5 Mistakes I’ve made on Instagram

5 Mistakes I’ve made on Instagram

Man oh man, have I made some mistakes via Instagram in my past. Thanks to those mistakes, though, I’ve grown so much and gotten better at what I do and learned what NOT to do. The important thing is to always keep moving forward! Of course, I could have saved myself a lot of time and effort if I just knew from the beginning what I was doing wrong.  I always like sharing any knowledge I have with you and think this is some important info that could be super helpful for you! Especially if you are new to this. Here’s a quick (but much-needed) post sharing 5 mistakes I’ve made via Instagram. Keep on reading to see the 5 mistakes I’ve made on Instagram. Learn how you can avoid these mistakes and keep on moving forward towards getting your IG game strong.

Engagement Pods:

In case you don’t know what an engagement pod is, here’s the gist: An engagement or “comment pod” is a group of people who have IG accounts and create a private DM group then all support each other’s new posts on the platform. Whenever a post goes live, all the girls go and immediately “like” and ‘comment” on it. I’m sure you may have heard of it before or if not have already been in one. The whole idea behind these groups is to try and beat the IG algorithm. If your engagement is pretty high and active within the first hour of posting, then the platform is more likely to show your post to more people. Thus making your post have overall a larger reach and possibly show up on the explore page. While a lot of people still partake in engagement pods, I really think it’s a waste of everyone’s time. In the end, you just take time and attention away from building your own following. So much time is spent trying to keep up with everyone’s posts from your engagement pod that you take away time from engaging with your real, authentic community. Trust me, this can be hurtful for your account in the long run.

I was a part of two separate engagement pods about three years ago and haven’t been in one since. During this time, I couldn’t get a good feel for who was really there because they genuinely liked my content and who was there just for me to engage back with them. All my pod group members were muddling the IG waters (so to say) as they liked and commented on my content. My numbers slightly increased, but then plateaued. I spent so much time responding to my pod members that I never branched out to new accounts to make new friends, new members of the community or even reach out to my existing genuine following.

In the end, you have the same exact people commenting back and forth as well so IG could read this as being a bit fishy. Instagram has definitely caught up on engagement pods and can guess by seeing the interaction between the accounts that these people are most likely in a pod together. In which case, it defeats the whole purpose of the pods in the first place because it won’t classify your account as one that needs to be shown to more people because the interaction is not really authentic. Does this make sense? I will make a Youtube video soon so I can explain it a bit better.

All you need to know is that engagement pods are a waste of time. Instead, spend your time trying to create a community of people who are generally happy to see your posts, want to invest in your lifestyle, and get inspired by what you are putting out there. IG is, after all about community and finding people who love your content and visa Versa.

Not engaging enough :

On that note, authentic engagement is the key to building a great Instagram community. If you don’t engage with your community enough then your audience will think you don’t care and won’t feel like they can connect with you. Back in the day I would post, comment and engage for 15 minutes then not look at my phone again for a few hours.  I thought people and Instagram would magically push my posts to be seen by more people. It is so important now to prompt engagement. From asking engaging questions in the caption to conversing after and creating more conversation. I love to throw in behind the scenes or unedited photos in my posts now and then just to spark conversation. I set aside time throughout my day to make sure I am responding to every single comment (when possible) and answering all of my DMS. This helps encourage your followers to engage more often as they will know you are there reading and are present.  If you don’t have time to engage on this platform then you will not see growth. Period.

Posting just to post:

When I was first figuring out Instagram I would post just to post. I posted basic posts like the outfits I wore and things I would see. That’s all fine but I didn’t’ have a real purpose behind what I was sharing. I wasn’t growing. The reason I wasn’t growing was that my content wasn’t providing enough value.  On the days I would have nothing to post I would just take a filler photo to stay active. I was under the impression that if you posted every day then you would grow. This would be true if I would have just focused on the content a little deeper. Now I focus on Quality instead of Quantity. I always ask myself this  before each post: “Does my post provide inspiration, education or entertain?” I want to have a reason for posting. I make sure everything from the photo to the concept to the messaging and my engaging (also hashtags) are all aiming towards that one purpose for posting. This alone is a game-changer.

Loop Giveaways:

OH MY GOSH is this a HUGE  one. I made the mistake of doing a few very large loop giveaways. At the time, brands weren’t really looking at your engagement or reach, instead, they were looking at your number of followers. My engagement was extremely good for my following at the time before I did any loop giveaways, but I wanted to increase my following so brands would give me the time of day. While I was already getting sponsored by brands, I would get turned down for certain big gigs because I wasn’t over that magic 100k mark. I was told this on a few occasions. I thought to myself, if I do a loop giveaway then it’s not really “buying” followers because they are REAL people and then brands won’t dismiss me so quickly.

While my follower count went up after the giveaways, everything else got worse. My engagement tanked for months, my reach went down and my initial larger new following kept getting smaller and smaller every single day. I started to get rejected by brands and my sponsorships have never been so bleak. It took me about 6 months or more of hard work to finally get my account steady again! It was horrible. Loop Giveaways never bring the right audience to your platform. Essentially you are just gaining a bunch of followers that don’t care about what you post, thus making your engagement rate tank. Yes, your following is larger, but you are not getting the engagement you should be getting for your size of followers. Most likely it’s just people who want free stuff and will unfollow you after the giveaway is over causing a huge dip in your following and leaving the algorithm thinking that there is something very strange with your profile. If IG picks up on these sudden rises and drops in your numbers it may crush your reach because it won’t classify your account as a strong, authentic one.

 Now I can see what my community is responding to and where the followers are coming from. I am able to see what people like and therefor post more of that and get a higher engagement rate overall and keeping my community happy.

Not providing enough information:

Sometimes cute, short Instagram captions work, but other times (most the time) I find that longer, deeper captions get better engagement. It’s really about providing enough information to convey what you are trying to convey.  When I first started Instagram I would only do short captions and sometimes just emojis to look “cool” and like I wasn’t trying too hard. The truth is that I was just hiding my personality from the rest of the world.

It’s important to learn how to be vulnerable and allow yourself to be you. Share more information, explain your thoughts (your reason for your post) and you will eventually reach the kind of people you want to reach and your community will be able to relate! Not providing enough information (whether that be about yourself or your thoughts on what you are sharing) in the end puts a wall up between you and your IG community. Let people in! If you take a look at my IG now you will see a lot of my captions are longer and my engagement has definitely tripled from only 6 months ago.

I hope this post helps. If you have anything you want to add or questions please drop them below! For more blogging, Instagram and Social Media tips make sure to check out my Blogging Tips section.

 

Thanks for reading!

xx Francesca

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