The Most Common Instagram Mistakes (+ How To Avoid Them)

Remember when Instagram didn’t exist? No? Same. It’s actually fairly new in terms of brand marketing, which leaves us with all the questions all the time...Like what not to do. Here are 10 common Instagram mistakes that could be hurting your brand. 


1. Not planning your posts out

Things are busy; schedules may change; but having a posting calendar will help keep your feed organized and your follower count growing. Spend a few minutes understanding your content to determine which posts are currently getting the most engagement, and then find a way to consistently build those themes into your feed. We find that establishing a specific cadence and setting expectations with your followers for recurring themes is helpful, too. We recommend using the Planoly app for this, but there are many other (free) scheduling tools out there to help create a cohesive look and feel.

2. Not using the “Rule of 9”

HausWitch shows depth of brand + shop offerings while adding in graphics and community events

You should always be using this concept when planning out your posts. When someone visits your profile they see your nine-image grid (three across and three down). Using a tool like Planoly not only helps with scheduling, but also helps you ensure there is a compelling visual story. One beautiful post may get you a like, but a scroll of your feed will get you a follow.

3. Taking any sort of break

Building consistency, credibility, and setting expectations with your followers is important for growth. You should constantly engage with both your new followers and your tried and true. Taking a break (no matter how short) hurts your chances of showing up in the discovery tab and can make you slip the mind of current followers.

4. Not using stories + highlights

These days, your Instagram profile is essentially your website homepage. More often than not, it’s the most important way for new followers (potential customers) to discover who you are. Now that you have the ability to save one-off stories to highlights right at the top of your profile, it’s the perfect way to showcase your brand on a more personal, interactive level.

5. Not engaging with comments

One of the most important things a brand can be is authentic. Social media allows brands to have real time conversations with their customers, and it’s a great opportunity to keep the conversation going. With Instagram’s new algorithm, engaging with followers also helps to move your posts up to the top of their feed, earning you more impressions. Just remember, a single emoji doesn’t count as engagement—Instagram only deems a comment as engagement if its three words or more.

6. Not adding a link to your profile

You want to make it as easy as possible for people to explore your brand, so always include a link to your website. It’s how many people discover it in the first place. You can use a direct URL or a service like LinkTree to drive users to more than one page on your site.

7. Posting only promotional content

To maintain your followers and keep users engaged you have to consider your entire content strategy. Posting mainly promotional offers and sales not only hurts your brand, but also has the potential to be repetitive and boring, which dips impressions and makes it harder for people to find your content.

8. Not evolving with your followers

One strategy that worked for you months ago may no longer be getting you the same form of engagement, and that’s OK. Content is continuously changing. We recommend testing out different themes, stories and content types to get a handle on new engagement learnings.

9. Using low res images

We understand not every brand can afford photoshoots to support their posting strategy, but every brand should do their best at using high quality images. Try to avoid blurry or dimly lit photos and use natural light vs. a flash.

10. Only using hashtags that focus on your product or shop

We always recommend using hashtags that are relevant to your followers. Ask yourself, what else are they browsing? You may be selling a beauty cream, but your customer is most likely interested in other wellness categories like self-care Sunday or healthy recipes, so add in a few extra tags to target that follower base as a whole. There are plenty of resources to help determine what speaks to your target audience. We like this site to search hashtags and other trending topics.

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