27 September 2020

Instagram Guide. Everything Besides Algorithm, Hashtags, Formats & Tags

Read time: About 4 minutes, or an average Selena Gomez song

I think people place a huge value on the number of followers. If you think the number of followers is the ultimate metric to compare Instagram accounts, then this blog post is not for you.

The Problem with Instagram Courses and Gurus

Search for Instagram tips you'll find numerous gurus. Most of them are selling video courses which are more or less the same. I mean no offence to people who make video course. It's good business. And maybe the contents of the course helped the gurus grow their account.

But what these courses skip is how they approached social media. They end up tell you to.

  • post more videos,
  • add location tags with every post,
  • experiment with all formats, and
  • find and use new hashtags without repeating it.

These are fine details, but can't be the only thing one must learn. There's lot more you must be aware of. And yes some gurus talk about these as well:

  • replying to every comment,
  • commenting on others post, and
  • setting and sticking to a schedule.

Now these are something I agree with. Notice anything common within both the lists. The first list is all about the tools, while the second is focused towards the actions.

Tools vs Actions. One trick to win Social Media

It’s almost the same thing with every course. Use these tools and you'll get better results. No one talks about the amount of time you have to invest into using those tools. The actions!

Here's the issue I am more worried about. When you focus too much on the tools, you end up forgetting one thing:

- The users on Instagram are humans too, just like you.

Scroll down and you'll find me explaining my thesis. I have decent experience to assure you, what you are going to read, will change your perspective about Instagram growth.

What follows is my guide. haha the irony

The Guide

In short: Encourage engagement with every post.

Little longer version

There are two types of audience on every social media platform. And you can take it in this way. Every single time you post, you are trying to start a conversation with two distinct audiences

  • People who follow you.
  • People who don’t follow you.

The people who follow you, know you. They are familiar with your posting schedule and your content genre. But on the other end of the spectrum, you have people who have never heard about you.

As a content creator, it is your responsibility to entertain both audiences without boring others.

This gets tricky, because both audiences have different needs.

  • Your followers expect similar or better content from you.
  • The Others are always looking for the next cool thing.

You must be fit into both their criteria.

Here's How

  • Be active frequently to appear in their feed whenever you post.
  • They have no idea who you are. You have to introduce yourself.

Now you know the two type of people who you are talking to. How will this new knowledge change your behaviour with your post on social media?

Your Captions!

Say you went to a mall today saw a cute cafe. You want to post about it. You took a great photo. How will you write your captions?

Your caption should do the following:

  • The first two lines should be an anchor point.
  • The context should be clear to your existing followers.
  • The content should be clear to people who’ve no idea who you are.

Every single post you share is an opportunity to grow. This is hard to crack.

- An interesting post merits a like.
- An interesting caption merits a comment.
- An interesting post and caption merit follow.

Every post you share can’t be relatable to your followers and your future followers because that’s too much to ask. But the people who have cracked this code, have seen their account grow tremendously.

The Required Skills


Instagram is a visual platform. Learn and improve your photography skills. Here’s an impromptu lesson

  • Use a tripod,
  • take photos in daylight,
  • Instagram is a vertical first format, and
  • leave space in the frame to add text later.

Copy Writing

There are different types of copy-writing. Each work on the same basic principles. Useless words to communicate an entire message. Follow marketing examples for this. he has lots of examples.

Divert Traffic

Instagram has five formats. Stories. Posts. IGTV. Reels. Live. Each brings a different reach. Every guru will tell you to post on each of these formats.

Do that.

You can cross-post and divert traffic from one format to another. Stories stand in the center of this game.

- Stories -> Post
- Stories -> IGTV (counts as a view)
- Stories -> Live (Set Reminder)
- Stories -> Reels (counts as a view)

Most Common Stories Mistakes

Before you read about this common mistake, I have two fun facts for you.

Humans are lazy
and here's the another one...
Our attention span is EIGHT (8) seconds

Now that I have set the tone, here's the common people make with their stories:
Sharing Stories with no Context

You will get zero clicks (taps?) by sharing Stories with no content. By saying 'everyone must check out this post', I can guarantee you, the majority of your audience will not care!

Bring in context. Why should people check it?

Did it make you smile? Made you think? Touched your soul? What was so amazing about this post that you decided to share it with 494 other people?

Say that. Be authentic.

The End?

I wrote this post as a daily writing exercise. Feel free to try these. Want more? Come DM me on Instagram or Twitter. links below. Or just search for AliCoderMaker on any social media. I'll be there