Everyone has a story to tell, but some people tell their stories better than others. Posting photos on Instagram seems simple enough, but those who attract millions of followers know there’s more to Insta-success than snapping and posting. Curation and strategy play a big role in creating compelling visual stories for you and your brand. We asked some of our favourite Instagram storytellers to share tips on how to optimise your storytelling via the super-hot social media channel. Here, they share insight into everything from shooting the perfect photo, to why you should be paying attention to Instagram Stories.

Jeremy Jauncey, founder and CEO of Beautiful Destinations, a highly influential social-media focused creative agency

Quality Not Quantity

“If you wish to have a successful and engaging Instagram account, take the time to curate thoughtful content that reflects the feeling you want your account to have. Content should be interesting and spaced out. If Instagram users want to keep their followers engaged, they should avoid posting too many photos or videos back-to-back. Quality is always more important than quantity when it comes to posting. Consistency is key as well. You shouldn’t regularly post and then go dark for a few weeks. We find that we receive our best engagement in the mornings and evenings when people traditionally aren’t at work.”

Edit Your Way to Wanderlust-Inducing Photos

The Beautiful Destinations team prefers to edit photos on a desktop or mobile device over using a preset filer. You have more control over the colour, lighting, saturation and shadows when you manually edit a photo. There are numerous free apps Instagram users can download to edit their photos, such as Snapseed.”

Tag Appropriately to Grow Your Following

Hashtags give other Instagram users the opportunity to discover your feed if they are posting similar content. I often see people overuse hashtags to increase their number of likes and followers. Beautiful Destinations is rather conservative with the hashtags we use, but we encourage our followers to hashtag their photos with #beautifuldestinations for a chance to be featured on our channels. We share content from our community across our multiple Instagram channels, and we always make sure we credit and tag appropriately. Anyone who posts content on his or her feed that was captured by someone else should mention the creator’s Instagram handle in the caption and can also tag the user in the photo as well. Our Instagram was born from curated content, and we’ve always been very strict about crediting.”

Instagram Stories Have Major Reach

Instagram Stories are extremely relevant and important for brands. On average, Instagram stories on @beautifuldestinations reach more than five million viewers per day. That surpasses top-rated primetime network shows on television. Typically, this footage is less curated, rawer, and gives viewers an exclusive look into an attraction, event, or moment. One of the best aspects of Instagram Stories is that they can be uploaded after an event has already taken place, unlike Snapchat, which is typically shot live. Because of this, brands should aim to share curated moments that tell a story. Take the time to edit the photos and videos that are part of the story. I also encourage Instagram users to showcase a different perspective than what you might find on their feed. For example, we recently posted photos of us bungee jumping in Abu Dhabi, but we were able to showcase the entire experience in our Instagram Story – from setting up to recovering after the drop.”

Owen Gaddis, Director of Business Development for Untrodden, a new collective of off-the-beaten-path, experiential hotels and lodges

Think Big Picture
“It’s important to step back and look at your Instagram as one big story. Ask yourself, what is the underlying ethos of our brand and how are the micro stories of each post interwoven into the fabric of the overall brand? While each post has its own story to tell, they should all tie together in a way that helps the viewer understand who you are and what you stand for. At Untrodden, we hope to tell a beautiful story of how new experiences and remote places can pull at your heart strings and re-ignite the childlike curiosity and inquisitive nature in us all. If our Instagram feed can stoke the fire in our followers just a little bit, and reinvigorate the intrepid spirit within, then we feel that the platform can be catalytic to converting followers into explorers and clients.”

Sometimes the search is as simple as finding a quiet moment to reflect.

A photo posted by Untrodden (@untrodden) on

Nomadic-Habit, Marianna Jamadi, photographer and visual storyteller behind Nomadic-Habit

Change Your Perspective
“A great photo has a lot to do with perspective. Instead of taking a picture from the standing straightforward position, what happens to the composition if you kneel? Point the camera up? Stand on something nearby? Tilt the camera down? There are so many pictures that can be taken from one spot. I’m a fan of reflexive shooting. I love shooting from a moving car or train. I think less about the composition and just shoot whatever catches my eye. With less energy spent on thinking an image through, you get raw pictures of what inspires you.”

Keep Your Voice Authentic

Your audience will know if you are being authentic or not. Be yourself, people will appreciate you for it. Life is big picture but also filled with tiny details. Share both. It’s not always about big, impressive landscapes or grand moments. Simple details can be just as impactful.”

Almost home. #babesinOz

A photo posted by Marianna Jamadi (@nomadic_habit) on

jm-1560x2340_bwJen Murphy is a Colorado-based writer whose work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Outside, Men’s Journal and Departures.