Top Five Tips for a Healthy, Long-term Relationship with Instagram

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by Yvonne Adams

Oh Instagram, how you tease us.

Just when things are going well, you change the game. You update your algorithm, you introduce new features, you remove the things we all liked — literally. 

Here we are on the cusp of a new year and we’re rethinking our strategy again.

Or are we?

Actually, what we’ve found over the last five or six years of our relationship with you, darling Instagram (because let’s be honest, before 2015 we were still just getting to know each other), is that although you like to keep us on our toes, you’re pretty consistent in some areas.

You’ve always asked us for authentic content. That hasn’t changed over the years and if anything, you’ve become more stubborn. It’s authentic content or nothing, baby.

You’ve always encouraged us to venture beyond our cosy little circle of followings/​followers to see what else is out there — and you make it all too easy by tempting us with visual deliciousness in our explore feed.

And you have always, always provided us with rules of engagement.

Genuine, authentic, consistent engagement is what you want. Nothing less.
Apps are not ok (unless you say so), faking it or gaming it is a definite no-no.

At least we know where we stand with you. 

When we review the core of things, we’ve got a pretty solid relationship. 

We love that you’re keeping it fresh, creating and innovating — but we love that we can rely on these foundations for a long, happy relationship. 

And on that note, here are our Top Five Tips for a long-term relationship with Instagram;

  1. Make regular dates with Instagram
    Commit to being active on Instagram for a few minutes per day, a few days per week. You can choose the exact formula that works for you; it might be ten minutes a day, twice a week — or a quickie every morning at 8am for two minutes.
    It’s your choice, but show Instagram your love by committing to being active every week. 
  2. Share the love — but not too much
    Share relevant, interesting, engaging content, and do it regularly. How often is regularly, you ask? Once a month is not enough, three times a day is probably too much. Find your own balance, taking into account how much you’d like to see a post about yourself/​your brand if you were following it. When it comes to engagement, it should be a two-way street. You want followers? Be sure to follow other accounts. Want more engagement? Engage with accounts and posts that you find interesting or relevant.
  3. (cliché alert) Be yourself
    Ugh. Cliches. But, Instagram wants you to be authentic so if you want to make this work, you’re going to have to learn how. Stories are a great way to be active on Instagram and keep a sense of in-the-moment’ authenticity.
  4. Be a #goodexample
    Hashtags are user-generated, so there will always be a handful of people (or thousands of handfuls of people) who will use #overusedhashtags to try and gain more followers. Rather than reaching for these followers (let’s face it, they’re not going to be your real friends anyway) your best strategy when it comes to hashtags is to find a combination of relevant tags to the specific image you’re sharing, along with a few broader category’ hashtags that will allow your post to be found.
  5. Be generous
    Even if you’re a brand and you want people to buy your products, it’s good practice to show that you value your followers. You can do this by offering unique promotions that are only available to your followers; running competitions and providing giveaways or special gifts to followers; and by sharing unique content that is informative, educational or specialised to your particular industry or category. Rather than prompting your followers to buy something with every post, aim to sprinkle your product-related (or service-related) posts throughout the month.

There you have it.

Liked by Instagram and others. 

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