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The Do’s and Don’ts of Instagram


It’s no big secret, I am all kinds of obsessed with Instagram, and have been since 2012, ever since I downloaded it onto my old iPod touch while living in Logroño, Spain.

Those were the days!

But once I moved back home and tried to get my life into ship shape by working for a year and building my blog to the point that it could be my full-time job, I realized I need to get serious about social media.

While I toy around with Facebook and Twitter because they were, well, obligatory, I wholeheartedly gave up on Google + in favor of Instagram. Instagram is awesome. It’s simple. It’s pretty pictures. Google +, well, I’m not even big enough of a geek to hop on that bandwagon.

3.5 years ago I threw a good portion of my effort into building my profile and audience on Instagram, and I’m sure glad I did.

Not only is Instagram one of the fastest growing social networks (source), it’s also one of the biggest. If you’re going to focus on building a following on one network, consider Instagram.

how to gain followers on instagram

December 2014 was massive for Instagram. First they announced on their blog that there are now more than 300 million active monthly users. Holy cow, is that big! It’s actually bigger than Twitter so if you were looking for a sign to tell you to get cracking on sharing photos, now’s it.

Personally, I also got extremely lucky and Forbes mentioned me this week as a travel Instagrammer to watch in 2015. What what! So now I have a legitimate reason to spend more time on my favorite app and less tweeting. Phew!

Then shit hit the fan this morning.


how to gain followers on instagram

Over the years I’ve managed to somehow end up with over 100,000 followers! I remember when I had 34,000 and lost 2,000 of them overnight. Crap.

In the same announcement sharing that Instagram reached the 300 million milestone and they would roll out verified accounts, they also casually let us know they would be eliminating bot and fake accounts that violated their T’s and C’s. Fair enough.

As everyone waited with bated breath for the hammer stroke to fall, virtually excited to see who had been buying followers all these years, I think many of us were in for a rude awakening when we woke up to see that almost everyone lost followers!


Though I’ve never bought followers I figure my loss was related to the fact that I’ve been featured a lot on big profiles and in articles online, so not everyone following me was legit.

Then I saw people like Kim K, Justin Bieber and even the official Instagram itself lost millions in the purge, so I started to feel better (source).

how to gain followers on instagram

Anywho, where was I?

Now more than ever Instagram has become more and more relevant, whether you are a blogger, a business or just someone who likes sharing pictures.

Sometimes my current followers haven’t felt like a lot because I know people and follow accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers, or even in the millions. But I do often get asked how I’ve managed to get so many followers, so I thought I would share some ideas.

I have also been very observant with Instagram trends over the past three years and have paid attention and taken an active role in building my following. It didn’t just happen, I made it happen. I’ve also been part of several Instagram campaigns with brands and business around the world and have learned a lot through those experiences. I’ve shared my experiences in talks and webinars, and also in Travel Blog Success.

Of course, this is what’s worked for me and what matches my values and ethics. Other people feel differently, as is to be expected.


I’ve asked my friend Melissa Findley, a talented photographer and Instagrammer from Australia to chime in with some tips and ideas as well. She’s done lots of Instagram projects, has great experience and has worked with some of the best in the business, not to mention her Instagram feed will make you want to hop on a plane somewhere beautiful immediately.

Everyone has different things that have worked for them and what haven’t. I’m just sharing my experience here.

So here are my best do’s and don’ts for Instagram.

how to gain followers on instagram

1. Don’t – post crappy photos

I’ll just start off bright and bold.

Nobody wants to see your crappy photos. Not even Martha Stewart can get away with it. One of the best (and probably the worst) things about the internet is that people can AND will say what they think with little regard to your self-esteem. Listen.

Does that mean you have to be a top photographer? Definitely not. I don’t consider myself to be a professional photographer by any means even though I sell my photos sometimes. That being said what I do do, and what you can do it is work on improving and taking better pictures all the time, which I enjoy.

Now every time I go out and shoot, I ask myself, how can I make this even better?

First time seeing elephants in the wild at Kaudulla National Park in Sri Lanka #tbcasia @cinnamonhotels

A photo posted by Liz Carlson (@youngadventuress) on


Does that mean you have to use a “proper” camera for Instagram? Nope, definitely not.

There are some very successful iPhone-only accounts out there that fits with their profile’s style and theme. That’s what matters. You have to figure out what works best for you. But if you want to boost your follower count, you need to post your best shots, I mean your BEST shots. That also means editing and fixing your pictures before posting.

Seriously, quality over quantity really matters on Instagram.

Straighten your horizon. Play with the brightness. Don’t put those annoying white borders up. And for the love of god, don’t use Instagram’s filters. Or watermarks.

My go-to apps are Snapseed, Pro HDR and Mextures. They rock. Melissa also uses Snapseed and VSCOcam.

Sing it with me – “The hills are alive with the sound of muuuuuuusic!” @christchurchnz   A photo posted by Liz Carlson (@youngadventuress) on

2. Do – focus on engagement not follower numbers

Though I was bummed to see my follower number drop a bit during the Instagram purge, especially because I was hoping to reach 40K by the new year, the reality is that I actually don’t really care that much.

I’ve spent the past year working on improving the number of likes and comments I get on my photos and bringing the average level of engagement up and up. Seriously, I was stuck on 800 likes a photo for over 6 months. It was frustrating as hell. This is actually the hardest thing you can do on Instagram. It’s really difficult to keep your engagement level the same over a long period of time, let alone increase it.

You see this a lot with people who become featured Instagram users. They’ll gain like 10,000 followers in a week, they’re engagement will shoot through the roof, and then it will drop again back to where it was a month later. I think this is where many of the bots come in, and while I wasn’t a featured user, Instagram did share one of my photos on their profile and blog two years ago bringing me a 5 thousand new followers in 24 hours.

This means you have to get people talking, get them to care. Ask a question, post a funny joke as the caption.

Post an image that makes people think or question something.

how to gain followers on instagram

3. Don’t – be spammy 

Be real. Be authentic. Be you. And do not ask people to follow you back, for the love of god.

You have to be genuine on Instagram to be successful. Go look and interact with people who have similar interests as you and if they are interested in you, they will follow you back organically. This also means you can’t have too much “activity” in too short a period of time or Instagram will think you’re a bot (a fake profile that is automatically liking people’s stuff) and you risk getting banned. Instagram seriously cracks down on this type of behavior.

Nobody likes spammers, and remember, people want to be amused, not solicited.

how to gain followers on instagram

4. Do – be consistent 

Melissa agreed with me on this one too, it’s really important to be consistent on Instagram.

Don’t go long periods of time without posting anything and then post 10 photos in a row. Actually, now that I mention it, never posts photos in a row, space them out at least 3 hours in between if you can. I try to post 3 photos a day, and I rarely go a day with out posting if I can help it.

I’ve used scheduling services before when I was offline in Mongolia but in general, I don’t think they are worth the money or the risk. This also means posting at optimal times. Don’t share your best shot when your followers are all asleep.

You can use Iconosquare to see your optimal posting times.

If you are trying to take your Instagram to the next level in terms of work and building a brand, then it’s also really important to have consistency in the types and style of your images.

Your style can and will likely change and evolve over the years, but it’s important to not be too random or erratic, otherwise you will have a very divided following.

Your feed itself should look consistent and beautiful, with colors and style. When people click on your profile when deciding whether or not to follow you back, they will look at your feed as a whole first before clicking on individual images, they need to look good. You have about 2 seconds to convert them into followers – make it count!

And of course that means not selling out and posting really random ads in your feed that don’t fit your brand because you were paid to.

how to gain followers on instagram

5. Don’t – play games

People love to “game” social media and it really, really bothers me. Why put all that time and energy in tricking the numbers when you could be creating really good content that will stand on its own and do well? Priorities people!

Don’t do the follow/unfollow game – it’s so obvious when people do it because they follow thousands and thousands of people then periodically go through and unfollow whoever doesn’t follow them back. What a waste of time!

Though I follow way too many people at the moment, most of them are cat profiles. Cat profiles are the best.

how to gain followers on instagram

The same people will go through and like 50 of my photos and not follow me. Um, thanks? That’s not how it works guys.

Another popular way people trick the system on Instagram is by buying a bot that will auto-like heaps of photos for you on specific hashtags. That is one really good way to get your account banned, and again it’s very obvious when a high profile person who doesn’t follow me starts to like everything that I use a certain hashtag on. Doing that will get you followers but they are people who are not going to stick around and engage with you in the long run or they are fake profiles.

Of course the biggest game of them all is buying followers but look how that turned out. Just be real guys and put that time and money into building a really awesome profile.

how to gain followers on instagram

6. Do – be an authority

I’ve talked about this with blogging before too. I firmly believe that to be really successful at Instagram or travel blogging, you need to be an authority on something. And travel is way way way too vague. Everyone and their mother is an authority on travel. Be more specific. Have a niche.

One of my niches is New Zealand travel. I’ve been here over a year and I post a hell of a lot of New Zealand photos. While I don’t have a NZ specific account, I’ve spent a year building my profile to be an authority on New Zealand, and I’ve made sure that if people are interested in coming here, they find me. That’s the best way to build a community.

The best Instagram profiles have some kind of niche, theme or style, be sure to find yours whatever it is. 

7. Don’t – abuse hashtags

In my opinion your goal should be to have real followers, create a real loyal community of people who are interested in what you’re posting. I always think about if I were to not use any hashtags at all, I would still get the same amount of likes on my pictures. And it does happen, I’ve left off hashtags on purpose before to see. I’ve tried a lot of things over the years and I’ve found that specific, very relevant hashtags work the best. I tend to use the place where I am, the country, and really relevant hashtags around it or ones from bigger profiles that feature other users.

Do not waste your time with using the most popular hashtags out there because it’s usually not real people who are engaging on it. I know some “top bloggers” who use the copy, paste, delete, copy, paste method of going through mass hashtags, 30 at a time to build the number of likes on each photo, but that’s just another way to trick the system and can get you in trouble.

For example #IGTravelThursday was created by my friend Katja at Skimbaco and that is a great, specific one you can use for travel. It’s way more effective than using #travel. Same goes for Iceland. My friend Inga at Tiny Iceland created #TripInIceland that has been really successful.

how to gain followers on instagram

8. Do – try and get featured by bigger profiles

This one is tricky and difficult to manage, but it works. If you can get yourself featured by bigger profiles, it will get you a lot of followers quickly. That being said, you need to get featured by RELEVANT big profiles so it matches.

Maybe it’s a country’s page that reshares the best photos, or it’s a clothing brand you like or an airline. Maybe it’s one of those big travel ones that just share amazing travel photos by other people. Whatever, try and get featured by them by participating on their hashtags and interacting with them. Tag them in your photo as a picture of themselves as well, don’t tag them in a comment as they likely won’t see that. They will see pictures they are tagged in.

That’s a great way to get a brand’s attention, again, as long as it’s very relevant to what you’re posting.

9. Don’t – be afraid to be creative

Instagram rewards creativity. If you come up with a creative idea or project, most likely it will be successful. Remember that Follow Me To guy? Murad Osman? He’s huge now. His idea of being led around the world by his (super hot russian model) girlfriend was brilliant. And he went viral.

That happens a lot on Instagram, often on a much smaller but still successful scale. These are the types of profiles that Instagram loves to feature on their main page.

I remember years ago when I started following @Tianapix who takes the most beautiful iPhone shots around Florence. She then started a second account called Not My Nonni -featuring adorable street shots of grandparents around Italy which went on to be featured by Instagram.

This also works because oftentimes the best accounts are ones where the pictures tell a story.

A photo posted by Murad Osmann (@muradosmann) on

It’s really important to know your voice and know your brand when your trying to build a following on Instagram.

Like Melissa says, this is YOUR platform after all. It’s YOUR voice. But, DO NOT copy others.

Inspiration is totally acceptable, we all use it in our own ways but try not to copy what other people are doing. It pays to think outside the box and be creative, and that can lead to a serious bump in followers.

In the meantime it’s really important to stay true to your voice and your brand and not take on jobs that do not match up with your core ideas. Same goes for blogging.

10. Do – keep at and don’t give up

Finally keep at it and don’t give up. Don’t expect a change overnight. It takes a lot of time to build a following on Instagram, so be patient.

Your profile will grow if you keep at it and don’t give up and stop posting for a week. In the grand scheme of things, I am pretty lazy and I really don’t put that much time into all of this. Once you figure out a system, it’s very very easy.

Like all things that are worth it, you have to work for it. Success and Instagram fame isn’t going to just fall into your lap.

Do you have any Instagram tips to share? What are your thoughts? Would you like to gain more followers on social media? Oh yeah, and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Melissa too! Leave your profile in the comments and I’ll follow you back!

**If you’re interested in learning more about Instagram tactics and to hear more details and ideas about how to build a following, be sure to join Travel Blog Success and listen to my Instagram webinar; it’s the only travel community online that I participate in, and it’s a positive happy space where you can learn how to turn your blog and social media into a business and get paid to travel like me.

how to gain followers on instagram

270 Responses to The Do’s and Don’ts of Instagram

  1. Katherines Corner June 10, 2015 at 2:11 am #

    I just created my instagram account ( I only have to photos so far) . I appreciate this post and congratulations on having so many followers who want to follow and enjoy what you share. I am your newest follower.My phone doesn’t take very good photos. Just wondering if there is a way to upload photos on my pc to instagram. Hugs!

    • SteveMartin60 June 11, 2015 at 9:09 pm #

      Something I’ve found works really well for getting photos from my PC to my phone is using an on-line storage service such as Dropbox or Google Photos. If you put your photos in there you can then access them from the mobile app that pretty much all these services provide.

      Most of them have decent sized free offerings and some such as Google Photos, have unlimited free storage, although they limit the resolution of the photos for the free service.

  2. June 11, 2015 at 6:38 am #

    You have a good point here!I totally agree with what you have said!!Thanks for sharing your views…hope more people will read this article!!

  3. K P June 18, 2015 at 1:48 am #

    Great tips and good to see genuine IGrammers here! But there are so many narcissists on IG that I am shocked. I just 1 girl follow me, I followed her back as common courtesy, 2 mins later she unfollowed me! Quiet a few pathetic people there too,

  4. Amanda P June 18, 2015 at 10:15 pm #

    I’m pretty late to the Instagram game. I didn’t really get into it when I first signed up. Since my first account was dedicated to my dogs, I set up one for travel/adventure stuff ( and one for fitness. I haven’t had time to be on it much until after I graduated, but I’ve been enjoying it since. The hard part for me is timing the posts. My ideal time for interaction in general seems to be around 6pm EST with a few hours to spare. But since that’s midnight my time it’s not always workable.

    That whole follow for follow and bot account thing irritates me too. I try to stick around for awhile after posting and check out the profiles of people who interact. If I like something of there’s I’ll interact with them as well, but it’s really annoying to click a few in a row to see that they’re spam accounts. It’s nice to know that IG tries to weed them out.

  5. Nadia June 26, 2015 at 12:20 am #

    Thanks so much for this detailed post, I found it really helpful and refreshing. I’m new enough to the travel blogging game and appreciate this kind of advice.
    I often get lazy with getting the best picture on trips but you’ve inspired me to go that extra step and capture some amazing stuff.
    Thanks again.

  6. Belle July 3, 2015 at 5:30 am #

    Hi Liz. Thanks for your IG tips. They are much appreciated. I run a very different type of instagram account. I collect IG pics that others have posted and repost them as a way of showcasing and appreciating their work whilst building a page which reflects my own personality and tastes. I go to great lengths to only post quality pics and I make sure to credit everyone involved to the best of my ability. I have never had anyone complain about a repost but I think that’s because they are happy to be showcased on a quality page. In fact people are now playing some of those annoying IG games with me in an attempt to be featured (although I tend to just laugh this off because I only post what I like anyway). As my interests are varied (I post regularly on about 7 different subjects), I am not able to post just one or two pics a day because I need to cater consistently to several different audiences. Therefore, I have to post around around 20 pics at a time three times a week. As my main audiences are here in Australia and the US (I use Iconosquare), I also try to split my posts over two time periods in order to reach both. My likes and followers are slowly growing (I’ve got about 1200 followers in 4 months) and I do interact with people whenever they comment about my page (always being mindful not to take credit for other people’s work). But I do have a couple of questions if you don’t mind giving me a little advice…1) Do you think the larger number of posts…even if they are varied and high quality… will be annoying some people and preventing me from increasing my like and follower numbers? and…2) Do you have any suggestions for helping me grow my account to the next level as things recently seem to be stagnating? Feel free to take a look at my page @miz_moneypenny and offer any suggestions. Constructive criticism most welcome! Thanks heaps.

  7. Anna July 7, 2015 at 12:32 am #

    Erm what’s annoying about the white borders? I actually like the look of them as well as keeping my picture in its original size? It’s just taste that’s all. I mean I could tell you to not put that annoying face of yours in pictures but you still do. Shame.

    • Lola June 22, 2016 at 1:58 pm #

      Wow. This comment was pretty unnecessary and just plain mean. Not cool man.

    • s October 4, 2016 at 9:09 pm #

      I dislike very much those annoying white borders.

  8. Jules July 14, 2015 at 2:09 am #

    I am VERY new to the Instagram blogging, but this was the best article I’ve read yet. I used to be so focused on gaining as many followers as I could, but now I think I just want to focus on making the account the best I can make it with quality pictures. At least that way the followers I do have right now will appreciate it more! Mine is focused on the Chicago drink scene.. including alcoholic and non-alcoholic: Chicago Liquid Adventures. Its been so much fun so far (only been a week), but I really want to branch out to more people without seeming too spam-my. Not because I want a million followers, would be nice though!, but because I want Chicagoan’s to have this page as a source for some really great places to check out. How long did it take you to get a good following? I also think its time to invest in a better phone so that my picture quality can improve, its very amateur right now :/

    Thanks for all of the advice 🙂

  9. Eden July 17, 2015 at 3:41 am #

    I just wanted to say thank you for this site. I recently came up with an idea and partnered with a local company that will start donating once (if) my idea takes off.

    Its called project #MorningCupOfSelfie. Every day, for better or worse, I will take a picture of myself during my first cup of coffee along with my accompanying thoughts on the day and my outlook on it. Eventually, I hope people start tagging their own morning coffee selfies with this tag and I can feature other users.

    The money donated will go to charities that help animals in need, endangered species, sheltered animals, etc. In an ideal world, maybe apparel can even be created!

    MY account is @stylewithcoffee. Thank you so much for your ideas and inspiration account 🙂

    • Michael, The Honeymoon Guy September 10, 2015 at 5:02 pm #

      Great tips, Liz! I’ll be putting them to use. Just started using IG recently. It’s fun, but as others have mentioned it can be tough to get momentum going in acquiring followers. If you get a moment, please check out my feed and give me a follow. Thanks!


  10. Linda July 23, 2015 at 11:34 pm #

    Great tips, than you for sharing!

  11. Amy July 29, 2015 at 6:48 am #

    Hi Liz,

    Whenever I email my photos to myself they end up blurry or distorted when I post to Instagram. Does this happen to you, and if it does is there an app to use to help picture quality?

    • Liz July 29, 2015 at 8:43 am #

      You gotta send high res versions of the photos, your phone must be shrinking them, maybe try dropbox instead

      • Nadira August 16, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

        Hi Liz, thanks for this post – can you let us know the best way to post a landscape/ portrait picture without the white margin/border?

        Thanks 🙂

        • Melissa September 14, 2015 at 6:47 am #

          I would live to know that too!

    • dkfloza December 30, 2016 at 11:43 pm #

      I use email too for my photo transferring and have noticed the same . I’ve been there for long time but hardly ever been active . Recently started to play the game and love it . Feel free to visit my page and give me feedbacks 😉

  12. madi August 5, 2015 at 9:22 am #

    I have been finding this platform the hardest. It’s my favourite by far and I love sharing beautiful pictures but I find that my followers are still so few, and I go through stages of a steady incline, and then stagnant. These tips were helpful hopefully it works!

  13. Jo B August 13, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

    Just found your page and what a timely find! I was featured on the Instagram blog this week and now I’m getting inundated with people asking me how to get ahead on Instagram. I am going to send them all to read this, it’s very well written. Thank you! @Greenislandstudios

    • Liz August 13, 2015 at 5:17 pm #


  14. Antonio August 18, 2015 at 3:14 am #

    Hello Liz, just found your page today and I want to say thank you for your suggestions. I’m on Instagram (@olioextravergin) and all major social networks. I’m an avid home cook who shares his passion for italian and international kitchen as well written in two, sometimes three languages. I am intended to open my own private cook and catering service activity in Switzerland. I do see and follow many +k kitchen related IG accounts out there and yeah, some of them do use hashtags some don’t, some of them post high quality pictures, some don’t, so it’s really hard to find out which practice is best but I do agree with you about being consistent.

    many greetings ~ Antonio

  15. Charlie Citneck August 23, 2015 at 5:24 am #

    Beautiful photos! I love the sample photos Liz!

  16. Michelle August 23, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    Thank you for such a well written and honest article. Im new to instagram but am falling in love. The theme that has evolved for me is taking photos of my new food creations and posting with the recipe. Its hard to know the dos and donts but im counting on the fact that my following will grow because I’m posting helpful information and not because I’m scamming people. Thanks again. Xx @21rawmichelle

  17. Audrey August 31, 2015 at 10:02 am #

    Hey, Liz! Thanks for a great post! So glad I found it. I’m a newby so I searched “50 things to know about Instagram” and your post was in the top 10 results! And love all your gorgeous pics:) @millionairewrapper

  18. Tasmin September 1, 2015 at 5:48 pm #

    Thanks for your tips they were really helpful. I will try and fix my instagram page. However, i have very low self confidence which drives me to think that my photos arent’t presentable and that’s why i don’t post my photos at all and when i do, i hardly get likes. Now i know the issue is most likely consistancy.

  19. Sam Piterson September 2, 2015 at 7:18 am #

    Really awesome tips man ,i love it.
    Thanks for the information

  20. Candice September 7, 2015 at 1:27 am #

    Hi! Thank you for sharing! I am trying to find any information possible about why I have been unable to follow other users. It has been 4 days. I have not received a notice that I was banned or anything like that. I can unfollow. I have not reached the max number of followers either. In fact I’m under 1000 on the number of people I follow. Any thoughts on this? I have submitted a bug report to IG but no luck yet either.

  21. Katie Lares September 13, 2015 at 11:56 am #

    Thanks for sharing your Instagram tips! I am building a fashion brand and it is a lot of work! You have inspired me to look at new ways to engage people. Cheers!

  22. Lauern September 16, 2015 at 11:11 pm #

    My mum won’t let me have Instagram so I find anything to let me have it

  23. coral September 24, 2015 at 7:37 pm #

    Hey, I stumbled across this looking to grow Instagram and it’s one of the best blogs I’ve read so far on the subject of gaining followers and building your brand -so thanks for that. Been on Instagram a while and it is slow going, was looking for #inspo 🙂
    I really enjoyed your honesty and use of examples throughout.
    Have followed you as one of my main hobbies is travel so looking forward to seeing more.
    Thanks again

  24. Emer October 26, 2015 at 10:03 am #

    Great article Liz, as a relative newcomer to I stag ram and social media I found it full of practical advice, well written and visually stimulating. Thanks, and lucky you living in NZ! I was fortunate enough to spend 6 months travelling there some years ago – second best place in the world to Ireland 😜

    Emer @bradyemer

  25. Shanna October 28, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

    @shannnab is my ig profile.
    Great article.

  26. NJ-Cook4You October 28, 2015 at 7:42 pm #

    Thank you for all your great feedback, commentary and suggestions.


  27. Emily November 2, 2015 at 11:40 pm #

    I’m working on focusing more on instagram right now – I’m so glad I found this! It has been extremely helpful, so thank you! Social media is a tough nut to crack, but like you said, patience and perseverance are key!

  28. Maria November 3, 2015 at 2:58 am #

    Thank you for this awesome post! @mariajanssonphotography

  29. nearandfaraz November 3, 2015 at 1:00 pm #

    Hi. I also love Instragram. It seems the purest of all of the social media. But it’s been slow-going for me on new followers. I just started my blog recently, and I’m still kind of dabbling. I’m guilty of a few of your “don’ts” (using Instagram filters and borders). Need to stop that! Anyway, I love your blog, and your photos are spectacular! By the way, Mongolia has been longtime dream of mine – ever since I saw Ewan McGregor ride his motorcycle through for Bravo’s “Long Way Round” And that was 10 years ago! Keep up the good work, and congrats on the 100,000 followers. @nearandfaraz

    • Liz November 3, 2015 at 7:19 pm #

      Long way round is the BEST

  30. Franco November 8, 2015 at 7:16 pm #

    Great tips Liz! My instagram account shows my trips around the Philippines and some parts of the world. I agree to never use IG filters although I must say some filters are also cool like Helena. Maybe it just depends on the photo.
    My instagram account: @thefrancochronicles

  31. Ana November 13, 2015 at 6:00 pm #

    Finally, something that explained this IG wonder to me. I am trying pretty hard on @HAPPYFEETANA but obviously been doing many things wrong. Thank you!

  32. Shawanda Wheetley November 24, 2015 at 11:00 pm #

    Very good information. Lucky me I ran across your website by accident (stumbleupon). I have saved as a favorite for later!

  33. sana haser December 21, 2015 at 2:33 am #

    Liz, Let me tell you that the post is awesome and moreover i love the pictures you posted. It shows creativity and positivity towards life.

  34. Shylyn December 29, 2015 at 12:03 am #

    i just want to ask. Should I follow people first on ig? Or just wait for them to follow me?

  35. Takara January 5, 2016 at 11:22 am #

    Thanks for a great post about what to do and what not to do. I’m still really new at using the platform. I have a couple of questions that I just can’t seem to find answers to in posts about ig.

    1) Do we follow back those who follow us – just as a general rule?

    2) Do we follow all the accounts ig finds where we have friends from facebook or email on ig?

    3) Or is it better to move forward and follow accounts that are using our target hashtags?


    • bobo December 30, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

      You have great questions. Sad that its been a year and the author hasn’t answered. Engagement here is every bit as important as engagement on Instagram. Hopefully you will get an answer soon 🙂

  36. Michelle January 24, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

    I got obsessed with Instagram not long ago, a couple of months, and more recently I’ve been toying with using Instagram to brand my blog, adventure travel and scuba. So I put a lot of those photos on Instagram, but also photos of my dog, almost all of them outdoors which I think relates it to outdoor/adventure.. But I also add photos of just me or me and my husband from time to time. Is this a bad idea or does it help to sort of share “about me”?

  37. _h2w_ January 25, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

    Since I started instegram 4 months ago.. There are lots of bigger accounts follow me and as soon as I follow back, they get noticed and unfollow me right away.. I actually follow lots of people who don’t follow me because I like their accounts and also follow a lot of friends and family and don’t mind people who ask me to follow back if they are nice and friendly with kinda pleasant accounts… But for those unfollow whoever following them right away, no matter how brilliant their accounts are (which rarely are) I 100%will unfollow them right after this horrible behaviour.. I am seriously curious if it really works the way these people do.Why would people stay following them after?!? But it seems they grow very fast by doing this ‘trick people into following ‘

    • Okky February 3, 2016 at 12:46 am #

      I feel you. Somehow I don’t really care but it hanging me a question

  38. melissa walton February 5, 2016 at 6:22 am #

    Hi there I came across this blog post and I found it really inspiring. I have a new travel blog and it is my dream to do it full time. Please follow my instagram @missmelissawalton I hope you like my pictures.
    [eace and love x

  39. Rene February 9, 2016 at 10:27 am #

    Hey Liz,
    thanks for your tipps – love ’em

    I stumbled across your blog post while searching for reasons to pay for a feature on instagram. Would you recommend that? It feels it is more a business model for the featuring site and they will profit more from it than me (@reneschererphotography). I’m not even sure if that is within the rules of IG or violating them… bit unsure atm. What’s your opinion on that?

  40. Ueli @ Runaway Duo February 19, 2016 at 11:28 am #

    Very helpful tips of a Pro! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I will go out now on an Instagram mission… the most important thing of a successful IG account I believe! Have fun!

  41. Abhista March 19, 2016 at 6:56 pm #

    Liz Carison, you are just awesome!! I’ve been reading articles regarding the guidelines for developing a brand via Social media, Precisely Instagram and when I gone through your article i just wanted to stop by and say thanks. keep Writing. bookmarking your page, ill be folloeing your posts 🙂

  42. Janel Hasenbeck March 20, 2016 at 7:42 pm #

    Interesting information! where did you get it? i am curious to read more!

  43. Chelsea Rusche March 27, 2016 at 7:46 am #

    This is fantastic advice and delivered in such an approachable and knowledgable way. Thank you and loving following your content now 🙂

    If you have any tips on managing multiple accounts that’s an area that I’m hunting down excellent advice with now and any would be much appreciated!

    I have one adventure/experiential living profile (personal) and another for natural beauty and fitness/sports modeling (more professional and just starting to get off the ground). I know you are super busy but any insight I will happily welcome!

    Best adventures,

    – Chelsea

  44. KYLIE April 7, 2016 at 2:07 am #

    Great tips for someone like me who is new to instagram. Thank you 😊

  45. Shannon April 15, 2016 at 1:33 pm #

    I’ve been putting off getting on the IG train because I can’t bear do anything halfway, and I needed to wait until I could dive in with purpose. I’m a former television documentary producer turned world-schooling mama, and I always knew I wanted to blog and build a brand once my daughter was old enough to self-direct her learning. I’m still pondering how to shape that brand, but you have seriously flattened my steep learning curve with this piece. Thank you! I’ll be referencing it and searching for more of your content. I’ll take you up on your offer and leave my IG profile @originalsouthernlife. I hate feeling like a newb at anything, and after reading this, I don’t. Blessings!

  46. Kelsey April 22, 2016 at 6:30 am #

    I just added you on Instagram and legitimately gained like four Instagram followers that were all travel bloggers. On an Instagram account that I haven’t updated since December. It’s like they don’t know that I’m on to them.

  47. Artur Kosonen May 11, 2016 at 11:45 pm #


    Just made an IG account, this was very helpful guide as I try to make a decent profile, ofcourse nothing famous but just for casual use as I need to learn more about different social media platforms, thanks a lot!

  48. Claudine May 21, 2016 at 5:29 am #

    Love this guide and your photos too, thank you so much!

  49. EQUILLA June 12, 2016 at 11:59 pm #

    This is some really great information! I just learned a lot… But I have a question,. Does it look bad when I follow alot of people and less followers? Or is OK for me to follow the limit it allows daily? Check and follow me on Instagram @ glamphrodisiac thank you!

  50. The Henker Group June 17, 2016 at 7:48 am #

    Thank you so much for your advice! Our instagram handle is @thehenkergroup

  51. Michelle June 17, 2016 at 7:50 am #

    Hi! I found your blog while searching for good practices for Instagram for my client and after reading it, I immediately sent it to my boss to read (she is only starting to understand how Instagram works but already knew how important it was for businesses). She LOVED it and said she learned A LOT about Instagram Do’s and Don’ts from your tips. We just followed you and would love it if you followed us back! @thehenkergroup

  52. Ben July 1, 2016 at 7:49 am #

    Hi. Do you recommend culling a gallery? Mine is up over 1500 now, and I’m thinking most people won’t scroll that much. I was thinking maybe I should cull it to 500, leaving my favorites and those with the most likes?

    • bobo December 30, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

      i say yes. do it man don’t worry bruh everyone does it and it’s good just remember always keep your first pic

  53. Simply Chic by Nikki July 23, 2016 at 4:32 am #

    Just stared following you on IG from this article! Very nicely written. I love your personality. I’m getting ready to seek out fashion bloggers and am searching for the best approach!

  54. Barbara July 28, 2016 at 11:09 pm #

    I’m a newbie to Instagram (Facebook was my thing), however Insta is really growing on me – yours is the first Insta article I’ve actually read to the end – fascinating stuff, thank you, following you, and I am @letsgomum


  55. angela August 5, 2016 at 9:44 pm #

    Hola Liz!! me ha encantado tu post!! Soy Angela y vivo en Pamplona 😉
    Algo nueva en instagram estoy alucinada con este juego de “te sigo, upps ya no te sigo” … cuanto tiempo debe de tener la gente… tus fotos quitan las respiración, te sigo 😉
    soy @angyfitmom me encantaría que me dieras tu opinión o consejos!

    Agur 😉

  56. Rachel August 6, 2016 at 4:22 pm #

    A problem I have is my current phone is terrible. And no I don’t mean “I have a 6 month old iPhone!” I mean I have a metropcs smartphone that’s over a year outdated on that! The front camera stopped working as well and I have no storage for filter apps. I make due with what I have for now while I am getting a replacement but it’s difficult.

  57. Ajeet Mistry August 9, 2016 at 6:08 pm #

    Hey Liz,

    Nice article, very well written and you have presented very authentic information. More than just Instagram your opinion on in general social networking and peoples behavioural traits are well presented. I am already following you and my account is @instamystry.

    Your profile has wonderful photos and your followers list 160K !!!! as on 9/8/2016 is very well deserved…

  58. Kasia & Victor Sanchez August 25, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

    Liz, thanks to your post we’ve opened Instagram account and are having great time 😀 We’re taking it slowly, treating it more like fun, but have to say that it’s quite addictive. All the best and thanks for inspiration! kasia_victor

  59. Katy Juda September 5, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It’s always interesting to read content from other writers and use a little something from their sites.

  60. A September 7, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

    Thank you for this. I’m quite new to insta and still finding my feet here. One option you didn’t consider, but I have seen some of my ‘friends’ doing , which instantly shot up their likes ratio is showing lots of bikini and cleavage pics of a 20something female. I wonder where you stand on this one. Any comments welcome xx

    Ps. I’m about to post some underwater shots so following you on insta hoping to pick up some tips. Any advice welcome -bearing in mind I’m not the most photographically skilled person hehe

  61. Alanna September 18, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

    Hey! I’ve been at my account for 8 months now and have gotten to 11k followers. I get about 100 followers a day now and I find that posting high resolution pictures really works!! My account is a fan account, so I find that posting the newest pictures, the fastest on the celebrity i dedicate my account to helps my follower count a lot. I usually leave 3 to 4 hours in between my posting times or I just wait till my post reaches 200 likes, then post. Either way it works!! And it makes me happy and most importantly, I enjoy Instagram. @Neysdab

  62. buyphen24 September 23, 2016 at 11:18 pm #

    i personally recommend this product.

  63. Carley October 18, 2016 at 7:11 pm #

    Love your photos, Instagram and Blog!! :)) My Instagram is: @carleystieler

  64. Carolyn December 8, 2016 at 10:23 pm #

    Thank you so much for such an informative and inspirational blog.
    I have been subconsciously following some of you tips and will follow others now.: )
    Your Ig gallery is spectacular. I sated mine in earnest 4months ago and am loving it.

  65. Alison December 14, 2016 at 3:56 am #

    This was a useful article, although I don’t agree with all of it. But I’m a late adapter and my advicesisters Instagram is relatively new compared to my advicesisters which has been online since 1994. I focus on writing, not amusing people with photos which at one time I had hoped to get paid for. I didn’t like the idea of people “using” my photos elsewhere because they could.

    Since my website focus is beauty, lifestyle, love, and travel (and a lot of other things) and my personal interests are so varied, and I like to travel, my Instagram doesn’t have one focus. I don’t white out my backgrounds, or have a theme. I don’t see why that would be necessary if my feed is representing my “authenticity” (ugh! that word everyone uses).

    So if it’s true that I’m supposed to be real, authentic and yes, amusing too, why would I need to be just one thing? Did I miss something here?

    • bobo December 30, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

      true bruh you got this follow your heart haha

  66. Monica December 17, 2016 at 3:17 am #

    Great post but does it suppose to help in getting more followers? If it does then I think that apps are more relevant in that. I use zen-promo to find real followers who share the same interests with me

  67. Bob December 20, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

    Thank you, it was really great article

  68. Lyndsey December 21, 2016 at 11:32 pm #

    Hey thanks for the tips, how much time do you spend taking photos, editing them & engaging on Instagram I’m trying to get into a routine and would be eager to know <3

  69. Jay Russell January 5, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

    Thanks for all the Info,it’s all very relevant and although my profile is only 5k strong I have a 6percent engagement (iconsquare) I can see what you say works. Some tips in there I will definately be using. Thanks again. @Jpr.Esq

  70. angela January 6, 2017 at 10:52 am #

    such a great article, mahalo!


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