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7 Key Mistakes Instagram Influencers Make [And How to Avoid Them]

Sometimes the desire to have more followers, more likes and engagement, leads Instagram Influencers to make some mistakes. 

If you are an influencer, read this article to avoid making the 7 crucial mistakes modern Instagram influencers make. And if you want to become one, learn what you should avoid doing. 

Instagram Influencers Mistake #1 – Concentrating too much on the number of followers

If you have more than 10,000 followers, you can be considered a micro-influencer and start growing. This number allows you to unlock the “Swipe up” feature in the stories. This feature will enable you to include links to your Instagram story and attract more businesses to cooperate with you. 

It seems appealing, doesn’t it? 

But the thing is – how do you get 10,000 followers? Are you asking each and every friend, acquaintance or even strangers to follow you? Or maybe you join Facebook “follow for follow” groups. 

Here’s a real example of an influencer-to-be who desperately follows everyone for a follow back: 

Instagram Influencer Mistake

Note: the IG profile on the left, is not the user’s profile. 

Instagram blocked the account because they’ve noticed some suspicious action taken to get more followers and likes. 


Before following for a follow back, remember that even if Instagram doesn’t block you, the follower count is not as important as how interested they are in your content. 

If you are an influencer, your true desire should be educating and sharing with them relevant tips and tricks that nobody has shared. You might have 100 followers who are highly engaged with your shared posts. On the contrary, you might have 10.000 followers out of which even 100 users don’t like your posts because they are not organic followers. 

Try to be yourself, be authentic and it will pay off. 

Remember that word-of-mouth is powerful. If one of your followers likes what you’re doing, they are definitely going to share your content with their friends. You will get new followers who will become true fans of your work. 

Isn’t it motivating to know you inspire people? After all, being an influencer is not just about having lots of followers. It’s about making an impact on the way your audience makes decisions. 

#2 – Buying fake followers

As we mentioned above, the follower number shouldn’t just be a decorative number on your Instagram profile. They should be true fans of yours who engage with your content. 

If you search for “Buy Instagram followers”, you will get about 187,000,000 search results as lots of individuals and businesses are interested in buying followers to “grow faster”. 

Buying fake Instagram followers

Buying fake followers is similar to “follow for follow’ – both don’t provide organic, niche followers. But the main difference, obviously, is that you spend money on buying followers. And unlike the first option, you don’t have to follow anyone back when you buy your followers. 

Eventually, if you collaborate with a brand, they are going to see your that your promoted posts don’t have a high ROI (return on investment). 

Nobody wants to spend money in vain, especially business owners. They will get disappointed with you and stop the cooperation. 


The solution is obvious – don’t buy fake followers. That adversely affects your reputation in the long run. You shouldn’t even call yourself an influencer if your followers are fake. 

Grow your following naturally through your interesting, engaging content and content (we’ll talk more about this later in this article, so keep reading). There are lots of ways to grow your Instagram following without buying followers. 

And if you have valuable content, use other social media platforms to educate your audience. For example, if you decide to start a YouTube channel, ask your viewers to follow you on Instagram, give the link in the description. 

#3 – Not using the latest features properly 

Some Instagram influencers use Stories, Live videos too much. Sometimes the quality of the images and videos are very poor and the content itself is about nothing. 

In the long run, your audience will lose interest if your stories and videos are not valuable.

Some influencers post too many stories and live video and some of them take the quality for granted. Even if the content is really interesting, the audio and video quality should be good enough not to distract the viewers. 


Concentrate on the quality and not the quantity. Before going live or sharing a story, ask yourself if that’s not something mediocre. Will your audience enjoy it? 

There are lots of tools you can use to make your live videos and stories look professional. 

Go live to Instagram from your desktop whenever the situation enables you. 

In some cases, live streaming from mobile is more convenient or is the only way to show your following what you are up to. But if you can, live stream with a GoPro camera.

Another good option is to go live from your computer. It’s more professional, the camera is steady, the audio and video quality is usually better. There are tools such as YellowDuck that enable you to get the most out of your Instagram live streams.  

Make your Instagram story images appealing. Instagram gives you ample opportunities for editing your image before sharing it with your following. Instagram gives you more possibilities to edit your photos than any app would. The trick here is to get acquainted with all the features, the ins and outs of Instagram stories. 

Before making a live video or a story, check if the quality is good enough, the content is interesting and timely. 

#4 – Copying from others

Sometimes when you scroll down through your Instagram feed, you get confused whether you’ve seen that post before. But it turns out, someone has made a really similar post that seems to be an exact copy from a bigger influencer. 

This is because lots of people copy from each other – the way they look, the way they take photos or even the filters they use. Let alone the content and the hashtags – they are too similar. 


Don’t copy others just because their methods work. Every influencer is unique and so is their audience. Show your following what defines you as a person – the style that’s uniquely yours. 

#5 – Using hashtags and captions poorly. 

Some influencers wonder why their followers don’t interact with their posts. Usually, the reason is – you either don’t use captions and hashtags or you don’t use them properly.  

Instagram captions represent the story you want to tell your followers. If you post your images without a caption, you are losing engagement. Same way, your audience will lose interest if your caption is not well-thought and carefully planned, with relevant emojis and hashtags. 

Hashtags should perfectly sum up your captions. They should be a part of the story you are telling. 


Try to be creative and tell a story with your post. If it’s engaging, your followers will interact with it. With time, you will notice some followers check out your page not to miss a post by you. 

As to hashtags, find the most relevant ones and make sure they are the best options for that very post. Use hashtag checkers like Hashtagify, HashTest , Instagram search, and your creativity. 

#6 – Posting irrelevant content. 

There are some influencers who skid sideways and post something that’s totally irrelevant to their niche. You shouldn’t confuse your audience as to what content they see on your page. 

Similarly, you can’t target everyone on Instagram. 

Users who are interested in your niche will find you if your content is relevant (and if you follow the advice in this article). People should be able to realize your niche just by viewing the first few posts on your profile. If you are too broad at your topics, obviously, fewer people will be interested in following you. 

For example, this post by an Instagram food influencer Jamie Oliver  has nothing to do with food 

Posting irrelevant content instagram

His audience seems to like it. But if he has too many off-topic posts, his audience will gradually skip his posts because they won’t find the content they are interested in. This is why he cleverly posts off-topic content in which his audience is interested because his demographics are apparently parents and people who like kids. 


If you want to avoid confusing your audience, think twice before posting. Ask yourself if the content corresponds to your audience’s interests and to your niche in general. If you are in the beauty niche, posting about animal care will be cute but irrelevant. Unless it happens only once and you have a story to tell. 

Take Dean Schneider’s profile as an example. 

Instagram Posting irrelevant content

Even if you don’t scroll down to the posts, from his profile description it’s already obvious what content you will find. If you are interested in wildlife and animals, you will definitely click the “follow” button. 

#7 – Posting too many sponsored content.

One of the greatest things about being an influencer is getting paid for the products you are using. Or getting lots of gifts from brands who want to get brand awareness through a post by you. 

Unfortunately, lots of influencers forget that the beauty of being an influencer lies in informing your following about the products or services you use and recommend, not everything you are paid for. 

For example, recently, Kim Kardashian’s fans started complaining that she has  too many sponsored posts: 

Posting too many sponsored content

Image source – BuzzFeed

Some influencers think that their following won’t guess they are promoting a product. Wrong! Everyone can guess from your overall activity that you are too concentrated on promoting products and earning money. 

If you have sponsors that are always there for you, using their brand in your images might be enough to get attention. There is no need to mention them each and every time you post an image. Or even if you want to give credentials, don’t make it a highlight. Instead,  do it like you’d use hashtags – at the end of the caption. 


Don’t think only about generating profit – concentrate on the value you bring to your followers. 

Earning money from your posts could be encouraging but this doesn’t mean your each and every post to be promotional. 

Take Jannid Olsson Deler as an example. 

Posting too many sponsored content Instagram

At her post, she clearly mentioned that she has a paid partnership with the brand. The caption doesn’t look too promotional. Overall, her profile is not promotional – she seems to enjoy life and the partnerships, too. 

Don’t collaborate with every brand. Choose only the ones that you really like. Make sure the product is in your niche. Otherwise, your audience will be disappointed or ignorant of what you are promoting. 

As an influencer, your responsibility should be sharing what you love. Sometimes, in your live streams, talk about some not sponsored products you like using. You will increase your reliability among your following. 

Instagram is a place where everyone copies from everyone. Be unique. It’s what will define you as an influencer. 

Do you think you make any of the above-mentioned mistakes as an Instagram influencer? Go over your content, your sponsored posts and review them. Think of the best ways you can make your Instagram influencer profile as organic as possible. Remember – your goal as an influencer should be helping your followers who look up to you.

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Alexandria is a Bizop co-founder and marketing director who specializes in marketing consultation, creative strategy, and project direction.

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