Now through July 9, I’m celebrating having attained 10,000 Instagram followers by giving away all four of my books! See details. 

Instagram is pure eye-candy, one luscious photo right after another. Captions tend to be brief or nonexistent. If you have a favorite topic, such as “echeverias,” you can scroll  through glorious echeveria photos simply by searching for #echeverias. Not only does Instagram give people like me opportunities to visually share our garden adventures and favorite photos, it’s terrific exposure for our brands. It’s also a great learning experience. In a nutshell, I live for “Likes,” and I continually strive to post photos that earn them. The screen captures below illustrate what I’ve learned—what works and what doesn’t—as evidenced by their number of likes (at the upper right of each).

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I can post the most amazing photo and it won’t get many likes if it doesn’t show succulents. No surprise: Most of my followers are into succulents, so that’s what they want to see.

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To paraphrase a popular saying: On Instagram, nobody cares about your dog. It doesn’t much matter how cute he is or how you pose him, he won’t earn many “Likes’ from people unless they own the same or similar breed.

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When I do post a photo of a succulent, I aim for amazing. The quality of photography on Instagram is extraordinary. I enhanced this photo using filters provided by the Instagram app. The most interesting filter, IMHO, is “Structure.” Depending on the quality of the original photo, Structure can sharpen the image so that it practically pops off the page. A little goes a long way; photos that have been excessively filtered look unnatural and garish.

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In terms of likes, my nice photo of a pachyveria earned a C+.

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People quickly scroll past anything that resembles advertising. Who can blame them?

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No matter how lovely, cactus is simply not as popular as nonspiny succulents.

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People love anything they haven’t seen before, like this succulent-planted trash container lid I shot recently at Roger’s Gardens nursery.

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But what they really go nuts over are innovative, well done succulent wreaths…

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…topiaries…

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…and short videos, especially if the description intrigues them.

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It’s considered the height of rudeness to repost someone else’s photo without giving them credit. At first, I erred on the side of caution and didn’t repost anyone’s at all. Then someone told me about Repost, an app that automatically identifies a photo’s origin in the lower left corner. It’s a win-win: I got 3,306 “Likes” for Jen’s terrific photo, and Instagrammers who weren’t following her already probably did so after I posted it.

If you’re thinking, “Who’s got time for all that? I’d rather read a book,” be sure to enter to win all four of mine! (Btw, I save my very best photos for my books!)

 

 

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5 Response Comments

  • Karen MauriceJuly 6, 2016 at 7:51 am

    absolutely stunning pillows!

    Reply
    • DebraJuly 15, 2016 at 9:54 am

      Thanks, Karen!

      Reply
  • DebraJuly 8, 2016 at 6:40 am

    People are sking what it means to tag someone…Everyone on Instagram has a name that they go by. Mine for example is @DebraLBaldwin. That’s their tag. When you sign up, you’ll need to come up with one for yourself. Then you can do a search to find out which friends of yours are on Instagram, “follow” them (to see what photos they’re posting) and obtain their tags. Then to enter to win the book giveaway, you’d leave a comment after my post that tags your friend, i.e. @larrysfriend. It sounds complicated but it really isn’t! — Debra

    Reply
  • Mary RobertsJuly 14, 2016 at 1:04 am

    Thank you very much for imparting you Instagram advice. I keep asking my 13-year-old who has helped quite a bit ?, but your insight is more appropriate for me in my attempt on getting ‘known’ on the Internet. I’ve thought about asking you for advice many times by email or at your appearances, but in my perception of today’s world, I was a “nobody” because I did not have a website, Instagram, etc. Now I do, but am still learning how to navigate it all. I’m hoping to also post videos on YouTube soon and my daughters have promised to film them but have run into a hiccup or two with that as well.

    Reply
    • DebraJuly 15, 2016 at 9:55 am

      Thanks, Mary — I’m pleased you view me as a source of inspiration!

      Reply

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