloaded Prime, which tells you to the minute (dramatic!) when you should post each day and compared it to Insta insights and hey! It's pretty accurate.
4. MAKE YOUR STORIES POPPING
If you've got that lovely little 'swipe up' function then Insta stories can be a fabulous traffic source for your blog, and even if you don't, making your stories as visually engaging as the rest of your feed can really help to make you look and feel extra swanky. Everyone's favourite graphic design app for dummies, Canva, even has a 'story' template which is the perfect size and allows you to use a photo
and overlay it with pretty typography.