Instagram is an incredibly useful and powerful tool for small businesses. People engage more with pictures and videos than they do with text, and Instagram is a social network that’s entirely devoted to pictures and videos. And, with a few well-placed hashtags, you can easily reach thousands of people in your target audience who don’t yet follow you.

So why are you having so much trouble growing your account? Why can’t you seem to attract more followers? You could be making one or more of these classic (and very common) Instagram mistakes:

YOU MADE YOUR BUSINESS’ ACCOUNT PRIVATE

Some Instagram models and scammers create private accounts on purpose to drive interest. They’ll have an enticing profile picture, and they’ll start liking, commenting on, and/or following other users with the hope that those users will follow them back because they want to see more than one tiny profile picture.

Don’t do this. You don’t want to make people jump through hoops to see your content. You want your business’ account to be public so that people in your target audience will see that their friends like it, stumble upon it when looking at trending hashtags, or find it through reposted material. Don’t make it difficult for them, or you won’t notice a lot of growth in your followership.

YOU AREN’T USING HASHTAGS EFFECTIVELY

A hashtag is worth a thousand followers. Using trending hashtags will get your posts grouped with other posts like them, and people who are interested in posts related to those hashtags will see your pictures and videos. Then they’ll be more likely to like or comment on your posts and follow you after they check out your other content.

If you’re not convinced, try posting a cool picture that’s relevant to your business with a well-written caption and no hashtags. See how many likes and/or comments it gets after three hours (probably not many). Now add a few relevant hashtags to the end of your caption and see how quickly you get notifications that people are liking or commenting on the post. Hashtags drive engagement, so don’t leave them off.

NO PROFILE PICTURE OR THE WRONG PROFILE PICTURE

Your profile picture on Instagram may just be the size of a very tiny bubble, but that doesn’t mean it’s not relevant. Failing to upload a profile picture makes your account look suspicious (especially if it’s private). Uploading a picture of your company logo, or another branded image that works in a small format and is easily recognizable, will help people recognize your account and trust its legitimacy.

POSTING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN

If you only post pictures of your products, advertisements for sales, and other repetitive content, your followers are going to get bored and un-follow you. Change things up with a variety of cool, relevant pictures and videos that your followers will want to see, and you’ll keep a lot more of them.

YOU DON’T FOLLOW ANYONE ELSE

Simply following someone won’t guarantee that they’ll follow you back, but if you have loyal followers who consistently like and engage with your posts, go ahead and follow them. And don’t forget to follow and engage with other businesses and individuals in your industry. Don’t bother with follow-for-follow programs, but do stay engaged and active.

YOU DON’T RESPOND TO COMMENTS 

Finally, when your followers comment on your posts, you should respond. This shows that you care about their input, and it promotes brand loyalty. Really engage with the followers you have now, and you’ll get a lot more people interested in following you within a surprisingly short amount of time.

Avoid these mistakes, and your Instagram game will improve immensely!

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