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8 Rules for Rapid Instagram Growth

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Eager to grow your Instagram following. Looking to make the “Popular” page? Want to win friends and influence people with your ninja-like iPhoneography skills? Read on to learn eight rules that will help you quickly grow on Instagram. These rules may not guarantee Instagram success but they certainly might help!

What is Instagram?

In its simplest form, Instagram is a photo sharing application for your iPhone. The Instagram app allows you to take pictures from within the app, or choose a picture from your photo library, apply a filter to the photo if you so choose, and then upload it to the Instagram server. It goes something like this: You walk out of your favorite shopping center and notice the sun has nearly set and the clouds look pretty. So you whip out your iPhone, fire up Instagram snap a shot, apply a filter and send it off to the world. Your friend across town in his basement playing World of Warcraft, who hasn’t been out of doors in 22 days fires up Instagram while his raid is rezzing from their recent wipe, sees your photo in his “feed” and thinks to himself “So THAT’S where our capricious healer is!” All the same, he vaguely recalls that bright object in the sky and how it makes him squint so he double taps your image to “like” it and enters a comment such as “Yo, nice pic but my tank is taking it in the shorts.” Next time you fire up Instagram you are notified that your friend likes your photo and that he placed a comment on it reminding you why you took up iPhoneography as your newest hobby…

To be less sarcastic and more enlightening, Instagram is a social photo sharing site that lets you easily post your photo creations with your circle of followers and allows you to follow others who’s photos you enjoy. It all sounds really simple so you may ask yourself…

Why should I care?

Because once you’ve invested tens of dollars (or in my case hundreds) on photo editing apps, followed by hours upon hours of editing (sometimes called “apping”) your pictures, you suddenly find yourself starved for validation. You wonder if anyone else would find your photos pleasing to the eye. Could they be inspiring to anyone? Sure, you could post to Flickr, or even Facebook, but to date neither of those sites match the easy-of-use and simplicity of Instagram. Besides, people on Instagram want to see your photos and they want to show you theirs. Your Facebook friends may careless about your ninja photo editing skills, and likely will just ignore them because they are too busy spamming you from Farmville. Flickr is an excellent photo sharing site which I intend to join someday, but it wasn’t built for, nor does it cater specifically to mobile photo sharing.

Instagram offers that proverbial carrot of making the Popular page. That is the equivalent of being selected as employee of the month – you get your 15 minutes of fame where random strangers see your photos, “like” it, leave comments, and start following you because you are so awesome. Trust me, it is much better than it sounds when it happens for you! Getting highlighted on the Popular page is great. Getting loads and loads of followers is also like a warm fuzzy on steroids.

How to become Popular on Instagram

Rule #1: Post only your best photos. Don’t just think you are going to post random pics of yesterday’s worn gym socks and people are going to follow you in droves. I would recommend putting together 10 – 20 images that you are really pleased with as your base for your portfolio before you even create your Instagram account. When you are just starting out you can’t afford to post anything less than your best photos. You are looking to attract people with your photography or app editing skills. Unless you know an unruly number of other Instagrammers in real life, you have to rely on total strangers to help you achieve your goals. Always, always, always put your best foot forward. I feel so strongly about this that I would recommend starting over again with a new Instagram account if you’ve already started and your current portfolio looks like a laundromat. There are some incredibly horrible looking photos on Instagram but that isn’t going to be you.

Rule #2: Only post a few photos each day. It’s okay to post a chunk of photos immediately to get your portfolio started. However, I would not recommend more than 12 – 16 photos to start with. After that you should post 2 – 4 pictures a day tops! You don’t want to bury people who follow you with tons of images. If you are really prolific with your iPhoneography and have hundreds of photos to share, great! See rule #1 above – only post your best!

Rule #3: Spread your postings throughout the day. Don’t pick your 2 – 4 images from rule #2 and post them all up first think in the morning while drinking your morning coffee. Sure, go ahead and post your first photo while you enjoy your first cup, but wait and post the others throughout the day. I try and spread mine out by at least 2 hours each. If I have 4 photos to post for the day then it’ll take me 6 – 8 hours to get them all posted. If you only post 2 photos a day, try posting one in the morning and another one around the evening commute. Which brings me to rule #4…

Rule #4: Post when people are most active. Get to know your followers Instagram habits. If you post your images during the most active times of day you are more likely to get a lot of likes in a short amount of time. That appears to be the main driver behind making the popular page – a lot of “likes” in a short period of time. If you are getting a like or two every 30 seconds for 30 minutes you are likely going to make the Popular page. If none of your followers are online when you post an image it is unlikely you are going to get that rapid-fire “liking” you need. As your follower base grows, this rule becomes less and less important because you will have enough followers to generate the snowball effect you need. 100 likes in 2 days will not get you on the popular page but 50 likes in 10 minutes probably will. This rule may seem to go against rule #3 but it really doesn’t. Remember the Instagram community is a global community so the busiest time of day for US folks will certainly not be the busiest time of day for folks in Korea. The point of rule #4 is to get to know your followers and when they are most active. This is why it is, in general, a good idea to follow the people who follow you – so you can time your posts according to their habits. Their habits become your habits, where by, infusing the entire experience with more social yumminess!

Rule #5: Tag your photos! Tagging with a hashtag will cause your photos to be grouped with other photos with the same tag. If you are posting an image of a rose tag it with #rose and #flower, and maybe even a color tag like #red (if it’s red). Don’t put random and unrelated tags on your photos. If it is a flower don’t tag it #tractor. But feel free to get creative if you like. A rose can represent a lot of things like #love #passion #crush – whatever. You get the idea. Also, there are a lot of popular tags that will help you get noticed. Here are a few you can use on almost any photo: #jj #teg #photooftheday

Rule #6: Follow other people. Following other people is one of the best ways to get followers. Some people are auto-followers, if you follow them they’ll follow you. They may expect the same in return. If you are really eager to grow your following then go follow a lot of people. However, I highly recommend not following too many people. It is obvious when you are following 5,000 people and only have 50 followers that you don’t really care about the people you are following you just want to grow for selfish reasons. I personally only follow people who inspire me or who have taken the time to leave me meaningful feedback. Which brings me to my next rule…

Rule #7: Leave meaningful feedback and comments. Leaving meaningful comments is the second most likely way you’ll get someone to follow you. You will shortly realize that the majority of feedback reads something like this: “Nice!” “Awesome!” “Cool!”. Those comments are welcome but they aren’t going to win you any followers. Rather than saying “Kewl!”, try something like “Your edit really brings out the natural light. Did you use an app to produce those rays? They are beautiful!” Notice that I’m providing feedback and asking a question. If you ask a question, most people will take the time to answer. If they take the time to answer, then they are likely to take the time to go look at your portfolio. If you’ve followed rule #1 then your chances of getting them as a follower are looking pretty good.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not suggesting you go out there and leave a ton of contrived comments all over peoples feeds. Think about their photo. What do you like about it? How is it composed? Did it make you smile? Did it remind you of something? Does one thing look like something else? Tell them so! I understand it is hard to always leave meaningful feedback. Once you’ve established a relationship with the person a simple comment is sufficient unless their photo really moved you.

Rule #8: Get involved! Be active in the Instagram community. There are many “micro communities” within Instagram. One of the very best is the @joshjohnson #JJ community. Josh runs daily challenges and Insta-forums twice very day which are great for finding others and being found. Join in on the fun and participate in the daily challenges and forums.  Tag all your photos with the #JJ hastag and follow @joshjohnson’s “123 rule” which is: For every 1 photo you post, comment on 2 others, and like 3 more. Don’t just spend all your time looking at the Popular page. Really, don’t. While it is cool to make the Popular page, you’ll get exceedingly frustrated with what other photos make the Popular page. Besides, if someone has made the popular page they are probably pretty well established with their following/followers and less likely to care about your neophyte portfolio. The #JJ community is mostly comprised of other people just like you, eager to find new followers and folks to follow. Spend most of your time there.

Getting involved includes staying active with your current followers/following crowd. Watch your feed, like the photos coming in from those you are following, leave meaningful feedback, and thank people who have left feedback on your photos. When I was first starting out, I made a point to every day “like” and comment on the photos of the people who were following me even if I wasn’t following them in return.

I would be remiss if I didn’t give you one major caution in growing your Instagram community. One cardinal rule that you should never break. Do not, I repeat, do not spam peoples photos with “follow me” begging. Nothing turns folks off quicker than that. Chances are if you beg for people to follow you they will do the exact opposite and ignore you completely!

That’s it, my Eight Rules for Rapid Instagram Growth. There is no magic formula for growing your Instagram presence. It doesn’t happen over night. But be patient, stay active, and within a couple of months your Instagram inner circle just may be 10 to 20 times the size it is today!

I’m @appdaptation on Instagram. If you like what you’ve read on this blog, consider popping by and saying hello on Instagram!

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Discussion

  1. Jill  October 13, 2011

    What are the specific rules to the popular page?

    (reply)
  2. Ronixus  January 27, 2012

    (clap clap clap) I like this piece Chris! You covered everything in detail. Great post.

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  3. Shannon  February 11, 2012

    Call me a noob, but how do you view the pics of people you’re not following?

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    • Chris Smith  February 13, 2012

      You have to go to their profile page. If you know their username you can search them via your profile tab. If you see a username in comments, you can click the users name and go directly to their profile. If you click and hold the username you get a popup that lets you either go to their profile or mention them in a comment.

      (reply)
      • Coopll  September 29, 2012

        Ok oh ok thanks

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      • Natsy  December 22, 2012

        But is there any chance that the person who owns the profile gets to know that I viewed his/her profile?

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        • Chris Smith  January 9, 2013

          Nope, no one knows you visited their profile unless you leave a comment or like a photo.

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    • Sammy  November 13, 2012

      Just click on their name thing and shaboom u have ur answer! You’ll see it simple!

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    • samantha olenicki  June 13, 2013

      What you do is look up their account, then scrool and you will see all their pics! You have to know their username though! Hope this was helpful!

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    • Raylee  August 14, 2013

      it’s fine, we’ve all been there before. anyway you go to their page by either searching their username or regular name. click on the correct profile and it’ll bring you to the persons page. if they are private, you must send a request (press the follow button) to see their page. if they aren’t then the photos should auto. be there on the page. if it says they have a large amount of pictures but none are showing, either
      A. they blocked you
      B. Instagram is glitching
      C. your wifi is glitching
      hope it helped!

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    • Elle Andrews  September 9, 2013

      I assume you are talking about someone in specific? If not…
      1. Click on the second tab on the bottom of the screen (the icon resembles a compass).
      2. Browse the photos that have appeared.
      3. If there is something you like, tap once. The photo will now be displayed much larger along with the username and profile picture of the person who posted it (above) and the comments posted on the photo (below). To view more photos from that account, tap on the user.
      4. Repeat steps 2-4.

      If you ARE talking about someone in specific…
      1. Go to the user’s page. To find it, go to the second tab, (mentioned above,) tap on the search box, and enter the user’s information [could be their name, username, or a hashtag used only by them].
      2. Scroll through the results until you find the user you are looking for.
      3. Tap on the user.

      *NOTE: If the user is private, you will not be able to view their pictures unless you are following them.*

      Hope this helped! (:

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  4. B  February 22, 2012

    I want to ask you, with some people you can’t view who they follow, how do your set that to your instagram account? Others not to see who you are following?

    Would appreciate your feedback!

    Thanks Chris!

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  February 23, 2012

      I think what you may be referring to is the fact that once someone follows more than 200 people you can’t see their entire follow list. If they are following fewer than 200 people then you can see them all. I’ve never come across a user that I couldn’t see whom they follow. In fact, I think you can even view Private user’s followers/followings unless IG changed that in a recent update.

      If someone follows more than 200 people then you can only see the first 200 and in no particular order. That’s true at least for the official iPhone IG app. You may be able to see all the persons followings on a website like statigr.am.

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      • Erick  January 6, 2013

        Very good tips chris, im @shushbish on instagram incase anyone wants to follow me.

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      • Fatemeh  March 6, 2013

        Instagram’s latest update has changed the privacy of followers: if your account is private, who you’re following & who follows you is also private.

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        • XXXXXX  April 23, 2013

          no , by istagram api we can get details of everything publicly
          so i think it is hack by public methods

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  5. Mathew  April 8, 2012

    You have some really great tips here for someone (like me) who’s just getting started on Instagram. I wish some of the people I follow would read your post and spread out their postings throughout the day. Generally, I edit my photos in advance and then post one in the morning and one in the evening.

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  6. Kate  April 23, 2012

    I don’t get it when someone follows me on instagram and then I follow them back an then 1 or 2 days later they stop following me. What does that mean??

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    • Cameron  May 5, 2012

      Just means that they’ll follow you to get you to follow back, then when you do they unfollow so that have gained one follower without having to follow more.

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  7. moon  April 27, 2012

    if someone likes one of my pictures, should I like one of theirs? I know it’s good IG etiquette to always respond to comments.

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    • Chris Smith  April 27, 2012

      It is good to support your recent photo posts by liking other peoples photos, particularly those that follow you. If you get likes from people who don’t follow you that is usually their effort in getting likes back. Or they just liked your photo. Eventually you’ll get so many likes that you won’t be able to keep up. I’m to the point that sometimes I can’t even respond to all comments.

      I’d say while you are growing that it is always good to respond to everything you get. Likes for likes, respond to comments, and like other peoples photos even if they aren’t liking yours. Stay active, work hard, post great images, you’ll grow quickly!

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  8. Yvonne  April 28, 2012

    I am soooo confused. I understand the whole concept, but I was wondering how people that are not following me get to like my photos? Do they just happen to be viewing my profile page when I post it?

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    • hello  May 2, 2012

      they can view your photos if they are not following you because either you might be following them, or one of the people that follow you could be following them, and they were stalking that persons profile, so they could have clicked on your username. i hope this helps!! :D

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  9. Leila  May 7, 2012

    Ok but how do you know that you merged it to the popular page? Does a message pop up in your news?

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    • Chris Smith  May 8, 2012

      Yes, your news feed says something like “Congratulations! Your picture made it to the popular page!”

      (reply)
  10. Sarah  May 16, 2012

    If you aren’t following a user and you view their page can that person know you viewed their profile?

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  May 24, 2012

      No, the only way they’ll know you viewed their profile is if you like a picture or leave a comment.

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  11. Manman  May 18, 2012

    How can I see all of the comments a certain follower of mine is making? Call me an idiot but I haven’t figured this out yet.

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    • Chris Smith  May 24, 2012

      To my knowledge, you aren’t able to do this without looking at every photo they like and then checking to see if they posted a comment. There is no “automated” way of doing that.

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  12. Al Rudder  May 19, 2012

    How do you post your own photo on someone else’s page? There are many people that are willing to give you a shout out and help you get more followers. But I don’t know how to post my photo on their page. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

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    • Chris Smith  May 24, 2012

      You can’t do this. When you see that happen, the person who owns that account took a screenshot and reposted someone else’s image.

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  13. @LucReadsTarot  May 29, 2012

    Hello again Chris :)
    Ok, here it is one of my question, i really hope not to annoy you too much. If so, please tell me.
    I have been reading this post several times, and I can see I was absolutely inexperienced at the beginning of my Instagram adventure, so I might have posted some ‘nice but not best’ pics (also untagged and mostly unliked). I was wondering if, in your opinion, I should delete them.
    many thanks,
    Luc

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  May 29, 2012

      Up to you, Luc. Since you only have 21 pictures total, there won’t be much left if you delete. I recommend getting roughly a minimum of 20 good shots before you start working hard to get “noticed”. So if you don’t feel the 21 you have now represent you the way you want people to perceive you then keep shooting until you have 20 pictures that really represent your style then remove the cruft and then you’ll have 20 of your best photos to start building your foundation. Good luck!

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  14. Karen  May 30, 2012

    So, there is people who is unfollowing me and that annoys me D: I would like to know if there is a good website or something to know who unfollowed you. Because they follow you, like your pics, then you do the same. And at the end they unfollow you D:

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  15. Vicky  June 1, 2012

    Hi there….

    Quick question which is totally confusing me… How is it possible that I have been using instagram fr months, I have a collection of my best photos, I have a couple of hundred followers, I use tags, and yet- I see people on there with fewer followers, who don’t hash tag at all, and only have a handful of mediocre photographs and yet the photos have 1000 likes!!! How do they manage that with 50 followers and no hash tags and in all honesty- pretty basic photos?

    I think it’s soul destroying!!

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  June 1, 2012

      Hi Vicky,
      I’ve never seen what you described. A person with 50 followers who has 1000 likes on a single image. Do you have any IG IDs that I could look at? I might have a better answer for you if you have some specific examples.

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      • James  June 12, 2012

        I’ve noticed that before, too. I don’t have an example to give right now, but I recently saw a picture that had over 2000 likes and when I went to her page she had something like 16 followers and was following 30ish people. There were no hashtags. Is this a ‘bot’ such as instagrambot.net??

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        • Chris Smith  June 13, 2012

          I’ve never seen anything like that. If you can provide a user name next time you see it that’d be super helpful.

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          • @racheladil  July 13, 2012

            Perhaps an example?

            Ekalex

    • jackson  September 7, 2012

      Hi, when you see this happen the person has gone onto a celebrity or someone with a huge fanbase and commented on their latest photo “Liking Back”. this simply means you like mine and ill like yours. but there has been issues with this quiet recently involving Kendall and Kylie Jenner. people were doing it so much that they said enough is enough and they threatened to make they insta private. dont do it, it is anoying for the person whos picture and is basically spam.

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    • Elle Andrews  September 9, 2013

      There are several different ways.

      1. The user purchased likes online.
      Numerous websites online that allow you to “purchase likes”. Once you have paid for a certain amount, the website will send that many bots to like your photo. This is also available in follower form, however, both can be quite pricey.

      2. The user was featured on the main page.
      Most of the time people will like the featured photos but not follow the photo’s user. It makes sense, especially if the photo featured was amazing while the rest of the photos they have posted are just “eh.”

      3. The user formerly had more followers.
      Whether the recent photos/the lack there of are not up to par, the account got hacked, or the user uses a ghost-follower-type swipe, there are many ways to loose followers. Photos with higher like numbers may have been posted previously to loosing their followers.

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  16. quana  June 6, 2012

    if people get there instagram reported do they get it back ??

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  June 7, 2012

      I have not idea since I’ve never lost mine. However, it is a simple matter to start a new account.

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    • Stepherzme  January 16, 2013

      I do not believe that you can. We have an editor who lost their account over someone tagging to a forum then getting mad because it was featured on an editors feed. (even after he apologized and removed the feature) What did they think they would get by tagging? Sometimes it isn’t all just likes and followers, your photo has a chance to be featured in the day’s forum by an jj_editor or @joshjohnson. My point being, he was unable to get his account back and had to start all over, losing every feature ( and he had alot), every post. Once IG deletes your page, it cannot be retrieved. They don’t give notice beforehand either. I just have to say, i can pinpoint to the exact picture in my gallery where i joined in the jj community. There is so much support, inspiration, and great photography found there and it changed my life and refreshed photography for me. I learn something new everyday. JJ is global guys! So many people from different states,countries, backgrounds, styles and cultures who all share a common goal or passion… (Mobile) Photography.

      (reply)
  17. AUTUMN  June 6, 2012

    HOW DO U TAKE A PRINTSCREEN OF SOMEONES INSTAGRAM PAGE

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  June 7, 2012

      You push the power and home button at the same time while on the page you want. It works everywhere on the iPhone, not just Instagram.

      (reply)
  18. teemo  June 6, 2012

    How can you check if someone is following you without having to scroll down one by one their ‘following’ page?

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  June 7, 2012

      That is the only way I know how within the app itself. You can also go to http://statigr.am/ and find out there.

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    • Rob Pomeroy  July 8, 2012

      Webstagram tells you this. Go to the profile of someone you follow. Next to the Follow button, it will say “Followed” or “Not following” depending on whether or not they’re reciprocating.

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  19. Taylor  June 8, 2012

    I have over 3000 followers on instagram, and I read that with just a few hundred, you managed to get to the popular page and over 40 likes I’m a short amount of time. I struggle to get 40 likes in 2days.. I post pictures of myself, and an arrangement of things I find humorous, would my lack of likes be because of what I’m posting? I see very similar igs with less followers with way more likes. Also, say it says I have 3021 followers, an hour or so later I will have gotten 50 more followers, but the number of followers it shows will only have gone up a couple; for example 3030.; I don’t know why it does this, and it really frustrates me. @tayloreaster

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  20. Smile  June 13, 2012

    All u have to do is post a pic of one direction and you’re set you’re going to be in the popular page and get followers

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  21. Rob  June 16, 2012

    Wow it’s funny how you think the way I do! Almost everything you’ve said was what I too was thinking haha good work mate :) the only thing I haven’t done is actually try to do these things -.-
    Still learnt a lot though.
    @kustomkodakz

    (reply)
  22. Janet  June 17, 2012

    Why is it that sometimes I go see someone’s profile who I’m not following and the they end up fOllowing me after that it has happened with a couple of people?!

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  23. Shelley  June 29, 2012

    If someone you don’t know likes your photo can you delete their like?

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  June 29, 2012

      No, you can’t force an “Unlike”. Only the person who liked your photo can unlike it. You can block a person so they can’t interact with you if they are really bothering you.

      (reply)
  24. Anne  June 29, 2012

    Thanks!
    @s_w_b _f

    (reply)
  25. Hey  June 30, 2012

    Thanks for the tips! Oh and make sure and check out my page @leiflower05 when instagram is back and running!

    (reply)
  26. Hey  July 9, 2012

    Is there someway that is an easy way to unfollow the people that arent following you?

    (reply)
  27. twhee  July 11, 2012

    All the comments are interesting and Thank you for the information regarding Instagram. I am a newbie, only been on a few weeks and I am enjoying it. My main purpose is to share my captures and receive comments to help me improve and/or to tell me I am going in the right direction.

    I am sure we all want to be “popular” it is some sort of validation as we are all human and want recognition. That said, I have been looking at “popular” and people who have a lot of followers. I have found it curious that I see pages with 0-1 photos with 1000s of followers. I am thinking that must be a bot or purchased followers. I have one I am looking at now – 0 photos and 22k followers :) I have also seen pages with a lot of horrible photos, bad quality, and boring subject matter. I also can’t get over the boundless duck lip self portraits posted over and over with 1000s of likes or the young lady who only posts bikini shots. Yes I get it!!!! those will get automatic likes because it is gratuitous and somewhat voyeuristic but just the sheer number is overwhelming. Idiocracy is very apparent when you see 100000 people liking a blurry picture of some One Direction dude or yet another picture of Aubrey O’Days bum. Haven’t we seen it enough? :)

    My point – I am curious about this whole “popular” thing, but I would rather have a select few give me quality feedback and honest opinion on my photos. In turn, I selectively follow those who have captured things that are interesting, diverse and artistic to me. I do not follow back automatically, I take a look at the entire gallery and consider if I am interested in seeing more. I am very happy so far with those who I am connected with and I do find the instagram community to be a valuable resource. Even if it isn’t perfect and there are some questionable taste level on these “populars”, I think overall the experience is good.

    Thanks for writing these articles- :)

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  July 11, 2012

      Hey twhee, thanks for stopping by! Very well said, and I think your goals on IG are spot on.

      (reply)
    • Stepherzme  January 16, 2013

      Bleck! The “Popular” page is horrible. Unless you like nail polish & bikini is all i have to wear-duckface-one direction fans who post someecards or other “like if you…” photos… Not to mention the celebs who dominate the pop page. Arent they popular enough already? I guess it wasnt enough for them to take over Twitter… Popular Schmopular! I didnt have alot of followers before JJ and though i may not have tons now, i know that each one of them are real, honest, and supportive and share the same interests as me. I go through my personal acct’s followers at least 1-2 times a month and delete “Ghost Followers” spammers and bots to keep my numbers real. ( Did you know some were traced back to an IOS app?) You will find some tags will bring you a wave of spammers and ghosts, while others just a few. Thats what they do, scan the popular tags and celebs for targets…

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  28. @racheladil  July 13, 2012

    When I posted a photo and a follower posted a comment to it with just @(myname) and nothing else, what does that imply as a response?

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  July 27, 2012

      I don’t think it implies anything. I think it could have been a mistake (they hit the send button by accident) or it could just be an attempt to get your attention. People do odd things on Instagram. :-)

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      • Ap  July 27, 2012

        Is it possible that of he’s an Android user he may be seeing blank where Emojis would be?

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        • Chris Smith  September 7, 2012

          Good point, that very well may be what is happening.

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          • Stepherzme  January 16, 2013

            Yes, sometimes we see little blank squares and sometimes it’s as if they sent a blank comment. If you go to stati.gram you should be able to see the mystery comment ;)

  29. Rob  July 17, 2012

    Hi all.
    I am new to instagram, and I am using it on android.
    Can anyone tell me:
    Is the popular page that everyone wishes to be on,now called explore? As I cannot find the popular tab!

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  July 27, 2012

      Yes, the Popular Page is no longer called that but it is still the same thing.

      (reply)
  30. Christian  July 19, 2012

    Im beginning to think I need a new Instagram account. Or should I just delete the random everyday pictures? Any suggestions?

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  July 27, 2012

      You’ll have to decide that for yourself. The images you choose to post are a direct reflection of who you are and what type of photographer you want to be. So post what feels right to you and keep the images on your feed that line up with your goals then delete the rest. Your feed will be much more effective that way.

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  31. Connor  July 26, 2012

    Hey Chris- I’m pretty frustrated. I read your article and its helped me get all of my followers so far- but I’m stuck at 230 and none of my pictures get past 30 likes. If you’re pouring your heart and soul into your photos and only posting high quality ones-is there a pretty strong guarantee that you’ll gather a strong following? Or do some people just stay stuck?

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    • Chris Smith  July 27, 2012

      Hi Connor,
      It takes time and consistent hard work to grow the right way on Instagram. It sounds like you are doing all the right things. Be sure that you are active in contests, make funny or interesting and especially meaningful comments on others photos – particular photos that are similar to your own that you find on the popular page. Stay active and keep posting your best images and you’ll get there.

      I’ve done everything the slow and steady way. I’ve been on Instagram for about 14 months and have just over 2500 followers. I could be over 20,000 if I really wanted to but that would entail doing things that I find disagreeable in order to grow. My advice is always do it right and do it consistently.

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  32. ask  July 28, 2012

    Why cant i follow people? Im following 7500 and want to follow more. But i cant… :(

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  33. Busker  August 8, 2012

    Hey Chris, thanks for your tips, I’m new to Instagram and have only posted a handful of photo’s. I posted one today and straight away i got three likes from people with no photos posted whatsoever. looks like spammers, I’ve blocked them but wondered if I can delete their ‘likes’ from my page? Any ideas.

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  34. jennifer  August 15, 2012

    how can i view someones photos if they are “private”
    i have read that there is a way but I cant seem to figure it out

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  August 16, 2012

      Never heard of a way to get around the private setting. The user is private because they don’t want people to view their photos without invitation so having an easy way around that sort of defeats the purpose.

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  35. Ghina  August 22, 2012

    Hey Chris,
    i logged in on some website called instaadder to increase the number of my followers
    but then ive noticed it said that ill be following a huge number of pple without me noticing
    so then i revoked the access . unfortunately the # of the ones im following is still increasing so fast !
    any help ?

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  August 22, 2012

      I don’t know anything about instaadder but it sounds like you gave them permission somehow to have access to your account. If revoking that didn’t stop what they were doing to your account then I’d highly recommend changing your Instagram password immediately.

      This is the shady kind of activity that I recommend all my readers to stay away from.

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  36. samantha  August 26, 2012

    I notice that on celebrity Instagram pages when you click on the followers it sayd NO USERS FOUND. How can I do this with mine? I don’t care if the number shows up but I don’t want people to see whose following me either.

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  August 27, 2012

      It is because they are a celebrity. It happens anytime the total user count goes beyond a certain level. So if someone has 10,000 followers when you click on their “Followers” button it gives you the message “No user found.” I guess that is IGs way of saying they don’t want to bog down their system with that query. So if you want that “feature” then you’ll have to get a few thousand followers. I don’t know what the exact cutoff is.

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  37. Sheila Lenhardt  August 29, 2012

    Hands Up! Very well said. It really helps a lot on gaining followers on instagram.

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  38. Dominic  August 29, 2012

    Hey great blog post! Quick question…. Does searching popular has tags and just liking a bunch of photos on Instagram tend to get u noticed and a lot of followers? There have been many times in which I’ve seen a profile and they only have 20 or So photos, but a huge deal of followers. Is it because they ate liking a whole lot of other IG users photos throughout the day and getting noticed?

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    • Chris Smith  August 30, 2012

      Searching the Popular Page (now the Explore page) and liking and leaving meaningful comments on photos that are of a similar quality and style of your own photos is a great way to get a lot of new followers. That may be what is happening on those accounts you mention.

      Liking and commenting on every random picture on the Explore page is just likely to annoy people and potentially get you blocked.

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  39. Gregory  August 30, 2012

    Hi Chris, I know that if I leave a comment on someone’s photo they will get notified of it. But, if I later decide to delete that comment or edit it will that person then receive notification to say the comment was deleted or modified?

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    • Chris Smith  August 30, 2012

      I believe if the comment has been submitted it is then in the queue for the persons news feed. I do not believe deleting it removes that notification even if the person hasn’t accessed their account yet. However, I do not know this for certain. I’d love to hear from anyone who does.

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  40. Roy  September 1, 2012

    Hey Chris,
    Well i use your tips and it works fine! but i wanna know, i have like 100 likes in 7 minutes but i dont reach the populair page, is this changed? because there are more users now at instagram?
    Please help me <3.

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  41. Tiffany  September 6, 2012

    Wow! Thank you very much! This helped me out a lot. Is this the way you got all of your followers? That’s what I’m assuming

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  42. Ashley  September 9, 2012

    Hey, I’ve noticed that a couple of people will like 10 or 11 of ,y pictures at the same time,,,, r they looking for a shout out, if so how do I do that??? Or r they just showing some love :)

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  43. Jessy  September 19, 2012

    If someone like your photo can you delete their like or if they are friends with someone you know can they see the picture the other person liked even though you deleted and blocked the person?

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  September 19, 2012

      You can’t delete likes, only comments. Blocking a person may remove the like but I don’t have any experience with that. Since blocking only effects your relationship with the person you blocked (preventing them from interacting with you) it has no effect on their relationship with other people, such as your friends. So if your friend looks at their own news feed and sees the blocked person liked your image, there is nothing you can do about that.

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  44. rosie  September 21, 2012

    hey i hashtag something and then i delete the comment after. for example #love. and if i rehashtag it it doesnt show up on the hashtag page. how long do i have to wait till i can rehashtag “#love” again?

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  September 25, 2012

      Good question and unfortunately, I don’t have the answer. Let me know if you figure it out. Hashtags aren’t all that important anymore, with SOO many users and images the picture is just going to get lost like a needle in a haystack. Of course that doesn’t apply if you are using exclusive hashtags for your own purposes or within a small circle of friends, etc.

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  45. Monica  September 23, 2012

    I’m curious. There is a instagramer who started following me. She had 3000 followers and was following about the same. Then one day she deleated 2900 of those she was following. I suppose her tactic was to follow people to get them to follow her but how did she do this with only 30 photos and in one month? I can’t help to think she’s a bot

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  September 25, 2012

      I see this kind of activity ALL the time. It doesn’t require a bot to follow that many people (thought it would be easier to do it quickly). That is why I recommend against the follow-for-follow game. Follow people who have interesting content and not just in hopes they’ll follow you back. If someone follows you, don’t feel obligated to return the favor unless you like their photos.

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  46. gagah_  September 25, 2012

    The more i peek at the explore page the more i dislike it these days. Mostly duckfaces & nails. But your advices are sound, especially the ones concerning quality, timing, and giving feedback. But there are some questions related to #tagging…#jj and something related to gang or porn ( say, cloudporn): in order to put them in your pic you have the follow the–lets call them–groups, right? And if these groups do exist, where are they?

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    • Chris Smith  September 25, 2012

      For the #JJ tag, you don’t have to follow any group – if you want to follow Josh then do it. Although is account is no longer his personal account, he’s given access to “admins” who post regularly to his stream. It is worth following (I do) because the concepts Josh instituted are good (123 Rule) and the daily “forums” are fun and a great way to find new people to follow.

      As far as gangfamily, I don’t know much about them – I’m not a member. Their purposes have changed over time in accordance to the changing “rules and restrictions” IG has instituted. There are other groups out there but I don’t follow or belong to any of them personally. I just enjoy my smallish community where I’ve developed some real friendships.

      You are free to add any hashtag you like to your images, but I would practice curtesy – like don’t hash crash something totally unrelated. Also I highly recommend never tagging with someone’s personal tag. I have two tags that I’ve created which I intended for my own use and people have started adding those hashtags to their images. Irritating…

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  47. Karren  October 3, 2012

    Hi. I read your tips and i really like them. I’ve been trying to get some followers since I just joined Instagram a few weeks ago. I only got to like * followers and I t would be really nice to get some more. By the way, I’ve seen lots of profiles who have 3000+ followers and more and they don’t even have any pictures posted as in 0 photos and doesn’t even follow anyone. That’s not fair! Haha anyway, if any of you guys would like to follow me, pleas, it’s @airizkarrrrren those are 5 R’s and that’s also my username in Twitter. Thank you!

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    • RJ Penn  October 21, 2012

      Maybe they bought Instagram followers

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    • Oh_yes_Jenny  November 24, 2013

      Thanks for all the great advice & for answering everyone’s questions. l read through all of the questions in hopes of getting my answer before having to bother you but needless to say, I didn’t find the answer I was looking for… So, my question is: I about turning my profile to “Private” (which I’ve wanted to do cuz they’re people on there that I’ve not allowed to follow me for various reasons, but obviously, nonetheless they can still see my profile/Pics), will my picture still show up on all the hashtag pages ? For instance (although I’m sure you understood my question lol) but if I post a pic and add a few hashtags like #love, #family, #jj & so on… Will my pic NOT appear on the #love, #family & #jj pages? Cuz I’m pretty big on hashtags & that sucks! Anyway, thanks a lot for reading my ridiculously long & over worded question! You’ve helped us all out tremendously! Jennifer :-)

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  48. Joey g  October 4, 2012

    Thanks man, I’m not very tech savvy even though im 22 haha. Just got back from deployment and got really intrigued by this. This app is pretty rad and since I’m an artist I’m just trying to get people to see through my eyes. I’m currently a US Army Ranger. Former tattoo artist. With that said ill have some good pics and insight of my current career( I’m sure a very small percent of Rangers have an Instagram), well whatever I can thats not classified. I’m just starting this out but hit me up guys ill do my best, I’m gonna have a lot of good stuff coming up as I take this more seriously. Thanks again man I really appreciate you putting out the time to explain to dudes like me who know nothing about this stuff. Follow me at @iamanasshole

    RANGERS LEAD THE WAY

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  49. RJ Penn  October 21, 2012

    Very nice post Chris, truly informative for those new to Instagram like me. I don’t have an Ipad to or an iTouch to use Instagram. Android phones are just way to small for Instagram. I am planning to use Instagram for marketing using a laptop. Is Instragrille a trusted software for using Instagram on PC? Thanks.

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  October 23, 2012

      Hi RJ, I’m a Mac guy through and through so I can’t answer your question from personal experience. Perhaps one of my other readers has some info for you?

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  50. _chelled  October 22, 2012

    HI, what do you do when a spam-group likes your pic? How can you remove it? or if someone comments on your pic followed by (example) @win blah blah competition? PLease help. I am new to this.

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  October 23, 2012

      Best you can do is delete the comment and then block the user.

      (reply)
  51. jamesfaris_  November 4, 2012

    I only posted my best model portraits. I never posted many. It just took off!

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  52. Jacqueline Escalante  November 21, 2012

    Hi:) ok so I have about 320 followers, but lately I haven’t been gaining like any. I was wondering if you could check out my page and maybe give me some tips on how I can gain followers. My Instagram is @peace_love_jackie or you can go to http://www.instagram.com/peace_love_jackie. Thanks!

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  53. Marv  November 29, 2012

    How can you find out who reported your instagram?

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  December 3, 2012

      You can’t. That’d be dangerous, don’t you think?

      (reply)
  54. Jina  December 10, 2012

    Okay, so I have about 1000 followers and I have posted about 800 photos in about 15-18 weeks. (I’m a roleplay account, do you think I have any chance of the popular page? I’m very active with my followers and people whom I follow.)

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  December 10, 2012

      Getting on the “Explore” page, aka the Popular Page requires several thousand followers, typically over 10,000 who are fairly engaged so that you can get 500+ likes in 5 minutes or less. Mere mortals have next to no chance in the current environment.

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  55. m falzon  December 15, 2012

    i have had some truobles putting photos on jj_forum, whenever i put more then one tag on one of my photos, my photo titled “Glass Case of Emotion” disappears from the forum called #jj_forum_0482
    can someone please go on the forum and let me know if they can see my photo, it shoudl be near the top, its black and white of a dark haired male in the showere with one hand on his head, my account it mitchell_falzon , im really getting frustrated with this happening

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  December 17, 2012

      There is a limited number of hashtags you can place on a single photo. Could be you are hitting the limit so when added the #JJ_forum tag you are crossing the limit.

      (reply)
    • Stepherzme  January 16, 2013

      M Falzon Either you crossed the Tag limit or a letter voided out the tag somehow. I have done it several times i dont get the space in there and off to tag with 1 photo it goes… lol On JJ a good thing to remember is that there are TONS of photos being submitted at any given time. Some forums i have seen reach 13-20K submissions… It is really easy to not see it quick, but its there. I have tagged a photo from my personal account and the logged into my editor acct to browse the same forum i tagged and my photo was a good ways down into the forum. I know that sounds a bit too much but out of the 80ish editors, the forum is browsed at many different times, pretty much throughout the entire day and sometimes late night too. If you notice that you aren’t really feeling the styles or having much luck in getting noticed, try posting at a different time than normal. Remember some Editors are in Spain, Brasil, Australia, U.S, Canada, All over ;) so many different time zones apply.

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  56. D.U.R.A  January 4, 2013

    Thank you for the article! Very informative and since I am currently using Instagram to bring my art to a wider audience, these guidelines are very helpful. :)
    Instagram @durahana

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  57. Nick  January 24, 2013

    Very helpful

    Instagram: Nickbartels

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  58. doreen  January 30, 2013

    Love this information and its awesome. I am a newbie and trying to get it together So this was def helpful. I would love to find JJ page and join and give it a shot.. Can someone direct me ??? Thank you in advance!!!

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  59. Heilyn  February 13, 2013

    im New here and i think i did same of your idea how to get followers and like but i wanna know if how others do when their pictures been featured in some daily feeds contest how they save it in their profile that they are a winner i really dont have idea any idea how?

    cheers

    heilyn

    (reply)
    • Chris Smith  February 19, 2013

      Sounds like you are referring to a simple screenshot and crop. Just click home and the power button to save a screenshot of what your iPhone screen is showing then open it in your favorite editor and crop everything out but the picture you want to save. You can then post that to Instagram. I don’t know how to do this on Android, someone else will have to chime in who has an Android phone.

      (reply)
      • Christian Gholson  February 23, 2013

        Not all android phones can Screenshot. However, most can. It is the same general concept as for iPhone except it takes a second or two longer. Just push the power/lock button the home button/sensor at the same time. You will know when it takes the Screenshot.

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  60. Ma  April 7, 2013

    When I try and search for people on Instagram it no longer suggests for people I’m following under the tab so the only way I can search someone to look at their profile is to know their full Instagram name. How can I change it back so it gives me suggestions?

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  61. Greg  April 28, 2013

    Chris,

    I have over 10k followers and am currently following 3,530. I had 7500 that I was following but have unfollowed about half of them until it would not let me unfollow anymore. When I try to unfollow any of the 3,530 I now get a ‘No users found’ message. Why won’t instagram allow me to unfollow my remaining 3,530? Thanks for your help!

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  62. Christian Magazine  July 26, 2013

    Decent article but missed a few points. 86k followers.

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  63. neal_joup  July 30, 2013

    IG has nothing to do with quality (rule #1).
    How would you explain all the pix of finger- or toenails, changing room snaps or even lunch plates with thousands of likes?
    I’m pretty sure, it’s the same people who post the same amount of daily wonders to their fb friends and celebrate themselves for that greatness.
    And vice versa again and again ;-)

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  64. john  September 5, 2013

    Not so sure about this. Basically did everything mentioned, and still haven’t even broken 50 followers since starting in July. My only guess is timing? No idea what I am doing wrong at this point. @johntal13

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