Disclaimer: I am not a social media expert, and I don’t claim to be.
However, over the last year I have grown my Instagram following from 1000 followers to 50,000 with just my camera phone.
Here are some easy tricks I have learned over the past year.
1.) Establish your brand
My brand came easy to me, as I’ve been infatuated with neon rainbows and unicorns since my first Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper in 3rd grade.
However, I realize that not everyone is as ROYGBIV-obsessed as I am. Maybe you are an everything-succulent-themed teacher. Maybe you are strictly primary colors.
Here are a few teacher accounts that have done a good job of establishing their brand.
Vera, a fellow unicorn-loving blogger, has captivated followers with her bubbly, outgoing personality. Her videos and Instastories are relatable, whether she is talking about teacher tips or singing karaoke as she whips up dinner.
Everything on Little Miss Fiesta’s Instagram is pleasing to the eye. I love how her color scheme and lighting are consistent throughout her page. Maira uses her iphone to capture these professional-looking photographs.
Amanda wears many hats: she’s a Speech Pathologist, a mother, and she makes awesome products and beautiful fonts on TPT. She does a great job at balancing her teaching posts with snippets from her everyday life (aka: that cute baby of hers).
2.) Lighting is everything
Everything. I’m not saying you need to go and start adding professional photography lighting to your Amazon cart. Utilize the lighting you already have!
Maybe the vanity lighting in your bathroom is better for photographing your new worksheet bundle? Use that!
My favorite lighting source? The sun. Never underestimate the power of natural light. I’ve setup photo shoots in my backyard before!
3.) The power of angles and cropping
I think this picture speaks for itself. It’s usually complete chaos behind the scenes
I hide unwanted “behind-the-scenes” mess by cropping the photo in my camera roll.
Angles can also make a huge difference. I am constantly climbing on chairs and tables to get the best angle.
I’m not saying you have to climb the shelves at Office Depot to get the best angle of their back-to-school Post-It note section, but…
4.) Filters are not always your friend
Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be caught dead on Snap Chat without a good dog-face filter. And I will always throw a Valencia filter on all my selfies before posting.
While there is nothing WRONG with filters, I’ve found that it can sometimes diminish the quality of the photo.
Instead, I like to use apps like Snapseed.
Snapseed allows you to adjust settings of your photo (increase brightness, decrease shadows, etc.) Although there’s not one magic setting to improve all photos, it helps to play around with the features to find settings you like best.
5.) Timing matters
Sure, you might want to post a picture of your 5 a.m. Starbucks run. But, think about it. How many teachers are browsing Instagram at 5 in the morning? Many are just like you, running late, forcing a fake smile as the barista mispronounces your name, and navigating the least traffic-y route to school.
Here is a graph of the times my followers are active on Instagram. As a rule of thumb, I try to keep my posts between the hours of 6 pm- 9:30 pm CST.
Why these times? I assume most teachers have (hopefully) gone home for the day, eaten dinner, and are winding down for the night. And considering most of us are exhausted and in bed by 9:30, I try not to post too late.
6.) Find a good background
Some of my favorite backgrounds include:
- white foam board from the dollar store
- colorful rugs or carpet
- colorful bins or bookshelves
I love using white foam board for backgrounds. It is great for emphasizing the product you’re displaying.
This is my most-liked photo on Instagram to date.
Are these People Color colored pencils stored right next to the rainbow bins? No.
Did I know this would make a more appealing photo than the grey tile floor? Absolutely.
This polka-dotted rug from At Home has been the backdrop for many of my Instagram photos.
7.) Don’t over-post
This tip is pretty self-explanatory. People who tend to bombard news feeds with post-after-post have a higher chance of being unfollowed.
8.) Be authentic and give credit where credit is due
I’ve had some people share my photos as if they were their own. Even using pictures of ME with MY captions– super creepy.
I am a huge fan of sharing other people’s pictures and am flattered when other people share mine!
However, make sure you are tagging that person and including them in your caption.
Here I’ve shared this classroom library from Molly at Lessons with Laughter. I have tagged her in both the photo and the caption so followers can see it is not my original post.
Side note: re-posting this photo here has made me fall in love with her classroom all over again!
9.) People like what they can relate to
While I love sharing photos of perfectly labeled drawers and immaculate classrooms, I also like to share what goes on behind the scenes.
Because what is life without having snap cubes strewn about the floor?
I am the messiest prepper. And apparently I’m not alone!
10.) Use hashtags with caution
Hashtags are a great tool for bringing in followers. However, be cautious of the hashtags you’re using.
Unfortunately there are some really bad people out there trolling meaningful hashtags, such as #autismspeaks and #cancersurvivor, to get a rise out of people.
I speak from experience and have chosen to forgo the use of hashtags ever since.
What are your favorite tips on how to increase social media traffic?