Are you frustrated because you aren’t growing on Instagram? Here are 5 questions to ask yourself to figure out why you aren’t seeing growth.

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According to Sprout Social, Instagram will reach 125.5 million active users by 2023. Millions of people log into Instagram each day and browse for an average of 53 minutes a day. That is a ton of people opening the app, posting their photos, and engaging with their friends, family, favorite brands, and influencers.

While there is opportunity to grow on Instagram, it can feel daunting if you have high hopes of building your personal brand, blog, or small business. It can feel overwhelming to figure out how to build a community on the platform. And it can feel discouraging if you aren’t seeing growth on Instagram.

If you’re not growing on Instagram, here are 5 questions to ask yourself to help you figure out why you might not be experiencing growth.

1.What does “growing” on Instagram mean to you?

Does growing on the platform mean increasing the number of followers?

Does it mean increasing the number of paid brand campaigns?

Does it mean increasing your engagement rate?

Before you get frustrated, you have to take a step back and ask yourself what success means to you on the platform. If growth is defined by a number, why is defined by that number? For example, if it’s your goal to get 10,000 followers on Instagram, why is that your goal? What will that 10,000-follower number mean when you reach it?

Defining your criteria of success and defining why that means success to you will help you lay out what you need to do to reach that goal.

2. What are your goals on Instagram? Why are these your goals?

When you think about what success means to you, you start to think about the goals or steps you need to take to reach that success. Besides laying out your goals, I also recommend your reason behind these goals. What will achieving these goals bring you? As you figure out your why and layout next steps, you’ll also start think about the timeframe.  

For example, if your goal is: “I want to reach 10,000 by the end of 2021”

You’ve clearly identified what your measure of success is, and you’ve defined a timeframe. As you think about that goal, you might also think about:

  • How often are you showing up on the app
  • How are you delivering value to your audience
  • How often are you creating fresh, new content for your audience
  • How are you utilizing the different features (Instagram stories, reels, etc.) that Instagram offers
  • How often are you revisiting this goal (is it monthly? Is it quarterly? Is it twice a year?)
  • (Identify your why) I want to reach 10,000 followers because it will help me….achieve x, y, and z….
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3. How often are you showing up for your audience?

If you’re looking to grow your audience, how often are you showing up for your current one? A lot of people are so focused on just increasing the number of followers. A lot of people completely miss and value the current audience who already follow them. How often are you showing up for the community who already follows you on Instagram?

  • Are you engaging with them?
  • Are you commenting back when they engage with your content?
  • Are you going to their profiles and commenting back?
  • Are you replying back when they respond in IG stories?
  • Are you showing up 3 times a week? 5 times a week? Or maybe just once a week?

Consistency and building a relationship with your current audience will result in long-term success.

4. Are you being yourself?

We have to talk about how social media can be a giant highlight reel. We all love to share our life milestones like engagements, graduations, new cars, or fun vacations. But the truth is people just love it if you show up as yourself.

Not being you on the platform might contribute to you not growing on Instagram. People can tell if you’re being real and authentic. People can tell if you’re putting up a front. You can absolutely keep your personal life private (for example, I tend to keep my family off my Instagram feed unless we’re celebrating a holiday). But you can also be who you are to your audience.

As cheesy as it sounds to say, “always be yourself”, this phrase is true – especially if you’re looking to build a community and grow a following on Instagram or social media. People want to feel like they have an understanding of who you are. So don’t be afraid to be you!

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Tip: You can show real life moments using Instagram stories.

If you’ve ever seen my Instagram stories, you’ve probably seen my dog Boone or snippets of my morning or afternoon runs. I also share what I’m watching at night (like the Masked Singer or the Voice).

5. How are you differentiating yourself?

Besides being yourself, you should also take a look at your niche (foodie, fashion, home décor, etc.) and reflect on how your differentiating yourself. Differentiation can look like a lot of ways. Some people lean into their lifestyle and they talk about balancing a family with a career or shopping on a budget as a college student.

Some people lean into where they live. For example, there are content creators in the Northwest who share beautiful photos of the mountains, alpine lakes, and the stars. The environment inspires what type of content they create.

Think about what makes you unique. Think about what other content creators in your niche and what they aren’t doing.

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There you have it friends! A few questions to ask yourself and reflect on if you aren’t experiencing growth on Instagram.

What other questions do you recommend asking yourself if you aren’t seeing your platform grow?

For more content creation/photo tips, you can also check out:

How to Pose at a Pumpkin Patch

Apple Picking Photo Shoot Ideas

6 Pumpkin Patch Outfit Ideas You Can Wear This Fall

Thank you for reading!



Photos: Holly Phan