Five places to go in London when you want to win Instagram
That got your attention, didn’t it? 😆
I am usually all about the hidden gems. After a few years of photographing London, I find it much more exciting when I stumble across a place in the city that isn’t often seen on Instagram, and that I can share with my audience. But there are times, especially when you’re starting out on Instagram or you’re focused primarily on growing your audience, that it’s really helpful to know what sort of images tend to do well in terms of engagement.
There’s a caveat to that, of course, which is that everyone’s audience is different, and they expect different things. For example, I tend to focus on architecture and street scenes rather than, say, food or floral images, and so if you follow me on Instagram you may have come to expect those types of images, and to engage more with them. (That isn’t to say you should never post different kinds of images — quite the contrary! But that’s a whole other blog post.)
If you’re interested in finding out more about what resonates most with the people who follow you though, I’d encourage you to look at your most popular posts, and see if you can identify any common threads running through those posts — maybe it was the image itself, or something in the caption that struck a chord?
When I look at the images below, which are five of my highest ever performing posts in terms of engagement, they all have one thing in common: there is something slightly startling about them that grabs a viewer’s attention, and causes them to pause long enough in their scrolling to double-tap.
In my experience (and I follow a lot of city-based Instagram accounts!), that same principle is true for their high performing posts too — there is something unexpected or arresting about them, whether it’s the scale, or a striking floral element, or (and these are the best kinds of posts, in my view) a mood or visual cue that evokes an immediate emotional response in a viewer.
The Walbrook Club, EC4N 8BS (26.7k likes 😱)
Dulwich Village, SE21 7BW (19.7k likes)
Ye Olde Cock Tavern, EC4Y 1AA (11.5k likes)
Warren Mews, W1T 6BY (19.3k likes)
St John’s Square, EC1M 4DA (17.1k likes)
There’s nothing wrong with posting images that you’re confident will be well received, or in measuring your own take on a particular place against the way your favourite Instagrammers have interpreted it — that’s how we improve our photography skills and learn. But in my experience, it becomes much more fun and interesting to find your own style, and endlessly chasing likes can start to feel a bit hollow if there’s nothing more underpinning your images and your creative process.
So maybe that’s my next (and possibly more interesting?!) blog post: what are the places I’ve posted on Instagram and been genuinely taken aback by the response? The images I liked myself but hadn’t seen before on Instagram and had no idea how they’d be received?
In the meantime, I’d love to know what sort of posts are most successful for you. Can you identify a common thread or does it all seem completely random?