Instagram is a social media behemoth that has been continuously gaining users at breakneck speed. Do you know how to use it?
Instagram mistakes happen to all of us, like an occasional hit-and-miss ad campaign or an out-of-context photo. But what if I told you that there are ways to fix and avoid some of the more serious mistakes?
10 Instagram mistakes
Here are ten of the most common Instagram blunders that could literally kill your business profile, along with tips on how to work on fixing them.
1. Getting too wrapped up in numbers
Some people get way too fixated on numbers, be it numbers of likes and comments a particular photo gets, or numbers of viewers on their Instagram Stories. But here’s the thing: those 10,000 followers or 5,000 likes or 2,000 comments won’t matter unless they’re aligned with your brand and your business goals, and convert off of the content you share.
Solution: Remember, you are better off with a few right people in your network than hundreds of random ones. Don’t chase numbers and stop worrying about moving on to the next milestone. Instead, focus on nurturing your relationships with the people that have already connected with you.
2. Dismissing analytics altogether
While excessive preoccupation with numbers of followers, impressions, or likes isn’t a particularly helpful thing to do, neither is disregarding analytics altogether. Without exploring the numbers, you fail to keep your finger on the pulse of your audience’s needs and miss out on important information that could help you plan your future campaigns.
Solution: For starters, be sure to align the numbers you want to keep an eye on with your business goals and objectives. Striking the right balance between too many and too few thoughts in your statistics and data points may be difficult, but an analytics-first mindset is actually great when you know which metrics to track and what tools to use.
3. Not engaging with the community
If you think that compelling visuals are a cut and dry recipe for Instagram success these days, you’re obviously missing one of the key ingredients to stir the social media pot successfully. The secret spice? Engagement! Keep in mind that Instagram is not a broadcasting channel, but rather a two-way communication platform where you first and foremost interact with your followers to get real, authentic engagement with your brand.
Solution: If someone takes the time out of their day to comment on your photo, use this to your advantage. Reply with a genuine comment and check out their profile (just make sure you follow up with something more creative than a ‘thank you for commenting’ phrase). Not only will you leave a more lasting impression on them, but you will also increase your chances with the IG algorithm, boost your post’s visibility, and help convince casual viewers to become followers.
4. Ignoring the power of a good caption
With Instagram being a predominantly visual platform, some users overlook the importance of captions. This oversight can backfire painfully, especially because not all content lends itself to visual representation really well.
The text accompanying a photo is not just a backdrop or space filler – it’s part of the narrative, a thread that helps weave the brand story together, adding depth and context to the image. Besides, well-composed captions are an integral part of conversion.
Solution: While some pictures speak volumes without much explanation, others may need a little nudge. So, in the spirit of nudging, think of your caption as a conversation opener – keep it succinct and relatable, and above all else, make sure it sparks curiosity or interest within your target audience. Many a time, an image can be somewhat mundane, but a great, storytelling caption can save the day!
5. Posting without a strategy
While showing your brand persona from different vantage points is impressive and often fun, spreading your message too thin is an easy trap to fall into. Those tempted to post about everything tend to create content that is too generic to be relevant and elicit sustained attention from their audience.
Solution: It’s all well and good that you want to post photos of all different facets of your company or brand, but make sure you keep relating it back to the same core message! Make sure that your content is well aligned. Try using the same signature filter and maintaining the same style of photography, so when people look at your feed, all bits and pieces of information you provide look like different strands of the same narrative.
6. Inconsistent branding
Using a color or font outside your usual style seems like an innocuous slip, but overlooking those little creative elements is precisely what can prevent you from crafting an intentionally meaningful and instantly recognizable visual identity for your brand. Through these little inconsistencies, you may come across as being unorganized and unreliable, and you may run the risk of your customers confusing your business with your competitors and other brands.
Solution: Put extra effort and care into maintaining the same visual cues throughout your feed. Aside from serving as a visual linchpin, consistent branding reinforces the impression that all of the pieces of content you create are well thought through and tie into one overarching theme. Remember, it’s not about having a feed that is perfectly styled, but one that is styled consistently and with a particular goal in mind.
7. Failing to establish your niche
‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ – the old adage applies to Instagram probably more than any other social media platform. Those in the Instagramming world who fail to carve out a niche for themselves run every risk of going unnoticed and getting stuck posting to the void. Without figuring out what people are coming to you for and amplifying that, you’re not very likely to create a targeted Instagram account, build a loyal fan base and really take off.
Solution: Don’t dabble in too many subjects – know what you’re good at and be passionate about it! Each successful Instagrammer has their own area of expertise, and that’s what they stick to. Think about what the value is that you provide, what people are going to get from you, and what you are going to inspire them to do. The more specialized your content is, the more likely you are to build a large and loyal audience.
8. Abusing hashtags
While there are plenty of ways to put hashtags to work, many small businesses don’t realize the full value of hashtag marketing strategies and instead obnoxiously stuff their posts with generic hashtags.
These don’t help to develop their brand and often look like a spammy cry of attention more than anything else. Unlike personal accounts that can get away with flooding their posts with pound signs, business profiles have to use their hashtags strategically.
Solution: Instead of hashtagging your life away, use hashtags for specific, identifiable purposes. You can create a unique hashtag for your brand, or target niche communities a with segmented hashtag strategy. Once you find hashtags that are both popular and pertinent to your business, you’ll get instant access to engaged followers.
9. Choosing not to invest in Instagram Ads
Taking your time to develop an organic Instagram strategy is a great idea, but guess what – so is creating ad campaigns! Many IG users fail to recognize the potential of Instagram ads, to the detriment of their businesses. Disregarding this simple tactic is a serious mistake, making it that much harder for you to define your target audience and aim your content at the right people.
Solution: Use the advanced targeting options to develop paid campaigns that effectively engage your target audience. This way, you’ll be able to reach a considerable number of relevant users without first needing to build a large following of your own. Also, keep in mind that, according to statistics shared by Instagram, 75% of users take action, like visiting a brand website or shopping for a product, after seeing branded content.
10. Neglecting the platform for long periods of time
Although not necessarily a member’s only club, Instagram certainly favors regular users over random walk-ins. With that in mind, don’t be surprised that your content doesn’t stay current in the minds of your audience or otherwise gets lost in the shuffle if you happen to be a casual visitor, posting something once in a blue moon. On the other side of things, research proves that publishing content too often shouldn’t really be an issue.
Solution: Do your best to become an IG regular! Build momentum and drive sustained interest among your followers by setting and maintaining a steady publishing schedule, whether you post daily or weekly. You can do so either by using a content calendar or a social media tool to set up your posts ahead of time.
You Can Be an Instagram Pro
Whether you’ve been making one or all of these mistakes, don’t bury your head in the sand! Fixing these problems is relatively easy once you get the hang of it. Also, you’ll start to see some improvements almost straight away. So get back out there, take charge of your Instagram account, and give your business the boost it deserves!
Natasha Ponomaroff is the Senior Marketing Director of Instasize – a content creating tool kit for anyone editing photos and online content on mobile.
A weekly contributor on the site’s blog, Natasha tracks social media trends and updates the millions of “creatives” who are currently using Instasize to curate awesome online content.
When she isn’t writing up the latest trend, Natasha is overseeing a team of 10 over at the Instasize HQ – ensuring that the marketing content on the apps various social platforms is ready to go.