A Glimpse onto My Real Life with Instagram

While I was in Fiji, I noticed that the other travel writers were hooked on Instagram. I’d ExploreFijibought into Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ but Instagram just seemed like another time consuming social media site and I couldn’t keep up. It was inevitable, though, so I gave it a go. Low and behold, all of my photos appeared a whole lot better when they were on Instagram. Almost instantly, I, too, was hooked! Besides, if it brings more followers and viewers to my work, I’ll always see it as a positive marketing tool. 

Instagram photos

Now that I’m hooked, it’s hard to stop snapping photos of everything. Like everything else in my life, I’m not happy with “ok” so I’m annoyed that I need to start at the bottom. Seeing only 1,177 followers is depressing. I should be overjoyed to see such a jump in a few short weeks; instead, I’ve been reaching ways to bring more followers, likes, comments, and overall interaction to Instagram. I want to master the science behind it and grow in success.

One thing that I’ve learned is that tagging photos is a good way to get users to notice your photos. Lots of users browse keywords using Instagram’s search function, so if you tag your photos with descriptive keywords, they’re more likely to be discovered by other people.

For example, if you tag a photo of your beach sunset with hashtag #sunset in the description of the photo, users browsing through the #sunset tag in an Instagram search should see your photo.

They might like it, comment on it, start following you, or follow the link back to your blog.

Here’s a list of the top 5 hashtags used on Instagram:

1. #love: “Love” is the number one most popular hashtag used on Instagram. People can use it for pretty much almost any photo, which is why it’s probably so popular.

2. #beautiful: With so many great filters that can make an ordinary photo look awesome, “beautiful” is an extremely popular word that is constantly used on Instagram.

3. #summer: “Summer” seems to be the most popular season for all Instagram users. From beach photos to sunsets, this tag usually turns up some colorful results.

4. #instagood: “instagood” tends to feature images instagramers are proud of. Although I haven’t used this one yet, it appears on all of the top Instagram lists.

5. #photooftheday: The individual who created this tag chooses a popular photo from this tag group and includes it in an online gallery, kind of like a contest/challenge.

What strategies do you use? Do you have a game plan or do you just happily post whatever gives you inspiration? I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

Instagram ScreenshotCurrently, my Instagram is a glimpse into my life of travel, adventure, and family. I have no shame when it comes to posting embarrassing photos. From my kiddie pool wipe out to dancing on a bar with my family, you can find it all on http://instagram.com/bucketlistpublications/! I thought about only including photos from my travels, but that just wouldn’t be fun and it certainly wouldn’t be a reflection into my real life.

55 thoughts on “A Glimpse onto My Real Life with Instagram

  1. This is great Lesley. The photos are great and just add to your already super fabulous site. I have resisted instagram too… I’m clueless with tech, so it seems daunting. Maybe I’ll check it out now. As for your depressing 1,177… Bah! I am really depressed! I follow, comment, like and still don’t get anywhere NEAR those kind of numbers! Some days I really wonder why I’m working so hard to keep my posts up… I know what you mean, but feel good. You are doing a LOT of things right! 😉 Happy holidays and all the best in the new year… now that we all survived the (Mayan) apocalypse.


  2. Okay now this is an area I can can bore you senseless on – all my blog posts are rehashed on Instagram (2 posts in one). The high contrast adjustment in the IG Ap is very effective for highlighting detail and making an image more viewable on the small screens of mobile phones. Tagging is overrated – from my perspective initially I draw in followers from Twitter and other social media streams like Facebook, Tumblr, Stumbleupon (easily achieved and automated). Highly popular TAGs like #Instagood are so popular you can get lost in the clamour. Identify tags that reflect your preferred subject matter – for example I am a landscape photographer who lives by the coast. So #Pure_Landscape #Mafia_Skylove #Photowall #sunset #cloud all work well. Local/regional tags also work well #Scotland #Moray (my region). That all said in the early days it is a like for a like – once you get in to the realm’s of 200 followers then you can experiment. I recommend the Ap #Tagstagram to help out the newbies. The only down side from my personal perspective are the levels of spam. I could continue but recognise I have lost most of you IGers already. #Scotland #Photography #Moray


  3. I know exactly what you’re saying, when everyone told me to get instagram account, I said no way. I already have Facebook, twitter, Google plus, blogger, pinterest, as last I gave into peer pressure and made an account, and I do love it.


  4. I strongly suggest that if you want to retain your rights and not let Instagram do what they want with your pictures that you not use them until the situation is sorted out, if it is sorted out at all. For now, most of the really big players like The National Geographic have closed their accounts.


        • I understand that it is wrong and hurts working photographers. I certainly don’t agree with it. I just don’t see Instagram wanting my photos was all I was getting at.

          Can photographers use a watermark/logo on their photos to eliminate the problem?

          Is there a medium that doesn’t restrict users in this way? Maybe that’s what I should be looking at 🙂


          • Instagram may or may not. When something is free they may choose it over something they should really be licensing. Watermarks can pretty much be removed in two or three clicks of a mouse. Education is the real way to solve it.


  5. I usually do not post my pictures on instagram – i go out click pictures of outdoors,i click when is find something artistic,cars,clouds – stuff like that. (http://instagram.com/rgolwalkar/)
    However my friends choose to post travel,personal pictures as well.
    However your instagram stream looks great as you have traveled so much that every picture shows something unique.
    Keep travelling and happy writing


  6. Very interesting post Lesley. I don’t have anything to market so have an aversion to most ‘social media’ and avoid things like Facebook and Google+ so it’s a worry for a start that Instagram is owned by Facebook, but over the coming break I’ll have a closer look at it to see if it’s worth linking in any way from my other blog about photography – grumpytykepix.


  7. What a great set of recommendations! I am on Instagram, but I don’t use it NEARLY as effectively as I should to publish my work! Thanks!


  8. We like yourself were like ah, here we go with just another social network thing, but after giving it a try, we love using it & actually kind of prefer it over the other sn’s. We have made new sn friends and have developed a new audience. We do collages of all our workouts and post them daily & got up to speed on what hashtags to use. Going to follow you now, ours is @transformationpics.


  9. These are great photos! Ive been using instagram for almost 2months now and I only have about 90 followers! 🙂 well, I’m a self-confessed instagram addict. I enjoy posting photos of my everyday experience and accentuate them with different filters and all 🙂 its fun actually. But my photos arent as interesting as yours. Keep it up! 🙂


  10. I’ll probably get sucked into Instagram one of these days. Just like I got sucked into Facebook. And Twitter. And WordPress. And PogoBall. (What?? You look like you’re old enough to recall the PogoBall…it was a whole Pogo-go-go LIFESTYLE man! 😉 lol )

    Anyway, cool pics, bur of course. And I hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas! 🙂


  11. Lesley, well, you’ve brought me in just by liking my blog post. My blog is new so I’m just learning about building followers. I realize it has a lot to do with participating in the blogging community, something that I’m starting to do more. Nice to discover your blog. And I will check out Instagram (I’ve been resisting, too) though I’m wary of their terms and conditions.


  12. I haven’t read any of the comments above me so sorry if this is a repeat: I heard that starting sometime in January, Instagram will “own” your photos and will have the ability to sell them without any payment to you! I heard it’s in their new policy change ;(


  13. Pingback: Inspire me or Alice don’t believe everything you read (or eat) « cricketmuse

  14. Lesley, I’ve avoided Instagram up until reading your post! It’s the most well-articulated, thoughtful summary I’ve read, positioning why someone would want to step into yet another social media network! Great job; appreciate your persuasive comments!


  15. Great! instagram rocks! :D. Since I installed instagram, I have more interest in photography. Lesley, do you have any photographs of culinary or pastry maybe? I’d like to see it. Thanks


  16. Oh. Splendid. Coming to find you now on IG! Fav teamgloria tag is #weadoreachandelier people find us examples and tag us and it so we can admire examples from los Angeles to Berlin and beyond!


  17. Instagram is pretty sweet…the retro look to the photos is something I’ve always liked. Is there an alternative though for either A)people without iphone like me or B)people who are afraid of the Instagram ToS? Thanks, Lesley. Awesome blog, from a fellow bucketlister! Keep it up, and Happy Holidays to you.


  18. I know what you mean! There are so many social media networks out there, it is really hard to keep up! But I’ve found that if you connect everything, it’s much easier because you post in one place and it shows up everywhere else too! It’s also helpful to put sharing buttons at the top of your browser. For example, Pinterest’s “Pin It” or WordPress’ “Press This” and Dashboard buttons. Instagram tips: Keep a little note of top hashtags in your note app on your phone. Then just copy and paste, saves time!! Use Statigram or another website to manage your instagram account. I check it periodically to see my statistics, trends and current popular hashtags. You are allowed a max of 30 hashtags per post so use them wisely! Good luck and take care! -Cindy


  19. I haven’t started Instagram but recently started Pinterest, it’s a full time job keeping track of it all. Lol! I thought about using it and the selling of photos freaked me out. Your post was informative and helpful so maybe I will use your tips and give it another try. You are an inspiration.
    Happy Holidays to you and your family.


  20. I have to admit that I was not a big fan of social networks to begin with but thanks to you I figure out a few things about it as I opened my mind to the idea of virtual adventures on the internet… Also, if you haven’t already, you might want to check http://pinstamatic.com. I think it is a good creative tool to explore in addition to Pinterest. Cheerio!


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