14 DOs & DON’Ts For Instagram Success

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14 best instagram tips, do's and don'ts

Here is the newest installment in our Instagram Tips series. Things change quickly on social media so there’s always something new to report. I recently wrote an article on growing your Instagram following over at the Beauty Directory Australia (BDA) website. But since not all of you guys can access BDA, I thought I’d share an updated version of that article right here on SoNailicious.

As I mentioned in my previous post I want you all have compelling and successful Instagram accounts and some of you have already been growing A LOT! So let’s take it to the next level with these 14 easy DO’s and DON’Ts:

  1. DO: engage with you community, respond to every comment and be polite.
  2. DON’T become serial commenter cutting & pasting “Pretty!” on hundreds of photos or even worse “F4F”, “Like my photo!”, “Follow me please!”. It may seem like a good idea but it’s actually not.
  3. DO: use relevant hashtags that can help your target audience to discover your photos. For instance, use nail and beauty related hashtags for nail photos, fashion related hashtags for your outfits, etc.
  4. DON’T: use a random mix of unrelated hashtags or hashtags that are trending just to get some extra likes. You won’t get any. For instance, don’t use #justinebieber for a photo of your lunch, you might insult Justin’s fans.
  5. DO: use multiple hashtags but no more than 20. Keep 1-3 of the most important hashtags for the caption and add the rest into your first/second comment.
  6. DON’T: don’t put a bunch of hashtags directly in your caption, or instead of the caption.
  7. DO: post bright, clear images. I just can’t stress how important this is. Instagram is all about beautiful visual content.  Whatever it is your taking photo of, find a spot with maximum light or use a photo editing app to brighten up your image.
  8. DON’T: post dull and blurry images. Also avoid stretched, madly Photoshopped and pixelated images.
  9. DO: re-gram and share other relevant content on your Instagram. It’s the best way to make friends, get new followers and draw attention to your Instagram.
  10. DON’T: use photos that belong to someone else without giving them direct credit in the caption.  ALWAYS, always give credit, you’ll earn credibility and respect. Not sure who to credit? Say exactly that in the caption, surely someone may know the owner of the photo.
  11. DO: run occasional giveaways to thank your followers for their support. Whether you have 100 or 10,000 it’s always nice to give back to the community.
  12. DON’T: enter all the giveaways you can possibly find in Instagramland and post their photos on your feed. It makes your account look suspiciously like spam.
  13. DO: analyse, spot trends,  learn and improve. Everything you need to know about your Instagram account is already there, you just need to learn how to see it. Look at your photos – take notes what photos get more likes and what’s the best time for posting. What kinds of posts get the most comments, what kind of posts are not that popular? If it’s easier, write your discoveries down.
  14. DON’T: expect overnight success. Take your time to experiment and find your own voice. Behind every single successful Instagram account there are years of hard work. Things don’t just happen, it’s knowledge, plus talent, plus persistence.

Finally, approach Instagram not as a tool to promote your blog or nail art skills, but as an online space where you can connect with talented and like-minded people. You can share your knowledge, inspire others and get inspired. Follow these tips and you’ll see your following grow exponentially in no time! Of course, if you have any questions about Instagram, you know where to find me ;)

Happy Instagramming!

– Maria xx @So_Nailicious

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  • Great post! I will definitely do/not do some of these!

    Missmacbeauty | Missmacbeauty

  • “respond to every comment”
    definitely don’t.
    Answer asked questions, but there is no serious reason for commenting every “nice done”. It’s looks pity.
    Rita recently posted…How to Use Konad Nail Art Stamp in Easier WayMy Profile

    • Of course, there are some “comments” that are not worth responding like “f4f” or “follow me please”, etc. But if someone posted a meaningful comment, asked a question or paid you a compliment, a simple “thank you” goes a long way. Especially, if you have less than 1,000 followers that’s the only way to connect and get to know your community. It becomes more difficult as your community grows but still, even with over 43,000 followers that we currently have on @So_Nailicious Instagram – communicating with the community is our number 1 priority.
      Maria @SoNailicious recently posted…Elegant Floating Manicure – TutorialMy Profile

      • I think what Maria said is right. Whenever I comment on a big account and they actually make the effort to say thank you or just even respond, I feel appreciated and feel like they care about their followers. Responding helps build bonds between the follower and the account owner.

      • Ashley

        I know this post is from awhile ago but I wanted to ask. I have about 5,000 followers right now and I like to respond to every comment I get but I’ve been getting so many comments lately and worry that responding to them all could be considered “spam.” I know you have quite a lot of followers. Are you able to respond to every comment without a problem? I haven’t been able to find any information online.

        • I’m trying my best to respond to as many comments as I can. Especially if it’s a question or a great compliment. If it’s a generic comment like ‘Nice pic’ or spammy ‘f4f’ then I ignore. But I don’t think that responding to meaningful comments can be considered as ‘spam’, I think it’s nice to talk to your followers and get to know everyone. Just think about it this way: if you left a comment on one of the accounts that you love and they responded, would that make you feel happy or not? ;)
          Maria @SoNailicious recently posted…10 Brilliant Instagram HacksMy Profile

  • Tracy

    I use my Instagram account exclusively for nail art and i’m trying to build my following, I’m curious if you know what the best hashtags are to use? Thank you for the useful tips and any more would be greatly appreciated!!

    • There are so many great hashtags for nail art, try #nailart #npa #nailartaddicts #nails2inspire #thenailartstory #nails #nailedit #nailsoftheday #lovemanicure and also don’t forget to add brands that you’re using for your nail design, i.e. #sallyhansen and your local hashtags too, i.e. #nailsuk or #nailartlondon. Hope this helps! x

    • Actually, we just posted a detailed post about hashtags with a complete list of Nail Art Hashtags. Here it is: http://sonailicious.com/instagram-hashtags/

  • missgetaway

    Loved this post. Thank you so much for sharing your instagram tips. I agree with each and every single one of them. Especially the one about hastags and communicating with others. Nothing I hate more than those stupid “f4f” or “shoutout?” comments D:

    Love, Kerstin

    • Thank you Kerstin! re: f4f, I recently saw an article on a reputable ‘social media tips’ site where the author advised leaving as many “f4f” comments as possible every day to gain more followers.That’s the biggest problem with all these self-proclaimed gurus. They teach things that they have no idea about and people tend to believe them. Just because they label themselves as “experts”. That was actually one of the reasons I started these series. To share real life tips that really work.

  • Thank you for sharing and all of the great advice. I really love the giveaway idea, but I just do not know what to give people and then how to successfully create a contest on instagram. Do you have an example that you have done?

  • Kathryn Maclean

    Great tips I really liked the last one – ” Don’t expect overnight success. Take your time to experiment and find your own voice. Behind every single successful Instagram account there are years of hard work. Things don’t just happen, it’s knowledge, plus talent, plus persistence.” It’s like anything else, it takes work !

  • Awesome tips! I think my fav was don’t expect overnight success. Social media is super saturated and it takes time to build a quality audience! Btw, your nails are so cute in your sidebar!

    Radiantly, Jas

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