Are You Making These Mistakes On Instagram?

9 Mistakes You Could Be Making on Instagram | Ever wondered why your follower count is going down, not up? Sick of trying to work out a way to beat the Instagram algorithm? Learn how to use Instagram wisely & grow your following | Learn more at ElleyMae.com

Stuck in a rut with your Instagram account? Not sure where you’re going wrong?

As social media influencers, we can often find ourselves second guessing posts, deleting old photos & questioning whether the IG life is really for us.

I’ve been there – it’s 11pm, I’ve had a long day & I’m laying in bed scrolling through my Instagram feed. I scroll down, see a gorgeous photo, click their profile and fall in love instantaneously.

A shadow of self-doubt clouds over my head & starts inducing a series of [ridiculous] questionsWhy can’t my account look this good? Why don’t my photos get that many likes? How come those brands haven’t reached out to me? And the list goes on..

But what’s important to remember here is that everyone is different! What works for you might not work for me.

What works for me might not work for you.

Especially with Instagram’s hideous algorithm. 

We can’t afford to get ourselves down these days with such large competition (hate that word) out there.

However, if you’re taking all the right steps to make something of your Instagram account but can’t see much growth happening, here are a few things to be sure you avoid.

 

 

Not Using Hashtags

Designed to help your content get discovered, hashtags need to become your best friend when it comes to Instagram.

You can use up to 30 hashtags per post. That’s right, 30 hashtags per post! The way I see it – each hashtag you use is another chance at gaining more exposure.

Don’t skip out on adding hashtags because you can’t figure out which ones to use.

Using hashtags requires a bit of research and a little common sense.

Put it this way.. If you’re posting about a new beauty product, you’re not going to include #hungry #bored #sunday are you? Tailor your hashtags to your audience & niche and go with what works well for you.

 

 

Putting Hashtags in your Caption

As I already mentioned, each Instagram post you publish allows you to add 30 hashtags. But, there’s a trick that actually allows you to add more than 30 hashtags per post!

All you need to do is post your 30 hashtags in the first comment immediately after publishing your post. Then, go back to your image, edit the caption & add (at the bottom) any extra hashtags you need to include.

This trick comes in especially handy when you have been gifted or sponsored for a post and need to include #gifted #ad #sp or #spon (which is actually a requirement).

But, if you’re just posting your normal 30 hashtags, pretty please do yourself (& your followers a favour) and post them in the comments. You’re just going to clog up news feeds with endless hashtags and make your post look messy.

Have a browse through my Instagram & check out examples of how to make use of 30 hashtags per post & ad in those required ones (#gifted etc).

Edit: After Instagram’s changes to the algorithm, again, some say that using more than 30 hashtags can get your posts “banned” from being seen by users other than your followers. I’ve been experimenting with using hashtags in and out of the caption & I’m still undecided on the final verdict. However, if you do put them in the caption, make sure to add some line breaks so it doesn’t clog up peoples feeds.

 

 

Posting Landscape Photos

If you’re really wanting to maximise your exposure on Instagram, avoid posting landscape photos.

Just like on Pinterest, landscape photos can be easily missed as users scroll through their feeds.

Regardless of the dimensions of your image, the majority of people use Instagram on their mobile phone. And how big is a mobile phone screen? Not all that big. Well, I guess in comparison to my first ever Motorola Coca-Cola phone (lol) they’re huge. But in comparison to the average laptop or desktop PC, there’s not a lot of space to work with.

 

Not Interacting With Anyone

I love interacting with other bloggers, social media influencers or just down right beauty-junkies. Liking their posts, leaving comments and often having to stalk them once a week because of Instagram’s stupid algorithm – these are all just small parts of being active on Instagram.

Trying to return every single comment you’re left on Instagram can be hard.

Trying to manage working a day job, maintaining your Instagram, keeping up with creating blog content & still trying to have a social life can be difficult at times.

Add to that list having to return hundreds of comments… Oh god, let’s woo up a minute here. I’m freakin’ out just thinking about it.

Try not to overwhelm yourself (like I do) with returning comments & make use of the “like” feature Instagram recently released. If you are really stuck for time, simply like the person’s comment & show them that you at least have read it & appreciate it.

 

 

Posting Too Many “Gifted” Posts

If there is one thing you don’t want to get wrong on Instagram it’s this.

Please, for the love of chocolate, don’t fill your feed with gifted posts. 

What’s a gifted post you ask? Well, part of being a blogger is receiving new products to try from PR or brands directly. And each time us bloggers put up an image of a “gifted” product, we have to disclose it’s a gifted product of course – it’s actually a legality.

But, post too many gifted photos and you start to look like an advertising page. Trust me, I’ve seen it before. Scrolling through bloggers feeds where out of the last 30 photos, there’s only 2 that aren’t gifted. Oh no.. 

From both a personal and professional point of view, this just seriously doesn’t look good.

If I posted a new photo every time I was sent a new product, I have no doubt that I’d lose followers.

Although I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunities I am given, I pride myself on my values. And one of my values is not to sell myself out & promote products I have no idea about (or dislike).

In fact, It’s actually stated in my disclaimer (that I sent to every company I work with). I highly suggest all bloggers creating something similar or just mentioning in an email conversation. It can save you a lot of issues in the long run.

 

9 Mistakes You Could Be Making on Instagram | Ever wondered why your follower count is going down, not up? Sick of trying to work out a way to beat the Instagram algorithm? Learn how to use Instagram wisely & grow your following | Learn more at ElleyMae.com

Not Being Consistent

Consistency is key when it comes to running a successful Instagram.

I recommend posting daily for all serious Instagrammers but probably no more than 3 times. You don’t want to bombard your followers with posts and come across spammy.

It’s also important to keep your followers “in the loop”. Let them know if you’re planning on taking a break so they don’t just assume you’ve fallen off the face of the earth & unfollow you. That could be tragic..

Consistency also applies to the aesthetic of your account, or the theme you could say.

Keep your posts consistent by creating a theme for your Instagram. If you usually post bright, contrasted images, try and steer clear of posting dull, unsaturated shots. If you don’t intend on posting black & white photos often, keep it that way & post in colour. As the marketing meerkats would say… Simples!

 

 

Posting At The Wrong Time

Get to know your audience and post at times that you know you’ll get the best engagement.

Instagram now actually offers you the option to change your personal account to a “business” account. With a business account, you’re given “insights” into how many people are viewing your posts, are interacting with your posts & your supposed best times to post.

I tried out this feature for myself recently and just found that the stats weren’t as spot on as I’d like. I’ve now switched back to a personal account but sure I’ll constantly swap between the two as times change.

If you’re looking for an alternative to an Instagram business account, there is a massive variety of apps to chose from.

My personal favourite, if you weren’t already aware, is Iconosquare. I will forever rant and rave about this app – it’s so spot on with everything & even lets you return comments! Find out more about Iconosquare here.

 

 

Not Filling Out Your Bio

One of the simplest mistakes an Instagrammer can make is a blank (or just unorganised) bio.

Your bio is your chance to sell yourself.

Explain what your account is about, share your contact details and draw followers in. After all, Instagram is a networking app. Therefore, you need to make the most of the small space you have for people to network with you! How else will brands contact you to request your kick-ass media kit?!

Keep it short, keep it sweet and keep it professional. But don’t forget to be yourself & put a spin on it! Here’s how I lay out my Instagram bio.

 

 

Posting Low-Quality Photos

I could sit here and write a whole post on how to take great photos but… Wait… I already did that! Check it out here (ps. there’s no fancy camera required, just your smartphone)

However, if you’re looking for just a few simple tips – focus on getting your lighting right, don’t over style, avoid using filters & pretty please don’t post blurry photos. Oh and might be best to keep the funny Snapchat filters for your personal account.

 

Liked this post? Don’t forget to pin it to Pinterest & read again later!

9 Mistakes You Could Be Making on Instagram | Ever wondered why your follower count is going down, not up? Sick of trying to work out a way to beat the Instagram algorithm? Learn how to use Instagram wisely & grow your following | Learn more at ElleyMae.com

9 Mistakes You Could Be Making on Instagram | Ever wondered why your follower count is going down, not up? Sick of trying to work out a way to beat the Instagram algorithm? Learn how to use Instagram wisely & grow your following | Learn more at ElleyMae.com 9 Mistakes You Could Be Making on Instagram | Ever wondered why your follower count is going down, not up? Sick of trying to work out a way to beat the Instagram algorithm? Learn how to use Instagram wisely & grow your following | Learn more at ElleyMae.com

39 Comments

  1. Mar 2017 /

    So many great points made. I definitely agree with interacting with others. I am so surprised how many people want to gain a following but say they can’t be bothered commenting or liking other people’s photos Crazy !!

    • Mar 2017 /

      Thanks Toni – I completely understand that sometimes it can be hard to keep up with it all & returning comments can seem like a chore but it’s just something that should be done.

      Returning comments & appreciating your followers is something we probably all often forget about when we slip up.

      Glad you enjoyed the post!
      Elley xx

  2. Mar 2017 /

    Great post! Some fantastic points here – very informative. Also, your photos are beautiful and are giving me photo envy! Haha xx

    • Mar 2017 /

      Awwwwh, you are such a sweetheart! Don’t make me blush 😉

      Thank you so much for reading & I am ecstatic that you enjoyed it!

      Elley xx

  3. Mar 2017 /

    You’re so right! I try to avoid all of these mistakes but some creep in! Just spent some time taking new photos and filling them up in my drafts to stop my account going stale! Maybe that could be an extra tip – keep a stock of photos in your drafts?
    Xx

    • Mar 2017 /

      110% – I stock pile my photos like there’s no tomorrow and add in extras (ie for events/limited edition releases etc) where need be! You should definitely try giving it a go and see if this helps with consistency Sian!

      Thanks for reading, can’t wait to see your Insta grow!

      Elley xx

  4. Mar 2017 /

    Learning a few simple things about photography and editing made a world of difference to me. Same camera, same phone, and photo quality dramatically improved along with my likes and followers.

    • Mar 2017 /

      Isn’t it amazing what good lighting can do though? Nothing worse than when terrible lighting ruins a perfectly styled shot!

      Elley xx

  5. Mar 2017 /

    Love this post Elley. Great tips, I’m off to download some apps Love your Instagram btw xx

    • Mar 2017 /

      Thanks so much for reading Rachel – let me know how you get on with the apps you download!

      Elley xx

  6. Mar 2017 /

    I love all these tips! I never knew you the exact number of hashtags you could use. And yes, I get so overwhelmed when people always post gifted items.

    • Mar 2017 /

      You’d be surprised how many people don’t realise they can use 30! Wait until you start using them all consistently – that’s when you’ll really start to notice a difference!

      Elley xx

  7. Mar 2017 /

    This post was awesome! It’s so helpful for a new blogger like myself!! I’m soaking everything up to make my blog great… thanks for the help!!! I love the group on fb too

    • Mar 2017 /

      Awh bless your little cotton socks, that is so sweet! I’m glad that you’re finding my posts useful – that’s what I want after all!

      And the Facebook group is full of so many amazing, beautiful & supportive bloggers – thank you for being a part of that.

      Elley xx

  8. Mar 2017 /

    Such a helpful post! It’s so difficult to gain followers on Instagram sometimes since the new update along with people who follow and unfollow all the time! I’ve been posting a lot more consistently lately and engaging a lot more and it’s paid off so much for me I just hope it continues!

    Ellie x

    http://www.elliesbitsofbeauty.wordpress.com

    • Mar 2017 /

      Keep on doing what you’re doing girl – if you work hard, it will pay off. After all, you get out what you put in!

      Thanks for reading & being supportive as always.

      Elley xx

  9. Mar 2017 /

    Totally agree with the gifted and sponsored posts. I have no issues with them usually, but when a feed is nothing but it can be a major turn off!

    • Mar 2017 /

      It’s definitely a turn off in my opinion. I can completely understand the fact that bloggers DO get sent a lot of products but posting about every single one is sometimes impossible. And if you do, space them out so that you don’t have 29 photos with 2 being NON-GIFTED hey?

      Would you agree?

      Elley xx

  10. Mar 2017 /

    I read your article earlier today and really like all the tips you provide! Thanks for doing that!

    • Mar 2017 /

      I’m glad that you enjoyed the post lovely – it’s handy to come back to if you ever feel stuck in a rut! I often have to remind myself of all of these things!

      Elley xx

  11. Mar 2017 /

    great post Elley, lots of valuable ideas and a great reminder to keep on track

    • Mar 2017 /

      Thank you so much Desiree, I’m glad you liked it! Sometimes just a simple reminder to keep on track is all we need!

      Elley xx

  12. Mar 2017 /

    I think I’m making a few mistakes haha! I’m pretty bad with Instagram but I try to approach it genuinely. I’m trying not to take it too seriously. Even though I know I could benefit from like posting everyday and really building up my account, I kind of just like posting when I want to and only photos that I really want up there, y’know? I am trying to interact with more people though!

    Tasha // shiwashiful.

    • Mar 2017 /

      The thing is with Instagram, although there are a million ways to grow your account, make money, work with brands & become “insta-famous”, if you just love posting photos because well, you just love posting photos then so be it! Have fun and enjoy yourself!

      That’s great that you’re interacting more with people – this is a great way to meet new people and actually make friends!

      Elley xx

  13. Mar 2017 /

    Such an informative post!
    The consistency thing kills me. It’s hard to keep up every single day and I notice when I miss a day or two my reach goes down a lot the next time I post.

    Ange | Diary-of-Ange.com

    • Mar 2017 /

      I’m the exact same – If I have a day or two off posting, my reach is never as strong on my next post. It’s like hitting the gym (not that I would know because lets face it, I cancelled my membership years ago) – leave it too long and you’ll just about die the next time you jump on the treadmill! Haha

      Elley xx

  14. Mar 2017 /

    So many great points to remember Elley. I have recently read somewhere that some people are experiencing a downward shift in their engagement rate once they’ve switched to a business account. I don’t know how much of truth lies in it, but just thought I’d throw that out there!

    Lubz || http://lubzsays.com

    • Mar 2017 /

      Yes, I did actually hear a whisper about that! Not sure of the truth behind it because to be honest with you, my engagement hasn’t changed all that much since swapping back.

      However, I just got tired of the inaccurate “insights” & didn’t like the contact button. Don’t know why, just didn’t! Haha *logic right*?!

      Elley xx

  15. Mar 2017 /

    Definitely agree with all the points you made here! Great post. X

    Kate// itskaterose.com

    • Mar 2017 /

      Thanks so much for reading Kate, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post & even more so that you agree with all my points!

      Talk soon lovely,
      Elley xx

  16. The biggest thing that I’ve learnt is to post less (once a day) but spend the “extra” time making that one photo better.

    • Mar 2017 /

      I think we all often get tangled up in trying to post a million times a day instead of focusing on bettering our content by spending more time on each post. I am the exact same sometimes & just have to take a step back I guess!

      Elley xx

  17. Bernadette
    Mar 2017 /

    Instagram can be quite a tricky social media platform to navigate. I’ll have times where my followers aren’t growing or I am not getting that many likes on average, but then other times all that stuff sky rockets. Posting at the right times definitely makes a huge difference for me as well as hashtags. I don’t know how anybody could grow their instagram without using hashtags. Great post! I love reading about social media related posts.

    http://www.themakeupaficionado.com

    • Mar 2017 /

      I agree with you 100% Bernadette – without hashtags, how are our posts meant to be seen?

      I’m the same, lovvveeee reading posts about social media! I am looking forward to updating you all with more social media posts (and other exciting… umm… stuff) soon! Make sure you’re subscribed to see what I’m hinting at 😉

      Glad you enjoyed the post and can’t wait to hear from you again!
      Until then, much love.

      Elley xx

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