Instagram Marketing: Stop hurting your business

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Instagram is the social network of the moment and the stats prove it. Instagram is currently receiving 15 times more engagement than Facebook and 20 times more engagement than Twitter.

However what works for you on other social networks may not work to your advantage on Instagram. Here are some common Instagram marketing mistakes that could be hurting your business.

Making your Instagram account private

For your personal Instagram account, it’s a matter of preference as to whether you make your account public or private. However no business should ever have a private Instagram account. Setting your account to private means users can’t see any content from the profile so they have no idea what you post or if they will like it. Secondly, it means if they do decide to follow you their follower request has to approved. And in the time it takes you to approve their request they may have lost all interest.

Being overly promotional

Although you obviously want to promote your products and services nobody wants to see their feed cluttered with advertisements. The majority of purchasing decisions are made on an emotional level so posts that are entertaining, informative and thought-provoking rather than aggressive and pushy are likely to serve you better in the long run.

Poor quality visuals

Instagram is all about the visuals. Most people scroll through Instagram just looking at the pictures so if your photos aren’t engaging and captivating no one will get to see your copy. You need to raise your standards as poor resolution photos will scare away your customers. The ideal resolution for Instagram photos is 1280px x 1280px. Make sure to format your images with a square shape otherwise they will get cropped funny. If you have non-square images that you need to resize for Instagram use Instasize – an app for iPhone and Android that will professionally resize and shape photos for Instagram. Finally remember to invest in good lighting. Good lighting can make all the difference.

Not posting regularly

Regular posting on Instagram is extremely important. A study by Union Metrics found that the majority of brands post about 1.5 times per day on Instagram. The same study also found that brands that don’t maintain a strict posting schedule lose followers very quickly. That said, be careful of the other extreme – bombarding users with posts. The trick is to find a balance between quality and quantity.

Not using hashtags

You may have heard it said about other social networks not to use too many hashtags. That still applies to Instagram in a sense – you don’t want to use irrelevant hashtags and sound spammy – however on Instagram it is acceptable to use more hashtags than you are probably used to on other networks. Some popular brands may use four or five hashtags per post. Instagram also has its own hashtags including #TBT and #photooftheday. Remember to use these to good effect.

Not responding to comments

All social media should be about building relationships so make sure to respond to comments. Ignoring comments sends a clear message to your followers that you don’t care about their opinions and that is the quickest way to lose your following.

Boring bio

Your bio is the place to stand out. Too many businesses just talk about themselves or their products. Try to go a little deeper and describe your why/mission/philosophy. And don’t forget to include a link. Your bio is the only place on Instagram where followers can click on a URL so don’t forget to include one.

No calls-to-action

If you don’t give your followers instructions on what you want them to do when they see your photos, chances are they won’t do anything at all except scroll on down to the next photo. Don’t be afraid to spell it out for them.

Posting at the wrong times

All social media sites have peak usage times depending on countries and industries. Do your research and find out when your audience is on Instagram. You could be wasting your best content by posting it at a time when no one sees it.

Not using geo-tags

Geo-tags are a feature that many businesses are still catching up on. A geo-location tag is basically a feature that lets your followers know where you are posting from. Geo-tags are great to use with live events. Research shows that posts using a geo-tag get up to 79 percent more engagement. So try it out. You have nothing to lose.

Luke Chaffey is a Digital Marketing Specialist with KBB Digital. For advice on Digital Marketing, including SEO services and Digital Strategy, visit www.kbbdigital.com.au

Luke Chaffey
Luke Chaffey is a senior member of the KBB Digital team, and heads up the search marketing division. With a keen eye on innovation and developing digital trends, Luke regularly attends the Google Partners Masterclass, and is also a prolific writer for websites such as Yahoo, The Australian Government (Digital Business sector), Kochie’s Business Builders, Smarter.Digital, KBB Digital.