As online users & entrepreneurs we should avoid some strategic mistakes in using Instagram, there are DOs and DON’Ts in using Instagram for marketing. When Instagram started it was only a way to post pictures with friends and fans with some marketing value. However, in the last few years it has proved to be effective in reaching out to our modern, ‘time-stressed’ audience. With visuals and short messages it is a perfect way to market products and brands in a flashy, direct manner.
Instagram users are often quick to make strategic mistakes that can hinder the website’s potential impact. I listed the most important errors to avoid in order to make the best use of Instagram:
- Being too promotional. Constantly highlighting your business to people can make them lose interest in your Instagram page and consequently turn them away. Instead of posting images of your own product or logo all the time, you may want to take a softer approach. It is a good idea to manifest the values that your brand or product represent in an engaging way. For example, if images of your products and other lifestyle content are posted along with the services or solutions that are being offered it creates a balanced impression.
- Misuse of hashtags. They are powerful when used correctly but it’s important to use them in a way that
- don’t bury the first comment
- applies to the visual &
- does not exceed the ideal number
You may not want to use more that 5–10 hashtags per post. It also turns Instagram users off to find visual content that is unrelated to your hashtag search. In conclusion, use hashtags to show something that is useful and relevant so that users are motivated to visit your account again.
Primarily used as locators tin search, hashtags allow people to find topics of interest as relevant keywords.
- Making your Instagram account private. When you have a personal profile, you could keep it private. However, if you own a business you want your profile to be public. This is because you want to make it accessible and easy for people to find and follow you, also to being shared!
- Posting low quality photos. Whether it is your personal profile or business profile, you need to appear as professional as possible, the quality of your photos and videos helps determine the impression of the visitors of your Instagram page. High resolution footage, for example, automatically increases your credibility and is associated with professionalism. You may want to make sure that your images are twice the recommended size so that they are of high quality. Follow the tips below:
- Take your photos/videos with your smartphone or digital camera instead of through the Instagram app. That way, they can be edited easily, and the result are better quality images/videos.
- Take several photos on the same subject to get that perfect shot.
- Edit your chosen photo well but try not to overdo it with the filters.
- Take photos in the direction of the light and in indirect natural daylight if possible. You may also want to avoid shadows and reflections on your images as they can be a distraction and distort the image quality.
- Develop a unique visual style and stick to it in your images/videos. This will provide consistency when your newsfeed is viewed as a whole.
- I’m a big fan of Sarah Peterson and her photos, as private example on Instagram shows the professionalism I mean.
- And I love the style and approach of Abby Lawson and of course as she is dedicated to decoration it’s a whole other level, love it!
- Posting inconsistently. It’s important to post regularly on your Instagram account to give visitors the consistent value they seek, you become predictable and followers develop an increased trust on you. However, you should not post for the sake of it. Spamming your followers’ news feeds could have a negative effect, they may feel irritated and could “unfollow” you. Space out your posts with pertinent and engaging content.
- Not proofreading the written content. Even if there is only limited written content that can be posted on Instagram it still matters that the content is edited and proofread properly. Content with careless grammar and missing punctuation can discount your credibility. It can also spoil impressions in front of a massive audience.
- Not interacting with your followers. The primary thing to remember for any social media marketer is to engage with your visitors, it’s all about connecting with your target audience and making them feel wanted. So if your audience makes comments on your posts, respond to it. Also, reposting the content of your audience as a way of showing appreciation is a great idea, this builds a healthy relationship with your followers and helps promoting you back.
- Not following your followers and other relevant users. When your followers follow you, it would be a mistake to not follow them back. Even if you don’t need to communicate with followers on their personal accounts, following your followers will help you know them better. You will also find out what interests them. This information is helpful when preparing content to attract the attention of followers and fulfil their interest. Other relevant users can be found through the Discover page, hashtag searches or by observing who your followers are following and liking.
- Not paying attention to Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories is a feature that enables users to share several photos and videos in a slideshow sequence which lasts for only 24 hours. Typically, one in five Stories receives a direct message from a viewer, it’s a great way to get the attention of Instagram users and presenting your ‘story’ to your followers in an attractive way and connect with them.
- While using Instagram Stories, it is important to keep the following in mind:
Sequence a story. The sequence and format of Instagram Stories makes it easier to understand and follow of a larger story. For example, you may share a step-by-step process on how to use a gadget newly available in the market, share a day in the life of someone or give a insight of your services.
- Be original, make sure that you are authentic in your content, make your Stories as unique as possible so that your followers feel genuinely interested in going through it.
- Use creativity. The point is to be as creative as possible, you may want to use Instagram Story features such as stickers, filters, drawing tools, text and tags to make your content more eye-catching.
- Invest value. Your Story needs to contain value so that your Instagram followers take it seriously, you may want to check whether the Story conforms to the goals of your overall social media strategy.
- Not using analytics to track results. It’s important to know who is visiting your Instagram account, why and when they are present. Only then will you have an idea of the interest and success of your Instagram account.
- Not adding links link to your website. This is because visitors who are genuinely interested in your Instagram content may want to visit your website and it’s way easier for them if you provide a link to your site. Not doing this (out of commodity) could prevent many visitors from accessing your website.
For a more commercial approach I also found this useful article from ‘Entrepreneur‘.
Avoiding the above mentioned mistakes can greatly improve your presence in Instagram.
You may also be interested in 10 Social Media strategies to beat your competitors to boost your online presence!