HASHTAG HOW TO
The new rules of engagement
Start off by finding a profile you like, and identify what it is about the grid that grabs you. Are the images stark and monochrome, or soft and romantic? Consistency is always appealing but don’t forget you can add interest with angles and crops. Use filters with caution. Stick to a limited range to keep things uniform, or better yet, forgo the filter and get familiar with apps like Snapseed and Afterlight, which have professional editing tools. Usually a bit of brightening, sharpening, and a smidge more saturation are all you need to make an image pop. Instagram compresses images, which is why they always look a little grainier after you post them than they did in the editing app. Keep your grid as sharp as possible by posting only high-resolution imagery. If you’ve found a pic you’d like to re-gram, use reverse image search on Google to find the original version rather than screenshotting someone else’s and processing it through the app for (probably) the zillionth time. Post with regularity to get your followers used to seeing you. Every other day is good when you’re starting out – fewer posts and you won’t register in people’s minds; more posts and you’ll look desperate. The exception to this rule is if you are on holiday, but cap your vacay snaps at two per day. No one likes a show-off. On that note, don’t fall into the throwback trap. Nothing says starved for attention like posting a pic from the same trip three Thursdays in a row. We get it, Fiji was a dream, but have you got anything else? Instagram is for showing your highlights reel, not your bloopers track, that’s fine. But you should still strive to keep your content as authentic as possible. Lay off the contrived flat-lays and post pictures of yourself and your friends having fun. No one can resist a girl squad after all. Unless you are promoting something, hashtags should be used ironically, not in a bid to pick up more likes. As far as captioning, pop–cultural references always work well (hello, Mean Girls quotes), and when all else fails, a well-chosen emoji will paint a thousand words. Best time to ’gram? We feel pretty popular when we post after work on a hump day. If you have international followers, post late at night to wake up to lots of hearts.
Online etiquette is ever-changing, and the wrong move can land you in social media Siberia. So how do you impress on Instagram and score a date via Snapchat? Jessica-belle Greer explains
Make friends with your followers by liking their photos and posting supportive comments, but don’t go overboard. If someone sees you’ve liked eight posts in the past minute, they’ll think you’re either a stalker or a bot – and neither is going to get you a follow back. Likewise, if you’ve just received 20 likes from the same person, be mindful that this could be a spam account and it would be pretty sad to strike up a conversation with one of those. If you want to do some stalking, AKA conduct a background check of your crush, access Instagram on your computer to eliminate the chances of fumbling with your phone and dishing out an accidental like. This strategy is also good when you’ve got something to show your mum and she’s prone to the double-tap-to-zoom faux pas.