Have you ever found yourself scrolling through Instagram and just wondering, how do these accounts have so many followers, likes, comments, etc.? I know I have, which led me to delve a little deeper into what makes these Instagrammers so successful & what makes an Instagram account stand out.
There are always exceptions to any rule, but these 8 golden nuggets that I’m going to share with you today are what sets the viral Instagrammers apart from the rest.
I’ve used all of these guidelines to grow our co-heads of canine affairs Instagram account, Zuri & Mischa, past 20k followers with a very engaged audience. We’ve been a little bit unfortunate in the fact that our Husky, Mischa, has seemingly let all this Insta-fame go straight to her head, whilst Zuri has remained firmly grounded through it all… Nothing beats a stick after all. 😉
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This is just one of the accounts & niches we’ve successfully implemented these 8 golden nuggets on. Travel, comedy, entrepreneurship, gardening, fitness, and a couple more show that regardless of your niche, by implementing these tips your accounts will gather the attention they truly deserve!
What makes an Instagram Account Standout? …and how yours can too!
Always use high-quality images.
High-quality images are so important when it comes to posting to Instagram. I personally think you should always use high-quality images across all social networks, but there are moments when a little less quality can get your message across well on Facebook or Twitter… This is Instagram though, a visual platform built on images. Users (i.e. your future followers) come to Instagram to dive into beautiful & high-quality images and if you cannot provide them with that, they’re going to find someone else that can.
- Make sure the images you upload are at least 1080 x 1080 pixels, so they show up crisp on mobile & desktop devices.
- Create graphics using Canva. Or make sure the application you’re using will output your images in at least 1080 x 1080 pixels.
- Avoiding zooming into images too much & when taking photos with a smartphone, try and get closer to the subject rather than using the digital zoom.
Post regularly & consistently.
For all social media platforms, whether it’s YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. Regularity & consistency is key. For one, a lot of the algorithms favor users that post regularly. Your followers will then also know when to expect something new from you, which incentives them to also follow you!
Instagram updated its feed quite a while back. Before it was quite easy to get yourself in front of your followers, as the feed would show chronological order. Now though, quality & consistency is what gets you onto user’s feeds.
Instagram’s algorithm favors relationships, this means that the more a user likes your images, the more often your posts will be shown to them… and the better your images will perform in hashtag rankings & on the discovery page!
Consistency comes into play now too though. Instagram likes new content, it’s very rare for an image older than a week to show up in someone’s home feed, or anywhere close to the discovery & hashtag pages.
- Post at least 3 times a week, preferably once a day if you have enough engaging content for that schedule.
- Stay consistent with your posting times, find out when your audience is most active & post then. (Look at your Insights to see when you have the highest engagement times)
The easiest way to stick to a schedule and be consistent on Instagram is to use a scheduling tool.
There are many available, but I use and recommend Tailwind.
Schedule posts and VIDEOS automatically, at the correct times, when your audience is active. Make use of the intelligent hashtag finder to get your posts in front of more eyes, and you can even hide your hashtags on scheduled posts now. Tailwind is an official Instagram partner, so you know that all of its awesome features are fully Instagram compliant (unlike some dodgy services you may find online).
Best yet, you can try Tailwind for free.
Schedule up to 30 posts on Instagram with a free trial and make use of all of the features I’ve mentioned and more. Free really does mean free, no credit card required.
Focus on a specific topic & stick to it!
Consistency is not just about what time and how often you post. It’s also about what type of images you post and what’s in the images. If you focus on food and food-related images, your audience is probably not going to be very interested in seeing your safari photos or your selfie skills. It may not seem like such a big deal if one of your images doesn’t get as much engagement as usual, but it can be damaging in the long run.
As I mentioned already though, Instagram loves seeing consistency and favors relationships between accounts. So, if you post something completely off-topic, you’re going to be souring your relationship with your main audience which most likely won’t like, comment or share that post.
The real problem comes the next time you do post something on-topic, however. Instagram may not push it to as many of your followers as usual and your engagement will drop… bad engagement = no discovery, hashtag rankings & no growth. ☹
- Find your niche or a topic your account is going to focus on and stick with it. If you’re a brand or a business, stick with something in your niche.
- If you want to post something off-topic, post it to your personal account.
Create a themed profile.
Do you know what set’s many successful accounts apart? They all have created a theme within their profile. Their images are uniquely theirs and you can tell it’s one of their images without even having to read their captions.
Themes could be implemented in a number of ways. They all serve the same purpose of unifying images to a specific account, however.
Some of the common ways you can create a theme are by;
- Utilizing a specific color in your images or using the same presets/filters.
- Using a specific object, pose, person, etc. throughout your images.
- Including a border or an element that is consistent throughout your images.
- Sticking with one or 2 fonts.
- Using templates, etc.
Blogger Coralie, from @ellesenparlent, does a beautiful job of unifying her mixed feed by only posting images that contain orange in them as you can see below. This makes her feed instantly recognizable to her many followers.
Use vertical images as much as possible.
If you think about a typical Instagram image, you’re probably going to have the image of a square in your mind. Square images are what Instagram started out with and still do well on the platform. A great way to get more attention to your images, however, is to simply take up more of the user’s screen!
You can do this by posting vertical images of 1080 x 1350 pixels instead of the typical square images. Pay attention to the middle of the image, however, as it will be cropped to a square in the grid view of your profile.
There are of course exceptions to this one, and you can mix it up, but square and vertical images perform much better than horizontal images in general, as the images appear bigger.
- Stick to 1080 x 1350 pixels images to take up the most screen space.
- If you do post horizontal images, try mixing it up. Splitting them into 3 vertical images and then post them as a carousel together. Or post them individually in the correct order so that they appear across your profiles grid as one image.
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Keep your audience engaged with Instagram Stories.
Instagram Stories is a great way to keep yourself in the mind of your audience. By creating regular content and posting a look behind the scenes, as well as content that can only be seen on Instagram Stories. By posting these special extras to your story, you’re giving potential followers and your current followers an extra incentive to keep up with what you’re doing and to engage with your posts.
- Let your followers know when you’ve posted something new by reminding them by using your Story.
- Unlike regular posts, you can go wild with Instagram stories. Plenty of successful accounts post up to 10 times a day to their stories …and some even more!
- Behind the scenes, unique specials, extra content that may not quite fit with your Instagram theme all do well in Instagram’s Stories.
Select a profile picture that’s clear & represents you or your account accurately.
Your profile picture is often one of the first things people see they stumble upon your account. Whether it’s through a comment, their following feed, or even the discovery page. By posting high quality and clear image that shows what you’re about or your account, you’ll immediately be getting off on the right foot with any potential new followers. Clickbait profile pictures and bland logos generally don’t do as well as clear and visually descriptive images.
- Use a good quality image without a lot of negative space.
- If using a logo, make sure it’s clear and to the point. There’s no need for catch-phrases, mottos, etc. They’re too small to read anyway.
What’s the best way to get people to notice you? By putting yourself out there! And it’s the very same for Instagram. Instead of hitting the local café’s and mingling with like-minded people, with Instagram you’re going to get active within your niche.
Like, comment and engage with other users in your audience. Leave thoughtful and well-written comments. No-one wants to deal with a spammer, and Instagrammers can tell them from a mile away! By leaving well-written comments and engaging within your community, you’re effectively putting your account in front of a very targeted audience. Anyone that follows you or engages with you from those links are going to be highly interested in what you have to offer and the original poster may even return the favor by checking out your feed.
It’s not just about likes & comments though! Check out which big accounts in your niche reshare User Generated Content (UGC). By including their hashtags, you can get their attention and they may repost your image (with a link to your account!).
- Write thoughtful comments on relevant images and engage within your community.
- Look for larger accounts that use UGC and include their Hashtag in your posts to get a reshare.
These are 8 best practices and guidelines to follow to make your Instagram account stand out.
If you’re interested in growing your Instagram account, I’ve put together a free 7-day Instagram course that covers everything from making the perfect first impression with a great profile, getting a windfall in engagement through targeted strategies, all the way to monetizing your Instagram and turning it into a profitable & passive source of income for years to come.
What makes an Instagram Account Standout – Summary
- Always use high-quality images.
- Post regularly & consistently.
- Focus on a specific topic & stick to it!
- Create a themed profile.
- Use vertical images as much as possible.
- Keep your audience engaged with Instagram Stories.
- Use a clear and representative Profile Picture.
- Get active!
- Sign up for your Free 7-day Instagram online course today!
If you enjoyed this article, share it with someone that may also find it useful. 😊
As always, if you have any Instagram related questions, leave them down below in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them. 😊