I hold my hands up. I am an Instagram addict, it’s where I live online and it is almost impossible not to fall in love with all the wonderful images of our beautiful world right at your fingertips. It is a haven for creatives to learn, find inspiration and to grow. Unfortunately, most people are doing it wrong. I am not talking about people trying to grab the perfect moment or the ridiculous argument that people are only living their life online. It’s 2017, it’s how we consume content and that is not going to change anytime soon. Instagram is much more than a medium to share photos on - it's an extension of our identities. I do not have the biggest following in the world on Instagram but what I do have is an engaged audience who appreciates the effort I put into my content. You combine it with my blog and mail blasts and it helps me get a lot of paid content and sees my website get 1000’s of hits a month directly from social media. This helps me get featured a lot by high level accounts and is why I will be focusing on Instagram as my main social media both in a personal and professional sense.

People are free to do whatever they want on their social media, that is their privilege. My problem is with the amount of people who are simply doing Instagram wrong. From those who use Snapchat as their primary camera when most smartphones now have strong professional-ish level cameras if used properly to those who make the cardinal sin of liking their own photos. Seriously, what is wrong with you? You fucking weirdo.

Some people still don’t get how it works. They will post 8 comparable photos in a row (immediate unfollow) or over filter every picture to a depressing degree. Some simply don’t know how to take decent photos or don’t care. If you are interested in this at all (which I think you are because you have read this far), I hope I can help. For the few people that don’t care about making new connections, business, inspiration, or simply sharing their world with the world - this post is not for you. But recently I have been getting asked a lot about how people can visually help their Instagram feed to attract new followers, engagement or the like. So, from what I gather, here are some rules you should follow if you are going to improve that Instagame.

1. You Do You.

This is straightforward and it’s not a bad idea to apply this piece of advice everywhere in your life. Inject some personality and variety into it. If you are going to post the same stuff repeatedly, you are obviously not familiar with Einstein’s theory of insanity. Go places, explore angles and lighting. I know you got that order from Boohoo and it needs to be seen but does the world really need another photo of you and your girlies lined up hands on hips? Be better than that. Be better than Boohoo. On the opposite gender scale, lads have a bigger problem which most of the time, is a lack of content. Look we all know every man everywhere creeps on Instagram as we try our best not to double tap from way back but it’s a lot worse when you have no content on your own profile. You are pretty much announcing to the world that you are a creep. Seriously, post some stuff man. There is nothing worse than being boring.

2. Filter Felicia.

I don’t understand the whole #nofilter thing. Why has this become something to brag about? Filters are your friend and make the world a better place. The turn average content into something much better so if you are going to be grabbing some scenery imagery, do yourself a favour and filter it up. There are literally hundreds of high-end apps for editing photos but for most people, Instagram’s own tools will suffice. If you are to utilise one tool, make sure it is the structure tool. It is the one tool that will make your imagery "pop" off the screen, especially when it comes to landscapes, scenery, etc just be careful using it when it comes to faces or those 10 years on the sunbeds will show up. Please don’t also over filter, I am looking at the people who tune the saturation up to 100 and if you must ask what that is, delete the app and go back to MySpace.

3. What’s your thing?

Most people reading this will have either arrived from Instagram or Snapchat so will know what my usual move for one of my photos is. Line up the shot, get the angle right, square the shoulders and shoot. There are a few reasons for this:

A. I like obscure scenery but you need to stand out in this world of beautiful imagery. Including people in your photos is a good way to add a point of interest to your shots where otherwise there may not be one. This can be especially pleasing to the composition when you have a scene where the colours and patterns are very similar (for example the desert or water). By adding a person to the frame, it helps break the repetition and makes for a much more rounded editing process.

B. Having a "thing" quickly helps you develop a personality beyond your photos which is useful from a marketing point of view when everyone’s attention span is about 4 seconds. Studies have also shown that shots with people in the frame receive 78% more interaction than those without. It also helps me use photos for this blog that would otherwise not be as powerful.

C. Boulders For Shoulders. Moving on.

Overall, my point is to just be different. Develop your own "thing" and go with it (Just remember it’s ok if boring people try and steal your thing).

4. Actual Useful Tips

Don’t use Snapchat for taking photos that will end up on Instagram. Use the proper camera in HDR mode on your phone.
If you are unfamiliar with high end editing software, download the VSCO app for editing photos.
Tag accounts on your images (i.e. @WanderIreland, @Asos etc) to get featured if you want to grow organically.
The editing tools on Instagram are much better than the standard filters. Use those instead.
Google "How to take a good photo with your phone"
Mix it up. Variety is the spice of life.
Be a hot girl. Instagram and probably life is much easier.
Don’t post too much. 1-3 times a day is a good guide.
Get creative or descriptive with what you want to say.
If you are a business/public figure use the business settings on Instagram to get access to the insights.
Repeat. Don’t like your own photos. It’s pathetic.

5. Ignore this article

Instagram is an expression of who you are as an individual so please feel free to disregard everything you just read. You want to post 17 selfies in a row, go ahead and do it but if you are serious about growing your account and actually gaining some ROI from it, I hope you found this article useful. If not, just remember for most people Instagram is just a way of feeling better about themselves and to pick holiday destinations. At the end of the day, nobody really cares about your Instagram anyway so do whatever you want. Later nerds.

Aidan out.

You can find me on Instagram at: @aidan_avalanche. Feel free to follow me and complain over there! :)