Up Your Instagram Game
A few simple tips to take your 'gramming to the next level.
The stakes have been raised. Here's how to clean up your feed in 2017.
Here are some truths that we now know. Social media has connected us all in a way that is unlike anything we've had before. But according to scientific data, it's also responsible for making us miserable at times. And that's because the stakes have been substantially raised over the years. A shot of the airplane's wing over some fluffy coulds no longer gets you likes. You've got be dangling out of a helicopter, preferably wearing a pair of just-released limited-edition sneakers. Or at least that's what it can feel like. Which is why so many of us are trying a bit too hard when it comes to our "personal brands" on social media. But it's not a comepetition. As your mother told you time and again, just be yourself. Here are ten things to be on the lookout for.
As the selfie took on a bad reputation and Instagram models took off, we started seeing more and of these contrived and manufactured "in-the-moment" shots. You know them when you see them. The perfect framing, the clothing styled just so ... it's meant to look as though a mysterious photographer just happened to catch you sitting by yourself, gazing at the sun setting over Joshua Tree or perhaps enjoying a refreshing post-beach shower. When in reality, you had to convince your partner to snap several dozen photos from multiple angles before you were finally satisfied.
We get it. They're funny and can communicate an idea in a succinct, visual way. But there's always one person who uses them—whether it's necessary or not. Or you're left wondering why they wrote out a sentence and put it in emoji form as well. Use them sparingly so the little guys retain their punch.
Maybe it's an image of you looking yoked in the gym's mirror or a shirtless locker room photo of you flexing. Maybe it's a check-in at the gym with a modern-day fitness mantra like "Eat. Sleep. Gym. Repeat." The point is, why are you sharing an image of your Sunday night food prep with a tagline like "eat clean and train dirty?" Is it really to motivate people? If you want to document your progress, that's fine. Either keep it private or when you do share it, do so with a dash of self-deprecation. That way, we can all appreciate it.
Don't spend time posting (and boasting) about unplugging. The post reads, "Stepping away for a little bit. Time for some real world connection." But what it sounds like is "I'm really gonna do it. I'm deleting my profile for some tranquility and I'm not saying that I'm better than you, but let's face it, you're reading this and I'm off meditating somewhere." And then, inevitably, you come back, right? So just back off from posting, like ghosting from a party and enjoy the detachment. Then come back when you're ready without the fanfare.
Social media has certainly been blamed for a lot of FOMO. Which is perhaps why so many of us feel like we've got to jump onto the latest app. Are you obligated to try each and every social media that launches? No, not at all. Don't be afraid to try the ones you think you might enjoy. You might find one that's meaningful or useful. But you don't have to waste time editing, updating, posting, tagging and whatever else these things demand of you just to keep up. Because, like anything, if you're just going through the motions, you'll never get the results you want. And your friends and followers don't want a bunch of repeats while they check various apps.
Social media is casual, but nothing ruins the point you're trying to make by misspelling a crucial word. Especially if you're tweeting some serious point or sharing an article (in hopes of getting that one relative to wake up and look at facts). A spelling error makes you look sloppy, or worse, stupid.
Again, you know them as soon as you see them. When they're less about the person celebrating a birthday and more about their awesome, amazing and downright considerate friend who remembered to post a carefully chosen picture of themselves looking great (and the birthday boy looking less so). And for some reason, there's often way too many hashtags with these posts too.
If you go on a fantastic trip somewhere gorgeous and exotic, by all means, share some of the beauty and post away. But when you get back, don't let a few weeks go by and start sharing #TBTs or #FBFs of your feet in the sand or your girl splashing through the surf. "I wanna go back," you'll post. Of course you do. We all do. But this just isn't cool bro.
If you have too much to say in one tweet, then follow it up with a secondary tweet. Maybe even a third. It happens. And it speaks to the limitations of the format. But consider the medium with which you're communicating. No one came to Twitter to read a 13-part dissertation, dude.
Unless you're an #influencer thanking a brand for sending you free shoes (#sponsored #ad #FTCdontcomeafterme), you don't really need to tag the brands of what you're wearing in your photos. Want to share a pic of your new kicks? That's cool. But there's no need to caption the photo of the new sneakers you just bought with a some praying hands emoji and a "thanks @Adidas!" Unless you were paid to do it, that is.
Not all of your Instagram pics are winners, and the Gram knows it. So the company has started rolling out the ability to hide published photos, keeping them tucked away in a private "archive" section of your profile that only you can view.