7 Instagram Fails and How to Avoid Them

No one wants to embarrass themselves with an #InstagramFail, right? Avoid these common Instagram fails to keep your brand looking sharp on social, and you can learn valuable lessons from the mistakes of others. From spamming your followers to going hashtag crazy, here are 7 common Instagram fails and how to avoid them:

instagram fails

Instagram Fails #1: Going Hashtag Crazy

Yes, there is a limit on how many hashtags you can use on a post. It’s 30. But if you’re using anywhere near 30 hashtags in your caption, you need to dial it down a bit!

#Tagging #every #single #possible #word is easy, but it won’t help you find engaged followers. Neither will spamming popular hashtags, like #love, #happy, and #dog. Instead, try searching for hashtags that have an engaged community behind them and are specific to your audience!

Saturday’s hang out spot 👌🏼🌱 // @inventiveroots #lovefromfp #saturdaze #weekendvibes

A post shared by Free People Arizona (@fparizona) on

That doesn’t mean you should avoid popular hashtags altogether. If a popular hashtag happens to be relevant to your post, feel free to use it. Just remember that, overall, it’s a much better strategy to use a few relevant hashtags that improve the SEO of your posts than to use 20-30 popular hashtags that get you a few more likes!

Using too many hashtags in your caption can also look spammy, so it’s is best to use between 3-4 in your initial post description, and then up to 15 highly relevant hashtags in the first comment.

Instagram Fails #2: Posting at Random Times

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times: If you want to generate a lot of engagement (and sales) on your Instagram posts, you need to post when your audience is most active!

Think of it this way: If you post when your audience is most active on Instagram, you’re more likely to drive engagement on that post. That engagement will translate into Instagram bumping your post higher up on users’ feeds (thanks to the algorithm), and even give you a shot at getting on the Instagram Explore page, which will result in even more engagement on your post!

On the other hand, if you post at random times without any strategy in mind, there’s little doubt that the engagement on your posts will be low! #hashtagfail

So how do you find your best time to post on Instagram? Well, the first thing you need to do is research your audience using Instagram’s native analytics tool. Find out which time zones the majority of your followers are in, and then experiment with different posting time to find your best time to post for each day of the week!

Using a free tool like Later to schedule your Instagram posts in advance can help you can boost your engagement, drive traffic, and gain new followers and customers!

Instagram Fails #3: Posting Low Quality Photos

Instagram is all about the visuals. Needless to say, if you post blurry or otherwise bad photos, don’t expect to gain much of a following.

Strive to set the bar high with aesthetically pleasing and beautifully edited photos. At the end of the day, you don’t need to buy expensive camera gear to take gorgeous Instagram photos — your phone’s camera will do just fine! Just remember that a little bit of effort goes along way.

that afternoon

A post shared by Pramudina Narundana (@prafr) on

If you’re short on time, you can also leverage user-generated content or find awesome stock photos for you feed! Both are great options when you really need a photo and don’t feel like spending hours setting up your shots.

Just a quick piece of advice: When searching for user-generated content on Instagram, it’s better to use a tool like Search & Repost than to manually screenshot and repost a photo. Not only does Search & Repost maintain the quality of the photo, but it automatically pulls in the caption and username of the original post!

Also, as a side note, if you plan to use a filter on your posts, please don’t go overboard with Instagram’s native filters! Instead, use a free Instagram marketing tool like VSCO, Snapseed, or Pixlr. Your feed will thank us later.

Instagram Fails #4: Having a Disorganized Feed

Long gone are the days of posting random photos that don’t flow with the rest of your feed. A little of this, a little of that… green, blue, red, purple… it’s chaos! If you really want to “wow” your followers, you need to have a well-curated and cohesive Instagram feed.

Take a step back and look at your Instagram feed as a whole. Do your photos fit together? Is there a common theme? If the answer is no, you need to spend more time planning the overall look of your feed if you want to get more Instagram followers.

Start by picking an aesthetic for your feed, whether that’s a color, shade, or even a filter. To do this, scroll through your existing feed and see what aesthetic your favourite photos have in common. Once you’ve found it, try to reproduce the look in all of your future posts.

On top of that, try to be more selective when it comes to choosing which photos you are going to post. For example, a busy photo is going to seem out of place for a minimalist feed, no matter how you edit it. If all your photos are bright and full of sunshine, a dark evening photo just won’t work.

Instagram Fails #5: Spamming Your Followers

Have you ever scrolled through your feed only to see that several or more photos were posted from the same event? Not only is this kind of behavior considered spammy, but posting multiple times in a row can cause you to get penalized by the Instagram algorithm, meaning your posts will be shown to fewer people!

If you absolutely must post multiple photos over a short period, consider combining them into a single post using Instagram slideshow posts! Slideshow posts give you way more flexibility to share relevant content without spamming your followers’ feeds.

I have got a poorly Marcie today, I asked what she wanted to do and she said plant stuff! 😍👌🏻🌵🌱🌿

A post shared by Tribeandus 🌵 (@tribeandus) on

TLDR: Posting often is good. Posting too often isn’t.

Instagram Fails #6: Not Responding to Comments

Some Instagram users like to think that once they’ve posted their photo or video the job is done. Wrong! If you want to build a strong community around your brand, you have to actively respond to comments on your Instagram posts.

The whole reason your business is sharing content on Instagram is to engage and inform your followers. Ignoring comments from them makes it obvious that you don’t really appreciate their connection, which will probably lead to unfollows.

To prevent that from happening, you need to listen to your audience and respond. You don’t have to respond to every single comment, but try to make a habit of responding to at least a few, or even liking the comments by tapping the heart icon to the right of each comment. You can also click-through to some of your followers’ accounts to engage with their photos and videos, and give them a follow back!

Instagram Fails #7: Using Apps that Auto-Post to Instagram  

We get it: using an Instagram scheduler that automatically posts your photos to Instagram sounds like a great way to save time. The problem is, Instagram is different from most other social networks and doesn’t allow other apps to automatically post for you. Any app that says they automatically post to Instagram for you is violating Instagram’s terms of service. What does that mean for you? Your account could be banned from Instagram!

In order to actually post to Instagram, you need to have access to a mobile phone or tablet with the Instagram app, and click the “post” button yourself. Unfortunately, here at Later we have heard so many stories from users of auto-posting apps that have lost their entire Instagram account because they were using these apps. It’s just not worth the risk!

The best apps for scheduling Instagram posts are ones that send you a push notification when it’s time to post. After you schedule your posts with Later, you’ll get a notification when it’s time to post. All you have to do is open the notification and Later automatically pulls in your scheduled photo to Instagram, and it automatically copies your pre-written caption. Just hit “paste” in the caption field and you’re all set to post to Instagram.

Running a successful Instagram for business account can be a tough! Hopefully this guide helps you avoid some of the more common Instagram fails that can keep your brand from driving engagement and generating sales!

Ready to get moving with your Instagram marketing strategy? Later makes it easy for you to plan, manage, and schedule your Instagram posts!

Written By

Benjamin Chacon

Benjamin is a Content Writer at Later and recent transplant from Toronto. You can follow his day-to-day exploits on Instagram @benjaminchacs.