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A comprehensive guide to Instagram etiquette

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  • A comprehensive guide to Instagram etiquette

Ranked as the 9th most visited website globally, Instagram has become a powerful and robust digital marketing tool over the years.

Whether you’re using Instagram for brand building, advertising or gaining greater engagement, if you do everything right, your potential customer reach will be enormous.

Everyone must follow certain etiquette and rules to have the best possible Instagram experience.

I’ve gathered concrete information to help you understand how businesses can succeed on Instagram.

In this guide, I will outline everything about instagram etiquette 2022 that will make you shine on this platform. Let’s dive in.

What Does Instagram Etiquette Mean?

Instagram etiquette refers to the rules and guidelines that individuals and companies need to follow to protect their online reputation.

Being part of an online community, a single mistake can break or make your business.

While there are no written rules or guidebooks for Instagram etiquette there are many Instagram rules and guidelines that users may not be aware of.

Just like how social etiquette requires people to behave around others, Instagram etiquette revolves around rules and guidelines that must be followed.

Have you ever spared time to read Instagram’s terms and conditions? There are some strict Instagram rules that you need to abide by and if you break them, you risk suspension of your page, ad account or both.

Moreover, you can also hire a social media manager than can help you comply with the Instagram etiquettes.

9 Must follow Instagram etiquettes

Using Instagram for marketing your businesses can be the best way to build your reputation and gain followers.

Whether you want to sign up for Instagram or want to improve your online marketing game with Instagram, you must follow the Instagram etiquettes. To help you impress and retain your instagram audience, here is our must follow list of Instagram etiquettes.

  1. Be human. The secret ingredient to the success of your Instagram account is being human. If you want your followers to approach and embrace your Instagram account the same way they were to meet you in person, show off your ultra-human vocabulary. This way, your followers will approach your brand on a human level.

Using a few emojis to emphasize your enthusiasm, accompanied by a genuine and thoughtful caption will communicate your brand’s personality and values. Your content creators and community managers should be on the same page to ensure that your Instagram style guide communicates your brand’s personality and communication style.

Your posts should be direct, relatable and display tangible personality. Remember, individuals connect with individuals, not corporations.

  1. React all comments. Do you respond to all your Instagram posts comments? Your Instagram followers’ comments deserve your full attention. Responding to all the comments on your posts is crucial in growing your online community and building relationships with your audience. Infact, replying to comments attracts buying advertisers while encouraging conversations and discussions.

However, sometimes you may receive hateful speech, unsatisfied customers or spam comments. For hate speech and spam comments you can choose to flag the comment. If you receive negative customer reviews, respond with dignity and sensitivity. Instagram is a social network, so be social and react to your followers’ comments.

  1. Post situational content in stories. Did you know that approximately 500 million users use Instagram stories daily? If you post situational stories that preoccupy your readers, you’ll better engage with your existing audience. Since these stories disappear after 24 hours, you can get creative with photos, videos or ads to increase your brand visibility. Therefore, embracing Instagram etiquette stories is valuable to your business.
  2. Do your homework before advertising. Getting a brand that notices your Instagram presence and hires you to be their influencer can overwhelm you with happiness. However, before you start marketing for brands through your Instagram page, ensure that the product or service addresses the needs and pain points of your audience. No matter the profit it brings to your business, do your background checks on the business and have your followers in mind.
  3. Watch your grammar. Spelling errors, grammar mistakes, misinterpreted tones, and other careless errors can derail your career. Poor grammar could resurface decades later and you’ll wish you didn’t write it. The beauty of perfectly crafted writing is that it boosts your credibility and adds to the legitimacy of the information that you post. In addition, if you want to avoid hateful comments and don’t want to become a laughing stock, avoid mistakes in your posts.
  4. Just be original in your content. In recent years, social platforms have been flooded with multiple content pieces. Therefore, brands have been forced to create high quality, relevant and original content to improve their online presence. When you create and post original content, your brand will attract the right audience and will gain their trust and loyalty. In addition, original content gets you a higher engagement rate.

On 20th April, 2022, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, announced that Instagram will rank based on originality. Check this out.


Instagram etiquette

Image source

  1. Always take permission when reposting someone else’s photo. When reposting someone else’s photo, the best instagram etiquette is to seek permission from that person in advance. And if they give you the go ahead, don’t alter it without their permission too( this may be through adding words or changing the size). Also, give them full credit on the text of the post by listing their name and their Instagram account handle. Furthermore, giving credit to real instagram accounts signifies that you are an authentic marketer.
  2. Use relevant hashtags. Creating custom and relevant hashtags for your brand increases your exposure and discovery. When you post a hashtag that’s relevant to your brand, your brand will appear on the page for that particular hashtag. Just like on Facebook and Twitter, Instagram hashtags tie conversations of different users into one stream even if they are not otherwise connected.
  3. Take great and relevant photos. Whether they are brand’s photos, photos of your employees or your own, ensure that they are relevant and of high quality. Avoid posting numerous selfies or filters that alter the original photo quality. Instagram is a great platform to visually connect with your followers. And creative photography will give you perfect shots that will leave your followers in awe.

14 Don’ts of Instagram etiquette

While Instagram has become a part of our everyday lives, it’s not for everyone. Here are the don’ts of Instagram etiquette 2022.

  1. Don’t use others content without giving proper credit

Content creators spend lots of time and money creating unique content and perfecting their craft. And, using their work without permission is like giving them a huge slap on the face. Just because you like other people’s photos, it doesn’t give you the right to post it as your own. If you see a photo or text that you may want to use, contact the owner and ask for permission to repost it and give proper credit. While some individuals may allow you to repost the photo by charging a small fee, others may give you the permission without charging a single penny.

  1. Don’t post too often. Focus on quality over quantity. If you have multiple images, content or videos, dont post them back to back. Instagram is about consistency and visuals, and if you post redundant content, you’ll annoy your followers and risk being penalized for posting spam content. Speaking of redundancy, don’t post photos or videos with the same content, pick the best one or two and post only those. In addition, if you want to share several photos, combine them in one post using a carousel.
  2. Don’t obsess over getting new followers. Did you know that it costs five times less keeping an existing customer than acquiring a new one? Retaining customers and building loyal relationships with them is more valuable than enticing new followers who know nothing about your brand. Furthermore, being obsessed with new followers to the point of buying them will ruin your chances of getting the real value of your business. Instead, focus on growing your instagram followers and fan base.
  3. Don’t follow and unfollow. Don’t follow people only to unfollow them later just to grow your fan base. It signifies rudeness and bad instagram etiquette. Always follow people that you have genuine interest in. A good instagram etiquette is to follow people back when they follow you. Pro tip: Don’t comment or ask people to follow you. Instead, leave genuine and engaging comments that build an online community overtime.
  4. Don’t use hashtags that attract spammers. Relevant hashtags in your captions helps you connect with like minded people and also helps you find your ideal customers. However, using inappropriate and random hashtags to appear in popular searches can attract spammers and ultimately shut down your Instagram account. If you use your hashtags in the right way, you’ll reap the benefits of Instagram business. So, be cautious of how many and which hashtags you’re using.
  5. Don’t complain. Recently, I saw an Instagram post by a business owner who thought that algorithm was punishing him because his instagram engagement had dropped significantly. This was not the case of course. Infact, the algorithm is designed to help you ensure your followers keep coming back so that you can have a better user experience. If things don’t go as planned, don’t complain about your followers, competitors or algorithm. Instead, review, regroup and revise what you post to ensure it works for you.
  6. Don’t use Instagram comment bot. Although many people believe that Instagram comment bots can save time and grow social media accounts, the comments appear generic and not human. Instagram third party applications (bots) can never replace human interaction. The comments also sound a little awkward with repetitive language. If you use Instagram comment bots, you’re causing a huge damage to your account. It risks your reputation as a brand and you may lose your followers as there’s no real engagement. Note that Instagram comment bots are prohibited by Instagram’s terms of use. Hence, avoid using them.
  7. Don’t forget to tag people for using their images or content. If you like someone else’s photo or content and would wish to post it on your timeline, ensure you tag their name and account. This builds respect and credibility with other businesses or brands. Did you know that Instagram etiquette tagging can broaden your audience and engage your audience? You have the option of using Instagram etiquette stories to reach more people within 24 hours.
  8. Avoid using random hashtags just to use them. In addition to negatively affecting your caption’s readability, random hashtags puts your account at risk of third party comment bots. I understand that hashtags are amongst the most reliable ways to be discovered on Instagram. I also understand that you can use upto 30 hashtags and may be tempted to use them all which can be really annoying to your followers. Instead, use targeted and relevant hashtags which your customers are likely to engage with.
  9. Don’t use awkward Instagram usernames. People recognize you by your username on Instagram. Hence, your user name should reflect who you are. If you make your username too hard to find, people won’t easily find and follow you. If you want people to find you fast, your name and username should be the same. Don’t use a series of numbers and letters as it makes you look untrustworthy and people may feel that your account is spammy. If you’ve a Twitter account, you can use your Twitter handle as your Instagram username so that you’re easily recognizable.
  10. Don’t troll. Posting offensive, irrelevant and disruptive content is outrageous. If you’ve nothing good to post, scroll on! End of story.
  11. Don’t set your profile to private. If you’re looking to network and not exclusively for personal reasons, don’t set your instagram account to private. People tend to follow accounts if they can see content shared without having to wait for approval. Therefore, if you want to gain more followers, set your account to public so that potential followers can see what you share on your page.
  12. Don’t talk only about yourself or products. While your followers may be loyal to your brand, they of course have other interests outside your brand. And, if they learn that you share in these interests with them, it strengthens your relationship with them and builds more loyalty. So, stop posting only about yourself and use your Instagram account to promote others. My personal method is to post about interesting brands that my followers can relate with.
  13. Don’t bad mouth your competition. Sometimes, competition is so intense that brands are tempted to bad mouth their competition in a bid to make a sale. It’s not a good idea though. Posting negative content about your competition makes you appear unprofessional, and you can be sued for defamation. Infact, bashing your competition will do more harm to your brand than it will do to theirs.

Quick Guide to Instagram etiquette

Without a doubt, Instagram is a cool platform for sharing unique content and building online communities.

Whether you’re posting on Instagram for your brand or as a social media manager, it’s crucial to know the rules of this platform.

And, if you follow the above Instagram etiquette 2022 tips, then you’ll create a powerful community.

While Instagram do’s and don’ts are constantly evolving, being respectful and kind to your followers will never get old fashioned.

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What other Instagram etiquette do’s and don’ts do you know ? I’d love to hear from you.

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