Have you ever caught yourself staring at your Instagram explore page then all of a sudden, it’s pitch black outside and you check the clock… it’s 1 am. We get it, it happens to the best of us. You may stumble across a few interesting posts or videos, but then you go down the rabbit hole and find the holy grail of Instagrams that has sucked you in so deep, you are trolling through their posts from late 2015 with no shame. This is the type of social media presence we all hope and dream to have. Easier said than done; with the influencer bubble ballooning to unsurpassed levels, the competition can be fierce! Not all hope is lost though, as we put together a list of ways to get your handle noticed and up your Instagram game. Theme. Before posting anything you need to choose a theme for your Instagram. This aesthetic should be consistent throughout your posts, whether it is a specific filter you use for all of your photos or the content category you will be posting about. Really make sure that you are branding your Instagram account’s look, feel and tone to your personal liking so that the content comes off as organic and stands out amongst the millions of other users. Posting Schedule. Find a time that works best for you to post your content, making sure you are not posting too often as this can overwhelm your followers. Posting once a day, anytime after 4pm EST has shown the most engagement for our Instagram. We have seen the least engagement on Sundays, as many people seem to be using social channels minimally on this day. Depending on your location this can vary. Audience Engagement. In order to boost your content and actually engage with your fans and followers, reply back to those who comment or like your posts. Use the explore page to find new users to follow, helping you to grow your audience. They may not always follow you back, but it definitely puts your account on their radar. The Art of The Hashtag. When choosing a hashtag, it can be difficult to decide between the millions of keywords that flood our search bar. Try to hone in on a few key hashtags that will target your audience and is consistent with your central theme. Keep in mind, your content may get lost if you choose a hashtag that is too large or may not be seen in a hashtag that is not used often enough. We recommend looking for relevant hashtags around the 50k range, as your post can get lost among the 1,492,124 #tacotuesdays, 3,216,802 #friyays and 2,073,437 #weekendvibes. Photo Editing. How do you decide between X-Pro II or Valencia? The filters on Instagram are endless, but oh-so-basic. If you really want your photos to look original, try different photo editing apps to get an authentic look and feel in line with your theme. Our favorites are VSCO, Adobe Photoshop Express, and Afterlight. How will you stand out amongst the crowd?