Food For Thought: Psychology Behind Your Instagram Posts

3:13:00 PM

Last year in July 2016, I was introduced the world of Instagram where people can share photos privately or publicly. Using some of the psychology skills from work experience, I applied my knowledge in using it to grow my Instagram account into a few thousand followers. Anyone can do the job and depends on your time and available bandwidth.

Instagram has 5 simple actions that can be performed to interact with other user accounts. If you plan on maximizing your follower growth, you should take all these interactions into consideration.

  • post photo with captions and use hashtags
  • like photos
  • comment on photos
  • follow people's accounts
  • unfollow people's accounts 

This social rule that says people should repay, in kind, what another person has provided for them; that is, people give back (reciprocate) the kind of treatment they have received from another. By virtue of the rule of reciprocity, people are obligated to repay favors, gifts, invitations, etc. in the future. If someone receives a gift for their birthday, a reciprocal expectation may influence them to do the same on the gift-giver's birthday. This sense of future obligation associated with reciprocity makes it possible to build continuing relationships and exchanges. On Instagram, the acts of liking and commenting on other people's photos can help grow your accounts. In addition, following other people can lead to the same behaviour. In simple words, if you scratch my back, I will scratch yours.

Interesting timbits:
  • You can only follow a maximum of 7500 people
  • Based on blackhat websites - max likes per day is 1-2K!! 
  • There are ways to bypass the 30 limit hashtag limit on photos

Many studies have shown that people often form cliques and circles of friends with common interests (link here). People will attend to follow/group with you if your portfolio of photos is similar. Using the hashtag features, it is so simple to find people with similar interest/photos.


I have seen many Instagram accounts and photos. Can you tell between an attractive photo and bad photo? When it comes to the mind, people like symmetry and vivid colours or similar tone photos. I have seen some with really poor lighting to too much. In addition, what is the general theme of your photos? food? make up? relationship? I decided to make my account 100% food related. I personally don't like seeing accounts with mixes of relationships, kiss/hugs, makeup, sightseeing, etc.

Let me know if you agree with me :)

Random Photo of this Giant Ball of Chocolate (found at Walmart Canada)

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