Let's not kid ourselves when we say that as an average business owner, social media marketing is confusing. Overwhelming. Complicated. And amongst all of these things, it's common to make mistakes. Mistakes happen! But Instagram mistakes, along with other general social media mistakes, unfortunately, happen in the public eye. To avoid the humiliation that comes with an Instagram faux-pas, read on to discover the 8 most common blunders brands make on the social platform—and, more importantly, how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Buying engagement and followers.
There is most certainly a shortcut to getting more likes and followers: go on a shopping spree.
That’s right. You can actually buy friends for your Instagram account like you'd buy your groceries.
Does it make it right, though? Not one bit.
The problem is…when you buy likes and followers, you’re getting quantity, not quality. Sure, your numbers might look good, but if your audience is just full of robots who say nothing of value, what’s the point? (No offence, robots—please don’t come for me in the night.)
Successful social media brands are ones that connect with real people. Your money would be better used for targeting ads or running a giveaway to boost followers who actually and genuinely are interested in what you do.
Mistake #2: Posting poor quality content.
... Or even just posting for the sake of posting.
The quality of your content should never sit behind the quantity. You should never sacrifice posting a poor quality image either, just for the sake of pushing content out online. Instagram is a visual medium. So if you’re going to post something, it should be beautiful—or at least interesting!—to look at.
Even if you don’t have access to professional photo skills or a top-notch camera, try shooting with natural light or on neutral backgrounds.
You’re really better off posting no photo than a bad photo.
Mistake #3: Ignoring the data.
Another big mistake marketers make on Instagram is to ignore the analytics.
You should be obsessively tracking the metrics that matter so you can identify trends and growth... they are your best friend when it comes to succeeding on Instagram!
Think of it like football players watching back the tape of their winning game. How are you going to avoid getting tackled next time? How are you going to replicate that, um, big… field… dunk?
Mistake #4: Posting boring content.
In the public space of Instagram, the biggest Insta-crime of all is posting boring or spammy content.
If you want users to engage with your brand, you need to give them something to engage with. Don’t just post for posting’s sake. Create posts that they’ll care about—something intriguing, or informative, or fun.
Give your followers value so that they’ll comment, like, and share… and ideally, build a deeper relationship with your brand. Providing quality content will also give new people a reason to start following you, too.
Mistake #5: Having no strategy.
Do you want to direct traffic to your website? Are you hoping to grow your followers? Make more sales in your Instagram Shop?
It’s hard to achieve success if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve. It's also good if you are flying blind on who your ideal client is. Your strategy gives you an overview of your social media efforts and helps you reach the right people.
If you hop in the car for a road trip with no destination in mind, you might have an amazing adventure… but you might wind up in a spooky town with a motel that gives you bed bugs.
Pick one goal to start, and create a strategic plan to get there. That way, you’ll have something to guide every decision, and a way to measure your growth.
Mistake #6: Not being clear on your brand.
Your Instagram account is just one part of a whole brand ecosystem.
You probably have a website, other social media pages, and maybe even a brick-and-mortar store. All of these elements should have a consistent thread that ties them together to make sure your brand is strong and clear; ensuring your key values are conveyed effectively.
Your logo should be on every profile. Every element should share a similar visual style and editorial tone.
Depending on your audience for each platform, there may be subtle variations in the kinds of content you share or your interactions—maybe you’re all about the memes on Twitter—but overall, all of your platforms should feel connected.
Mistake #7: Not utilising all of the features available.
Yes, Instagram has a lot of features available to use. No, you don't have to use them all. But at least, you should try them all out. With Reels, IGTV, Stories, and so much more, there's so many ways to leverage the features of Instagram for social success.
Want to narrow it down to just one? Definetely shift your focus to Stories. If you’re not taking advantage of Instagram Stories, you’re wasting an opportunity to reach the 500 million users who use this part of the Instagram platform.
Mistake #8: Not engaging with your followers.
Social media is called social media for a reason. It's all about the social. It's all about the conversation.
If you’re not engaging with your followers, you’re wasting your platform. Every time a user comments or asks a question, that’s an opportunity to build rapport and create a positive experience. Time to get chatty.
You also need to give as much as you want to receive. If you want people to engage with you, you need to interact back as much as possible.
If you’re guilty of some (or all) of the Instagram mistakes mentioned above, don’t beat yourself up about it. The thing about a digital platform is that it’s never too late to correct course. Turn your Insta-mistakes into, uh, Insta-tunities—and take your brand’s social presence to new heights!