When I get asked about my favorite dating app, I’ll often answer “Instagram!”
Instagram really is an amazing dating app:
- It has a MASSIVE audience of singles 🌐
- It’s effortless to connect with new people 💬
- Couples link up via Instagram all the time 💑
Unfortunately most of Instagram's potential as a dating app goes untapped, because most guys don't know how to use it...
Ready to meet women you’re excited about on Instagram?
Today we'll cover step-by-step instructions to turn Instagram into your favorite dating app 🔥
This guide is divided into 4 parts:
- Strategy Overview
- Building A Compelling Profile
- Qualifying Your Crush
- Starting The Conversation
Part 1/4: Instagram Strategy Overview
Most guys know they’ll need to send a cold direct message (DM) to a woman they’re interested in meeting via Instagram.
Most guys DON’T know the ramifications of sending a cold DM, and they’ll never successfully meet women via Instagram as a result…
The unsuccessful approach guys take is:
- Stumble on attractive woman’s profile 😍
- Send cold DM asking for a date 💬
- Feel disappointed when she doesn’t respond 😧
- Send another cold DM asking for a date 🙄
- Feel frustrated when she doesn’t respond, either 😤
- Give up 😒
This approach fails every time because:
- ⛔ The woman is seldom single and looking...
- ⛔ Even if she is, she seldom sees the guy’s message...
- ⛔ Even if she sees his message, she rarely reads it...
- ⛔ Even if she reads it, she rarely wants to reply...
- ⛔ Even if she wants to reply, she'll check the guy's profile first, and if it sucks, she won't bother...
Basically, the average cold Instagram DM works as well as screaming at a random girl across this crowd at Coachella:
Good luck finding a girlfriend like that!
On the other hand, some guys consistently meet attractive women on Instagram...
These successful guys follow a different approach:
- They invest in designing an attractive Instagram profile ✨
- They only approach women they’ve qualified as single and compatible (and even then, they usually only pursue women they share some real-world connection with...) 🎯
- They send a thoughtful message the girl will WANT to read and respond to 💬
- They send the message in a way the girl will ACTUALLY see it 👀
- They create an engaging conversation 🗣️
- Finally, they transition the online conversation to a real-life date 💑
To stick with the concert analogy...
This approach is like chatting up a female friend-of-a-friend who you know is single, who is seated next to you listening to live acoustic music in the backyard of your favorite neighborhood bar 🎶
You won’t get a date every time...
But this shot is 1000x better than shouting across the crowd at Coachella!
⚠️ Before we continue, important warning...
The vast majority of men won't attract women on Instagram because they can’t build a compelling profile.
Basically, if you can't consistently match with women you’re attracted to on actual dating apps like Hinge and Bumble, you'll have worse luck on Instagram 😬
(And if this is you, don't feel bad — 95% of men struggle with dating apps; it's not your fault; and you should check out my profile guide HERE!)
Creating a strong Instagram profile is nearly identical to creating a strong Hinge profile.
It just has two added challenges:
- Instagram lacks guardrails. Apps like Hinge literally gives you instructions for writing prompts women will engage with, and most women on these apps are pre-qualified as single.
- Instagram requires social proof to work as a dating app. That is to say, who your friends are doesn't influence your matches on Hinge, but it will influence whether you can land dates on Instagram.
Basically, if you struggle to meet women on apps like Hinge and Bumble, focus on that first.
And if you consistently get matches on Tinder and Hinge, and you just want to explore opportunities on Instagram...
(Or you're just curious 🤔)
Then read on!
Part 2/4: Building A Compelling Profile
We've already discussed how you need a compelling profile to make Instagram work for you as a dating app.
This is because a woman will ALWAYS scope your profile when deciding to respond to your DM.
If she can’t immediately tell that you're trustworthy and attractive from your profile...
She'll assume you’re just another creepy stranger from the internet, and ignore your message 😬
Compelling Instagram profiles have 4 elements:
- Written bio that captures her attention & makes her smile 📝
- High-quality photos that clearly illustrate what you look like 📸
- High-quality captions that make her confident you’re interesting and compatible 💭
- “Social proof” i.e. followers, likes, comments from actual humans who she would also think are interesting 👪
In conjunction, these elements can convince her you’re trustworthy and awesome. Let’s look at each quickly.
Written Bio 📝
Your written Instagram bio is like a “prompt” on Hinge or Bumble.
You get about a dozen words to communicate something to catch her attention.
The key difference is that on Instagram, your written bio is the first thing she’ll see when she visits your profile, so it needs to be extra good.
How to write a great bio is a topic for another guide. But high-level, remember:
- Capture her attention
- Put your best foot forward
- Keep it loose
- Make her smile
High-Quality Photos 📸
Capturing high-quality photos is another topic we don’t have time to cover in depth here...
(And if you can’t distinguish between good and bad photos for Instagram, Instagram isn’t the right “dating app” for you…)
But I want to call out the #1 mistake I see guys make with photos on Instagram.
👉 It's having too few photos of themselves on their profiles.
Instagram is a great place to show off your sunset photography skills, or document your favorite meals, or catalog adventures partying with friends…
But if you intend to use Instagram for dating, your profile needs to be littered with dating-app style photos of YOU.
Women you've never met won't scroll 100 photos deep in your feed to determine what you look like!
If she can’t tell you’re cute immediately, it’s game over.
The good news is that, because she won’t scroll 100 photos deep in your feed, you don’t need that many photos of yourself (or photos generally).
Enough content to fill 4 “rows” on your profile (approximately 12 photos) is sufficient.
Just make sure at least half of these are dating-app-quality photos, so she can immediately decide you’re cute, and that she wants to chat!
High-Quality Captions 💭
Your photo captions are less important than your photos...
But she’ll absolutely read (and subconsciously consider) them before deciding to engage with your DM.
Your captions need to demonstrate you’re the type of guy she’s looking for.
Caption copywriting is outside of the scope of this guide, but for a crash course...
Check out The Rock and John Mayer on Instagram, and study their post captions.
Both are savants at writing intriguing and engaging captions that build trust!
Social Proof 👪
Social proof refers to other peoples’ engagement with your Instagram account:
- Followers ☑️
- Likes ☑️
- Group photos ☑️
- Comments ☑️
You don’t need to be a celebrity with thousands of followers and likes to successfully meet women on Instagram!
Women seldom care deeply about your follower or like counts, and engagement quantity isn’t sexy in itself — anyone can buy likes.
But women do seek guys with cool friends, and they avoid creepy guys who lack friends.
So if a woman’s evaluating your profile, she’ll pay attention to:
- Whether you have photos with friends (zero group pics signals creepy loner vibes, and is a red flag 🚩)
- Whether your friends seem cool (the same way you probably view the profiles of her friends in her photos, she’ll view the profiles of your friends in your photos 👀)
- Whether or not your friends comment on your photos (comments reinforce that you have an active social life 💬)
One last note here...
⏱️ Creating a compelling Instagram profile for dating is a big time investment.
If you’re starting with an average Instagram profile, and you expect to start meeting women on Instagram in days or weeks, you'll almost certainly fail.
(I’m not trying to be negative! This is just honest feedback, based on years of experience.)
It’s simply not possible to create a great IG profile from scratch in days or weeks.
Most people simply don't take part in enough activities that are worth capturing and sharing!
However, if you budget several months...
And you craft the perfect written bio, capture amazing photos, write inspiring captions, and cultivate lively engagement from your friends...
☑️ You can absolutely create the quality profile you need to meet women on Instagram.
To synthesize, you need reasonable expectations about project scope if you want to successfully attract women you’re excited about on Instagram.
It isn’t actually hard, and most guys can do it...
But you must expect to invest time and effort over an extended period of time ⏳
If you’re willing to make the investment, it can be worth it.
If not, stick to traditional dating apps!
I lied, one more last thing...
👋 Your profile has to be public to successfully meet women on Instagram.
If your profile is private, she’ll immediately pass on you, because she won't be able to evaluate any of the criteria we just discussed!
Part 3/4: Qualifying Your Crush
Built an awesome Instagram profile?
Before you start firing off DMs, though, let's talk about who you DM 👤
I call this "qualifying your crush" — qualifying your crush is essential because:
- Most women on Instagram aren’t single or looking. Only about a third of women ages 20 - 35 are single! 😕
- Women who aren’t single or looking won’t respond to your DMs no matter how good profile and message are 😕
- Getting ignored is discouraging and it happens often enough even when your DM and profile are perfect, plus it can cause you to incorrectly conclude your profile and DM were bad 😕
- You don’t want to waste time on women who aren’t interested in you anyway 😊
So, what does "qualifying your crush" mean?
Before you DM a girl:
- Have reason to believe she’s single & looking ✔️
- Have confidence you’re compatible 🤝
Both steps are important. Let’s look at them quickly!
Qualifying If She's Single & Looking
I’m always shocked by how few men bother to investigate whether a woman is single before shooting their shot.
(These same guys tend to get upset when they learn the woman isn't single 🙄)
Failing to research her relationship status is lazy and dumb!
Only DM a woman on Instagram if you’re confident she’s single.
The most obvious first step is to scope her photos for a significant other.
- See a boyfriend? Red light 🔴
- No boyfriend? Yellow (not green) light 🟡
Many girls who are happily in relationships deliberately don’t share photos of partners on their Instagrams 💡
This is especially true if she has incentive not to share.
For example, if a girl's account is for her business, posting photos of her significant other might take attention from her business...
I’m a great example of this!
I’m happily in a relationship, but I don’t post about my partner on my Instagram.
This doesn’t mean I want to look single.
It just means my partner isn’t relevant to the messages I want to share with my audience as a dating coach 🤷♀️
In short, have actual reason to believe your crush is single:
- Maybe you’ve heard through the grapevine she’s single 👂
- Maybe she mentioned it in a recent story or post ✍
- Maybe you found her profile via a dating app 😏
Qualifying If You’re Compatible
"Compatible" is a broad word.
It can refer to everything from shared interests (e.g. you both like skiing 🎿) to physical proximity (e.g. you live close enough to each other you could believably date 📍)
I won’t spend much time here beyond calling out that guys who don’t consider compatibility set themselves up to fail.
To illustrate, it won't work out if:
- Your crush loves to surf, and you don't spend much time outside 🏄
- Your crush lives in LA, and you live in Ottawa 🗺️
One last note here...
Most relationships that “start” on Instagram have an underlying offline connection.
For example, the guy and girl travel in the same broader social circle, and have heard of each other in real life...
In this case, Instagram may just be the most convenient channel for sparking an introduction.
Keep this in mind when considering who to pursue:
- ☝️ You’re more likely to be successful with girls you have some IRL connection with
- ✌️ If the girl doesn’t know who you are, 1 or 2 mutual followers can immediately change her perception of you from “creepy stranger I’ll ignore” to “friend of a friend I’ll chat with!”
- 🤟 Truly cold connections are very hard to establish, no matter how great your profile and messages are.
Part 4/4: Opening The Conversation
Confident you’ve qualified your crush?
It’s time to start the conversation!
You have two tasks:
- Craft a DM she wants to respond to 💬
- Make sure she sees the DM 👀
Let’s look at these in order…
Writing A Message She Wants To Respond To
How often are you enthusiastic to greet an unfamiliar door-to-door salesperson who’s ringing your doorbell?
(Probably not very often!)
Think of yourself as the door-to-door salesperson when you DM a crush on Instagram 😅
By default, the women you message will be skeptical and defensive…
This means you need to IMMEDIATELY put them at ease, and demonstrate you’re someone they WANT to talk to.
Messages that accomplish this are almost ALWAYS specific to the woman.
But no matter what, your message should be helpful or entertaining to her.
👉 Can you tell her something she genuinely wants to know?
Maybe you saw she’s skiing in her story, and you know an amazing secret run on the mountain she’s at ⛷️
👉 Can you make her smile?
Maybe you have something clever to say about the last photo she posted 😏
Successful DMs tend to have a “why now” element to them, too.
Think about the skiing example — she’s physically at the mountain, which makes your message immediately relevant ⏲️
Making Sure She Sees Your Message
Once you’ve crafted and sent your crush the perfect DM, you want to increase the likelihood she actually sees it.
Most men are unaware of an important hazard here...
If she doesn't follow you, your DM will land in a spam-like “General” inbox in her messages.
She won’t even receive a notification it’s there!
The easiest way to mitigate this problem is to COMMENT on one of her most-recent photos (which will create a notification she'll see) to alert her that you sent a DM.
Comment something polite and to the point. To stick with the skiing example:
Hey! Check your DMs, I sent you a tip about Mount XYZ ⛷️
Then cross your fingers she wants to engage, and continue the conversation if she does!
Recap & Next Steps
What’d we learn about dating on Instagram today?
- Dating on Instagram isn't for everyone. Instagram is only viable as a dating app if you can consistently get great photos for example 📸
- You need a compelling profile. She's not responding to your message if your profile isn't strong, and this requires work 🏗️
- Qualify before you DM. You should only message women you’re confident are (A) single and (B) compatible with you 🤝
- She should WANT to respond to your message. And you have to take an extra step to make sure she sees it 💬
Want a little boost from a pro attracting women both on and off Instagram?
Just fill out the form below, and I'll follow up with details about how I can help.