I Made the Biggest Instagram Mistakes

As a fairly proficient blogger, I am ashamed to admit that I have made some of the biggest Instagram mistakes. Since creating my Instagram account in 2016, I have come a long way in terms of content, branding, and engagement. I started Instagram as a means to have fun and record life’s best moments. I then let my blog take over Instagram and in my race toward being the best, I started to lose sight of the true importance of social media. And that is when I made the biggest Instagram mistakes. This is what I did — and what you can do to avoid them.

smiling woman holding black smartphone taking a selfie for Instagram
Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

5 Biggest Instagram Mistakes

Participating in follow loops

Even as recently as 5 months ago, I was participating in follow loops as a way to increase my following on Instagram. A follow loop is when you follow a batch of people during a specified time, with the knowledge that they will follow you back. They do work in the sense that they will help grow your account. But what I found is that using follow loops is pretty much akin to buying followers. In other words, most of the people in these loops do not engage and are just a number. Simply put, follow loops won’t give your account any real engagement.

Creating content with no call-to-action

Every piece of content on Instagram should have a call-to-action. A call-to-action is a question or statement used to induce the Instagram user to do something. For example, you can use a call-to-action on Instagram to ask a question, share a link, or tag a friend. While I did create many Instagram posts with a call-to-action, there were equally as many that didn’t have any at all. By not having a call-to-action, I gave my Instagram post no purpose or direction.

Using the wrong hashtags

On Instagram, it is vital that you use hashtags for every piece of content that you create. In fact, you can use a maximum of 30 hashtags for every post that you share to your feed. In the beginning, I admit that I just selected random hashtags that seemed relevant to my post. But what I should have done is to spend a few extra minutes doing hashtag research. The hashtags that you select are important as it is one of the best ways that new Instagram users will find your content. Use hashtags that are relevant to your niche, location, and content, as well as combination of big, medium, and small sized hashtags. And then, once you post, it is a good idea to go through every hashtag and engage with the content that other people have posted.

Joining engagement groups

At first glance, engagement groups seem like a great way to interact on Instagram. They are small groups and the purpose of these small groups is to create engagement. In the group chat, you might write a message to indicate that you have posted a new piece of content. The members of the group will then like, comment, and/or save the post. Personally, I found engagement groups to be better than follow loops as they helped to give better engagement most of the time. But, truthfully, I didn’t stick with the engagement groups that I joined because the engagement always seemed forced or artificial. You don’t want to buy engagement. You need real, authentic engagement and that should never be forced or asked for.

Creating low quality content

On Instagram, it is advisable to post content to your feed three times a day. Because I was so focused on creating content in order to stay relevant and unforgettable, I used to just post content — even when it wasn’t my best work. I shouldn’t have done that. It’s always best to have few exceptionally high-quality work, rather than a lot of low-quality work. I just found myself settling and posting content, just to get it out there. But I’ve learned and now I only post content that is relevant and beautiful, and one that I can pair with an interesting story in the caption.

You might also like: How to Create the Perfect Instagram Post

What Happens Now?

In the past, I made some of the worst and biggest Instagram mistakes. I don’t regret making them because it was all part of a process. As with anything, you must try by trial and error. That is how you learn. I will keep creating content on Instagram with the goal of connecting with likeminded people and promoting my brand and blog, while being as authentic and real as possible.

You might also like: I Took a Break from Instagram — And This is What I Learned

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Hi! I'm Helen and I am a 32 year old biracial millennial mom raising two multiracial children. I am a writer, English consultant, and social media manager. I am a self-proclaimed chocoholic.

17 thoughts on “I Made the Biggest Instagram Mistakes

    1. Hey! Thanks for reading & leaving your IG link. I will definitely follow you over there. I didn’t know what I was doing when I first started — in fact, I’m still figuring it out lol 🙂

  1. My biggest Instagram mistake is not being on it. I just don’t have enough time for so many social media platforms.

    1. Yeah, you are so right. There are so many social media platforms out there — and I don’t understand how anyone can be active on all of them. I feel as if I don’t spend enough time on twitter/facebook/instagram/linkedin but if I were to spend more time on those platforms then I wouldn’t have a life at all. So, it’s definitely a hard juggling act. I suppose most content creators would just use a scheduling app and schedule content in advance… but at the same time you’ve still got to be on in order to respond quickly.

  2. This is great advice! I am trying to get back into using my instagram account to promote my blog. I feel that I need to get back into a mindset where I view it as something fun and exciting rather than a chore though. My account is @discover_with_deanna Thanks for the advice!

    1. Thanks! I just followed you — can’t wait to connect. And yeah, definitely need to see it as something fun otherwise if you view it as work then your content becomes forced and not at all authentic

  3. Great post Helen! Thanks for sharing your tips and experience. I admit I am not very good on Instagram or building a social media presence in general. This post has a lot of great information to help others!

  4. I totally understand. When I first started blogging I unfortunately was not sure what to post on Instagram and then after a few months I started to realize how I can use Instagram to express my daily thoughts and honestly I love it.

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