Instagram is the new cool right now. As a business owner, if you’re not using Instagram as a marketing tool, then you’re not ready for serious business as this social network has become the primary platform to showcase your products & services, attract new customers and make massive sales.
As much as every business wants to join the bandwagon, some jump off the cliff without taking the time to understand the key factors that will help your business thrive in this digital marketplace. If you’re using Instagram for business, here are some mistakes you should totally avoid.
This is an absolute no-no. Don’t be in a hurry to have thousands of followers and end up with zero engagement on your posts. The problem with buying followers is that you end up with people who have no interest in what you’re selling. Before you realize this, you would have spent time and effort creating useful content that does not appeal your audience and of course, you will not make any reasonable sales. Instead of buying followers, you need to work hard to build a robust Instagram presence by creating a thoughtful strategy, set smart goals, share great content, and consistently engage your audience.
No bio description
Instagram has over 700 million users and you think your potential customers will be patient enough to see your pictures load without your bio giving any clue as to what to expect? It is extremely important to tell people what you do, what to expect and somewhere they can click to find out more about the business. Never ever leave your bio empty. Make it attractive, entertaining, and descriptive. You should also add a web link to your bio, this serves as your Call to Action button to drive traffic to your website. Without this, you can’t make references like “Link in Bio” when talking about a product.
Being overly promotional
Constantly shoving your business in people’s faces on Instagram is not cool and a sure way to make your followers to lose interest. Instead of constant promotion, take a softer approach and try to portray the values that your brand or product represent as a whole with engaging content. For example, Nike has curated an Instagram account that features images of their employees, their communities, and other lifestyle content alongside posts featuring the products they are selling. This builds a visual representation of their brand while showcasing how their products might look in the real world.
The finish, for now. The start, for later. It doesn't matter if you're a record-breaking legend or a jaw-breaking medalist: A legacy is built beyond the finish line. Today, @joanbenoitsamuelson, @marlen_esparza, and 10,000 others completed the Nike Women's 15k focused on what's in front of them, not what's behind. #niketoronto
Not paying attention to captions
You can’t afford to ignore your Instagram captions if you want to achieve high engagement from your audience. Great Instagram captions not only give context to your posts, but can generate emotional responses from your audience especially if it’s a caption they can relate to. Psychological research shows that evoking certain emotions can help increase the chance of a message being shared. You can write great captions with these simple tips:
- Place the most important words at the beginning of your caption.Some text usually gets cut-off, so put @s and mentions at the end. Don’t bury your lede!
- Pose a question. Encourage audience participation and engagement by asking them a thoughtful question. You could ask their thoughts on your newest product (featured in the post), or general open-ended questions.
- Don’t be afraid to use emoji.This visual language helps draw the audience’s eye and adds fun and personality to your caption.
91% of Instagram posts contain between one and seven hashtags, so it’s obvious that hashtags are a powerful social/digital marketing tool. But like most things in life, this power can be of disadvantage to your business if it’s misused. Hashtag misuse can either be in the form of, overusing hashtags, underusing hashtags, and using irrelevant hashtags.
Hashtags are used to enable discovery—allowing others to find topics and users of interest. If you are spamming your posts with too many or irrelevant hashtags, you are devaluing your account and are at risk of losing credibility. Alternatively, if you have quality content but are underusing hashtags or failing to include any hashtags at all; you are doing your business a great disservice and missing out on a solid opportunity for discovery and engagement.
Not editing your content
Editing your Instagram photos can increase the number of views by 21% and raise engagement by more than 45%. Instagram is a visual social platform, so if you are ignoring this step, you’re missing out on a chance to drive conversation around your brand. As much as editing is encouraged, you don’t want to over-do it; there is definitely a need to strike a balance between leaving a photo in its raw, unedited state, and raving with filters until your image is unrecognizable.
Ignoring your community
Instagram is not a “post and go” type of social network. It’s important to build relationships and make meaningful connections with your followers. In order to get the most out of the Instagram community:
- Follow other relevant users. Find these through hashtag searches, the discover page, or seeing who your followers are following and liking.
- Take the time to respond to audience comments and questions.Marketing and branding are all about building relationships, so it makes sense to actually take part in conversations with your Instagram community.
- Share user-generated content regularly. Celebrate your audience and repost their content as a way of showing appreciation.
- Ask (and answer) questions.Show your followers how important their opinions are by asking them questions and having them respond in your Instagram post comments. For example, if you’ve launched two new flavours of a smoothie, ask them which ones they prefer and which flavours they’d like to see in the future. On the other hand, if you receive the same questions repeatedly, use an Instagram post to answer them thoughtfully.
Now you know what to do and what not to do to on Instagram as a business owner; take online marketing very serious because the world has gone digital. Most business owners reported that over 75% of sales were made online. You can do it too.
Photo Credit: Ink Drop