15 Outdated Instagram Tips to Leave Behind for a Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy

As Instagram continues to evolve, it’s essential to stay informed about the platform’s best practices to craft a successful social media marketing strategy.

However, with change comes the need to discard outdated tactics that no longer serve your brand’s goals. In this blog post, we’ll explore 15 Instagram tips that are now passé and explain why it’s time to leave them behind for a more effective, creative, and authentic approach to your social media marketing.

1. Hashtag Havoc: The Overuse of Hashtags

Using hashtags effectively is crucial for increasing your content’s visibility and connecting with your target audience on Instagram. However, the outdated approach of overusing hashtags by cramming as many as possible into a single post is now considered spammy and can negatively impact your reach and engagement.

Instead of overwhelming your captions with an excessive number of hashtags, concentrate on selecting a few (around 5-10) that are genuinely relevant to your content. This focused approach can help you:

  • Improve content discoverability: By using specific and targeted hashtags, you increase the likelihood that users interested in your niche will come across your content while browsing through those hashtags.
  • Boost engagement: When your content is relevant to the hashtags you use, it is more likely to resonate with the users who find it, leading to higher engagement rates.
  • Maintain a professional image: Excessive use of hashtags can make your content look cluttered and unprofessional. By carefully selecting a limited number of hashtags, you maintain a polished and thoughtful appearance.

To maximize the effectiveness of your hashtags:

  • Research popular and trending hashtags in your niche to understand what your target audience is interested in.
  • Create a mix of broad and niche-specific hashtags to increase your chances of being discovered by different segments of your audience.
  • Keep track of the performance of your hashtags using Instagram Insights or third-party tools, and adjust your strategy accordingly.

In summary, by leaving behind the outdated practice of overusing hashtags and embracing a more targeted and strategic approach, you’ll significantly improve your Instagram presence and better connect with your audience.

2. Time Warp: Posting at the Same Time Every Day

While consistency in posting frequency is essential for maintaining an active presence on Instagram, adhering to a rigid daily posting schedule might not be the best approach to maximizing your reach and engagement. The optimal time to share content on Instagram can vary based on several factors, such as your target audience, their location, and their online behavior.

Instead of posting at the same time every day, it’s crucial to:

  • Analyze your audience: Use Instagram Insights or third-party analytics tools to understand your audience’s demographics, interests, and online activity patterns. This data can help you identify the times when your followers are most likely to be online and engage with your content.
  • Experiment with posting times: Try sharing content at different times of the day and week to see which slots yield the best results. Keep track of your engagement metrics and adjust your posting schedule accordingly.
  • Consider time zones: If your audience is spread across various time zones, factor this in when scheduling posts to ensure you’re reaching the maximum number of followers.
  • Stay flexible and adaptive: Your audience’s behavior might change over time or in response to external factors, such as seasonal trends or global events. Regularly review your analytics data and be prepared to adjust your posting schedule as needed.
  • Leverage scheduling tools: Use Instagram’s native scheduling feature or third-party tools like Later, Buffer, or Hootsuite to plan and schedule your content ahead of time. This ensures your posts go live at the optimal times without requiring you to be online 24/7.

By moving away from the outdated practice of posting at the same time every day and adopting a more data-driven and adaptable approach, you’ll be better positioned to reach and engage your audience on Instagram. Keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so continually monitor your analytics and refine your posting schedule based on your unique audience and content performance.

3. Faux Followers: The Downfall of Buying Followers

The allure of a large follower count may tempt some brands or influencers to buy followers, hoping to boost their credibility and online presence. However, this outdated practice has several significant drawbacks that make it an unsustainable and ineffective strategy for long-term Instagram success.

Here’s why buying followers is a recipe for disaster:

  • Low engagement rates: Fake or purchased followers are typically inactive accounts or bots that won’t engage with your content. As a result, your engagement rates will remain low, which can harm your credibility and make it difficult for you to attract genuine followers or brand partnerships.
  • Damaged reputation: Instagram users and potential business partners have become more savvy in identifying accounts with fake followers. If caught, your reputation could suffer, and you might lose the trust of your genuine followers and potential collaborators.
  • Algorithm penalties: Instagram’s algorithm prioritizes content from accounts with high engagement rates. If the platform detects that you have a large number of inactive or fake followers, your content may be less likely to appear on your followers’ feeds, resulting in even lower engagement.
  • Violation of Instagram’s policies: Buying followers goes against Instagram’s Community Guidelines and Terms of Service. If detected, your account could be flagged, penalized, or even banned.

Instead of buying followers, focus on these organic growth strategies to build a genuine and engaged following:

  • High-quality content: Consistently create and share valuable, visually appealing, and engaging content that resonates with your target audience. This will encourage users to follow you and interact with your posts.
  • Optimize your profile: Make sure your Instagram profile is complete, with a clear profile picture, a compelling bio, and a link to your website or landing page. A polished profile can entice potential followers to hit the “Follow” button.
  • Engage with your audience: Respond to comments, answer DMs, and interact with your followers’ content. Building relationships with your audience will foster loyalty and encourage word-of-mouth promotion.
  • Utilize Instagram features: Maximize your reach by leveraging all the available Instagram features, such as Stories, Reels, IGTV, and Guides. These formats allow you to showcase different aspects of your brand and connect with users who may not see your feed posts.
  • Collaborate with others: Partner with influencers, other brands, or participate in community projects to expand your reach and attract new followers who share similar interests.
  • Hashtag strategy: As mentioned earlier, using targeted and relevant hashtags can improve your content’s discoverability and attract users who are genuinely interested in your niche.

By focusing on organic growth and authentic engagement, you’ll create a strong, loyal community on Instagram. This approach will not only lead to better engagement rates but also enhance your credibility and long-term success on the platform.

4. Ignoring the Instagram Storybook: Neglecting Stories and Reels

With Instagram’s ever-evolving landscape, relying solely on feed posts is a missed opportunity to connect with your audience and showcase your brand’s personality.

Instagram Stories and Reels are powerful features that allow you to create immersive and interactive content, which can significantly enhance your social media presence. Here’s why you should embrace Stories and Reels instead of neglecting them:

  • Increased engagement: Both Stories and Reels offer a more dynamic and interactive content format, capturing users’ attention and encouraging them to engage with your brand. Features like polls, quizzes, and questions in Stories can foster two-way communication and help you better understand your audience.
  • Authenticity and relatability: Stories and Reels provide an opportunity to share less polished, behind-the-scenes content that humanizes your brand and allows your audience to relate to you on a deeper level. This authenticity can strengthen your followers’ loyalty and trust.
  • Improved content discoverability: Instagram actively promotes Reels on the Explore page, giving your content a chance to reach a wider audience. Additionally, Stories shared with location tags or hashtags can appear in relevant public feeds, further increasing your visibility.
  • Showcase your brand’s personality: Through Stories and Reels, you can exhibit your brand’s unique voice and personality, providing a more comprehensive picture of who you are and what you stand for. This helps in building an emotional connection with your audience.
  • Versatility: Stories and Reels offer a wide range of creative possibilities, such as tutorials, product demos, testimonials, event coverage, and user-generated content. This versatility keeps your content fresh and engaging.
  • FOMO and urgency: Instagram Stories are only visible for 24 hours (unless added to a Highlight), which creates a sense of urgency and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) among your audience. You can leverage this to drive engagement, promote limited-time offers, or encourage users to take action.
  • Monitor performance: Instagram provides insights for both Stories and Reels, allowing you to monitor their performance and gather valuable data on your audience’s preferences and behavior. This information can help you refine your content strategy and make data-driven decisions.
  • Repurposing content: You can repurpose existing content from your feed, blog, or other social media platforms to create engaging Stories and Reels. This not only saves time but also ensures that your content reaches a broader audience across different formats.

To make the most of Instagram Stories and Reels:

  • Plan your content: Develop a content calendar that includes a mix of Stories and Reels to maintain variety and keep your audience engaged.
  • Stay consistent: Post Stories and Reels regularly to maintain a strong presence and keep your audience coming back for more.
  • Experiment with different formats: Test various content types, such as tutorials, Q&As, and behind-the-scenes footage, to see what resonates best with your audience.
  • Analyze and optimize: Regularly review your Stories and Reels insights to identify top-performing content and make informed decisions about your strategy moving forward.

By embracing Instagram Stories and Reels, you’ll create a more diverse, engaging, and authentic social media presence that resonates with your audience and drives growth on the platform. These features not only help you connect with your existing followers on a deeper level but also expand your reach to attract new users who share your interests and values. Remember to stay consistent, creative, and responsive to your audience’s preferences, and you’ll be well on your way to building a thriving and dynamic Instagram presence.

5. Over-editing Extravaganza: The Loss of Authenticity in Photos

In the early days of Instagram, heavily edited and stylized photos were all the rage, with users employing a multitude of filters and adjustments to create eye-catching, almost surreal images. However, the platform has evolved, and the trend has shifted towards a more authentic and genuine visual style. Overly edited images can now create a disconnect between your brand and your audience, making it crucial to strike a balance between aesthetics and authenticity.

Here’s why you should avoid over-editing your photos and embrace a more genuine approach:

  • Authenticity fosters trust: Presenting real, unfiltered moments in your photos can help build trust with your audience, as they perceive your brand as honest and relatable. In contrast, overly edited images may come across as inauthentic, making it harder for users to connect with your brand.
  • Showcasing real experiences: Sharing genuine moments and experiences allows your audience to get a true sense of your brand’s values, personality, and day-to-day activities. This transparency can create a deeper emotional connection, fostering loyalty and long-term engagement.
  • Avoiding unrealistic expectations: Overly edited images, especially in industries like beauty, fashion, and fitness, can set unrealistic standards and negatively impact your audience’s self-esteem. Embracing a more authentic visual style can promote a healthier and more inclusive online environment.
  • Stand out from the crowd: As the trend moves towards authenticity, avoiding excessive editing can help your brand stand out among competitors who still rely on heavily filtered images.
  • Adaptability to different formats: Authentic content tends to be more versatile and can be easily repurposed for various Instagram features such as Stories and Reels, ensuring a consistent and unified brand presence across the platform.

6. Automated Annoyances: The Perils of Auto-DMs for New Followers

Auto-DMs, or automated direct messages, were once a popular strategy to welcome new followers, promote products or services, or encourage users to visit a website. However, as users have become more discerning and demand personalized interactions, the use of auto-DMs can be counterproductive and lead to negative consequences.

Here are the reasons why you should avoid auto-DMs and adopt a more genuine approach to engaging with new followers:

  • Impersonal interactions: Auto-DMs often lack personalization and can come across as spammy or insincere, making it difficult for users to form a genuine connection with your brand.
  • Eroding trust: Receiving an automated message can leave users feeling deceived, as they may believe they’re interacting with a real person at first, only to discover it’s a pre-written message. This can harm your credibility and reduce trust in your brand.
  • Lower engagement: Users are more likely to ignore or even unfollow accounts that send auto-DMs, as they may perceive them as intrusive and annoying, resulting in lower overall engagement with your content.
  • Violation of Instagram policies: Sending automated messages may violate Instagram’s Community Guidelines or Terms of Service, potentially putting your account at risk of penalties or suspension.

7. Stuck in Still Life: Relying Solely on Images

Instagram has blossomed into a multimedia powerhouse, making it crucial to diversify your content. Blend videos, carousels, and other formats with your images to create a rich, engaging experience for your audience.

8. Caption Catastrophe: The Importance of Ignoring Captions

Captions are the unsung heroes of Instagram, providing context and sparking conversations. Devote time to crafting thoughtful, keyword-rich captions that add depth and value to your posts.

9. Engagement Evasion: Disregarding Audience Interaction

Engagement is the lifeblood of a thriving Instagram presence. Prioritize responding to comments and DMs, and actively engage with your followers’ content to nurture your community and encourage loyalty.

10. Promotional Pandemonium: Overemphasizing Sales-Driven Content

An Instagram feed saturated with promotional posts can be off-putting. Strike a balance by interspersing promotional content with educational, entertaining, and inspirational posts that captivate your followers.

11. Inconsistent Illusions: The Need for Cohesive Branding

A consistent brand identity is paramount for recognition and credibility. Develop a clear visual and messaging style that permeates your Instagram presence, fostering a memorable and cohesive experience.

12. Analytics Abyss: Overlooking the Power of Instagram Insights

Don’t let valuable data slip through your fingers. Regularly analyze your Instagram Insights to better understand your audience, identify top-performing content, and finetune your social media strategy.

13. Repost Roulette: Sharing Content Without Permission or Credit

Reposting user-generated content or other creators’ work can add variety to your feed, but always ensure you obtain permission and give proper credit. Failing to do so can damage your reputation and relationships within the Instagram community.

14. Follower Frenzy: Shifting Focus from Follower Count to Engagement

A high follower count might seem impressive, but it’s no match for meaningful engagement and reach. Concentrate on cultivating a loyal, engaged community that genuinely cares about your content and brand.

15. Shopping Snub: Not Leveraging Instagram’s Shopping Features

For e-commerce businesses, Instagram’s shopping features are a golden opportunity to seamlessly showcase and sell products. Embrace this functionality to enhance your audience’s shopping experience and drive sales.


Adapting your Instagram strategy to stay current with the platform’s best practices is essential for social media marketing success. By leaving these outdated tips behind and embracing a more creative, descriptive, and informative approach, you’ll create an authentic and engaging presence that resonates with your audience.

Stay informed, adapt to change, and remain committed to delivering high-quality, relevant content that keeps your followers coming back for more. As you refine your strategy, you’ll witness the growth and loyalty of your community, setting the stage for long-term success on Instagram and beyond. Happy posting!