I’ve been getting a lot of questions about Instagram lately with algorithm changes and people still not being super used to stories. With that being said, I want to talk about the five things I see on Instagram all the time that are killing you.
1. You’re playing follow the leader
You follow people because they follow you; you do what they do. It’s kind of a downward spiral. You don’t need to do that. Quality over quantity every time. I would rather you have 100 super engaged brand ambassadors who love you than 1,000 followers who don’t know who you are.
Using your account to really connect with people is much more valuable than just following random people who follow you. If the account isn’t a good fit or just not a good account, don’t worry with it. Just leave it.
2. You’re not taking your time
I have this guideline I refer to as the engagement rule of three. People will get onto a platform, post whatever they need to share for the day, then leave. Post and ghost. You don’t want to do that. You want to take some time to engage with other users. Engage with or follow three people. Write three comments. Like three posts.
It’s very simple. If you spend 5-10 minutes a day engaging with other accounts, that’s where you’re going to see your best growth. You don’t want to just post what you have and then get out of there; that’s not how you grow and gain your best followers.
3. You’re not creating the right captions
This is something I’m seeing more as they’re changing the algorithms. People are tending to favor longer captions–like, 300 characters longer. That doesn’t mean you have to text out a whole blog post. That just makes for tired thumbs. But, if you’re like me, you can type faster than you can text, so you can copy and paste after typing up a caption. A well-thought-out caption is just going to do better.
I know Instagram is all about pretty pictures, but the people who write out really engaging captions, they’re going to get the best interactions. So what makes an engaging caption? Tell a story. Tap into emotions. Talk about yourself. Talk about the bigger picture. Think about what folks are asking you and try to address that in your captions. (And emojis. Emojis do well on Instagram.)
4. You’re using the wrong hashtags
I would say this is probably the biggest offense I see. People will make up hashtags on the spot without checking them out. People will use hashtags with millions of hits. People will use hashtags with zero hits. You have to find a good balance. Hashtagify is a cool, free app that gives quality ratings on any given hashtag.
This matters because you need that balance: you need some that are bigger and others that are smaller. You want to use hashtags that are branded for you and some that are unique to the image. Definitely make sure you check hashtags out, too, so your posts aren’t somehow linked to adult content or profanity or any other negative connotations.
5. You’re not being consistent
This one is a personal pet peeve of mine. You aren’t posting consistently. You aren’t using your own branding in your posts. You aren’t posting stories. And, the worst of the worst, you aren’t being true to who you are. People have to like you first.
It’s the “know, like, trust” factor. That comes from consistency. Consistently good content, being consistent on the platform, being who you are, showing your face. Instagram numbers are much better if you use pictures of real people–yourself. You’re going to a lot better if you integrate yourself into your brand.
Quality over quantity is the name of the game. Whether in terms of followers, engagement, captions, hashtags or content, you want to be sure you’re consistently representing your brand in the way that’s best for you. When you check out an account, it should have a look or a feel to it. Make sure you have that.