Are you on the ‘gram? Silly question, I know. Just about everyone’s on Instagram these days. And why wouldn’t they be? Instagram has evolved so much over the past few years to become one of the most wildly addictive social media platforms out there. No longer is the app about posting instant visual updates, but it’s become a truly inspirational and diverse platform for storytelling and a place for users to discover and connect with the world around them. Who wouldn’t want to be in on that? But it’s a little more complicated than snapping a quick photo on the go, hitting ‘share’ and waiting for the likes to roll in. Get your feed in shape with these 10 unspoken Instagram commandments that you should really never break:
1. Thou shalt Instagram cautiously and thoughtfully
A beautifully curated Instagram feed requires planning, thought and consideration. It’s a highlights reel, so only post the best of the best. If you have to ask yourself whether you should post it, chances are you probably shouldn’t.
2. Thou shalt never buy followers or likes
That’s cheating. Don’t be that person. Plus, what do numbers mean if there’s no engagement? Brands are pretty switched on about this nowadays too so be careful about your reputation.
3. Thou shalt always edit prior to posting
It didn’t always be this way, but today an unedited Instagram post is sacrilegious. Your Instagram photos need to pop right off that tiny smartphone screen, so you better edit the crap out of them. That’s not to say you should simply slap one of Instagram’s standard filters on. No no no. You gotta work a little harder than that. See how I edit my Instagram posts in my favourite apps here.
A photo posted by Rachel Bale (@departmentofwandering) on
3. Thou shalt post consistently
It’s kind of confusing if you post a succession of photos and then go AWOL for a couple of weeks. Keep it consistent and stick to posting the same number of photos per day around the same time. That way, your followers know what to expect from you and they’ll go online to see your updates.
4. Thou shalt be smart with hashtags
Okay, we all know that hashtags are the key to exposure, but when you include 20 hashtags in your caption, you look kinda desperate. Be smart about using hashtags and find a way to include them more discreetly. A tip is to only include a couple of hashtags in your caption, then save the rest to be posted separately as a comment. Write them up in your notes and if you include five dots on separate lines before they start, the comment will appear as only ‘…’ and the hashtags will be hidden, only visible if the comment is clicked on. Much more aesthetically pleasing.
5. Thou shalt limit thy selfies
If you have to selfie it up on Instagram, try and exercise some restraint at least. One every now and again is okay, but seven in a row of you and your friends pulling your best duck faces? Maybe not. Try to get a little bit more creative.
6. Thou shalt not use Instagram as if it were Snapchat
Never, ever confuse the two. Instagram is not the place for badly lit, grainy updates. Save those for Snapchat, where it’s all about the raw, unedited version of real life on the go. No, on Instagram, it’s all about getting the perfect lighting, staging the scene and creating a dream-worthy image. See more of my behind the scenes snaps like this one here on my Snapchat: deptofwandering.
8. Thou shalt always post at prime time
There’s no point posting a photo when it’s 3am and most of your followers are asleep. What’s the point? You want your audience to see your posts! It can be tricky when you’re crossing time zones all the time, but you’ll figure out what times work and what don’t. For information on how to figure out the best time to post, read How to Grow Your Instagram Following Fast.
9. Thou shalt be liberal with the double taps
If you see something cool pop up on your feed, don’t hold back from showing your appreciation. You follow that account for a reason, right? Show some love and give it a like, or better yet, leave a thoughtful comment. I love interacting with those who’ve taken the time to engage with my posts and I’m always blown away by how downright lovely people are!
10. Thou shalt never double post
When you’re scrolling through your feed and you see two, three, or sometimes even four consecutive posts from the same account, that’s not cool. You got bored by the second one and you’ll probably unfollow. While you might have captured some really awesome photos in a short period of time, that doesn’t mean you have to share them all at once. Ration them out and dip feed them over time.
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