Instagram: Top 3 Annoying Instagram Habits

There are lots of does and dont’s when it comes to Instagram, most of us have done some of the dont’s (I know I have!), here are the three Instagram habits that bug me the most:

– #Hashtagging #Every #Word

You probably seen this on Instagram and might have wondered if it is a good idea? It’s not. The point of adding a hashtag is to make your picture searchable and easy to find for people looking for that particular topic.

Turning every word into an hashtag is pointless – have you ever searched for #is #and #a ? No? Nobody else either… Instagram allows 50 tags per picture (which I think is plenty), make sure to add tags that people actually search for and don’t “waste” tags on these words no one searches for.

– Hashtag “cheating”
I guess this is a “crime” most of us are quilty of, adding popular hashtags that have nothing to do with the picture just to generate more likes.
While this might be effective, it’s also annoying and ruins the purpose of hashtagging and searching for photos on Instagram. If generating a lot of likes is your thing, try out the Tags for Like app. Tags for Like generates hashtags based on categories, determine your pictures category/ies and find popular hashtags to label it with.

– Adding a #Nofilter tag to pictures that 1) it’s obvious that you have not used any filters, and /or 2) is not that impressive.

Am I the only one that find the miss-use of #NoFilter tags annoying? Use #NoFilter when you’ve captured something quite stunning and have no need to editing it, or when the lighting is perfect or you created a natural filter (under a lamp, using your sunglasses or a paper sheet e.g.), not when you’ve taken a random nature pic that quite frankly could need some earlybird-magic 😉

What do you think is the biggest Instagram no-no?

Winning an Instagram Contest

I’ve earlier written about how to host an Instagram contest, now let’s move to the other side of the table – How do you win an Instagram contest?

While I don’t think there is a secret success formula to winning any Instagram contest, or any other contest, (that would be boring anyway, right?), I believe there are lots of ways to increase your winning chances. Below you can read some of my advises (that I’ve had winning experiences with myself).

The first two advises are basics, that would apply to pretty much all Instagram contests, while the last four are most relevant in contests where the picture(s) with the most likes win.

Study the rules
Knowledge is power, take some time to study the contest rules and conditions. You might find something that gives you a computational edge! What does the contest rules say about use of hashtags? Can you upload as many contributions as you like? How is the winner(s) picked? Is there some way you can influence the contest, by e.g. asking friends to like and share your picture? Are there any hints given as to what the jury might be looking for?

Keep an eye on the competition
Check out the contest hashtag and analyze the other contributions. What do you like? Is there something you can build on (not copy!) and make better? Are some motives / interpretations more frequent than others? (Maybe you should go for something else, that would stand out in the bunch?)

If you are entering a contest where the picture(s) with the most likes wins, there are lots of ways to gain more likes quickly:

Hashtags, hashtags, hashtags

The fastest way to get people to like your Instagram pictures is adding hashtags. Make sure to use tags that are popular / frequently used, while they also describe your photo ( the Tag for likes app can be useful in generating popular tags).

Make sure you know the Instagram hashtag etiquettes as well.

Promote your picture
Tell your friends and connections about the contest, and ask them to vote for your picture. Your competition will, so you should too!

Pick your best shot…
You should (obviously) pick the image you’re most satisfied with (make sure it is aligned with the contest rules too of course). Also try picking one that you think will be easy for people to like kids, candy, sunsets, and nothing too controversal (depending on the contest of course).

…and stick to it
Once you’ve found the perfect shot, upload it and don’t upload any other pictures. Why? Because it causes confusing for the people you’ve asked to like your photo, and (in my experience) people stumbling on to your Instagram profile tend to like the last picture uploaded.

What did I miss? Do you have other tricks for winning an Instagram contest?

My Instagram Tour

Judging from the search terms you use to find my blog, a lot of you visit me searching for information, help and facts about Instagram. So I thought I’ll make it easy for you and make a collection of all my posts about Instagram here. Welcome to my Instagram Tour!

Let’s begin the tour by establishing what Instagram is: a free photo-sharing program & social network mainly accessed through a smartphone app. Before sharing your pictures, you can edit, add filters and effects to them. In the uploading process you can choose to share the picture in multiple other social networks as well, such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Once the picture is uploaded, all your followers, and anyone that search for the hashtags used, can see, like (heart by double-tapping) and comment on it (privacy settings are available). Instagram has a dedicated user / fan base (IG’ers) which mostly refer to Instagram as IG, and arrange Instagram photowalks and get-together with other IG’ers.

More info can be found in my Instagram guide posts: Instagram (My very first post about Instagram! *Nostalgia*) and Insta-lovin: A 101 Guide to Instagram

Next stop, hashtags. Just like Twitter, Instagram supports hashtags (#Keyword) to categories content, make it searchable and capture a feeling or say something about the content. More about hashtags in my post Instagram Hashtags: How does it work and why should you use them.

Let’s continue by looking at some numbers. In April 2012 Instagram contained more than 1 billion uploaded images and had more than 40 million users. For more stats, have a look at Instagram by the numbers.

All the widgets and add-ons make Instagram even cooler, you can do almost anything with your IG photos! Print, make postcards, fridge magnets and photo books. Gramfeed (and similar services) lets you view your photos from the web (not just your smartphone). Instalook lets you discover IG photos taken around you / at your location. You can even open your very own virtuell gallery, the Instacanvas. Another cool add-on is Statigram, giving you a full overview of all the stats about your IG account, and IG in general. Statigram also provides an overview of trending topics:

Because of it’s visuell features and large user base, Instagram can be an effective marketing channel for businesses. Companies and brands can engage with their customers and fans by e.g. hosting hashtag contests or asking for the customers best picture about their product. In my post Don’t say it, show it, you can read more about images as part of a marketing strategy. The Instagram For Businesses Blog also has a lot of examples of good usecases for companies. I for one love the Instagram campaigns Tiffany & Co have been running, for more info check out Tiffany’s #TrueLovePictures.

I’ll end this post with a warning, Instagram can be very addictive! If you think you or someone you know suffer from an Instagram addiction, you can see the signs in my post How to Spot an Instagram-junkie.

Did I miss any stops on my tour? What else do you think is worth knowing about Instagram?

I’d love to see your IG photos, look me up on Instagram (@Mariannemixi), or share your username below! 🙂

Instagram Hashtags – How does it work and why should you use them?

If you’re on Instagram, you have probably noticed that there are several Hashtag strategies (just like Twitter, IG lets you lable your pictures using the # icon , this makes it both searchable and says something about the picture) out there.  Some people don’t use any, others use too many ( e.g. #Take #a #look #at #the #pink #dress #I #bought #today) and others again highlight a few ( e.g. Take a look at the #pink #dress I bought today).

In my opinion, the last strategy is most valuable. Although I’m not a fan of the strategy of using a # in front of every word, I can see a big boost in the number of likes / hearts when I add a couple of tags to my pictures.

My top ways of using hashtags on Instagram:
* Hashtags are a great way of spreading your pictures, as they make your pictures more visible and findable for people with the same interest.
* Capture / communicate the feeling you had when taking the picture.
* Enter a competition – Lots of brands /companies have their own IG account, host competitions and encourage people to add their tag(s) when uploading a suitable picture.
* As part of an event – similar to live-Tweeting and live-pinning, IG can be used to spread information about events as they are happening. E.g. I see a lot of people now making a hashtag for their wedding.

How to you use hashtags on Instagram?

P.S. Wondering if you are an Instagram addict? See the signs here.

Insta-lovin: A 101 Guide to Instagram

It’s hardly a secret that I’m an Instagram fangirl, if you read this blog somewhat frequently you might even have grown tired of all my Instragram talk ( I dedicated my love to the picture-sharing-service here, here and here). Today I felt like doing more than just talk about how great Instagram is, and actually show it. So I have put together a little Instagram 101 guide.

*Insta-heart it

To indicate you like someones photos, you can click the heart icon below the photo. Liking (or hearting) is a key feature of Instagram, and serves as both giving reconginitons to others and saving the picture so you can easily find it later (stored in the “photos you’ve liked” tab on your profile).

A faster way of adding a heart to the picture, is double-clicking it. A pretty basic tip, but it saves you a lot of time if you are browsing to a large stream of photos.

*hashtags and mentions

Like Twitter, Instagram lets you add hashtags (#) to your updates.
Hashtags makes it easier to categories your photos, and helps others finding your pictures. If you e.g. search for #cupcakes (I tend to do that a lot!), more than 400 000 pictures pops up.

Hashtags are also used to enter contests and shout-outs.

To interact with other IGs, Instagram lets you – again like Twitter, mention others using a @ and the username of the IGer you are talking to.

*Create photo magic

A key feature to why Instagram’s popularity keeps on growing, is the fact that it enables everyone to take great photos. With all it’s filters and features, you almost can’t go wrong.

The photo to the left is taken with the Camera+ app for iPhone. To the right, the same photos is given som Instagram magic.

To make this effect, simply to as follows: 1, upload to Instagram, 2,tap the sun icon ( low left corner) to add brigther colors, 3, tap the drop icon and select the radial / round shaped icon to make one area of the photo focused and the rest blurry.

*Insta-Widgets

To add even more value to the Instagram experience, check out some of the numberous widgets and services such as statigr.am for all your Instagram statistics and pingram.me to showcase your IG photos the Pinterest way.

With Instacanv.as you can showcase and sell your IG photos in your very own online gallery.

What’s your best IG trick?