Are you aware of the advantages and disadvantages of Instagram?
Do you use this popular social media site?
If so, you need to learn Instagram pros and cons.
Instagram has all sorts of purposes.
This social media community is a hub for networkers, marketers, and creatives.
However, before you attempt to find like-minded users, market your content, attempt to make money, or share photos and videos, you should know the advantages and disadvantages of Instagram.
By the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll know the answer to the question, “What are the benefits of Instagram?” as well as the downsides of using the social media giant.
Are you ready to learn the pros and cons of using Instagram from this comprehensive guide?
Let’s take a deep dive and bring on the advantages and disadvantages of Instagram.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Instagram
5 Advantages of Instagram
Extend Your Reach
If you’re looking for a social network, Instagram is the perfect community.
People go to share photos and videos with people in their online network. They also socialize by chatting on DMs in small groups. You don’t even need to share a photo or video to chat in a DM and connect with people in your network that way.
So many people are using Instagram that you have access to a wider audience of people you can engage with and pitch your services to. One billion people are there. What exposure!
Increasing your visibility is easy when your posts are included in the Explore Section. I watched a YouTube video made by an Instagrammer who was included in the Explore Section once. Now, she’s Instafamous!
Instagram Helps Celebrities and Fans
Celebrities are able to extend the shelf life of their fame.
Did you notice Kim Kardashian has 141 million followers? Even when she’s not making TV shows, Instagram gives her visibility she wouldn’t otherwise have.
In 2020, publishers expect authors to have a social media presence, agencies expect models to have active Instagram feeds, and so forth.
Also, fans are able to keep up with their favorite celebrities. For example, actress Jennifer Aniston and former Bachelorette Ali Fedotowski use Instagram. At the time of this writing, for instance, Jennifer Aniston only has 3 Instagram posts but already has 14.4 million followers. Ali Fedotowski has 770,000.
Tools Exist Which Make Succeeding on Instagram Easy
Optimization tools: Tools exist which tell you when to optimize. These tools are free. I use and recommend the WhentoPost app.
Also, there are tools that allow you to preschedule your posts so you don’t always have to be at a computer. Buffer and Hootsuite are free, popular choices. They post at optimal times when your followers are at a computer.
You can poll people about anything. Are you getting inspired with creative ways you can use polls?
Marketers can poll Instagrammers about a product idea. Bloggers can poll Instagrammers about an idea for a blog post. Authors can poll Instagrammers about their next ebook topic.
For instance, as a blogger, if I were torn about which social media site to write about next, Instagram or Snapchat, based on these poll results, I would definitely choose Instagram.
If you already have existing content about your poll topic, be sure to use the Swipe Up feature to generate website traffic.
Do you see my Instagram Sticker says “Swipe Up?” This way, people have a Call to Action telling them what I want them to do. My text also tells them why they should Swipe Up.
There is no end to what you can do with your poll results. I find my Instagram followers take my polls which encourage me to post more polls.
Using polls is definitely one of the advantages of Instagram since it allows me to connect to my readers.
Just go to Instagram Stickers and select “Poll.” You can use emojis as well as words.
Can you suggest any creative uses for Instagram polls in the comments section?
Business Account: When you have a business account, you receive valuable Instagram insights. Use these analytics to determine a target audience and when to post. Instagram business accounts receive other valuable metrics as well. In this way, Instagram encourages business accounts and discourages personal accounts. The site gives many perks to business accounts for this reason.
Instagram shows you hashtag analytics so you know which hashtags bring you the most success. While other tools charge for these insights, Instagram gives you these analytics for free along with the business account. Make sure to continue to use these hashtags to boost your reach.
This is another one of the advantages of Instagram. By studying these metrics, you can replicate your success. Instagram shows you analytics for both Stories and posts in your feed.
By studying these analytics, you know the demographics of people interested in your content. For instance, Instagram tells you gender and age range along with days and times in order for you to optimize your Instagram content.
Instagram Creator Account: The Instagram Creator Account is an alternative to the Instagram Business Account. You can’t have both. The Creator Account comes with its own bells and whistles.
Preview App: The Preview App shows you what your posts will look like in your feed before posting.
Unfollow apps: In order to keep the number of people you follow under the 7500 maximum capacity, you might consider unfollowing your unfollowers if you’re not genuinely interested in their content.
Recently, Instagram started sending threatening warning messages to users who use these apps to unfollow, however, you can use these apps to see who is unfollowing you if you want to manually unfollow them.
Building Engagement is Easy
Host contests or giveaways
People can enter if they comment which increases your engagement. Randomly draw from the comments section.
People can also enter if they share. Require people to use a special hashtag so you find the people who entered.
I have had successful giveaways when I worked with brands. The companies offered my readers free codes for premium accounts.
Build on people’s curiosity
Using Instagram Stories is a powerful way to boost people’s curiosity so they want to learn more about your brand.
The previous Story told Instagram users I was approached by a tea company with an offer I was unsure about accepting.
Do you see the “More” sticker? Tapping on it will enable Instagram users to go to your next Story.
You can also increase interest using the Countdown feature. Countdown is an Instagram Stories sticker.
Use polls. Polls are easy for Instagrammers to answer. People just click a choice which takes them no time. People like to participate since doing so is easy and quick. Also, the responses give you valuable feedback.
Use GIFs Instagram has many features inside the app that make succeeding on Instagram easy for you.
Instagram Stories has an array of fun, creative, and exciting features inside the app.
It gets better: Other people can use your custom brand further extending your reach.
Use music When you choose music on Instagram, you have a wide variety of musical choices. Your followers get to hear the tunes and read the lyrics. It gets better: All of the music is royalty-free so you don’t need to worry about licensing.
Use engagement groups
Engagement groups exist that allow you to get free Instagram followers. For example, there are groups on Facebook, the Telegram App, and on Instagram using the DM feature.
Follow Loops: There are also Follow Loops which are easy to find. You merely search Follow Loops in the Instagram search bar. There are follow loops for many niches as well as generic follow loops. You can even pay for a “ghost spot” so you don’t have to follow back. This is convenient if you’re at or close to the 7500 maximum capacity for how many people you can follow.
Push Notifications: Finally, you increase your engagement by responding to commenters and keeping the dialogue following. Push Notifications tell you when people comment so it’s easy to respond promptly.
Make Money on Instagram
“How do you monetize Instagram?” is a common question.
Are you wondering, “How to make money using Instagram?” If so, you are in luck. There are many ways to monetize Instagram.
Swipe Up: For example, if you have over 10,000 followers, you can use the “Swipe Up” feature so Instagrammers can go straight to your content, products, or services.
People ask how many followers you need to make money. Brands look for a 7% engagement rate. Use the engagement rate calculator to see your current engagement percentage.
Marketing Opportunities Galore
Marketers love Instagram which has become a marketer’s playground.
According to the Social Media Examiner,
“At our 2020 conference, more people attended our sessions about Instagram marketing than any other platform.
Our research revealed that 76% of marketers use Instagram.”
Marketers use Instagram to sell products and services.
They do this through the use of Instagram Stories. The Swipe Up feature takes consumers to where they can purchase.
Creative Stories showcase your services, testimonials, and the answers to your frequently asked questions. Keep the Stories archived in your Highlights area of your profile so long after you post your Stories, people can see them.
Instagram is expanding its entry into ecommerce which helps marketers.
For instance, the new shoppable feature means no redirect to cart or checkout.
Content marketers can also sponsor content or promotions.
Marketers sponsor contests and giveaways on Instagram to add to the hype, the buzz. Sometimes the winner is chosen from people who share the content.
Local business people can sponsor posts as well. For example, restaurant owners pay to sponsor promotions seen by people living in the vicinity of the restaurant.
If you want to pay to promote, click the up arrow.
Are you ready to learn more pros and cons of Instagram?
The Federal Trade Commission is suing Facebook. The FTC wants Facebook to sell Instagram and WhatsApp. Apparently, the FTC feels Facebook has a monopoly which breaks the Sherman Anti-Trust Law.
According to The Verge, some of the advantages and disadvantages of Instagram relate to Facebook’s ownership of Instagram.
According to the publication, one of the disadvantages of Instagram is that the site is owned by Facebook. The Verge feels Instagram would be better off without Facebook’s “baggage.”
More Advantages of Instagram
December 2020 Update
Instagram started Reels. According to AdWeek, you will be able to shop using Instagram Reels.
Instagram has plans for being more active in the ecommerce space in 2021, and one of those ways is through the shopping feature of Instagram Reels.
November 2020 Update 1
When Joe Biden won the U.S. Presidential Election, Instagrammers used Instagram to express their joy. In fact, both Instagrammers and Twitter users declared November 10 “Biden Won Day” and used the hashtag #BidenWonDay” on Instagram and Twitter.
November 2020 Update 2
More advantages of Instagram.
When you haven’t visited Instagram in a while, the site emails you there are activities in your feed you have missed.
November 2020 Update 3
Instagram changed its homepage. I consider this one of the disadvantages of Instagram as do many others. The reason: Finding what you need on the homepage is confusing since what you normally click is now found in different places.
Instagram made these changes to the homepage to make room for Reels, Instagram’s answer to TikTok and shopping.
For me, the greatest source of confusion relates to the location of the heart, the place where you see your notifications. Instead of appearing at the bottom, the heart now appears at the top.
September 2020 Update 1
Tash and Viv from the Ace the Gram podcast discussed how to get visibility on Instagram.
Before we add this additional advantage to Instagram, let’s review the recent history.
In 2016, Instagram stopped showing posts sequentially, in the order of posting. Ever since, Instagram shows you what the algorithms think you’ll like based on your previous activity.
For instance, if you clicked the like button on posts with a certain hashtag, when posts with that hashtag are published, Instagram will show the post to you.
This decision is controversial since there are many critics. However, Tash and Viv point out this is good for Instagram users.
Do you ever go five days without posting to Instagram? In the past, this would have hurt you: People wouldn’t have seen your posts for five days.
Now, it doesn’t matter when you post. Instagram still shows your post to people the algorithms suspect have an interest.
September 2020 Update 2
An article on Medium explained there’s a new Instagrammer, and she’s a robot!
By studying the robot’s Instagram bio and other strategies, we can boost our own Instagram success.
If Artificial Intelligence is available on Instagram to offer us a model of a successful profile, why not follow her lead?
The robot, named Miquela, is an Instagram influencer. She has millions of followers.
If you’d like to see Miquela’s account, you’ll find it here.
Don’t believe me? She tells you in her profile description that she’s a robot.
September 2020 Update 3
I found a way to connect with my Instagram followers in the Direct Message section. I gave a poll and offered two choices, “Yes” and “Send Me the Link.” When they chose Choice 2, they entered my sales funnel.
I followed up in a DM. This communication boosted my visibility in their Instagram feeds. Networking and branding were enhanced as well.
September Update 5
Are you aware there are Instagram Story Sticker Collections?
Here are a few of my favorites: Steffi, Hayls World, and Shine. Use these on your Instagram Stories to stand out and ensure your Stories look different from other people’s Stories.
August 2020 Update 1
Instagram started pinned comments. The way it works is this: You can pin up to three comments to the top of your post. Click the comment, swipe left, and tap the pin icon to pin the comments.
African-American owned businesses received a boost from an Instagram post. A woman asked retailers to commit to having their suppliers be black-owned businesses. Many companies such as major retailers are supporting this idea (Source).
August 2020 Update 2
Instagram started Reels this month.
Instagram Reels are similar to TikTok. They both incorporate music and a short video. Instagram Reels are a new feature of Instagram Stories. In fact, Instagram changed its story layout to accommodate Reels.
Since Donald Trump is banning TikTok in the U.S., Instagram’s introduction of Reels is timely.
August 2020 Update 3
Instagram increased its font selections from four to eight choices. This means Instagram is stealing thunder from 3rd-party apps that give people additional font choices to use in Instagram Stories.
In addition to offering more font choices, Instagram now offers more font styles. For instance, some of the most popular font styles included letters with outlines and a “rubbed look” full of colors that look rubbed onto the Story behind the letters.
Here you will find more information about these font choices and how you can have your own weird text generator for Instagram Stories.
Instagram is helping the “Women Empowerment” movement. Celebrities and non-celebrities are posting black and white photos of themselves with the caption “Challenge Accepted.” By using the Instagram #Challenge Sticker, they can select the Black and White Challenge (there are many Instagram challenges), and challenge someone else.
After Floyd George’s death, the nation erupted into protests. Instagram showed the site stood in solidarity with protestors.
The screenshot above shows what greeted Instagram users when they logged into their sites.
June 2020 Update 2
Instagram does not hesitate to reinvent itself.
One main way is through the use of Instagram Story Stickers.
For instance, on June 15, the U.S. Supreme Court passed a landmark LGBT decision extending protection of LGBT rights. Instagram responded with a new Instagram Story sticker showing two figures in rainbow colors shaking hands.
When Instagrammers place the sticker on their Story, their profile picture shows a brightly-colored rainbow ring.
I published a post about how to market during and after Covid-19. I promoted the post on Instagram. The powers-that-be at Instagram detected my content contained Covid-19 information. Therefore, they put a link to additional information about the virus on my post.
They let me know about the addition to my content. The screenshot above shows you the information I received. I never thought my Instagram account would be used as a resource for Covid-19 information. I’m excited and impressed that Instagram is using the opportunity to give information to the community.
Now that economies are weighing how to help small businesses reopen safely after the Coronavirus shelter-in-place restricts lift, social media sites like Instagram have decided to help.
As you can see, there are new Stickers at the top of the Instagram Sticker choices from what appeared there in April.
The first sticker allows you to support small businesses. You don’t even have to have a small business. When you click the Sticker, Instagram asks which small business you want people to donate to.
Also, according to recent reports, Instagram is partnering with Facebook, the site that just started Messenger Rooms.
Now, both Instagram and Facebook will offer users the ability to video chat in large groups of up to 50 people.
Things were not all rosy for Instagram in May of 2020. The mega social media site reduced support for its mega lite app. This could render people in countries where the Internet is a struggle difficulty using Instagram. These reports come from Forbes.
In April, Instagram expanded the selection of Coronavirus stickers they made available in March.
Instagram is partnering with Netflix to give information explaining how the youth should take care of themselves during the Coronavirus shelter in place quarantines.
Instagram’s Response to the Coronavirus:
First, when you go into the Instagram app, you see a place to click for information related to the Coronavirus.
Next, Instagram has incorporated new virus-related Stickers.
The first Sticker offers advice on how to avoid the disease. The second Sticker functions to remind people there is a pandemic looming so they take precautions.
Instagram is now quicker to use than ever before.
For example, you can make Instagram Stories without pictures.
Also, as mentioned above, you can also DM people (send them a private message) without inserting an image.
Instagram is known as a photo-sharing site, but as time goes on, whether you share a photo is becoming optional at least in Stories and DMs.
Are you ready to learn the disadvantages of Instagram? Here we go.
8 Disadvantages of Instagram
Large Number of Unfollows
People unfollow often. The reason seems to mystify users. Remember: Instagram is unlike other social media sites since you can only follow 7500 people. On Twitter, there are limits for fledging accounts. However, once you grow, you can follow more people. Not so on Instagram.
The number of unfollows is jaw-dropping. There is no evidence that the people who follow you during a Follow Loop or a reciprocal Follow Thread continue to follow you.
More Disadvantages of Instagram
January 2020 Update:
According to several sources, Instagram’s reach is dead due to algorithm changes.
These sources include Karan Singh of the SEO Singh Show and members of the Instagram Reddit subreddit.
Consider a recent comment in the Instagram subreddit:
“I’m starting to think it’s slowly phasing out like Facebook did a few years back. There are fewer people posting, people are irritated with the algorithms, multiple accounts are being disabled, and it genuinely seems less active.
These comments received 109 upvotes indicating agreement. Also, 73 people responded to the question as to whether they agree or disagree that Instagram is slowly phasing out.
To read the comments the members of the Instagram subreddit left, click here.
Instagram Disadvantages FAQ
Why do people unfollow on Instagram?
Instagram users are mostly millennials. They get bored if you don’t produce new content at a pace that satisfies them. Also, people can only follow 7500. To follow new people who follow them, they have to unfollow older accounts.
Getting New Followers Is Difficult
Getting in the Explore Section, which increases your visibility, is difficult. In fact, I’ve been active on Instagram for two years and, to my knowledge, my posts have never been included in the Explore Section.
Also, you can’t follow people who follow you since you can only follow up to 7500 people. If you only follow people who follow you, you’ll never have more than 7500 followers.
Instagram is Controversial
Instagram may give up likes.
The powers-that-be are concerned that people are clicking “like” to support the admin of the account and not actually reading the content.
Instagram’s experiments with getting rid of likes have been met with criticism. People are angry since they see likes as a form of approval and engagement.
Also, Instagram is owned by Facebook. Facebook has suffered two years of scandals due to political decisions and data breaches. Since Facebook owns Instagram, people may view Instagram as being guilty by association.
Update July 2020:
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is under fire for what advertisers perceive is his non-responsive attitude about racist content on his site.
Advertisers are pulling their money. Some refuse to advertise on Facebook in July. Others refuse to advertise on Facebook until year’s end. Advertisers leaving Facebook include such big names as Coca-cola.
You might wonder what this has to do with Instagram. Facebook owns Instagram. If Facebook is controversial, Instagram is controversial. In other words, Instagram is guilty by association to Facebook. People wonder if brands will also pull their advertising dollars from Instagram for this reason.
Rumors about Instagram are spreading.
This is another one of the disadvantages of Instagram. When you are successful, really successful, rumors start flying about you.
Businesses are no different.
Do you want to know what rumor is spreading about Instagram?
A rumor is circulating that Instagram will start charging to use the site.
Have you heard the rumor?
This is nonsense!
I never heard about these “plans” and neither has anyone asked about Instagram’s supposed plans to charge its users on Quora.
Should users have privacy concerns?
According to the Engadget blog, Instagram is keeping track of what you search. Furthermore, the site predicts Instagram will make recommendations based on the content you’ve already indicated you’re interested in viewing.
The music might be controversial.
One of the disadvantages of Instagram is your inability to preview the music tracks before you put them in your Story. You don’t know if the music has clean lyrics which might be a concern for people.
Algorithms are Biased
Algorithms give advantages to video. This gives Instagram an edge in search engines. When people spend extra time at a site watching videos, the website’s bounce rate improves helping them in Search Engine Results Pages.
Also, the algorithms give an advantage to people who pay to promote. After all, Instagram is a business and businesses need money to continue and thrive.
Instagram Discourages Website Traffic
Instagram discourages traffic by not allowing a live link in your caption. You must tell people in your caption that the live link to your website content is in your bio.
Also, Instagram won’t let you have a live link in your Stories if you have under 10,000 followers.
Instagram Saps Time
Instagram is addicting. Like any other social media site, people waste a great deal of time on Instagram. They scroll through their feed and the Explore section. Pretty soon, they don’t know where the time went.
Instagram features that take more time may be discouraged. Millenials, the majority of Instagram users, like to do things quickly. Today, people are in a rush. Yet, Instagram Stories gives a clue that there are more Stories to come and the exact number of Stories to come and users may not want to wait around.
Let’s look at the Countdown Story again.
Can you tell there are 3 lines at the top of the Story? This shows people looking at Story 1 that there are 2 more Stories to come. Today, people like quick solutions.
This particular Story is the third of my Stories on this day. You can see that the third line isn’t complete. Once it’s complete, the Story will disappear and after 24 hours won’t return.
My attempts to generate interest in my blog party, this particular Story, may never get seen. Instagram is tipping my hand.
By telling people I have two more Stories coming, people may leave or go onto someone else’s Story.
Were you aware of this Instagram secret? Do you agree that this is a disadvantage?
Instagram Has Rules
These rules may be hard to follow and cause you annoyance trying to comply with them.
Instagram sends you threatening warnings. Recently, Instagram started sending threatening warning messages to users who use apps to unfollow. Actually, Instagram sends you warning notices for any action you take too often.
There is a limit on the number of people you can follow each hour. In fact, you can only follow 160 people per hour.
There is a limit on the number of people you can unfollow each hour. For example, you can only unfollow 30 people per hour.
Instagram Stories only allow 15 seconds for a video. This is solved by using the Splice app which divides your video into 15-second segments or IGTV.
Pressure on Content Creators
Instagram users seem hungry. They ARE hungry, but the disadvantage is they put pressure on the content creators that post on Instagram to continually produce photos, videos, and Stories to feed them what they’re hungry for.
Instagram users are mostly millennials. They will get bored if you don’t give them frequent stimulation. It’s like a fix.
Instagram is currently trendy, hot, on the rise. There’s a feverish dynamic. If you don’t give Instagram users their “fix,” they’ll get bored and unfollow you.
More Disadvantages of Instagram
More negatives of Instagram:
People have been asking on Quora.com about Instagram blocks when they try to Direct Message.
The response about DM blocks (Source), if you find yourself in the predicament of not being able to DM people, is as follows:
“First of all, I recommend reading Instagram’s rules and restrictions to avoid facing action blocked, because if you get the action blocked messages some times, Instagram may ban your account temporarily or permanently.
Now that you have sent a lot of direct messages, Instagram might have recognized you as spam or bot and it prevents you to send direct messages for about one or two weeks.
For proving that you are a human and not a bot, you should stop sending direct messages for some days or weeks. ( the more the better), then your Instagram account would be back normal.
In addition, you should pay attention to the other actions that you take on Instagram such as liking, commenting, following, etc.
I believe this is wise advice, so I am sharing more disadvantages of Instagram and how to solve them here.
Update: December 2020
There is an update to the Instagram direct message situation. Since European laws changed, Facebook needs to make adjustments to Facebook Messenger.
The laws are mean to enhance protections for privacy and safety. I actually see Instagram’s notice about the change in European laws when I go into the app.
Although Instagram constantly reinvents itself, sometimes the innovations are problematic.
For instance, Instagram adopted a new “DM Me” Sticker. Its purpose is confusing. For example, if someone wants to DM someone, why can’t they just do it? Why do they need to click a Sticker?
In order to test the purpose of the DM Me Sticker, I posted the Sticker along with a question which the Sticker asks for. I asked for blogging questions or Instagram questions.
Someone sent an Instagram question to my DM but I didn’t know if the timing was coincidental or if it was in response to my Sticker.
Normally, Instagram tells you if someone clicked your Sticker.
Next, in the second-half of 2020, Instagram seems to have many changes planned in the area of ecommerce.
However, not everyone has products to sell. For instance, I sell services and blogging courses, but I don’t sell products online.
In order to make my point that this innovation does not take into account the masses, I researched the percentage of companies involved in ecommerce.
Do you know the answer?
Only 9% according to a 2017 source. That means 91% of the population can’t benefit from Instagram’s upcoming changes.
Wrapping Up: Advantages and Disadvantages of Instagram
Clearly, Instagram is a social, financial, and creative hub and has benefits for Instagram users in all those areas. However, those benefits don’t come without a price.
That cost may be in terms of time if you don’t get a strong return on your time invested (ROI) or in terms of money if you pay to join a follow loop just to find people who participated in the loop eventually unfollow you.
Do not draw the wrong conclusion. Although 8 disadvantages outweigh 5 advantages, you may feel the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and are worth the negative aspects of using Instagram.
Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of Instagram, only you can weigh the pros and cons to determine whether using Instagram is right for you and your brand.
Readers, please share so others know the advantages and disadvantages of Instagram before using the site.
In closing, do you agree there are more disadvantages of Instagram than advantages?
Were you surprised to read there are more disadvantages of Instagram than advantages of using the site?
On the other hand, do you believe there are more disadvantages of using Instagram or advantages? Why? Are there any advantages and disadvantages of Instagram you can add? I look forward to your views in the comment section.
This post was made possible by the support of our readers.
Janice Wald is the founder of MostlyBlogging.com. She is an ebook author, blogger, blogging coach, blogging judge, freelance writer, and speaker. She was nominated as the 2021 and 2019 Best Internet Marketer by the Infinity Blog Awards and in 2017 as the Most Informative Blogger by the London Bloggers Bash. She’s been featured on Small Business Trends, the Huffington Post, and Lifehack.