This is clearly the year of Instagram. The simple photo sharing app has metamorphosed into a veritable platform. Businesses taking to their customers through social media is not news. However, with the increasing popularity of Instagram, there is an increasing group of ‘influencers’ who seek building a community on Instagram. Hashtag Authentic: Finding creativity and building a community on Instagram and beyond by Sara Tasker shares practical and experience based advice for those who want to increase their influence and specifically get the best out of their Instagram account.
It’s all in the pictures
Photography may be seen by some as a transient art in today’s age of social media, but it is time we focus on intentionality behind photographs. I loved the introductory pages to Hashtag Authentic since they very beautifully describe the world of photography as it exists today. Her words gently draw our attention to the fact that while having our cameras in the pocket has democratized the field of photography, the aspect of intentionality is something we all need to focus on. How many of us put thought behind the photographs we click?
Everyone has a story to tell and these stories have the power to slowly but surely shape the world. I like the feeling of gentle nudging throughout this book. It delicately pushes you to think. What story can you tell? How can you get inspiration from your everyday life? Why should you start with what you have? How can you see the magic in everyday moments? How can you maintain this visual record of everyday life?
The entire goal and direction of the first half of the book is geared towards sharing how one can craft images that truly resonate with viewers in a responsible way. Images that tell a story. It is actually a crash course in how to click good photographs! The book is replete with photographs that illustrate the points that the author chronicles so beautifully.
One of the handy features of this book is the exercise section which aims to make the reader do some practical exercises and soul searching in order to implement and see in practice the ideas and suggestions expressed in the book.
There are several such exercises in the book and going through all these will hone your skills in photography and specifically in expressing yourself on Instagram. These are all geared toward finding your unique Instagram style. It is also replete with specific tips geared towards Instagram- for example, taking pictures in portrait mode for more engagement, what to do when you feel you are at a loss of ideas for photographing,
Making Instagram work for you
Besides good photography tips, the book also has specific details about Instagram stories, tips on building and growing your Instagram community, thinking about the future and the direction you could take once you have ‘made it’ on Insta, how to remain safe on the platform and several other useful bits of information that will take the instagrammer beyond merely clicking good images.
Some inspirational tips from the book….
- On days you feel uninspired, go for a photo walk. When you look at the world from a lens, you will see many things you would have otherwise missed!
- Click photos in portrait mode especially for Instagram.
- Taking images day after day could be tiring! To keep up the inspiration you could try
- Let the content guide the frequency of the posts.
- Words, captions and comments are the unsung heroes in this image app!
- Focus on building a community of followers who are genuinely interested in your unique content, rather than running behinds likes and follows.
- Instagram is not the end. It is the means to an end. You must think about how you will further your journey once you have ‘made it’ on Instagram.
In short, this is a book that helps you develop a clear and coherent voice in your unique style for your Instagram account. True, it focuses on Instagram specifically, but I feel it is equally appropriate for any platform that involves you, your audience and a screen! Building a community on Instagram follows good content and a strategic approach to this platform. If you are keen to dive in, Hashtag Authentic: Finding creativity and building a community on Instagram and beyond by Sara Tasker is the right place to start!
Author: Sara Tasker
Publisher: White Lion Publishing
Genre: Business, Self-help