1. It's about sharing your life. The beauty of Instagram is that you can share your activities and interests in an incredibly pure way. Here is what I'm working on, here are the people I'm with, here is what I'm having for lunch, etc. It may sound pointless to some, but looking back at the last 9 months since I started I've built an incredibly detailed account of my time. It's the most thorough photo album I've ever put together, and in that sense, it's as much for me as it is for anyone who might want to have a look.
Keep in mind that if your using Instagram to actually engage with people and promote yourself (as I am) the point is that you are meant to be the main character. The images you post should have some relation to you, to what you're doing, to where you are, and to what you're interested in. The best accounts give a genuine glimpse and share a part of your personal story.
2. Variety is the spice of life. The best Instagram accounts (in my opinion) are full of variety. From selfies to food pics, from kids to vacations, from work to play, and everything in-between - that's what it's all about. If you post the same selfie over and over again or 10 pictures of your kid in a row, you're missing the point and not being very engaging. Show me a picture of what you're reading. The next day post a cool sunset. The day after share a picture from that party you went to - and please post selfies too - if I'm following you I'd like to see your face from time to time. Like I said above, it's not about documenting every facet, but curate your highlights. This is my Instagram feed:
3. Pace yourself. Post an image and then chill. Nothing is worse for followers than seeing 10 pictures in a row of the same thing. That's what a facebook photo album is for. Instagram should be just the gems.
4. Put some effort into what you post. As I said, if Instagram is meant to be just the gems than put some thought into how you're taking your pictures. This doesn't mean being all that elaborate, it just means don't post blurry photos, highlight your best shots, and share the kinds of things that you'd like to see from others. It's a lot easier to attract followers when your gallery looks nice.
5. Go for the details. In a world where it seems everyone has their cell phone with them, there's something really amazing about getting to see the world through someone else's eyes. Pinpoint things that interest you and share them. From the stereotypical morning cup of coffee to a cool pattern you see out on the street, what makes Instagram fascinating is that you're able to share your world as you see it.
Take advantage of those details to remind yourself of the amazing things around you. I didn't set out to shoot over 500 images for my account, but because I was casually thinking about it, I became more perceptive and put a bit more time into finding those details. In the end, it's an amazing document of your life to share.