9 Instagram Mistakes Social Media Managers Should Avoid

As our guide to getting more Instagram followers says, instead of buying an audience, you need to create a thoughtful strategy, set smart goals, share great content, and engage your audience. If all that you are posting are images of your own product or logo, your followers are going to lose interest. You could ask their thoughts on your newest product (featured in the post), or general open-ended questions. Not editing your content Editing your Instagram photos and videos can increase engagement by more than 45 percent. Ignoring your community As with most other social media platforms, Instagram is not a “set it and forget it” type of deal. Ignoring Instagram Stories Instagram Stories allow users to share multiple photos and videos in a slideshow sequence that disappears after 24 hours. If you’re looking for this kind of direct connection with your audience, you can’t afford to miss this feature. While you want to keep your content authentic, you also want to ensure you’re actually providing value to your audience and not wasting their time. Use all of the Instagram Story features—like filters, stickers, text, drawing tools, and tags—to make your content more interesting. Save time managing your Instagram presence by using Hootsuite to share Instagram video, schedule posts, and monitor your efforts.

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With over 700 million users, it’s not surprising that Instagram is a core part of most social media strategies. To keep the momentum going, brands have to make sure they’re not ruining it for their audience by making careless blunders or missing the mark.

If you’re perplexed by the idea of filters, hashtags, captions, and followers—or are simply looking for ways to boost your presence—the following list of common Instagram mistakes can help your efforts reach their full potential.

9 Instagram mistakes social media managers should avoid

1. Buying followers

Good businesses are working hard to build a robust Instagram presence, and buying your way to the top won’t do you any favors.

As an experiment, Hootsuite created a dummy account and bought Instagram followers to find out what would happen. Our results suggested there are two main issues with this tactic:

  • Zero engagement. While we had reached over 1,000 followers in only a day, our posted content didn’t receive any likes or comments.
  • A risky audience. When we looked at the audience we did have, they were either teenagers posting shirtless selfies or bots sharing inappropriate content. These aren’t exactly the types of accounts you want your business associated with.

As our guide to getting more Instagram followers says, instead of buying an audience, you need to create a thoughtful strategy, set smart goals, share great content, and engage your audience.

2. Ignoring the numbers

Once you have an established account it can be tempting to start posting and never look back. But in order to use Instagram to its full potential, you need to pay attention to the numbers. With trial and error, you can find out what posting schedule, types of content, hashtags, and captions get the best response and engagement rates.

Some things you’ll want to measure include:

  • Followers, including follower growth and loss
  • Engagement in the form of both likes and comments
  • Hashtag use
  • Click-through rates for the URL in your bio
  • Mentions
  • Frequency of posting
  • Audience demographics
  • Engagement according to time (i.e. when did your posts get the most likes)
  • Sales via Instagram (by creating a specific Instagram coupon, for example.)

One way to monitor your success is with Insights, Instagram’s own measurement feature. Instagram Insights “provide information on who your followers are, when they’re online and more. You can also view insights for specific posts and stories you’ve created to see how each performed and how people are engaging with them.”

While numbers and statistics aren’t the only way to measure your Instagram success, they can definitely help provide an indication of what you are doing right (or wrong) at any given time.

3. Being overly promotional

As with any other kind of promotional tool, constantly shoving your business in people’s faces on Instagram is off-putting and a surefire way to alienate your audience.

If all that you are posting are images of your own product or logo, your followers are going to lose interest. Instead, take a softer approach and try to portray the values that your brand or product represent as a whole with engaging content.

For example, IKEA Canada has curated an Instagram account that features images of their employees, their communities, and other lifestyle content alongside posts featuring the products they are selling. This builds a visual representation of their brand while showcasing how their products might look in the real world.

4. Not paying enough attention to captions

If you’re looking to drive engagement, you can’t afford to ignore your Instagram captions. Great Instagram captions not only help give context to your posts, but can generate emotional responses from your audience.

Psychological Science published a study about the psychology of sharing which showed that evoking certain emotions can help increase the chance of a message being shared. Essentially emotional stimuli activates the nervous system and boosts “social transmission.”

Our post How to Write the Best Instagram Captions: Ideas, Tips, and Strategy can help you perfect this skill by following tips like:

  • Place the most important words at the beginning of your caption. Some text usually gets cut-off, so put @s and mentions at the end. Don’t bury your lede!
  • Pose a question. Encourage audience participation and engagement by asking them a thoughtful question. You could ask their thoughts on your newest product (featured in the post), or general open-ended questions.
  • Don’t be afraid to use emoji. This visual language helps draw the audience’s eye and adds fun and personality to your caption.

5. Misusing hashtags

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