Rosanna Falconer is just one example of why Instagram is so addictive. With a feed full of travel adventures, Barbie cakes and enviable outfits, the Digital Strategist has created a colourful world that has her 25,000 followers hooked.
You’ll find her at @rosannafalconer (if you haven’t already) but today, we’re talking about the secrets behind those glorious pics. Listen up as she spills the tea…
Let’s start with how you found your Insta niche…
I still don’t know if I have found it, but that’s the joy of Instagram. My feed is a bit of a cornucopia: an outfit one moment and a tablescape the next. Bright colours and optimism unite the imagery.
My style was influenced by my 5 years working with British designer Matthew Williamson, I have no doubt. His eye for colour and detail is incomparable. I worked in fashion digital marketing when social media was in its infancy: the internet was like the Wild Wild West and brands launched their Twitter (and then Instagram) in an experimental, exciting way.
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My job at the British Fashion Council meant I spearheaded the first steps of the London Fashion Week accounts – I remember when we reached 100k followers (it’s now in the millions). I have a tight-knit group of female peers in the London fashion industry and I’m sure my feed is inspired by them, too. My eye always seeks out colour and then I home in on it like a magpie to a jewel. My technicolour style may not be on the on-trend beige or classic, chic grey, but it’s mine and I wouldn’t deviate.
Any tips for developing a unique aesthetic?
Your Instagram should reflect your personality and your passions. We all have our idiosyncrasies so it’s just a question of championing and showcasing yours on the platform. After all, who needs another photo of avocado toast?
With regard to the aesthetic, a consistent perspective on that content will make your imagery even more personal to you. That might be amped-up saturation, or a particular colour wash. Whatever it is, decide it and embrace it.
“Your Instagram should reflect your personality and your passions. We all have our idiosyncrasies so it’s just a question of championing and showcasing yours on the platform. After all, who needs another photo of avocado toast?“
What are your faves when it comes to filters?
Once you have grasped the basics of Adobe Lightroom, its power to transform imagery is unsurpassed. The mobile app has plenty of tutorials so you can understand the fundamental tools.
You are ace at captions! What’s your secret?
I’ve noticed a trend in the last couple of years for longer captions. They have morphed from five words to sum up the image to huge essays to reveal the user’s abridged autobiography. No-one but the most committed follower will read those lengthy captions but they’re certainly more legible when broken up with paragraphs. Use this online tool to do this – Instagram usually merges any paragraph spacing typed within the app.
As for what works? An authentic question is always engaging, after all, social media is founded on its sociability and the idea of a conversation – the clue’s in the name. By the same token, don’t be afraid to share insight and ideas.
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Rainbows at sunset 🌈🏰🌈 Here’s to a country that embraces the full spectrum of colour as much as I do. I never want to leave (hopefully @georgeryanuk feels the same 😳) This was taken on return from a day of polo under the marble Baradari @umaidbhawanpalace, the hotel where we were lucky enough to stay and where his highness Gaj Singh II Maharajah of Marwar-Jodphur still lives today. There are peacocks in the garden and bougainvillea in every shade punctuates the view. Oh and the dome has to be the most magnificent entrance hall I have ever seen. #Rajasthan #Jodphur #UmaidBhawan #RohemiaRyanRaja #Palace #wiw #India
What makes an impactful bio?
Short, sweet, truthful, unique. Define yourself. Consider it as the “best bits” from your CV. I know some people like to add a flourish of an inspiring quote but I would usually advise to keep the creativity and personality to the feed and imagery.
Do you plan your Instagram content? If so, how?
I like the colours on my feed to balance… That’s harder than it sounds when my wardrobe is every shade of the rainbow! The app Plann helps a lot. You can switch images about like an ingenious little jigsaw puzzle, planning ahead. Though I have to say, I do not plan more than a couple of days in advance – you never know where life will take you or where your eye will be drawn next.
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BARBIE CAKES 🦄🎂🦄 Every year I bake for @kinvaralaw’s birthday and every year I have a seriously happy afternoon creating them to match her theme. I think these ones put the crazy in cakes and the bling in buttercream… 😬🤣🎂 Elvira The Goth (left) has a violet butter icing skirt embellished with liquorice, Oreos and mint humbugs. I added a black ribbon to her hair though I’m fully aware she’s still more cheery than eerie. 🖤💗🖤 Al Capona The Moll has a white buttercream skirt finished with gold chocolate coins, gold metallic balls and edible glitter. I ended up adding some of my bracelets as her necklaces, because more is more. 🌟💰🌟 They tasted fabulous at the start but even better after midnight (or for breakfast with a strong Yorkshire Tea as enjoyed by @k_the_badger today). Full recipe of how I made them start to finish in my stories… 👩🏻🍳🌈🦄 #RohemiaCake #BarbieCake
How do you use hashtags?
Just like captions, hashtags have developed. Once a discovery tool to bring you views and followers, I’ve noticed a dip in the engagement from the use of long lists of hashtags (many people add them as a caption to their feed, to avoid a messy caption). Instagram themselves recommend about 5 hashtags per post and I tend to stick to that. I love the new feature that lets you follow hashtags… For me, it’s marked a renewed importance of a medium that once defined the new digital era way back in the noughties.
READ MORE: 5 apps for planning your IG content
Tell us about your Stories, which are always beautiful…
I spend time curating them. I rarely post live or speak to the camera – I’m no actress and I think the audience for a Rosanna Daily Show is limited! Instead, I focus on the best imagery, to narrate more of a tale behind my feed. Stories also provide the swipe up functionality, which we all know lacks in the feed for organic posts. That ability to direct my followers onwards is invaluable – from an engaging article to a must-listen podcast.
How do you avoid Insta clichés?
Let’s not deny that there are certain clichés that work every time: the pink bathroom at Annabel’s, the perfectly curated #shelfie in coordinated colours, the mouth-watering brunch in eye-popping colour. Their like-bait is undeniable. The approach here is to capture your personality in those settings: a bathroom selfie is always fabulous with a huge smile, brunch is all the more special when you share the must-have secret dish that the chef makes just for regulars. One thing is for sure: no Insta hotspot is worth a queue. Ditch it, go around the corner, buy some flowers and create your own flower wall at home.
Do you use Instagram Insights?
I try not to get too bogged down in them. Instagram is a source of inspiration and fun but not my main source of income. We all know there are apps to track your followers, but my ego can’t take that! I’m sure if people unfollow me they have good reason, but I just don’t need to know!
However, there’s no denying analytics are invaluable to track engagement, so I use them to maximise my optimum time to post. Now the feed is not chronological, the old rules of posting at 7am, for example, are less concrete, but that immediate, quick engagement on your post will still help to amplify exposure to your followers.
Any tips for growing your following?
The million-dollar question! Honestly, it’s got so much harder for smaller accounts to grow now that huge brands can “pay to play” and sink budget into dominating the feed. But the tips I mentioned: finding your niche, homing in on your aesthetic and then interacting with like-minded peers, well, it’s time-consuming but it works.
Which accounts do you love following?
@Nick_Knight for his Vogue covers and exquisite roses cut from his garden. @ErikaBearman for her inimitably chic take on life – the one-time #OscarPRGirl is still that perfect blend of high glamour and hip hop. @Bat_Gio for being the queen of maximalism. @Isabelle_Menin_Photography for her exquisite floral art photography.
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My dream day 🐎💃🏻🐎 Riding at sunrise, sun snoozing at noon, stroking foals, feeding mares, staring in awe of stallions. Basically my teen pony club goals revisited in a far more glamorous location: #MihirGarh, our sandcastle-esque hotel pictured in the background here. Oh and @georgeryanuk was around too (🤣). We are just back from a camel ride to a feast by fire where we danced with local Rajasthani women and clapped along to bongo drums. And now there is chocolate cake awaiting us by a log fire in our room ❤️ Pictured here are Krishna and Bulbul, two prize mares from the 23 Marwari horses that are part of the @house_of_rohet stables. The founder of the hotel, Sidharth Rohet, is passionate about this rare breed indigenous to the region. Their distinctive ears have personalities all of their own, turning at all angles and almost meeting in the middle. Thank you to all the team at Mihir Garh for teaching me so much about this characterful breed. And to George for playing ponies for the day with me. I’ll play football at our next stop, promise. #MarwariHorses #Marwari #rajasthan #jodphur #rohemiaryanraja #india #horses
Finally, how do you use your account to spread a positive message?
Much of the positivity of my feed comes from the inspiration I find in @fashmash, a fashion and tech network and speaker series that I co-founded. The pioneers who speak at our monthly events expand my horizon on topics from AI to sustainability.
Talking of sustainability, I contribute to Livia Firth’s @EcoAge and love the opportunity it brings me to explore and champion ethical fashion.
Most of all, I’m a huge believer in the power of colour and beauty to transform your mood and lift your spirits. The best images should stop you in your tracks when scrolling through the feed. It’s a zenith that I hope to capture, even if it’s just once in a blue (or rainbow) moon.