Every social media platform has things that it does very well, and other things that are less than ideal. As content marketers, it’s important to realize that having the same social media strategy across all platforms is rarely going to give business positive results. In fact, if you approach Instagram the exact same way that you approach Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat, you’re likely to end up with lost revenue and a declining business reputation on that platform.
Want to avoid the most common marketing mistakes on Instagram? First you have to know what they are.
#1 Forgetting to reply to comments
One of the key metrics on Instagram is engagement. Since reposting isn’t easy on Instagram, and generally requires a third party app at this point in time, the easiest way for fans to show the love is to comment on your post. They might ask questions, or just complement the photo or share.
If you get hundreds of comments every day, replying to everyone can be cumbersome, but when you’re just receiving a few, respond to every single comment. If you get too many to reply to everything, prioritize answering questions.
#2 Not using hashtags
On Twitter and Facebook, you will regularly hear advice that you shouldn’t use too many hashtags. For those platforms, this is absolutely true. For Instagram, however, this is horrible advice. Because of how Instagram displays streams, your long list of hashtags won’t clog up someone’s stream, but can do worlds of good for the discoverability of your content.
That said, using hashtags that don’t relate to your content is absolutely never a good idea. If you’re not sure what hashtags will be good for you, look for accounts that post similar content and build off their hashtag list.
#3 Not putting your URL in your bio
Putting a URL in your Instagram posts, or even comments, is a waste of time; the link isn’t active, so few people are going to click it. Instead, optimize your Instagram bio by putting your website link there. Then, mention in your post “More information at the blog.” People will understand to click through to your bio, and from there to your recent posts.
#4 Not following other users
People follow your account to see what you have to share, but they also follow your account to see what you repost and share. Follow other accounts that are related to your professional niche and business partners, comment on other posts, and compliment other users who are posting content that you enjoy. This helps show you as a real person, not just a spambot.
#5 Be cautious with random postings
This is especially important for solopreneurs and freelancers. When you’re creating content for social media, remember that everything you post to your “work” account reflects on your brand. This isn’t to say that you need to be all-business all the time, but if you’re going to share more slice-of-life content, you need to give it context. A photo of a random mug might be out of place and strange, but if a freelance writer comments “And with cup #2, the day begins,” they are placing the photo in a moment that other freelance writers and potential clients can relate to.
Random photos of your lunch and the tree outside your apartment, however, belong on your personal account, not your business one.
#6 Not setting your account to public
There are many reasons to set a personal Instagram account to private, especially if you share pictures of your kids or family members. For businesses, however, there’s absolutely no reason to set an account to private.
When you choose the private option, followers need to be approved, and viewers can’t see any of your photos until you approve them, which means they don’t know if they’ll even be interested in your content. Odds are they won’t even try to follow you, which defeats the entire point of your social media strategy.
#7 Not setting a profile picture
On Twitter, users mock “egg” accounts, Twitter accounts that don’t use a profile picture. On Instagram, where everything is focused on the visual presentation, not using a profile picture is inexcusable. It makes your account look brand new and unprofessional. Even if it’s a fingernail version of your logo, put a profile picture in place.
Instagram is a powerful visual tool that uses the human interest in visual presentation and takes advantage of the excellent cameras that most of us carry around in our pockets. Use Instagram to your advantage by avoiding these mistakes and making sure that your business gets the attention it deserves.