Colorful photographs, particularly those that are largely drenched in blue, receive the most likes on Instagram, according to data. However, attracting and engaging a loyal audience on one of the world’s most prominent photo-sharing networks requires more than a saturation slider. So we turned to some of the top Instagrammers, including fashion editors Laura Brown of Harper’s Bazaar, Christene Barberich of Refinery29, and Danielle Prescod of InStyle, as well as a few other industry insiders, to learn their tips for creating Instagram accounts worth following. Continue reading for their advice.
Harper’s Bazaar executive editor Laura Brown
Laura Brown, whose buy instagram followers are so hilarious and self-deprecating that you can’t help but pardon her enviable life and profession, argues that if you want to develop a real presence on Instagram, you must first and foremost “be yourself.” “You can tell when someone is trying to hide their true identity.” She also urges aspiring Instagram stars to “post often so you develop a rhythm” and to “think like an editor” – that is, don’t share too many images of the same thing at once. “I’m mindful of having a specific rhythm and tone to my posts,” she adds. “If I post two images of myself in a day, I stay away from’me’ for the next couple of days.” Also, refrain from using too many hashtags. “The amount of hashtags in an Instagram equals the amount of medication the poster should be on, according to a joke I heard.”
Refinery29 co-founder and worldwide editor-in-chief Christene Barberich
I admit that I check Christene Barberich’s Instagram a few times a week because it’s a never-ending source of styling ideas and guidance. Barberich, like Brown, encourages consistency: “Showing consistency in everything from your posting pace to the overall aesthetic ‘theme’ of your stream helps people gain a sense of who you are and connect with your point of view. It took me about a year to establish my Instagram rhythm, but after paying close attention to what those early followers were connecting with and responding to the most, I noticed some patterns that really spoke to my voice and what I love.” Because the majority of her followers are on the East Coast, she posts just before or after work hours, and just before they go to bed around 10 or 11 p.m.
Craig Arend is a fashion consultant and photographer who works freelance.
Craig Arend is one of the Times’ regular street style photographers, documenting the finest of fashion week in both New York and Europe. If you follow the @nytimesfashion account, you’re already familiar with his work. Arend is down to earth when it comes to what it takes to grow an Instagram following: “Get shout-outs from accounts with higher followings,” he advises. “Make in-person connections with those who have larger accounts. People enjoy yelling out their pals, especially now since fashion is so tribal.” He also recommends paying $2.43/month for Iconsquare.com’s analytics tool, which determines the ideal times to publish on your specific account. And never, ever buy followers, commentators, or likes, he advises, because it won’t work out in the end, especially if you’re trying to monetise your feed.
Sweet’s senior fashion editor, Laurel Pantin
Over the past year, the 20,000+ Instagram followers of Laurel Pantin, the former style editor of Lucky magazine, have been able to escape to South Africa and then London via Pantin’s feed. She’s now back in New York, showing off her costumes, Dolly Parton throwbacks, and pizza-fueled work sessions in the Hearst Tower. Pantin, like Brown and Barberich, recommends users to be consistent in both the sort of material they share and when they post it. “Rather than being all over the place, it’s good for your followers to know what they can anticipate from you, and that they can expect frequent updates,” she explains. Also, don’t be overwhelmed by your feed’s brilliantly crafted photos. “I believe people respond positively to photographs and descriptions that aren’t overly manufactured or forced,” she explains. “Don’t try too hard to make things appear flawless or to be perfect; just be yourself. It’s great to just be your wonderful, odd self because there are so many individuals out there that nail ‘perfect.'”
Freelance writer John Jannuzzi
If you want to see what a consistently solid Instagram feed looks like, look no further than former GQ editor John Jannuzzi, whose elegantly shot and cheekily worded photos could easily be identified even without his name attached by his 38,000 followers. His advice to aspiring fans is straightforward: take good images. “There’s a lot of garbage out there,” he adds, adding that “Instagram is pretty much the home of nice-looking social stuff.” “You basically want to make the case that you’re going to give them something good in the feed when someone clicks to your profile because you were tagged somewhere or someone said to check it out.” Don’t be the person who begs for a follow in the comments — “it’s pretty odd,” he says — and link to your Instagram account from all of your other social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Jannuzzi, like many others, has the most luck posting in the mornings; he’s up earlier than most Americans, and his followers see his posts first thing when they check Instagram.
Chriselle Lim is a fashion stylist and blogger.
Chriselle Lim, the creator of “The Chriselle Factor,” a renowned blog and YouTube series, has one of those flawless Instagram accounts. She’s quite strategic about it, which is unsurprising. She advises those who want to grow their Instagram following to collaborate with others who are also trying to grow their following and cross-promote each other, use relevant hashtags and participate in trending subjects, learn to shoot good photographs, and edit those photos consistently. Lim says she’s had the most luck posting images of herself in bed or with coffee on Monday mornings. “Isn’t it true that everyone has a love/hate relationship with Mondays?”
Allure’s digital beauty editor, Kristie Dash
“Find your voice, stay true to it, and wait for the following to come.” So says Kristie Dash, who originally caught our attention as Eva Chen’s assistant at Lucky with her unique images and amusing comments (and frequent snippets of her lovely long hair). “Consider this: if you walk down the rabbit hole of Instagram stalking and come across a fresh account that appears deserving of your attention, what is it about that account that makes you say yes? I’ll follow someone or a brand if they have a distinct voice that looks related to my interests and the photographs are interesting. There isn’t a complicated algorithm.” This is sound advice. Dash also suggests publishing at least once, if not twice or three times every day. “The more you post, the more likely you are to connect with a new follower.” The greatest captions are short, sweet, and hilarious — “perhaps because people are lazy and don’t want to read paragraphs” — but there are exceptions to the norm.
One Management’s founder and president, Scott Lipps
Scott Lipps’ Instagram page is difficult to choose between the stunning New York City streets (with plenty of street art in the mix) and the attractive models signed to his agency, One Management, which have amassed over 95,000 followers to date. Lipps claims he’s had success publishing “a variety of different genres on my page,” ranging from travel to food to the aforementioned models, all of which have the ability to appeal to a large audience. He also recommends posting behind-the-scenes photographs of folks “the public doesn’t usually have access to” if you can get them. He also claims that images don’t have to be original to receive a lot of likes; his followers often respond positively to inspiring shots of people and locations that he re-posts from other feeds.
Model Bridget Malcolm
With looks like Bridget Malcolm’s (shown above left), it’s no surprise the Australian model has nearly 200,000 Instagram followers after walking the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in November. Users should “post consistently,” “make sure your photographs appeal to your target audience,” and “attempt to get in with people or brands who have significant followings,” according to her advice. Use hashtags, but don’t overdo it. Malcolm claims that images that are a touch more honest get her the best responses. “Even though they have filters, people like to see glimpses of your human side! To me, that is the essence of social media.”