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How to Be Awesome at Instagram

By Rich Alfonso, The Second City | Apr 3, 2014

Instagram rulez!

It’s the one smartphone app where you can make your boring-ass life look like you’re living in a perfect CW Network teen drama with awesome food and pretty people, all through 16 dope filters!

Don’t know how to Insta-mize your life? Here are some SUPER PRO TIPS on how to make your followers double tap every single pic you post.

Take Selfies; Take ALL the Selfies!


You’re a decent-looking person; let’s admit it. Get that Kelvin filter on you and take a 60-degree angle shot of that hot face of yours. It’s about positioning, lighting and cropping (why do you think models look so good?). Once you get the hang of it, start making some serious poses with your face. Some of my faves are the “I’m Flawless/Badass” stance, the “Looking Serious by NOT Looking into the Camera” and the amazing “Duck Face” (a winner for the gals).

PRO TIP: Remember not to smile, ever.

You Are Now a Foodie


You may have not realized it before, but literally everything you stuff in your maw is interesting. Everything. Just apply the right filter and exposure and hashtag, and people will be thinking you are the food connoisseur that you were destined to be. Your Lean Cuisine Salad Additions are gonna get you some extra followers, especially if you use this: #foodporn.

PRO TIP: Tag the restaurant/your couch where you’re eating, sit close to a dim light source and write down every ingredient that sounds cool. (Ask your server/roommate for specifics, or just type “Red #40.”)

The Nightlife: Own It


Sure, you may not be going to an ultra-swanky club or the hottest craft cocktail lounge in town, but that house party in Logan Square/Brooklyn/Los Feliz you got invited to is basically an American Apparel photo shoot waiting to happen. Be creative and take unsuspecting photos of people being wallflowers— or even of cool wall art, trinkets or comically-oversized joints you might find. That Garfield phone is the perfect artifact to show your followers that you are all over the retro thing. Toss a Nashville filter on that kitty.

Music: Yes


What? You can’t share music on a pic app? Oh, yes you can, ya noob. Take a screenshot of what’s playing on your Spotify or iTunes. This is your big chance to show people that you’re a nuanced purveyor of sweet-but-eclectic tunes. Show off that you’re into the latest EDM tracks with some Avicci or Swedish House Mafia, your international side with Buena Vista Social Club or that obscure indie band only you know about. You know, that one. With those guys. It’s called One Direction.



Hash. Tags. Hashtags. If you wanna be part of the band, you gotta know how to play the hits. There are plenty of hashtags to choose from, but these are IT. Participate in one or all of these, but you will participate:

#MCM • “Man Crush Monday:” whether you are a girl or guy; gay or straight; married or single, you can go ahead and post a pic of that 100% grade-A beefcake you’ve ever idolized, fantasized or just -ized in general. This person can be a celebrity you wanna bone or someone you know… that you want to bone.

#WCW • “Woman Crush Wednesday:” Same as above, except this is all about the ladies.

#TBT • “Throw Back Thursday:” Get nostalgic and post up dem pics that remind us of the good ‘ol days. High school senior pics, that family vacation you took in ‘92 to Six Flags, even that party you went to in college that you have NO IDEA how you got home from and you got that terrible nickname that people still call you (Hi, my name is Speakerboxx/The Love Below).

#NoFilter: Title says it all. You have got to post a flawless pic of yourself with absolutely no retouching or filters. This is au naturale, baby. Don’t get discouraged; you can make it happen. Girls, you’ll have that day where you’re gonna look fierce with no makeup, Beyoncé-style. Post that. Guys, you might actually be wearing an outfit that you didn’t plan on looking so good and decide on a whim to take that mirror pic you’ve told yourself you would not ever take. Carpe diem, bro. Carpe the hell out of that diem.

Rich Alfonso is an alum of The Second City Training Center and a contributor to The Second City Network. You can see him perform improv/sketch with his independent team Shanna’s Mom at ComedySportz Chicago in the current Genesis League season.  

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