Want to get more followers on Instagram? Don’t make these Mistakes (2022 update)

We all make mistakes.

I’m guilty of this, too.

But I learned from those mistakes and errors that prevented me from growing my profile at the beginning.

It took me years to figure them out.

The result? A few days ago, My page @entrepreneursquote grew to over 1,4 million followers

I don’t want you to do the same things that hurt my profile in the beginning.

I want you to correct the things you’re doing wrong.

Remember, it’s not too late to adjust your Instagram strategy.

I’m going to show you the most common mistakes and provide a solution to each one of them.

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1.Boring description or no description at all

Finally, someone found you on Instagram and decided to click on your profile.

Now you have about two or three seconds to attract their attention. If you don’t, they leave and will never come back.

Your description is the first thing they see.

So, what is the formula for a top-notch description?

  • It’s not about you; it’s about how you can help your target audience in one sentence
  • It’s not boring (try to include at least a few emojis)
  • It includes a CTA that tells people to visit your website/landing page/sales page

The worst scenario is not having any description at all. This makes you look like you are not serious.

You can include only 150 characters in your bio.

  • Use them all.
  • Be creative.
  • Be authentic.
  • Be funny and serious at once.

2. There’s no link in your BIO to drive traffic to your website

Let’s be honest for a moment.

If you’re not sending people to your website or offer

  • You’re not growing an email list
  • You don’t get any new customers
  • You don’t make any money.
  • You don’t grow your business

That’s bad.

This is probably the biggest mistake you can make.

The only place where you can put a clickable link is in your BIO – use it!

Instead of placing a link to your blog/store/sales page – place a link to your landing page – building an email list should be your #1 priority.


Make sure your link doesn’t look spammy.

weekhack.com/checklist – good one

bit.ly/t4s5f4ge55d6w4 – bad one

3. Not being consistent

Many people are asking me why they’re getting only a few followers per month.

When I explore these accounts, most of the time they publish 5-10x images/per month.

In the worst-case people get excited, and start posting three times a day, then only one time per day, and after a month, once a week.

This is a horrible mistake!

Your followers will notice you’re not serious. They will forget about you and why they started following you in the first place. Instagram algorithms recognize that behavior and decrease the exposure of all your posts in the future. You can say goodbye to the explore page!

The solution?

Decide whether you want to publish 1x or 3x a day and stick to it!

It’s not hard to put together thirty images at once and schedule them in advance for next month using a tool like Grum.

4. Not using hashtags or just a few of them

Hashtags are a big part of Instagram.

If you don’t use them, you lose a lot of potential exposure for your account.

Instagram allows you to post 30 hashtags under each image/photo.

Most people make the mistake of not using them at all or just using a few of them.

Use 28-30 for each of your posts!


Do not post them in your caption, but in the first comment under your post.

how to get more followers on Instagram for free

As far as hashtags go, there are a few rules to keep in mind.

Hashtags should be:

  • Relevant to your ideal audience
  • As short as possible
  • Popular
  • Researched by your ideal audience

Tip #2: Do not use generic ones like #motivation #success, etc…

Use hashtags that have 20-300k images per hashtag

Get more Instagram followers

5. Photos with the crappy resolution are a big no

I know it sounds silly, but each of your images should be top-notch quality.

When I was starting out, I read the phrase – ‘the higher the resolution, the higher your level of professionality’ – it’s 100% true all the time.

6. Not having Clear ‘Call to Action’ in your posts (caption)

Whether you post a photo of your team, motivational quote, selfie, or whatever.

Each photo should have a specific purpose. A specific call to action.

It can be something like:

  • Subscribe to our E-mail list to get this [freebie/bonus]
  • Tag a friend
  • Like this if you agree
  • Visit our website to get a discount
  • Meet people from our team
  • Buy our product
  • Join our contest
  • Leave a comment

7. Not using GEO-tags for an engagement boost

Whether you have a local business or just visiting a conference or a summit, Instagram allows you to include a geo-location tag telling your followers where you are at the moment you published.

Instagram location tag

There’s a study proving that posts using a geo-tag get 79% more engagement.

8. Not responding to comments

Imagine, you are at a conference, someone starts talking to you and you are going to completely ignore that person.

Do you think they will come to you again? Probably not.

It’s the same on Instagram. When someone spends the time to create a meaningful comment – he deserves a response!

That’s how relationships are built.

It’s not that you have to spend a lot of time creating amazing answers, just be grateful and let them know you noticed their comment.

9. Not responding to direct messages

I’ve received all kinds of different direct messages. Some people just say thanks for my inspirational content, some of them offering share for share, some of them ask questions about

  • business/marketing
  • How do I create beautiful images
  • How to get more followers
  • What software I’ve been using

Some of them want to buy a shoutout from me…

The point is – thanks to DM, I’ve connected with dozens of my followers, turn many of them into email subscribers and customers, sell a bunch of shoutouts each month…

10. Expecting followers to just come to you

Unless you already have a huge following or well-known brand, there’s no way potential followers can find you without you doing the work.

I’ve covered a bunch of ways on how to get laser-targeted followers and step by step guide showing you how to get 100 followers in 24 hours.

It’s up to you to get the ball rolling and start growing your following.

11. You sell more often than provide value

There’s a rule of thumb that for every five or six posts providing value you can publish one Product push (promo post). No more. I’ve been calling promo post – Product Push. That’s when you publish an image representing your product/service/course asking your followers to join.

I’ve learned this rule from Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Jab, Jab, Jab…

It’s simple. When you post this kind of promo more times

  • You push away your followers
  • Promo posts receive less engagement than normal stuff = Instagram will decrease your chance on the explore page

12. Too many selfies

Once in a time, there’s nothing bad about publishing some funny selfie to connect with your audience on a personal level, but don’t overdo it. (If you are not somebody like Kim Kardashian)

That being said, always try to post as much relevant content as you can. It’s not about you, it’s about them.

13. Don’t turn away your audience with irrelevant content

Remember, You’re growing an Instagram audience for your business, for the purposes of making money, eventually. It’s not your personal account on Facebook.

It doesn’t matter how cute your cat is or the little hippo you found on Facebook.

Don’t publish these things no matter how sweet or cute they are.

14. Running contests without an audience

Contests are great. Contests can bring hundreds, sometimes even thousands of followers – if they’re hosted the right way.

But if you have no audience on Instagram, Facebook, and no email list – it’s not going to work. I’ve seen experienced marketers host successful contests without an audience on Instagram, but the only reason why it worked was that they had a huge email list.

Without it, don’t host contests. Wait until you grow your account to at least a few thousands of engaged followers.

15. Being more salesy than a car salesman

There’s one thing that’s happening each day and that’s irritating like hell. Every time I publish a photo on Instagram – someone writes a comment like

  • Follow me, I will follow you back
  • Please, give me a shoutout
  • Click the link in my BIO to learn [something]
  • Check out my amazing Shopify store

It’s ok to encourage your followers to do these things under your promo post… But don’t spam other’s people profiles!!!

16. Following more people than follow you

I guess you heard about a popular strategy (a little bit controversial), but I love this strategy. Find where your ideal audience is hanging out, follow them and some of them will follow you back. If you do it the right way – it works!

But, as always, there’s a big BUT. If you’re just starting out you can easily follow 10x more people than follow you – it looks bad, spammy.

The solution? Follow a thousand, wait a few days, unfollow those who didn’t follow you back, and start all over again with following new people.

Tip: This strategy works even better when your account is verified. You’re being immediately seen more trust-worthy.

17. Your photos have the wrong size

If your images don’t have the right size, they will be cropped by Instagram. It doesn’t look well. Make sure that the shape is always square!

The right size is 1280px by 1280px.

In case you have to post non-square images, there are Instagram tools and apps like ‘Instasize’ that help you to properly size the images for Instagram.

18. Long & Boring description

I bet you’ve seen a really beautiful/cute image, clicked on it and there’s a description long as hell.

I’m not sure why people do this, but please, don’t write essays in the description (caption) of your images. It just turns away potential followers.

19. Not doing share for share

Share for share has been popular for years on Instagram. It works simply by publishing an image and encouraging your followers to check out the other account (in the caption) and the other account does the same for you. It’s a win-win situation.

Tip: Find seven different accounts, put together a share for share group and start doing s4s regularly will all of them. On the first day – all seven accounts will give a shoutout to you, on the second day all account give a shoutout to another account, etc…

This one is definitely one of the best strategies to put into action if you want to get more followers on Instagram.

20. Delete images with low engagement

There are dozens of different factors that affect how much of your fans/followers see your images, whether Instagram places your post on the explore page, whether you get enough engagement in the first hour after publishing, etc…

One of the factors is how much engagement your last 12-24 images received. Let’s say 10 of the 12 images received over 500 likes and 15 comments. 2 of the 12 photos got less than 200 likes – delete them as soon as possible. It will help you to grow faster.

Want to get the hashtag strategy that brings me 11,000 impressions per post?

Get The Ultimate Instagram Hashtags Cheatsheet

Download now!
50% Complete

Get The Ultimate Instagram Hashtags Cheatsheet

Attract the right people to your profile using Hashtags on Instagram

100% Privacy. We will never spam you.

100% Privacy. We will never spam you.

21. Posting at the wrong times

Don’t publish when your followers are offline. It’s as simple as that.

This is different from business to business so I can’t tell you the best time to post.

But I can show you how to find out when most of your followers are online.

In order to do that – You need to have a business profile (don’t worry, everyone can switch to a business profile and vice versa).

Step #1: Go to your Instagram app

Step #2: Click options

Step #3: Click to ‘Switch to Business Account’

Step #4: Click the icon ‘analytics’ (next to your username)

Step #5: Scroll down until you see ‘Followers’, click ‘See more’

Step #6: Once again scroll down until you see when most of your followers are online

get more followers on Instagram

If you’re serious about marketing on Instagram, if you want to get more followers on Instagram – keep these mistakes in mind and avoid them at all cost.

Let me know in the comment section below what mistake you are going to fix first.

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  1. Livia Quinn

    I’ll start at the top and work my way down but I think first – decide how many times a day to post, delete slow posts and switch to business so I can see analytics. Thanks for the tips.

    1. Jan Orsula

      Exactly, one step at a time. Decide how often you are going to post and stick to it, delete the less performing posts and switch to business profile because the analytics will tell you a lot of insights.

  2. Janice Wald

    Hi Jan,
    Amazing! I’ve bookmarked to use as a checklist. Thank you.

  3. Brandon Lazovic

    I didn’t realize that Instagram factors in engagement in your last 12-24 posts in regards to showing your audience posts in their feeds. I couldn’t agree more with everything in this guide, nice work!

    1. Jan Orsula

      Glad you enjoyed the guide, Brandon. Yes, it took me a while to notice this factor but the results are better when you delete the less performing posts.

  4. Erica

    I will have to start posting more thank you for the tips.

  5. Rosy

    Thanks for sharing, it’s really useful. But I have a questions. Why Do not post hashtags in caption, instead of in the first comment under post?

    1. Jan Orsula

      Rosy, if you post a big number of hashtags in the caption – it can look a little bit spammy. But it’s just a recommendation. Also, I heard from some other Instagram influencers that if you post them in the comment, it boosts an engagement a little bit, but I can’t tell if that’s true.

  6. Richard

    Hello, I´m from Venezuela and it was very very useful this tips. Thanks!

  7. Marcel

    But what to do if you’ve let your account down already with only 10 posts a month. Start a new account or try to boost again my current account? Thanks heaps for sharing! And what do you do with your email list, send out emails with promotions/products/…?

    1. Jan Orsula

      Marcel, it depends how many followers you already got, but I believe you can continue with that account – just adjust the content strategy.

      When it comes to the email list, before you start sending promotions/products – start building a relationship with your audience by sharing valuable tips, ideas, etc.. for your audience.

  8. Kay

    Lots of good info and detailed, thoughtful insight. Thanks! Only concern I have is that some of it contradicts what other IG pros say. Take Neil Patel, who doesn’t believe in using all the hashtags, thinks that’s spammy. And he’s all for long captions (not boring ones, of course;). It’s confusing to us novices. I guess at the end of the day, some of this comes down to trial and error and each person has to try, try and see what works best for them.

  9. Randall

    Silly page!! Through what social media may we write the person who wrote this article?

  10. Doronize

    Thanks a lot. I am even trying to see if I’ve been making these mistakes for my website.

  11. Albert

    I implemented the techniques and now I’m back to post a comment on how great these strategies are working out for me. Really valuable!

  12. Emily

    Awesome! This would be a huge help for me as a newbie. I will follow your tips once i laumched my website. Thank you for sharing this good stuff.

  13. Vlad

    Great post! However I noticed that you didn’t mention “social proof” as a method of growth! Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where someone appears more trustworthy because others already trust them!
    A good example is choosing to eat at a restaurant you see is full, rather than an empty one. It’s the same thing in the online world. People are much more likely to follow a page that already has a lot of followers than they are one with sub 400!
    That is the one place where buying Instagram followers at the start of a business makes sense. Anyways, if you’re interested, check out social.eagleyemedia.com!

  14. Veronika

    It turns out I made many mistakes and did not even guess. Wow. What about using special services as ‘likeslive’ ? Is that a mistake too?

    1. Jan Orsula

      Veronika, I’m not a fan of buying followers and engagement. Instagram doesn’t like it as well. I would not use these websites ever.

  15. Lorita Yangson

    My first criterion was a large number of settings and additional functions like likes for new publications of subscribers, likes of comments, mutual likes, etc. I appreciated the work of only one service https://zen-promo.com/instagram_analytic that I cooperate with even now. Low prices and attracts only live subscribers and customers!

    1. Jan Orsula

      Lorita, thanks for letting us know about this tool. I’ll check it out!

  16. Ryan Peterson

    Great and well write.
    It’s a nice and impressive article to get more followers on Instagram. I love the way you describe the article. Its help increases my Instagram follower.
    Thank you for your great useful thoughts.

  17. PHat

    hi, I log more than 10 account on my phone and trying to growth them but seem to but impossible and I am trying to fix. Any suggest? Thanks

  18. Kenno Kornak

    I have read so many articles about growing in Instagram, but this is the first time I feel that I got some really practical advice !

  19. Stephen

    It’s a fantastic blog post. First of all, Instagram is my favorite social media platform. I believe if we want to grow on Instagram, we should use all the options that are available at our disposal such as photos, videos, story, hashtages and live stream. I’ve noticed that Instagram influencers try to use every tool Instagram has to offer.
    Secondly, engagement matters a lot in Instagram growth; pay attention to the comments, likes, and mentions.

  20. Miichelle Jones

    Lots of helpful insight on here! super helpful, thank you! I already implemented some of your suggestions and see the results! Thanks!

  21. Can Smith

    Hello Jan, the check-list you have stated definitely a quality one to remind for…so thanks for sharing.

  22. Priya Sharma

    I am not using hashtags on my Instagram is my biggest mistake and that’s why my followers are not in that much quantity. Now I will surely use hashtags. Thank you for the most useful information.

  23. Jeannine Bryant

    Amazing piece of content. Content is a more important thing when it comes to increasing followers. People today appreciate vivid colors and clear photos, and Instagram is all about the visuals. Give your followers something to talk about. if your content is great, the followers are going to like, share, and comment on your posts.

    Cross-posting is very critical as it facilitates easier sharing of Instagram posts on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook thus creating extra exposure regarding a given brand for a business. Instagram growth may also be enhanced through the embedment of Instagram photos in blog posts or the addition of Instagram feed on a Facebook page. This leads to the development of additional discovery about an individual or company.

    Collaboration with influencers, Shout-outs, embed your content in Q&A sites, reaching out to different bloggers and convincing them to include your content on their pages are some other strategies that can be used to increase Instagram followers.

    You can consider paid approaches to get quick results. You can buy Instagram followers to give a quick headstart to your IG page.

    You can run paid campaigns on different social media platforms like Facebook, Tumblr. Linkedin and Google Adwords. You can also pay for the sponsored post and product reviews.

    I really enjoyed reading your post. It’s informative, interesting and I have certainly learned a thing or two. Thanks!

  24. James Harvey

    The above tips you mentioned are really helpful to increase Instagram followers. Keep it up!!

  25. Anna

    Great article! Just a question about the 6 value posts & 1 product post…. what if you’re a product business. There would be a few ways we can add value without our products, but mainly I would think value add for a food product is how to get the most value/best results from using our products?? Thanks!

    1. Jan Orsula

      Anna, great question. Sure, in that case, you can mix it up more. The rules are not strict. All businesses are different. Just make sure that you’re adding value more than you’re selling, that’s the point.

      1. Usman

        i am from Pakistan and run Instagram business account, all my followers are from US. so when i am trying to find analytics on Instagram insights, i am confused about time zone, i want to know followers region time zone

  26. Eray Gungor

    Thanks for sharing a piece of an informative blog!

  27. Daniel Obrian

    Even though question asks free tools for increasing followers but as I see some of the answers are listing paid services as well. We have initiated working on an entirely of automation platform for multiple social media promotion eg facebook, twitter, quora, reddit, medium, snapchat, tiktok etc. You can check these here OnlyPult.

  28. Susanne

    Thank you for sharing, I’ m not sure if it would work on my account. I’m an artiste and l want my work tone seen. Selling is not the most important. I like the idea of interacting with artists and in art interested people all over the place . ( the world ) I use nice pictures of my work, do every day creative Stories, use ##### …… and have only 200 followers, so I don’t know doctor. Here is my way to long answer. Take care 🦋💪👁🌈 Susanne

    1. Jan Orsula

      Hey Susanne, thanks for the input! Great answer 😉

  29. Mavena

    Very helpful, thanks for writing this long article.
    I think, point number 2 is the most helpful for most of the people.

  30. Can Smith

    Great blog, these mistakes many people do, but i don’t.

  31. Can Smith

    Very helpful and Great information, we appreciate advising especially coming from a professional. Thanks again and keep up the great work!

  32. Galaxy Marketing

    Very well written blog. All the mention ideas are fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Jan Orsula

      Thank you for the kind words, really appreciate it!

  33. Setupedia

    What has worked for me is to use pod engagement groups with other people to increase engagement. DM and follow @setupedia to get into the group

    1. Jan Orsula

      DM groups can help with engagement. But it’s extremely important to use them correctly. Only with relevant accounts in your niche that are not shadowbanned.

  34. Serenity

    Love your input and post. I’ve applied all of your tips, but honestly my growth doesn’t seem anything like other accounts that go from 800 followers to 7k in a week.
    Here’s what gets me – I’ve noticed that some of accounts with fast growth have shitty content. Why is that? A person that isn’t a professional (isn’t a blogger or YouTuber, doesn’t own a business) will get 100 likes on a post showing their fucking big toe and the rest of us work HARD on our content and get 3 fucking likes.

    1. Jan Orsula

      Serenity, I know the feeling. I was in the same place. Other people were growing while I did not. I posted a better content. I cared more about my fans. I worked harder. It takes time, it takes effort, but in the end – it’s worth it. Don’t get discouraged. Focus on getting loyal fans, not on getting thousands of followers.

  35. Can Smith

    Wow, amazing post, I really like it very much, thank you so much for this informative post.

  36. Emi

    Amazing post. I am in the means of building my own online business and this is perfect to get started! At least on Instagram 🙂
    Would you also post something on how to get started using sites like Shopify, Etsy or Store.envy? Would be interested in that!
    All the love!

  37. Matt Calik

    Really nice guide when one’s starting with an Instagram for more marketing purposes! I’d also add using some nice keywords in descriptions, but that may be just my SEO freakiness 😀

  38. Great article Jan! So many factors to consider when one wants to make an account successful. I wonder, isn’t it sometimes a matter of luck and good timing to get popular on Instagram?

  39. I totally agree with the 4th number that hashtag plays an important role in Instagram. Using more hashtags will definitely give you more followers. Apart from this I will also try new hacks. Thank you….!!!

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