So You Want to be Successful on Instagram?

Kike Calvo's Great White Shark on National Geographic Creative Instagram gets 54,000 likes

This post is the first in the “So You Want to be Successful on Instagram?” series, which explores Instagram as the ultimate visual platform. Kike Calvo is a National Geographic Creative photographer whose travels you can follow on Instagram.

After gaining over 300 million users in around three years, Instagram has become the undisputable social network for visual people. It places photo sharing and video sharing at your fingertips, no matter where you are in the world. High visibility on Instagram is becoming a coveted commodity among artists who are already mastering the platform as a mean to build a following for their work. However, many are just discovering this app. They are asking themselves a variety of questions: how do you get more Instagram followers? What is the secret behind accounts with thousands of followers? How do you find your niche as a visual provider in a network with more than 20 billion images and counting?

A great white shark swims towards the camera off the coast of Mexico. Photo by Kike Calvo / National Geographic Creative.

It was during a recent National Geographic annual meeting in Washington that I began to see Instagram as a powerful platform to share my work with an audience. Once an audience decides to follow you, they become avid consumers of your visual content. Previously, my posts had been infrequent and I was hesitant to share my best work on the platform. I began to consider it more thoroughly after hearing the chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter, Allen Murabayashi, speak at a National Geographic panel on Instagram. If I tried to become active on Instagram, would it be possible to increase my following to a decent number, or had I arrived too late? Had those with —> Read More