Avoid These 5 Instagram Pitfalls: Tips for Savvy Brands

1. Not Honouring Your Resources

Do you know the most common pitfall for small businesses trying to succeed on Instagram? They set goals that are too high and unattainable. This often means their resources fall short of what is realistically achievable.

For example, if your goal is to post a daily Reel on Instagram every day of the week, it sounds fantastic and could lead to more visibility, followers, and sales. But here’s the catch: if you still struggle to create even a basic Reel and run the business yourself, wearing many hats each week, you might only have about 6 hours to create, schedule, and publish content. Even though a friend suggested someone who could do it cheaply, you don’t have the budget for it.

This will likely lead to disappointment after just a week of trying to meet your goal because it’s unrealistic.

Pro tip: Start with smaller, attainable goals, and then expand them.

2. Ignoring Analytics

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” These golden words from Peter Drucker emphasize the importance of analytics.

While your first step should be to create a social media strategy, it might be too early and expensive for you to develop one. However, you can still set a goal and choose relevant metrics to track progress.

Depending on what you aim to achieve—brand awareness, interest in your brand, conversions, or client experience—the following metrics can help you see if you’re improving or stagnating:

Brand Awareness:

  • Followers: How many people are actively aware of your brand
  • Reach: How many people have seen a touchpoint from your brand
  • Impressions: The total number of views from brand touchpoints


  • Likes: How many people find your content interesting and engaging
  • Comments: How many people find your content discussion-worthy, usually related to content that shares your values, opinions, and experiences
  • Saves: How many people find your content valuable and note-worthy


  • Profile Views
  • Link Clicks
  • Contact

Client Experience:

  • Mentions in Stories (user-generated content)
  • Number of posts using a brand hashtag

3. Overlooking Storytelling

Do you know what’s powerful? When your followers bond with your brand on an emotional level, rather than a logical one.

The key is to create content that is deeply relatable to your audience. You can do this in a few different ways: by sharing your brand story (often connected to a personal story), talking about your purpose and mission, or showcasing the success of your clients/customers (e.g., a visual before/after).

When people feel connected to your brand emotionally, they feel that buying your products or services fulfills a bigger mission or even makes the world a better place.

The best part is that your story, mission, and values, as well as your clients’ successes, are entirely unique to you. Nobody can copy them, and this gives you a great competitive advantage. Make sure to make the most of it!

4. Not Paying Attention to Loyal Fans

Are you always focusing on gaining more followers, expanding brand awareness, and reaching new audiences on social media? If you’re a small business, a startup, or a new brand, you might fall into this trap. Don’t forget about the people who already follow you, trust you, and buy from you. It’s easier to sell your products or services to them than to new followers who need to familiarize themselves with your brand and offer.

Create a contest and ask them to share photos of your products or film video testimonials. Or, even simpler, send them a direct message thanking them for their ongoing support and give them a small discount on their favorite products. Motivate them to recommend your brand to their friends. You’d be surprised to see how far your fans will go for you.

5. Prioritizing Followers Over Engagement

Speaking of followers, another common mistake is prioritizing gaining new followers over engaging with your current ones. If your engagement is low, with few likes, comments, and no DMs, you should consider improving it.

But how? First, calculate your engagement rate.

If it’s less than 2.5%, here are some tips to improve it: When you publish a new post, let others know about it. Share the new posts in your Stories, but it’s even better to send it directly to a few of your loyal followers and ask them to watch it and comment (or even share).

Whenever you see a new comment on a post, respond. Even if you noticed it a week later, respond.

If you notice someone regularly liking or commenting on your content, take the time to send them a direct message. Thank them for their effort and ask for feedback. Find out which topics they liked the most and which ones they’d like to learn more about from you.

Pro tip: Keep the conversation going, ask for feedback, and show up as a real human being on social media.