5 Things Tea Companies Need to Stop Doing on Instagram

Instagram is probably the social media platform that I use the most. There’s an awesome sense of community there and I love being able to connect with other tea fanatics around the world. It’s also a great way to discover new tea companies. That being said, there are some things that tea companies do on Instagram that drive me crazy. I’m writing about it here in the hopes that I can get through to at least a few of the perpetrators.

Using Stock Photography

I see a lot of companies using nothing but the same terrible stock photos that everyone else uses, most often from This comes across as very commercial and impersonal. It also tells us nothing about what they do or what their products actually are. I’m much less likely to follow back or trust a company that posts this way. Peppering in the occasional “on brand” stock photo is fine but they shouldn’t make up the entire feed.

Stealing Pictures

There is nothing worse than having a company steal your picture without permission. This is not ok do, even if it is a shot their product. Permission must be obtained from the person who took the picture and proper credit needs to be given whenever it is used. I’m not the best photographer in the world but a lot of thought and effort does go into everything that I post. On multiple occasions, I have had to ask for pictures to be removed because they were used without my knowledge. If there’s a person whose pictures you really enjoy, consider hiring them! 

Automatic Direct Messages

I’ve noticed a lot of companies using automated “bots” to automatically direct message their followers. It’s impossible for me to express just how off-putting this is. It didn’t work on Twitter and it doesn’t work here. I’m always happy to connect but I want an authentic conversation with a real human. A better idea would be to reply to my stories, forward me something that you think I might find interesting, or even just say hello.

Erroneous Tagging

This! I find my account constantly being tagged in pictures that have nothing to do with me by companies that I’ve never heard of. It’s basically a thinly veiled ploy to gain followers. At first, I would message them privately and let them know that this wasn’t ok to do. Eventually, I just started removing the tags and blocking them to prevent it from happening again. One company actually sent me a whiny email afterward claiming that they were “just trying to connect”. No, they were just trying to use my larger following to grow their own account.

Playing the Unfollow Game

Speaking of connecting authentically, I’m sick and tired of doing the unfollow dance! While I’m not a fan of “follow for follow”, I generally try to return the favor when an account is tea related and appears non-spammy. It’s very frustrating to then discover soon after that they have unfollowed me. Now, this isn’t an ego thing. What annoys me is that the same account will then do this whole routine over and over again. Why even bother?!?

Is there something that you would add to this list? Let me know about it in the comments!

My name is Nicole and I love tea...a lot! I have been writing about my love of the leaf since 2008. My work has been featured on World Tea News, The Daily Tea, Tea Journey, and other publications. I am the winner of the 2018 World Tea Award for Best Tea Blog.