Insta-etiquette: 6 tips to become a better user

Of all that’s out there in terms of social media, instagram is by far my favourite and I find it the most inspiring. I’ve discovered so many great people and wonderful places through it, that I’m almost thankful I caved in 2 years ago and created an account (it seems I’m always a bit of a late adopter with these things). It’s the main venue where I share all these lovely places I get to discover through my travels and, sometimes, where I promote some of my portraiture work. Oh, and my hometown. I love capturing my hometown and getting the word out about it via instagram.

In the past months I started spending quite a big chunk of time on the app and learning more about how it works, and inevitably, by doing that, I began bumping into a few irritating behaviours that seem to become increasingly frequent by each day. Which is why I put up this post, hoping to help you out if you’re new to instagram, or simply unaware of your manners.

Therefore, here are 6 tips to become a better ‘grammer:

1.Don’t follow/unfollow and don’t use automated bots/ apps

This is very annoying and just screams desperate. Are you so desperate for increasing your follower count that you waste your time following and unfollowing random persons in the hope they’ll follow you back? Or use automated apps that throw away tons of follows/ unfollows and shallow comments out in the wild? Where’s the real engagement here? Where’s the very essence of instagram?

And the most embarrassing part for you here? Your fake comments probably left by these apps on images that have nothing to do with it. Like this innocent example that made my day a short while ago (it was a temporary post so you won’t find it in my feed anymore):

insta goof

I can bet the user wasn’t referring to Snapchat’s amazing yellow.

I can understand you want to be famous on instagram, but this is definitely not the best way to aim for it. If you want people to genuinely and actively engage with your content, you have to do your part, too.

2.Don’t leave “follow me” comments

This relates to the previous point. You telling me to follow you will definitely NOT make me follow you, it will make me ignore you and even block you if you’re getting too annoying.

If someone doesn’t follow you (back) it’s for a good reason and 99% of the times it’s not personal. They either simply don’t relate to your posts or the posts are just not as good as you think they are. Invest some time in becoming better at your craft, knowing your target audience and genuinely engage with people you really care about, instead of being pushy and annoying. Oh, such a cliche, isn’t it?

3.Always read the captions

Your “where is that from?” comment might just be unnecessary. Moreover, many people choose to share an unfortunate event in their life or something sad that’s going on in the world by illustrating it with a wonderful image. Which is why you should always read the captions or your general “omg, this is amazing!” copy-pasted comment might turn out to be extremely inappropriate.

4.Follow only as many as you can keep up with

As I already said, Instagram is mostly about engaging with other people and with the new algorithm changes this aspect has become even more important. If you can keep up with following 2000+ people and showing your support for what they do, then awesome! But don’t just aimlessly add people in the hope they’ll follow you back and then become a “ghost follower” that never ever shows their presence in a way or another. Also, follow for follow is a big NO-NO!

Remember, it’s about engagement and connecting with people you really care about!

5.Keep your hashtags relevant

Don’t #follow4follow, #like4like or #add #hashtags #to #every #single #word. It’s useless and it stinks. Hashtags should help you discover other awesome people from areas that interest you. Do a bit of research and use only those that are relevant for what you post. There are also plenty of feature accounts in every domain that, by using their hashtag, you get a chance not only to be featured but to discover other great people with common interests too. For example, I love @passionpassport for inspiring travel captures, or @dametraveler for epic pictures of girls traveling around the world.

Also, I’d recommend you to add the kilometric hashtags in the first comment, they’re really irritating when they occupy your whole caption.

And if inspiration suddenly hits you, get creative with your hashtags. They won’t bring you any exposure, but they’ll definitely make someone’s day. I, for one, always appreciate a funny hashtag that makes me laugh! And Gloria from @glographics has some of the funniest hashtags ever (not that I’d recommend following her for that aspect only, don’t get me wrong).

6.Don’t steal other people’s photos

Does it need more explanation? It’s ok to repost someone’s work if you have their permission (and always give credit!), but don’t just save their photo and use it as your own. It’s pathetic and might even get you in (big) trouble. No, if it’s on the internet it doesn’t mean it’s free.

What annoys you most on instagram?


6 thoughts on “Insta-etiquette: 6 tips to become a better user

  1. Katy

    Great advice Andreea. Social media is supposed to be social by definition. You have made some great points about keeping with the spirit of Instagram

  2. Global Brunch

    Your article sums up my feelings about Instagram and brings it to the point. I absolutely love that platform and spend a lot of time on it. I follow photographers, travel bloggers, companies and tourist boards that inspire and interest me. But sometimes I feel like certain people are missing the point and I ask myself whether the people playing the follow/unfollow game have considered how it makes them look. If I ever meet one of them in person at a conference I will immediately remember that they were the ones desperate to rock at Instagram

  3. Vyjay

    These are some really sensible and practical tips for all Instagramers. Specially the ones on nof constantly following and unfollowing. I am not sure why many out there follow only to unfollow the next day.

    1. Deea Post author

      They’re trying to attract followers, but I don’t see the point of the strategy either – it’s useless and can easily become self-damaging. Some of them are probably also using automated apps, so they probably don’t even know they’re being annoying!

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