Jodie and I are slightly obsessed with Instagram. There, I said it (well, wrote it 🙂 Ever since we started posting on IG (over 2 years ago) we’ve been pretty much attached to our phones. The plus side of this “addiction” has been multifaceted and has resulted in GROWTH!…organic, fun growth that we have translated into our blog, earning free product, and monetary compensation with sponsored posts. However, we both learned by trial and error and made MANY Instagram mistakes along the way. Over time and with the ever-changing landscape we have learned a lot, and we find great joy in sharing it with you!
Just in case you are new to us and don’t know us from Instagram, Jodie is my identical twin sister. She can be found @jodiesdesignlife and I am Julie @juliesheartandhome.
During this time we haven’t just been “hanging out” on Instagram. We have been purposeful in our posts and highly engaged with our followers. We have also spent time analyzing what works for us and what does not work in this ever-evolving platform. These 10 potential mistakes come from our experience, our on-going research, and our analysis of Instagram.
10 Instagram Mistakes You Are Making
(….that are slowing down your potential GROWTH!)
Mistake #1: Not engaging enough
This is the NUMBER ONE key to growth on Instagram since the algorithm changes rolled out last year. In the past the more followers you had the more people saw your account and the more you continued to grow. This is no longer the case. How is engagement measured? By the number and quality of comments. Instagram is reacting against the robotic infiltration of their platform.
How do you get your followers to engage? Start a conversation. Make it interactive. Ask a question. Draw them in. Keep it real, relevant, fun, and ENGAGING!
Mistake #2: Not answering every comment
I can hear you from here…Really? I have to answer EVERY comment? You don’t, but you are hurting yourself if you don’t. If you group your replies together you are missing out on engagement. Each comment counts, and that means yours too! I definitely made this mistake in the past, but I am changing my ways. I know it takes time, but engagement is the new King. If you want to be Queen follow this advice 🙂
Mistake #3: Commenting using generic replies
Quality of engagement can actually be measured. Advanced technology exists and is used by Instagram and by companies deciding who to hire to represent their brands. Because of the influx of artificial growth and engagement (people buying likes and followers) Instagram has made it a high priority to track this. What does this mean? It means numbers no longer cut it. It also means that repetitive, non-personal replies are interpreted as potential robots. Replies like “beautiful” or “nice” or emojis are easily produced by robots and therefore no longer carry any weight.
Mistake #4: Commenting using fewer than 3 words
Along the same lines as generic commenting, this is a fairly new change brought on by the influx of artificial/bought engagement. Your comments need to be longer than 3 words for IG to recognize them as real.
Mistake #5: Skipping hashtags or not using them at the same time as your post.
Hashtags hold the same power with Instagram as a platform. Even though the decor community on Instagram has agreeably burned itself out on hashtags from saturation and overuse, Instagram still runs on hashtags as a way to find people and to be found. Stay up to date with your hashtags. Make them as relavent as possible to your post and to the audience you want to attract. Use all 30…there’s no reason to skimp.
You used to be able to attach a list of hashtags in a comment down your comment feed at any time and all was good. Instagram has gotten wise to this practice. For your hashtags to be powerful they need to be posted at the same time as your original post or your post will not show up for your hashtags. Your post will be way down the list. In the past whenever you added your hashtags your picture would pop up to the top. This is no longer how it works. You can still put them in a comment but do it immediately after you post.
Mistake #6: Over-editing your posts
We’ve all seen this (and many of us have learned the hard way, us included). Do not over saturate your posts so the colors look fake and like Disneyland. Don’t go to the other side and over-brighten, over-whiten so you can only see a haze of white. There are great examples of successful people who are doing a fabulous job all over IG who you can learn from. Post bright but clear, realistic photos.
Mistake #7: Posting inconsistently
To build a solid following you should be there when your followers are there. They are showing up, so you better too. Be reliable and consistent. This is how you build a relationship. If you are going to post once a day, do it at roughly the same time each day. If you choose twice a day, the same thing goes. Get on a schedule and stick to it.
Mistake #8: Posting whatever, with not enough attention to quality content
It’s better to not post at all then to compromise quality. This is a quality over quantity game, unlike some other platforms. You’ll lose more than you gain if you do this.
Mistake #9: Having text on your photos
Get rid of the text overlays on your photos. It’s distracting and most people on Instagram do not like it. Remember, Instagram is a visually driven platform. Don’t compromise the aesthetics if you want to grow. If you have to put text on occasionally for some important reason (a giveaway or announcing a new hashtag) then don’t let it stay on your feed. Remove it as soon as possible.
This goes for watermarks too. Let’s face it; if someone wants to use your photo they are going to. In today’s world they can crop it/edit it out anyway.
Mistake #10: Ignoring your theme or not having a theme
Your content should tell a story. In order to tell that story, you, the creator, need to KNOW your own story. Some refer to this as a theme. Your theme should be clear the moment someone glances at your feed. Your name, your bio, and your top 9 need to clearly reveal who you are and what you are about. You have two tenths of a second to grab your audience’s attention before they click away forever. No pressure 🙂
Why care about correcting these Instagram Mistakes?
No matter who you are or what your reasons are for spending time on Instagram, if you are reading this article you want to grow. You have something to say, something to show, and you want to be seen and heard. Of course you do. (The only people aren’t interested are private accounts.) It comes down to time and how to make the most of it. We promise you will see an increase in your Instagram success by following these fairly simple tips.
The absolute #1 key to success in the new Instagram to remember is…
Engagement = Growth
We wish you great success!
With love and gratitude,
The Design Twins, Juie & Jodie