Outdated Instagram Tips You Shouldn’t Be Doing


the blog

by sarah elrod

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Ready to learn about the outdated Instagram trends you can stop doing?

We all know that Instagram has changed a lot over the years, am I right?
Just the other day, I was thinking about when the app first came out it. Instagram was really just used as a photo editing app back then. You would upload a photo to use the filter and then post it somewhere else.

Very quickly though, Instagram evolved into one of the biggest platforms used by creators and businesses. Which means, there are a million and one ways to use the platform to grow. But luckily, there are ways that we can all agree no longer are working. And those things are what we are going to be discussing today.

I am going to be sharing with you some outdated tips that should NOT be a priority focus in your Instagram strategy.


I really hope that by now we all realize this doesn’t work well. In case you are not aware of what the follow/unfollow method is, let me explain. Basically it’s when you follow a bunch of random people on Instagram in hopes that they might see your notification and follow you back. And then once they do, you unfollow them.

I never did this because frankly it sounds like a lot of work to keep up with. Also though, what’s the point? Like why would you want a bunch of random people to follow you when we all know that it does nothing to help you grow, or make more money.

Stop obsessing with that number above your name because whether it be potential clients or brands, I can promise you they don’t care that much about how many followers you have.


Also known as engagement pods, engagement groups are group chats you have in your Instagram DM’s with other accounts where basically you all agree to like, comment and engage with each other’s posts as a way to try and trick the algorithm into thinking it’s good content. Or as a means to push it out to more of your followers.

Do not do this.

As tempting as it can be to join one of these groups, I promise it’s hurting you more than it’s helping you. Instead of taking the time to engage with your ideal audience or customer, you are spending all of your time engaging with people in the pod or group.

The engagement is fake engagement. So by them commenting on your stuff, all you are really doing is creating an echo chamber for yourself. They don’t actually care about your content nor are they going to buy from you. They are just commenting so you comment back on their stuff.

Don’t believe the lie that this is going to benefit you. Focus on creating REAL engagement and actual relationships.

Another thing to note on this is that Instagram takes into consideration WHO is engaging with your content. So if you have a bunch of these random people engaging, it’s going to think that is your ideal client and show more of your content to those random people and not people that are actually interested in what you have to share.

Plus is it even worth the stress of feeling obligated to comment and engage with other people’s content that you don’t care about? When it comes to your social media you should have the freedom to do as you please if you ask me.


There used to be this trick going around that you should copy and paste a bunch of hashtags onto your instagram stories and then like hide it off to the side in hopes that your stories get seen more.

I really don’t know if this ever worked but it’s definitely not something that needs to be a part of your strategy these days. The main purpose for stories is to serve your current following and the nurture relationships.

Now I will say using one key hashtag in the form of a sticker can be helpful. I recommend utilizing the engagement features Instagram provides for you on stories. If you want a full deep dive on this check out episode 069.


Have you ever gone to click on a video or listen to a podcast because the title was super inviting or sounded too good to be true? And then as you watched or listened you realized the title was deceiving. If yes, then you have fallen victim to click bait. But don’t worry we all have a time or two.

I feel like when people share their new post or reel to their stories and then cover it with a sticker are doing the same thing.

I’m not sure when the trend of trying to trick people into viewing our content became a thing but I am not a fan for several reasons.

Not only is this really inauthentic, but it also can actually lead you to having worse engagement. If someone gets tricked into clicking on a reel and they realize it’s not what they thought, they are going to immediately click off. this will hurt your engagement more than it will help it.

It’s hurting you more than it’s helping you

And that’s IF you can get people to click on it. From my experience, more of my posts get tapped on if they are not covered because I am providing a sneak peek of what the content is. Which will do 2 things. Attract and repel the right people who the content was made for.

I don’t need every single one of my followers to see every single piece of my content. I just need the small portion that it was created for. THOSE are the people who are going to engage with it and whom it will serve.

Another thing (and I mention this in episode 069 as well) is that if you leave your REEL uncovered and posted in your stories, you are giving yourself a double boost of engagement for the people who stay and watch it.

Not only are you getting engagement “points” if you will, for having someone sit and watch the reel, but it also counts as story views. Double whammy! Who wouldn’t want that?


I am 100 percent guilty of doing this but I want to say, never has this actually really benefitted me. I’m sure this happens in every industry but being that I am a photographer, I notice it a lot in that space.

I also think it’s really popular in the influencer/content creator space as well.

So this “strategy” if you will, is where you post a photo and tag like 20 other accounts on your photo in hopes of getting your post seen by more people.

Now before we get too far, I will say that it makes sense to tag specific and relevant accounts on your post. AKA you can tag the store where you got your shirt from or the brand. You can tag the photographer who took the photo, etc.

But if you post a photo of your dog with a caption that says “I love my dog” do not go and tag Wrangler and Gucci and the local ice cream shop down the street if none of those brands or businesses are being represented in the photo.

Yes, this does happen and in fact it has happened to me where I will get tagged in random photos of people that have nothing to do with me.

Then I have to go through and remove the tags because I don’t want to be randomly affiliated with someone like that for no reason.



  1. Instagram stories do’s and don’ts
  2. Let’s boost your engagement on Instagram right now
  3. Understanding Instagram Analytics

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Email: Hello@SarahElrod.com



I'm Sarah Elrod

The Podcast

Rural Lifestyle



I'm a Cowgirl turned serial entrepreneur.
I'm a horse trainer, western wedding photographer, business coach and ranch wife.
I help women in the western industry grow thriving businesses from rural America.
When I am not strategizing new marketing tactics, you will find me riding my horses, cuddling my cattle dog, or kissing my hot husband.
There is also a good chance I am buying way too many outfits from western boutiques.

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