I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants to up my social media game in the new year. And when I say social media, I pretty much just mean Instagram. There's definitely several things I want to work on this year to improve my feed and follower base, so here's my list of 10 Instagram Resolutions for 2018, ranging from feed planning to photography experiments.
Audit your Instagram
Yep, we’re going full nerd here with an Instagram audit. Take a look at your feed: what’s working and what’s not? Where are you falling short, and what are you doing really well? I love this Instagram Audit Checklist from Studio Bicyclette which you can download for free. Doing an audit might seem super business-y but it’s already really helped me streamline and improve my feed.
Interact with the community
It can be tempting once you reach a comfy few thousand followers to sit back and just reply to comments on your own photographs. But why should you expect people to comment on your pictures if you’re not reaching out to those in your own community or niche? Not only is it a way of upping your own engagement and bringing traffic back to your feed, but seeking out and commenting on others’ posts is a nice way of starting some interesting conversations with interesting people.
Experiment with photography more
In November I started to realise my journal feed was getting very samey-samey, which sometimes is a great recipe if you have a certain visual style that your following can’t get enough of, but sometimes it just means you’ve stopped trying. My photography has always been good enough, but this year I want to find a way to expand my skills and develop creatively. This is why I’m now running two accounts instead of one: my journal Instagram and my personal photography account. I’ve been learning through Skillshare and Youtube, been collecting inspiration in secret Pinterest boards, and I’ve got a lot of ideas to go out and try now.
Use a feed planner
I don’t know why I shied away from this for so long. Perhaps I hadn’t found the right app yet. I started using the feed planner Unum recently and it’s so simple and clean, I end up spending more time staring at my planned feed than my actual one! Planning your feed is a great way to create a more cohesive look, and it also ensures you’re not coming up short when you need to post something.
Keep hashtags relevant
I have recently been practising the bad habit of pasting the same 30 hashtags into my captions, day in, day out. On my Instagram To Do List for this year is definitely source out some new hashtags, and keep them fresh. I’ve often found some photos do way better with just a few carefully-chosen tags rather than an exhaustive list of anything and everything I could think of. Plus, if you keep using the same hashtags for every post, there’s a chance that Instagram will shadow ban you, meaning you’re not going to show up on those hashtags anywhere.
Captivate with captions
I am SO BAD sometimes at writing captions, which is kind of ironic considering I have a Literature degree. But when I'm browsing, the photos I will always engage with most are the ones with longer captions that tell personal stories, rather than inspirational one-liners. If you tell a story, you open up a dialogue for your followers and passers-by to comment. Share your day, share a memory, just make it personal and make it interesting.
Dedicate time to shooting
If you want to post a picture every day, you've got to make sure you’re taking pictures nearly every day. I keep saying to myself that I’d go out and take pictures more often if I lived somewhere more picturesque... but I live in London, so there’s really no excuse, what with the wealth of street corners, bookstores, gardens and views. Maybe I'm just lazy! This year I am definitely going to step out of the house more often with camera in hand, as well as bring my smaller camera along with me to any and every occasion.
Respond to comments quicker
Responding to comments on your photos is Instagram etiquette 101, but I have definitely been guilty of replying to comments about a week or two after they were posted! Show your followers you care, and respond enthusiastically and promptly!
Now, these two are bonus resolutions, because they don’t apply to every feed. Here are two of my own creative goals for 2018!