The 7 deadly sins of Instagram

August 3, 2016

When curated well, Instagram can be a brilliant way to promote your blog and gain a large readership. Done badly, and it will turn into yet another platform that waters down your brand and creates, at best, a fickle following. Instagram is demanding. It requires careful attention and love: there’s no ‘scheduling in’ option here whilst you disappear for a week.

Below are our 7 deadly sins of Instagram: offenses you should avoid when trying to grow your following on this, the most popular of social media platforms.

1. Thou shalt not follow and unfollow

The ‘follow and (promptly) unfollow’ game is our pet hate. If we notice that an account is following us on and off for over a week, we’ll block them. Meanies.  As harsh as it sounds, vying for followers through non-organic means rather than embracing the community and enjoying Instagram for what it is, is not something we’d advise.

2. Thou shalt not mass comment 

Another pet hate is the mass commenting of generic phrases or words on photos in order to get noticed. The biggest offender: the word ‘nice’. What does that even mean? People will spot you a mile off and it will only serve to deter people from following you: the opposite of what you were hoping to achieve.

3. Thou shalt not engage with spam hashtags

Swamping an image with 100 meaningless hashtags may gain likes but it won’t gain a loyal following. Let’s be honest, do you really want to grow a community of people who actively search for the hashtag #boobs?

4. Though shalt not shun others

Focusing on building your own following but not interacting with other accounts, or taking the time to build relationships, will limit your success. Sure, you look fab in that latest bikini shot but posting a photo, sitting back and waiting for your dedicated legion of fans to find you is unlikely to reward you with much success.

5. Thou shalt not frivolously publish 

We know that for the majority of us, 80% of life is dull. It involves work, desks and sandwiches for lunch. Despite this, however, don’t publish for the sake of publishing. Think quality over quantity, and ensure you have a back-up of Instagram worthy photos for days when your life is less than exciting.

6. Though shalt not publish quotes 

Instagram is for photography and creative images, not quotes. Keep that contained within Pinterest.

7. Thou shalt not lose patience

Success on Instagram is not something to be achieved overnight, or even over a couple of months. Organic success can take years to cultivate, as we’ve discovered. Don’t lose patience and leave your Instagram page to languish; untouched since Christmas 2015. Stick at it and the followers will come.

Do you have any other deadly sins for Instagram? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • Reply Victoria August 3, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Number one is the worst! It amazes me how many people do it, but I can’t even see it being that successful of a technique…

    • Reply The Twins August 3, 2016 at 6:33 pm

      Me neither…especially if people do what we do and block!

  • Reply Ray August 4, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    With the new Instagram Stories feature (Instagram’s answer to Snapchat), I wonder how long it will take before we see people abusing it? You may have to update this list six months from now. 😉

    • Reply The Twins August 5, 2016 at 5:45 am

      Very true!! Time will tell..

  • Reply Sarah Clark October 7, 2016 at 10:52 am

    I’ve never understood the follow/unfollow thing. It’s just irritating. I post on behalf of a company that produces a fashion accessory but they don’t have many new products coming out so actually finding anything new to picture is so hard!

    • Reply The Twins October 7, 2016 at 10:54 am

      Hi Sarah,

      It can be SO hard to get fresh content, especially if you’re basing the Instagram on products. Have you thought about making it more lifestyle based so you could have a larger pool of photos? Working with bloggers to get images of the products can also be really effective!

  • Reply Sophie October 9, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Great advice for me as a newbie to the world of social media beyond some friends on Facebook. No 4 is the way to go! To add to that, there’s something there about being authentic – there are lots of posts on instagram or twitter that I just pass by. It would just feel wrong to ‘like’ when I don’t …

    • Reply The Twins October 10, 2016 at 9:05 am

      Hi Sophie! Definitely, being authentic and down-to-earth is so important. Simple rules of psychology really 🙂 xx

  • Reply Shubho Dutta December 28, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Great insights and definitely quite a few points to take on board as a newbie on IG. Thanks so much 🙂 I totally agree with others and you of course , that it is so so important to stay authentic with our comments , photos everything.
    Also now that you are showing your faces , just gave me the push to show my and Ania’s ( my wife) faces as well 🙂
    Request: Since I am Travel Organiser(my primary business) , i am left with very little time for social media engagement. Can you recommend good app to schedule posts specially for IG . I tried Buffer but it doesnt post on IG behalf of me.

    Many many thanks in advance Claire & Laura .

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