With 60 million photos posted each day, Instagram is undoubtedly one of the busiest and most popular social media platforms.
Given a number of people who are using it on a daily basis, Instagram provides users and companies with the opportunity to build a massive following. Gaining more fans, or followers, however, might prove to be tricky – unless you know how to do it right, of course.
Gain More Instagram Followers by Posting Selfies
Now, if you have already read my article about how to become famous on Instagram, you have pretty good idea how marketing on Instagram it’s done. With this article we’re focusing more on one specific activities – posting selfies and how that can help you with your growth on Instagram.
Selfies are amongst the most effective ways to get a response on social media and especially on Instagram. A recent study done on over 1.5 million Instagram photos concluded that photos with faces got on average 35% more likes and comments than any other type of image. So all you, who are just posting nice pictures of your product or bluntly advertising your services, think twice.
However, getting your fans to engage with your selfie is not as simple as snapping a close-shot of your face. Read below for the science behind gaining more Instagram followers by posting and editing your selfies in the right way. Of course you might be thinking that selfies are not for your business. The truth is, business is about people and the more you’re able to include people (potentially yourself) on the posts, the better your business is more likely to do.
First things first: should you edit your Instagram selfies? Researchers are conflicted about it. On one hand, a research team at Yahoo Labs and Georgia Tech concluded that photos with filters get a superior amount of engagement (likes and comments included).
Using filters makes it 21% more likely for your photo to be viewed, and 45% more likely to be commented on. On the other hand, another study which analyzed over a million of Instagram photos found that selfies posted without a filter (and especially with the #nofilter hashtag) led to higher engagement than any other type of filter. Funny thing is, that #nofilter is also widely used on photos that still have filters.
As with most things, the truth lies probably somewhere in the middle. In the latter study, selfies posted without a filter got around 78 likes on average, and selfies posted with the Slumber filter got 69 likes on average, so the difference really isn’t that great. If you’re wondering which the other most popular filters were, the research team concluded that Skyline comes in third, and photos (but not necessarily selfies) filtered with Clarendon, Gingham and Valencia got the most likes globally.
The bottom line is that filtering your selfie can help you get more engagement and thus, a greater following. The science behind it suggests that using filters that increase warmth, exposure and contrast boost engagement the most. The Slumber, Skyline, and Mayfair filters seem to be particularly popular, especially amongst users who have a preference for vintage- or retro-looking shots.
Dan Zarrella, an award-winning social media scientist, offers an even more comprehensive look on how to edit your selfies to gain more followers. Having analyzed over 1.5 million Instagram posts in 2014, he found that desaturated photos (images with lower levels of color saturation) have higher likes-per-follower ration than saturated ones. At the same time, photos with higher luminance appealed to more people, resulting in higher engagement and greater follower count. Zarrella also found a significant correlation between the number of tags and the number of likes – so the more people you tag in your selfie before you post it, the greater the chances that it will go viral. I’m pretty sure here’s a slim line of you being too spammy, so experiment with caution.
It’s important not to be too hasty when it comes to posting your selfies, too. Photo editing expert Howard Pinsky argues that you should always take a 15-minute break in between edits to clear your brain; as you do your edits, your brain becomes more accepting of it and this makes spotting mistakes more difficult. Even if your Instagram selfie looks stunning at the moment, it’s better to glue your eyes off the screen and look around for a couple of minutes, and then re-evaluate it from a fresh perspective. I guess this can be applicable to anything in life.
When do you post a selfie?
Lastly, make sure you post your Instagram selfies at the right time. An analysis of over 61,000 posts done by Latergramme, a service that lets you schedule your Instagram posts, found that you should strive to post at 2 am and 5 pm EST to get more likes and make Wednesday your selfie day to gain more followers. However as I have mentioned in my earlier post, post timing is something everyone should experiment on their own. In my experience there are no universal “good” posting times.
Additional read on the subject: