Being Featured By Instagram

***Updated***

 

This morning, the unimaginable happened. I was featured by Instagram for the fifth time in nine months *squeal*. For anyone who doesn’t understand why for the next 24 hours – ok, it might be a week, maybe even the next month? – I’m going to be in a constant state of pure elation, well, let me explain. For an Instagrammer (me), you don’t have a boss, team, or CEO around; you are every cog in your business. This means that because we don’t like to big ourselves up too much, we have to rely on the Instagram community to reward our work in the form of likes, comments and messages. We don’t have a morning pep talk with our colleagues where our boss might congratulate us on our performance the previous day. You don’t get an employee of the week certificate (although, that’s something I might look into). Basically, you don’t receive any corporate recognition. So it’s left up to me to do that – which explains why I have more moments of feeling completely useless now than I ever did.

Now it goes without saying, that the validity I receive from the community, every like, comment and follow, feels like I’m receiving gentle little hugs – 15,000 times. And that makes me happier than getting a pat on the back from a manager who probably didn’t even know my name. Knowing that people (you) take time out of your already busy, jam-packed day to stop to appreciate my work and to just to say ‘hi’ is truly amazing. It’s wonderful, it’s slightly addictive, and it makes me so incredibly happy; truly it does. But, I guess from years of working under someone – having a boss, a big boss, and an even bigger boss – I must subconsciously miss their stamp of approval (even if it is was a rarity as I was utterly shite at my last job). And that’s where Instagram comes in. They’re my new boss. A really laid back boss who lets me do whatever I like (as long as what I like involves no spammy behaviours), on whatever schedule I like, and they even allow me to take as many breaks as I like; but, they will now and again swoop in and say well done by awarding me with a feature.

 

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The people who work for Instagram (the Insta-Gods) must view a gazillion photos every day, they may even be more active on Instagram than me (unlikely, but a possibility). So, to know that they’ve seen my image, thought ‘well, that’s a bit of alright’, and then decided to share my image with their 226M followers feels pretty surreal. And even though my most recent feature was the fifth time this has happened, it didn’t make it any less exciting. There’s the excitement, the swelling head, and a newly adopted entitled demeanour – Dom put up with my new persona for a few hours and then refused to wait on me any longer. So, how can you go about nabbing yourself one of these features allowing you to order your family around for a whole day? Well, here’s what I’ve found:

Be innovative – When Instagram set the #WHP topic, they probably expect entrants to stick to it rigidly – to see the topic for exactly as it is – so that’s why it can play in your favour to think outside the box. What does that word (topic) mean to you? What image do you see when you think of that word? Take the topic and let your mind run wild with it.
Use your caption. From what I’ve seen, posting a fitting image and only adding the hashtag isn’t enough to gain you the prestigious status of being featured. Your caption needs to support it too. Relate your caption to your image and to the #WHP topic – tell your audience why you created it, what it means to you, and explain what you’re documenting. Instagram will hint at this part when they announce it on a Friday night, and will go into great depth as to what they’re looking for. ***Update: For four of my featured entries, the image had been solely created for the purpose of taking part in the weekend hashtag, this time, the fifth time, things were different. I’d already created the image on the Friday morning – hours before the topic was announced – and when I posted it my caption had referred to my weekend plans, not the topic. On Tuesday morning I received an email from Instagram asking for some more information about the image – what inspired me, how I created it, etc. Instagram then used this information to form a caption of their own for when they posted it to their page. So, to sum it up, if your caption relates to the WHP topic you’ll be one of the first accounts featured, if it doesn’t, then you’ll be contacted by Instagram who’ll advise you that they plan to feature you, and will ask you a few questions about the image, so will be one of the features later on in the day (when you see a caption that looks like this ‘Dominique says:…’ Instagram has reached out for more information about the post). Either way, get entering!
Don’t be put off by the larger accounts. There’s a misconception that Instagram will only ‘see’ the larger accounts, and that simply isn’t true. In reality, it’s quite the opposite. And from my own investigations, it’s incredibly rare to see an image that has made it into the top posts of the WHP hashtag that weekend then featured on the Monday (Tuesday in the UK). Instagram enjoy discovering new talent, they like to post the underdog, and unlike what we’re told in countless forums and algorithm hysteria, Instagram does not want to sabotage smaller accounts. They reward creative imagery, no matter what number is behind it.
And as always, post your best. People go all out for the WHP hashtag – the weekly feed is evident of that – so this really is your time to pull out the big guns, reach further into your creativity box than you ever have before, and be unique. Make your entry count.

 

If you are ever featured by Instagram, then it’s exciting. You may want to run, jump and scream and if so, go ahead. But, there is another side of being an Instagram feature that you might not be aware of, so before you make it your goal of 2017 to be featured, here’s a few perks/some weirdness that comes hand-in-hand with a feature.

 

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Followers

One of the main incentives for people to take part in the weekend hashtag is the possibility that you could receive a huge (and I mean huge) influx of followers. There’s a high chance that the number of followers you currently have could increase more in 24 hours than it has in months, and that prospect is exciting. Who doesn’t want that? A new audience, new people, maybe even new friends – who knows? For me, each feature has affected my follower count differently, and the numbers are listed below:

#WHPimitate – 8k
#WHPdisguise – 5k
#WHPhomesweethome – around 13k (this was also timed with an #allthatisthree image – the one with the eyelashes – going viral the day before so I can’t be certain where the traffic came from, but in total, in 48 hours I gained 33k new followers).
#WHPinthekitchen – 6k
#WHPmadewithlove – 3k (and counting)

An Instagram feature will result in an exponential boost of followers. Absolutely. Checking your phone will become scarily addictive, and you’ll watch in anticipation as the numbers rise. Pencilling out your entire day, cancelling all appointments (you’ll be too distracted to socialise with the outside world anyway), and arranging a new date is advisable – just you, your sofa, your phone, and your growing number of newly gained strangers that you need to get acquainted with.

With an Instagram feature, the number of followers you receive is unpredictable. I’ve often studied (studied sounds much more innocent than creeped) the rise that people gain by watching their follower count when they’re first featured and comparing it 24 hours later, and the variation in numbers is astonishing. Some barely increase at all, while others smash all expectations and gain thousands. So, how do you ensure that you’re one of the latter? From what I’ve seen, and similarly to how you would typically gain new followers, it relies heavily on the aesthetics of your feed at the time of the feature. This is your ultimate time to shine, your one opportunity where you’ll be seen by millions of people, and if that means giving your feed a quick spring clean to get it to the best that it can be, then seriously consider it. If your account is featured, or you believe your entry has a high chance of being featured, then make sure that your account demands a follow.

 

Brands

The week following a feature can also see a dramatic rise in the number of brands reaching out to you. In the same way that they keep a close eye on each other in a bid to discover new and upcoming bloggers, features don’t seem to go unnoticed either. So combine that with the recent rise in followers (another area of Instagram accounts that brands look out for), and you’ll see an increase in exciting opportunities and collaborations coming your way.

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Newspaper Articles

This will depend on your entry. If there’s a story behind it, then there’s a chance you could be contacted by a variety of publications and news agencies. My first feature was with one of my #allthatisthree images, and within only a few days, I was approached by the publication Bored Panda who asked if they could interview me for an article they were running on the #allthatisthree series. They ran the story on their Facebook page, and once that circulated, many others did the same. For over a week my notifications went crazy, and my followers rocketed.

 

The Great Follower Crash

Whenever you gain a substantial rise in followers, there’s always a subsequent crash that follows; an unfollowing epidemic.
Although to us more rational Instagram users, if your sole purpose of following is an attempt to gain a follower back, it makes zero sense to do so when a user has just been featured, yet people still continue to do it. F.Y.I (for the silly Instagram users) the day someone is featured is not the day to do a follow for follow (there’s never really a day to do it, but if you insist, this is certainly not the time). This is the day when their phone will be hot from the stream of notifications. They’ll be living in a hazy, Instagram bubble, and won’t be able to see or keep track of who is following, so your immoral tactics will be wasted.

There are also some other reasons that you may see a drop in followers in the days following your feature. Some will immediately believe that because Instagram has featured your account, that they must do so too. It’ll only be when you start appearing on their timeline that they’ll realise that you don’t post images that they particularly enjoy (and that’s fine, we can’t be to everyone’s taste). So, inevitably, they’ll unfollow. You’ll also have the increased number of bots and spam accounts to contend with too *sigh*. But, please don’t feel disheartened; that euphoric feeling of the initial influx trumps the disappointing decrease that you’ll experience a few days later – and if you prepare yourself for its inevitability, then it won’t be too much of a blow when it happens. You can just laugh it off, and be thankful that you’re getting rid of any excess baggage.

Posting Fear

In the past, I’ve refrained from posting on the day of an Instagram feature (but I broke all the rules last night). The likes, comments and followers are still flowing in, and I don’t want to upset the balance or do anything that’ll risk making that stop – I know it makes no sense, but let’s not risk it, eh? So, I hold off. The next day I then have to consider my newfound audience – will they like what I share? Will they want a similar image to my WHP entry? Will they wonder why they ever clicked follow? All of these thoughts run frantically through my mind. This is what I like to call ‘posting fear’. The fear of posting. Admittedly, it’s trivial and a tad foolish, but similar to any occasion that brings an influx of followers, it rears its ugly head.
I’m here to tell you that your fears will be unnecessary. Yes, it’s nerve-wracking sharing your content to a new, and larger audience, but it’s probable that your WHP entry didn’t stray far from your usual style. So, stay true to that, and your new audience will be grateful that they discovered you. And thankfully, once that first post is over with, it’ll be business as usual.

 

The Instagram Crown

This is something that I like to reward myself with during the days that I’ve been featured, and I’m happy to share it with you, too. The Instagram crown allows you to take a day off, to sit and bask in your newfound stardom. It gives you the power to order your other half (maybe even your kids) to do everything for you; make your drinks, feed you food, and address you as ‘*insert name* The Almighty Ruler of the Instagram World’. It’s a pretty spectacular crown to have, but be warned, its powers only last for 24 hours.

 

Instagram announce the #WHP topic every Friday evening/night (depending on your time zone). So, make sure you check their account on Instagram or the Instagram blog. Good luck!


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  1. I absolutely bloody love this blog post. Insightful and inspiring.

    • Dominique

      10 August

      Yey! We should all be entering the #WHP every once in a while, it’s fun, pushes your creativity, and well…who doesn’t want to be featured by Instagram 😉.

  2. Sarah

    9 August

    I am trying so hard every week with this. Some weeks I’m so proud of my posts, and I dare to let myself believe I could actually be featured, but Monday and Tuesday come and go, and still it hasn’t been my turn! Some times I even leave my phone downstairs as if I could be coming down in the morning to Santa having visited… that’s sad right? I am forever inspired by your images, and I really hope that one day I get to be as successful as you! You babe! Sx

    • Dominique

      10 August

      You already are. You’re the girl everyone is talking about, and soon IG will be shouting about you, too. As for leaving your phone downstairs, Boy Dom thought nothing of waking me up at 2.30am on Tuesday morning to tell me about this week’s feature, so no, it’s not sad. It just really is that exciting!

  3. Maitri Mody

    9 August

    Congratulations on your fourth feature!! Your feed is so creative, it’s not a surprise at all that you were featured yet again 🙂 my boomerang was recently featured by Instagram as boomerang Of the week, and I gained about 500 followers and was extremely disappointed and disheartened. My feed I believe was looking quite nice and true to my aesthetic, I guess there is no way to predict how people will react to a certain feed xx

    • Dominique

      10 August

      Thank you, Maitri. Congratulations on your feature, too, but don’t feel too disheartened by the number of followers it brought your way. 500 followers in a day is still something to be proud of (some people could only dream of an increase in that size). And now you’ve been seen, you never know, another feature could be right around the corner.

  4. Katelyn

    9 August

    Thank you for taking the time to write this! Very interesting to get a peek into the mind of an Instagram-famous person 😉 I followed you because you were featured and I enjoy all of your lovely posts! Keep up the beautiful work!

    • Dominique

      10 August

      Thank you, Katelyn. I’ll certainly try. As you can probably tell by now, my mind is full of Instagram thoughts, the kids, dreaming of croissants, and a little switch that flicks on now and again when I need tea, and that’s about it 😂

  5. Wave to Mummy

    10 August

    I enjoyed this post! I can imagine you get a huge rush from being featured 🙂 I’ve wanted for ages to try participate in the #whp , not so much for the possibility of feature, but for trying some new types of photography. I always keep forgetting to check their feed though!

    Oh yeah, and congratulations The Almighty Ruler of Instagram World 😀

    • Dominique

      10 August

      😂 Thank you! It’s a great way to really push your creativity and to think outside the box. It’s a fun hashtag to get involved with, absolutely. Just make it part of your Saturday morning routine; drink coffee, eat your breakfast, and check what the topic is that week. Good luck!

  6. Elle

    10 August

    What a pure pleasure to find your creative art, Dominque.
    Congrats on all your 4 Insta features; I can imagine how surreal it must feel, though, so well-deserved.
    I find your sincerity and transparency, sharing of your Instagram experiences, very kind and refreshing.
    I’ve noticed when Instagram features an artist for the first time, there’s a detailed backstory; I’m assuming they make contact to obtain that info.
    In any case, I’m on a holiday break, but can’t wait to learn more.
    Your creativity and visual storytelling is unequivocally magical and so worthy of Insta-Gods’ recognition.
    So happy for you and wishing you the very best.
    @elleshotz

  7. Dominique

    10 August

    Wow, thank you so much, Elle, what a lovely comment to wake up to this morning. I always try to be transparent when it comes to life and IG, as I think it’s good for people to know the whole story, so I’m glad that comes across. As for the background story, when they feature an image and artist for a certain reason and not for the #WHP that’s when they’ll reach out. I’ve never been featured in that way, but from reading the captions on these posts, they must have contact of some sort. For the #WHP features, they just include a slice of the caption that you added to your entry when they feature you. So, you have no idea that you’re one of the chosen ones until they put you on their feed.

  8. Ali buckley

    10 August

    This is a brilliant summary. Your such an inspiration. And well deserving of that insta crown. Every time I go on your feed my brain gets busy trying to think outside the box. I’m new to this awesome world but accounts like yours make me realise it’s exactly where I want to be. Thanks for being awesome 😘

    • Dominique

      11 August

      And thank you for such an amazing comment. If you know where you want to be and you’re ready to put the work in then, there’s no reason why it won’t happen. I think the way Instagram has changed now; you need to create images that people just can’t resist but to like (my way of beating the algorithm 😉). That doesn’t mean sharing the cliche Instagram images in the hope of getting more likes, it’s about creating a personality, visually, and sharing it with your audience. Can’t wait to see how your IG journey pans out x

  9. Woodlucker

    10 August

    I saw your entry and I thought “for sure” in the top images. Congratulations on your success, I always enjoy seeing your creative pictures in my feed. I’ve been featured once with an interview on IG and once in a weekend hashtag challenge. So two times which is pretty fab. My follower gain was 3K to 4K each time, my niche is in the arts. Your IG growth is absolutely amazing!

    • Dominique

      11 August

      That’s what Boy Dom said when I asked him what on earth he was doing awake at 2.30am (he woke me up at that time to tell me that I’d been featured!). He said before he went to sleep that night, he had an inkling, and his body woke him up to check at that time 😂. Congrats on your double feature too! You’ll know all too well the magical and surreal feelings that it brings with it.

  10. Helen

    11 August

    Haha this post is brilliant. Congratulations on your features. I have to say you have been a big source of inspiration to me, you’ve really created a feed that is funny, fresh and a joy to scroll through. It’s really made me want to up my insta-game. x

    • Dominique

      11 August

      Thank you, Helen. Your comment really made me smile 😄 (now you need to give me some pointers on the YouTube front, still not sure on how or if I should start one).

  11. Julie Tecson

    11 August

    Thanks so much! This was really helpful. I have always wondered, though… do they just post a screenshot of your photo? How do they do it with boomerangs? Or do they have special access to the actual files? I’m assuming you just wake up and notice an influx of followers and realize you’ve been featured, right? They don’t contact you ahead of time or anything?

    So obsessed with your feed and blog. You are so creative!!!

    • Dominique

      11 August

      I used to wonder the same thing, and before I was featured the first time I used to assume that they would email you and ask for the image (similarly to when they would email suggested user candidates). But, I’ve never received an email before a feature so they must have access to all of our images on their database. So thanks to their magic key, yes, when you’re featured you pretty much wake up and see a huge increase in followers, and you’ll probably receive DM’s and comments congratulating you, too. It’s the best kind of morning 😉.

  12. What a great read Dominique! I lol several times: your honousty is so funny. And your story is very recognizable because once (a long time ago, when I just about a year active onInsta) I was so lucky to be on instagrams suggested user list. Unfortunately the amount of ghost followers was tremendous and since the new algorithm that turned against me (decline of visibilty and likes, stop growing)… But I will not complaint: my boss loved my work. Happy to have found your blog. My first time visiting. Greets from Holland! 👋🏻

  13. Hi there. I’ve never heard of the #WHP before, so i’m looking forward to getting started with it. Maybe next weekend, though – I don’t seem to have much adventurous going on this weekend and I’m just starting out on this crazy Instagram journey.
    Thanks for all the tips – you’re an inspiration.
    The Daddy Voyage 🙂

  14. Lucy

    31 August

    This is such a fab post Dominique! I actually stopped participating in WHP because I felt a little disheartened. It’s quite intimidating! But this has totally got me inspired to try it again this weekend…..fingers crossed it’s #WHPLucy……;)

  15. Jovan

    3 September

    Oh my God! I finally came to read this post! You’re a freaking God! I don’t know. This post is everything! I love how you’re completely honest, and saying everything you mean (which is potentially what I mean too lol). Thanks a lot for this post, I’m gonna definitely use the tip for caption. I’ve often ‘enrolled’ in the theme, but only with the hashtag. So, let’s see if this would do! heh XO

  16. Sarah Norquoy

    20 September

    I heard you before I saw you. I was listening to a podcast and had a bit of a crush on your accent. I then went and found your Instagram account and have loved it ever since. Great blog post with really helpful tips. And congratulations on another Insta feature. I must admit when I saw it I thought there she goes again! X

  17. Dominique

    21 September

    Oh really! I think it’s a bit of a Marmite accent – you either love it or you hate it – so I’m pleased to hear that you’re one of the lovers. As for the Instagram feature, it’s been the most surprising one of them all; I had zero sneaky suspicions that it would be picked – pretty exciting that it was! Thank you for all of your lovely comments, they really mean a lot, and I’m hoping to get a few more advice style posts on here very soon.

  18. Tania

    24 September

    I really enjoyed reading your article. I love your featured photos too, very creative.. I like the underlying sense of humour in your writing. Thank you

  19. Andy Tu

    25 September

    Thank you for writing this article! Your photos are definately some of the most unique I’ve ever seen ane very very aesthetically pleasing to look at. I’m not just saying it either. I’m speaking from my heart because I can resonate with these images. Plus there’s music playing in the background of that restaurant in sitting in that matches it so well. 🙂

  20. Surya Amriza

    9 October

    You mentioned Bored Panda, yeaayyy 😀 I got to know your pics and instagram from Bored Panda publication of your photos part #2. However, the most amazing part of your posts and what differs you than other instagrammers (imho) are your stories. I like them so much! There a few things I learn from your stories that might be useful for my wife, who’s self-employed just like you (but on facebook). Anyway, thank you for sharing your stories and photos and keep up the great work!! 🙂

    from Jakarta, Indonesia
    Surya Amriza

  21. Hannah

    10 October

    I love the creativity of the shots you take and want to push myself to be more creative and learn new things! That is super exciting, 5 features! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insight with us! Did the majority of your following come from Instagram features? I’m so Curious how you influencers do it!

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