The 18 Biggest Mistakes That Instagram Beginners Make

You’ve heard about all the people who are making thousands of dollars a month on Instagram, and you want to be one of them. 

You’re convinced that you could be the next big thing: posting photos of yourself sipping mimosas at brunch, or wearing your new kicks, or having fun with your friends. 

But there’s one thing stopping you from reaching internet stardom: you just don’t know where to start. 

No worries. That’s what I’m here for. Today, we’ll cover 18 mistakes that Instagram beginners make mistakes that I made when I was first starting so you can be sure not to fall for them when it’s time for you to shine. Let’s get started.

Instagram Posts as a Beginner: Avoid these Mistakes – YouTube
Key Takeaways
1. Inconsistent posting can hinder growth.
2. Neglecting engagement limits audience reach.
3. Overlooking the importance of hashtags reduces visibility.
4. Using low-quality images and videos diminishes credibility.
5. Failing to optimize your bio affects discoverability.
6. Ignoring the power of Stories and Reels misses opportunities.
7. Not engaging with followers weakens your community.
8. Over-promotion can alienate your audience.
9. Not analyzing insights means missing out on data-driven improvements.
10. Ignoring user-generated content neglects valuable authenticity.

Table of Contents

1. Using An Unprofessional Username

The username you choose will be the first thing people see when they visit your profile. You want it to be easy for others to remember and unique, so it’s important to choose wisely. A good rule of thumb is that it should be short and easy to spell.

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2. Forgetting To Think About Your Intended Audience Before Posting

If you’re going to build a following, you need to understand your audience. Your brand, goals, competitors and strengths are all important factors in planning what content you should post and when.

Many things go into creating a post for Instagram:

Know your audience by asking yourself who they are, what they’re interested in and how they consume information about your brand or industry.

Know your brand by knowing its purpose or mission statement so that it can inform all aspects of its marketing strategy (including social media).

Know your goals for using social media platforms like Instagram whether it’s driving traffic back to an eCommerce site or getting more people to sign up for an email list so that these objectives can inform the types of images used in posts as well as their timing (which we’ll discuss later).

3. Only Taking Photos With Your Phone’s Default Settings And/Or Camera App

The biggest mistake you can make when taking photos for your Instagram account is to rely on the default camera settings in your phone or a basic camera app. 

While these may be fine for taking quick snaps of friends and family, it’s important to use the right settings if you want great photos. In addition, there are many editing apps that can help make sure that your photos look professional and polished when they are posted on Instagram.

Some tips for improving quality include:

  • Use a tripod; if the lighting isn’t great, try using natural light instead of artificial light (e.g., flash)
  • Use filters sparingly; they often lead people to believe that all images must look like those seen through a filter on an app such as VSCO Cam
  • Don’t forget about editing! There are plenty of tools at our disposal these days in terms of apps like VSCO Cam or Snapseed that allow users full control over their workflows without having any experience with Photoshop (or even GIMP).

4. Using A Low-Quality Filter

The filters that come with Instagram are free and can help you improve your photos, but they aren’t all equal. The standard “Normal” filter will make your photo look blurry and pixelated, while a good filter like Valencia or X-Pro II will make it look sharper and more professional. 

It’s also possible to find filters that add artistic effects to your photos instead of just improving the contrast or saturation levels (e.g., Lark or Earlybird). 

While there are many free filters available for download in the App Store and Google Play Store, keep in mind that not all of them are created equally some apps include better options than others do!

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5. Not Using Hashtags

Hashtags are one of the most important parts of Instagram. They’ll help you get your photos seen by more people, find new people to follow, and find new places to visit.

Hashtags are also a great way to learn about new things to do and see in your area. For example, if you post a photo at a local museum or art gallery, use hashtags related to that location so other users can discover it too!

6. Using More Than One Hashtag On A Photo

The problem with using multiple hashtags is that it dilutes the message you are trying to send. You want to use one or two hashtags that are relevant to the photo, popular, and relevant to your audience. 

This can mean using multiple hashtags if they are all related and used in a specific order such as “#iphoneography #instagood #awesome”

You don’t want your post full of spammy, super broad, or very niche hashtags because these will make it harder for people who view your content in the future (including potential followers) to find you and they will also annoy anyone viewing your profile too if they see lots of irrelevant tags attached!

Keep these points in mind when deciding which ones work best:

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7. Posting Photos Of Random Things, Just Because You Want To Post (I.E., “Forced” Content)

Your Instagram feed is a reflection of your brand and what you stand for, so it’s important to be thoughtful about the content you post. 

If your Instagram is filled with random photos that have nothing to do with each other or a cohesive theme, then people won’t know what they can expect from following you. 

As an example, if all of your posts are about coffee cups and shoes (and not much else), people may get bored or confused when they try to find something interesting on your page.

The bottom line: don’t post things just because you want to post them—make sure they fit within the aesthetic of your profile!

8. Not Having Any Kind Of Theme Or Aesthetic To The Page At All

One of the most important things to do when you’re starting out on Instagram is to figure out what your aesthetic is.

For those who don’t know, an aesthetic refers to the style and look of your page. 

It’s not just about how good your photos look it includes everything from how you post them and caption them, to what kinds of hashtags you use and comments you make (or don’t make) in response to other people’s posts.

9. Posting “Filler” Content Just To Have Something New On The Page, Without Regard For Quality

Posting filler content is one of the biggest mistakes that Instagram beginners make. 

If you post without thinking about what your audience wants to see, or if you don’t have an idea of what you want them to think about you, then it’s likely that your posts will be seen as boring or uninteresting.

The key here is quality. You want every single piece of content that appears on your profile page to be of the highest possible quality so that people will keep coming back for more!

This can be difficult if there isn’t much going on in your life right now and nothing particularly interesting happens every day (this happens). 

In those cases, consider creating a buffer ahead by posting photos from previous events or making plans for something exciting down the line (like a birthday party).

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10. Taking Too Many Selfies And Being Self-Absorbed All The Time

Selfies are great, but you can get carried away with them. If you post more than three selfies per day, it might be time to dial it back. 

And while we’re on the topic of selfies, don’t just take photos of yourself alone. Try taking some with your friends or family members as well they make for good content!

In general, be careful not to come across as too self-absorbed on Instagram (or anywhere else). 

Your followers want to see you being yourself and enjoying your life; they don’t want to feel like they’re being pulled into an episode of The Real Housewives or Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

11. Being Fake And Try-Hardy In Your Posts, Such As Overuse Of Inspirational Quotes, Motivational Phrases, Etc

Don’t post fake motivational quotes, inspirational phrases or hashtags to try and seem like a guru. If you want to be real on social media, be real. 

Don’t pretend to know everything about self-empowerment when you don’t have a clue. The best content comes from people who are fully transparent about their lives, mistakes, and all.

This is especially important if your business is based on sharing your story with others because people will soon catch on that something is off if you’re posting content that isn’t authentic or genuine in nature.

12. Leaving The Default Caption (“Photo By Me”)

Just as you should never post a picture of yourself without makeup, you should also never share a photo on Instagram without writing something in the caption. 

The default caption (“Photo by me”) is like wearing sweatpants to an important meeting it just doesn’t convey the right message.

What’s the right message? It depends on what type of account you have: if it’s your account, keep it personal; if it’s business-related, keep it professional. But no matter what type of account you have, here are some things to avoid:

Don’t use too long or too short of a caption. Keep them between one and three sentences long (and no more than two). 

This will make sure that people who only glance at your photos can get an idea of what they’re looking at but won’t feel bombarded with information they don’t care about. A short sentence followed by several hashtags will do the trick!

Don’t try to be too vague or broad in your captions or people won’t know what they’re looking at unless they click on every single link within each post. You want people scrolling through their feeds quickly so that their eyes go as wide as possible when they see yours!

13. Never Engaging With Other Users Who Comment On Your Photos

When you get a comment on your photo, don’t just ignore it. Respond to people who ask questions or otherwise engage with you in any way.

This is the golden rule of Instagram you will never grow your following if you don’t respond to comments and engage with other users. 

You need to show that you’re approachable and willing to talk about anything, even if it’s a question about what camera set up you use or how much time you spend editing each picture before posting it online.

As long as someone takes the time out of their day to click “like” on one of your photos, respond back! Don’t be afraid to reply with something like “Thanks so much for liking this! 

Follow me back sometime.” It shows everyone else who is reading through their feeds that they are appreciated by those they follow and vice versa.

14. Never Liking Or Commenting On Anyone Else’s Photos

This is a mistake that many new users make, and it’s important to remember that likes and comments are just as important for your account as they are for other people’s. If you’re not giving out likes and comments, you won’t be receiving any either.

Commenting on other people’s photos will help build relationships with other users on the platform, and allow you to stay relevant in their feed (which may lead them back to looking at your images).

And can even help boost the number of followers or likes that your posts receive – although this effect is pretty minimal.

15. Buying Followers And Likes (Fake Engagement)

Buying followers, likes, comments, and views is a waste of money.

If you’re just starting on Instagram and trying to grow your audience fast, buying followers may seem like a quick fix for getting exposure. 

However, it’s not the best option for building genuine relationships with potential customers or clients. Most people can tell when they are being sold something fake even if that something is fake “likes” on an Instagram post.

If you want a successful business on Instagram that gets real engagement from real people, don’t buy fake engagement!

16. Following Everyone You See In Hopes That They’ll Follow Back

When you first start using Instagram, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of meeting new people and seeing what everyone else is doing. But if you follow everyone who follows you, or even worse, everyone (or a lot of people) on your feed, then your account will look like a mess.

It’s okay to follow people that you don’t know but only if they post quality content regularly and engage with their audience. 

If they don’t do either of these things well enough for you to be interested in following them back or interacting with them in any way, then it doesn’t make sense for you to waste your time following them on Instagram (or anywhere else). 

You should only follow the accounts that are most relevant and interesting to YOU!

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17. Mass Unfollowing People You Don’t Know Who Don’t Follow You Back After A Certain Amount Of Time Has Passed

One of the biggest mistakes Instagram beginners make is mass unfollowing people they don’t know who don’t follow them back.

It’s a waste of time and energy, and you can’t expect it to work. You’re not going to be able to force someone else into liking your page or being interested in what you offer if they don’t have any interest in the first place. 

There’s nothing stopping them from just scrolling past your posts and moving on to something else (which is what most people do), so why would they bother following you? 

Unless your profile looks interesting enough for them to click through and actually engage with, there will never be any connection between you and them and that means no following or engagement for you either!

Besides, if all these new followers were interested in my content anyway, why wouldn’t they already follow? 

The answer: because I didn’t catch their attention before adding them as friends on social media sites like Facebook (where most people get their news nowadays). So how do we fix this problem?

18. Only Following People Who Have A Certain Number Of Followers Or More (To Appear Elite)

You’ve just started, so you want to do whatever it takes to make a name for yourself. You follow people who have high follower counts and leave comments on their photos saying how much you love them. 

The problem is that this kind of behavior comes off as inauthentic, which can be an issue when you’re trying to build a following organically.

Think about it: if someone follows you because they think that having your attention will help them get more followers or likes, then what’s their real interest? What are they going to talk about when they see each other in person? 

What’s going on here? Why does anyone care about one another if the only reason for contact is because the other person has something for sale (in this case: their platform)?


Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve made any of these mistakes, I’ve done them all too! There’s still plenty of time for you to get your Instagram game on track, and now that you know what to avoid doing from here on out, it’ll be easy.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to help you delve deeper into Instagram marketing and avoid common mistakes:

Top 9 Beginner Mistakes on Instagram and How to Fix Them: Explore a comprehensive guide that addresses the most frequent blunders made by Instagram beginners and provides effective solutions.

7 Instagram Marketing Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs: Discover key Instagram marketing pitfalls and learn how to steer clear of them to maximize your social media strategy’s impact.

Social Media Mistakes: Are You Guilty of These Common Instagram Fails?: Learn from the experts about various Instagram mistakes, their consequences, and how to rectify them for a more successful social media presence.


What are the typical mistakes beginners make on Instagram?

Beginners on Instagram often fall into traps like inconsistent posting, neglecting engagement, and using irrelevant hashtags. These mistakes can hinder their growth and reach on the platform.

How can I avoid Instagram marketing blunders that could harm my business?

To avoid detrimental Instagram marketing mistakes, focus on maintaining a consistent posting schedule, engaging with your audience, and conducting thorough hashtag research to enhance your content’s visibility.

What are some common errors that can negatively impact my Instagram engagement?

Some common mistakes that can hurt your Instagram engagement include overusing automation tools, posting low-quality content, and failing to respond promptly to comments and messages.

How do I rectify the mistake of using irrelevant hashtags on Instagram?

If you’ve been using irrelevant hashtags, reassess your strategy and conduct thorough hashtag research relevant to your content. Incorporate a mix of popular and niche hashtags to reach the right audience.

What steps can I take to improve my overall Instagram marketing strategy?

To enhance your Instagram marketing strategy, focus on crafting high-quality content, engaging with your audience authentically, utilizing Stories and Reels, and analyzing your insights to refine your approach over time.