I Tested Some Theories About Instagram Photos

Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about the Instagram algorithm. Whether or not it’s effecting which posts my followers are seeing, I’m not sure. There are no conclusive answers and my guess is that the whole thing is purposely shrouded in mystery. But one thing is clear, people are spending more and more time on the app—myself included. Use of the app has risen so high that Instagram is actively building tools for users to monitor their time spent on the platform. Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom recently confirmed the new feature, stating “We’re building tools that will help the IG community know more about the time they spend on Instagram—any time should be positive and intentional.”

I know that I can get lost in the app myself, so I purposely try to limit my time on it. But I do use the app to be inspired. I love learning about cool new fashion brands and experiencing travels to far-flung locations second-hand, but I also use it to post photos to my personal Instagram account. Whether it’s a simple #ootd, a travel pic, or a photo from my very first Chanel show, I enjoy documenting cool moments with photos and sharing them with my small community of followers. But some photos perform better than others, and as I’ve noticed wide divides in engagement on my posts, it’s made me curious about some theories I have. So I decided to test them out. Ahead, I’m sharing my findings with what performed best, including the post that got 300% more likes than my typical photos.

Okay, this one is obvious and painfully cliché. But I love Paris! And everyone who follows me seems to as well. Any time I post a photo from my favorite city, it inevitably earns a lot of likes. I’m not suggesting traveling there just to post a photo on Instagram, but if you do, make sure to capture some sharable moments.

There was a time when I would only post photos with very photogenic backgrounds—but honestly, that gets kind of boring. And, to me, can feel inauthentic. My photo with the white top below was quickly snapped at the gas station, but actually earned more likes than the same outfit shot against a pretty wall of boungainvillea

It’s tempting to go the route of cool and serious, but I’ve been seeing more smiling faces on my Instagram feed lately and it feels so refreshing. Let’s have a little fun, everyone.

Adding your friends or co-workers into a photo can let your followers get to know more about your personal life.

While I do love a good black and white photo, I’ve noticed that they typically don’t acquire as many like as photos with lots of color.

This doesn’t only relate to fashion week, but certainly applies. Instead of showing a view that everyone has seen before, offer up an alternative perspective and behind-the-scenes moment that gives your followers an inside glimpse at something cool you’re experiencing.

While my typical Instagram photos get around 350-450 likes, this one has over 1200. I’m guessing it’s because it shares a real, relatable moment (make sure to click over to the second photo in the series). This goes hand-in-hand with advice from Eva Chen who recently shared: “We’re seeing that people want real moments on Instagram that are raw, and not too edited or staged.”

More theories about Instagram photos right this way.

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