Tips for Using Instagram - Smart Creative Social

Tips for Using Instagram

So, you want to use Instagram. Or you’re using Instagram and not sure why you are not getting the results you want. Here are a few quick tips for fine-tuning your Instagram startegy:

  1. Check out people in your niche and outside of your niche who are using it and getting converts. Look at how they do their graphics – it is not just a photo but they have usually added text to the photo to further communicate their message. And how is the photo composed?
  2. Work with others whose work compliments yours. If you sell jewelry, find a fashion blogger (or a few fashion bloggers, maybe other etsy sellers) on instagram to connect with and you can promote each other. Work together and you all rise up.
  3. Giveaways can work. Check the terms of service and see how other people are using them before starting. Don’t over use them or you will attract the wrong type of followers (giveaway followers versus buyers).

This is one of my past Instagram posts. Is it good ro bad? What does it communicate to you? Look through your past images and see how they make you feel. If this were someone else’s photo, would you like it or comment on it. Or buy whatever they are sharing about?


I was just chatting about “IG” with another designer I work with and we had some similar conclusions about what we like and what we don’t when browsing Instagram.

What makes us “unfollow”:

  • Food pics unless food is part of their brand. I follow some paleo people so I expect food. But if the food looks gross, I will unfollow.
  • Bathroom pics unless their brand is about bathrooms or remodeling or the bathroom is part of their comedy schtick.
  • Sweaty workout pics unless their brand is about working out.
  • Foot pictures. This is my pet-peeve. I want inspiration, not your gnarly hammertoe when I am browsing Instagram. Even if you think your feet are cute, please, feet = instant unfollow.
  • Lots of dark photos – 1 or 2 is forgivable every now and then but why risk it?
  • Lots of out-of-focus photos – 1 or 2 is forgivable every now and then but why risk it?
  • Too many photos at once. Try to space out your posts to only include the most important or relevant photos. For example, if at a trade show, post pics no less than 1-2 hours apart and put an explanation of what makes each special versus posting 20 photos one right after the other, even if all the pics were taken in one day. I try not post more than 3 pics a day. You will find your own stride, just watch how your followers react to what and how often you post.
  • Posts with 84 hashtags. Just tell me what it is in English, not in “hashtag”.

Now for the juicy stuff: What makes us follow and STAY a follower:

  • Use light, bright, colorful pics or pics with whitespace.
  • Interact and reply to comments.
  • Post things we will find useful or inspiring
  • Not doing any of the stuff in the “what makes us unfollow” list.

Real-World Examples of great Instagram posts:

Tarina Tarantino posted this beautiful photo – of course it has likes and comments in the first few minutes! It is bright and fun and has great detail.


Aida Mollenkamp is a food expert, cook book author, and more so it makes sense that she posted this pic of food. Note she also got 45+ “hearts” in less than 30 minutes. This is how you know you are “doing it right” – your audience responds positively. I am going to check back later because I want to see what she makes with all of these ingredients. That is “good social media”: she has my attention (and the attention of lots of other people).



Great use of whitespace by Tip Junkie – you can use an app on your phone to add whitespace to your photos before posting to Instagram or to use the full size photo, which will add whitespace to the square photos that are posted within in Instagram.


Using text and doing a giveaway — this isn’t the BEST example but an idea of what you can do by adding text to your photos before posting to Instagram. You’ll need another app to add text to your photos before posting to Instagram.


I hope this helps you with improving your Instagram outcomes! For more tips and tricks, subscribe to our newsletter.

About the Author

Leave a Comment:

1 comment
Instgram for Business: Getting Started says May 22, 2014

[…] Instagram Article by Rainmaker Media Works […]

Add Your Reply