A Guide To Starting A Studygram

For those of you who are new to the community, a studygram is an Instagram account where the main focus is studying and planning. I often get questions from people who don’t know where to start when it comes to putting together their studygram so I thought I’d make this guide for anyone who was thinking about creating their own account!

Contents:

Why should I start a studygram?

First things first: why should you consider starting a studygram account? Well, there are a few reasons why people choose to start one including:

  • It can improve your productivity – following other accounts can inspire you to study yourself and it also holds you accountable for studying in a way (after all, if you don’t study then you don’t have anything to post!)
  • You get to show off your notes – if you’ve put effort into making nice notes then you may want to share them with others
  • You can inspire other people – by sharing your own notes and experiences you can inspire people to study and motivate them!
  • It’s (usually) a good community to be in – as with all online communities, there are a few people who will try and spread hate. However, it’s is mostly filled with lovely people who are in the same situation as you and will give you advice if you need it!
  • You can share your knowledge – some people choose to share full versions of their notes in order to help others with their studies

What do I need in order to start one?

A lot of people believe that you need tonnes of fancy pens in order to do well as a studygram but that honestly isn’t true. I’ve used a £4.50 pack of 50 Crayola felt tips and a £1 pack of black fineliners to make cute notes so you definitely don’t need anything fancy to start with (unless you want to buy it)!

The only ‘requirements’ (so to speak) for creating a studygram are that you should be studying something and that you have a phone so that you can post on Instagram. Literally, that is it. Most accounts don’t use cameras to take their photos and I only bought one a couple of months ago (and that was mainly to use when on holiday and things!) so you don’t need to worry about that.

You don’t even have to have nice notes – plenty of accounts share photos/posts about their general study experience as opposed to just their notes! There are many people who share selfies, photos of where they study and general lifestyle things like food so you shouldn’t feel like you have to post pictures of perfect notes in order to have a studygram!

You can figure out most of these things as you go along through trial and error; my style of notes has changed countless times over the two years that I’ve had a studygram along with the other types of things that I post so don’t think that you have to have a set post style in mind when you start.

How should I set up my profile?

The actual process of setting up an Instagram account is fairly simple so I won’t dwell on that as much but there a few things that people usually worry about when setting up their studygram initially.

One of the things that I always struggle with is choosing a name for my account. Thankfully, I was able to get a pretty nice one but as more and more people start their own studygrams, you have to get more creative in order to find an available username! It doesn’t really matter what your name is (as long as it isn’t overtly offensive of course) but my main tips would be to make sure it doesn’t have lots of punctuation or numbers as this can make your account less memorable and to also make sure it won’t be embarrassing in a couple of years time!

I often also get asked about how I made my icon! I made mine using Photoshop and I got the Kanken bag illustration from Nerdastically on Tumblr. However, my first icon was just a photo of my notes so I wouldn’t stress too much about having a perfect one. If you do feel up for making your own, lots of people have one that includes their account name on it somewhere although you could obviously create one however you want!

If you don’t really want to make your own, then I’d suggest using one from Nerdastically because hers are amazing and you could always edit it by adding your own account name, etc.

When setting up your profile, I’d also suggest that you create a separate email just for your study account because this gives you way to contact businesses in the future and you can also add your email to your Instagram profile if you have it set up to be a business one. This is one of the benefits that comes with switching your Instagram profile over to a business one from a personal one.

In order to do this, you need to connect your Instagram account to a Facebook business page (although you don’t have to actually use the page once you’ve made it). As a business profile you can get access to features like seeing statistics about your posts, being able to add swipe up links to stories if you have over 10,000 followers and also being able to add an email & phone number to your profile page. There are some rumours that it can lead to the algorithm limiting your post reach if you use a business profile, however, these don’t seem to have any serious evidence and you can always switch back to a personal profile if you feel like it is damaging your account. If you’re unsure about whether using a business profile is right for you, this blog post might clear it up!

My final suggestion is that you should use a site like Linktree in order to add more than one link to your bio! This allows you to make better use of the single link that Instagram gives you so that you can add in everything that you want your followers to see. Alternatively, you could create a landing page if you have a blog to host it on (I might write a tutorial about how to create one at a later date if anyone is interested in it).

Once you’ve done all this, you’ll have a set up profile! The next thing to do is actually post something on your account…

What should I post?

Every studygram has a slightly different style and theme when it comes to posts so there’s no hard and fast rule about the things that you should post or the things that will always perform well. I’ve made an mind map below which should hopefully give you some ideas based on what most people post, although that doesn’t mean that you can’t post whatever you want anyway!

A few ideas for things you could post

My general advice about posting would be to try and post regularly (although, that doesn’t mean that you should put posting ahead of other priorities like actual studying!) whether this is once a day or once every few days. This is one of the ways that I’ve managed to continuously grow my account as it means that there’s always new content for people to see.

I’d also recommend trying to keep your theme somewhat consistent in some way or another. I personally like to do this by using a white background for all of my photos however you could do it by just having a similar colour palette in each post. Another option would be to have similar content even if the posts themselves don’t look the same – e.g. it’s always your notes but in different places or you’re always posting about your study environment.

If you’re not bothered about attracting lots of followers and you don’t mind how your feed looks, then I would honestly ignore this advice and just post whatever you want to post as sometimes it’s nice to not be restricted by a certain theme! I think it’d drive me mad if my profile was all over the place but it’s totally down to what you want to do with your account. 

It’s also worth noting that there are many successful accounts who don’t do either of these things, once again proving that there is no hard and fast rule about how you should put together your Instagram posts!

How should I edit my photos?

Although it may be tempting, my number one piece of advice about editing photos would be to avoid the preset Instagram filters at all costs! You’ll get a much nicer effect if you put together a custom filter just for your feed or you edit each photo individually as it is perfectly suited for that photo!

This helps you to maintain the ‘theme’ of your feed as all your photos look similar which just gives a greater impression of neatness overall!

I personally like to use Snapseed to edit my photos individually as opposed to using a filter for them. I do follow almost the exact same process each time I edit a photo in order to get the same effect though, which usually is:

  1. Brighten
  2. Increase contrast
  3. Increase saturation
  4. Change white balance (if necessary)
  5. Whiten background

Then I usually make some last minute tweaks before I post it to Instagram by using the editing functions on Instagram (e.g. increase the brightness a little more).

I know that quite a few other studygrams use VSCO to edit their photos so once again it does just come down to personal preference. I’ve tried out VSCO and I just prefer Snapseed but they both work well so just use whichever you prefer! 

How do I keep up my studygram?

Okay so I’m the type of person who will decide that I want to do something and then try to carry out every aspect of my plan at once to the point where it’s impossible to keep up and I just give up. This is not a good strategy (obviously)!

My main piece of advice would be to avoid doing too much at once – e.g. don’t try to create an Instagram account, a blog and a Youtube channel all at once. It takes a lot of effort to build up an audience on each of these platforms so it’s very difficult to try and start using them all at once. I started out with just my Instagram account and then I branched out to create a blog and then I created my Pinterest account shortly after.

You should also be realistic about what you’ll get from your account initially. You most likely won’t get thousands of followers and likes within your first few weeks but over time you’ll start to build up your following steadily. The Instagram algorithm is hard to crack so don’t worry if you have to keep trying out new things to see what helps your account grow the most. I’ve tried posting four times a day, twice a day, once a day and three times a week in order to find a posting schedule that works best for me and helps me gain followers.

Similarly, your account should work for you. If you struggle to post once a day, don’t worry about it and just try to post once every few days, etc. The main purpose of your account should be to help you study so if you ever feel like it’s taking over then you shouldn’t feel guilty about reducing how often you post or how much time you spend interacting with your followers.

The final thing that I want to mention is that you shouldn’t just try and copy what other accounts do because what works for them might not work for you. Often copying other people won’t have the desired effect and may actually lead to less engagement on your posts – after all, your followers came for your posts not someone else’s! You should always try and post the things that you like and enjoy, not just the things that seem to get good reactions on other people’s accounts. If you spend all your time doing this, you’ll soon give up as it won’t be something that you enjoy doing.

How do I gain followers?

The Instagram algorithm is largely a mystery so all of the advice in this section could be utter nonsense. All I know is that it seems to work for me and it definitely wouldn’t hurt to try it!

First things first, there are more people than ever with studygram accounts now. Depending on whether you’re a pessimist or an optimist, there are two ways to look at this:

  1. There’s lots of accounts so it’s hard to get noticed
  2. There’s lots of accounts so there’s lots of potential followers

I’d personally take the second approach because it’s a much cheerier way to think about things! Supposedly, there are certain things that you can do to beat the Instagram algorithm and therefore gain more of those potential followers:

  • Post regularly on your stories – I use this as a way to share more lifestyle type content that I wouldn’t post on my main feed
  • Gain engagement through your stories – you can use polls, questions, links, anything really!
  • Post regularly – like I mentioned above, I’ve found that this has helped me to consistently gain followers on Instagram
  • Reply to any comments you get – you should try and do this quickly, especially if they’re posted soon after you’ve shared the post

I also suggest to new studygrams that they just get more involved in the community at first. By commenting on other people’s posts, replying to their stories and asking questions via DMs you are making yourself known to other studygram accounts who then might go check out your profile and follow you! 

Although, this doesn’t mean to say that you should be that annoying person who asks everyone for a shoutout and definitely don’t be that person who gets aggressive if someone says no. Lots of studygram accounts receive several requests for a shoutout each day and they get quite annoying to reply to. Lots of accounts will host specific shoutout sessions so if you’re looking for a shoutout then I’d suggest you join one of those instead!

Another thing that you definitely shouldn’t do is buy followers. Whilst it may be nice to see a follower count of 10,000+ people, if they’re all bot accounts then it’s meaningless. These bot accounts won’t give you the engagement that you’d get from regular followers and they can discourage brands from collaborating with you in the future. It’s much better to have 100 real followers who engage with your content than 10,000 fake ones that never leave a like.

It takes time and work to gain a large number of followers so don’t go in assuming that you’ll build up a large following immediately because you’ll most likely end up disheartened. Instead, stick at it and use the tips above and eventually, you’ll get there!

So what do I do now?

First of all, enjoy it! You’ve just joined a great community of people who you can chat to and get to know!

If you want to expand your Instagram account you can consider starting up a blog or a Youtube channel in order to post different kinds of content. Many accounts like Emma Studies share printables and other useful information with their followers via a blog, whilst others like Studyign use a Youtube channel to share further content. 

You could also look at ways to monetise your Instagram account if you’ve started to gather a large-ish following. Many companies have affiliate programs that you can take part in or you can make adverts for companies too. I joined the apps TRIBE and Indahash once I reached around 100k followers, although I believe you can join even if you have a much lower number of followers.

I wouldn’t start your studygram account with the intention of using it to make money as it can take a long time to reach the point where that becomes a possibility. I’d also recommend that you look at Boy Study’s highlight about monetisation if you’re thinking about using your Instagram to make money.

Finally, just keep studying! After all, you can’t have a study-based Instagram account if you’re not studying anything!

TL;DR

  • You do you – don’t try and copy other people’s accounts, it’s much better to just be yourself
  • Don’t try and do too much at once – stick to just starting an Instagram account at first and then think about a blog or a Youtube channel
  • Create your account because you enjoy it, not because you want money or tonnes of followers – these things take a long time to build up so you shouldn’t create an account with the expectation that they’ll happen immediately
  • Always put your studies first – your Instagram account should never come ahead of your actual studies so make sure that you take breaks from it if you need to focus on school, etc.

I’m always happy to answer any questions that you have about starting a studygram so feel free to email me or DM me on Instagram if there’s anything else you’d like to ask!

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