What qualifies as Insta-success, these days? 1,000 followers? 10,000? A million? When Kim Kardashian posts a snap of herself swathed in Balmain, 46 million people see it, which means there are roughly five times as many people looking at her selfies as there are people living in the whole of the UAE. That’s around 1,800 times the number of students in higher education in Dubai. A sad reflection of the times we live in, or evidence of Kim’s superlative social media skills? You decide.
The most popular accounts all belong to celebs, but the attention that comes with international fame isn’t a pre-requisite for Instagram stardom. Those who aren’t on it (presumably just the North Koreans at this point, and my mum) will still have heard of Taylor (46.2 million), Miley (28.4 million) and Katy (27.3 million), but the name Naomi Giannopoulos won’t ring any bells, and nor will Jen Selter. Nonetheless both women – a Las Vegas make-up artist and a belfie-loving fitness model respectively – have managed to amass more than respectable followings of 6million plus.
The lesson here is that Insta-fame is within all of our grasp – we just need to reach out and take it. With this in mind, and following extensive research*, I’ve identified some easy techniques to boost our profiles:
Post a picture with someone who is famous IRL
When it comes to upping your numbers, the next best thing to actual fame is proximity to it. Harry Styles is the holy grail of celeb selfies – post a photo with this guy and watch that figure rocket. Sure, you’ll be trolled by 1D fans who want you dead for daring to breathe the same air as their idol; but hey, a follower is a follower.
Ride on the social media coat tails of others
In the absence of an A-lister, the ‘influencer’ is your best bet. I’m yet to determine (or achieve) the exact following required to become a member of this exalted gang, but I do know Dubai is filled with such people. Find them. Befriend them. Tag them at every opportunity. Or better yet, have them tag you. Don’t actually ask them to do it though, wouldn’t do to look desperate.
Anthropomorphise your pet
Instagram loves an animal, and an extreme. Combine the two and you just might strike social media gold. The best photos are of pets that are either exceptionally cute or exceptionally ugly. Dressing them up as humans in real life scenarios also goes down a treat, as do quotes capturing a perfectly imagined inner dialogue. See Grumpy Cat or canine sensations Tuna or Toast for details.
Make smoothie bowls
There are mornings when these bowls of goodness, topped with bee pollen, crushed cacao nibs and smug hashtags (#cleaneats #fitfam #postworkout), make me want to smash my screen with a frying pan still greasy from my full English. But most of the time I double tap right along with the rest of the world. Whatever your take on the plant-based food phenomenon, those pictures are pretty much guaranteed to make you popular – online, if not with your actual friends.
Strike the right selfie balance
They’ve worked wonders for Kim, but for the rest of us, spamming our feed with selfies is a fast way to get unfollowed. If you absolutely must post, at least include an amusing caption to distract from your glaringly obvious subtext (I look hot in this picture and attention should be paid).
Hashtag with care
Tricky territory, the hashtag. No sooner does one enter the Insta-vernacular than it becomes spectacularly uncool. Be careful with the likes of #swag, #yolo and relative newcomer #squad. NEVER use #bae, #onfleek, #FriYay or (shudder) #nom.
Also, never use more than three per post, unless you want to look like you’re trawling for followers – which we are, but that’s beside the point.
*Years of cab journeys and elevator rides spent scrolling