The global tag starts below The Classic Brunette: How To Use Instagram Like A Pro

Thursday, April 14, 2016

How To Use Instagram Like A Pro

It feels like I've always been Instagram's biggest fan.  Since the moment I got the app, I've been snapping away at everything and anything remotely interesting in my life. When I started it was all about the grainy, super filtered pictures that no one cared about. I even posted a photo of a boiling pot of tea (seriously, scroll back to the beginning of my feed and check out how bad those photos are!), who was interested in that?!

Instagram has evolved so much over the years, and so has how people are using it. It's one of the leading social media platforms, and it's a great way to get yourself noticed if you have a good looking feed and an original look. If you did head back to the start of my feed, you'll notice that a lot has changed since those days of mirror selfies under the Lo-Fi filter. My pictures are a lot clearer, have a more defined purpose, and my captions aren't full of inside jokes with friends. I have a theme going, and everything flows nicely with one another. Go on, check out my profile for a minute to see what I'm saying, I'll wait. @samimast

I started doing some experimenting with Instagram tips and tricks, and learned which ones work, and which ones don't, so you don't have to! Over the week of Spring Break I went from 558 followers to 683! That's over 100 followers in one week! I don't know about you, but I was so excited when I saw that my efforts were really producing results. Since I'm back in school I haven't been doing all that I can to push my Instagram, but I'm still gaining at least a few new followers a day. Here are some tips that when used right, will help you be on your way to using Instagram like a pro. 

Perfect Your Theme

I know, I know. I hate the term too, and I think it's kind of irritating that there has to be a theme that goes with every single picture, but hey, it works. I'm not saying that you have to make every single picture the same, but they should all be edited similarly so that they flow and look nice next to one another. Take a look at my feed below for example. Most of my pictures have a white or light background with some pops of color. Occasionally I'll add in something different, like my central park picture in the top left, but I'll edit it the same as the other ones so it flows. 

Use Relevant Hashtags

Hashtags are such a bother, but they are really really really important. You're allowed 30 hashtags per comment, but I would highly advise putting them as the first comment on your picture and only putting a few in your actual caption! My process for finding relevant hashtags was pretty lengthy, but that's the right way to do it! I searched through other fashion and lifestyle blogger's feeds to see what they were using, and then followed a trail of popular hashtags on Instagram's search. I also read a lot of other blogger's posts on relevant hashtags to see if any were right for me. Here are a few of my favorites that I use #thesparklediaries, #itsawonderfulweekend, #collegebloggers #dailydoseofcolor, #flashesofdelight, #pursuepretty, #livecolorfully

Engage With Others

It's called Social Media for a reason! Be social on Instagram, simple as that. If someone comments on your photo, send them a reply, even if it's just a short "thanks!" Start commenting and liking other user's photos, but of course don't be spammy. I accidentally over did it one day over spring break when I didn't have anything better to do than try out these Instagram tips and they blocked me from posting for 24 hours...whoops! So don't make my mistake and get a little too comment/like friendly. Take 10-15 minutes every day to comment and like some pictures, you'll be surprised how much more engagement you'll get on your own profile!

Tag Relevant Users In Your Images

I constantly have different brand's items in my photos. Have a lipstick that you love? Take a photo of it, share it on Instagram, and tag the brand. Sometimes they might just love your picture enough to repost it! Any time you post anything that has something from a brand, make sure that brand is tagged just for that small chance. You never know what will happen.

Use Good Quality Images

Instagram is a visual platform, if people don't like what they see, they most likely aren't going to take an interest in your profile. Make sure your pictures are always crisp, clear, and not blurry or pixilated!

Post Consistently

It would be my dream to be able to post every day on Instagram. Well, that's a little over dramatic, but either way I would love to post every single day. For me that's not an option, so I try to post at least 5 times a week. If you're serious about growing your account, you can't post once every two weeks and hope something changes. I would recommend daily if you can, but at the bare minimum try to post 3x a week.

Post When Your Audience Is Active

My audience is most active at specific times of the day, normally around lunch time, so that's when I post my images. If it seems like I'm always posting at 1pm, it's because I am! I've tested out a few different hours for posting, but that's where I've had the most engagement, so I've stuck with it. Test out a few times during the day to see when your photos get the most likes, because every audience is different! I'm not sure if this is still relative because of the whole Instagram algorithm changes, but it's still working for me.

Do you have any tips for growing your Instagram? Be sure to follow me @samimast if you aren't already! Also, don't forget to check out my follow up post about gaining more engaged followers on Instagram!


  1. Remembering to engage with others is so important! Great tips! Xoxo Mindy

  2. Super helpful! And engaging is so important!

  3. Great tips and have a look at others' posts too!! I personally get alot of inspiration from others too!! Thanks for sharing !!

    Steph xx

  4. These are great tips! That's so crazy awesome that you gained 100 followers in a week! I definitely need to figure out when the best time is to post for my audience. I'll try experimenting this week like you said!


  5. All great tips! I am working on my theme. I love so much colour that is hard to get something that is working.

  6. I love your Insta, thanks for sharing these great tips!
    xo, Syd

  7. Great Insta tips- and a big YES to finding relevant hashtags! Makes all the difference!

    xoxo A

  8. I love your Instagram! Awesome tips too! xx Merisa | Monogrammed Magnolias

  9. Great tips! I struggle with posting consistently and having a theme, but I'm slowly getting better at it.


  10. Great tips! They definitely are all accurate :)
    The Fashionista's Diary

  11. Being consistent is one of the things I struggle with. I probably post a picture on Instagram every 2 weeks 🙈

  12. So many great tips, thanks for sharing!

  13. These are such great tips! I need to work on perfecting my theme!
    Amy | Pastel N Pink

  14. Congrats on the quick growth! Isn't it so exciting when you implement a strategy and it feels like FINALLY you got a good thing going?

    Class Meets Couture

  15. Yes, yes, and yes!! All of these things make the biggest difference.

    Sara Kate Styling

  16. Great tips. Relevant hashtags and tagging relevant accounts!

  17. Absolutely Pinning this! So helpful!

  18. All of these are such great tips! My Insta has grown so much since I actually started paying attention. I think even small implementations of these things can go a really long way!

  19. Great tips! I need to start working more on my Insta, so I'll definitely try to follow your advice!

    Amelie | A Wanderer's Adventures

  20. Instagram can be so fickle, but these are great tips! Just followed you on Pinterest! :)

  21. I really need these tips, especially the hashtags! Thanks so much!


  22. Hi Sami! I loved your post (and your blog and instagram too).
    Thanks for que tips, they really help me a lot!

    Kisses from Brazil

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