Creative Social Media

12 Ways to Make Your Instagram Stand Out

Emma Roth Updated 11-02-2020

Instagram is constantly reinventing itself. Which means you need to constantly reinvent yourself as well. With that in mind, here’s how to make your Instagram stand out.

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The newest Instagram features offer a lot of opportunities for creativity and individuality, and have brought Instagram back into competition with social media giants like Snapchat.

After years of only using Instagram to upload a single photo at a time, it’s hard for many users to adapt. How do you make a slideshow? Why would you make a Boomerang? What are Instagram stories?

With so many new features available on Instagram, there are more ways than ever to create a unique account. These creative options will help you learn how to make your Instagram stand out.

1. Use Slideshows for “Before and After” Reveals

You aren’t limited to a single photo per post—Instagram offers plenty of different ways to post pictures on Instagram. Using Instagram’s slideshow feature, you can add up to 10 photos, videos, or Boomerangs to a post at one time.

Slideshows are one of the most creative ways to post on Instagram, especially when you post impressive before and after photos to get full shock value. This strategy is effective for new haircuts, repairs, weight loss transformations, sunsets, makeovers, and redecorating.

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For a truly dramatic before and after effect, take both photos from the same angle and use the same editing tools on both images.

2. Tell a Story Using Multiple Accounts

Instagram Stories now let you tag other users with a link that goes directly to their accounts. Many Instagram users use this feature to give shoutouts to their favorite accounts.

However, some users are making it worth viewers’ while to click on that link. The video above shows a duo who used their respective audiences to build each other’s follower count.

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Over the course of five days, they shared a short film in 10 parts, alternating between each other’s stories. Each part ended on a dramatic cliffhanger, forcing viewers to go to the other’s account if they wanted to see the conclusion.

Even if you don’t have the motivation to make a full short film, try using your Instagram Story effectively How to Use Instagram Stories Effectively: Basics, Tips, and Tricks Instagram Stories is the photo-sharing giant's take on Snapchat. The purpose is to add a new layer of fun to your images and videos. Here's everything you need to know. Read More by linking it up with a friend. You both build your follower count while providing two different perspectives of the same event—a great method of storytelling.

3. Use Visual Chaining to Keep Your Feed Attractive

Instagram rvstapleton

When you look at Instagram profiles, some look impossibly perfect. Somehow, every single image seems to coordinate perfectly.

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If you want your entire Instagram profile to fit a certain aesthetic or theme, you may want to try something called a “visual chain.” This approach depends on you planning out your photos more than usual, but the overall effect is worth the extra effort.

Every time you post a new photo, think about how it will look next to your previous post and the three before that. Visual chains allow you to get creative with how your profile looks overall. For really impressive effects, try arranging photos by color, content, or photo orientation (as in the example above by @rvstapleton).

4. Use Boomerang to Boost Interest

Boomerangs may seem ridiculous at first glance, but a well-done loop can draw viewers in to your post. The perfect Boomerangs are actions with a distinct beginning and end that look cool when rewound. Some classic Boomerangs are jumping into water, a cool athletic move, traffic, dancing, or a selfie with an exaggerated facial expression.

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You can access the Boomerang feature by downloading the Boomerang app for Android or iOS. Or if you press the camera icon in the top left of your screen (typically used to add to your Story), you can create a Boomerang without downloading the app.

Select the Boomerang option at the bottom of the screen, create your video, then save it to your camera roll instead of sending it to your Story. Then, you can upload it to your feed just like you would any other photo or video.

5. Give a Look Behind the Scenes With Slideshow

Instagram user @slinkachu_official creates incredible miniature works of art. However, you don’t truly understand the size or purpose of the artwork until you see a shot of the objects from far away.

The slideshow feature allows viewers to see the “behind the scenes” portions of a finished photo. This approach can add to the Story of how you did something, what led up to the photo, or any other details you think they may find interesting. You can even use videos within a slideshow to add a voice-over explanation of your art or experience.

6. Think Bigger With Giant Square

Instagram - Giant Square app

Try using an app like Giant Square (on iOS and Android), which breaks a single photo into a three-, six-, or nine-square grid. The result makes this method one of the most intriguing ways to make your Instagram stand out.

Keep in mind that each photo still needs to be posted individually to Instagram. That means this option works best with landscape photos, where each individual photo will still look nice on its own.

Selfies, on the other hand, will result in a single photo of your nose being posted inexplicably (especially now that Instagram feeds are algorithm-based instead of chronological). Used correctly, however, this strategy can result in a beautiful and unique Instagram profile (like @photosbywillemthach, seen above).

7. Add Stickers and Drawings to Make Your Story Stand Out

Instagram introduced the stickers and drawings feature in December 2016. This feature initially seemed gimmicky, but it can actually add a lot of fun to your Stories without looking silly.

For example, try adding a thought bubble sticker with custom text. Use several Stories in a row to create a real-life comic strip. Or use the selfie sticker option (pull up stickers after taking your photo or video and then choose the image of your Instagram profile picture). This will let you insert a sticker of your face, which is great for adding visual commentary to a photo of something else.

You can even use stickers to create your own filters. This lets you show off your location or the weather, give people fake accessories, or celebrate holidays. Any emoji you can think of is fair game. Your imagination can truly run wild with this feature.

Don’t forget to add drawings to your Story as well. Quirky drawings and handwritten text can add comedic emphasis to your photo or can point something out. If you don’t know how to draw on Instagram pictures, simply press the squiggly icon at the top of the screen when editing a photo for your Instagram Story.

8. Theme Your Instagram

If you want a solid base of followers, consider giving your Instagram profile a consistent theme The Best Instagram Themes to Help Build Your Brand Once you have decided what to post on Instagram, you need to decide on a theme. These Instagram themes will help build your brand. Read More . Since Instagram supports multiple accounts, it’s easy to separate your personal posts from your professional or public profile.

Themed Instagrams are far more likely to attract followers, because followers know what types of posts to expect. A well-curated profile allows you to create a consistent Instagram feed How to Craft a Consistent Instagram Feed for Brandability Having a unique style and branding can help you build a social media following. Here's how to craft a consistent Instagram feed. Read More and have a beautiful profile with less effort.

Take @muradosmann, for example, who is now world-famous for his Instagram account. His account primarily features photos of his girlfriend leading him around the world, and thousands of global users now use the #FollowMe hashtag.

9. Give Detailed Tutorials Using Every Post Type

Until the introduction of slideshow, Instagram really couldn’t be used for anything content-heavy. But now that multiple images can be added to a single post, complex posts could become the new normal.

For example, try putting together a detailed tutorial using a combination of still images, collages (use Instagram’s Layout app for easy access), video, and text. Simple steps can be a single photo, while more complex steps can have video instructions included. Similarly, use text images for specific instructions or a collage to show a final product comparison.

Tutorials are a great option for Instagram profiles dedicated to cooking, home renovations, makeup routines, or fashion.

10. Use Layout to Create Collages

If you want to add multiple pictures in one post, you don’t always have to create a slideshow. Instead, you can create a collage using Instagram’s Layout app for iOS or Android. Layout allows you to add up to nine different pictures to one collage. This gives you even more different ways to upload photos on Instagram.

After you decide on the pictures, you’ll have to pick out a specific layout. The app offers several different grids to choose from—some have small boxes for your photos, others have large boxes, and then there are those that have a mix of both.

You can rearrange your photos within these boxes, and use Layout’s tools to flip or mirror your photos, as well as add a border. When you’re done, you can post your collage to Instagram just like a typical photo.

11. Post Live Videos to Engage Your Audience

Want to add more personality to your Instagram account? Consider using Instagram Live to post real-time videos. Livestream a video of yourself doing something interesting, or simply take the time to chat with your followers.

When users watch your Instagram Live video, they can submit comments which will immediately appear on the livestream. This makes it easy to relate to your followers or answer any questions. Your video won’t disappear after you turn off the camera, and you can opt to share a replay of your live videos so viewers can catch up later.

12. Still Need Inspiration? Try an Instagram Challenge

Instagram 365 project

If you still feel like you’re struggling to use Instagram creatively, take it back to basics and look at the photos and videos you post. Are you editing your photos carefully? Sometimes third-party Instagram photo editing apps 5 Instagram Photo Editors to Create Better Pictures There are many photo editing apps that allow you to share photos to Instagram. Here are the best Instagram photo editors. Read More do a better job than Instagram’s native filters and commands.

Next, are your photos interesting and engaging? If you’re having trouble with content, try an Instagram challenge. There are many available online with different goals and lengths depending on your interests.

Some people follow #365Project and post a photo every day of the year. Others participate in smaller challenges (related to yoga, food, the outdoors, or anything you can imagine) led by community leaders from other forms of social media.

You can get involved in challenges by watching the hashtags people you admire use, searching online, or starting your own! Challenges can be a great way to get your creative juices flowing in the middle of a slump and to interact with other users on Instagram.

Learn How to Make Your Instagram Stand Out

You definitely need to take advantage of all the cool ways to post on Instagram. Figuring out how to make your Instagram stand out will make you proud to show off your profile!

For even more Instagram tips and tricks, check out these things you didn’t know you could do on Instagram 15 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do on Instagram If you're looking to do more with Instagram, these handy tips and tricks will help you discover more things to do on Instagram. Read More .

Related topics: Instagram, Smartphone Photography.

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