On Instagram, Nobody Cares About Your Dog

– Posted in: Garden Photography, Miscellaneous

I’m currently 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 shots, it’s terrific exposure for our brands and 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 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. (Plenty of good photos in them, too, if I do say so myself!)

 

 

Debra Lee Baldwin
Award-winning garden photojournalist Debra Lee Baldwin authored the Timber Press bestsellers Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens, and Succulents Simplified. Debra is a regular contributor to Sunset and other publications, and her own half-acre garden near San Diego has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens. Debra specializes in showing how to use architectural, waterwise and easy-care succulents in a wide variety of appealing and creative applications. www.debraleebaldwin.com.
Debra Lee Baldwin
Debra Lee Baldwin

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5 Comments… add one

Leave a Comment

patsi July 6, 2016, 9:10 am

Don’t use Instagram but on FB…yes I get likes when it comes to my dogs. Sorry that your audience has limited gardening interest…seems strange to me.

Arthur July 6, 2016, 10:18 am

Lovely!!!

Rick Laughlin July 6, 2016, 6:57 pm

hI DEBRA, VERY NICE ARTICLE ON INSTAGRAM AND YOUR FOLLOWERS, DID YOU DO ALL OF THAT ON YOUR CELL PHONE?

rICK LAUGHLIN, APLD, QWEL, GWA

sue July 7, 2016, 7:43 am

Great to know I can head to Instagram for inspiration from your photos to create new designs with succulents or whenever I need a dose of sunshine from my home state on a cold winter wisconsin day.

joan carroll, mg retired July 7, 2016, 9:41 am

Gorgeous Koi pond picture — like to see more of these.
Joan

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