How To Instagram With Purpose

by Josh Johnson

The Kentucky Gent, a Louisville, Kentucky based men's life and style blogger, in Ridgemont Outfitters T-Shirt, Devil's Harvest Plaid Shirt, H&M Jeans, Ecco Shoes, and Giles & Brother Cuff.

Just like there’s a BIG difference between being a blogger and blogging, there’s an equally as big of a difference between Instagramming as a “brand” and for fun. If you’re a blogger you should be treating Instagram – and every other social media account – as if you were a brand. Your feeds on all other platforms should be an extension of the message you’re selling on your blog. Readers should easily be able to see continuity between the content you share in your blog posts, and what you’re sharing on social media. 

Instagram has quickly become one of the largest and most used social media platforms (200 million users as of December) for bloggers and common folk alike. While Instagram is definitely the hands down favorite of my accounts, it’s also the most lucrative. If you’ve ever gone to dinner with me you know that it’s an unspoken rule that no food is allowed to be touched until I’ve snapped a photo or 50. Right now you’re probably thinking to yourself how annoying I must be to eat with, but before you judge too harshly understand that I’ve been contacted by several companies in regards to paid opportunities solely based on the photos I take of my food. No, I’m not lying. 100% real talk right here.

The photo sharing app has literally revolutionized how we – as bloggers – interact with our audiences. There are some definite rules to follow, and I won’t lie it does take some effort, BUT the journey + reward are worth the effort. By no means am I an expert at this, but that’s not going to stop me from sharing how to Instagram from my point of view. 

Take Your Time

Don’t try to rush it. Whether that be taking the perfect photo or hoping for Instagram gold. It takes time, but before long you’ll figure out what works best for you. When I’m shooting a photo I switch up positions at least 2-3 times, that could be the placement of the food on the table or where I’m standing. I’d rather have 50 photos to go through once I’m done than to have nothing to show for my efforts. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a winning feed.

Pick A Theme

If you blog about food, Instagram about food. It’s pretty simple. The most successful Instagram feeds do well because they have a common theme that ties their photos together and keeps their followers coming back for more. I blog about men’s fashion, food, coffee, and Louisville; if you follow me on Instagram (which you should, duh) you know that my feed mirrors that pretty much to a tee. 

Less Is More

Jury is still out on this one for me, but I’ve found the most success/interaction when I post between 2-3 times a day. Instagram is not the platform in which to share constant updates of your day – where Twitter comes into play (more to come on that later) – but instead should showcase the highlights of your day. 

Find An Edit That Works

I always shoot in the native iPhone camera in square mode. I’ve toyed around with Snapseed, Afterlight, and have finally settled on VSCOcam to do all my edits before uploading to Instagram. Honestly, it’s been a lot of trial and error before figuring out what I like best, and you’ll have to go through that for yourself as well. I use the A6 preset on all photos then adjust brightness & contrast before uploading. I use the same VSCO preset to ensure that all photos in my feed are cohesive and flow together – another key component of a successful account. 

When In Doubt, Don’t

If you think the photo sucks, everyone is going to as well. Just do yourself a favor and don’t upload it. You’ll just go back and delete it later anyways. 

Interact

Last but not least, interact with the community that is Instagram. I do my best to comment back to everyone that interacts on one of my photos + interact with the people that I follow. High numbers of followers do not mean nearly as much as high engagement on what you’re sharing.