The 15 Most Common Instagram Mistakes

Monday, October 29, 2018

One of the biggest challenges for any brand managing an Instagram page is having enough good content. Fortunately, this isn’t the case with the skydiving industry as amazing photography is being generated every week. That being said, we see a lot of skydiving brands not building their audiences as well as they could be because they’re making some fundamental Instagram errors. In this article, we’ll highlight the 15 Most Common Instagram errors we see every day.

1. Poor Photography.

This should seem obvious, being that Instagram is all about photography, but unfortunately it’s not. Be discerning with the photography you choose – it should be your best stuff. Additionally, think about your overall composition of your Instagram page. If all your posting is skydiving imagery over and over again, even that can be boring. Be sure there’s a variety of good photography. Think of your strategy in two ways – micro and macro.

Tell a story with each image, but weave each image into an overall theme on your page that’s positive, upbeat, inspirational and beautiful.


2. Incorrect Use of #Hashtags

It would seem that not everyone really understands the power of the hashtag. The most common mistake we observe is people hashtagging exactly what’s within their photograph and that may be fine for a personal Instagram page, but this is a no-no if you’re a business trying to expand your brand awareness. It’s important to think about your objective. If your objective is to increase brand exposure, then part of your strategy is to rank within the “Top Posts” section of a chosen hashtag.

Hashtag strategy is an entirely different blog post, but here are some quick and dirty essentials:

  • Conduct hashtag research. Create a spreadsheet of all relevant hashtags that your potential customers/clients are actually using. If you want your content to be seen by them, you need to post in the hashtags they’re viewing.
  • Be strategic about your hashtags. Ideally, you want your imagery to be showing up as a “Top Post” for a hashtag. If your image is in the Top Post section, you’ll get much more traffic. If you choose a hashtag that has too many people posting to that hashtag then there are more people competing for that top spot. So, it’s important to know how often people use the hashtags you choose and be strategic about it. If you’ve got a truly special image, you may want to include a heavily-used hashtag. If you have a good image, then using a hashtag that doesn’t have quite as much use would be better.
  • Don’t overkill your posts with tons of hashtags. Like Facebook, Instagram has an algorithm and if you overdo it, the algorithm will squeeze your exposure. A general rule of thumb is 9-11 hashtags per image.

3. Using the Same Hashtags Over and Over Again

Researching hashtags is important because you don’t want to be using the same hashtags over and over again… it could get you shadow-banned. Using the same exact hashtags for every post may have Instagram thinking that you’re spamming which will result in an algorithm squeeze that will reduce your viewability. I should add that Instagram has claimed that they don’t shadow-ban business accounts, but many marketing thought leaders claim otherwise.


4. Not Posting Consistently Enough

Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” teaches of a social media strategy of consistently jabbing your audience, meaning putting out good content consistently through time and building your audience only to right hook them with an offer or sale much later after you’ve built trust. Taking this strategy to heart, when it comes to Instagram, companies should be posting to Instagram at least once per day. Two to three times is not out of the question if you’ve got good content.

5.  Being Too Sales-y

Instagram serves as the social media respite from the avalanche of drama and negative feelings often associated with Facebook. Think of Instagram as a place to build a following and brand awareness and not as a place where you sell all your stuff. While there can be a sales strategy with Instagram, it needs to be subtle. It’s beauty over braun, it’s finesse, but most of all it should express who you are more than what you sell. Marketing who you are as well as showcasing what you do is far more powerful than simply pushing out content for the sake of it or trying to push for sales. We all have people follow us on Instagram who are “gurus” on how you can live a better lifestyle or sell more product… don’t be that guy!

We’ll use our Instagram page as a reference @beyondmarketingdesign – you’ll note we spend a lot of time showcasing our team members, providing value-rich information, and us going about our work. In other words, our own Instagram social strategy is to showcase who we are above what we do as that’s our differentiator to our competitors in the marketing agency space.

6. Not Showcasing the People of Your Business

You’ll hear this from me over and over again – personalize your brand! Don’t just showcase what you do, or what you sell, but be sure to showcase who you are. Showcase your people, their interests, what they do at work… bring people in because good marketing is about connection.

Performance Designs

7. Duplicating Your Content Between Facebook and Instagram

Instagram and Facebook are not the same. Each platform has its own strategy and set of nuances; replicating your content between channels is a missed opportunity and will not see good engagement from your followers who follow you on both channels. I often ignore Facebook posts that have a lot of hashtags associated with it because it’s clear to me that the person or business is replicating their content. Remember, social media means being “social.” Imagine being at a party and seeing someone twice in the same evening and in both engagements you talked about the exact same thing… it’s boring. Showcase yourself as interesting with new things to say… the same applies on social media. If you’ve got nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all. This is a better strategy than saying something for the sake of it.

8. Not Commenting or Responding To Comments

If you’re a business on Instagram with a goal of growing your audience, then your brand can’t be an introvert. Be a social butterfly. Rather than simply liking on the stuff you’re seeing from others be conscious about commenting – it’s a great way for your brand to stand out beyond simply liking someone’s post. Additionally, if someone makes the effort to comment… comment back! Again, think of your social media as being at a dinner party. If someone comes up to you and chats, you wouldn’t simply ignore them, would you? Play by the same rules!

9. No Link In Your Profile

This is a simple one. The center of your marketing is always your website – we want to use all of our channels to get people to our websites to learn more about your business and hopefully convert them into becoming our customers… so be sure to have a link to your website. Additionally, include where your business is located. Oftentimes, I won’t follow a business if I don’t know their location. I’m more inclined to follow a business in proximity to where I work and live than a company across the country (unless they’re putting out fabulous content).

10. Posting Too Much Of The Same Thing

Remember, the dinner party analogy – to be interesting you need to be well-versed on different topics. Change up your content. You should be noticing that to do well on Instagram takes thought and strategy. Publishing when you feel like it will lead to weak page composition and inconsistent postings.

11.  Incorrect Privacy Settings

If you’re wishing to grow your following, be sure your privacy settings are open allowing people to follow you. If potential followers are unable to preview your content, it will stifle your followers for sure!

12. Not Following Back

If your goal is to increase your followers, the best thing you can do is to follow people back and ultimately engage with them. Imagine following a celebrity and they elect to follow you back – there’s a high probability you’ll be following them with even greater interest. Remember, the best marketing is being as personal as possible. Social media permits a brand to be much more personal.

13. Not Utilizing Video

No matter the marketing platform, video gets big engagement. Be sure to get video into your feed, but be discerning! Data shows that the use of video in e-mail marketing, Facebook and Instagram drives engagement up significantly.

14. Not Utilizing Instagram Stories

If you’re only using Instagram to post photos exclusively, you’re missing out on one of the best features of Instagram – Stories. Instagram Stories offers a great opportunity to be more authentic by showcasing what goes on behind the scenes at your business. Stories is the “Keeping It Real” room of your Instagram account.

15. Buying Followers

I haven’t seen this with a skydiving brand just yet, but I’ve seen this being used with several businesses (especially other marketing agencies). I often look at the followers of other brands and this is the telltale giveaway. In the eyes of the consumer, it shows a lack of integrity and is a bad look in the eyes of potential customers. Don’t buy your followers!

Wanna chat about your marketing? We offer free phone consultations, schedule a call with us to chat about your marketing, today!


  1. Thanks for this article. It’s easy to get buried trying to keep up with all the channels juggling multiple accounts without ever researching like this or simply stopping and to look at what we done. An article like this on every channel would be a godsend and a nice optin PDF? Question. Everyone is busy, especially the business owner. How to get all this done in house? What recommendations do you have in creating systems or even choosing who does this stuff and how to manage or evaluate over time? And, that vs. out of house. Thank you so much. Having this article will empower my requests and methodology as we begin reigning in our own platform management. You rock James!

    1. Harry, thanks for your thoughts on this! This would make a nice opt-in .pdf. Might just do that! :-)

      The most efficient way to execute on multiple social channels is to use a tool that allows you to schedule out your content. We use Hootsuite and find it to be a godsend as we manage our own accounts as well as multiple accounts for multiple clients. Strong social output is not unlike a magazine’s content calendar. The upfront time of setting up and scheduling out is a bit more intensive but pays dividends.

      Hope this helps!

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