10 Instagram Marketing Mistakes You Might Be Making

Aaron Pearson
Co Founder, Managing Director

Instagram has worked its way up to being a digital headquarters when it comes to housing online businesses. The social media platform currently has over 25 million active business profiles - with small businesses being the majority. In 2018, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table if you aren't using Instagram to build and grow your business.

You could be doing even more damage to your brand if you're using the platform incorrectly. It might sound silly to think there are 'rules' to social media. Yet, whether you're running and marketing a business online or offline, you still need to adhere to certain guidelines to keep things afloat.

Keep reading below if you aren't seeing the results that you'd like to see for your business on Instagram. Here are 10 Instagram marketing mistakes to avoid if you want to skyrocket your sales and engagement.

1. Being Inconsistent

This is probably one of the most common marketing mistakes that most businesses make. Think of it this way - if you had a physical store, would it be appropriate for you to open and close at different times every day?

Would people really think of your store as a go-to spot if they're never sure whether you'll be there or not? Probably not.

You should treat your Instagram business account in the same way. You need to show up consistently to build trust with your audience. They need to know that your business isn't flaky or unprofessional; otherwise, they'll keep it moving.

You also have the benefit of building familiarity when you post consistently. It may sound cliche, but you want people to know, like, and trust your brand. If you aren't around, then they certainly will have no clue of who you are, right?

Sometimes, businesses run into the issue of how often they should be posting. There isn't a magic number or set rules that work for the algorithm as it is updated often. However, you can start with sharing engaging postswith your potential customers at least 2-3 times per day.

You can check out the insights on your business profile to figure out what works best after you've been able to consistently post for a while.

This tool is super helpful in allowing you to see more in-depth details of your account's engagement and followers, such as profile visits, top locations of your followers, age ranges (differences women from men available), and even what times users are most active each day.

Being consistent on this platform not only helps your audience to get to know you, but it also helps you get to know them as well!

2. Posting Low-Quality Images

Some marketing mistakes should be digital crimes. And this is one of them. Technology has come way too far for us to be torturing our audiences with blurry, pixelated pictures.

They deserve more, especially if you expect them to buy anything from you.  It's important that product shots are high-quality if you sell physical items.

Be sure to use appropriate dimensions for the images you post. Instagram currently supports images and videos with a width between 320px and 1080px. Your post will be resized if you post larger or smaller than pictures.

In this case, double check to make sure the quality isn't compromised. It may also help to view the image on more than one device.

3. Sharing Irrelevant Pictures

Everyone loves a good meme or two, but that shouldn't be what your whole account consists of if you're trying to make sales. Of course, there are funny posts that correlate with your business sometimes. These are fine to share with your audience, but be careful when posting things that are off topic.

In other words, your followers probably don't want to see photos of celebrity gossip if you're selling hiking equipment. However, if you have a clothing boutique, then posting red carpet looks that are similar to items in your shop may be a good choice. It's all about the strategy.

You should also be careful with sensitive topics. Lots of businesses and brands make the mistake of sharing personal views on touchy topics, such as politics, religion, and so on. Keep it simple.

Don't post about it if it has nothing to do with your business. And if you're conflicted on whether to post it or not, you more than likely shouldn't do it.

4. Not Using Appropriate Hashtags (Or Any at All)

The power of hashtags is real. Hashtags are used to identify particular topics or messages presented in the post. They also help with organizing and categorizing content.

This means that if you've done your research and used the appropriate hashtags on your post, then your business should pop up on Instagram's 'explore page'. You'll be featured on a timeline that's specifically tailored to the likes of users who are similar to your target audience based on their previous engagement behaviors.

Using hashtags the right way positions your business to show up right in front of them. Increasing the number of eyes on your brand can help with rapid growth.

Instagram currently allows up to 30 hashtags, but you may not want to max out on each post. There are apps you can use to see which ones are popular in your industry. Check out a few profiles of your competitors and see what hashtags they are using on their images or videos with the highest engagement.

It may be best to try out different hashtag combinations versus using the same batch each time. Get creative and bran your hashtags to build community and buzz around your business.  

5. Making Posts Too Frequently

We mentioned that you need to consistently be seen by your audience in order to build trust and familiarity with your brand. However, avoid the mistake of posting to the point where they get tired of you. Again, this is something you should test for your business.

If you have enough time, energy, and resources to produce quality content to post with high frequency and your audience responds well, then you may have found your lane. But if the data says otherwise, then you should definitely cut back on the number of times you're posting so you won't seem bothersome.

Remember, you can't force or rush the relationship with your audience. It should be organically grown for best long-lasting results.

6. Writing a Boring Bio

Not being clear on who you are and what you offer can slow your growth and keep you from reaching your marketing goals. Your Instagram bio is essentially like your 30-second business pitch. So you might have some problems if you haven't perfected this.

But let's break it down.

Instagram currently allows 150 characters and one external link as well as the ability to tag other user handles (which works well if you have "sister brands" or other pages you want to promote) within your bio.

Think about the most creative and essential things to say that will present your brand accurately. For instance, highlighting the fact that your small bakery specializes in fondant or vegan-friendly options is definitely a smart move.

You can also play around with overused titles. For instance, saying "Personalized body charms" may sound a little more exciting than just saying that you sell jewelry.

Also, be specific if you offer a specialized service. Just stating that you offer web design services may get a different reaction than clarifying that you offer 'web design for eCommerce stores'. Simply sharing your business' mission statement is also helpful to your audience - as long as it's written clearly and concise.

It has also become the trend to post one or two words in a downward direction. This does help people read your bio easily and tends to look good with relevant emojis alongside descriptive words.

Instagram also has categories that appear right under your name for business profiles. Be sure to choose the title that is most relevant to your brand. Just remember that your bio is a first overall impression of your brand.

Be bold and unique to help your brand stand out from the rest.

7. Having a Messy Feed

One reason why Instagram marketing works for businesses is that people are typically driven by visuals.

The goal of your Instagram feed is to make your business profile aesthetically pleasing while remaining authentic and showing brand integrity to your target audience. This is where you can really let your branding shine through.

A simple way of creating a nice looking business profile is to consistently use the same colors, fonts, and graphic layouts. You could find a pattern to stick to so that it's easy to keep your feed well put together, such as posting a quote and then an image followed by another quote.

Again, use high-quality pictures that are relevant to your brand. Also, using images with your logo or website on them can add to uniformity.

Failing to curate a cohesive Instagram feed could cause you to lose out on plenty of potential buyers. You may want to consider hiring a brand specialist or social media manager to help plan and achieve the desired look. This is one of the few marketing mistakes that can be fun and easy to fix, so don't skip out on it.

8. Never Engaging with Followers

Instagram's algorithm seems to never stray too far away from incorporating engagement and relationship into their metrics.

Users who tend to like and comment on your posts often see your page updates first on their feeds. It's important to build ongoing relationships with your followers through the content you publish.

There are plenty of ways to upgrade your engagement with your followers. Here are a few options to try for your business:

  • Making posts that ask questions or encourage conversation
  • Asking followers to tag other people who would like a particular post
  • Liking and responding to page visitors in the comment sections
  • Going live and speaking directly to viewers
  • Using engaging Instagram story features, such as polls, questions, etc.
  • Use CTAs (calls-to-action) in your posts, stories, and bio (such as "click the link in our bio for more info")

9. Never Testing Ads

Instagram's mobile ad revenue hit almost $7 billion, which is nearly a $5 billion increase from 2016. Although this is a free platform, there is an advantage of using ads to reach a larger audience.

One of the biggest marketing mistakes that online businesses make is not reinvesting profit dollars into paid advertisement efforts.

Instagram has even added some cool features that can help boost positive ad responses. One of them is Instagram Shopping, which allows you to tag products in your post with a link that sends users directly to the sales page when they click on the item.

Spending some money on marketing could definitely pay off well for your business with the direction ad revenue is going.

10. Neglecting Influencer Collaboration

If you haven't noticed, there is a new tier of celebrity - it's called social media influencer.

Influencers are typically average people who have built large followings in different industries. Brands have been able to see great increases in their authority and sales by collaborating with influencers.

80 percent of influencers prefer business collaborations on Instagram. Businesses should take advantage of this if they are using the platform for marketing purposes.

Need Help Avoiding Instagram Marketing Mistakes?

Trying to succeed on Instagram may seem overwhelming and impossible some days. The platform doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, but you should still be staying ahead of any update curves by showing up every day.  Also, avoid the most common Instagram marketing mistakes if you're serious about growing your online presence.

The best way to find what works for your business is to remain consistent, listen to your followers, and produce compelling content. If you need extra help with marketing on Instagram, feel free to contact us today!

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