When curated well, Instagram can be a brilliant way to promote your blog and gain a large readership. Done badly, and it will turn into yet another platform that waters down your brand and creates, at best, a fickle following. Instagram is demanding. It requires careful attention and love: there’s no ‘scheduling in’ option here whilst you disappear for a week.

Below are my  7 deadly sins of Instagram: offenses you should avoid when trying to grow your following on this, the most popular of social media platforms.

1. Thou shalt not follow and unfollow

The ‘follow and (promptly) unfollow’ game is a pet hate. If I notice that an account is following us on and off for over a week, I’ll block them. Meanie.  As harsh as it sounds, vying for followers through non-organic means rather than embracing the community and enjoying Instagram for what it is, is not something I’d advise.

2. Thou shalt not mass comment 

Another pet hate is the mass commenting of generic phrases or words on photos in order to get noticed. The biggest offender: the word ‘nice’. What does that even mean? People will spot you a mile off and it will only serve to deter others from following you: the opposite of what you were hoping to achieve.

3. Thou shalt not engage with spam hashtags

Swamping an image with 100 meaningless hashtags may gain likes but it won’t gain a loyal following. Let’s be honest, do you really want to grow a community of people who actively search for the hashtag #boobs?

4. Though shalt not shun others

Focusing on building your own following but not interacting with other accounts, or taking the time to build relationships, will limit your success. Sure, you look fab in that latest bikini shot but posting a photo, sitting back and waiting for your dedicated legion of fans to find you is unlikely to reward you with much success.

5. Thou shalt not frivolously publish 

I know that for the majority of us, 80% of life is dull. It involves work, desks and sandwiches for lunch. Despite this, however, don’t publish for the sake of publishing. Think quality over quantity, and ensure you have a back-up of Instagram worthy photos for days when your life is less than exciting.

6. Though shalt not publish quotes 

Instagram is for photography and creative images, not quotes. Keep that contained within Pinterest.

7. Thou shalt not lose patience

Success on Instagram is not something to be achieved overnight, or even over a couple of months. Organic success can take years to cultivate, as I’ve discovered on my own account. Don’t lose patience and leave your Instagram page to languish; untouched since Christmas 2015. Stick at it and the followers will come.

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