There’s a lot to think about when using Instagram to market your business and there’s more to using this platform than just posting to your feed. If you find that you’re making some (or even all) of the mistakes below, don’t panic! I’ve been there before and made one of these mistakes at one time or another, especially while starting out in gaining visibility for my brand.

The beautiful thing about mistakes though, is once we’re aware of them, we can use them as learning opportunities so they don’t happen again. Use these mistakes to help you as you work on your Instagram game moving forward:

Mistake #1: Using the FFF or FUF Method

The Basics: The FFF (follow for follow) and FUF (follow/unfollow) methods are incredibly problematic tactics used to grow Instagram accounts. Both methods may result in significant growth over a short period of time, but they’re problematic because they don’t result in the right type of growth.

The FFF method is a common tactic used inside Facebook groups. A member (or even an Admin) will post in the group something along the lines of:

“Drop your handle and I’ll follow everyone who follows me!”

“Instagram follow train! To participate, you must follow at least 20 other people or your comment will be deleted. Like they’re comment so we know you’ve followed them.”

“Link your Instagram in the comments and follow everyone above you!”

“Leave your IG below and follow everyone else who comments on this post!”

Unfortunately, these are extremely popular threads that attract a significant amount of engagement from other group members. You may be tempted to participate, but I would strongly advise against doing so, unless there is zero obligation to follow a certain number of accounts in exchange for posting your link.

The only time I see this method as somewhat beneficial is if members are asked to introduce themselves, share what they offer, and only follow accounts that truly interest them. This helps eliminate the obligatory follow-for-follow that can bring the wrong audience to your account.

With the FUF method however, there is no exception — it’s never a good idea to use this tactic on Instagram. FUF happens when an account follows another user with the intent to unfollow later on. This may be beneficial to the account that utilizes this method, but it isn’t an effective or sustainable way to grow your audience in the long run. Avoid this method at all costs.

The Result: Using FFF or FUF often brings the wrong people to your account, resulting in a disengaged audience and a low conversion rate, due to the vast number of followers who aren’t part of your target market. If they aren’t part of your target market, they aren’t going to buy from you — so why would you want them as a follower?

Sure, you may get lucky and find some of your target customers with the FFF method in particular, but it will also clog your feed with a large number of users who are outside of your target market. You’ll also notice that using these methods will cause a significant fluctuation in your number of followers, and that’s not something you want either.

The Solution: Choose who you follow wisely and don’t participate in FFF or FUF threads. Don’t feel obligated to follow everyone who follows you, even if they are going to become a customer. Instead, find your target market and focus on building your audience authentically, organically and strategically with the right people.

Mistake #2: Neglecting or Poorly Constructing Your Bio

The Basics: You have a matter of seconds to make a lasting impression when someone new comes across your account. You have a limited number of characters to convince your target market to follow you and eventually convert them to paying customers. When you have a bio that’s cluttered or filled with unnecessary or confusing information, you could be missing out on followers who would be more than willing to support your business.

The Result: A neglected or poorly constructed bio can confuse your potential followers and cause users to avoid hitting that follow button. As a result, you experience a low conversion rate and a stagnant follower count. Even if a target customer stumbles across your account, they might not know they’ve found the right brand if your bio doesn’t clearly communicate the right information.

The Solution: Less is more. Your bio should be more about your customers than you! Your target market wants to know what’s in it for them before they hit that follow button. Keep your bio clear, short and simple: tell your audience what your business does/who it helps and speak to the pain points of your target market. Give them a place to go (website, landing page..etc) by adding a link to your bio. Add your location if you work with local customers in your area.

Mistake #3: Inconsistency

The Basics: We all struggle with consistency. Life happens. We get busy. We get overwhelmed. We get frustrated with social media, and sometimes we just need a break. But when you show up for your people with valuable information on a consistent basis, your efforts will pay off in a BIG way. When you stop showing up though, your business can suffer.

The Result: If you aren’t consistent on Instagram, take frequent breaks, or forget to post, your customers are going to lose interest in your business. When you’re not posting, you’re not showing up in your followers’ feeds, and they can easily forget you exist.

The Solution: Plan and batch your content ahead of time so you’re prepared to show up once a day, 4-5 days/week, no matter what. Create your posting schedule and stick to it. If you have a business account and a Facebook page, use a good scheduling app to schedule your content so you can run most of your account on autopilot.

Which of these mistakes are you making on Instagram?

Get a visible change by applying the right solutions to the mistake(s).