Starting out as a minimalist photo sharing app in 2010, Instagram has developed rapidly over the past decade to become one of the most-used social media platforms in the world.
Aside from being an important commercial channel for both brands, artists, and influencers, Instagram has also emerged as an effective distribution platform for social content creators to share their work with the world and interact with their followers.
If you want to carve out your own niche as an Instagram creator, or you want to create compelling content to support another endeavour, this post will take a look at four high-profile Instagram creators, how they’ve achieved their success, and the steps you can take to make your own content more compelling.
Julian Bass is a visual effects specialist who showcases his work in short, funny videos giving a glimpse into his personal life, as well as video editing tutorials that help other visual effects artists with their own work.
Though Julian’s editing skills are certainly something to behold, what’s even more impressive is the fact that he’s entirely self-taught, having never gone to film school or received similar formal training.
While Julian’s editing skills are enough to make him stand out, the way that he interacts with his audience in a genuine and approachable manner, while helping other self-taught effects artists with his user-friendly tutorials, prevents his online persona from feeling lofty or unreachable.
Instagram creators can take a page from his book by combining specialised knowledge and impressive skills with a universally personable tone that will help you appeal to a large and diverse audience.
Seth Philips, commonly known by his online moniker Dude With Sign, creates socially-relevant comedy content which features him standing in public places and holding up cardboard signs with his wittily-phrased opinions on everyday issues.
Simple yet effective, Seth’s content has earned him some 7.9 million followers on Instagram, making him one of the most popular Instagram creators focusing solely on picture-based content.
Like many great comedians, Seth’s runaway success is rooted in his ability to find funny takes on prominent social issues, making his content not only highly relatable to a large audience, but also apt to stimulate engaging debates and conversations in his comments sections.
If you’re looking to create content that entertains and makes people think at the same time, then @dudewithsign is definitely one to follow.
An expert animator specialising in creating optical illusions through video, Kevin Parry’s unique and memorable approach to animation and visual effects has led to him working on feature films and collaborating with world-renown brands on advertising campaigns.
While many people associate Kevin with his more complex optical illusion videos, one of his simpler videos, entitled “Hidden Patterns Inside Fruits and Vegetables”, remains his most successful on YouTube, and has served as the first touchpoint for many fans who move into discovering his other content.
This shows how Instagram creators can strip down their content’s USP into something more simple and accessible, and use this to begin funnelling engagement into their more niche content.
@being__her is the account jointly operated by two UK-based twins, Hermon & Heroda, who live with deafness. Posting fashion and lifestyle content, the twins use their eye for great clothes and their passion for travel and experiences to both develop their online profile and raise awareness for people living with disabilities.
The twins of being__her’s charming personalities and inspiring message have led to them collaborating with British clothing brand F+F, and has seen them featured in Vogue UK, not to mention interviewing such stars as Michael B Jordan.
Hermon & Heroda’s success on Instagram has been helped in no small part by their unique life experience, and how they’re able to share a distinct perspective that you won’t find from other lifestyle and fashion Instagram creators.
@being__her’s one-of-a-kind content focus is stark proof that emphasising the things that make you different, regardless of what they are, can be the core feature that helps you find your audience and build an engaged following. Don’t be afraid to show the world who you are!
Tips and Advice for Becoming an Instagram Creator
Now that you’ve seen how some accounts have been able to make an impact on the platform, it’s time to think about how you can apply this inspiration to your own development as an instagram creator.
Find Your Niche and Unique Style
Like with any kind of media platform, if you make your Instagram content too broad, you won’t have much success in building an audience.
Niche followers tend to be more loyal and active compared to Instagram users who casually follow accounts with a broad appeal, so it’s essential to carve out a niche that sets you apart from the sea of other accounts, as well as similar Instagram creators in your category.
Finding a niche that leads to long-term success as a creator isn’t always easy, but you can start by looking at the elements of your identity that already make you unique. Take some time to think about the things you’re most passionate about, the skills and knowledge you have that other creators don’t, and most importantly the type of content you can create happily without any promise of money at the end.
If you drill down into these variables, you’ll soon be able to find a content focus and style that you can call your own.
Invest in Quality Editing Tools
One of the great things about Instagram is that you don’t need to have a top-tier budget to see success as a creator.
Having said that, amateur production values will stand out in the worst way possible when you’re trying to compete with other successful influencers. With this in mind, you need to make sure you’re investing in at least some resources that will keep your content polished and professional.
Learning how to use filters, effects, and transitions within Instagram’s own sharing interface, as well as getting familiar with more niche effects from third-party tools, will help you give your content an extra touch of polish for a more professional end result.
For a simple and affordable way of adding captions, animations, and other effects to your video, why not check out what our very own Submagic can do?
Master Video Storytelling
For most people, Instagram is a way to unwind during their downtime, and users will often open the app without a particular account or type of content in mind.
Visual storytelling is a set of techniques that can help your content seize more people’s attention, and increase the likelihood that the users you’re targeting watch your content to the end, and become active, loyal followers.
Great visual storytelling isn’t easy, but you can get started with it by focusing on content that evokes an immediate emotional response. This can be through the imagery you use, music overlay, or compelling captions that hook users in.
Combining this immediate flash of intrigue and teasing some of the content to come, then finishing it off with a satisfying payoff, you can develop your visual storytelling with each post and keep your audience engaged.
Plan Ahead for Greater Consistency
No one’s going to pay attention to an account that never has new content.
To ensure you can compete with other, popular content accounts, you’ll need to plan for a content calendar that publishes posts on a consistent schedule, and doesn’t leave your audience wondering about whether or not you're active.
One of the common mistakes new Instagram creators make is setting a schedule, but fulfilling it by creating content on the fly for each day they plan to post. Instead, you should aim to plan your content in advance in a detailed content calendar, then publish your content according to this schedule.
By planning ahead like this, you’ll not only give yourself more time to come up with quality content ideas, but protect your account from a slump in activity if you run into any unforeseen issues that cause you to stop producing content.
Engage With Your Followers and Develop a Community
Having a lot of followers may be good for your visibility, but developing these followers into a community will maximise the influence your account has, and improve the chances of your profile gaining traction through shares and word of mouth marketing.
There are many ways Instagram creators can develop an active community and maximise their reach, including using posts to prompt viewers with interesting questions, creating polls, or replying to comments to stimulate conversations attached to your content.
Users who enjoy your content will be delighted to see you take notice and interact with them, and continuous two-way communication with your audience will help you understand the kinds of content they respond to, act on this, and develop a more engaged audience.