With more than 1 billion active Instagram users, it becomes tough to grow your online business without having a presence on this social platform. As of 2017, 71% of American brands are already on Instagram. In 2019, this percentage likely exceeds 80-85%, bearing in mind the yearly growth rate of nearly 50%. With so many users you can imagine how any Instagram mistakes you make can be costly.
In fact, such a vast presence of brands on Instagram doesn’t mean that each of those businesses managed to utilize the service wisely. Many companies still struggle to increase the number of their followers, expand their reach, and eventually drive traffic to their website by the means of Instagram by making various social media mistakes.
Yet if you failed once in your marketing endeavors, it’s not time to give up. Online entrepreneurship is more than just a knowledge of how to create a website for a small business and put your offers in there. To establish a successful online company, you need to learn an awful lot of things on how to promote this website through all available channels. Thus, Instagram mistakes will be inevitable at the outset of your efforts.
In this post, we explain how to avoid some actions (or inactions) that can ruin your Instagram promotion even before you get it started. There are 7 essential factors which you might consider as “insta secrets” if you’re fully resolved to realize how to treat Instagram in the right way and not make the Instagram mistakes that others continue to make.
And the first step to success is to stop doing these Instagram mistakes!
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1. Buy Likes and Followers – One of the Most Common Instagram Mistakes!
You could run into the services offering to purchase thousands of Instagram followers for a pittance. They say that’s the quick and easy way to become an Instagram influencer, but it’s actually a blatant lie
No matter how many followers you get, they’ll never engage with your content as real people do. Don’t expect any likes and comments from them, since they’re no more than just a bot. That string of a soulless code only decreases your engagement rates and therefore devalues your account in front of the great and powerful Instagram algorithm.
Moreover, real users will see a bit of mismatch between the numbers of your likes and followers, what can serve an off-putting factor for them. Instead of becoming an influencer, your credibility as a brand will only get worse.
Growth Tip: Rather than pursuing “fast and cheap” methods of growing your followers, prepare for a long-term struggle. Publish eye-catchy content and adhere to the best Instagram marketing practices we’ll describe a bit later.
Suggested Reading: How to get Instagram account verified
2. Use Extra Popular Hashtags to Promote Your Instagram Posts
The most widely used hashtags on Instagram are #love (used in more than 1.2B posts), #instagood (in more than 730M posts), #photooftheday (in over 490M posts). It’s no prize for guessing that when anybody tags their publication with #love, it will appear to the wide audience only for 1 second.
Extra popular hashtags have a very short lifespan, so they have a little-to-no value for internet marketing. It’s neither possible to lead the list of top publications by a hashtag nor attract your target audience to your profile. This is comparable to short-tail keywords in SEO, as small businesses may only dream of climbing up the Google search by queries like “love”, “Facebook”, or whatever.
Growth Tip: Use branded and long-tail targeted keywords. For example, if you run a sneaker studio, you might use hashtags like #sneakerfreaker, #sneakeraddict, #sneakergallery, etc. Those hashtags are often followed by the members of the sneakerhead community making it the best way to get your company noticed in the shortest terms.
Also, it’s important to customize hashtags according to your content. If your next publication is dedicated to, let’s say, Nike Vapormax sneakers, narrower hashtags like #nikevapormaxplus or #nikevapormaxflyknit will come in handy.
3. Haven’t Added a Link to Your Website in Bio
This, at first glance, is one of the minor Instagram mistakes, yet it could still cost you the lion share of your sales. If you don’t include a link to your website in bio, followers will have nowhere to go after they decided to make some purchases.
Growth Tip: If your link is still missing, stop reading this article and add a link to your profile bio RIGHT NOW. Otherwise, this little detail will slip your mind again.
4. Neglect Instagram Stories and IGTV
Instagram consistently introduces new features. Last year, the service launched IGTV and implemented numerous updates to the renowned Instagram stories.
Long-form videos were unavailable on Instagram for a long time causing some outrage among its users. IGTV is an Instagram’s alternative to Youtube that addresses the issue. Currently, it allows to publish videos lasting from 15 seconds to 60 minutes.
On the contrary, Instagram stories are rather short-lived content that automatically disappears from the feed after 24 hours. Instagram’s name hints us that the service was initially meant for “instant” shots made inside the app. But as the service evolves, users try to post more and more quality content on their pages. Quality content creation takes time, so there is no way for it to be instant. Stories became the solution — now people may share moments from their daily lives without screwing up their beautiful profiles.
Growth Tip: IGTV is an especially crucial update for brands that gives them opportunities to run full-fledged commercials right in their Instagram account. As for stories, brands can use stories to share their “daily lives” as well. Pictures of the manufacturing process, live videos involving team members, short-term special offers, polls, and other first-hand things build a personality of your brand, getting it closer to your customers.
5. Don’t Involve Influencers
Influencers on Instagram are bloggers, celebrities, or even other businesses that have already gained a fair portion of popularity. Those users have high authority among their target audience, being able to convince their followers to buy some product from a particular brand.
If you don’t cooperate with influencers, it’s time to establish some connections. Influencer marketing proved itself effective due to its “seamlessness” — users won’t feel being forced to buy anything and will perceive your ad as a genuine recommendation from the famous persona.
Growth Tip: Collaborate only with those influencers who have a direct relation to the industry you operate in. For example, if you run a healthy snack online shop, don’t ask celebrities that constantly post stories from McDonald’s and KFC to advertise your goods. Instead, choose among popular fitness models, diet consultants, eco-activists, and brands from the associated fields like fitness clubs, vegetarian cafes, etc.
6. Run Mis-Targeted Contests
There are tons of “follow us and claim your prize” contests across the Instagram. But are they really effective in the long term?
Contests with simple actions required to participate may attract thousands of people in just a few days, but most of them will leave after you announce the winner. Moreover, such contests end up mis-targeting your audience. A vast majority of users join them just to try their luck. They are not really interested in your product, only seeking some freebies to collect.
Growth Tip: To achieve a long-term growth, you need to think out a bit more tricky rules for your contests. Using our aforementioned example of a sneaker studio, you can assign your followers to create a look involving their favorite Nike sneakers tagging your brand afterwards in addition to following your page. The winner might be chosen not through a random number generator, but by some sports fashion influencers, celebrities, etc. Only those who truly want to get an extra pair of sneakers will take effort to win this contest.
7. Write Dull, Long, Sales-y Captions or Have No Captions at All
Instagram is not all about the pictures. Captions also matter, what makes them an additional tool to impress your audience and boost sales. But if your caption isn’t catchy enough to grab the reader’s attention, it makes no sense.
Growth Tip: There are most common Instagram mistakes when it comes to captions:
- Dull copy that lacks call to action. Being a great social media specialist means to be a great copywriter, too. You need to provide your followers with up-to-date information and season it with some vibrant expressions to motivate them on action. To hook the reader, try to start your caption with statistics, controversial question, riddle, or an example from real life.
- Long and distracting copy. Captions are a must, but Instagram is not your corporate blog. Convey your message in a concise and dynamic manner to win more fans and drive more traffic as the result. According to stats, posts with 80 characters or less have a 88% better engagement rate.
- Sales-y copy. Your publication obviously should include a CTA and a link to your website where it fits well, but the abundance of sales-y buzzwords and obtrusive CTAs kill the fun. Don’t make your customers to feel being sold, give them some real facts instead.
- No caption at all. In such circumstances, you lose the chance to lead another bunch of prospects to your website. Just write it considering our recommendations.
So, how many Instagram mistakes from this list have you ever made? Even in case you got burned on all fronts, it’s never too late to start over and mend your flaws. And if you bear in mind other examples of the promotional practices that failed, we are waiting for you in the comments to tell us the solution.
If you’re a small business looking to make the most of your Instagram marketing, check out this post on Instagram for small businesses:
This is a post written by me on behalf of one of our many marketing partners. All opinions are 100% mine.
For more on what not to do on Instagram, check out this great infographic from Your Marketing Lady.