Everyone wants to grow on Instagram. But so many people think that it’s either impossible or that Instagram hates them. 

Luckily, neither of those things is true and your lack of growth is likely contributed to a few key mistakes that so many people make. 

I get a ton of DMS from people looking for advice, and the vast majority of them are making these key mistakes like so many others, and it’s stunting their growth. So be sure to stick around to the end to ensure that you avoid all these costly mistakes and get growing on IG faster.

So I run a bunch of pages for myself and some friends. And after doing that, for some time, I’ve seen that so many people are making the same mistakes, and I was guilty of them at some point as well. So I want to outline them all for you in this article, so you make sure to avoid them. 

With that said, there are definitely things that you want to be doing on your account to help you grow. And I have a ton of posts already on that on my blog, go check that out after this. 

But there are also things that you definitely want to avoid. And that’s what this article is about. So as we go through all the different mistakes, be sure to take notes, and think back to your previous activity on Instagram and see if you were guilty of any of these. I know I was, so don’t feel bad, you can always shift and get better.

Let’s get to the mistakes so you can avoid them.

Mistake #1. No Direction

The first mistake that I see so often is just simply no direction for the page. They’re just posting for the sake of posting so many people fall into this category. 

And a lot of people are trying to build a personal brand, and it’s not simply enough to just post high-quality photos of yourself. There needs to be more than that, in the majority of cases. 

Obviously, if you’re very very hot like you’re someone who’s very good looking, Chances are you could use that and grow without any real value beyond that for your content, but for the majority of people, you need a lot more substance than that, and direction if you’re looking to grow. 

So there are a few questions that you should ask yourself to ensure that you do have a sense of direction.

#1. Who is your page for? 

I know that sounds super broad and obscure, but who exactly is your page for? Who is your ideal follower? Who’s going to consume this content, love it, want more of it, share it with their friends? Who is the ideal person that would consume this content? What are their interests? What are their likes? 

All that stuff, you want to know exactly who you’re targeting to the best of your ability? 

#2. What do you give them on your Instagram page? And why should they follow you? 

If you’re targeting a specific group of people with a specific set of interests, which a lot of people would call a niche. What do you give them to justify them following you? What value are you providing? 

And value comes in so many different ways, shapes, and forms but you want to think about it specific to that ideal audience. 

So what exactly are you going to provide to them? What does your value look like? 

And that’s a super important mindset shift. That is critical for success on Instagram is understanding that Instagram is a value exchange platform. So for you like a page, you have to provide an equitable return on the time they’re investing in your content. 

With that in mind, and understanding your ideal viewer, your ideal follower, that should be the pillar for all of your content thinking like, Is this an equitable return on the time that they’re going to invest into it and the greater level of return that you have on your content. So the more that you nail what they want, what they’re looking for, or what they need, that’s going to increase your levels of success, that’s going to increase the number of shares, it’s gonna increase your ability to rank on hashtags, that’s gonna increase the trust that Instagram has on you to start showing you on the Explore page. It’s gonna make growth so much easier.

And for me, the big mindset shift was understanding that Instagram is a value exchange platform, Think about it. 

And like I said, For the majority of people posting selfies and whatnot with no sense of direction, purpose or story behind it isn’t enough. It’s not value that’s equitable for someone who doesn’t know you To follow you so think about the value that you can provide to your ideal follower. 

Mistake #2. Buying Instagram followers, buying likes and other sorts of spammy activity

The second major mistake that I see so often is buying followers, buying likes, and other sorts of spammy activity. And that would include loop giveaways. 

Do not buy fake Instagram followers, do not buy fake likes. You don’t want to do this for so many reasons. The first thing is: 

Instagram is smarter than you

They know when your followers or your likes are fake. It’s very easy for them to track where this engagement is coming from and set off red flags. And what do they do? They penalize you accordingly because you’re not going within their community guidelines. So naturally, you’re going to pay the price.

Plus, this is a huge one as people’s competency, when it comes to social media continues to increase, over time, it’s going to become increasingly easy to spot the fakers. So the People who are buying fake followers and buying fake likes, it’s gonna be very easy and apparent to see who they are. And that’s nothing you want to align with your brand or your page, especially if you’re actually looking to grow with real followers and customers, which is what Instagram is all about. Plus it’s just a wasted expense, it’s purely vanity metrics, it doesn’t help you out in any way, shape, or form. So straight up, just don’t do it, There are no positives that come from this.

So avoid fake followers avoid fake likes, comments, and any sort of spammy activity, just don’t do it. 

Mistake #3. Instagram engagement pods/groups

The third major mistake that I see so often that is crippling your growth is people doing engagement pods. 

So for anybody who’s unaware, an engagement pod is a group of people typically done on Instagram where they’re in a group chat, and as soon as somebody posts they’ll post a piece of content saying go interact with it. That used to work, that used to work actually very, very well, but it no longer does. Instagram has evolved to the point where again, they’re able to track and spot this kind of engagement and penalize you four it instead of rewarding you like they used to. 

So it actually has the complete opposite effect that you wanted to have and there is no need to do it. Avoid it, it’s not worth your time, you’re better off putting the time that it would take to be in one, to improve your content, improve your strategy and do the things properly on Instagram that adheres to their community guidelines. 

Mistake #4. Lack of Patience

In all seriousness, the fourth tip is actually the one that I see the most often. And I would say for me, is the most frustrating one because it’s the answer to almost 80 to 90% of the questions that I receive on Instagram and that is a lack of patience. 

Instagram is a long term game and depending on what niche you’re in growth is going to be incredibly specific to that niche, how good you are at Instagram, the content that you’re producing, there are so many variables that go into it and everybody wants instant gratification. The irony of that is that the majority of people’s thirst for instant gratification is rooted from Instagram But it’s true. This is a long term game, and if you don’t approach it with patience, you won’t stick with it long enough to actually grow. 

You will not believe how many people DM me saying, How do I get followers? Help me get followers, and then I’ll look at their page, And they’ve posted like twice, or they posted five times, or even they posted like 50, 60 times, that’s not enough to grow. 

Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule. But I don’t have any sympathy for people who have posted like 50, 60 times and they want thousands of followers. Unless you’re doing something incredibly out of the ordinary or super, super-valuable, that is not a realistic expectation. 

And with that being a long term game, you need to figure out what works figure out what your audience wants, and that takes time, that takes content and that takes consistency. So patience is something that you can do for free and I can’t stress it enough how important it is.

Instagram and all social media work in similar ways, There’s thresholds that once you pass, growth becomes exponential and substantially easier. The awesome thing about Instagram is that the majority of people will not stick around with their content long enough to experience that exponential growth. That means there will always be opportunities for those that are. So if you’re willing to put in the time, grind it out, create the content and continue to refine and optimize and invest the time, you will eventually hit a threshold where you start to grow exponentially as long as you’re serving a specific audience and actually providing value.

I know it’s very daunting and difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you are starting a brand new Instagram page or starting one with a very small audience. So I just linked my 7 Instagram tips that will help you if you’re at that stage and growing, So go check that out after you complete this one. 

So, your first hundred followers are going to be your hardest, your first thousand is gonna be the next artist, and so on and so on. But once you get to a certain point, and Instagram now has trust with you within your niche in the audience that you serve, growth becomes exponential and so much easier. Once you get to the Explore page and Instagram starts promoting your content, all you have to do is just keep getting better and keep providing content that’s valuable and you will continue to grow. And to build on that, there’s no perfect path, So patience is going to be relative to the account, the niche, there’s so many variables that go into it. All I can say is just stick with it. 

The ideal scenario is you’re doing a page or Instagram account related to things that you love that doesn’t feel like work, so that when you do experience that exponential growth, it’s just gravy. So don’t compare your follower numbers or your like numbers to anybody else on Instagram, just stay focused, stay consistent, and keep getting better at everything you do on the platform and success will find you eventually. Good things come to those who have patience and those who work, and the same is true on Instagram. 

Mistake #5. Not Social Listening

And the fifth Instagram mistake is while I just said you shouldn’t compare your followers, likes, comments, etc… up to your competition or anybody else. You should practice active social listening. So a few people do this. 

What’s social listening is? 

Social listening is spending time and actually conducting research specific to Instagram. So that means what’s going on platform-wide, like what’s working, what’s not. 

The second would be what’s going on within your niche, who’s finding a ton of success, what specifically are they doing? How could you improve those strategies into your page? 

And then third and final is what is working on your page? Are you paying attention to your analytics? Are you interacting with your community? Are you seeing what they want, and providing it, you want to do as much of what’s working at that time and diminish the things that aren’t working and you only find that out through active social listening. And so few people do that because it does take effort. It does take time, but it’s honestly the key to success. 

In my 7 TIPS TO GROW YOUR INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT ORGANICALLY, I shared exactly how I grew my Instagram page to thousands of followers from zero with doing nothing but posting content. And a big shift in my success was because of social listening, I saw a trend that was working, I hopped on it and my growth grew substantially faster. And I only found that because I had my ears to the ground and I was listening to what was working.

Why Your Instagram Isn't Growing

If you’re looking for some more guidance on Instagram, I’ve linked my Instagram checklist that you can use as a guide to ensure that your account is optimized for Success: 

Go crush it on IHG, avoid these costly mistakes, and take your page to the next level.