Navigating Instagram: A Newbie's Perspective

A 19th-century literary gem Henry James once said, “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” What a very meaningful yet simple expression that is so very true.  

On the heels of Nina Ramic’s latest post on making the best of your Instagram photos with your phone, I began thinking about what transpires after you post your photos. How do you manage all of the feedback and return the love to your followers or what I like to refer to as IG friends?  

Nina so kindly shared her tips and advice and recently inspired me. As a recent addition to IG I don’t have years of experience to share, however I do have a newbies take and experience of IG! 

I joined the décor/design IG community about a month ago and the amazing talent and kindness by so many women blew me away. I learned how to navigate the world of “commenting” and “liking” a photo and finding new friends. What I found over and over again was a theme of kindness. Strangers paying compliments, connecting, helping with design dilemmas, hosting fun design challenges, and sharing glimpses of whom they are beyond their home decor. What an amazing supportive network of women that I never would have imagined I would find on social media!  

I found a few things important once you join this fun IG community. I thought I would share my quick tips for those who may be new to Instagram or would like to dabble a little more and expand their account.  

Be generous with your likes

Spreading positivity comes with being generous with your “likes”! Ok so you don’t have to “like” everything but don’t be shy about “liking” someone’s photo or post. It really means something to them and helps continue to spread the positive vibes. If I see something I like I don’t hesitate and if I have the time I make a quick comment. I also love to tag friends so they can find inspiration and follow along.

Acknowledge your comments

Now I know what you are thinking – how in the world can I manage that – my response is try your best. It makes all the difference. One of the things I learned very quickly by observing and noting several of the talented and kind women I follow was their thoughtful and caring responses to comments. Even those women with thousands of followers – they were considerate, kind-hearted souls who would take the time and acknowledge. No wonder they had so many followers! By acknowledging a comment you are spreading the kindness that is this wonderful IG community. Let me share an example of my earliest experience. When I first joined IG I wanted to feature a “Follow Friday” because I thought it would be fun – not realizing that I didn’t have any followers yet except for a few that would care – Ha! I usually catch on quicker but I got caught up in the excitement of IG! Despite being a new account those women I featured were so kind and acknowledged my post – they didn’t care that I had maybe 20 followers at the time and it felt wonderful to have that kindness returned. Always try your best to acknowledge and be kind.  

Don’t be afraid to make connections

Making connections with friends who you have never met might seem weird and different at first but when you have a common interest it is actually very easy. I have met so many smart, sweet, and fabulous women that are truly inspirational with their supportive and welcoming approach. I was introduced and featured by 2 amazing women and it made me feel so welcomed and I can’t wait to return the favor to someone new to Instagram. I will never forget their kindness and will always be their biggest fans.

Have fun with emoticons

I love emoticons because they help to express emotion on social media and on IG it is so fun to use them in commenting and posting to convey a vibe and feeling. Emoticons help others understand the emotion behind the post – just don’t overdo it – sometimes it can happen but find a balance and it will help send your message across. If you haven’t downloaded an app for emoticons I highly recommend it!!

Let’s continue to spread the positive vibes and love on instagram because you never know how much you will make someone’s day and how that kindness will come back to you…I can’t think of a better place for women to support one another in their dreams, businesses, creative ideas, passions, and hobbies.

Elizabeth Light, PhD, RN - Guest Blogger

You can find me here: blog | Instagram