7 Must Know Instagram Mistakes To Avoid in 2019

Instagram Mistakes To Avoid

Knowing what Instagram mistakes to avoid is more critical than ever to succeed on the platform.

Because:

Instagram has made major updates to their algorithm throughout 2018-2019, which you need to beaware of.

So if you want to:

  • Gain more followers
  • Increase your engagement
  • And drive more traffic, leads and sales to your business...

Then you’ll want to avoid these harmful Instagram mistakes which are surprisingly common.

Let’s jump in:

Mistake #1 — Not optimizing your Instagram bio

While it may seem obvious to write a great bio…

Thousands of Instagram users don’t optimize their bio towards their conversion goal.

What does optimizing your bio towards your conversion goal mean?

It’s actually very simple.

It means that if you have a business and want to sell your products:

You should be writing a bio which reflects how your product(s) provides a solution for your customers needs.

So how do you write a conversion focused bio?

Here’s the secret to writing a great bio:

You should know what problem your product or service solves.

This is as basic as it gets when it comes to running a successful business.

Here’s some examples to get ideas flowing:

  1. Our product helps people get started with growing their own vegetables without any experience.
  2. Our watches are affordable and luxurious; anyone can afford them and look stylish.
  3. We make 100% cotton super soft affordable tshirts, that are part of every man's essential basics.
  4. We offer a subscription to high quality razor blades, so you don’t have to spend lots of money on the big brands.
  5. I help people grow their Instagram followers and engagement which helps them generate more sales.

You will then want to place this in your bio.

The idea here is to let new visitors understand what it is that you do and why should they care.

This will be the Opening Line of your bio. Think of it as an quick introduction for someone who has never heard of you.

Secondly, you will want to include Social Proof. Things such as:

  • Seen on XYZ
  • Trusted by over 40,000 members
  • 1000+ 5 Star Amazon Reviews
  • Featured on XYZ

This lets people instantly know you’re trusted by others.

Finally, you want to end on a call to action. This should be directing and specifically telling visitors to your Instagram profile what you would like them to do.

For example:

  1. Shop our latest Hurricane Blade Watch:
  2. Click below to join our free XYZ training:
  3. Want 25% off your first order? Click below:
  4. It’s here! Click to see our new best seller:

The idea here is to GIVE A REALLY GOOD REASON for someone to click your Instagram bios link.

Think about what makes you want to click a link. Usually it’s because you’re going to receive free value in some form, like a free training video or course. Maybe it’s because you’ll get a discount. Likewise, it could be cause of interest (clickbait) and you just had to see what it was all about.

Either way:

Make sure you give people a damn good reason to click the link in your bio.

Instagram optimized bio

You can see here that my:

  • First line — Tells new visitors who I am and what I do
  • Second line — Gives social proof
  • Third line — Call to action

If you copy this simple formula, you’ve optimized your bio!

You can always learn how to optimize your profile further in my free Instagram training here.

Mistake #2 — Forgetting to collect leads

If you’re planning on building a solid following from Instagram, you need to be collecting leads.

Lead collection funnel

The idea of collecting leads is similar to optimizing your Instagram bio.

More specifically:

The last line of your bio and the link you use.

The problem for most Instagram users is that although you may have a large following:

  • Instagram could delete your account for being reported by other users
  • People could close their own Instagram accounts
  • Or (unlikely but possible) Instagram will close down just like Vine did

And if Instagram removes these followers for whatever reason.

You no longer have this group of people to ‘talk’ with.

So instead, you want to get your followers signed up to your email list so you can:

  1. Send them free content to build a positive relationship.
  2. Market your products to them.
  3. And most importantly contact them whenever you like - people typically always check their email every day unlike they do with social media.

So how do you get leads on Instagram?

To get people to sign up for your email list, you want to have a solid reason for someone to click the link in your Instagram bio.

This is known as a lead magnet because it attracts people to wanting it.

For example, here is an excellent lead magnet:

Neil Patel lead magnet

Who wouldn't want to know this 3-step process for free?

This is the hardest step:

You’re asking a person to go out of their way to do something and in our modern day that's not so easy...

Think of it from a user experience perspective: most users don’t want to interrupt the flow of how they use the platform, instead the want to look a posts, give some likes, respond to DM’s and maybe write a comment if they’re not feeling lazy.

Most people don’t want to click a link, as it disrupts the flow of them using Instagram. So you need a very good reason for someone to click your bio’s link.

So what is a good reason?

Your reason could be something that your audience wants:

  1. A video tutorial
  2. A free ebook/audio book
  3. A PDF guide
  4. Report or infographics
  5. A free webinar
  6. A free guide
  7. Checklist PDF
  8. Cheat sheet PDF
  9. Templates
  10. Swipe Files/Copy
  11. Free scripts
  12. Private Facebook Group Access
  13. Giveaways
  14. Free shipping/quotes
  15. Discounts
  16. And so on...

Here’s a great list of lead magnet ideas if you’re stuck.

You will need to get creative and think about your audience and what problems they have — your job is to solve them.

P.S. Lead magnets take a while to create. This is normal. But the results will be worth it in the long run: make something awesome that people really want and people will share it with friends.

Either way, you need a reason (a lead magnet) that:

  1. Resonates with your audience's needs
  2. Is free and will help improve their life

Once you have this, you can then create a landing page where people can sign up with their email and name to access your lead magnet.

Here’s an example of a landing page I have for my free Instagram course (notice how there is only 1 action people can take: "Join for free").

Free Instagram course

If you don’t have an email service provider, I use and highly recommend ConvertKit.

Lastly, in your Instagram bio, you will want to tell people they can get your freebie by clicking your link below.

So write a call to action that lets them know that they should do this.

Make sure to send them to your landing page — not your homepage!

People don’t know what you want them to do, so instead send them directly to a page where they can sign up: no other distractions.

Collecting leads if you run an eCommerce store (e.g. Shopify)

I totally get it if you don't want to collect leads and instead sell your product(s).

What I recommend is that you either send people to a landing page, where they can enter their email to get a discount code.

On Shopify there is a fun wheel of fortune you can use: https://apps.shopify.com/spin-a-sale

Or you can send people to the URL of the product/collection you want to sell.

Either way, it all comes down to testing, testing and more testing.

Try using your homepage URL for a week, then try a landing page, mix it up with a product page and so on…

You’ll only ever find out what works best for you by trying each method.

Mistake #3 — You’re focusing on the wrong things

This is the most underrated mistake most people make.

Instagram is a visual platform right?

People want to look at pretty pictures, funny videos, and interesting things.

This is why the explore feed is filled with this type of content tailored to what you like + they think you'll like:

Instagram explore feed viral content
Photo Credit: Later.com

They don’t want to look at your poorly taken picture, with bad composition, light, color and a boring subject.

It’s just the honest truth.

Luckily, because you are human it’s not too hard to be honest and realistic about what you’ve already uploaded to Instagram.

Does your content suck? If yes then improve it:

  • Watch videos on how to take better pictures
  • Learn about composition and lighting
  • Purchase a better camera
  • Hire someone to do it within your marketing budget

Not sure if your content sucks?

  • Look at other successful accounts in your niche, what do their uploads look like? Which posts get the most likes? Is there a color scheme? Are there any consistencies? What is the main subject? Are the photos dark or light?
  • Also you can take a look at sites like Behance in the product/packaging category to see what well art directed product photos look like.

It comes down to this:

If you have high quality content that is consistent throughout your feed and feels like it is part of your brand (same editing style) then people will follow you and purchase from you.

People don’t want to follow accounts that upload crap content. It’s as simple as that.

What I suggest is remove any poor performing posts under -20% of your normal engagement, for example if you get 1000 likes on a post, delete anything under 800 likes. In addition, use your initiative when deleting posts, if an image has lots of comments and you know it's good, keep it.

Then work on improving your future uploads.

Mistake #4 — Forgetting about influencers

Are you a business wanting to sell on Instagram?

If you answered “Well duh”:

Then you should use Instagram influencers to promote your product.

Influencers are the #1 resource for driving traffic + sales, as well as generating content that you can upload on your own account to build social proof.

What’s great about using influencers (a.k.a. people on Instagram with a lots of followers) is that they usually:

  1. Take great photos or videos — this perceives your product as high quality
  2. Have authentic followers — these are followers who admire the influencer and want to be like them. Therefore if they recommend a product, people are more likely to purchase it.

Most successful businesses create a marketing campaign which involves only using influencers to create content (photos/videos), with the exception of taking high quality stylized product photos of your own.

This makes your brand look extremely trusted as it has lots of social proof that people are purchasing and using your product: even if you’ve paid them to do so.

Lot’s of brands do this:

Instagram influencers selling jewelry and watches

Even if you have a small budget, I would recommend finding influencers who best represent your brand and would have an audience of your ideal demographic.

The return on investment can be insane.

Just imagine, when someone visits your page and sees hundreds of people using and loving your product — they’ll want to be involved too.

Mistake #5 — Thinking automation alone gains you followers

If you’re using Instagram automation:

It isn’t enough to gain thousands of followers per month.

You also need to focus on what we’ve already talked about to succeed on Instagram:

  • Optimizing your profile
  • Creating awesome content

Lots of people will complain that they only gain around 10 followers per day, whereas they’ve seen others gain upwards of 100+ per day.

Well here’s the kicker…

If you’re one of those who is finding that growth isn’t going as planned, it’s because your content sucks.

You really need to focus and prioritize on creating awesome content first.

People don’t want to follow crud accounts.

Think of it from a psychological perspective — a person finds your account, your bio offers them a free piece of value (lead magnet) and you upload awesome photos/videos which is of their interest.

Guess what? You’ve likely gained a new follower.

On the other hand, if your bio tells them nothing about you, or worse, offers no value and your photos/videos are bad they’re going to leave.

No human will just give out a follow for ‘free’, they want something in return.

And that something is awesome content.

Mistake #6 — Ignoring Engagement

Did someone leave a comment?

Or have you got a new Direct Message?

Make sure you are responding to these.

In addition, if someone leaves a comment and it’s positive...give the comment a like!

As I talk about in my Free Instagram Crash Course, Instagram rewards you for engaging with other people.

Instagram will see that you are connecting with these people, and will be more likely to show you to them again as you’ve built a relationship.

And then the platform will show you to other similar users through the explore feed as they’re most likely to also enjoy your content.

Therefore the more you like, comment and reply to DM’s... the more likely you are to be featured to other users.

Mistake #7 — Forgetting hashtags

Hashtags still work fantastically in 2019.

Therefore, you should be using them on your images and videos.

The best way to find hashtags to use on your images is to see what big accounts on Instagram are using.

Instagram account using hashtags

Websites that list ‘popular hashtags’ will not help; these hashtags are over-saturated and you won’t be seen.

Instead go more specific than #sun, for example use #sunsetbeach instead.

Instagram hashtag related to an image


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Now it’s your turn:

What mistakes have you made that we could add to the list?

Let me know in the comments below.