I started my first Instagram account back in the beginning of high school, when I could only take pictures on my iPad, because it still was not available on Android. When there was no such thing as Instagram etiquette, and people posted about 4-5 photos a day of the most uninteresting things possible. Regardless, Instagram has always had a very special place in my heart, because as an amateur photographer, this was going to be my platform to really use.
At the very beginning of 2016, I started to put pictures on my Instagram account that I was extremely proud of. These were photos that I only took on my DSLR (for the most part), and were pictures from all of my travels so far. I would upload about three a day (which is very much not proper Instagram etiquette), and put a significant amount of hashtags in the caption that I saw other photographers using. The pictures I was putting up were getting so many more likes than any of the other photos that I put up, so I continued on for about a month. It all stopped when my housemate asked, “Why don’t you just make another Instagram account just for your photography?” Of course this was something that I had thought about, but the idea of starting a brand new Instagram account with zero followers freaked me out. So I put it off for a couple of days, until, in a very timely fashion, Instagram put out a new update where you could easily switch between multiple accounts without logging in or out. So I went for it
Here are some things that I have learned within these past 18 weeks about starting a brand new Instagram account:
1. There are SO many bots on Instagram.
I still only have 150 followers on the new account, but everyday I get about 1-3 followers, of whom when I click on their profile they have zero posts, zero followers, and following about 4,000 Instagram accounts. Usually, it is a semi-nude girl in the profile photo with a bio suggesting that she will meet up with you for ‘certain activities’ if you click on the following link. You can’t do anything about these, and really they do no harm to your account (unless you are dumb enough to click on the link), but it is just interesting to see how many bots/scammers there are on Instagram.
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2. Speaking of weird links…
Every once in awhile I would get a notification (it doesn’t happen that often anymore) that someone had tagged me in a comment. That comment would just be filled with other tagged Instagram users next to my name, and the post would be a video of an Instagram feed (I know, very meta) getting thousands of likes in seconds. The whole idea is to see a video of someone getting all of these followers and likes, and then you click on the corresponding link if you want that same experience. DON’T DO IT. And no, I’m not speaking from experience. I’m not at all saying that I have clicked on this link, and then my whole life was hacked. Because I’m not that stupid to click on the link in the first place and have that happen to me. Just don’t do it.
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3. There are actually people liking your posts, it’s not all bots.
If you decide to use the maximum limit of all 30 hashtags in your caption, then odds are that within seconds you will start receiving likes. At first, you are suspicious. How did I just put up a post, and now have 10 people that have already seen it and like it? Well, on average, there are about 40 million photos posted on Instagram per day. So that means there are people out there who are going through hashtags and liking photos that they see. Yes. Real people are doing this. I am doing this, which brings me to my next point.
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4. Being an active hashtagger helps.
What does being an active hashtagger mean? It not only means to use hashtags on your own posts, but click on the hashtags that you use to see what other people are doing. Then you need to like those posts, and it does not hurt to comment on them either. I would say that for every 15 to 20 posts that you like, you will get a follower or a good amount of likes. This is because other people get excited when someone likes their post, and they will therefore go onto your profile and will like your photos, and might even give you a follow. The caveat to this is that they might be doing that in hopes of getting a follow back. If you decide not to follow them back, they might unfollow you shortly thereafter.
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Who would I be without saying what this Instagram account I'm talking about is actually called: @picturesbyroslyn
Part 2 to this article will be coming out shortly that will cover the type of hashtags I use, which posts do better than others, what patience means in the Instagram world, and more!