Instagram lets you share your favourite moments, but use it wisely or you'll never attract new followers Image Credit: Thinkstock

You may be surprised to know that Instagram isn’t exclusively for the Starbucks-drinking, beanie-wearing, skateboarding hipsters for which it is renowned. Whether you’re interested in fashion blogging, travel blogging or simply enjoy taking photos, Instagram can be the perfect platform.

To make sure that this popular social media isn’t abused, the UAE has published a set of laws and guidelines, and it’s important that you are familiar with them. You can read the UAE’s social media white paper here.

As a law-abiding social user, here are some essential dos and don’ts of Instagram to ensure you get the most out of it.


Make sure you are consistent with the style of your photos – create a theme and be creative

Your Instagram feed says a lot about you so it is important to take care of the aesthetics of your page. Whether you create a theme based on the content of your pictures or the style and filters used, consistency will help improve the look of your feed. Also, don’t be afraid to be creative with your pictures and allow them to demonstrate your personality and own style.

Post at peak posting times and be active

Whether you’re a blogger trying to increase your follower count or you want to make sure your selfie surpasses the hallowed 11 “likes” benchmark, the time you post your pictures makes a difference. Sites such as Iconosquare can be used to assess each user’s peak times, typically after work and late at night.  It is important to remain an active user as well; nobody is going to follow an account which only posts sporadically.

Take care with captions

Although Instagram is a photo sharing website, the captions that you choose are almost as important in attracting the attention of your followers as the photos. Interesting captions can help to make your posts more relatable and personal.

If, for example, you catch yourself striking a particularly delectable pout and feel that it warrants a selfie, you must caption it correctly. Rather than saying “Look how #good looking I #woke up this #morning. Loving #life #Feelingblessed” you would attract more attention – and less cringes – by saying “Whatever you do in life, make sure it makes you happy”.

Tag other users and locations

By tagging other users (with their consent as per UAE law) and locations in your photos, you increase the visibility of your posts. Identifying your location is particularly important if you’re planning on creating a travel account, or if the theme of your feed is where you are. Followers are nosey by nature and are usually interested in this kind of information as well as the post itself.


Overuse hashtags

This is by far the biggest bug-bear of most Instagram users; hashtags are to be used sparingly! Although your “#instadaily #instalike #instafit” tags may get you several likes, it does not add anything positive to your feed and is very irritating for existing followers. Regardless of the intended irony, “#yolo, #swag, #jokes, and #banter” are under no circumstances acceptable. If you have to use a hashtag to suggest that something is funny, the likelihood is that, actually, it isn’t funny at all.


Post rubbish photos

Although this should go without saying, in order to improve the look of your feed it is important to make sure that the quality of your photos is high. Bad lighting, poor editing and general bad content in photos is not going to make anyone want to like your post, let alone follow you.

Caution Care must be taken when posting photos online. Not only are you responsible for the content of these photos, but Instagram is able to share the content of your profile with third parties. Before joining Instagram you should familiarise yourself with the Terms and Conditions

Post multiple pictures from the same event

One photo to show that you went to an event is perfectly fine. However, several pictures of you at the event in slightly different poses is less desirable. Despite what Kim Kardashian’s feed seems to illustrate, posting multiple pictures from the same occasion is a definite don’t on Instagram. #Fail.

Post pictures less than 3-4 hours apart

Although it is important to be active on your Instagram account, it is also important not to be overactive. Most successful fashion or travel bloggers on Instagram aim to post anywhere between three to five times a day. You won’t find any successful Instagramer posting less than three hours apart.