5 Mistakes you are Making on Instagram and how to Fix it

Instagram can be frustrating. Can I get an Amen? I can't tell you how many times I have seen my following grow by 10 and about 2 minutes later I've lost all of those "new" followers and then some. Seriously? I have invested tons of time and money (on Instagram courses) to try and crack the code and I have found that many people are just making a few mistakes with their accounts that can easily be fixed. 

Here are 5 mistakes that you may be making with your Instagram account and how to fix it.

1. You're playing the "follow"/"unfollow" game

Here's the deal, there are accounts out there that are set up for the sole purpose to play the follow/unfollow game and in my opinion it's just garbage. The people behind these accounts are usually employed by a marketing company and they are not honest, engaged followers. The bottom line is you do not want them as "followers" anyway! The best way to approach Instagram is with honesty. Follow the accounts that you love and that inspire you - if they don't follow back thats totally fine. Yea, it looks cool to have 20k followers but are those followers engaged? Do they comment on your posts? Do they look forward to your posts? Quality over quantity applies to Instagram.

2. You are not "priming the pump"

What does it mean to "prime the pump"? Before you post on Instagram you want to spend some time in the app engaging with other accounts. Jump on and spend about 10 minutes liking and commenting on other accounts posts. This shows Instagram that you are engaged and will help your upcoming post get in front of more people. The algorithm favors people who spend time in the app and engage with other users.

3. Not taking time to create meaningful captions with a call to action

Believe it or not Instagram is not just all about the pretty images. The captions together with the images create your brand and engage your audience. Instagram can be a powerful tool used to create relationships, I have made several awesome connections and friendships just by commenting and engaging with other users. Don't make the mistake of just posting an image without a caption or a really short caption. Try to not only talk about the image you posted but dig deeper! How are you feeling today? What is on your heart that you want to share? You don't need to pour out your soul on Instagram but you do want to be genuine and honest.

Captions are also what drive comments and the more people who comment on your post the more people who will see that post. Again the algorithm is looking for engagement. Be sure to add a call to action with all of your posts. Something as simple as "can I get a double tap?" or "what's on your heart today?" or "what do you think about______(fill in the blank)". You want to prompt your readers to engage with you.



4. You are not using hashtags (or the right hashtags)

Hashtags can be confusing. Let's talk about WHY you use hashtags. Hashtags are a way to "mark" your images so that people who are interested in what you posted can find that post. Let's say you post an image of your kitchen renovation - you could mark that image with relevant hashtags such as #kitchenrennovation or #whitekitchen. You don't want to use hashtags that are inaccurate or vague. 

You also don't want to use hashtags that are too wildly popular. If there are 5 million people who used the hashtag #kitchenrennovation you can use it but remember that your image may get lost in the mix. You can post up to 30 hashtags on each post but again, make sure that your hashtags will make sense for the user. 

5. You aren't posting consistently

Instagram is not one of the social media platforms where you can just post once a week, let that post sit there and hope for the best. Again, the key to Instagram success is engagement.  If you post on a regular basis, use captions with appropriate hashtags and engage with other users you will see consistent growth. Your growth may be slow at first and you may see that number go up and down. It may feel like you just took 2 steps forward and 1 step back, but remember you want to keep the followers that are real people who want to engage with you! 

I found that I begin to gain momentum when I reached about 1000 followers. I gained new followers at a more rapid pace. Just remember that the key to growth is consistency, honesty and engagement.

Good Luck!! I know if you apply these principles you'll be on your way to growing your reach with Instagram! If you need help with captions you can check out my free guide 50 Instagram Caption Ideas to Connect + Engage!

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