Everyone hates the person who uses Facebook as a place to chronicle every mundane event of their day. And people get in trouble all the time for tweeting before they think. Posting hundreds of photos of your cat on Flickr is sure to cost you friends.
Even choosing a profile picture of yourself at the best party you ever went to might even cost you a job. Every social media forum, including Instagram, has its pitfalls and a certain culture that is observed to avoid them. Using Instagram can be a great way to connect with friends or to augment your social media marketing strategies, but using it poorly may even hurt your social media identity as an individual or a business.
What are the top Instagram sins? There are many but most of them are easy to avoid with a little common sense.
You might love someone else’s picture, but if you repost or “regram” it, make sure that you give credit to them. Taking a screenshot and posting it as your own isn’t just impolite, it’s also illegal.
There are certain Instagram clichés, like posting hundreds of pictures of your cat, which can really annoy your followers. Posting a cute picture of your feline friend once in a while won’t chase off your followers. But posting a cute picture of your feline friend once an hour might. The same thing goes for other things, like pictures of your shoes—once in a while, okay, but try to mix it up a little.
There are some things that your fans just don’t need to see. Anything that could be considered porn, drugs or you doing something illegal is off the table when it comes to posting on Instagram. You may call it art; other people may call it gross. So be considerate of your fans. Post things that they actually want to see.
Your fans want to see your pictures. And seeing several pictures in one day is fine. But being bombed with dozens of pictures in five minutes is going to annoy people. If you are going to upload several pictures in a day, try to keep your Instagram use consistent so that your fans know what to expect from you.
On Instagram, much like on Twitter, people use hashtags to categorize posts and images. Using Instagram hashtags is a great way to give your fans some context of the picture that you uploaded, but be cautious of overusing them. Smothering your unsuspecting fans in a stream of endless hashtags is #impolite.
People are not looking at Instagram to see dozens of picture of your face. They want to see your trip to the Caribbean, your sister’s wedding and that artsy shot you took at the park last week. So exercise some “selfie” control. Keep the camera pointed toward something or someone other than you.
Yes, your child is adorable. And yes, your dog is, too. But similar to the cat cliché and the selfie lack of self-control, it is too much to post dozens of picture of your child or dog every day. People want to see your children, but posting a single nice picture once in a while is the best way to go. Then people will comment “Aw, how cute!” rather than “Aw, not again!”.
Liking a photo on Instagram should indicate that you actually, um, like the photo. Just because you like a photo, don’t expect to get a like back. If you follow someone, don’t expect to get a follow back. Maintaining honest, consistent and high-quality interactions on Instagram will get you likes and follows, but you should never take them for granted. And never, ever un-follow someone because they didn’t follow you.
As much as your friends and fans want to see your beautiful photos, they don’t want to see your doodles. If you are an artist and drew an inspiring, beautiful piece of artwork, put it on Facebook instead.
This is the overarching rule of Instagram. If you are thinking that Instagram is meant as a place to post all of your photos, think again. Instagram is meant to be a chronicle of the great moments in your life, like the time you went skydiving or whitewater rafting or got married. It’s a place to share the pictures you are most proud of and the ones you spent the most time and effort on. It’s a place to post the photos that you love, the quirky ones and the ones that tell a story.
Let’s keep Instagram beautiful! Following a few simple rules of etiquette lets you and everyone else enjoy your time with Instagram more. Carefully evaluating your posts before you upload them to ensure that they are polite will help to keep you and your followers happy.
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