Mistakes you’re making on Instagram

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”
– Maya Angelou

Instagram is a social network with millions of users. This social network is a powerful business tool. Not only is a key marketing strategy, but it gives businesses a digital way to promote their brand. Millions of photos and videos are shared across the social network each day, while its live streaming service makes it possible to connect directly to your followers. Businesses have it easy on Instagram as long as they have an effective marketing strategy. If you find that you’re not gaining traction, however, check off the list below. What mistakes are you making that you could fix?

No interaction. As a business, you stay within your niche and post creative content each day. You may post 2-3 photos a day, which isn’t too spammy. While your following is increasing, your photos are getting likes and comments. For one reason or another, however, you haven’t found the time to interact with those that comment. This is a huge mistake in social media. It’s like having a staring contest with a customer that’s standing at your cash register. What is keeping you from replying back? When you don’t do this, it shows that you are too timid to step out from behind your logo. It implies that customer service is not your main priority. And, the implication is that you may not be a serious entrepreneur. It’s the equivalent of having your arms tightly crossed in front of you (which means you are closed to new ideas) and your face scrunched up. Is the image you want to portray for your business? If not, then let’s change it.

Whether a comment came in today or three weeks ago, reply. This shows that you are acknowledging the person as a human being. They have value to your business. Their thoughts and ideas matter to your brand. A simple “hello” is a nice icebreaker. If they made a comment about a product, reply back about it. If they said they enjoyed your photo, say thank you. Engage with your customer. Show that customer that you can step away from your company’s logo. Make it known that you do care about your customers. This tells your customers that are humanistic and personable. It shows them that you’re on the same social level as they are and that you can connect with them.

A blank biography. If I landed on your Instagram, would I know who you are? Instagram doesn’t give you many characters to write your bio, but make the most of it. Tell customers what you are, such as your profession. For instance, on my Instagram, it says I’m an author. Tell them where they can find you: a physical address (I would only use this if you have a commercial property), a phone number, e-mail address and a website. Any of this information left out of your biography confuses the viewer. It casts a shadow of doubt on your credibility. Your profile says you’re an architect, but where is your website? Let me see what buildings you have designed. This is your chance to market your brand. Impress me so I purchase your products. Clients click on your website and you get work. Work leads to money in the bank, so don’t leave that bio blank!

Misuse of hashtags. Use too many hashtags and people may think you’re seeking attention. Use too few hashtags and your content may not get noticed. Hashtags is a tricky game, but it’s one that you must master. Research your hashtags well before you use them. Aim to use hashtags that have a large following. This ensures that your content will be seen. If you were to use had only had a few thousand followers, there is an unlikely chance that you would not be noticed. I find that using hashtags is trial and error. If one hashtag doesn’t work well for you, move onto another. But keep track of these. Which hashtags didn’t work and which hashtags brought you followers? Keep these in two separate columns in a database. It’s going to prove useful in the future for your marketing.

Don’t spam. There are followers on my Instagram that post all…the…time. Don’t do this. When you post more than a couple posts a day, most users will look at this as spam. It turns them away and they soon click the unfollow button. This is bad news. It means that you are losing followers instead of gaining them. Post at the same time each day for Instagram, while keeping it consistent. Users are going to expect to see your content. But keep your posts brief. Post 1-2 photos per day and schedule the rest. All of us get so many pictures and videos on our Instagram feed. You don’t want to make your followers feel overwhelmed.

Irregular posting schedule. Your users may be used to seeing your content each day Monday-Friday. But all of a sudden your content stops. You don’t tell your followers why you stopped posting it; you just stopped putting it out there. In essence, you left your followers out in the cold. They look for your content and it’s no longer there. It should be expected that they unfollow you because you’re not giving them anything. This is a huge mistake. If something happened to where you can’t post, have someone take over for you. This person may be a family member, an employee of your company or a friend. Have them keep up with your regularly scheduled posts and stay on schedule. This is particularly important if you’re a brand influencer. It’s necessary that your customers aren’t left out of the loop.

Don’t post low-quality images. Finally, care about the images you put onto your Instagram. If the image is too dark or blurry, don’t post it. This makes you look like an amateur. You also don’t want to post content that irrelevant to your brand. Why would you post a sundae picture when you’re a landscaping business? I would also be wary of using filters. Some filters may help our photos look awesome, but other filters may make our photos appear lousy. In fact, some followers like a photo based on the filter which you have chosen. If possible, don’t use a filter but upload the photo as it appears on your hard drive. If it’s a high-quality image, it’s still going to get plenty of likes from followers. Have confidence in yourself and your brand.

What other Instagram tips do you have? Leave them in the comments.

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