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5 Common Mistakes on Instagram (and what to do instead!)

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

You’re on Instagram and you want to maximize its potential, but you don’t have time to find best practices. We’ve managed a lot of Instagram accounts and talked to hundreds of people about questions they have about Instagram. There are a few mistakes that come up again and again when it comes to strategy.

We are listing five of them here. More importantly, we are going to walk you through what to do instead.

1. Perfect Curation

Having a perfectly curated Instagram account is so 2015. Sure, you want to keep things decent, but we’ve found time and time again, that the posts that get the most engagement are the ones that are real. Lift up the filter curtain and show people behind the scenes. You will be rewarded with real connection.

Solution: Post some genuine pictures. It’s more relatable.

2. Quantity

Posting regularly on Instagram is a must. Posting unintentionally, with no themes, no rhyme, no reason? That is a must NOT. Do not post just for the sake of posting.

Solution: Think about why you want to post. Does it provide value to your audience? If the answer is no, skip it.

3. Loops

It’s easy to get wooed into participating in an Instagram loop. You know, those posts where 10 accounts get together and tell their audience to travel around to each account, liking each account, and offering some sort of reward? Here’s the thing: after the contest is over, those new followers often click “unsubscribe”.

Solution: Collaboration. Target one or two overlapping accounts that have the same target audience. Do a collaboration with them that is a deeper and has more hype. For example, a pizza restaurant might start offering a craft brewery on tap. Both can hype up the big announcement, both can announce it, and then after both can offer suggested beer and pizza pairings and mention cool things their new collaborator is doing. This builds connection and creates meaningful new followers.

4. Pods

Pods are accounts that get together and agree to comment on each other's posts all the time, in an effort to trick the algorithm. You can even buy into large pods. This is a terrible idea. Why? Because the algorithm figures out your game pretty quick and, depending on the severity of the pod, it can actually penalize your account, so that people outside your pod see your posts less.

Solution: Focus on meaningful connection. Take time to reply to comments on your posts. Comment and like posts on your followers’ accounts.

5. Click and go

Often people will post and then disappear. This is a missed opportunity. The first 45 minutes of a post’s life is the most important - you have your audience’s attention and it is an opportunity for deeper connection.

Solution: Stick around and reply to comments on your post.

We’re curious: what would you add to the list? Or what questions do you have? Is there something you are doing and you wonder if it’s the right thing? DM us and we’ll weigh in!

p.s. Here are five things you can post about on social idea, and here's four more!

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