Don’t worry about the algorithm again – the most common pitfalls of Instagram solved. Are you making these five mistakes on Instagram?

Pajama Marketer

 Don’t Make These Instagram Mistakes


I’m a social media manager and part of my job is doing audits for clients of how they can improve their Instagram. Having gone through many accounts I find there is a pattern of key items that need improvement.

In this post, I will highlight both the core issues I see on a regular basis that are hurting Instagram metrics, but also how to avoid them moving forward. As Teddy Roosevelt said, “Complaining about a problem without posing a solution is called whining.”

Teddy Roosevelt Quote


Mistake #1 – Not Engaging With Other Users


This might seem odd, but I see it all. the. time.  Even when I was first starting out on Instagram I viewed it more like a curated museum where people stop by, but I was totally missing the point.  

The most important metric of all (in my opinion) is engagement. It is more important to have a small and engaged following then huge vanity metrics.  So how do you grow your own engagement?  You need to actively engage.  Here are my top three ways:

  • Ask for it – each time you post you should have an engagement trigger.  Ask a question, create a reason for conversation.
  • Respond to everyone.  If people take the time to comment or DM you make sure you take the time to respond. 
  • Do outside engagement.  Make sure you take time to look at other feeds and engage with them.  

 Mistake #2 – Not Having a Hashtag Strategy


Ah, hashtags, you might love them, you might hate them or you might throw one in here and there for good measure.

Hashtags are an incredible tool within Instagram and you want to ensure you are maximizing them.  Here are the biggest hashtag issues I usually see:

  • Not using hashtags at all (yes you need to use them for visibility).
  • Using huge hashtags.  If you are a smaller account and using hashtags in the millions you are going to get lost and you are mostly wasting your time.  Stick to a ladder strategy and bucket smaller hashtags for better discoverability.
  • Not checking for banned hashtags.  If you use them in your post it’s likely you won’t be seen / shadowbanned.  Sometimes the hashtags that are banned are innocuous like #momblogger was for some time so just keep it in mind to check before you post.
  • Using the same set of hashtags over and over. Who likes bots?  No one except the people running them so since you are a human with a real account make sure you aren’t turning on the IG bot radar by using the same hashtags all the time which can be flagged as spammy behavior.

These are some very high-level hashtag tips, but for a deeper dive, I highly recommend this very affordable program called Hashtag Hacks.  It comes with all the lessons, a hashtag organizer system, and more. (When you buy something using the retail links in our posts we may earn a small commission.)

Mistake #3 – Not Using Instagram Stories or Reels


Since their launch Stories usage has skyrocked.  Many users now consume the bulk of Instagram content in Stories.  If you aren’t there you are missing a big opportunity to connect and engage.  Also with the launch of Reels IG is giving those with reels more chance to be highlighted as adoption increases.

I often hear people are interested in Stories but aren’t sure where to start.  To help people who are just getting started with stories I created a quick video tutorial of how to record, edit, customize, and post Instagram Stories.  You can find that video here.

Mistake #4 – Not Being Relatable or Authentic


The perfectly curated flawless Instagram life is getting old for some people. If you think about the people you connect with the most on social media it’s likely those who are a bit more real and sharing about the good and bad of their life.  Can you achieve this and still have a pretty feed – absolutely, but I’d take authenticity over perfection any day.

Mistake #5 – Not Having a Clear Bio or Call to Action


You get only a few seconds from when someone visits your profile before they decide if you’re someone they want to hang out (digitally) with.

The first impression rose is key – no sparkle dress and awkward intro required.  Here are some of my favorite bio tips:

  • Use a picture of yourself.  This should be just you, not a family pic (I love my family photos but this isn’t the place).  It should be a headshot(esque) meaning easy to see your face.  I took mine with my iPhone so it’s not necessary to be super fancy.
  • Be crystal clear about who you are and what you do – what do you offer and how can you help people who visit your profile?
  • Have a link and call to action.  If you can connect why leave it at just Instagram?  Remember you don’t own Instagram and it could be gone tomorrow. It’s always a good idea to continue relationship building outside of the platform as well.

Those are my top tips – if you found them helpful I’d love to connect with you on social media.  – Lesa B, Pajama Marketer

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