It's no secret that Instagram is white-hot right now with over 1 billion monthly users and the "double tap" for likes button being hit on average 4.2 billion times a day! If you're among those using Instagram for your business there are some do's and don'ts when it comes to making the most out of this amazing platform. I'm going to assume you have the basics down like making sure your account is set up as a business profile and set to public. If not, then now is the time to change that! Here are 10 Instagram marketing mistakes to avoid for business if you want to be successful on Instagram.
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Instagram Mistake Number 1 - Stealing Other People's Content.
Are you reposting other people's content on Instagram? Sometimes you see content on Instagram and it's just so good, you feel the need to spread the word to your followers. There are a couple of do's and don'ts when it comes to reposting.
Give credit to the original Instagram account. There are several tools you can use to accomplish this. Two of my favorites are @get_repost and regrammer
Don't steal other people's content. It's not cool to blatantly take others' content and claim it as your own. You could be held liable in the long run.
Reposting great content on Instagram can add value to your feed and expose the original post to an entirely new audience. Just be sure to give credit where credit is due. Have you been guilty of not giving credit? Has anyone ever jacked your content? Leave me a comment and let me know.
2. Posting Spam Comments
Instagram is a great way to build a community and have genuine conversations that can lead to new business and new connections. However, there’s also a dark side that contributes to losing followers, accounts being blocked and comments getting deleted. I’m talking about thoughtless, spammy, generic Instagram comments that you should never leave on anyone’s post. Here are my top 7 most annoying comments costing you Instagram followers.
1. Using a bot for your comments. Your comments are always the same, not genuine, and have nothing to do with the post.
2. You leave a generic comment “Love your photo check out my page/bio".
3. Your comments include a non-clickable link to your website. Even if it was clickable, that’s just bad taste and screams desperation.
4. “Great post! I have a question about your business, DM me.” Why would I DM you? If you had a genuine question you would have asked already.
5. You comment with clapping hands on every one of your posts. (see No.1)
6. You ask me questions about the goals of my company or partnerships. Again, nothing to do with the topic of the post. That could be sent as a DM.
7. You leave a very generic comment and say check out what I'm doing at...blah blah blah.
I could on for days with this. If any of these comments describe the way you are engaging with people on Instagram you should stop right now!
What’s the most annoying comment you’ve gotten? Here's a post I created on Instagram and I asked that same question, feel free to chime in.
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3. Using The Wrong Hashtags In Your Bio
If you are using hashtags in your Instagram bio you need to hear this. Random hashtags like #love typically won't get you the exposure that you are looking for on Instagram. You should have a clear strategy when it comes to using hashtags on Instagram for your business. I wrote an entire post covering Instagram hashtag strategies and you can check it out here.
You should also consider not using hashtags in your bio unless they are your own branded hashtags or the hashtag of a partner or another property that you own. When this feature was released, so many people jumped on this latest trend without much thought.
Here's how I see it. imagine you have a retail store and someone comes into your store and you immediately tell them to visit another store down the street. That doesn't make good business sense and the same applies when someone visits your Instagram profile and you have all of these hashtags in your bio. What happens when they click one of these hashtags? They're leaving your Instagram profile.
4. Not Optimizing Your Instagram Name
On Instagram, you actually have two names. You have your Instagram username, that's the name that you used when you originally created your account. The other name is your Instagram name, that name is actually searchable.
I've seen countless Instagram profiles that don't optimize this feature, you should use keywords so that you can increase your chance of being found in the "top" and "people" area in the Instagram search tool. If you want to see this in action take a look at this video that shows you how to optimize your Instagram bio for business.
5. You Are Putting Links In Your Instagram Captions
Links in your captions are not clickable and 9 times out of 10 no one will bother to copy and paste the link. It's best to refer them to the link in your bio and there are several tools out there that you can use to add multiple links as well. 2 of my favorites are Linktree and Shorby . I have even been testing setting up a landing page on my own website that takes my Instagram traffic directly to my website. On another note, when you leave a link in your bio, give people a reason to click that link. Use enticing verbiage to let them know what's in it for them when they click your link.
6. Using Content That Doesn't Represent Your Message
This is a tactic that I've seen some people use and it doesn't make any sense to me at all. They will repost viral content in their feed that has nothing to do with them or their brand. They post this random viral content in the hopes of quickly gaining followers.
Here's where the problem arises, yeah you've succeeded in growing your account with new people who were interested in that random viral content you've been posting, but what happens when you try to change gears and focus on your true goals? You don't have a good connection with your audience and it will show in your engagement numbers.
I would rather have 100 followers that have a true interest in what I do than to have 100,000 vanity followers and only a fraction of them have an interest. What about you?
7. Using Instagram As A Billboard For Your Brand
Instagram is a great platform to introduce people to your products and brand just don't use Instagram as a billboard. No one wants to follow an account that's just one huge advertisement.
Look for interesting ways to showcase your brand without coming off like a "used car salesman". Try providing value, think of what's in it for your visitors when they discover your account. Will they learn something? Are you providing entertainment or humor? Does your content inspire people? Or will you lose them by overly promoting your brand?
8. No Clear Strategy
Instagram is a huge platform and you know your business should be here, but why? Do you have clear goals and a focused strategy for being on Instagram? Are you trying to build brand awareness? Grow your email list? Make sales? Or all of the above?
You should have a clear strategy when you start and the great thing about any social media platform is that nothing is ground in stone when it comes to your content and strategy. Feel free to experiment with things that work for you and your company. But you also want to know what you're doing here, what you expect to gain and a have strategy in place to help you reach and maintain those goals.
9. You Don't Proofread Your Captions
It can happen to the best of us, but this one can help you easily lose followers and credibility for your business and brand. This can also hurt your bottom line when it comes to generating sales. Most people won't trust a company that can't use proper grammar, and constantly misspells things or uses the wrong wording.
As mentioned, it happens to the best of us but it can have the potential to make you go viral for all the wrong reasons or lose credibility fast!
10. Not Using Instagram DM’s To Their Full Potential
Yes, it's true for business as well..."It goes down in the DM's!" So many people are missing out on this opportunity to make real connections with some of your followers. You can use Instagram DM's to send a welcome message to your new followers and provide something of value without asking for anything major, maybe an email address. It's not a good idea to just blast out a message about your latest sale unless there have been previous conversations.
You can also lead people to your DM by asking questions in your Instagram feed or stories and ask people to DM you with their answers or if they have an interest in learning more about your topic. There's are so many ways to use Instagram DM's to target the right contact person in a way that's not readily available on other platforms. Just be smart about it and once again, think more about what's in it for them as opposed to what's in it for you.
There you have it 10 Instagram mistakes to avoid for business. If you apply what you've learned in this post you're one step closer to growing your Instagram business account with relevant, engaged followers that are truly interested in your business. Not only that but Instagram can be a great vehicle for building business relationships, collaborations and sales! Which tip stood out to you the most? Leave me a comment and let me know.