Instagram, the photo-sharing social media app has become extremely popular and influential. So much so that many users with a big following have made a career out of it. After seeing how much popularity a person can gain from Instagram, many people are trying to get famous on the platform. To do this some are trying very hard and some are taking the road that should not be taken. There are always some unwritten rules and etiquettes of every platform that one is expected to adhere to. But not everybody is aware of those. That is why we decided to compile a list of do’s and don’ts that you need to know. These won’t give you a huge Instagram following overnight but can be considered as steps in the right direction.
Post original Images
First and foremost, post original content. We cannot stress enough how much this point is necessary to garner a big follower base. Posting original content shows people your creativity, what you are thinking and how much of a good photographer you are. Posting original photos on the platform also steers you clear from any copyright claim coming your way. It also shows the people something they might not have seen before, thus intriguing them.
Post good quality photos
Think, would you ever like to see a bad image show up in your feed? Most of you would answer no. So why would any other person want to look at a bad photo taken by you? I am not saying that you need to take professional DSLR-grade photographs. Just try and learn from your mistakes, take multiple images of the same object and choose the best one. Look at other users’ images that look good to you and gradually improve your photography skills.
Don’t overuse filters
There is a reason why the No Filter hashtag got extremely popular. Filters add a layer of colour and gradient to the image which sometimes makes it look better. But, wrong filters can also make the images look too cosmetic. Filters were introduced to help you make an image look a certain way. If you took an image in a less than ideal lighting, you will want the image to have a high gradient and look old, where these filters might help you. But don’t apply them unnecessarily on every image just because you have an option.
Don’t post a lot of images just to gain visibility
There is a big myth floating around, that to get more followers, you have to post a lot of photos. Because of this myth, many people have started posting tons of images, on their Instagram handles. However, those photos don’t look good. Posting good images which users like is way more important than putting up a lot of images to gain visibility. That also brings me to my next point.
Post photos at regular intervals
Being erratic in posting photos to your Instagram account doesn’t get you any new followers. Instead, it makes your current followers leave. Posting nothing for a few days then posting 10 photos on a day will just clog your current followers’ feed with your photos. This might not look good and they might unfollow. As for new users, they might visit your profile and see that you haven’t been posting regularly and decide not to follow. So post fewer photos but at regular intervals.
Engage with users
This is a social network at the end of the day. So engage your users and interact with them in the comments. Don’t think of yourself as a celebrity sitting on a high horse. Also posting images with captions that are carefully directed to be a question, will engage users who in turn will be more likely to comment, like and follow.
Many big Instagram personalities use hashtags in their posts. Hashtags have a lot of power on Instagram just like Twitter. Hashtags let people get discovered by others who are searching for images on a particular topic or have a hashtag bookmarked. Using hashtags in posts might let users tell a story too. For example – the MeToo hashtag that trended very recently all across the Internet.
Don’t overstuff hashtags
But anything in excess is not good. Spamming users or trying to trick the system by adding tons of hashtags to your posts might not be a good strategy. Instagram, to curb this practice of adding multiple hashtags in posts to show up in a lot of searches, has set the limit of adding hashtags to a maximum of 30 per post. If a user were to like an image and then see only hashtags in the description, they might get put off and not engage with the image. So use relevant hashtags and in moderation.
Like other people’s photos who are posting in the same niche as you
Many people post a lot of similar looking images on Instagram daily. These people might have been posting these images for some time or might even be totally new to the platform. Still liking the images that they post will get your handle noticed by them. After which they might visit and follow your page. So be nice if you want others to be nice to you.
Do not mass follow and unfollow people
Mass following and unfollowing nowadays has become a trend to gain followers. Many users do it manually or via apps like Crowdfire. Companies like Instagram and Twitter have caught up to this, which has caused them to start taking strict action. So if you mass follow people to get a ton of follow backs and then unfollow the users who haven’t followed back, Instagram might first ban you for a limited time period and if you still don’t stop, they might even ban your account for life.
Don’t set your account to private
If your Instagram account is set to private nobody will be able to see the images you post without following you. If a user isn’t able to sample your work, how will they be able to commit to following your account? Setting your Instagram handle to public will make your images show up in the global search along with letting users see what kind of images you post, and will significantly increase the likelihood of gaining more followers and interactions.