Do I Follow Back? 3 Rules for Following Back on Instagram

— February 3, 2017

Social media is a massive society all its own and Instagram is no different. Instagram has its own hierarchy, privilege, and rules by which its citizens are governed. And, it is easy to have a misstep or two while your company, and/or brands, figure out the basics of this new Instagram world. Honest mistakes are always going to happen as no one has expertly perfected how everything works – despite whatever the so-called experts spew. While social media can seem overwhelming at first, just like learning to swim, sometimes it is best to just jump in and hold onto the edge of the pool for a bit. You know, kick around, dunk your head, and slowly relax your body as you bob up and down in the shallow end of the pool.


Each social media platform has its own citizenry and Instagram is the perfect fit for those more visually inclined amongst us. Companies and their brands, professional photographers, travelers, and those with a keen eye for unique adventure find Instagram their go-to social channel. But, once a company starts posting their pictures publicly they’ll be deluded with followers and follow back requests. What are the rules? Should I follow everyone back? What happens if they unfollow me? Even we stumble from time-to-time and we have been placing an emphasis on Instagram for many years now. To help sort this out we’ve come up with 3 guilt-free rules to keep you motivated and ensure a positive experience on Instagram.



  1. Now your company has begun posting regularly to Instagram you’ll get those followers that like your updates, but not everyone will click like. Some people will begin following you without liking any of your stuff. These are the people that are looking only for followers. Explore their feed and click on a couple of their pics, just in case in they were in a hurry to grow a following that they forgot to look through your feed. Give them the benefit of the doubt. At this time, unless their feed fits your business interest, you don’t have to follow them back.


  1. What do I do with those followers that are only following me for a follow back? Don’t fall into this trap. Explore their feed and if they don’t have any viable mutual business reason to follow them back – don’t. Ignore them. The key word is “mutual” – social media across all platforms works best when both sides have content that is meaningful to each other’s interests. On a side note, if a follower has content that is vulgar, demeaning, or goes against you and your clients’ moral code block them.


  1. How do I handle those followers that follow my company for a day and then unfollow us after we’ve followed them? It depends, does their content bring value to your business? If so, continue to follow them. If not unfollow them too – if your feed is so full with other company’s non-relevant content you’ll miss the truly important posts that bring you value. The posters that are only in it to elevate their follower numbers and drop feeds the next day do not bring value to you or your client’s business. And, we typically drop them like it’s HOT.

On a side note, there’s a great way to catch the #3 type of Instagram abuser. Go to the App Store (iPhone users) and download the “Followers + Instagram – Follower Analytics” app. This is a great up-to-the-minute FREE app, there is also a paid upgrade option, which allows you to track how each post is engaging with your audience and new followers. Remember, Instagram works best if you apply the two-way street rule of social media etiquette. Most importantly, this app allows you to know those that have dropped you giving you the choice to reciprocate. Hopefully, these 3 rules have helped guide your journey in the wide world of Instagram.

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