In this post, Castle’s Head of Social Media Elena Rosewell will answer a seemingly straightforward question that is, in fact, a bit more complicated than it first seems: who are the best Instagram accounts to follow?

Your social media accounts are one of the most important tools for building your audience as a business. Instagram, in particular, can be a great way to connect with new customers or clients and increase awareness of and engagement with your brand.

However, successfully using your Instagram account can be a little more complex than you might think. Even simple-sounding decisions, such as who to follow, require some thought and planning. In this post, I’ll give you some tips on how to decide who to follow on Instagram, and point out a few common pitfalls to avoid.

Do the profiles you’re following have an effect on your page?

Firstly, it’s important to establish that who you follow isn’t a neutral decision. It doesn’t just affect who you’ll see on your feed – though that can be important if you want to keep up with what’s going on in your industry. It can also have some quite wide-ranging effects that may impact the success of your page.

For instance, the profiles you’re following will have an effect on your page in terms of engagement. Your engagement will depend on whether the profiles that you’re following engaging with your posts or if you are more focused on following brands. Neither of these is the right approach as such, it depends on your business – for example, if you’re a B2C or B2B business.

There are a few general rules you can follow, however. Essentially, when you’re building a brand on social media, you don’t want to follow everyone who follows you. That’s because you want to maintain a difference between your number of followers and the number of people you’re following. You’ll want to make sure the former is always greater than the latter.

For a brand, we recommend following similar brands, perhaps even competitors. In addition, following any influencers that you’re interested in working with is a great idea. It’ll allow them to get a feel for your brand. Further, if they know that you’re already following them, it shows that you’re interested in them.

Image of a man looking down at his phone with the best Instagram accounts open

Depending on your follower base, do you need to be selective on who you follow on Instagram?

The simple answer here is yes.  You always need to be following people that are appropriate for your brand.

For example, if you’re selling kids’ books, you don’t want to be following a lingerie brand. You need to keep your followers in line with the tone of your brand. You have to make sure that everything is cohesive and consistent, and this goes for the people that you’re following too. That’s because the people that you’re following will help you attract similar interests as well.

Which profiles would you suggest starting to follow?

In terms of the specifics of who you should follow, as I’ve mentioned above, this is going to depend on the nature of your business.

Let’s take, as an example, a web development agency. In this case, we’d suggest that you follow the major web tech people. Follow the likes of:

Basically, any of the industry leaders in that realm.

You also want to be following any influencers that are focused on web, so YouTubers or TikTokers, for example, who have shown an interest in web. People who produce tutorials, whether as blogs or on YouTube, are great to follow. At the most basic level, it’s important to focus on people that are applicable to your brand.

As an agency, you’ll also want to be following people who provide a product or a service – another brand, or a professional – rather than following back your customers necessarily. As I’ll explain below, this isn’t always the best idea.

A selection of brand logos to demonstrate who to follow on instagram.

Is it a good idea to follow your customers?

Sometimes brands get into a habit of following people who follow them, and this can include customers. However, this can actually be damaging for the brand, because not everyone who follows you wants you to follow them back. Also, your customers’ profiles are not really applicable to your brand at all times – much of what they post will likely not be related to your business or your industry.

Additionally, there is a follow and unfollow limit on Instagram. This means you can only follow up to around 100-120 users per day, and they suggest only unfollowing roughly the same amount, about 100 per day. So, when you’re starting a brand, you need to be really careful about who you’re choosing within that limit. You need to be really selective about the people you’re following.

A good tip is to ask yourself: will you unfollow these people in the future? If you’re only following them because they follow you, you’re likely going to unfollow them sooner or later. So, we’d suggest not following them in the first place.