Instagram tips and my grandmother have a lot in common. “If everyone started jumping off a bridge, would you do that, too?” I vividly recall my grandmother dispensing that sage wisdom in response to why I had to have the then-popular 1980s designer name jeans.
“Everyone has them, I have to have them, too,” I recanted.
I got those jeans, but there are some fads and pieces of not-so-useful ‘advice’ that are best ignored. This is most evident in this rapidly-changing world of social media. You go to bed, wake up, and it’s a brave new world: Facebook makes changes overnight, Google’s algorithm had an overhaul, and Twitter implemented an update. On Instagram, not everything is as it seems when it comes to the right strategy.
Here are 5 popular Instagram tips you must ignore (or suffer the not-so-pleasant consequences):
Instagram Follower Schemes
This one is a two-parter:
Never buy Instagram followers: This will not serve your social media strategy in any way, shape, or form. Buying followers often means the accounts are not real, the IG Gods will figure it out, delete the accounts, and many times, your account will get the ax, too. Connect with people and grow your Instagram account organically.
The Follow and Unfollow Scheme: Once upon a time, someone in the Instagram Universe decided that following and then later unfollowing someone was a good way to grow a following. Note to that person: Nope! It is rude, word will get out, people talk, an–like the real world–Instagram relationships matter. Grow an organic fan base and follow people you really want to form an Insta-relationship with. An Instagram feed is an intimate thing. Many of us scroll through our feeds during the work day, at night, and, heck, even from bed. You want your feed to be filled with images and content you want, which leads to our next no-no…
Follow Every Single Person Who Follows You
Instagram is an interesting social media platform. You want to reciprocate, but you genuinely may not always be interested in following someone back. Drop your guilt at the door and embrace your ability to choose. Choose wisely. If you find the content of the follower interesting, then absolutely follow that person.
In an article for Business2Community, Don Williams writes, “Some people will begin following you without liking any of your stuff. These are the people that are looking only for followers. Explore their feed and click on a couple of their pics, just in case in they were in a hurry to grow a following that they forgot to look through your feed. Give them the benefit of the doubt. At this time, unless their feed fits your business interest, you don’t have to follow them back.”
Bottom line: If your Instagram feed is filled with images and content that you generally do not like, you’ll be less likely to use it and probably end up engaging with people you have zero interest in.
Being desperate on social media is about as attractive as being desperate in real life. Nothing makes the Instaskin crawl more than seeing content peppered with hashtags such as #Like4likes or “I follow back!” Desperation will get you nowhere. Instead, start commenting on people’s content you like, are interested in, and want to know more about. Put the social in social media and be a human being filled with emotions, responses, and kindness. Good things can happen.
In that same vein, clogging your Instagram page with a boatload of content in one day is just poor social media etiquette. On Twitter, there are chats and rapid fire tweets. On Instagram, unless it’s a super special occasion or you are taking over an Instagram feed for a day, try and keep your content to a maximum of three photos/videos per day. Over saturation is a sure-fire way to get unfollowed.
Let the Picture Say A Thousand Words… Or Not So Much
It’s true that Instagram is a visual platform, and, yes, pictures say a thousand words. Posts need captions. Period. Whatever that caption is, be certain to include something relevant in your Instagram posts. This is where an Instagram strategy comes into play. Check out some of the Instagram accounts you admire the most. I call this the Follow 4 Experiment.
Choose four Instagrammers with a reasonable amount of followers and shadow them, one Instagrammer per week. Are they someone in your niche or outside your niche? This is a question you should answer first, and then dive in. Watch for:
• What types of images they are creating: Lighting, indoor/outdoor, pets, people involved, quotes? Get to know the type of image.
• What text do they use to accompany their images? Is it long or short? Funny or serious? A combination of both? Pay attention to what they are saying in conjunction with the image.
• What hashtags are being used and where are they placed? I use my phone’s Notes feature to store hashtags for different platforms and then copy and paste them as needed.
• What are followers saying to the Instagrammer? Is there engagement and likes? You might want to follow some of your favorite Instagrammers followers, too.
Take notes as to what you are finding. You are likely to see patterns emerge, even if you chose four Instagrammers in four different niches.
At the end of four weeks, you’ve tailed four successful Instagram accounts and had a silent mentor of sorts in helping you to grow your Instagram account. You should not be a copycat to their account, but you can develop your own style and content strategy on Instagram by looking at what those you are admire are doing.
Engage with influencers who drive activity on relevant topics.
Be An Island Unto Yourself: Wilsonnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!
Have you seen the Tom Hanks’ movie, Cast Away? No man nor woman is an island unto herself.
When people comment on your Instagram posts, don’t ignore your followers’ comments. Yes, it is time consuming, but that’s the nature of social media. It’s easy to reply to comments using the reply feature under each of the comments on your post. Comments can significantly impact the relationships you build. I also go to the users who comment on my page and I engage with them.
Similarly, I check out the folks who like my content on Instagram and I often find new followers, great content, and folks to engage with this way.
Bonus No-No on Instagram
Do not share every single Instagram post to your Facebook and Twitter. I share a lot of the same friends on my Instagram account with other platforms. I don’t want to clog up their Facebook feed with something they just saw and hopefully commented on/liked on Instagram. Plus, to be honest, people are in a state of content fatigue. Why would someone need to follow you on Instagram if they know they are going to see that same content on Facebook and/or Twitter. A better technique is to share a photo and then encourage your Facebook or Twitter followers to come see more on Instagram.
Each social media platform should have its own look, style, feel, voice, and content, even if that means different image sizes.
Don’t Stop Now
You are on a roll, so why stop now? Get on the Instagram train and learn more here:
What is something that annoys you on Instagram? We’re all ears and listening in the comment boxes below.
Carol Bryant is the Marketing and Social Media Manager for BlogPaws and runs her own dog blog, Fidose of Reality and its fundraising arm, Wigglebutt Warriors. When not busy playing with her Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, she stays far away from cooking. Her trademark is her mantra and is tattooed on her arm: My Heart Beats Dog.®
Images: CREATISTA/ Shutterstock.com