Instagram is hard. Instagram is really hard. It’s hard to keep up with, it’s hard to post quality pictures every day, and it’s hard to stay motivated when there’s all this algorithm stuff messing with your account and feed. The algorithm has definitely affected my account but I’m still trying to have fun and post about the things I love. I’ve been on the ‘gram for years and throughout those years I’ve learned a few things you should and shouldn’t be doing. All of these do’s and don’ts will help you better your Instagram account…from followers, to engagement, to aesthetics and more!
DO use a lot of hashtags that are relevant to your post. A lot of times people will use hashtags that aren’t relevant to their post, just to get their hashtag count up. Instagram now looks at hashtags so if you have one that isn’t relevant to your post, they will flag you and possibly shadow ban you.
Let’s take this moment to talk about the infamous “shadowbanning”. According to Later.com, “On Instagram, a shadowban hides your Instagram posts from users who don’t follow you, which can be detrimental to growing your account and getting more followers. More specifically, if you get shadowbanned on Instagram and use hashtags in your post, only you and your current followers will see your post when they search for the hashtags you used. If someone who doesn’t follow your account searches for one of those hashtags, they won’t be able to see your post! Which basically defeats the whole purpose of using strategic hashtags to grow your Instagram community.”
DON’T use hashtags that already have millions of “posts”. You know when you search for a hashtag and you see the number of posts it’s been used for? You want that number to be well below 100,000. I would say 10,000 and under is perfect. Instagram is starting to ban these hashtags that millions of people have already used. So get creative! Also, be sure you’re not hashtagging the same things over and over again. Instagram also looks at…ugh.
2. Following People
DO follow a few people every now and then who are within your niche. Following some people within your niche can increase your exposure and also that follower count.
DON’T go on a following spree and follow 100 people a day. Instagram monitors this and if you follow a bunch of people in the span of a day (or even if you unfollow a bunch of people in the span of a day), they can freeze your account. By freeze your account I just mean that you will be banned from following anyone (it’s usually for about a day). Even though this may not seem too bad, Instagram will then be monitoring you even more because they think your account might be spam.
3. Posting Pictures
DO post high quality pictures as frequently as you can.
DON’T post low quality pictures just so you can get a post up every day. Posting high quality pictures less frequently is better than posting low quality pictures more frequently. If you’re too busy one day to post a pic, then don’t! Don’t just try to throw something together so you don’t “miss a day”. I feel like there’s a misconception on Instagram where everyone thinks they HAVE to post every single day or else no one will follow them and they won’t have a great Instagram feed. But honestly, it’s not a bad thing to even post every other day! Sometimes when I’m having a super busy week I only post once every other day and I don’t notice a drop in engagement or exposure!
DO focus on giving your account a nice aesthetic. If you look on some of the more popular Instagram accounts, you can tell they each focus on having a certain aesthetic. Whether that’s taking white, bright pictures or using a specific filter on every picture they post.
DON’T post a bunch of white, bright pictures and then after the eighth picture, post a really dark, unlit photo. If you’re trying to go for a certain aesthetic, then try to always keep up with it. One out of place photo could ruin the look of your account!
5. Have fun!
DO always have fun with your Instagram account.
DON’T stress out about likes, followers, engagement, etc. Instagram should be a fun place where you go to post cute pictures! Even though the algorithm is making things a little more annoying and stressful, try not to let it get to you. Your followers follow you for a reason and that reason is because they love what you’re putting out and want to see more. So just have fun with Instagram and try not to get caught up in everything else.