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If you’re looking for likes and followers, Instagram is a tough nut to crack. But you can follow and study these Instagram role models to see what the crème de la crème are publishing over there.

Many people say the optimal frequency to post on Instagram is just once per day. After doing my own research, I found that a maximum of 3-4 photos should be posted throughout each 24 hours. Having such a strict limit like this means your photos really have to be something special. They need to be photos that urge other users to follow you, like your posts, and look forward to your future shots.

Before jumping straight in with some visual inspiration though, you should check out our guide to getting noticed on Instagram These 8 Tips Will Help You Get Noticed On Instagram These 8 Tips Will Help You Get Noticed On Instagram If you've been using Instagram for a while, yet only have a handful of followers to show for it, or are rarely receiving likes and comments on your photos, these tips should help. Read More which expands on the following tips:

  • Don’t annoy your followers by posting too often
  • Learn to use the right filter
  • Use only your best photos
  • Consider picking a niche, or only a handful of topics
  • Work out the best time and day to post
  • Find the right hashtags
  • Include call to actions (i.e. ask people to comment)

And so without getting too much into the nitty-gritty of using Instagram The Ultimate Guide To Instagram Video: Everything You Need To Know The Ultimate Guide To Instagram Video: Everything You Need To Know Another major update seen in Instagram since it was acquired by Facebook is the addition of Video updates in June. Are you using Instagram video? Do you know how to shoot a good one? Everything... Read More  and cryptic hashtags The Complete Guide To Cryptic Instagram Hashtags No One Understands The Complete Guide To Cryptic Instagram Hashtags No One Understands #instagood, #l4l, #f4f, #photooftheday, #igers… what's up with all these hashtags? The least you can do to ease your suffering is to learn what all these hashtags mean. Read More , here’s a selection of inspirational, impressive, and downright genius Instagram users who will act as your guide to creating the perfect feed:

JoyTheBaker: The Rustic Foodie

Gonna do naughty things to these strawberries then tell you all about it.

A photo posted by joythebaker (@joythebaker) on

There are over 150 million #food tags on Instagram, and photos such as those posted by JoyTheBaker are the reason why that tag is so popular. As you scroll through her feed you’ll notice the natural colours, deep shadows, perfect exposure, birds-eye view, and lack of symmetry. Plus you’ll also catch a fascinating glimpse of the person behind the account. This is no dull FoodNetwork stream that publishes shot after shot of food on a plate. This is a stream that tells the story of Joy Wilson, the author, photography and donut enthusiast. As one of her almost 200,000 followers, you’ll be treated to a taste of what Joy’s lifestyle is actually like. The artisanal coffee shops, delectable cocktails, close friends, cosy houses and (of course) the food. This variation in posts offers some real action to what could otherwise be a very static set of photos. Be sure that whatever niche(s) you choose to focus on, you offer a multifaceted stream of photos that tell a real story and which express more than just one dimension of who you are. And make sure the food shots are delicious! Photographing Food? 6 Tips To Help You Make That Dish Look Appetizing Photographing Food? 6 Tips To Help You Make That Dish Look Appetizing Do you know what’s better than sitting down to an amazing meal? Taking pictures of it, of course. With that said, some food photos… Well, they just plain suck. Read More  

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Miserable_Men: The Obsessive Stream

That's right, buddy… you're depressed now. #miserablemen

A photo posted by Miserable Men (@miserable_men) on

The Miserable_men Instagram stream has a cult audience of 165,000 followers, all waiting to catch a glimpse of the global epidemic that is men who’ve been unwillingly dragged to the shops.

No one will try to argue that the owner of the account is an especially proficient photographer The Top 5 Photography Tips For Absolute Beginners The Top 5 Photography Tips For Absolute Beginners Fueled by a desire to take better photos, last year I got myself a nice DSLR for Christmas. I'm certainly no photography expert - but I did take the time learn a few tips I... Read More , but by triggering the viewers emotion — by making them smile, laugh, or let out a snort of appreciation — the stream offers something that people want. An experience.

If you decide to go this route with your own Instagram feed, pick just one angle (your unique selling point), and go all out. Keep it simple. For a few more ideas along the same lines, check out the selfie-obsessed @MyPimpGoodGame, the president-impersonating @ohheyitschaz, and the money-flaunting @ItsLavishBitch.

ThePlanetD: The Globetrotters

The couple behind this stunning account, Dave and Deb, were named “top travel Instagrams by USA Today, Yahoo Travel, Forbes, Harpers Bazaar, Reader’s Digest“, and it’s not hard to see why. The wispy luxury and exotic colours of faraway lands enlivens the globetrotter in all of us Life on the Road: The History of Digital Nomadism Life on the Road: The History of Digital Nomadism Read More , while offering a faint, niggling sense of itchy feet. The irony here is that it’s highly unlikely these shots have been captured with an iPhone, or even edited within Instagram itself. By using tools such as Gramblr you’re able to take photos using whatever camera you like, transfer these to your computer, and use whatever photo-editing software you like 10 Free Photo Editor Tools To Make The Most Of Your Shots 10 Free Photo Editor Tools To Make The Most Of Your Shots Whatever happened to all the snapshots you've taken in the past? If you've got plans and ideas, here are some great Windows and some cross platform tools to process them with. Read More before uploading to Instagram. This method removes the restriction of having to use a mediocre camera, while still allowing you to share your favourite shots with your followers. This specific account focuses exclusively on landscape shots, but if you’re looking for something with more variation, check out the accounts of other fascinating people who are living extraordinary lifestyles Follow 10 Inspirational People & Their Personal Journeys Online Follow 10 Inspirational People & Their Personal Journeys Online They are not swashbucklers or cut from the silver screen cloth. They are normal everyday people who live extraordinary lives and in the process inspire us to never give up on our dreams. Read More . One example is photo-journalist @michaelchristopherbrown who focuses on the people of the world, rather than simply the places.

SirMitchell: The Artist

Portray of me, by @randyortizdtd. Follow that dude. He's incredible, plus he's got a real nice toosh.

A photo posted by Mike Mitchell (@sirmitchell) on

It’s a common misconception that Instagram needs to be solely about photography. It can also work perfectly well as a medium for sharing artwork, too. Artist Mike Mitchell has accrued over 50,000 followers by posting his competed works, sketches and works-in-progress to the platform.

If you decide to use Instagram for this purpose, remember who’s actually looking at these images. Make sure the photos you take of your artwork look amazing in a square format. If not, introduce more of a background to the artwork so it can still maintain its original, respective shape.

However you choose to capture your artwork, in the end it needs to be a beautiful Instagram shot providing your followers with something they’ll be compelled to ‘like’.

There are plenty of other artists and illustrators using Instagram extremely well who you should follow, too. @KennyScharf@BertHodgson, @ckovska and @joseparla are just a few.

@Satiregram: The Statement Makers

It is possible to use Instagram as a soundboard for any statement you intend to make. @Satiregram pokes fun at the clichéd posts that are published to the platform, prompting us to question the point of it all. Similarly, street-artist @Banksy invites us to question the status quo and political systems around us. To do this well, you have to be able to visually express a complex idea in a way that’s very easy to understand, or in a way that blatantly evokes a strong emotion. This makes the Instagram posts far more ‘shareable’, and ‘likeable’, and thereby much more likely to be seen by more people. 

BiddyTheHedgehog: The Storyteller

We all love a good story, and one that involves a hedgehog’s travels combines that love with our unhealthy obsession with the ‘cute’. By using Instagram to tell a story, you give your followers a reason to continue following. For each post you leave, they’ll want to know what happens next. They join the journey with you.

As a few examples, we’re able to track @Conway_Sean on his long distance run covering the length of the UK. We live vicariously through the vagabond wanderings and tree-house-building life of @FosterHunting. We can follow the interesting stories of entrepreneurs such as Instagram founder @Kevin, Reddit founder @AlexisOhanian and the busy, varied behind-the-scenes look at Huffington Post founder’s life, @AriannaHuff.

Again, these photos need not be professional standard shots, but need to offer the follower a vicarious view into something at least a little out of the ordinary. A celebrity, lavish, austere or adventurous lifestyle. These are all lifestyles that are different from the norm, and are stories people find interesting to follow. So, provided you’re able to tell an interesting story, you’ve a good foundation for Instagram content.

Get Posting

As with everything, you need to throw a few handfuls of mud at the wall before you know what’ll stick. Find an overall niche for your Instagram feed— your interesting life, your artwork, your travels, the food you eat, one of your hobbies play around with popular hashtags, and react to what you learn.

In all though, just have fun with it. Instagram isn’t there to be too serious. Sure, it’s nice to have an attractive stream of photos, or a hearty number of likes and followers 5 Tried & True Tips For Winning At Instagram & Getting Tons Of Likes 5 Tried & True Tips For Winning At Instagram & Getting Tons Of Likes When it comes to getting noticed on Instagram, there are basic rules to follow as would be the case with any social network - post regularly, interact with users, include an interesting description with your... Read More , but the main thing is to express yourself using whatever form of expression you desire.

Image credit: @ThePlanetD Instagram feed screenshot

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