#NoFilter: Advice for Making It Big on Instagram

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Sometimes, when Luanna Perez-Garreaud walks down the street, she realizes she’s been recognized by one of her 2 million Instagram followers for @luanna90. “The other day, someone stopped me and said, ‘Are you …’ that’s it! Just ‘Are you,’” the 25-year-old laughs. “I just said, ‘I am,’ and she was so excited.”

Being stopped on the street is still something of a shock to Perez-Garreaud, a Fashion Business Management major at the Fashion Institute of Technology. “I’m an addict; I post like five photos a day,” says the flame-haired student, whose singular style fuses ’90s grunge with New Wave goth and ’50s pinup girl. But with so many followers, she has become an accidental entrepreneur; brands, including Coach, Kate Spade, and Honest Tea, often partner with her on projects that they dream up together.

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Danielle Bernstein ’14 is making a successful career out of her personal style blog and Instagram account @weworewhat. The Instagram celebrity, with 1.3 million followers, earns income through sponsored content, advertising, and other collaborations. “Surpassing 500,000 followers was when I realized this is a legitimate business,” she says.

Here are seven tips for killing it on Instagram, courtesy of Perez-Garreaud and Bernstein.

  1. Develop a distinct style—don’t use a different filter every time you post.
  2. Show a variety of images. If la mode is your métier, don’t just post photos of your outfits, but of the fabrics, colors, artworks, and vintage photographs that inspire your style.
  3. Use popular hashtags specific to your photo, such as #selfie, #tbt (throwback Thursday), and #photooftheday.
  4. Tag posts. If you’re taking a selfie, tag the brand that made your outfit or your lipstick. If you’re documenting your artfully crafted latte, shout out the coffee shop where you got it. And if you’re snapping a photo of the paperback you’re particularly enjoying, tag the author.
  5. Reach out to the community. Follow other users and comment on their photos, and they’ll do the same for you.
  6. Be consistent. Don’t post one photo and then forget about Instagram for weeks.
  7. Plan out your snaps. Bernstein creates an editorial calendar that ensures variety in the images she posts.

In addition to its full-time undergraduate curricula, FIT offers a variety of continuing education classes in Fashion Business Management, Advertising and Marketing Communications, and many other fields.

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