Instagram: Getting the Repost (vol. 2)

I posted a while back about how I was reposted by a large clothing company and, to my disappointment, it resulted in much less attention than I expected. This experience has been repeated on multiple occasions, but it’s also been challenged.

Earlier this year I responded to a girl’s story on Instagram (it was about guys being jerks to her about being a programmer) with the words “Thank you” which prompted her to look at my profile and message me. She’s a fellow software developer and has a rather large following on Instagram. For whatever reason she liked my profile, screenshotted it, and shared it with her followers

I was a little in awe that she responded to my innocuous message in the first place, so to see her post about my profile completely floored me. That’s also when I began getting bombarded with followers who were obviously checking out my profile from her link. For the next 24 hours every time I opened up Instagram I had a ridiculous number of notifications.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 10.47.57 AM
You can see exactly what day this happened

After the Instagram story timed out (after 24 hours) my daily follower average returned back to normal and I went on my way with about 500 more engaged followers.

What made this different than the first big repost?

I have a theory that there are two kinds of accounts:

  • There are accounts you follow because you like the photos (the aesthetic, the photography, the brand, etc.)
  • And there are accounts you follow because you like the stories (smaller businesses and people)

People feel connected to the accounts that make it feel “personal” – whether it’s because you have the same job or like the same things. When a “personal” account does a repost or gives a shoutout, it’s more like a personal introduction to a friend: “Hi, this person is cool, you should check them out”

If a brand/aesthetics-based account gives a shoutout their followers may or may not respond to it based on if they like that specific photo, product, or idea. The followers may not feel like they “need” to follow someone else if it’s the same aesthetic as the brand because they’re already following the brand.

Milestone: Getting an Event Invite

This morning I woke up to a message from an account I follow on Instagram:

Hi Johna! I just read your bio, one of our baristas was born and raised in Alaska also! What a small world. We just had a blogger mixer and are starting to plan for our next one for April. Let me know if you’d be interested in attending.



Since my interactions with this coffee shop have been purely based on me liking their photos, I’m incredibly excited that they reached out. It just goes to show that companies do look at people’s profiles (and they will reach out).

I’m also low-key excited that they think I’m a blogger – hopefully I can attend the event and I’ll get to write a post about what that is like.

Instagram: Quantifying Impact

Note: There’s no way that this post will be all inclusive or up to date because of the huge scope of the internet and new websites being made every day. Feel free to reach out to me with your favorite websites/strategies if you have them.

Posting photos and being able to see likes and comments is great, and after doing it for a while you’ll be able to have a mental gist of what works and what doesn’t. Having a gist is great, but it doesn’t allow you to quantify the subtle differences (ex: I might know that pictures relating to programming do well, but maybe pictures of computers in coffee shops do better than computers on desks).

I didn’t find this out until this month, but Instagram has a lot of analytics it doesn’t make public in it’s API (this is where other websites are drawing their analytics from). For instance, the Instagram API doesn’t actually share gender of user or how many views a photo gets – if a website offers that then they’re probably trying to sort gender by something like the bio or picture recognition. Continue reading

Milestone: Getting to 1K

On Monday, March 3rd, 2017 I woke up to 1015 followers.

This honestly feels a little bit like the last milestone: it’s a good sign but also a little underwhelming. The earth didn’t stop revolving and cheerleaders didn’t come out of my closet – though my mum and boyfriend did send me congratulatory messages.

Here’s what I think breaking the one thousand follower mark really means (and what I’ve learned): Continue reading

Instagram: Choosing Your Topic

Okay, so you have an account, a smart-phone, and a bunch of pictures of lattes. Now what?

Unfortunately, if you’re trying to build a brand posting random pictures from your photo-roll isn’t going to cut it (even if they’re good photos). Generally speaking, people want to follow:

  1. People they know
  2. People/things that they are interested in

If you’re aiming to be #2 and aren’t a celebrity, then you need strong thematic content to convince someone that you hold the same interests that they do – and you have to do it in an engaging way. Continue reading

Instagram: Getting the repost

I’ve been putting more effort into Instagram for the past 2 months or so – actually I can tell you the exact post, it was this one:

My ultimate goal is to grow a following and aesthetic strong enough that brands want to collaborate with me for marketing purposes.  I see it as a uniquely challenging job interview for a position that there’s no clear path to reach. Sure, there are articles everywhere about how to “make your Instagram better” but it’s not so easy to find step by step guidelines of how to do it (see more thoughts on this here). As a data nerd I was and still am very ready to take on the challenge of trying to quantify becoming successful on social media through a method driven by data.

Here I am, two months later, currently with 437 followers, and today I got what I thought would be the Holy Grail of social media marketing for someone looking to grow a following: a repost. At 5am this morning I posted this photo:


And 8 hours later it was picked up by my absolute favorite online retailer, Look Human: Continue reading

Instagram: We’re All Robots Now

Technology and automation has brought us a lot of wonderful things: cheaper cars, digital spreadsheets, and the junk filter on your email. They’ve also brought us something that no one anywhere really enjoys: bots. The two most common bots found on the internet are sex bots and advertisement bots. Generally they’ll make remarks that are in the vein of their genre  (either trying to act sexy or trying to sell you something in a not so subtle way).

The rise of Instagram (and Twitter) and publicly available profiles has led to a new type of bot and bot service which could be best described as a branding tool. It allows a user to be everywhere at once without having to actually pick up their phones.

The How

The good news is that robots aren’t sentient. Instagram provides software developers with a document called an API. It’s a list of endpoints that a user can call to that will get/send certain information without using the interface. With a single line of code I can like your photo, follow a user, or get a list of photos with certain hashtags on them (among a dozen other activities). Continue reading