The 5 Mistakes You're Making on Instagram and How to Avoid Them


Instagram is one of the most powerful platforms to connect with your target audience, market your products and services, and build your personal brand. When I first starting using Instagram back in 2012, it felt like a completely different app. Do you remember? There weren’t as many digital entrepreneurs using it to market their services, yet. Most of us were just sharing photos from our weekend and using it to connect with our friends. 

Now, we live in a digital economy where everyone is competing for our attention. It feels like everyone is selling something, right? This isn’t a bad thing. It’s one of the most opportune times in history to forge your own path and turn your passion into profit. 

However, if you really want to be successful at this thing--you’ve got to cut through the noise. It’s imperative that you differentiate yourself from your competitors. Hence, the value of personal branding. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again--a personal brand is your competitive advantage. 

Today, I’m laying out 5 of the most common mistakes I see people making on Instagram, and exactly how you can avoid them.

Your bio might be “cute” but it doesn’t convert.

Okay, guys. Listen up--I’ve seen this a lot lately. Your bio is one of the most important parts of your Instagram appearance, if not the most important part. Why? Because you have 2.5 seconds to convince someone that you’re worth following. You get one shot on at a killer first impression--and I see you wasting it on phrases like, “coffee - God - happiness”. 

No no no. 

While I see what you’re trying to convey, statements like these do nothing for you in the long run. They don’t tell potential followers what you can do for them and how you’re page is different from every other girl who likes coffee, God, and happiness. 

It is absolutely essential that your bio have these important elements:

  1. Your personal brand statement. In other words, how do you help people? For example, I teach entrepreneurs + execs how to build their personal brand. You must clarify who you help, and what they will achieve once they work with you.

  2. Your credentials. For instance, are you a founder? Where do you work? Have you been featured somewhere? 

  3. A strong call to action. The ultimate goal is to convert your followers into paying clients or customers. Never expect that people will do what you want them to. You must tell them what you want them to do. Do you have a freebie? Direct them to your opt-in so you can add them to your email list.

  4. Optional: location. If your goal is to work with more brands as an influencer, then including your location is a good idea. Many companies want to know where you’re based so they can gauge the fit.

Your profile photo doesn’t show people who you are.

Your profile photo is the equivalent of a logo for a well-established company. (It should be the same across all platforms, too). It shouldn’t be a full-body shot where no one can see who your face. It needs to be simple, high-quality, and an image that highlights your pretty features. It shouldn’t change often, either. Think of this photo as the flagship for your brand!

This photo should also make you feel confident. If you don’t have any images that will do the job, then I think it’s worth investing in a professional photographer to help you achieve the look you are aiming for. If you’re really serious about building your brand, professional photos are worth the investment--trust.

You think you’re being authentic, but you’re really not.

Something I’ve had to get really honest with myself about is authenticity. For a long time, I was posting on Instagram stories and hating it. I would keep replaying my stories over and over again. What was it? What was I doing wrong? It kept nagging at me. 

I would hyper-analyze everything, and it felt like my insecurities were getting the better of me.

Finally, I realized that the person I was on Instagram wasn’t the person staring back. I hated that.

So I made a steadfast commitment to practice authenticity in every facet of my life. No longer would I hide who I really was. This commitment went beyond Instagram, it followed me into my relationships with clients, friends, and romantic interests, too. 

I can’t tell you how freeing it was! WOW. That’s when everything started to get really good. I wasn’t afraid to get a little weird, you know? I began having fun with Instagram again. I also noticed that my content was resonating with the right kind of people.

You can’t half-ass authenticity. It’s an all-or-nothing type of quality. 

Go all in.

Be polarizing. Say exactly what you mean. Call people out. And don’t be afraid to GET WEIRD.

When you make a promise to be authentic, you may not jive with everyone. And that is perfectly okay because it means that you will hyper-attract the people you’re really after anyway. These will be the kind of clients you DREAM about working with.

You’re not using Instagram’s native features

Many people limit themselves to Instagram posts and stories. But did you know that Instagram’s algorithm favors people who use other features like IGTV and Live? These are tools that will take your brand so much further and allow your content to be consumed by many different types of people. 

For instance, there are many people who won’t read long Instagram captions but they WILL watch an IGTV. There are also many people who don’t want to listen to your pitch on IG stories, but they WILL take a couple of minutes out of their day to watch you go live.

Use Instagram at full capacity to see the best results. Many people fool themselves by thinking they are doing everything they possibly can, when in reality, they’re not. 

Ask yourself this question: am I using Instagram to its full potential? What else can I be doing on this app so I will glean the best results? 

You’re giving up too easily.

Just like everything good that you want to achieve in your life, it’s about playing the long-game. If you’re hoping to glean instant results from Instagram, think again. It takes a longgggg time for your message to inspire action in your audience. 

The most successful entrepreneurs I’ve seen on Instagram are the ones who have never given up. They engrain their message in our minds, over and over and over again. They persist, even when it might feel, “annoying”. 

James Clear talks about this concept in his book, Atomic Habits. Think of this like an ice cube melting.

I see you working very hard to raise the temperature in the room by one degree, and I also see you get discouraged when nothing happens. 

You raise the temperature again by 1 degree, nothing happens.

You raise the temperature again by 1 degree, nothing happens.

You raise the temperature again by 1 degree, nothing happens.

Then eventually you raise the temperature again by 1 degree, an increment that made no difference before, and it begins to melt the ice cube.

Something happens. 

If you let the need for instant gratification get in your way, you will fail. You must focus all of your energy to raise the temperature by 1 degree each time. And eventually, you will win.

Play the long-game. And don’t do it alone. 

I’m rooting for you, and I’m here to help. XX