Hi everyone so I get a lot of comments/messages asking me for advice on how to grow your Instagram followers, so I've compiled a list of my top Instagram Do's and Don'ts to help you build a great account!

Don't post poor photos.
This point is really self explanatory. No one wants to follow accounts whos photos are poor - they don't have to be professional images but consider things like ensuring there is ample lighting, it isn't overcrowded, the photo subject is clear etc Top quality content builds great accounts!

Do be selective.
If you take a lot of photos in one go, post the best out of the bunch and keep the others for a rainy day.

Don't overuse filters.
Filters can really enhance photos - my personal favourites are Valencia, Ludwig, Lark and Juno but photos can look over edited, especially if you have used another app to filter them before using Insta. Keep it to one filter and use the other Insta tools to add any other enhancements.

Do use the other tools to enhance photos.
It was a long time before I found out how useful the other tools in Instagram are and I could kick myself! Tools such as Structure and the colour corrector are my favourite. Try them out on some test pictures to get to grips with them as some photos don't need a filter to look their best, just a cheeky luxe and structure.

Don't post too many Selfies.
We all love a good Selfie, and I am no exception to this but if your content is more selfies than actual content though there is a problem. There are a few reasons these are so annoying on Instagram (or any social media) they become repetitive, they come across as narcissistic and frankly, no one is interested in seeing dozens of photos of your face daily. Feel yourself, love yourself and be fierce but not at the expense of your followers.

Do keep followers up to date with life outside of your content.
Although content should be primarily what your audience is interested in, when you build a community within Instagram, it is nice to see occasional updates about stuff going on outside of your content. Except food pics, don't ever Insta your food!

Like I said don't post photos of your food.
No. One. Cares.

Do post content relevant to your account.
Airsoft? Post Airsoft and related subjects. Mountain biking? Post mountain biking and associated subjects. Accounts that stick to a particular topic/interest etc do much better in terms of engagement than accounts that post anything and everything - of course there are exceptions to this rule.

Don't follow to unfollow.
If you follow 5000 people because you want them to follow you back and then unfollow as soon as they follow back, expect to get unfollowed. Playing this sort of social media game is a sure fire way of losing followers.

Do follow accounts you are genuinely interested in.
Be genuine, follow accounts you are interested in and engage with people - comment, like, share etc and help build your niche community. This is what builds an accounts standing within your niche.

Don't abuse hashtags or use hastags such as #followforfollow, #likeforlike or #shareforshare.
Using hashtags can bring a lot of engagement to your content and help potential followers find your account but don't abuse them. Just because you can use up to 30 hashtags on one post doesn't mean you should! Up to 10 is more than enough. #likeforlike, #followforfollow and #shareforshare hashtags and others similar to them makes the people who use them look thirsty for attention - steer clear of those hashtags.

Do use relevant hashtags.
As I said, hashtags can help potential followers find your content, but keep them relevant to your audience!

Don't spam your followers.
Posting 12 pics in the space of half an hour is spam, along with advertisement pictures for completely unrelated products/services to your niche. Airsoft account? Don't post an advertisement for a text service that will text you the name of the person you are going to marry (I'm not even kidding, I have seen this happen) Keep the posts relevant and consistent.

Do post consistently.
Followers love consistency and will unfollow if you post too often/too little so decide on a consistent posting schedule. I post once per day and on rare occasions more than once but I'm sure to space them out with a couple of hours between posts so they aren't spammy.

Don't ignore your followers.
This is a mistake I see a lot of accounts making, you aren't Beyonce or Shakira collecting fans, you're an everyday person building an online social media community so interact with your followers. Admittedly the more followers you have, the harder it becomes to answer every DM and comments especially but always answer as many as you can.

Do engage with them, reply to comments etc.
My account certainly wouldn't be what it is without my amazing followers - so I'm always sure to engage with them. This is my favourite part of social media - being social.

Don't push products that you don't believe in or trust.
I see this a lot, and it's quite frankly it's a disgusting practice, from a blogger point of view and a consumer point of view - your followers want honesty and trust you, so don't abuse their trust by trying to sell them products/services you don't use or trust. If a company asks you to post about them and what they do, make sure you know their product/brand and have experienced them first hand. Trying to sell your followers dodgy products and services is a sure fire way of ruining your own reputation.

Do recommend products you use/trust.
Really like a product or brand? Let your followers know - we're always on the look out for kit that improves our look, playing style or prep for games but don't be a pushy salesman. If a post is sponsored you are required to let your followers know - so make sure you do this! I only work with brands I trust and will not feature anything I wouldn't use myself and if I do, I'll let you know why I wouldn't use it.

Don't change your style or content to 'fit in'
In every niche market there are popular Instagrammers, YTers, Bloggers etc that we love to follow and that we can learn from, whether it's gear or how to videos these people influence us and I am no exception to this, I have seen Instagrammers kit and thought 'that looks badass' and incorporated it into my own loadout. But there are people who are mostly self appointed 'operators' who give people shit for not wearing the gear they wear or having 3k nods mounted to their real steel helmets like they do - don't change your style to fit in with them.

Do stay true to you.
No matter what that means, whether it's wearing a teddy on your plate carrier, wearing pink gear, wearing a paintball mask - whatever makes your content and loadout unique to you, don't change it despite what anyone else says or thinks. People do not want to follow clones, there is only one you and that is your power. Stay unique and stay true to you.

Don't ask for shoutouts.
This. There is nothing more annoying that getting DMs saying 'Hey can you give me a shoutout?' when the account in question makes a lot of the faux pas in this blog post - the DM combined with a poor account means no shoutout.

Do build an account with great content that others want to share.
Organic shares are more likely when other users love your content. Although I don't do shoutouts, I will share content from other users that I think is pretty awesome. Good content and account standing is a yes!

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