Instagram Do’s and Don’t’s You Should Know About

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Last updated on September 18th, 2019 at 01:07 pm

Instagram is one of my favorite social media channels out there, and my love for it keeps growing every day despite all the news you hear about changing algorithms, features, and shadowbans. I’ve been able to grow my followers and those of my clients’ significantly while following some simple Instagram guidelines. I thought it would be a great idea to share with you some of the “Do’s and Don’t’s” of Instagram that could get more Instagram followers for your account as well!

Pro tip: If time constraints are preventing you from properly maintaining and growing your Instagram account, feel free to contact us regarding our Instagram Quick Growth service. The client accounts we manage gain between 1500 and 2000 real and engaged followers per month.

Instagram Do’s

1. Do get Instagram followers by posting quality content:

Instagram is crowded, just like all other massive social channels out there. These days you can only stand out with high-quality content – you have to figure out what that means for your target group. I suggest posting a mix of video and photos. Video is becoming increasingly important, and you don’t want to be left behind on this trend. It is also important to plan and create an aesthetic feed with your posts. This may sound vague to some because… what is aestheticism, exactly? And isn’t it subjective? It is. Which is why, although there is a standard, there are so many different ways your Instagram feed can be aesthetic, beautiful, or eye-catching. Here are a few of them.

Use consistent colors and/or filters.

This Instagram account below by food and travel blogger, Fazril Hafiz, is eye-catching because, not only are the images themselves artistic and sharp, but there is a consistent look in the colors which creates a theme for the feed and looks appealing to the eye. In other words, you don’t need to go crazy with different filters, contrasts, and vignettes which will only serve to make your images look mismatches and unorganized. Find an image style you like and stick with it. You can follow Fazril along his journey here: @wandering_balt.

Create a pattern

Ok, maybe you’re not so great with matching shades and using consistent colors in your pictures. There are other ways to be visually appealing, like this one: Create a pattern. Use templates which can be easily created in Canva and post them on Instagram in a specific, recurring order. Tuff Mutts, which sells dog products and accessories, uses their branding and colors to organize their Instagram feed in a way that creates a noticeable and eye-catching pattern. Follow them here: @tuffmuttpets

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Related: The Best Ways to Use Canva for Social Media Design

Use bright colors

There is a whole topic you can google about the psychology of colors for marketing: Colors have an effect on our mood, behavior, and purchasing decisions. And what’s more eye-catching than beautiful photography in bright, vivid colors? Seeing an image with bright colors is said to make you feel energized and evoke a reaction. In this case, the reaction could be to follow the account or to visit their website. The Instagram account below belongs to American department store Kohl’s and looking at their feed immediately tells me their marketing department did well in implementing this strategy.

get more instagram followers

If you want to read more about creating an aesthetic feed for your account, refer back to this post: Instagram Tips for Brands.

2. Do get more Instagram followers by engaging with your audience:

A big number of Instagram followers is not always important. Preferably, you’ll want to focus on your engagement rate, which is what many large brands and agencies do when they’re looking for bloggers or influencers to promote their products. Are you liking and leaving genuine comments on your followers and other people’s content? Do your followers like and comment on your content? If they do: you are doing well! However, your account won’t appear to be in great standing if you have 42.6K followers and averaging 300 likes per photo. There are plenty of instagrammers out there that are buying followers, and there are tons of fake accounts around – follower numbers matter less than engagement rate.

Pro tip: Use an app like WEBSTA to track your engagement rate. The account below does not have a huge number of followers, but these analytics tell me the followers they do have are engaged and interested in the content posted.

get more instagram followers

Try and invest some time in engaging with your followers. Reply to their comments, and like comments of your most engaged followers. This may take some of your time, but it is time well invested.

3. Do use hashtags to get more Instagram followers:

Use hashtags, but use them wisely. Rumors are going around about a “Shadowban” that Instagram supposedly imposes on accounts that misuse the hashtag feature. Read in the “Instagram Don’ts” section of this article to learn more about this mysterious ban.

When you use hashtags, do use ones that relate to your image, and not the ones that you think are popular to bring your image more exposure.

Pro tip: Claim your FREE Instagram Hashtag Basics PDF from the sidebar.

4. Do get more Instagram followers by sharing who you are:

You don’t always have to be business-like or sales-y on social media and Instagram in particular. If you have an Instagram account for your business, don’t be afraid to break up the monotonous flow of work or product pictures with something “behind-the-scenes” and fun, like a picture of your workplace or what you’re doing on your day off. Humans generally (hopefully) don’t connect on an intellectual level with robots, and don’t like to be sold to all the time, so make your passions shine and share that which is important to you! Your followers want to get to know you, the person behind the screen, and will engage more with you (and your brand) when they achieve that human connection.

5. Do get to know your followers:

It is totally okay to experiment on your Instagram by posting different types of content. Not only can you vary between photos and videos, you can also vary between the types and angles of photos and videos. Try and experiment with aerials, landscape scenery, flatlays, head-shots, informative videos, funny videos, you name it! See which content evokes the best response from your followers and fine-tune your strategy to create similar content which will have a ripple effect.

6. Do use captions

Instagram is a platform for pretty images but, while pictures do say a thousand words, that’s only half the story. Take advantage of this space to speak to your followers personally by writing out an engaging caption. Explain the significance of the picture, ask your followers a question, type out how you are feeling that day. It’s much easier for someone to leave a comment when they are prompted to or could relate in some way to what you are saying.

Instagram Don’ts

1. Don’t work with brands you don’t like:

Your followers are intelligent people, and they will notice when you’re collaborating with brands you don’t genuinely like. It will resonate in your tone, your caption, and in the way it may look out of place among other brands you’ve worked with. This can seriously affect your own branding, something you most likely worked really hard for to build. Quick cash is tempting but consider your theme and style before getting into a collaboration with a brand.

2. Don’t buy likes or followers… ever:

As already mentioned in the Do’s of Instagram, people have the ability to buy likes and followers for ridiculously cheap.

These companies will even go so far as to send a high number of likes or followers to your account for free, without even asking you, as a sample of what they can provide. Your huge increase in followers overnight wasn’t a blessing – it was a curse. Block those accounts immediately. You will be followed by fake/dead accounts and it will kill your engagement rate since these accounts will never interact with your content. It will result in Instagram continuously showing your photos to fewer people. Please don’t fall into this trap. Engagement is extremely important now after Instagram switched up its algorithm in 2016 when it used to display photos in chronological order.

3. Don’t Follow to Unfollow:

Another thing to avoid is following people, and then unfollowing them as soon as they followed you back. Besides the fact that it is an unprofessional way of managing your account, it also doesn’t help you gain valuable followers. Your aim is to get followers that follow you because they like you or your brand, not because you followed them first. And the same goes for you, as well. You should want to follow people because you’re genuinely interested in their content, not because you want them to follow you back. There are plenty of free apps out there to let users know who unfollowed them and almost every one has one these days so don’t think you won’t get caught. The follow to unfollow game is time-consuming, frustrating for the other party, and won’t get you very far.

4. Don’t use banned hashtags:

As mentioned in the Instagram Do’s section, Instagram is imposing a mysterious but temporary “Shadowban” that some users were unfortunate enough to experience. While no one knows the exact criteria Instagram uses to shadowban you, we do know that it happens due to specific posts, rather than a ban on your entire account. Interesting to note is that Instagram went after and shut down at least five companies that provided automation services to grow your account at around the same time frame the shadowban came out. On top of that, they banned a number of hashtags. Some hashtags with sexual connotations such as #instasex and #foreplay are obvious. But Instagram also banned some normal ones that seem just plain strange, such as: #costumes, #boho, and #dogsofinstagram. Really? #dogsofinstagram? Yes, really. How do you find out if you’re using banned hashtags? You can use Smaudience to check the status of a hashtag. The free version allows you to check up to 10 hashtags per day. Keep in mind to not use any banned hashtags you find in the future. It’s recommended that if you find out that one of your posts is being shadowbanned, delete the hashtags you are using for that post and switch up the hashtags you’re using for your next few posts so they’re not always all the same.

I hope this gave you some insight on some of the Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to Instagram. If this post helped you out, share it with a friend.

Head back over to hitContinue to learn more about social media strategies HERE.

Want more Instagram? You’ll love this course where you’ll learn all the insider secrets to growing your account organically and making a profit on Instagram.




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  1. I like this blog! I have an IG and don’t really have a theme for every picture. I will definitely follow your tips. Also I will be mindful of my hashtags. Thank you again!

  2. Thanks for these helpful insights. Will defintely keep this in mind. I just started my instagram march of this year, and I have 475 followers only. Hope it gets better. 🙂

  3. Some very helpful tips for all the people who are trying to get followers. I agree woth you on not following people jist to unfollow them later on. It is very unethical.

  4. My Instagram game is pretty low and I have seen websites which claims to get you followers in resturn off some money. But your post here suggest u how we can organically generate followers.i will keep the points in mind while posting in the future.THANKS for sharing

  5. Instagram is so fickle! I constantly have people following me, only to unfollow me shortly after if I don’t follow them back. It’s my least favourite social media platform for that reason, because people seem to be using strategies rather than engaging with content that they actually like eugh.

  6. I always just try to be me on Instagram and I find my followers there really appreciate it. Yes I have the staged ‘blog’ style pics but always have personal pics to. Thanks for sharing

  7. I am working on my instagram recently. These are very helpful tips and ideas. It’s really fun to engage with others and see what people are doing. I use hashtags a lot and it seems to be helping me get going. Thanks for highlighting the importance of engagement. It helps to give people like me some more focus.

  8. Mercy (Zen Maud) on

    I don’t have an instagram account anymore, but I really like your point on focusing on real engagement with followers. For me, this the toughest part of creating content through social media, however it is not impossible to achieve over time.

  9. Lots of great information here in both what to do and what not to. The hardest thing I find is time to do it properly, it really does take a lot of time and something I’d definitely look to outsource in the future.

  10. I completely agree with you on creating a colour scheme – it makes your gallery look very neat and cool. Personally, I am not that big a fan of bright colours, because pictures might turn out too glossy or fake-looking, but each to their own. I had no idea Instagram has banned some “regular” hashtags, what’s wrong with dogs??

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