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Why Is Instagram Not Working for Your Business? Understand Now

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How many times have you asked yourself, “Why is Instagram not working for my business?” If you’ve tried every strategy and trick in the book—and still aren’t seeing meaningful results—I get it. I’ve been there.

The fact is, most businesses can’t afford not to use the platform. As of April 2020, Instagram had nearly one billion active users and the experts at eMarketer project the social network to gain 112 million new users in 2020 alone. Additionally, 200 million users visit at least one business profile daily, according to Instagram.

Succeeding on this mobile-only, visually-driven social media platform can be challenging. If you’re sick of playing the guessing game, and asking, “Why is Instagram not working for me??” we have a few new ideas for you to consider. 

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Your Instagram Content Isn’t Authentic Enough 

Do you know what potential followers can spot from a mile away? Boring stock images, promotional graphics, and pushy sales tactics. All of that content reads as tired and out-of-touch—or worse, inauthentic. Instagram thrives on real glimpses of life and users are sick of the cookie-cutter, over-filtered look. 

After more than a decade of Instagram, users are savvy to photoshopped images and highlight reels with too perfect content. There are even scientific studies that show overly curated Instagram images can make females depressed, anxious, and lower their self-esteem. 

Not to mention, a Global Web Index study found that the top attribute users look for is trustworthiness and one way that trust is built is with authentic content.

So instead of asking,“Why is Instagram not working?” ask yourself: “Is my content authentic?” For example:

  • Are you posting real images of yourself, your team, your product or service in action? 
  • Are you getting honest in your captions with genuine messaging and stories?
  • Are you always asking for a sale or are you simply sharing to provide value?

While you can certainly polish up your content with Instagram editing tools, the subject has to truly be authentic for it to connect with your audience.  

Keep Reading: Community Building: How to Cultivate Connection With Authentic Content

You Don’t Have a Monthly Goals

Declaring what you’d like to achieve on Instagram—by setting goals—helps you get intentional with the content you create and share. This also lets you measure your performance as you look back, to guide future strategy so you can continually be asking: what’s working and what’s not?

The key, however, is to write down your goals, don’t just think about them. According to CMI, 78 percent of B2C marketers use metrics to measure content performance. Of those respondents, 63 percent have established KPIs and 51 percent measure content marketing ROI. 

Get started with goal-setting by downloading our free social media goal-setting template.

Keep Reading: 18 Engaging Post Ideas for the Uninspired Social Media Content Creator

You Aren’t Telling A Compelling Brand Story 

According to Sprout Social, 70 percent of consumers feel more connected to brands with CEOs that are active on social. What’s more, when customers or clients do feel connected to your brand, 57 percent will increase their spending, and 76 percent will pick you rather than a competitor. 

This means, you need to give your followers something to connect with and that something is a strong and authentic brand story. But what is a brand story? Hubspot explains it well:

“A brand story recounts the series of events that sparked your company’s inception and expresses how that narrative still drives your mission today. Just like your favorite books and movies’ characters, if you can craft a compelling brand story, your audience will remember who you are, develop empathy for you, and, ultimately, care about you.”

The thing is: you need to tell this brand story over and over and the way to do that is to break it up into pieces so you can share different elements, ah-ha moments, transformations and break-throughs as you go. Check out the Cultivation Connection 3-Day Challenge, hosted on Instagram, to dig into your brand story and start creating connections.

You’re Not Actively Engaging with Followers

You need to budget time to engage with your community each day—if you want to see growth and connection, this is non-negotiable. In fact, Instagram confirmed that user engagement is a critical component of its algorithm. 

“Relationship” is one of the top three ranking factors, which means if someone interacted with your post, they’re more likely to see your future content in their feed. Additionally, people’s feeds are tuned based on what type of content they engage with. So, consider the four factors that Instagram could “theoretically” use to figure out who your followers WANT to engage with, according to a software engineer at Instagram:

  • People whose content they like (possibly including stories and live videos)
  • People they direct message
  • People they search for
  • People they know in real life

If you’re still resisting spending more time engaging, consider that 60 percent of businesses measure ROI on Instagram with engagement, according to Buffer’s State of Social 2019 report. If you want to take your community seriously, this is a metric and daily task you can’t forget. 

You Only Post Static Content 

While Instagram says that video and photos are ranked in the same way, it’s worth considering the value of video content as a business. Video on Instagram is more eye-catching and it captures the authentic nature of your brand more candidly than a solitary square graphic. 

Not to mention, these video stats from Wowzyl’s 2019 State of Video Marketing are eye-opening:

  • 87 percent of marketers say that video increases traffic to their website 
  • 83 percent agree that video helps them generate more leads 
  • 80 percent see directly increase in sales due to video 
  • 95 percent planned to increase their spend on video marketing in 2020
  • 84 percent of people have been convinced to buy a product or service after watching a branded video
  • 74 percent of people bought or downloaded software due to a video 

You don’t have to be a video expert to use video on IG. The goal is to start small and think outside the box. According to Wibbitz’s Instagram video report, how-to-tutorials are the most popular type of Instagram videos, followed by behind-the-scenes and interviews. 

Keep Reading: 8 Types of Video for Your Content Marketing Plan

You’re Not Using Instagram Stories 

The stories feature has 500 million daily active users, according to recent stats. Plus, a recent Facebook survey (Instagram’s parent company) found that 62 percent of IG users are more interested in a brand after seeing a story post. If you’re continually wondering to yourself—“why is Instagram not working for my business?”—this could be your answer. 

  • One-third of the most viewed stories are from businesses, according to Instagram
  • 57 percent of businesses agree that stories have been successful, according to the same Buffer report.

Most importantly, stories are an easy and fun way to interact with your followers. You can record daily activities or share insights and every time you post to your story, your account gets pushed to the top of the feed as your audience clicks through recent stories. 

Again, authenticity is what’s key here. Stories don’t have to be polished or produced, just get in front of your camera. 

Keep Reading: 10 Instagram Story Ideas to Boost Engagement

Why Is Instagram Not Working for You?

So many clients or people in my network come to me and ask, “Why is Instagram not working for my business?” The key to seeing success on this platform is to be intentional and authentic. If you’re ready to level up your Instagram marketing, check out my monthly membership program, Marketing From The Gut: Mindset Mastery + Instagram Strategy. I’m teaching purpose-driven female entrepreneurs to elevate their voices and step into their power so they can see results from Instagram.

Jessica Thiefels is the author of, 10 Questions That Answer Life’s Biggest Questions, podcast host of Mindset Reset Radio and founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting, an organic content marketing agency. She's been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications including Forbes and Entrepreneur. She also contributes to Glassdoor, Fast Company, Outbrain, Score.org and more. Follow her on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn and join her community of intention-getters on Instagram.

Why Is Instagram Not Working for Your Business? Understand Now

By: Jessica Thiefels Time to Read: 5 min