March 28, 2022

15 Ways You’re Getting it Wrong on Instagram

I grew the audience for my personal hiking brand, organically, from zero to more than 4,900 super-engaged followers.

(My @TotalCatskills account on Instagram supports the best place to find the best hikes in the Catskills online.)

Here’s how I did it…

stressed-out instagram user
I made these mistakes — so you don’t have to!

In the beginning, I did it the hard way. I did it wrong!

I struggled to grow my account for such a long time — until I stopped making these basic mistakes and started to work Instagram-smart.

Now my audience grows even on days I don’t post!

Stop making these 15 mistakes on Instagram and your audience will grow even on days you don’t post

  1. Not providing real value — the single best thing you can do for any audience is help them solve a real problem they face (shareable easy wins are a great start / help someone and they will follow you)
  2. Not being inspiring or fun or educational — the next best thing you can do is provide genuine inspiration or fun information for your audience (contrary to conventional wisdom: people will read a lot of content on instagram as long as it’s valuable to them and super-tight)
  3. Not including your personality — if you want your audience to show up for your brand, you have to show up for your audience on your feed (marketing-wise a faceless feed is dead-in-the-water)
  4. Not leveraging the multiplying power of carousel views — static single-image-posts get shown once, but carousels are shown multiple times, giving you several opportunities to catch a person’s attention (think: checklists, do/don’t lists like this, how-to’s, resource lists…)
  5. Not leveraging the power of reels — reels are currently the fastest way to expand your reach (and, no, you don’t have to dance)
  6. Not leveraging the power of highlights — use your highlights like ad spots (showcase: capabilities, offers, social proof)
  7. Not optimizing your bio — your bio should state exactly who your account is for and what you offer: (“I help target-market-x achieve main-goal-y” to use your 150 characters well)
  8. Not committing to a niche — trying to hook everyone means you’ll hook no-one (you don’t have to be super-specific at first, but your content plan should always be focussed for a specific audience)
  9. Not engaging with others in your industry — leaving positive, valuable comments on posts from larger accounts in your industry is a great way to build rapport with colleagues while letting their followers know that your account exists (win/win)
  10. Not using hashtags — there is confusion on this point right now, but hashtags are super valuable in expanding the reach of well-performing content (I see it all the time, don’t sleep on hashtags)
  11. Not creating hilarious memes — one of the best ways to get people to share your content, and basically advertise your account for free, is to make memes that hit the nail on the head (also one of the easiest types of content to create!)
  12. Not having an opinion — personal angles and authentic sentiment are the psychological glue that binds your audience to your account: never be afraid of being real, never fear being seen and known for who you are and what your values are
  13. Not leaning into video — weather it’s stories or reels, video is currently where it’s at for engagement and reach
  14. Not designing your grid — a thoughtful visual pattern to your grid instantly signals to viewers that your account is a professionally run and high-value
  15. Not using a clear call-to-action on every single post, story and reel — even a basic one like “follow @xxxxx for more yyyyy” will increase your conversions (leave this off and say goodbye to new followers)

Reverse these 15 common problems and watch your audience start growing today!

Wanna hire a kick-ass Social Media Strategist? Contact me here or say hello on my Instagram.


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