10 Reasons Why Your Instagram Audience Isn't Growing

10 Reasons Why Your Instagram Audience Isn't Growing

As Instagram has grown and grown, more users have been working to build their presence on the platform, but have often found that it's not easy to expand your following, with social media users seemingly less likely to tap 'follow' than they have been on Facebook and Twitter. 
It can be frustrating, and it can take up more time - and with your audience growing at such a gradual rate, some even end up questioning whether the platform is worth it for their business at all.
In this post, I'm going to look at ten common reasons why people fail to grow their Instagram audience and engagement - and what you should do differently instead.
Here are the most common Instagram mistakes I see.

1. You're not engaging with your audience

If you don't respond to comments, your followers simply aren't going to keep bothering to interact with you - it is called 'social' media after all.
While the main focus of Instagram is to show-off your visual story, it is still a social network. If you’re devoting all your time and energy into just posting, you’re not doing much to keep your audience from unfollowing you.

What You Should Do Instead:

Plain and simple - start responding to people in your posts. By engaging with people via your own content, you send a message to you, and to Instagram's algorithm, that you're active and open to discussion, and that your comment is engaging in itself. You should seek to trigger a conversation - don’t just make vague and random comments like “Got it” or “I understand”, provide insightful comments and extend the topic.

2. You are not consistent

Posting more frequently generally results in more engagement and followers. It obviously takes more time, but it's worth creating more content, and scheduling it out for consistency.
Some Instagram accounts that have plateaued in their growth believe that they have the privilege of posting less and still seeing the same engagement and followers. That’s flawed logic - as you reach a certain number of followers, especially in the 5-digit to 6-digit mark, you’ll need to invest even more in your content to maintain it, let alone expand it. Consistency is the key.
This also goes back to managing the overall appearance of your feed - be aware of how each post connects to the next one.

What You Should Do Instead:

Plan and create a posting schedule. By devoting time to creating a content calendar, you can better strategize what you’ll post, when you’ll post it and what your feed will look like.
You should also ensure that your content has a single unified visual theme, sticking to relevant subjects and topics. That doesn’t mean that you stop being exciting - it’s okay to surprise your viewers once in a while to keep things fresh. Just don’t go overboard.

3. You don't interact with other accounts

If you want to get your name out there, you need to reach out to other Instagram accounts in your niche. This can facilitate collaborations, and enable you to build business relationships.
Stop living in a bubble - the best way to grow your account is to grow the relationships you have with others.

What You Should Do Instead:

Connect and build bonds with other influencers and accounts, and make a conscious effort to expand your network. The more people you’re connected with, the more likely you’ll expose your content to new groups of people that never heard of you before.

4. You don't use stories and maximize Instagram’s features

Photos are awesome, but if you don’t maximize Stories, videos and Instagram's other features, you're missing out on a heap of opportunities.
Expanding your content to other elements will make your profile more compelling, and boost your brand exposure in new ways.

What You Should Do Instead:

Post stories with hashtags and location markers to boost discovery potential. Similarly, you can use Instagram Live to share live events and updates.
If a content piece would work better with a short video, you should go for it. Try your hand at GIFs, cinemagraphs or Boomerangs. Using a variety of formats can get your more attention, and make your content more "thumb-stopping".

5. Your content is boring

Trust me, it’s a sickness. When you become all too-familiar with a platform, you tend to keep it safe - but the problem is that it’s just not interesting. Take some risks with your content and show off more of your personality.

What You Should Do Instead:

Always add value. A simple selfie with no caption doesn't do the trick. Tell us your story. 
Also, not everything is meant to be posted on your Instagram account. Think about quality all the time, and ensure that you put a little extra into everything you post.
Ask yourself – what makes it compelling? What makes it unique? How does it stand on its own?

6. You’re not being you

Being real and authentic is important on any kind of social media platform, but this is especially true on Instagram.
People want to follow real people - it’s why influencers are so popular on the platform, why the Kardashians remain relevant. They open themselves up and make us feel that we are within their reach.

What You Should Do Instead:

Keep it real. Assess what you post, and the tone of your captions. Avoid making your photos too processed and overtly edited.
Also, ensure that your captions always represent your voice. They shouldn’t be too bland or robotic or sound like a sales presentation. Always strive to be real and you’ll help to ensure that your followers will believe and trust you.
One of the best ways to do this is through behind-the-scenes content or even post content that is spontaneous.

7. You over-promote

This is reason why ad blockers exist - as consumers, we tend to block or tune out marketing content. We avoid it like a virus. If you sell too much, your audiences will simply stop consuming what you post.

What You Should Do Instead:

It’s not bad that you use Instagram as a way for you to sell or market - this is, after all, the reason advertisers are on the platform in the first place. But you need to make it subtle.
Be less promotional and make the content more organic in your feed. Don’t just go out and flat-out ask people to buy your products. Add some substance that will resonate with your audience.

8. You haven’t optimized your profile

For most of us, once we’ve completed the setup of our accounts, we pretty much ignore it and focus on posting. But that can leave a bad first impression for first-time visitors to your account.
A person generally decides if they're going to follow you or not by having a glance at your profile - in particular your handle, profile picture and bio. These elements are on the top part of your page. If a visitor doesn’t like or engage with them, they’ll continue browsing elsewhere.

What You Should Do Instead:

Your handle should be unique and personal to you, but it should also be something that can be easily remembered by others. That's not always easy given so many names are already taken, but the more succinct and on-brand you can make it, the better.
Your profile picture should clearly show your face or your brand logo. Make sure that you think about the size of the photo and its presentation also.
Your profile bio should be clear, crisp and direct. Make it intriguing enough and well-written. Don’t make it boring. Your bio should attract people’s attention and jump off the screen.

9. Your account doesn’t have a focus

Having a clear sense of your identity online is important - it gives your audience a sense of who you are and what your brand is. Simply put, people will follow you because they have a certain expectation of what they will be inviting into their feed, and its important to work to deliver on that to boost connection.

What You Should Do Instead:

Make sure you have a set direction of what you’ll be posting - be clear with your vision of what your Instagram account is all about.
You also need to identify and research your target audience. By doing this, you’ll be able to create targeted posts that your fans will appreciate. 
10. You buy followers or participate in questionable platform schemes
There’s nothing that can ruin your Instagram game more than going against the Terms of Service.
Yes, boosting your numbers can increase your engagement, and you might win in the short-term. But real growth and benefit doesn't come from this.
Instagram has been cracking down on bots and this can be a serious detriment to your account.

What You Should Do Instead:

Simple - don't buy followers. Not only is Instagram itself cracking down on this, but there are various apps people can use to detect sudden spikes in audience growth, and call you out for buying fakes.
Make sure that you also avoid posting inappropriate content or post insensitive comments. Aside from autobots, being reported for bad behavior might get your account flagged as well.
There you have it - ten reasons why your account is not growing. If you adhere to the alternatives I’ve shared here, you should be able to get out of that rut in no time. 

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