You already know the best and worst types of travel photographers on Instagram — it's easy to distinguish the quality platforms that inspire you to double tap, from the mind-numbing feeds that inspire you to hit that unfollow button. But, in addition to good photography, what is it exactly that makes certain feeds rise to the top when it comes to gathering those likes? Well, it's this:
We'll start with a few tips from social media scientist Dan Zarrella. He studied 1.5 million photos and set up parameters to see what was helping images get more likes. Zarella concluded that more tags garner more likes — so tag away, after researching popular hashtags for the niche type of travel you're doing, or region of the world you're in. (For traveling women, hashtags like #dametraveler and #darlingescapes are great.)
Don't even think about taking a mediocre photo on your phone and trying to make it Insta-perfect by just adding a filter, says Zarella. You won't be fooling anyone. Instead, edit within your phone on any number of other apps. Or, of course, if you're serious about photography or monetizing your feed, take your photos on a proper camera and edit in a professional program on your computer).
VSCO is the go-to for most bloggers.
Research demonstrates that photos that show your face tend to get 35 percent more engagement than ones that don't. (Zarella used a face-detecting software to unearth this fact.) This detail doesn't take into account whether or not the subject is conventionally attractive, nor was age or gender important. But in general, most researchers, such as MUD, agree that the reason those photos get higher engagement isn't about who is in the image — but instead that Instagram is a community platform, and people want it to feel personal.
4. Brightness and desaturation
According to that research, photos that were oversaturated seemed to be a turnoff to followers, while ones with either faded or more bright color did much better in terms of engagement. This study said that blues, greys, and greens draw people to photos; people tend to scroll past past oranges, pinks, and yellows.
In the image, try to get a shot comprised mainly of just one color, like a closeup of blueberries in their baskets. Research from Curalate (which researched 8 million Instagram images in its study) said that there is a 40 percent higher engagement rate on images dominated by just one color, rather than multicolor shots. Here's why: It's rare to see this — 90 percent of images on the platform contain many colors — so these photos stand out in people's feeds.
Zarella's study also showed that the more edges photos contain, the better: The eye is drawn to this. So-called "flat lays," as demonstrated below are Instagram gold!
People like cohesive accounts. Try posting with a general look and feel to your images that remains consistent throughout your feed. If you are over-exposing, for instance, consider this your personal look and stick with it.
8. Daily posting
Iconosquare's research determined that if you post one image per day, you'll increase engagement — but if you post three or more, you are basically doomed. When you post one per day, instead of every other day, you'll go from 5 percent engagement to 7.3 percent. If you go crazy and share too much, you'll see a much lower rate of just 2.4 percent.
This one is not formally science backed... just a tip from us to you: Sometimes you might think what you are creating is awesome, but you aren't getting the likes. You'll want to question why, and ask some trusted (social media savvy) friends if there is something off-putting about your account. Other than posting great images, you also want to make sure you are the type of person people like on Instagram, not the ones we hate. Be authentic, be nice, and share good stuff. People *like* that!
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