05/10/2016
Needless to say, it's on fleek.

Words by

Alyce Cowell

Psssssssst! Over here!! …Hello, it’s nice to meet you, thanks for stopping by. 

Don’t worry, I know you’re embarrassed to even be here – which is why I’m whispering – but I’m a true professional and your secret is safe with me. 

So you want to pimp your Instagram account and you don’t care what it takes. Well, you’ve come to the right place. 

I’m an expert at all things embarrassing, but mostly of the Instagram kind, and over my career I’ve come up with seven foolproof tactics to make people think you’re cooler than you are. 

Are you ready? Take notes.

Tip #1. Congratulations, you’re now a creative director

Your Instagram is like a tiny little magazine, of which you are the creative director. OK, so your magazine only has 100 readers and the pages are filled with pictures of your dog, but you are still the creative director. YOU ARE STILL IN CHARGE.

Have a board meeting with yourself and decide on the look and feel: do you want it to be minimal, bright, moody, fun? Think about what you’ll post – outfit shots, flatlays, gaggy inspirational quotes – and the overall theme you’re going for. 

Stick to it at all costs. Nothing off-brand starting………………… now.

Tip #2. Let’s think big picture

One day, some lucky, unsuspecting person will be tagging their friend in a quote about not being able to afford a side of guacamole and BAM! They’ll stumble upon your account. 

They’re going to decide to follow you based on your overall feed, not each individual photo. As the immortally wise and fabulous Sweet Brown once said, ain’t nobody got time for dat.

Only post images that fit your new creative direction, or else everyone will figure out you’re a fraud and unfollow you. Game over.

If this means you occasionally have to post something just to keep that flow going, so be it. Hold your head high and post that damn regram.

Tip #3. Find your spirit filter 

Everybody has a spirit filter. 

The key to finding yours is quite simple: you must own every single vscocam filter available, even if it means you can’t buy groceries this week or you have to sell your car. 

Don’t pigeonhole yourself into one of their free, stock-standard presets – you’re better than that. You’re an Insta-worthy peacock, and you gotta fly.

Once you have them, use a few photos from your camera roll to test which one speaks to you. Are you more of a vibrant C2 or a minimalist A10? I myself tend to stick to A6, E3, HB2 or M2, which means I like the moody vibes and also that I have no friends or life.

Tip #4. Hip-hop lyrics make the best captions 

Sometimes I think Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé and Jay Z are actually just writing lists of captions, rather than songs. I mean, THEY ALL WORK. ALL OF THE TIME. 

Thinking of a caption, for me, is probably the hardest part. It’s like I don’t speak English anymore, nor can I recall one phrase I’ve ever said in my life. 

If this is you too, it’s time to turn to our good mate Google and look for articles like ‘43 Drake Lyrics For When You Need An Instagram Caption’ (there’s a lot of them).

All of the lines are about being obscenely rich, your turnt squad and strippers dancing on the tables, which have nothing to do with your life or your photo, but sound pretty badass, nonetheless.

Tip #5. Upload, delete, repeat 

Possibly the most embarrassing of all Instagram tricks is my ‘upload, delete, repeat’  technique, which sees me upload my image, then screenshot my account, then delete the image very quickly before anyone sees.

I do this to check if the photo and filtering works with my creative direction, and flows with the pictures around it, before I spend 30 minutes of my life trying to think of a caption.

Tip #6. Self-timers and selfie sticks are your new besties

So they’re embarrassing and lame and all your friends will give you shit, but the sooner you get over the shame of using self-timers and selfie sticks, the sooner your Instagram will be on fleek. 

Your friends might be laughing now, but who’ll be laughing when you’re sent free laxative tea clothes in the mail and invited to parties with flowing champagne, hmmm??!! 

The truth is, if you’re a fashion blogger, shooting your own outfit posts is really bloody hard. Cue your new besties. The selfie stick is perfect for those ‘view from above’ shots, while your phone can be propped on the roof of your car for perfectly self-timed images that look like an Instagram Husband took them.

It gets easier after the first time a stranger catches you using a selfie stick on your own, I promise. You just need to get that out of the way.

Tip #7. Get yourself a mentor – even if they don’t know it 

I have a couple of Instagram mentors. 

Of course they have absolutely no idea they’re my mentors and to reveal their names would be social suicide, but it’s true. Whenever I need a dose of inspiration, whether it’s on what to post, how to filter or captions to write, I take a very brisk walk through their account, then get the hell out of there. 

You feel a bit dirty afterwards, like you’ve just sorted through their garbage bin, but you’ll get used to it and it’ll all be worth it when you see those sweet, sweet likes rolling in.

Illustration by Twylamae whose Instagram is also on fleek.

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