As readers of Life of a Lady Bear, you’re all probably well aware of my love for Instagram by now. Last week I was so delighted to reach the 10K followers milestone which I know for many bloggers might not seem like a lot but knowing that people enjoy seeing glimpses into my New York life really does bring a smile to my face so thank you all for your support. It’s quite funny I remember the first Instagram I took was a picture of my Mom and Dad standing in front of the Christmas tree and being amazed at all of the filters, little did I know that 4 years later it would result in a career running the MTV Instagram. I thought it would be fun to celebrate reaching 10K followers by sharing my top tips for growing your Instagram following!


1. Tools: First things first, don’t be fooled by all of the beautiful pictures on Instagram thinking that they naturally came out looking like something out of a magazine. Rest assured that photo has probably been edited in at least 2 apps before being posted. My all time favourite app for editing my photos is VSCOcam (to all of the people that ask me what the #vscocam hastag is on my photos, this is it!). VSCOcam has numerous amazing filters that give your photo’s a real professional looking finish unlike those actual Instagram filters which are so two years ago (sorry not sorry). I like to try and use the same filter on across all of my photos so my feed looks consistent. I also regularly use the Snapseed app, where I can easily edit the brightness, saturation and contrast. I love this app because it allows you to selectively adjust where you want to edit, so if your face is hidden by a shadow you can just edit that section! See some examples below of before and after pictures that were edited using these 2 apps! My favourite app for adding text to photo’s is the Over app which has so many cool fonts to play around with.

2. Content: In the blogging community there definitely has been a shift to staging their Instagram posts so that everything matches each other and as a result their feeds look beautifully coordinated but sometimes it can be overdone and your account looses that personal touch! Don’t get me wrong I’ll spend ages trying to stage the right shot but I really do think of my Instagram as a diary for sharing what I’m getting up to everyday. I also think it’s important to understand your audience and recognise what they enjoy seeing. For example I try to share pictures of outfits, New York scenes, food and also my dogs when I’m at home in Ireland. I think it’s nice when people know what to expect from you each day and it gives them a chance to get to know the person behind the phone!



3. Be Consistent: One thing is for sure, you will find it very hard to grow your Instagram following if you only post one picture here and there. If you’re serious about growing your Instagram then you really should be aiming to post at least twice a day for most of the week.  My goal is to post twice a day during the weekdays and three times a day over the weekend! Of course life gets in the way and sometimes its not easy but it helps to bank some photo’s at the weekends and spread them out over the week! I also think its good to post around the same time every day for example I aim to post one in the morning around 8am and one in the evening around 4pm New York time. Using Iconosquare is really helpful for seeing what time your audience is most engaged.


4. Hashtag: I’m a firm believer in the use of Hashtags to help get your content out there. One tip that I’ve picked up at MTV is putting your hashtags as a second comment under your photo, that way your content is still categorised but the bulk of your hashtags are then hidden. Its also super important to include hashtags to whatever’s relevant to whats in your photo for example the restaurant’s name that you’re eating your avocado toast in or the brand of jeans your wearing. Some brands have specific hashtags (like Forever 21’s is F21Xme) for their features, and let me tell you getting featured on a brands page is the quickest way to grow your following. I also think its important to add your location to a photo so that other more people get directed to your feed.



5. Shoot for yourself: Take pictures of things that make you happy rather than what you think will get you a huge number of likes. At the end of the day, your followers will easily spot a fake who’s portraying a life online that’s unrealistic! And PLEASE try to refrain from the typical Insta Cliches, nobody needs to see another picture of that Diptyque candle that you spent 50 dollars on just for your Instagram pictures (we can tell, you haven’t lit the wick in months). And remember to be patient, I’ve been working really hard to grow my Instagram for nearly 2 years now and its only now that its taken off for me with my following nearly tripling in the past 3 months. So hang in there and find a voice that defines your personal brand!

I hope some of you found that a little helpful and feel free to share your Instagram accounts with me in the comments! I’m always looking for new people to inspire me!
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