I’ve gotten asked four times in the past seven days how I’ve created such a pretty Instagram feed without being a photographer or taking any of the photos.
And while I don’t usually publish super tactical blog posts like this one, I figured I’d better answer this question once and for all in case you’re wondering too!
So, here’s the deal.
I’m a Marketing Coach who a) doesn’t take great photos, b) doesn’t have much to take photos of on a regular basis, and c) doesn’t have time to care much about having original photos.
So what to do with Instagram, THE photo-centric platform, when that’s the case?
Here’s my process that has allowed me to curate a gorgeous and on-brand feed without pissing anyone off by using their photos:
- Imagine what you want your feed to look like. For me, I knew my main brand color would be green and the entire theme would be centered around plants and “growth.”
Here’s what mine looks like right now:
- I then began seeking out Instagrammers who post lots of pictures of plants and green images, saving a few by using the bookmark tool.
- By bookmarking those images, Instagram uses their brilliance to show me more images like those I’ve bookmarked in the Search section of the app. When I go to that section periodically (a few times a week), I bookmark more images that would fit into my feed.
- When I’m ready to post something, I simply go to my bookmarked images and screenshot one that fits with the caption I’ve written.
- To give proper credit to the original photographer, I tag them within the caption AND ON THE ACTUAL PHOTO.
These two places are important because…
The tag in the caption shows all of your followers that you did not take the photo and value giving credit where credit is due.
And the tag on the photo ensures the original photographer gets notified that you’ve tagged them.
IMPORTANT: Some larger accounts get tagged in so many captions that they can’t possibly check them all, but if you tag them on the photo, they have an honest chance to see it.
- By giving the original photog an honest chance to see that you’ve used their image, they have the opportunity to say “HEY TAKE THAT DOWN, THAT’S MINE” which is totally their right to do. It’s never ever happened to me – in fact, 75% of the people I tag write back with something like “Thanks so much for sharing my image!”
The worst thing to do is to not give credit. There is some weird Instagram karma out there that will spite you for being a crappy human.
(Ok, maybe not really, but probably.)
And one other tip: Follow and seek education from Chris Emmer of Sweaty Wisdom if you’re looking for legitimate, non-salesy, soulful Instagram and social media help. She’s an incredible human and teacher of this stuff.