10 THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER DO ON INSTAGRAM IN 2019 (And What You SHOULD Do Instead)
Wether you’re an influencer or not, there are things you just shouldn’t be doing on Instagram (or social media in general) - just like there are things you shouldn’t do IRL if you’ve been raised by decent people. I feel like since social media is so recent in the history of humanity, there are still some rules of etiquette that aren’t as obvious as not putting your feet on the table or taking your hat off to eat at a restaurant.
So I thought it would be kind of fun to make a list of the thing you should never do on Instagram and how to correct them if you’re guilty of one (or many) of these. Obviously this is my personal opinion and anyone can disagree, so if you do or you think I forgot something, please let me know in the comment section below, or come share on Instagram, ha!
Obviously I’m not a social media expert (and I don’t even have a massive following) but I feel like aside from “having good content” and “engaging”, which are the 2 tips everyone seems to be throwing left and right for growth, there are also a few things that will make people unfollow you even if you have good content:
1. Ignoring your followers
There’s nothing that baffles me more than going to someone’s picture and seeing that they have a thousand comments but didn’t reply to any of them. I feel like fast growth on Instagram has given some people the impression that they’re super celebrities, but the truth is, no one probably recognizes you outside of the platform, so chill the f*ck out with your big head. Having 10k, 100k or 1M followers doesn’t make you better than anyone else, and the only reason you’re making money from Instagram is BECAUSE of your followers.
So when someone tells you they love your pictures or tells you you’re beautiful, say thank you. When someone asks you how much the lipstick you’re wearing costs, or if you would recommend the restaurant you posted about last night for their wedding anniversary, answer them.
Now I understand that if you have 250,000 comments on every picture, it’s impossible to answer all of them, but you should still make an effort to answer a good amount, especially the ones with questions. And if you don’t have time to answer all comments but you notice everyone is asking you about your skirt, mention it in your stories with a swipe-up link. And for f*cks sake, if you have 50 comments and don’t even have time to respond, get off of Instagram, you’re obviously too busy for it.
2. NOT TAGGING THE BRANDS YOU FEATURE IN YOUR PICTURES
I wanted to follow up the first point with this, because tagging the clothing brands you’re wearing on your outfit pictures, or the makeup brands you’re wearing on your face (or any product that you’re featuring on any type of pictures, really) is not only a way to drastically reduce the number of questions you’ll have to answer, but it also makes your follower’s lives a little easier.
Not only that, it’s also a smart move because it helps the brands to notice you and either repost your content or want to work with you, so it’s a win-win.
I understand some people prefer not tagging what they’re wearing and redirecting people to LTK (LikeToKnowIt) because it can be a good way to monetize your Instagram, but personally, I find that SO annoying, and never go to LTK because I just don’t need another useless app on my phone. Instead, I prefer linking the brands I wear and redirecting people to my blog (link in bio) if they want the exact link or if they want to see similar options. That way, they don’t have to download an extra app, all the information is right there, and I get more traffic on my blog… And then, if people want to click on my link, they can. And they do.
That being said, I totally understand different people wanting to do things different ways. So that point really isn’t about LTK specifically… But I swear, I’ve seen some fashion influencers say they don’t want to tag their clothes, and one girl I won’t name even put out an Instagram story, saying that if she doesn’t tag her clothes on her posts, it might be just because it’s something she “doesn’t feel like sharing”……………
Like, WHAT? Sweetie, it’s cool if you want to keep your clothes secret because you want to be the only one wearing them… But maybe in that case accountant would have been a better career choice than fashion blogger? Just saying.
3. Not tagging the people you collab with
Before I elaborate on that point, let me get one thing out of the way: If you paid a photographer for pictures it’s a different story - it’s not a collab. But if you shoot with another blogger, if you do TFP (time for print) with a photographer or if you take a photo with other people from the industry at an event, you should ALWAYS tag them.
I can’t even count how many bloggers preach “collaboration over competition” and yet are SO secretive about who they work with and never give anyone else a shoutout. If you’re so afraid that tagging the girl who took your picture is going to take the focus away from you, then maybe start paying for a photographer, because not tagging who shot your pictures us just plain rude.
In my opinion, same goes for brand that send you free product. This might be a little controversial, because I know a lot of bloggers refuse to promote any brand that isn’t paying them to do so… But to me, if someone sends you free product without asking you for anything in return and you end up using the product and posting about it, tagging the brand that gifted it to you is the least you can do to thank them.
4. Not crediting your “Inspiration”
I put “inspiration” in quotes here, because sometimes, the line between being inspired and being a thief is very fine. And listen, I understand it’s hard in 2019 to do something that’s never been done before. I’m pretty sure every location, style of clothing and pose has been done on Instagram at least once, and at this point it’s just a matter of mixing them up differently to put your own spin on it. I get that.
The best example is the set of pictures I chose for this post. I’m not the firs blogger to shoot at a tennis court. In fact, it’s my third time in 2 years shooting at a tennis court. And someone else has probably done something similar to the main picture for this post, because there’s only so much you can do with a flat green floor and a net, especially without any props.
I personally don’t like looking at Instagram or Pinterest right before a shoot for inspiration, because I feel like it limits my creativity and puts me in a box… But I know a lot of people do, and that’s perfectly fine. But if you’re going to take someone’s picture and recreate the exact same thing, at least give them credit for inspiration or tag them on your picture. If someone has a manicure you like and you’re recreating the same thing, give them the curtesy of saying they inspired you to recreate it. Not only will this make you look like a decent person, but there’s also a chance that they might repost it. Personally, I always tell people to tag me if they recreate a look or wear a beauty product I review, so I can repost it on my stories. I feel like that’s just fun collaboration and it allows more people to see different ways of doing something.
In a nutshell, seeing something you like, putting your own spin on it and crediting your inspiration is what will take you from thief to respected creator. Because if you’ve seen your inspo shot, then trust me, other people have too.
5. Over-editing your pictures
I know a lot of people will disagree with this, because many huge influencers are very open about editing the hell out of their pictures, which makes it kind of accepted and implicit. But in my opinion, if you’re editing your pictures so much that you’re barely recognizable, you’re not allowed to complain that social media is toxic, because you’re contributing to it.
I feel like every time I talk about this with another blogger, they always tell me a similar story of meeting someone they follow on Instagram IRL and not knowing where they knew them from… Before realizing a few days later while scrolling through their feed that they actually saw someone they always see on their feed, just a different version on them with less hair, a smaller butt, boobs and nose, less wrinkles and pimples… The list goes on.
Personally, I get a lot of DMs on how I edit my pictures, and the answer is simple: I use one of the presets I made myself on Lightroom, and that’s it. That corrects lighting, colour and makes sure my feed looks cohesive, but that’s about it. If I have an exceptional pimple or the label of my dress is showing, then sure, I’ll edit it out. But I don’t use Facetune or Photoshop, and have no intention to.
If someone ever sees me IRL and feels like I’m The Hungarian Brunette’s ugly twin sister, then I’ll know I’m doing something wrong. In the meantime, I’m all about what you see is what you get… And I love hearing “Oh, you look even better in person!”.
6. Showing off without providing any value
You didn’t think I was going to write a post on Instagram pet peeves without mentioning those endless unboxing hauls, did you? Ha!
Truth is, no one is interested in seeing the tons of free shit you got in the mail, with your shaking hands struggling to open each package and some crappy angles showing a bunch of dresses all crumpled up in a box or some makeup in its packaging. It’s a waste of time, it seems like you’re bragging, and it always ends up in a ton of stories that everyone just wants to skip while rolling their eyes.
I do believe that there IS a way to do a haul, but it needs to be done well. Your favourite brand is having a sale? Cool, why don’t you show us what you got in the sale and tell us the new price/percentage of discount? That’s useful. A makeup brand sent you their new collection of lipsticks? Awesome! But don’t just show it it to me between 6 other half opened packages. Show me some hand swatches or even better try them on directly on your lips, tell me about the formula, how much they cost and when they will be available. That’s valuable information. A clothing brand sent you 6 pieces? Please, for f*cks’ sake don’t just throw them on your bed and go over each of them telling me “there’s this cute blue dress”. I have eyes, I can see it’s a blue dress. And I can’t see much else, because it’s lying on your bed like a discarded condom. If you want your clothing haul to be interesting, put the clothes on, show me how they fit, tell me your measurements and the size you’re wearing, tell me about the fabric… Yes, it takes a little more time. But guess what? If you’re not willing to invest a little time into producing your content, no one wants to waste their time watching it either.
7. Playing the follow-unfollow game
This could have easily been number one on the list, because I know it’s the most annoying thing (by far) to so many people. The thing is, there are some things in this list which I can understand why people do even if I don’t agree, but no matter how hard I wreck my head, I just can’t understand the reasoning behind the follow/unfollow trend. I can’t imagine how someone would feel like doing this helps them in the long run, because litteraly everyone finds it infuriating.
I won’t name her because I’m not in the business of exposing people, but there’s one blogger in particular that follows me (and I guess unfollows me) every single week. After the second or third time, I caught on to it, and I promised myself I would never follow her. And you know what the worst part is? Her content is actually good. If she had just followed me and engaged with me for a bit, I would have probably followed her after a while, because I love her content!
In the long run, the follow/unfollow game is just dangerous because people do catch on to it and it makes you look phoney and fake… And if there’s one thing people don’t like on social media, it’s all the fake bullsh*t.
8. Every single one of your posts is an ad
I think in 2019, everyone is aware that influencers make a living by working with brands to promote products. And I think 99% of people understand that and are fine with it… But even the major cable TV networks understand that you need to give people something between the ads.
If every single one of your posts is an ad, not only is it super annoying, but it also makes you look like you’ll do anything for a buck. On top of it, it makes people distrust you, because it’s impossible to know what you’re putting out there because you truly love it or because you’re being paid.
I heard somewhere that the ratio of paid content VS organic content should be one to three (so for each sponsored post you should have AT LEAST 2 non-sponsored posts) and I personally think that makes sense. I especially love when I see influencers do sponsorships with brands that they have organically posted about before, because I feel like that makes it seem more authentic.
Personally, I always try to partner up with brands that I already knew and used before, because then I know I’m promoting something I actually believe in, and I know if my followers buy it, they won’t be disappointed. On occasion, I will partner up with a brand that wants to send me some products to try, and then I’ll do an honest review, mentioning the plusses and minuses of the products in a totally authentic way, because I know that’s what people want to see.
And as far as the amount of sponsored posts I do, I really try to keep it below 10%. That might increase a little bit as I keep growing my brand, but I promised myself I would never become a giant billboard, because I want to be proud of what I put out there.
9. Not disclosing your partnerships
This one should be obvious, and not only because it happens to be illegal, but also because it’s just really dishonest. When you’re a blogger, your most valuable asset is your readers/followers trust, because without that, your content and follower count are worth nothing. As an influencer, you’re only making money in the long run if people actually want to buy the things you’re recommending, so it’s a really poor business decision to lie to your followers about who is paying you to promote their brand.
As I mentioned in the previous point, I think people in 2019 are pretty familiar with the fact that influencers make money by promoting products… And I feel like most people are OK with that, but not a lot of people are cool with being lied to.
10. Wasting Your captions
Have you ever wondered why the Kardashians are so popular? It’s simple: Because people are frickin’ voyeurs. They love to see the real sh*t, the behind-the-scenes stuff and to feel like they really know the people who’s content they consume.
Yes, Instagram is based on pictures, but the caption is prime real-estate when it comes to letting your followers know you. You can write literally anything in your caption from fun facts about yourself to details about what you did during the week, to telling a funny story that happened to you or letting people in on your childhood or your relationship.
You can also provide value by sharing something that isn’t about you, like an inspiring quote, a funny catchphrase, teaching them something, sharing book or movie recommendation… Literally, ANYTHING.
So when I see girls post completely useless captions (or even worse, just put up an emoji), I’m not gonna lie, it drives me nuts. You don’t need to write a novel every single time, or be super dramatic or funny, but if all your captions say “as if”, “polka dots” and “summer day”, it gets really boring, and it looks like you have no personality. I don’t care how pretty you are, you also need to be interesting if you want to make it in one of the most saturated industries.
That’s it for now, guys! Phew! That was a lot. I obviously could have kept going, but I’ll leave it at that, and just conclude by saying this: Don’t do anything online that you wouldn’t do IRL, and yes, that includes leaving some slobbering emojis on someone’s swimsuit picture while you’re in a relationship or leaving hate comments on a picture, when you’d never have the guts to say it to someone’s face.
I hope this post was helpful and inspired you to step-up your IG game, ha! Let me know if I forgot some things that really annoy you on Instagram and leave them in the comments below!
Love you guys,