If you’re running your own professional organizing business, it’s pretty likely that you’ve got social media accounts you’re operating. You also may have experienced some “bad manners” on Instagram. Or maybe, when you were just starting out, you committed some insta-faux pas. We all start out not knowing proper Instagram etiquette, but after reading below, you’ll know all the rules.
To quote Maya Angelou, “Do the best you can, until you know better. Then do better.”
Improper Instagram Etiquette
For instance, as a professional organizer, maybe you see a picture of a pantry you’re inspired by. You screenshot it and post it to your own account. Your caption says something positive, or maybe instructional about the space. All good, right?
What you did is basically stealing. You passed someone else’s organization, hard work, photography, and editing off as your own. That’s just one example of bad Instagram etiquette.
While there’s no excuse for stealing, here at Organizers Connect we TRY to give our fellow organizers the benefit of the doubt and assume they didn’t know what they were doing was wrong. That’s why we’re here to help educate everyone so we can all get along.
Proper Instagram Etiquette
Let’s start by coming right out and saying it — as a professional organizer, your social media account should be of YOUR work and YOUR ideas. You should stay true to yourself and share your personality.
Social media is a way for you to show potential clients what you can do for them, not what other organizers in your industry can do.
Yes, we’re all inspired by each other to learn and grow, but you also need to be yourself, not just copy others. You will probably not see a lot of social media success if you don’t put your own spin on your content.
Side Note: If you JUST want to be an inspiration account for organization, make sure you share that in your profile — don’t mislead potential clients.
Sharing Other Organizers’ Work (In-Feed)
That being said, if you find a space inspiring or don’t have a lot of your own content yet, sharing someone else’s work once in a while is okay, but there’s a right way to go about it.
This is simple, especially when you have a network of professional organizers you’re inspire by. If you like a picture, simply send a message and ask if you can share their picture in your feed.
This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it’s a GREAT way to form positive relationships and keep everyone happy. Wouldn’t you enjoy if someone did this for you?
Tag Creators – Use that @
If you’ve reached out to the creator of the content you love and are given permission, make sure you TAG the creator in both the caption and the actual picture.
When you tag in the caption, DON’T bury the tag all the way down at the bottom of your writing, hidden in the hashtags. Tag them loud and proud in the front. You aren’t stealing, you’re sharing work you’re inspired by.
The Right Way to Share
Here’s an example of the RIGHT way to share another creator’s work in your feed.
Professional organizer Azure of @livecomposed shared this post on Instagram. Hannah of @hlb_home created the content. Before sharing, Azure communicated with Hannah to get permission to share the post. When Hannah agreed, Azure wrote the caption to highlight Hannah. She tagged Hannah and encouraged people to follow.
Azure did not attempt to pass the photo off as her own. She didn’t bury Hannah’s tag under the hashtags. She didn’t add her own affiliate links.
PS- I contacted both @livecomposed and @hbl_home to ask permission to feature this post here. They granted my request. Definitely check them out for some inspiration on how to organize and how to be a good human.
Google and Pinterest Aren’t Creators
We’ve all seen it. Someone shares a lovely photo and gives source credit to… Pinterest.
Let’s take it back to high school and those dreaded works cited pages. You need to cite the ORIGINAL source, not where the photo ended up.
Yes, they probably saw that photo on Pinterest or in a Google Images Search, but that is NOT the source of the photo. Google and Pinterest are not creating their own content and, therefore, they aren’t the creator of the image you’ve chosen to share. Do your due diligence and keep clicking through until you find the ACTUAL source of the photo.
If you can’t find the source, you shouldn’t share it.
Sharing Other Organizers’ Work (Stories)
Sharing other organizers’ work in your stories is another story. Since stories are so much more casual and temporary, share away! Plus, Instagram automatically tags them as a shared post so your followers can easily click through and find more details on the original creator.
One thing to note: the original poster may not get notified by your re-post, so if you want them to see any comments or notes you’ve included, you’ll have to add a tag by swiping up or using their name within your writing.
Yes, we’re all organizers and we basically do the same thing, but there’s a lot of content to cover — don’t post about the same thing in the same way the day after another organizer shares her take on things.
If someone makes a label you like, don’t scroll through fonts for an hour until you find a perfect match and replicate them.
If someone makes a reel that pertains to your life, either share theirs or put your own twist on it. Don’t copy.
If you’re inspired by a story or space and you use that inspiration, tag the organizer who inspired you — even if you put your own twist on it.
Build relationships and support other organizers by being authentic in how you engage. Comment with words of encouragement you would want to read on your posts. Be generous with your likes. Chat in stories. Be a real person in an invisible world.
Stay on Brand
Instagram is a weird place. Many businesses, desperate for exposure, will write to you offering you “free” products to share with your followers. While we rarely recommend working with these companies, that decision is ultimately up to you.
We suggest you keep your followers and your brand in mind when collaborating.
That bathing suit company that wants to send you a bikini? Is that something your followers who want to get organized would enjoy seeing? We’re guessing that’s NOT why they’re following you and, regardless of how you look in said bikini, it will be a little off-putting.
Don’t Waste Followers’ Time
Yes, social media is a good way to waste time, but avoid overtly wasting your followers’ time by staying on topic and being intentional in your stories. Organizers are efficient, right? So efficiency is on-brand.
There’s nothing that makes ups hit unfollow faster than someone spending 10 seconds giggling in their stories or saying, “ummmm,” because they forgot what they were going to say. We know it can be awkward recording stories, especially at first, but always try to be considerate and aware of your followers’ time.
If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say…
There will definitely be times when you’re less than impressed with another organizer’s work. That’s okay. Probably sometimes you’ve shared some ideas that others didn’t love.
Here’s the great thing about Instagram — you can just keep going. The feed is literally endless. There’s no need to point out flaws or suggestions for improvement (unless they ask).
If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t comment. If the account is one you don’t enjoy, unfollow (no exit speech necessary).
Don’t Send Cold DMs
Before writing to anyone and asking for anything, build a relationship first by following and engaging. If they aren’t someone you want to engage with, don’t ask for things.
It’s quite annoying to get a message in your inbox from someone who gets your name, profession, or niche wrong. It’s random and a waste of time — this person isn’t someone I want to work with if they can’t even get the basic details of my account right. Don’t be that person.
Proper Instagram Etiquette
Following proper Instagram etiquette isn’t that hard. All you need to do is treat others the way you want to be treated. If you would be offended by someone stealing your content or asking you for things without building a relationship, don’t do it to others.
Do you have any more Instagram etiquette rules that we’ve missed? Any pet peeves we didn’t cover? Drop them below, we’re dying to know!