With more than 25 million business profiles and over 200 million visiting at least one business profile daily, Instagram isn’t the easiest social media channel for brands to master.
It can be frustrating to get the attention of the rather distracted users. However, too many brands are making mistakes that can be easily fixed, which will help their Instagram platform grow. Let’s look at six frequent pitfalls and how to fix them.
1. Lack of engagement
You rush to post without putting much thought into the creative and hope Instagram will do its magic to make it or your brand popular. You offer information and context that cannot be conveyed by the photo.
Solution: Don’t post and ghost. Replying to comments on your posts is not enough. Go out of your way to engage with other Instagram users, preferably the ones who have common interests with your brand. Search relevant hashtags in your industry to find relevant posts and comment on them. Your comments should be natural and tailored to spark a conversation. You could ask a question or respond to the caption. Avoid generic comments, such as “nice” or “I love this.”
2. Too much self-promotion
Instagram is meant to be interactive. Too much self-promotion is one of the most anti-interactive things you can do on the platform. It makes you look desperate and boring.
Though you might have tons of great stories to tell about your business, resist the urge to tell them all at once. Seeing five photos in succession in one’s feed coming from a single account is a turnoff for many users.
When was the last time you posted something unusual, snarky, funny, or timely? If you can’t recall, you are probably suffocating your audience with the same boring self-promotional content.
Solution: Promoting your brand on Instagram without overly self-promoting calls for a bit of creativity. An engaging post typically evokes an emotion followed by a caption that provokes a reaction.
Moreover, if you have a lot of content to post, use the interactive story features such as Instagram stories, go live, or they ask me anything (AMA) feature.
3. Too much-polished content
Both new and established brands create polished content in a bid to depict their great attention to detail and the huge investment of time and skill to come up with the post. Their goal is to communicate that the brand is all about quality.
While this is a noble gesture, this style of the content may be counterproductive. For example, when The Guardian analyzed its Instagram data, it discovered that creating polished Instagram videos wasn’t worth the payoff.
Solution: People relate better to authentic content. Thus, your brand should focus on sharing more real moments.
Simplicity is key when it comes to the creation of relatable content. A mix of static and video content that depicts people, places, and things packaged in a creative manner makes the posts more relatable.
4. Ignoring the power of a good caption
With Instagram being a predominantly visual platform, some users overlook the importance of captions. This oversight can backfire painfully, especially because not all content lends itself to visual representation really well.
The text accompanying a photo is not just a backdrop or space filler – it’s part of the narrative, a thread that helps weave the brand story together, adding depth and context to the image. Besides, well-composed captions are an integral part of the conversion.
Solution: While some pictures speak volumes without much explanation, others may need a little nudge. So, in the spirit of nudging, think of your caption as a conversation opener – keep it succinct and relatable, and above all else, make sure it sparks curiosity or interest within your target audience. Many a time, an image can be somewhat mundane, but a great, storytelling caption can save the day!
5. Boring or empty Bio
Some accounts put the minimum amount of effort into their bio if they bother writing anything at all. This is a waste of a good opportunity. View your bio as an introduction to your brand. Being as concise as possible, use this space to tell your viewer what the company is all about. Let them know what you do and what products you sell.
Solution: Don’t be afraid to inject some personality into your description. Give readers a sense of your brand’s philosophy, values and attitude.
6. Wrong use of hashtags
Hashtags are an important part of Instagram marketing. They can be a great way to increase your reach to other people in your niche and to get discovered by customers and fans who are interested in your content, products, and services.
However, for hashtags to be effective, you have to use them – and do it correctly. Using too many hashtags can have a damaging effect on your brand on Instagram.
Solution: There’s no single formula for success when it comes to hashtag strategy. Track the performance of your hashtags to see which ones resonate more with your audience and lead to increased engagement. Then document those characteristics to help detail your hashtag mix strategy for future posts.
Though hashtags are a great way to get discovered, don’t focus too much on them. Instagram prioritizes great content over hashtags. Use hashtags sparingly with relevancy being the qualifying criteria. Create branded hashtags with a long-term vision with the intent of reaching new audiences and sparking conversations.
7. Strategy creation on the blind
Creating Instagram marketing strategies on the blind is as good as having no strategy. It often results in too many strategies at the same time. You attempt everything at the same time and end up with nothing done well.
Solution: Have only one strategy with one goal, whether it’s to drive traffic to your website, to create brand awareness, or something else. What will help you stick to your strategy is looking at the right Instagram analytics. (Stop obsessing over the number of followers.) Social media KPIs will help you to tailor or improve your strategy to achieve the intended goal.
Bonus point……… Avoid Bot-bought followers, ‘likes,’ and comments
It’s getting harder to grow an organic following on Instagram given the platform’s push of paid advertising. It’s tempting to try the seemingly easy way to beat the system and pay bot programs to do the work. For a few dollars, you can get thousands of new followers in a matter of hours. However, desperate moves such as buying “likes,” followers, and comments likely put you further away from achieving your goals.
Though you can get the fake engagement and followers stats, those “people” are dead weight. They will not convert into sales or ever take the buyer journey. What’s the point of having hundreds of thousands of followers who never engage with your content?
Solution: The only way to effectively grow your following organically on Instagram is to consistently share great content.
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