I’ve been wanting to put this together for a while now but it’s taken me so long to write down and keep track of everything I use to share it with you guys! I’m no Kardashian when it comes to Instagram but I do however have a bunch of tip, tricks and tools that help me be efficient and I’m so excited to share them all with you!

Heres a short back story of how I got to where I am now! When I was pregnant with Delta I was working in an office job and honestly I didn’t mind it. After Delta was born though I went on maternity leave and found myself feeling tired obviously!! But I also was feeling so unengaged! At the time Josh and I were still together and living in New Zealand and at home Josh had a really nice camera just sitting in the closet not being used (Canon 5D Mark II). I decided one day to play around with it and teach myself how to use it and haven’t put it down since! I found a love for shooting content and went on to shoot family photos and weddings. At the same time as shooting I was growing my Instagram and realising the huge community that was out there and I was LOVING it! When Delta was 8 months old? I think?? (mom brain!) We moved up to Auckland and I knew no one!! Literally not a soul. Within a short time of searching hashtags #aucklandmums, etc HAHA! I quickly made some of my closest friends in NZ like @kellie.pardoe @abbyplested and! I absolutely adore these ladies and am so thankful for the Instagram community making it so easy to make these connections! Ok, anyways… enough about me! Lets get to the good stuff! Like, how to start? What camera to use?! To filter or not to filter?? All your questions answered below!!

First things first, whats your why? Why do you want to grow your account? Do you want to make all the money? Do you want to build your business? Do you want to help people? Whatever your answer is it’s really good to ask yourself the question because it will help you to know what type of content you want to share! It’s also great to revisit this question from time to time as it changes! I started wanting to meet people and now I want to continue to do that but I also want to help people be healthy (food and mental health) as well as earn an income and get to work from home.

Second: When you go to your own profile what do you see? Is it a mishmash of photos, no bio and a hard to see profile pic? These are some really simple changes you can make to have a stronger profile! It’s a really good idea to have a photo you’re happy with of yourself as your profile picture so people know who they’re following! I like to change this up every couple of months to keep it fresh. It also doesn’t have to be a professional photo shoot photo. Most of the time when I feel like my makeup and hair looks great I’ll snap a selfie and change it up!

Now, I can not stress enough how important your bio is!! I don’t know about you but i ALWAYS read someones bio before I click follow! This is your spot to share a quick into on you and what you’re all about. Think about it like you’re in a job interview and they asked you to summarise yourself in one short sentence. Thats your bio. In it you can also include a personal hashtag like #thedeltaforest and this will also help people find you.

Now that you’ve got your profile all set up and looking great! It’s time to switch to a business account!! This may seem like a small but daunting task but so necessary! When you switch to a business account it gives you so many insights and analytics to whats working for you and whats not! These numbers are very helpful and you should not ignore them! To switch accounts follow the photos below. Click menu bar, settings, account and then at the bottom it will give you the option to go business, follow the rest of the directions from here!

Now to understand your insights! When you go into your menu bar, click Insights. From there make sure you’re in Content, Feed Posts and click see all. Then click the top of that page and you can sort through your photos based on analytics to know whats working and whats not. I like to check ‘All - Likes - 30 Days’ and see what types of photos are getting the most likes, I also do the same for comments, follows, saves, etc. This way you can better understand whats performing well and create more content that you know your audience is enjoying.

Okay, I feel like we should talk about photos next! When you look at your feed what do you see? Or better yet, who are some of your favourite people to follow and what do their feeds look like? I like to screen shot my favourites as kind of like a vision board to know what direction I want to go in with mine. I recommend doing this too! Photography wise I think the cameras on smartphones are so good now days that you really don’t need to go out and buy an expensive camera right away. My number one tip before taking a photo or video is to make sure your lens is clean! This small step can make a HUGE difference in the quality of the photo! I even try to remember to wipe it clean before doing video stories! It really helps!

After that the next thing to be consistent with is the editing. I used a couple different photos apps but my #1 favourite for filtering photos is Tezza App I swap between the filters called ‘Yum’ and ‘Indo’ and adjust the amount of filter on the photo by tapping the filter again and using the sliding bar. Occasionally I’ll also use the Lightroom App to brighten up a dark photo or smooth out my skin before importing it into Tezza. I normally just hit auto and then up the exposure, go into details and up the noise reduction just a little. I’ll post a video of all this onto my stories and save it to my highlights if it sounds complicated to you reading it. Another great app I use is Unfold They have a bunch of different layouts liked the film strips or ripped page that you can import your photos into. This is definitely one of my favs for creating stories!

Alright, from here I use a couple more apps to work smarter not harder. You might be thinking why don’t I just post the photo and I’m done?! But theres a little more too it if you want to increase your engagement and grow your community. So, After I have my photos all edited I like to import them into an app called Plann This app helps me to see how the posts all look together on my feed without uploading them so I can preplan knowing which looks the best and make sure all my edits look good together!

Next, once I’ve got the layout looking good I open an app called When To Post Now this app will tell you the 3 best times daily that you should be posting for your highest engagement. Once I know the best times then I like to go into the app called Later and schedule these posts in the correct times so that they’re all ready to post. I try to schedule my posts a weekly but you could even schedule a whole month of posts in advance!


Doing this helps to take away the stress of having to create captions on the spot and helps with posting consistently. When you’re scheduling a post I highly recommend using all the options out there like location tagging, using hashtags and tagging brands. Using all these will help people to find you. You can even set up auto-publish so it will literally post it all to your feed.

When it comes to hashtags I think less is more. If you’re constantly using the same hashtags and maxing out at 30 Instagram may flag you for spamming. I use a website called Display Purposes to help me know what hashtags to use and depending on the topic choose the top 10-15. Sometimes it’s also a good idea to choose a lesser used hashtag that way your photo won’t be gone the moment you tag it since it sorts them by most recent.

Okay, phew. Lastly!! After a photo is posted from Later I like to make sure I’m free without distraction for at least the first hour after it’s posted. This REALLY helps with engagement! I like to make sure I’m commenting back straight away and engaging with everyone. I also like to click on the hashtags I’ve just posted and see the most recent posts and like and comment on them too.

Theres really no guaranteed way to gain thousands of followers overnight but by making these small changes you’ll be able to grow your following and build an engaged community who’s there to encourage and support you. Now days brands aren’t so concerned with how many followers you have but how engaged your followers are! If you want more one on one help please feel free to send me a DM or comment on here! I LOVE hearing about your growth and helping you guys build your business or personal brand! We’re all in this together!

Last little quick tip is to use all the options that Instagram has, when you post a story try using the stickers like poll, questions, countdown, quiz, chat, etc. These are all there to help you engage your followers. You can also hashtag in your stories!! This can bring a lot more people to your feed too! If you want to add hashtags to your stories but don’t want anyone to see them a lot of people have been making them tiny! DON’T DO THIS! It won’t register your hashtags! Instead try hiding them behind a sticker (my fav gifs are by Linzie Hunter, search her!) or changing the colour to the same colour as the background so they’re not as noticeable.

Stay tuned for Part 2 next Monday! I’ll be sharing about working with brands, rate cards, media kits, how to figure out what to charge? etc! If you have any other questions comment them below or send me a DM @thedeltaforest