How to meet new people ... instagram edition
January 28, 2017 1:39 PM   Subscribe

Right now I have maybe 25 friends on instagram - that is, people who are interested in the stuff I post, and I'm interested in the stuff they post. I want to make more friends, so I'm hoping for suggestions on what I can do different, to make my account stand out as interesting or compelling.

(Just off the bat - I am not trying to sell anything and I don't want to use "friend4friend" or any other crap. I'm coming at this question from a similar perspective as the several "How can I make my dating profile pop?" questions I've seen)

Here is my account. Am I posting too all-over the place in terms of subject matter? Are my images of good quality? Should I be spamming the hashtags? Massively increasing my comment rate?

One big frustration is the instagram recommended tab - the content that shows up there has hundreds or even thousands of likes and comments. I don't want to "interact" with people and be lost on an ever-scrolling comment feed. Is there a way to get the recommendation tab to show people with fewer followers / likes?

I'd appreciate any advice or suggestions! Thanks!
posted by rebent to Human Relations (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You're not trying to sell anything, you're not trying to monetize your account, all you want is attention?

Like other people's photos. Follow other people. Follow and like accounts with small numbers of followers so they're more likely to wonder who the rando (this is you) liking their stuff is and click through. If they like what you post, they'll probably follow you. One thing you can do is search hashtags that are interesting to you, and scroll far enough down on the page to get out of the popular folks and into the recent posts area. I know people have found my photos that way.

I do not try even a little bit to be marketable on instagram. I post pictures of whatever I feel like, totally inconsequential-from-my-life stuff (but lots of photos of my dog sleeping) and don't really interact with other accounts, and I generally pick up one or two new (legitimate) followers a week.

I follow a lot of border terrier accounts (this is the breed of dog I have) and a few of them have followed me back. I used the hashtag #shopthelook in jest about a month ago and got followed by two fashion bloggers. After posting something geotagged in Chicago (usually I have the location thing turned off) I got followed by an account that says they're a Chicago area restaurant (?). I have a pile of lovely metafilter people I've never met following me, and seem to pick up a new one every time I link to one of my own instagram pictures or like someone else's they've linked here.

If you're not trying to do anything with your instagram account except have an instagram account, you shouldn't have to change what you post.
posted by phunniemee at 2:02 PM on January 28, 2017 [6 favorites]

I notice that if someone likes a handful of my pictures, I'm very likely to take a look at their feed. Sometimes I like a bunch of their pictures. Sometimes I also follow them. Early on, if someone new to me liked one picture, I would check them out. Now it's like 5 or 6 in a clump and that makes me aware of them.

Also, you should follow phunniemee just so you never miss a picture of Truman.
posted by janey47 at 2:08 PM on January 28, 2017 [5 favorites]

Hashtags are really, really important. No one is going to find your work without them, unless they already follow you. You should have 10-20 per image, and they need to be relevant. It's not spamming. It's how you let people know what you're up to!

Also check out Instagram art challenges, even if they're just between a small group of people -- they usually won't mind if you use the hashtag and it's a great way to get your work in front of new eyes. You can also share to your other social media profiles so anyone who isn't following you yet knows you're also on Insta, and you can ask them to follow you.

The recommendation tab is now keyed to the most popular images, instead of the most recent. This was an internal change to the algorithm and not something you can alter as a user. So don't let it fool you into thinking everyone on Insta except you has loads of followers and likes. People with huge followings have either been at this a while, or are actively marketing themselves, which is a very different process than just posting cool stuff now and then.

Most of this is a game of patience and consistency. Part of it is timing your posts, part of it is having good hashtags, part of it is interacting with others and liking and commenting on their work.
posted by ananci at 2:59 PM on January 28, 2017 [5 favorites]

I'm a bit weirded out by the use of the word "friends" when it sounds like you mean "instagram followers". Is that just me?
posted by tillsbury at 3:06 PM on January 28, 2017

More ramen pics.
posted by headnsouth at 3:58 PM on January 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

You should up your hashtag game. That's where most of my followers come from (not that I have tons and tons, but I don't post often and still get a steady trickle of new followers due to my hashtags.)
posted by firei at 4:05 PM on January 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Actually interact with other humans on there. Really. (I don't have tons of followers but I've formed real connections.)

Use more hashtags. Like things even if they have a few thousand likes. Like and comment on things where people have less interaction.

The explore tab will show you things based on what hashtags you use, what you like and comment on, and what your friends like and comment on. So you can like things with large numbers to expand what the explore tab will end up showing you.

Don't be afraid to double tap something that you do enjoy. Don't worry about the numbers when it comes to hearting it.

Interaction in comments, yeah, it doesn't make sense when there's 3K comments. But if you like someone's content and they have a few hundred comments, just comment anyway! There's no downside. Though finding people similar to you and interacting will help that shared "friends" experience.

I'm a bit weirded out by the use of the word "friends" when it sounds like you mean "instagram followers". Is that just me?

I call them my Instagram Friends. I have a chronic illness and there's lots of spoonies out there showing support. Maybe it's also because I'm a lady and I have an Etsy shop. But I've met people that I've collaborated with on projects and formed some genuine connections with who live across the ocean from me! (My link is in my bio.)

So, I try to comment on people's stuff. Follow and comment genuine interactions for people that I like. Reply to my comments. Like lots of stuff. Check out profiles when people like a bunch of my stuff, etc.
posted by Crystalinne at 5:17 PM on January 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

Hashtag, hashtag, #hashtag . My brother is an artist, and he uses #snakes on all of his posts, because he gets a kick out of the random herpetologists that find and follow him (his art is very rarely about snakes, but that's his sense of humor)

I have made IRL friends with people who love my city as much as I do via #citystate . I've gotten re-posted by the chamber of commerce too, which is fun.
posted by Fig at 5:40 PM on January 28, 2017

Nthing hashtags! I post mini craft beer reviews on there, 100% for fun and not profit. When I use things like #beerstagram, #craftbeer, and lots of hashtags describing the beer and naming the company, it just gets more eyes on the photo, thus linking me up with more beer-interested folks who I can follow and who sometimes follow back. It's grown to feel more normal over time (in the beginning it did feel weird and fakey) and I've started inserting my sense of humor in them more as well, which is its own fun little game sometimes too. Find a way to have fun with the hashtags is my advice!
posted by augustimagination at 6:26 PM on January 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

I browse hashtags occasionally and use them somewhat often, so I nth the advice to use more hashtags.

My only caveat is that people like me can be a little turned off by someone using a ton of hashtags per image. Please understand that I don't think it's wrong to do that or bad or anything. I think maybe I connect better with people who use a reduced set of hashtags (two or three, say) that are more focused on themselves and the particular photo.

Now, that doesn't mean you can't use a bazillion hashtags across your account, for different appropriate images. Just pointing out that there can (for some people, sometimes) be too much of a good thing.

Or maybe you don't want followers like me, in which case you can ignore this advice. (It's a little academic because you now have a follower like me anyway: me.)

Also, I am going to take this opportunity to recommend the Instagram account of someone who makes me laugh out loud and makes my boyfriend laugh when I read him her posts in bed (which I probably do a little too often): emvandee.
posted by veggieboy at 11:52 PM on January 28, 2017

Another hashtag to look for is "igers[location]" where location can by your state or city or a variation thereof. If you use the search for hashtag function it will show how many posts the tag has so you can find the proper one for where you live. Often [location]life is used as well. Another popular tagging thing is tagging a photo with your area code.
posted by mikepop at 7:10 AM on January 30, 2017

« Older Should I sign up for Obamacare given the...   |   Like I need this at this point in time. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.