• F4F: It's time to face it, guys. Many people are just following you because they want a follow back. It sounds douchey, but it's true. It's a great technique—they follow you, then you see that they have a bajillion followers, get all starry-eyed, and follow them right back. After a few days, they unfollow you. They also unfollow you if you don't follow back after a couple of days.

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  • DM: Some rappers would have you believe that it "goes down in the DM," but unless the messenger is truly trying to have a conversation or work with the recipient (hint: There's usually an email address in their bio), then the chances are that they're just hitting on them. As soon as "Hi, beautiful" pops up in Direct Message, the unfollow button is pressed immediately. Don't be a creep.

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  • It works! The other type of DMer is trying to recruit or sell you stuff. The minute your account goes from cute photos of puppies, flowers, and friends to crazy bloated bellies covered in white gauze, be prepared for a decrease in numbers. People don't care what "it" is or how it works—and they don't want to see it in their feeds. The same goes for spider-leg mascara and metabolism tea.

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  • Photo overload: I get it—your life is very beautiful and needs to be shared, but slow the eff down. If you post three or more photos within a 60-minute time span (especially if they're the same photo from different angles), then there are at least 20 people who are going to be annoyed—maybe not to the point of unfollowing, but irritated nonetheless.

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  • Grainy shots: Not every photo has to be of professional quality, of course, but blurry, grainy, no-good pics have no business in your gallery—if you're trying to grow, that is. Unless you're talking really stellar shots that you just can't live without (think: kissing Beyoncé's cheek from the front row of her concert), let the poor-quality ones go.

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  • Clichés: A portion of the Insta world really loves their motivational sayings, puns, and fancy calligraphy, and the rest of the Insta world hates it. Choose your typography wisely. A well-timed tribute or "Fri-yay" can do wonders, but the minute you clog your feed with trite phrases (think anything that starts with "Keep Calm and..."), it's going down.

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  • Regrams: Unless your feed is dedicated to featuring other people's work (which is clearly stated in your bio, and you give credit for every photo), use the regram sparsely, and definitely don't use the official regramming app. Anytime you are featuring someone else's work: Ask permission, take a screenshot, and crop out anything that's not the photo.

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  • Ugly stuff: I know, I know. That sunburn that's now peeling off your back like onion skin is hilarious, weird, and perhaps worthy of sharing—with your BFF via text—but when you post gross stuff on your feed, you're just asking everyone to forget that they ever enjoyed your photos. Most of your followers are looking for aesthetically pleasing content, so give the people what they want.

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  • #somuchfilter: Editing photos is great, especially if you're not shooting in perfect lighting, but when every photo you post is shrouded in a layer of sepia-toned fog, people are going to be over it pretty quickly. Don't #TBT to a dark, sad, orange time when Kelvin and Hefe ruled Instagram.

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