Instagram is an excellent social media platform to market your business. There are so many users with unique interests that might overlap with yours. Utilizing this social network will help new customers find you and create relationships with your company.
There are common Instagram mistakes people make when trying to market on this platform. Simple adjustments can take your page from being boring with no engagement to being a vital part of your social media marketing strategy and company culture.
Without further ado, here are 10 Instagram marketing mistakes you might be making:
1. Posting low-quality photos
Photos should not be posted on your Instagram account if they contain any of the following errors:
◆ Low lighting
◆ The subject is not in focus
◆ Noticeably cropped
These errors result in images that are not appealing to the eye. Poor photos can cause potential customers to believe you have inferior quality products too – what they see in your profile translates to their perception of your company. To avoid this from happening invest some time into improving your content.
You don’t necessarily have to buy a fancy camera and lighting to improve your photos, here are some tips and tricks you can do with just your smartphone:
◆ Tap the screen to focus on the subject
On an iPhone, you can slide your finger up and down after focusing to adjust the lighting.
◆ Take pictures in natural lighting, but not direct sunlight.
Natural lighting is always a great source, but direct sunlight can be harsh and create glares or shadows. An easy trick is to find a large, shaded area outside, so you have nice even lighting throughout your picture. Cloudy days make the best lighting!
◆ Plan your photos and take them in bulk
Taking the time to shoot a bunch of pictures with different people or things as the subject can help you always have content in your library ready to post. It makes quality posting easier because you’re not scrambling at the last minute for content and shooting quickly.
◆ Take more than one photo
When shooting, take more than one picture of each subject. Try different angles, even if you think it’s odd or you already got the right shot, take more! When you go back and look at the ones you took, you’ll like having options.
2. Lacking Engagement
Engaging with your Instagram audience is an essential part of gaining and maintaining interest. If you’re not utilizing the tools Instagram has created for this, then you are missing out on the networking part of this social network.
Some of these mistakes include not responding to people’s comments and other user generated content, not following any accounts, and not commenting on other people’s posts.
Engagement adds a face or personality to your company. It allows people to see the “person” behind the company. What are they like? What do they care about and why? And even the most basic, yet most important question – who are they?
Just like in life, you get to know someone the more you talk to them. On Instagram, users get to know you the more you interact.
There are four different ways you can start interacting with people:
1. Follow other people in your industry
2. Comment on industry-related posts
3. Respond to comments on your posts
4. Instagram Stories (see next point)
If you begin interacting on other accounts, people will become curious about you and visit your profile. When you respond to people’s comments on your post, it’s almost like an extension of customer service. It makes them feel important that you went out of your way to talk to them.
3. Not Using Instagram Stories
Instagram stories are a great tool your business should be using. They allow you to make videos, take polls, and answer questions people might have. By not using this feature, you’re missing out on easy, free advertising. An important thing to note is that they disappear after 24 hours.
One of the best ways you can use the stories feature is by posting videos. Videos enable you to demonstrate your products and give viewers a glimpse into your company’s culture and day-to-day life.
With Instagram Stories, there’s also a feature that allows you to pin it to your profile – these are called “highlights.” If it’s something important, like a product demo, you can add it to the highlights and then everyone who visits your page will be able to see what it is you sell and how it works.
Highlights are great for before and after posts, frequently asked questions and answers, and any other informative content you might post on your story.
If it’s just something fun and doesn’t add any value to the page, don’t save it to the highlights. Another category that you shouldn’t add is announcements. For example, if you’re having an event or a sale, go ahead and post it to your story but let it go away after 24 hours rather than keeping it on your profile unless you’re going to remember to delete it once the event is over.
4. Over Posting
A common misconception is that by posting a lot, you will gain a large number of followers, and more people will see your account. Instead, you actually lose your audience. When you put content out there way too frequently – it overtakes your followers’ feed, and they don’t like it. They will unfollow you.
Don’t post every day of the week, and don’t post multiple times a day. That way, you’re not crowding people’s feed.
Oddly enough, when you don’t overpost, your engagement will increase.
5. Inconsistent Posting
You can post too frequently, but you can also post too infrequently. There’s a healthy balance to be had. When you’re on the inconsistent end of the spectrum you’re not building a relationship with your followers, you’re not showing up on their feed, and they’re not learning about your company.
Post once to Instagram about 3-5 days a week. Experiment with when the best times to post are, and choose times when your audience is most likely to see and engage with the photos and videos you post to your Instagram business profile.
If there’s anything else you want to share outside of that, post it to your story. This frequency is enough to keep you consistent without being overwhelming. Plus, it can be hard to come up with content if you’re posting that often.
6. Incomplete Bios
The bio section of your profile is where you can sum up what you’re all about. It’s ultimately the gateway to your account and an easy way to welcome people and introduce yourself. Not using this can cause people to be confused and hesitant to look any further.
Also, if your bio doesn’t include a link to your website you’re missing out on a significant source of traffic. Not having this can lose people’s interest. Most visitors are not going to close Instagram and go search for you online, so even if they were interested, you’ve lost their business already.
Always, always, always include your website link in your bio. That way, they never have to navigate away from your page to get the information they want.
Also, make sure you provide a relevant summary of what your business is about. Answer questions like: Who are you? Why do you do what you do? What sets you apart?
Having this introduction information is your initial point of engagement with people. They are looking to see if their interests line up with yours.
7. Misusing Hashtags
Hashtags are a great tool on Instagram because they organize information into categories of interest that people can search for directly. They can be overused and underused. The trick is finding the right balance.
If you’re not using them at all, you’re missing out on a large group of people who are searching for items and topics that you’re posting about. On the other hand, if you overuse hashtags, you risk losing relevance, and it can also make your captions look messy.
Use a handful of relevant hashtags or brand hashtags for each post and put them in the comments. A good rule of thumb is to have a few tags for your industry and a few specifically about the photo – do not exceed 10 hashtags.
8. Not Adding Your Location
The location feature is another way people search for content that interests them. If they want to find out what’s going on in their area, they have easy access to that. Not utilizing the location geotag keeps you off the grid, and you won’t show up when people look for location-specific posts.
You don’t have to tag everything with where it was taken, but for some things it can be very beneficial. For photos where people are the subject, you should add the location. Also, if you’re going off-site for the day, share where you are. The place could be a point of interest for many users.
I know we talked about photo quality, but photo editing is a mistake all of its own. You could have a great photo but edit it poorly, ruining it. Over-editing photos leads to distorted and pixelated images. They’re not fun to look at.
It’s also hard to look through your profile if you edit every image differently – it makes it look like there’s not a plan for posting.
When you’re not an expert, the best way to go is minimal. Don’t try to do too much and stick with the basics until you feel comfortable. Adobe has a free Lightroom app you can use. You can also purchase presets online so that all your images have the same tone. A cohesive tone makes your profile look professional. All pictures should have a nice flow and look like they belong together.
10. Content That’s Not Relevant to your Business
Most everything we’ve talked about flows into this point – stories, highlights, posts, bios, etc. Posting irrelevant content to your account takes time and attention away from your business. Not only do you have to take the time to create it, but it’s confusing to your followers. They’re following you because of the services you offer and the related content you put out, so anything that you post not related to that puts you at risk of losing your audience.
Only post things that are relevant to your business. Avoid text-posts with quotes or sayings unless you explain why that’s significant to your company in the caption. Always caption your pictures and always make sure it relates to the image.
In regards to stories and highlights, the same rule applies – only post if it relates to your business.
Final thoughts about Instagram
You don’t have to be a marketing guru to take nice pictures for your business or to keep your followers engaged. If you implement these 10 Instagram marketing tips, your followers won’t be confused and you will gain interest from others viewing your account.
Once you start utilizing this social platform properly, you’ll notice the impact Instagram can have on your business and the interest you can spark by simply sharing what you’re all about.
Tell us about your Instagram experience
Have you tried using Instagram to promote your small business? Tell us your stories in the comments below.
And don’t forget to sign up for the BizIQ IQ Newsletter to receive more marketing tips delivered right to your inbox!