At the spacious main stage at the Book Bindery in Culver City, four of Instagram’s most influential users gathered on photo op-worthy pastel couches to discuss the “Art of Instagram” during a panel moderated by Amanda de Cadenet at Saturday’s Create + Cultivate Conference.
The Fat Jewish (aka Josh Ostrovsky; @thefatjewish), Whitney Port (@whitneyeveport), Julianne Hough (@juleshough) and Shea Marie (@peaceloveshea) — each with more than 700k followers — divulged some of their do’s and don’ts for creating the most “like”-worthy Instagram account.
1. The Selfie: Panelists considered the necessary evil to be a positive confidence booster, but warned that moderation is key.
“I’m totally down for the selfie — like I’m very guilty of that,” says Port. “But if it gets to the point where there’s too many of them in a row, I’m like, ‘I know what you look like.’ ” Adds Hough, “But every once in a while I’ll be like, ‘OK, I need my likes to go up,’ so I’ll do a duckface or a selfie and it works.”
2. Dogs/Pet Accounts: “The celebrity dog game is insane right now,” says Ostrovsky, whose own mutt, Toast (@toastmeetsworld), has quite a social media following, herself. “Her tongue hangs out—which is sort of like her ‘J Lo’s Butt’ or ‘Cindy Crawford’s mole. Anyway, she’s a total diva now.”
3. Originality: Blogger Shea Marie explains that novelty is key to keeping her audience interested, noting, “I have a really niche following, and I feel a lot of pressure to keep up with the competition I have. For me it’s stressful, because [the photos] have to be good quality, they have to be different than before, and it has to be a different outfit every single day. It’s hard!”
However, Ostrovsky urges that if you have an idea for something new but aren’t quite sure about it, go for it anyway. “It’s 2015 and the world is so f–king weird. If you want to do it, I honestly think that we’re so well connected at this point that — as weird as it is or as weird as you think you are — you will find people who will eat that up.”
1. Too many photos in one day: “If you post too many, then I’ll unfollow you,” says Hough, “I think four photos is the max.”
2. Hats/Sunsets/Babies: In addition to posting multiple photos of L.A. Sunsets (“especially the ones with sarcastic captions, like ‘this sucks’ — I can’t”), Ostrovsky warns that too many bad hats or babies also warrant an “unfollow.” “I can only see your baby eating so many times. Like, it’s enough. We get it. I can’t take this anymore. Or stupid hats. If you wear a bunch of stupid hats I’ll unfollow you,” he says.
3. Overt sponsorship: Though Instagram has become a great platform for advertising, all panelists agreed that if an account comes across as inauthentic or too commercial, they will lose followers. “Young people these days are really, really stupid,” says Ostrovsky, “but they know when they’re being shilled. They know when they’re marketed to.”