Instagram for beginners: my 10 tips for getting started

Instagram for beginners: my 10 tips for getting started

If there’s one thing I couldn’t do without from the social media world – besides my blog – it’s definitely Instagram. Facebook? No problem! Twitter? I don’t really need it! But Instagram? Never! I love how the little app encourages me to discover the beauty in everyday life and also enriches my travels.

-> Are you already following me on Instagram? Go to my profile here!

But you don’t have to be a blogger to be on Instagram. Especially for travelers without their own blog, it’s a great way to share with like-minded people, keep friends and family at home up to date and get attention for their own beloved travel snapshots. After all, shared joy is still the most beautiful joy!

Are you still quite new on Instagram and wondering how to get followers there and if there is a secret recipe for successfully building an Instagram channel?

Or you just want to reach a few more people and discover great other Instagrammers?

Then you’ve come to the right place. Because everyone has a start and I’ve put together my beginner tips for a successful start on Instagram.

Psst, more tips for Instagram:

  • My photo equipment on travel& 10 travel photography tips
  • Take great travel photos with selfies and co of yourself
  • Instagram for beginners: the coolest Instagram hashtags
  • Using Instagram as a travel guide

1. What is success on Instagram anyway?

Admittedly, there are significantly more successful Instagram accounts than mine. But is success defined purely by a huge number of followers? I think: The pure number is not everything! The most important thing about Instagram is that you have fun, you get to express your creativity and most importantly, you get to interact with other Instagrammers.

And that is worth much more than all the followers in the world.

I’d rather have 10.000 followers interacting with me than 100.000 of whom I don’t see more than a like from time to time – if that. In that case, I might as well just make 100.Buy 000 followers. It’s cheap, but completely misses the point of the platform. Or not?

2. Get inspired

The first thing you should do before uploading that first photo is to get inspired. Maybe check out blogs you like to read, or browse hashtags you think are cool (more on that in a moment), or search Instagram’s blog for inspiring profiles to follow. Look at what they post and watch how they interact. I also always get some inspiration from the greats.

-> Feel free to check me out for inspiration: SunandClouds

3. Smartphone or camera? The mix makes the difference!

I know: I used to be terribly against people uploading their camera pictures to Instagram myself. After resisting it for years, I decided a good half year ago to no longer participate in the #Smartphoneonly To note. Because isn’t it totally crazy that I regularly buy a new iPhone, just so that the camera for Instagram takes better pictures without ever coming close to the quality of my DSLR? Or taking a picture twice – once with my phone for Instagram and once with my DSLR? Or that I’m depriving you of pictures on Instagram that I love – just because I didn’t shoot a counterpart on my phone?

Again expect the camera images have influenced my Instagram development only positive. My follower numbers are developing better than ever and I can’t complain about the algorithm problems with decreasing reach either. So my tip: follow a mixed strategy like me – post live from your phone and your favorites from your camera. Because at the end of the day, it’s good pictures that count – whether taken with a phone or a camera.

4. Colorful, colorful, colorful are all my filters. NOT.

Even if the filters belong to Instagram, like the ketchup to the fries, the principle applies: Only a good photo, becomes a good Instagram. A bad image does not get better even by the wild use of filters. I guess pretty much every Instagrammer goes through a "discovery phase" in which they experiment wildly with all kinds of filters. The result: your own Instagram feed resembles a wild chaos of colors. Don’t make this mistake too!

My little rule of thumb: the further you scroll to the right in the possible filters the more abstruse the result becomes. I eventually settled on three filters that I use: Lark, Juno and Gingham – but only ever at 10-20 percent intensity. Tip: You can reduce the intensity of the filters by double clicking on the corresponding filter. Often I even switched to not using filters at all and just edit my pictures with Lightroom or VSCO-Cam (my favorite filter: A6).

And one more piece of well-intentioned advice: stay away from the HDR (100 lux) button!

5. Bye bye square?! Hello Portrait!

For a long time, you could only post square images on Instagram (unless you used an app that added white frames). Today you can post any image format from landscape to portrait. And although I continue to post a lot of square images, I have quite taken a liking to the portrait format / upright (max. 4:5 possible) found. Because they are displayed especially nice and big in the feed and are therefore also more noticeable for your followers when scrolling through them.

My favorite travel memories of 2016? Exploring the stunning coast of south England (for the first time) was definetly one of them! And it proves again: Sometimes you don’t have to travel far to experience an epic adventure! ?✈️? #ontheedge #greatbritain #ppfirsttime #bestof2016

A photo posted by Jana | German Travel Blogger (@sonneundwolken) on 30. Dec 2016 at 11:50 am

I would advise against pictures in landscape format, because they are lost in the small width of the feed and hardly come into their own.

6. More followers on Instagram? This is how you build a community!

What good are the best pictures if no one sees them? I guess this is the main reason why many people leave the platform after two or three pictures. Or maybe why you came across this post here.

Unfortunately, there is no secret recipe for community building on Instagram either, except patience and interaction.

Therefore: Like and comment (sensible!!) Pictures of other Instagramern, which you follow or whose profile you like. Especially if you want strangers to visit your profile and in the best case even subscribe to it, it’s important to leave qualitative comments there.

Feel free to look for photos with the same geotag (location) as your current destination and share with the corresponding users. I for example try to link especially with Instagramern from my home the Harz or upcoming and past travel destinations and search specifically for appropriate profiles. Positive side effect: You get great inspiration for destinations and photo spots along the way.

English or German?

Speaking of commenting: The Instagram language is and will remain English. This is also the reason why I decided to keep Instagram as some platform in English. You just reach more people and it’s great to share with people from all over the world. This would not work if I would write only in German.

For me Instagram is not just another social media channel for my blog but an independent platform!

7. Hashtags, but useful

Most new followers will surely become aware of you through the use of hashtags. Especially since the introduction of the most popular posts on the hashtag page, the own pictures with meaningful hashtags get the chance of a much higher reach.

Instagram allows each photo to be tagged with 30 keywords. I always write these in an extra comment below the photo and not in the original post. Because nothing is uglier than a cloud of keywords instead of a proper caption with maybe one or two selected hashtags that are directly related to the image. By the way, this should also be the case for every other of the maximum 30 hashtags. I use the Instatag tool to manage my tags. Here I can enter my favorite keywords, can search for popular hashtags based on location and also find a few suggestions for the image subject.

What doesn’t work at all in my opinion are wrong hashtags on the picture – so #sunset to a picture in the middle of the day. Also unpromising are general hashtag classics #instagoog #photooftheday #tagsforlikes and Co. With thousands of images shared daily with these keywords, I’m sure no one will stray to you of all people.

-> Here goes to mine Tips for cool Instagram hashtags!

8. Instagram routine: when and what to post?

Instagram is changing. And with the introduction of Instagram Stories, Instagram is catering to another trend. Because the app has long since ceased to be a platform for posting everyday snapshots, but rather an image gallery with the most beautiful photos that might otherwise gather dust on old hard drives. For those on-the-go snapshots, we now have Stories. Only the best pictures go into the feed. And that’s a good thing. After all, it’s not every day that you’re traveling or taking beautiful photos.

Even though I’ve read that for larger accounts, channel growth is greatest when you upload images multiple times a day, I’ve settled into posting an image every day. And mostly in the evening between 6 and 9 p.m. Landscape photos get better feedback than city photos or even food photos. At least that’s the case for me – but of course it varies individually depending on the theme.

It’s also important: followers like to see more of the person behind the pictures. For example, I’ve found that pictures that also feature me go down better with me.

9. Instagram Challanges& Features

Another great way to share with Instagrammers and, in the best case, gain a few new followers are Instagram Challenges. Instagram itself calls every weekend a new Weekendchallange, which take place every week under a different motto. Even if your own picture isn’t featured on your Instagram account, many Instagrammers click through the most beautiful submissions themselves, and maybe one or two of them will stick to their own profile. Also, participating in such Instagram promotions certainly can’t hurt to possibly end up on the mysterious Suggested User List (i.e. Instagram’s recommendation list) one day.

There are exciting photos to discover in the Instagram community every day. Every week we publish some of our favorite pictures to share these special beautiful moments with you. Use the hashtag #theweekoninstagram to nominate your images for the weekly selection. Congratulations @daniel_ernst, @sebnero and @sonneundwolken. Photo by @sonneundwolken

A post shared by Instagram in German (@instagramde) on 21. Jan 2017 at 9:02 am

#GoodMorning – good mood! Have a wonderful week. Photo: @sunandclouds photographed by @vaeneat

A post shared by Instagram in German (@instagramde) on 10. Apr 2017 at 2:24 am

Also a great option are accounts, like @Munichandthemountains or @Passionpassport and co who regularly feature Instagrams with the appropriate hashtags. Both accounts have also shared pictures of me, which has also earned me a follower or two.

10. Develop your own style

Perhaps the hardest challenge on the way to becoming an Instagram pro is finding your own style and staying true to it. As different as my interests, as different was also my Instagram account. However, after a long period of experimentation, I have slowly found my style – both in image editing (especially) and in the selection of motifs. For a long time I always thought that I do this rather badly than well, until a blogger friend told me that she already sees in her feed at first glance whether a picture is from me. Maybe you are just too critical with yourself there!

Nerd tip: Get order in your Instagram feed

But it is very important to me (and I hardly know any compromises) that the pictures also look good in the overview and fit together. Because the short look at the profile is decisive, whether a new visitor deals more closely with the own pictures or even subscribes.

I’ve found a pretty cool strategy there: I use the Instagram app "Layout" to do this. With it, you can actually create collages. But I use it (the last view with nine square images – so the same view as your Instagram page) to insert my previous Instagram images to then see which one is best suited next. So, if you want, you can even plan the whole week a little bit in advance.

But honestly, sometimes you can throw all the well-intentioned advice a little out the window and try something new. Because with all the questions about success and reach, the most important thing is not to lose the fun and creativity, right?? And that includes uploading a picture that you delete afterwards because you don’t really like it or it doesn’t fit with the other pictures in the feed view. But that’s the way it is with "success": it’s often a process of trial and error, and that’s just as well.

Even more tips?

  • Read also part 2 10 accessories to spice up your Instagram feed
  • and 3 The coolest Instagram hashtags
  • Or check out my tips on how you can beautiful travel photos z.B. With selfies You can make of yourself
  • Anita recently published her Instagram success secret on the blog.
  • Probably the biggest fund of concentrated Instagram knowledge can be found at Heike von Koln Format.
  • You also want to promote your Facebook page? Then take a look at Laura’s 8 tips for your page!
  • And definitely check out my profile @Sonneundwolken and say hello!

What are your Instagram tips? Do you have any additions? Tell me in the comments!

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