The Unwritten Rules of Instagram Etiquette for Poets & Writers
I’ve had a poetry Instagram account for two years now. And as I’ve watched my account slowly grow, I’ve begun to see other accounts doing things that are a bit rude and, frankly, make me less likely to want to engage with them.
No one tells you how to act on IG; there is no rulebook. However, there are ways to engage politely and kindly, which in turn may lead to greater success for you down the road.
Please note that this is meant as a guide for poets and writers on Instagram. These “rules” may not necessarily apply to other social media platforms or other types of IG accounts.
In the real world and on social media, you receive what you give. The more you engage with others on social media and IG, the more others will engage with you, which can help your IG account grow.
However, just like in the real world, there is a thoughtful and kind way to do so. Below are a few tips to help your journey as a new IG poet or writer.
Rules of Engagement
I am someone who is often overwhelmed by DMs and message requests. Yes, sometimes those requests are bots. But sometimes, they are real people, but their messages come across as spam.
We all have that one high school acquaintance in an MLM (*pyramid scheme*) who slides into your DMs years after not speaking to you with a “Hey girl!” and ends up just wanting to sell you something. Most people, myself included, shy away from a hard sell like that. We need to be wined and dined; we need to be wooed.
What Not To Do:
Please, do not be like that. Tagging random IG writers in your posts or sending other IG writers your posts with no background context is attention-seeking behavior, especially if you are doing so in an attempt to get those people to like or engage with your posts.
Chasing others for engagement doesn’t work. Being pushy will turn people away from you instead of attracting people to you.
Another offense is asking people to share your work via their stories, especially those with larger followings. Asking to be featured or asking for shout-outs is rude, especially when you do it right off the bat, without getting to know someone. This act comes off as trying to use someone else’s account to gain followers and leverage yourself. It’s not genuine.
What To Do Instead:
Tag specific writing and poetry sharing accounts. There are plenty of accounts out there that solely sharing poets’ and writers’ work. Tag them instead, be featured by them instead.
Examples of poetry feature IG accounts include: @poetstribe @poetscity @outsider_poets @poeticreveries_ @apoeticview @poets_area @therainofpoetry @soleilpoems @poetsgrid @hernightingalewriting
Get to know other writers and poets in the IG community. Engage with them. Try to learn more about them (we humans love talking about ourselves). Comment on their posts, share their work on your story. Generally, people will notice and be more inclined to share your work in a more organic, natural way.
You get what you give. Sharing others' work and engaging with others leads to more engagement for you.
When you see that people are resharing your words or those poetry accounts are featuring your work, always thank them. Taking the time to show your appreciation goes a long way.
If you genuinely want feedback on a piece, say that in your message. Sending just a post is very spammy. Be open, be honest, be kind in all your interactions.
There is a massive difference between asking someone for tips on how to grow on IG vs. spamming them with your posts, hoping they will eventually share one. Which one would you prefer to receive?
What Instagram etiquette rules do you follow? Let me know in the comments!