How NOT to promote your Instagram if you want it to grow 0 529

Every business regularly spending time creating and adding content to an Instagram account has two things in mind: sales and growth. In the beginning, every new follower is celebrated, and engagement is followed closely.

However, not all businesses are the same, and nor is it a new Instagram account. Starting to see tangible results on social media can take a while, leading some small business owners and digital marketers to try and get ahead of the game.

From buying followers – a tried and tested technique that can seriously harm your Instagram – to binge posting, mass following, and other hidden ways of gathering more followers and leads. I have seen it all. The more desperate a new business or a novice social media professional is to get to the top of the social media pyramid, the more likely they are to fall into traps promising instant fame and money.

Here, 10 entrepreneurs, content creators, digital consultants, and even a magician share 10 hacks to avoid while promoting your business on Instagram.


1. Follow/Unfollow

“The worst hack is using some sort of automated application or Chrome extension (like Everliker) to gather followers through automatic following/unfollowing. On the one hand, it works…for a while. But the users you get from such techniques, for the most part, don’t actually engage with your content. This is also a great way to get your account temporarily or permanently suspended, as Instagram heavily monitors and cracks down on such abuse.”

Jay Andrew Allen – Technical Writer


2. Posting for the sake of it

“One Instagram hack or myth that should be busted is that you need to post every single day.

While consistency is key to keeping yourself visible, it doesn’t mean you need to post everyday. Curating an Instagram account is all about quality and not quantity. If you can post a quality image only 4 times a week then

That is better than several poor-quality posts per day. However, make sure you keep that weekly habit in place.

Mollie Newton – Founder at


3. To use someone’s comment section to promote yourself

“There are several approaches that are not effective for promoting your Instagram. A few things that I see most newbies doing is spamming other accounts’ comment sections with self-promo and having no posting strategy at all.”

Brianna Desira – Content creator at


4. To buy cheap ads in countries with no potential clients

“I am based in San Francisco, however, when I first started using social media I bought lots of ads in Egypt. I did this because, for a long time, they had the cheapest cost per click. Over time I learnt that buying ads in countries your potential customers were not in is a waste of resources. On top of this, it also skewed who saw my future ads.”

Daniel Chan – Award-winning magician at


5. Aiming your content at the wrong audience

“I’ve known some companies tapping millennial influencers for IG growth but seem oblivious to the fact that it just won’t work because they’re in the wrong market. Millennials are, by nature, true digital natives. They’ve learned to know which brands to trust and which ones to avoid. They understand how brands are marketing to them. So, they approach campaigns with scrutiny rather than enthusiasm. However, they will react well if the message is authentic, if the product or service is valuable, and if the brand isn’t too pushy. Because of this, the best way to market to them is to avoid being overly aggressive and straight-in-your-face. It’s the reason why influencer marketing has become big business in the first place on Instagram.”

Michael Hamelburger – CEO at Expense Reduction Group.


6. Buying fake followers

“The worst technique that you could possibly use to promote your Instagram account is to buy fake followers.

By doing this, there is no promise of user engagement or promotion of your business. Essentially, most of these

accounts are bots or fake personas created for the sole purpose of inflating your follower count. Not only are these followers useless, but the spammy visuals often associated with these accounts is sure to deter potential customers away.”

Tom Mumford – Co-founder of Undergrads Moving


7. Promoting your Instagram while commenting on someone else’s content

“The worst hack that I have observed on Instagram is people engaging with others in the community with a reference back to their profile. This means commenting on a post with some valuable information, then ruining this connection by referring straight back to your profile. The comment with the valuable information is ok, but the reference back to your profile is not fine. In fact, this is considered spam by Instagram.”

Anjana Wickramaratne – Social Media Marketing Manager at Inspirenix Digital Marketing


8. Following people with the sole intention of selling to them

“One of the worst techniques I’ve seen is mass following, then immediately sending a copy/pasted sales message. Then, unfollowing a day later.

This approach will leave you disconnected from long term growth & authentic connection! Plus, it leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths. This hack is even worse as people do it so often. I’ve seen people follow/unfollow multiple times. This world is smaller than you think!

Sara Tea – DJ and Creative Consultant


9. Following everyone is not a strategy

“As the founder of a website, I made promoting my business my main responsibility. I do it on every platform that is willing to help, especially on social media. However, not all tips and techniques that can be found online can give an advantage to your business. For example, following everyone who follows you. More often than not, they are just following you so they can tag you in their posts to widen their reach. To prevent this, do not follow every account that follows you.”

Samantha Moss – Editor & Content Ambassador at


10. Off topic comments is a no-no

“One of the tackiest tactics to get more followers and likes on Instagram is commenting on something completely irrelevant under the photos of other Instagram users just to get more attention.  I’ve seen a lot of smaller accounts try to comment completely ridiculous things under the photos of celebrities and popular influencers to try to get people in the comments to follow them. Commenting under popular photos and videos for the sole purpose of getting more followers is not just tacky, but it can also anger the person who posted the content.”

Liz Jeneault – Influencer and VP of Marketing at product review website


Bonus tip – Using someone’s content without crediting it

“Our Instagram account is popular because it reposts content from customers, including celebrities, that use our products. These products include vehicle restoration projects and custom cars. Hence, reposted photos of those transformed cars always help grow our Instagram. However, a mistake you don’t want to make when sharing other people’s content is not properly crediting the person who made or owns that content. When you don’t properly credit customers or creators for their content, you are increasing your chance of frustrating others and potentially getting reported. You also want to properly credit people for their content on Instagram because those people will often share the reposts that you tag them in, which can help your account gain more followers.”

Sturgeon Christie – Auto industry expert and the CEO at

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Marcio Delgado is a Journalist, speaker and a Content Producer working with brands and publications in the UK and Latin America.

Instagram reels: will your business be using this new feature? 0 543

Probably the last thing we needed in 2020.

But Reels, a new feature launched by Instagram earlier in August, is officially here, allowing people to record and edit short multi-clip videos with audio and effects. This feature is already available in over 50 countries around the world. Just a few days after hitting the market, some of the short videos uploaded to Instagram Reels are already getting 5M+ views – not bad for something that is supposed to be ‘new’. We use the term new loosely, as this feature barely differs from Tik Tok, which has been around for years.

Like it or not, brands, influencers, and marketing professionals have to be quick in adapting to features brought to the market by social media platforms. New features are their way to keep its user-base online for longer and it may benefit your business. However, with marketing budgets and resources as tight as ever, will businesses be adding Instagram Reels to their content calendars and overall social media strategy?


Instagram’s eagerness to push Instagram Reels will help you

“I have been testing it out from the beginning. I posted some short educational content and quickly gained 200+ followers. I also had one coaching client signed that found me through Instagram Reels. The views are exponentially higher than my follower count, as Instagram pushes the new feature and its video content. I can totally recommend trying it and posting educational, inspirational, or informative content at least once a day.

Hannah Geuenich – Social Media Coach at


Adoption by brands might take some time

“I expect Reels will help engage newer audiences, while also helping businesses to serve their current followers with interesting new forms of content. This will ultimately be good for business. The short-form nature of Reels is going to be great for experimenting with storytelling for paid/sponsored programs. However, adoption by brands might take some time. Data is hyper important to determining ROI; however, Reels does have the advantage of being built on Instagram’s strong data-centric creator platform.”

Kyle Hjelmeseth – Founder at digital talent management agency


I will strategically add it to my monthly content calendar

“Reels is perfect for business because Instagram audiences are already used to being sold to. This was not the same for TikTok. I plan to do short-form videos that tease and get people to click the link in my bio for a free training or lead magnet and follow from there.

I will be learning on a daily basis and adding it to my monthly calendar of posting every day for a month. This is the same approach I took on TikTok and this helped me to grow fast.”

Olumide Gbenro – Public Relations and Digital Nomad Summit Founder


It’s an opportunity to repurpose content

“For a brand or someone who isn’t utilizing TikTok or short-form content yet, this might be an opportunity to repurpose content from YouTube or Facebook Live. So, don’t think of Reels as a new branch, but rather a means of repurposing.

From what we are seeing so far, there may not be as much visibility for smaller creators through Reels. The biggest benefit for me will be recycling TikTok content and reviving it in another discoverable format. I truly believe the more content, the better. If there is a new means of blasting your product or ideas to your followers in a fresh and engaging way, without sacrificing the quality of your content, why not give it shot?”

Victoria Jameson – Social Media Strategist, radio host, and Lifestyle Influencer


Create new ways to use new tools

“Developed as a direct competitor to TikTok, we are looking at the platform’s new addition in a different light. Rather than shifting our content from one platform to the other in its entirety, we are working on developing two separate content strategies for our clients – each with different goals in mind. For TikTok, we are capitalizing on viral trends, topics, and partnering with influencers to leverage the rapidly growing audience in a new and creative way. With Instagram Reels, we feel it will be beneficial to align this content with our already-existing brand voice hosted on the platform. However, we will seek to delve deeper with the new visual, interactive offering. Hopefully, this will create a seamless experience throughout. Case in point, why cut the content in half? We see this as an opportunity to broaden the scope of our coverage online for each brand we represent.”

Anneliese Peper – Director of Social Media at PR News Agency


Having all your tools in one place is helpful

“From a business perspective, the Instagram Reels feature is a clever move from Facebook as it allows businesses to stay up to date with the latest trends in marketing. For me, one of the biggest benefits is that it’s all done within one platform. You are already starting off with a following that you have gained over time. You don’t have to worry about starting all over again on another platform. Reels are also easy to create and they sit on your profile in a similar way to an IGTV.

I’m discussing the possibility of adding Reels to our social media strategy in two particular ways. Firstly, they’re an ideal length for sharing small, snappy pieces of information you want people to remember. Secondly, as a business, people like to see behind the scenes. Quick but fun videos could allow our followers an insight into how we work.”

Jaye Bonser – Social media manager at online advertising platform

Emily in Paris 0 822

5 reasons why Emily in Paris could not be an influencer in real life

In a year that people would rather fast-forward their lives, Netflix’s easy to watch ‘Emily in Paris’ has achieved an impressive entry on the list of the streaming platform’s 10 most watched shows. The plot is far from elaborate: An American millennial goes to work in Paris even though she cannot speak a word of French,  falls in love with the city, its cuisine, and its men – oh, and on the way, she also becomes an overnight influencer without much effort.

Created by Darren Star, the same man behind HBO’s Sex and the city (1998 – 2004), “Emily in Paris” stars Grammy and Tony nominated actress Ashley Park, and The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones’ Lily Collins (who was also executive producer).  The series was shot in France last year, from August to November, in a pre-Covid era when people could still go out and maintain normal lives.

It is hard to realistic place Emily as a normal girl. She is perhaps the only twentysomething American with just 58 followers to be transferred abroad to work in a marketing agency. Even more bizarre, she is taking a post at what must be the only marketing agency in the world without any social media accounts, which makes it even harder to imagine the character thriving as a content creator.

Over the years, I have worked with hundreds of content creators and brands in Asia, Europe and America. So, believe me when I say that although the influencer marketing ROI is higher than most traditional sales approaches, it is way more complex than it looks. 

Here are the five main reasons why Emily in Paris could not be an influencer in real life.


Zero interaction

Emily is often impressed by the number of people finding her account, for no obvious reason, and following her, for no obvious reason, either. However, she doesn’t make any effort to check who those people are, nor to interact with them. Despite the fact that her Instagram goes from a few dozen followers at the series pilot, to thousands of people following her short posts once she starts sharing her Parisienne life in later episodes, Emily never replies to a comment or leaves even an emoji on others’ accounts.

Ask any real-life content creator and they will tell you how many interactions they have to create every day to keep people commenting and sharing their content. From a simple ‘thank you’ to a more detailed reply, influencers can’t afford to simply ghost post. Ghost posting is an expression created to describe people who disappear after uploading their content, instead of interacting with followers within the first few minutes of their content going live – these are the crucial minutes that will make or break a piece of content on social media.


No planning whatsoever

Emily is a free spirit in a new city and posts away with the same carefree attitude. here is no content planning. Emily just creates her next post in an improvised way. 

In real life, influencers spend hours planning their content. This includes crafting great captions, creating outstanding photos and videos, and meticulously planning what time they will post based on research and a deep understanding of their own Instagram insights. Knowing their followers well and what time they are most likely to be online is the key difference between content performing well or falling flat.


Ignoring Instagram’s tolls

In Emily’s world, it is good enough to post on the main grid. She lives in an unrealistically simple digital world.

In the real world, all tolls released by the Facebook-owned platform over the past decade massively help to drive engagement. We know that the protagonist is aware of Instagram Live, as we see Emily watching a live stream of her friend, Mindy, singing in a bar. However, she doesn’t explore Instagram Live while creating her own content, nor does she use stickers, location tags, filters, or any other available tolls.


No video content

Although Mademoiselle Emily works in marketing, she blatantly ignores the fact that, according to a survey by Cisco, the worldwide leader in IT and networking solutions, by 2022 online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic — 15 times higher than it was in 2017. 

The changes in the way people consume video content is a forecast widely spread across the marketing industry. So much so that, a few years back, while outreaching content creators to be part of a new campaign, I would often be asked in which format the brand expected them to post – as they had different fees. 

Video content takes longer to be created and approved; therefore, it commands a higher price. The difference is that in 2020 most influencers are posting in any possible format to maximize their reach. So, instead of negotiating a static post, savvy content creators are now more likely to offer brands a package that will include videos, stories, Instagram reels and, in some cases, even blog entries and cross promotions. With the latter, the influencer would also post across different social media channels.  


No follow up

Influencers spend a reasonable amount of time doing something that only a few people see: following up with brands. Once they land a collaboration, be it paid or in exchange for a free product to review online, the partnership doesn’t end once the post is up on social media. In fact, this is actually only half-way through the process. Within the first hours of a branded content going live, often people will ask specific questions that will require the content creator to liaise with the sponsor to answer them. The more related to the post, the better the engagement. Companies and their marketing agencies also expect influencers to follow up with them, after a while, to share content insights (how many people interacted, how many clicked the promotional link etc). It is worth spending some time doing it properly and in a professional way because that follow up will allow brands to decide if a content creator is a good fit to work on future campaigns.


All 10 episodes of Season 1 of “Emily in Paris” are now available on Netflix. 

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