How to be cool on Instagram: Five expert tips


Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, Instagram head of fashion partnerships Eva Chen and Dazed founder Jefferson Hack joined forces in London to present #emergingvoices – Hack’s pick of some of the platform’s best up and coming creative users.

The #emergingvoices exhibition was unveiled at the Kachette space in east London’s Shoreditch, after which Systrom, Chen (in London for just two hours in between attending Paris Fashion Week shows) and Hack (who had only joined Instagram the previous week), sat down for a Q&A.


While Dazed has been using Instagram since its inception five years ago, Hack was inspired to “come out as myself” on the platform while researching his forthcoming book, due out next year.

The process, he said, got him thinking about what he and Dazed co-founder Rankin would be doing if they were starting a magazine now (they founded the then Dazed & Confused in 1991) and concluded: “We’d be publishing straight to Instagram, we’d create an Instazine.”

And so the former social media refusenik took to the platform himself and now says his phone doesn’t have sufficient battery to keep up with his new obsession.

Chen, who recently joined Instagram (the company not the platform) having previously edited Lucky magazine, is one of the most high profile fashion influencers. Her appointment to the social media network was part of its philosophy of putting the community first, says her boss Systrom. He says we can expect more such appointments from key Instagram communities in the future.

But what can we expect to see on the platform itself? Based on their Q&A, here are five pointers…

1. So-long selfie. Turning the camera on yourself is seriously uncool…
Instagram selfie
“I’m not interested in a stream of celebrities and selfies. If I see that on someone’s account I think ‘I don’t know if I want to know you’. It’s kind of creepy,” says Hack.

2. … Turning the camera on others, however, IS cool
instagram Francois Hollande
“I am seeing fewer selfies and more turning the camera on others, with models posting behind the scenes authentic moments,” says Chen.

3. Slow-mo is definitely “a thing”…

Eva Chen has “more or less patented the slow-mo” shot from the catwalk, according to Systrom. She says it allows her to show the beauty of the clothes moving (see example shown)

4. …as is “things organised neatly”
Chen says these posts are “doing very well” and confesses to be somewhat fascinated with posts on the contents of people’s suitcases and purses. All organised neatly of course.

5. “Meta formats” are the next big
“We’re starting to see repetition within the square,” says Systrom, adding that he enjoys the “rhythm” of the repeated image that the Instagram Layout app allows.

Above all though, if you want to win at Instagram, the best thing is not to set out to win at all, reckons Systrom. The best feeds are from people just posting about their passion. If you are authentic and committed you will find an audience, he believes.

His personal favourite? This feed from Drew Kelly marketing professor in Pyongyang, North Korea. He is the first person to post pictures of inside North Korea, outside North Korea and it’s a beautiful and fascinating feed from a culture that would otherwise be closed to us. And, no, there’s not a selfie in sight.

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