12 Top Takeaways From My First Year of Instagram-ing

I returned from an annual check-up a year ago today. I was five pounds lighter than last year. My blood pressure was also down five points.

I was feeling pretty good. So good, in fact, that I decided to throw caution to the hurricane and open an Instagram account, Thymelesswon. (For more on how my teenage son got me Instagramming, click here.)

My first IG post. 2/10/18. It was a lot colder than it looks!

I’ve learned a lot in the past year. Still am. Mostly by trial and error.

Here are 12 top take-aways I learned about Instagram over the past year. In no particular order:

  • 1. Instagram is a visual platform, not an announcement board. If you’re using it as a message forum only, you’re missing the point.
  • 2. It’s not about you.

We’ve all seen them. The “Look what I’m doing” accounts. “Look where I’ve been. Look at my friends. Look at this blueberry muffin I’m eating.”

Newsflash: Nobody cares. Except maybe your Mom. That’s because unless you’re a celebrity, Instagram isn’t about you. It’s about engaging others. Giving your followers something of value. A bit of inspiration or encouragement. Some healthy eating tips. Thrifty shopping ideas. But your followers come first. (Note: If you want people to follow and engage you, follow and engage them. Don’t forget Stories and DMs.)

  • 3. I have zero interest in accounts who follow me looking for a sale. And only a sale. Or real estate. Ugh.
  • 4. Following me is a privilege, not a right. I can and will block anyone who rates it. My account. My rules. Additionally, I’m under no obligation whatsoever to follow back anyone just because they follow me. I screen every account before deciding whether or not to follow back.
  • 5. A lot of people favor the color red.
  • 6. I do not have the time or interest in long-winded, multi-paragraphed treatises disguised as IG posts. Short and sweet is best. If you have more to say, do so with a link to your blog.
  • 7. Waaay too many guys think IG is a dating site. See #4, above.
  • 8. Try to post about the same time every day.
  • 9. Find your “niche.” Are you the outdoor type? Dog lover? Fashionista? Build your following by seeking out and connecting with others of like mind and interests. Use hashtags.
  • 10. Don’t follow to get a temporary boost in your numbers only to unfollow later. So uncool.
  • 11. Be patient. Good things come to those who wait. And work at it.
  • 12. Instagram can take over your life if you let it. Don’t. The key word here is “balance.” If posting becomes a chore, step back. Above all, have fun!

What are your top tips for Instagram?

One year image credit: Flickr, 2.0 Generic

8 thoughts on “12 Top Takeaways From My First Year of Instagram-ing

  1. Oh, I LOVE this! I’m trying to gain a foothold on IG because I love that it doesn’t bog me down like FB and I don’t get lost down rabbit holes on Twitter. I will take these suggestions to heart. You gained a follower fo sho.


  2. Great post. These are some good points about Instagram. I have been on Instagram for a little over a year now, and I have met some “virtual” friends that I feel I have a real connection with. I agree that the guys trying to say ‘hey’ is a little much, but I just ignore them. I think that if you go on Instagram you should have an idea of what you are looking to accomplish, is it for fun? a business? to learn something? I think if you don’t have a goal it definitely can be overwhelming. I started following you, I am @womanwhy if you are interested. And I promise I won’t be weird or unfollow you. HA HA. Love , Peta


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