If you leave a comment and:
- the “likes” it gets are miniscule
- people react / reply negatively
- the owner of the Instagram account ignores it (you)
Then, we’ve got some work to do.
As a recovering socially clueless person, I’ve learned that being treated like you have poor social skills (and, therefore, being treated like you’re not worth connecting with) can lead to lots of challenges.
So, my goal here is to help you become more aware of any poor social behavior that you might have so that when you’re leaving Instagram comments, you can be a more effective — and a more socially attractive — human being!
So let’s dive in, starting with…
Why You’re Getting Poor Results with the Instagram Comment Approach
It’s not a completely dead strategy. In truth, if you’re high-status enough and socially skilled enough, you can get the attention of other high-status people on Instagram quite easily (so long as you’re verified, that is, so your comments get pushed to the top).
The issue is, that’s not most of us. So, most of us have to rely on the other networking strategies that are still proven to work to build relationships with people who are billionaires, executives, and celebrities on Instagram (pretty much the upper 10% of people who are really worth connecting with).
Unfortunately, Instagram is not the best place to connect with people in general if you’re starting out with an average reputation or online status. More specifically on this Instagram commenting approach, the comments you leave may get lost in the sea of hundreds of other comments left by other people vying for that same high-status person’s attention.
With all of that said though, these influencers and high-status people on Instagram are still people. So, like any human being, they still have a desire to connect with others and, therefore, many will read and respond to their comments when they see ones they feel are worth a reply.
So, let’s take a look at the mistakes many commenters have made that might have killed their chances of getting a response.
*Note: The following case studies are for educational purposes only and all personal information has been redacted for privacy.
The Fake Complimenter
Commenter: “The fact that his face is super not symmetric makes me at peace…”
What does that mean? If this celebrity read that comment, how is he supposed to take it?
A symmetrical face is a sign of attractiveness in pretty much every culture. And, conversely, an asymmetrical face is universally considered less attractive.
So, this celebrity could read this and interpret it as, “The fact that his face is super unattractive makes me at peace…”. And, that doesn’t sound like a very nice thing to say.
The exclamation points in her comment signal excitement and make it seem like a real compliment that communicates “I’m happy to see this post, you bring me positive emotions with your content.” But, its preface ruins the entire message.
And, even though the timing of the post likely played a factor, it’s still no surprise that the celebrity didn’t respond and the comment didn’t get a single like.
That might’ve been a pretty easy one for you, but keep reading because we’re only getting started.
The Negative “Value-Giver”
In the interest of those reading this who are looking to use Instagram comments to network to grow their business, I’ve got a special one for you here.
Commenter: “Someone could’ve fluffed the pillows. If you need a creative director, I’m available [rolling on the floor laughing emoji].”
We can admit that one or more of those pillows might not have been fluffed very well and that’s what this commenter points out. But, is insulting someone’s work any way to make a new friend?
Instead of simply offering value (such as by offering positive, constructive feedback), they start out negative and then offer help not from a position of “maybe we could work together because I think it could be a win-win,” but from a position of “look how poor your current work is, you need my help.”
And, to get the company’s attention, they even went so far as to comment that message twice.
By the way, in those cases of negative messages, emojis such as the one this person used are not positive. They’re framed as negative because the rest of the message was negative. So, in this case, that emoji made it seem like this commenter was laughing at the work of the company’s current creative director.
And, not only does that insult the company’s work, it also insults the company’s decision-making ability to make good hires (which would be whoever their current creative director might be).
Both of those factors heavily reduces your chances of them wanting to work with you as opposed to choosing someone else who knows how to communicate positively and make friends.
The Wannabe Parent
These are the types of people who act like they’re the parent of the person they’re trying to connect with by passing judgment over them.
They’ll judge the person they’re posting a commenting to and think that because it’s positive judgment it’s OK. But, really, it’s often still annoying for the receiver because it’s still judgmental.
Commenter: “So proud of you…”
“I’m proud of you” is a form of judgment. It implies that you assessed their work, judged their work, determined that their work is worthy of your approval, and are now passing that approval — that judgement — over them for their “good” work.
And, most people don’t like being judged.
To understand this, what would this person have said if their judgment was negative instead of positive? It easily could’ve been, “I’m disappointed in you.” And, in that case, it’s made even more obvious that this person is acting like a parent.
This is not a good strategy for connecting with those who are emotionally independent of your approval whether the judgment you’re giving is positive or negative.
The Clueless Order-Giver
These are the types of people who act like the high-status person works for them (because, if you’re giving them orders and expect them to follow your orders without any appropriate authority over them, that’s exactly what you’re doing).
Commenter: “Do some sparring sessions too!”
Here, you see this person orders the influencer (who’s the shadow boxer in the image above and the owner of the account) to do sparring sessions.
And, don’t let the likes fool you, the replies to that comment are of an argument between different commenters debating whether or not he can hold his own in a “real” fight.
This creates a number of problems:
- The influencer can decide to ignore your comment because he doesn’t work for you and, therefore, doesn’t have to (or want to) follow your lead.
- The influencer can decide to purposefully avoid sparring to distance himself from the debates, arguments, and drama caused by your (overly dominant) comment on sparring.
So, if you want something, ask nicely. Manners aren’t only for showing respect, they’re for increasing your chances of compliance and connecting too.
The Fake Representative
Commenter: “Dear Patrick, on behalf of [all] Armenians, I wanted to ask you if you are planning to help Armenia financially during this epic time in history…”
This person posted this comment four times. Twice from their business Instagram account and twice from their personal account.
They say, “…on behalf of all Armenians…”. But, does this person represent all Armenians? No, this person does not.
Acting like you’re speaking on behalf of everybody (and represent everybody) doesn’t make you more powerful or increase your chances of getting a response unless you actually do represent everyone.
If you guessed that this commenter is Armenian, you guessed right.
And, that poor social strategy here on top of asking for the high-status person’s help simply because, one, they’re also Armenian and, two, you want or need it, makes this person come across as entitled and manipulative.
And, the majority of people who responded to this person’s comment(s) also agree:
The Clueless Taskers
Much like the clueless order-givers, it consists of giving the receiver a task to do.
You might see this from commenters who tell the high-status person to make new content because they feel like their posts are getting repetitive (which assigns the influencer the task of making new, fresh content). You might also see this in commenters telling high-status people to check their direct messages which can assign them the task of searching their inbox for your message.
Or, the more obvious types of tasks, such as tasking them with looking through your page:
Commenter: “Check out my page [tags Instagram account owner].”
Or, a step further, tasking them with checking out your business and business’s products:
Commenter: “Check out my first collection [tags Instagram account owner].”
The main issue here is that tasks are typically handed down. They’re given from people in positions of power to people below them to execute.
So, if you’re going to give a task to someone who doesn’t work for you, make sure you’re at least making it easy for them, giving them the option to say “no,” and giving a persuasive reason why they should.
- Poor: “Check DM”
- Good: “If you want to, check your DM because [give them a ‘what’s in it for them’ incentive here]”
The Power Game-Players
Here’s an example:
Commenter: “Damn, you are literally replying to every single comment [flushed face emoji]”
How many different variations of this message have you seen before?
Another common one is, “Does the goat respond?” (“Goat” meaning “greatest of all time.”)
It’s supposed to be flattering. It’s a comment that’s supposed to communicate, “Man, I have so much admiration and respect for you, would you be willing to respond to my comment because I’m a real fan who actually likes you (hence why I’m giving you this compliment)?”
But, instead, it creates a problem for the receiver.
You’re judging them as this great person who is willing to respond to the people who are lower in status than them. So, now, if they don’t respond, they risk losing their reputation of being a high-status person who cares about (and is willing to extend a line of communication to) the “average joe.”
That makes your comment seem like a trap. A way to call the high-status person out into the open so that, if they do respond, everyone sees that they responded to you (which boosts your status) and, if they don’t respond, everyone sees that they ignored a warm-hearted fan (which makes them look unfriendly and, as a result, lowers their reputation and status).
So, to avoid being looped into that game, sometimes these high-status people will simply ignore your comment because they’d rather focus on the people who don’t play these games.
That’s not to say that the intentions behind someone who leaves a comment like this are “bad.” To the contrary, their intentions could be quite honest. But, that doesn’t change the “carrot and stick” reward and punishment game being set up by that comment. So, the higher-status people whos see through the game are the ones most likely to do what’s necessary to preserve their status and mental space.
And, that can mean choosing not to stoop to a level where anyone who plays that cheap game can easily take their time, freedom, and attention.
The Plain Turkeys
Some people are just downright rude. And, there’s a saying over at The Power Moves that I love:
The Power Moves: “You can’t soar with the eagles if you’re busy scratching with the turkeys.”
Another way of looking at that line for this example is, “You can’t soar with the high flyers of this world if you’re busy screwing around with the people who drag you down.”
And, if you act like a negative, anti-social person, chances are that high-status people aren’t going to bother responding to you because they have better things to do than give their mental space to someone who drags them down emotionally, mentally, or socially.
And, you can easily drag someone down with a hurtful comment.
Commenter: “Shut your ass up [clown face emoji and man facepalming emoji]”
When this is your response to a high-status person who shares their opinion — or, in this case, sharing advice they feel might be valuable to others — it should be obvious what it does to your chances of building a relationship with that high-status person.
Your chances plummet.
How To Get Better Results with the Instagram Comment Approach
There’s really only one way if you’re not already high-status (with a minimum level of social skills) on Instagram. And, that’s to be a consistent, positive value-giver (which effectively raises your status anyway because people want to be around friendly people who have value to give).
The Free Value Giver
The person who gives free value.
There’s a podcast host who, at the time of this article’s writing, is currently hosting the number three podcast on Apple Podcasts for investing and, therefore, has a great deal of status and connections.
That host posted this caption along with a post one day:
Earn Your Leisure Podcast Host: “I love Cardi B. Her story is truly inspirational. I don’t want to knock her, but her purchase of a Lamborghini this summer and subsequent showing of her bank statement to prove it wasn’t leased can serve as a teachable moment.
Many people have the idea that leasing a car is a bad thing. They think it’s a form of fronting [faking your financial success]. I used to think the same thing…
…But the most beneficial aspect of leasing a car to me is the tax benefits that you [can] receive. The tax laws allow businesses to deduct monthly lease payments as an expense (if used for business). If you don’t have a business. You can start one. You would be amazed by how many people start a business solely for tax deductions…
…Wealthy people do it all the time, poor people want to own a car, rich people want to rent them. It’s pretty ironic.
Each personal situation is different, if you drive a ton of miles or you like having cars for a very long time, buying makes sense. The key is to be educated on all your options before making a decision.”
And, one commenter said this:
He gave value with his initial comment. And, in the over 50 replies that he got, he was answering people’s questions about investing.
And, wouldn’t you know it, in the hundreds of comments in that comment section, the podcast host replied to the value-giver’s comment.
To my knowledge, they only knew of each other’s work and had no prior relationship. It seems like they had already agreed to meet up, but whether they knew each other before or not is irrelevant.
There are plenty of relationships where high-status people see the comments of people they’re acquainted with and ignore it. And, as a result, an opportunity to deepen an already existing relationship is lost.
The idea and principles behind the value-giver’s comment are what matter here. Follow the social exchange theory’s rule that you must give value to receive value and it’ll be far easier for you to receive replies from the people you’re looking to connect with (or deepen a relationship with).
The Charming Complimenter
If you’re happy for someone’s success and want to congratulate them, feel free to do so. But, leave out the parent-like “I’m proud of you” communication style to stay on good terms with them.
Here, rather than passing judgment on the high-status person by saying “you are” (such as “you’re a great XYZ”) or passing judgment on their work by saying “your video was,” they instead describe the effect that the person’s work had on them.
Commenter: “[I] really enjoyed your [work]…[I] love it.”
And, as you can see above, it’s those types of value-giving compliments that get a positive response.
As a side note though, keep in mind that this comment could’ve been even better. The applause emoji can still be a form of judgment as if to say “well done” after, once again, assessing and judging their work (and then choosing to give your approval with an applause).
And, knowing that most people don’t like being judged, that comment might’ve been even more effective without it.
People used to say “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Now, people say “Facebook wasn’t built in a day.”
This process of getting noticed and connected with high-status people on Instagram is not an overnight process with the commenting approach. It could take months before you get through to one celebrity depending on how famous they are.
So, keep on learning, avoid the poor mistakes used by other commenters, and don’t give up! Especially if you combine this approach with some of the other proven networking approaches out there (on and off social media), it’s only a matter of time before you find your first contact, stand out, and get connected.