5 Tricks to Dramatically Improve Your Instagram Game

If there’s one social media platform I’m utterly addicted to, it’s Instagram. Hands down. Twitter is a close runner-up but, as they say, almost doesn’t count. I think part of the big infatuation with Instagram comes from its capability to create a seamless and carefully curated idealization of our lives. But more than that, it’s a work of art that’s never really finished.

With the value of social media influence skyrocketing indefinitely, there’s no better time to up your Insta game. And even if you’re not looking to go pro (and yes, there’s such a thing), check out these few tippity tips to help you curate a stronger and more cohesive feed:

1. VSCO is (and should be your) Insta life.

If there’s just one item you take out of this entire post, let it be the amazing superhero capabilities of VSCO. VSCO is my main resource hub in editing and scheduling posts. The editing options are super high quality with a lot of customizability, and I love the fact that I can create a feed here before posting anything to Instagram. This has helped me SO much in creating a more cohesive feed. Too many times in the past have I uploaded a gorgeous photo that doesn’t fit in with my feed at the time. Regardless of how many high quality photos you upload, if they don’t fit together and tell a story, your feed will look cluttered and unprofessional, which ultimately detracts from the number of new followers you will gain!

2. Your most recent nine photos are important.

These photos are the first glimpse of your feed to potential new followers. Make them count! I’ve totally felt the pressure to post a picture every day, even if I’m not absolutely in love with the contenders, but I’ve found that it’s so not worth messing with my perfectly curated stream of pics. It takes a long time/a lot of posts to recover from a photo that disturbs the vibe of your feed, so be careful and make any style (color, lighting, contrast, filter) changes gradually! Lately I’ve been trying to make sure that my first nine photos tell a story and give my potential new followers a glimpse into my life. For example, from my first nine photos right now you can tell that 1) I love my dog 2) I like fashion 3) My photo style is bright.

3. Do your research.

[Some of my favorite influencers that I follow] [Some of my favorite influencers that I follow]

I know you’re totally like WTF Holly, but trust me here. Research is one of the most overlooked, yet crucial parts of building an Insta feed worth following. And what do I mean by research? FOLLOW PEOPLE. Get over the fact that your following:followers ratio will be crap, and follow, follow, follow. But don’t just follow people for the sake of possibly getting a follow back. That’s not research, that’s cheap strategy. Follow influencers who inspire you and who are making their mark in the Insta world. What makes their feeds so follow worthy? Are their photos heavily edited or #nofilter? Of course no one likes a copycat, but see what’s working for others and choose some role models. The first step in being inspirational is to be inspired.

4. Think strategically.

Becoming Insta famous isn’t the same thing as becoming instantly famous. Develop a posting strategy (through trial and error, unfortunately) that works for you. Think about the time that you post. When do you get the most comments, likes or followers? How effective are your hashtags? Are you going to leave a bazillion in the comments or just a few select choices in the caption? Sometimes the little things actually add up to be big things and can really effect how much traffic your account gets!

5. (Natural) Light. Is. Everything.

Nothing ruins a potentially cool photo op faster than poor lighting. Take a look at any of the super famous Instagram accounts, and you’ll notice that almost all of them utilize good, natural lighting. It looks clean, modern and professional. This is something I definitely didn’t grasp when I first started my account, but it’s SO important. Trust me!

What are your favorite Insta tips & tricks? 



  • Anna Baun

    These are such great tips! I am with you – I love to follow for inspiration as well and VSCO is amazing! Great post, girl! XO


    • Holly Habeck

      I’m happy you found it helpful! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Fast-unfollow

    That’s a great article Holly, good insights) VSCO is a must) I just wanted to thanks you and add something to the 3rd point: research has to be done quite often and it should not be limited by instagram means. When you specified your niche it may be a good idea to google for similar instagrammers and learn something from them. And never forget about third-party tools, e.g. zengram.net can not only get you potentially interested users via hashtag and geography search, it can also copy the followers of a user, so you can compete really effeciently. Long story short, don’t be afraid to experiment with tools, they aren’t limited to editing apps.

    • Holly Habeck

      I completely agree! Thanks for the additional insight 🙂

  • Andree Duecker

    You have no idea how badly I needed this right now! I am a very new blogger and I have desperately trying to up my Instagram game! This is easily one of the best posts I have read on the subject! Now excuse me while I go study your Instagram feed!

    Thanks for the assist! 🙂
    -Andree Rae

    • Holly Habeck

      Thanks for reading Andree! I’m happy you found it helpful 🙂

  • Natacha Plano

    Thanks for tips 🙂 …. mine will be : Check all tags before adding them! You’ll avoid poor matching with your feed and sometimes even bad surprises ^_^

  • Natasha Hoover

    Great tips! I’m still struggling a bit with Instagram, but once I started doing a bit more research and using smarter hashtags things definitely started improving for me!

    • Holly Habeck

      Yes, same for me! Good luck and thanks for reading 🙂 xx

  • I always try to use relevant hashtags! Doing this gets me about 2-4 followers for each pic I post!
    Skye – http://www.everythingbeyondmyskye.com