Hearsay. He said, she said. Sometimes it seems like everyone has a theory when it comes to social media. And that can make it hard to figure out what’s true and what’s nothing more than an urban legend. And Instagram myths are especially common…
We’re going to address six of the most widely thrown around Instagram myths, so you can tune out the hearsay and make wise decisions for your business once and for all!
6 Instagram Myths… Busted!
MYTH 1: “The Instagram algorithm penalizes accounts with small followings.”
Let’s kick this off with a favorite. The Instagram algorithm most certainly doesn’t penalize anyone who plays by the rules. Actually, from what we understand of the algorithm, the number of followers an account possesses is irrelevant. It’s more to do with getting lots of engagement in a short period of time, and having dedicated followers who interact regularly, which can help a post get to the top of a feed.
FACT: Time to fess up: If your posts aren’t performing, your strategy is to blame, not Instagram!
MYTH 2: “There are IG approved apps that can automatically post to your account for you at the times of your choice.”
Myth alert! You may have heard about these so-called wonder apps (like Schedugram) which can post to Instagram for you without any action on your part. They certainly seem too good to be true! And in fact, they are. These apps go against Instagram’s API policy, and even though some exist and function right now, they will eventually be banned by Instagram. Using them could even get your account banned, so it’s really not worth the risk!
FACT: The above-board schedulers are the ones which ask you yourself to do the actual posting on the Instagram app, so if you come across a miracle solution that doesn’t ask you this, don’t trust it!
MYTH 3: “Engagement rates aren’t important because no one can see them but you. What really matters is how many followers you have because this is public information.”
Also untrue. There are many KPIs which merit your attention as a social media marketer, but your engagement rate is without a doubt the most telling metric of the bunch. Obviously, the follower count is the first number that people can see on your Instagram profile, which is amazing “social proof” for your business, however it’s nothing more than a vanity metric. Savvy social media experts and other Instagram influencers will be paying attention to your engagement. Don’t think this information is really hidden! If they see you’ve got thousands of followers and only a few likes on a post, they’re not going to be impressed.
FACT: Having 50,000 followers looks great – but the level of interaction you’re getting from these followers is much more important in the long run. After all, your 50,000 followers won’t help you reach any goals if they’re uninterested in your posts!
MYTH 4: “You can use as many hashtags as you want in Instagram captions and comments.”
30 hashtags is your limit for your Instagram captions and comments. Some people will try to beat this limit by adding comments full of hashtags to their Instagram posts – seems legit? Well actually this kind of thing could get you into a sticky situation. Have you heard of the Instagram Shadowban? If you get shadowbanned, your posts will be hidden by Instagram, resulting in a big drop in engagement and, in some cases, follower growth.
FACT: The best way to avoid getting shadowbanned is to keep under the 30 hashtag limit on your posts (and you really shouldn’t need more than 5-10), and ensure that the hashtags you do use are relevant to the content you’re posting.
MYTH 5: “To get more followers, you should follow as many accounts as you possibly can and wait for them to follow you back.”
Otherwise known as the “follow for follow” strategy. To a certain extent, following for follows can actually be a fruitful way of growing your Instagram community, providing you’re only following accounts relevant to your own and are not planning to unfollow them if they don’t follow you back. Those are the basic rules. If, however, you follow all the accounts and unfollow a few days later those who didn’t reciprocate, this will get you into hot water. Instagram takes mass following/unfollowing very seriously (same goes for mass liking/commenting) and will not hesitate to suspend or even delete your account if you’re caught exceeding the limits.
FACT: The best way to increase your following on Instagram is to take the time to produce good quality content and reference it correctly with the perfect hashtags to draw attention to your posts!
MYTH 6: “Using special websites which like and comment on other accounts’ posts automatically is a great way of saving time and growing faster on Instagram.”
AKA bots. And while bots may seem like the answer to our Instagram prayers, they’re actually a very, very bad idea. Aside from being forbidden by Instagram, your bot’s fake comments are actually really annoying(!). Using a bot can also be potentially damaging to your Instagram in the long term, because the new followers you attract by using a bot are not interested in your business, which can cause a knock-on effect to your engagement and even your brand on the whole.
FACT: Rather than resorting to cheating with bots, you should set aside some time to nurture your Instagram community manually!
Had you heard any of these Instagram myths before? Hopefully we’ve helped you distinguish between true and false! Any more myths you need busting? Comment below!