These Instagram mistakes are like a train wreck that can’t help but grab your attention. They can also damage your business. Knowledge is power so we are sharing some common mistakes so you’ll know what to look for when using Instagram for your business. First, let’s talk about the why.
Why do you even need to be on Instagram anyway? Well, there are 1.2 billion likes per day. There are a thousand comments per second. The average user spends 53 minutes per day on the platform. Finally, Instagram is now seeing 15 times more engagement than Facebook and 20 times more engagement than Twitter. These stats make it clear that you should really consider being on Instagram for your business. Now that you know the why, let’s talk about the mistakes you don’t want to make.
Having a Private or Personal Account
If you are a business you absolutely do not need a private account. Please stop doing that. Seriously. Also, if you’re a business you need to have a business account. If you are using a personal account for your business, go ahead and make the transition. A business account gives you access to stats and insights that aren’t available to you on a personal account. It also allows you to run ads and integrate with your Facebook Pages Manager app so you can monitor your questions and comments and not let anything slip through the cracks.
Not Optimizing Your Bio
Ok, your bio doesn’t take up a ton of space so you want to make sure you’re putting it to work so it can do everything it needs to do. That means a great profile picture. It means a great description that tells people exactly what you bring to the table, which cannot be vague. It can’t be something like “Servicing professionals so they can excel.” That is so incredibly vague. If you are a massage therapist, if you’re a business coach, if you sell cupcakes- whatever you do- you need to state it in your bio in very succinct language so that people can understand it immediately. Don’t be afraid of using an emoji.
Also, definitely make the most out of the one URL you’re provided. I love Linktree. It’s an application that allows you to provide one URL that drives people to a landing page that lists your multiple URLs. That way you can say “link in bio” and have multiple links provided. When a user clicks that link it will take them to a landing page where you can have a link to your website, a link to your YouTube channel, a link to your blog, or any other links you want to send them to.
When writing your bio, don’t forget to add a call to action. That’s a very common oversight. You need to have at least one thing in that bio and those Linktree links that gets people to click through and connect with you. It can be by email, going to one of your blogs, or taking them to your website. Whatever that call to action and lead generator is, it needs to be represented right there in the Linktree links.
Using the Wrong Visuals
This is a huge problem since Instagram is a visual platform. Your visuals need to look professional enough to be on there but you don’t want them so polished that it’s unattainable. In business, you can get away with more polished photos because it’s a business. It’s supposed to be polished. It’s supposed to be branded. It’s supposed to look good and represent your company.
One of the worst things you can do is post the same content repeatedly. You will wear your followers out. For instance, if you are a realtor and all you post is listing after listing, your audience will tire of your feed. They’ll most likely go away and not come back. You need variety in your photos to hold people’s interest.
Creating the Wrong Captions
There’s a huge trend in 2020 of having longer and longer captions on Instagram. It used to be that you could get away with having one or two sentences. That is not the case anymore. Actually, the average for 2020 is between 65 and 70 words. That comes out to about 405 characters which I think is incredibly long. Now we as a company will have a longer caption but me, as an individual, I have the attention span of…… squirrel! So, that long caption can’t just be a solid block of text for the sake of a long caption. It actually needs to tell a story. You need to look at the bigger picture and tap into those emotions. Break it up so it’s not just a big blob of text. Use an emoji. This will help you visually. Think about writing a good caption that will engage people and break it up into easily consumable segments.
Using the Wrong Hashtags
I still see this. It’s still a super common mistake. Back in the day, you could put the hashtags in the comments and it would be effective. That’s no longer the case. You have to put your hashtags in the caption.
Check all your hashtags and make sure they work. Again, I consistently find people who create their hashtags on the fly. They use tags they think would be awesome but those tags end up taking people to an entirely different type of content if you know what I mean. (wink wink) It’s out there. Adult content is out there so you have to be careful when you’re just randomly creating these hashtags. Make sure you check them first.
Also, don’t hijack someone else’s hashtag. If there’s an awesome hashtag with lots of engagement but it has nothing to do with your business, don’t use it. Also, if your competition is using a hashtag that is specific to their business (such as having their name in the hashtag) do not use it. It looks bad for your business to use a competitor’s hashtag to steal their traffic.
You need to have balance in your hashtags. Some need to be a broader, more general audience, and some need to be more narrowly focused. If you have a hashtag that has 2 uses or even 10 uses, don’t waste your time using it. It can be as clever as you want it to be but if it doesn’t generate leads, sales, or connections what’s the point?
Focusing on Quantity Instead of Quality
On Instagram, it’s all about quality. I’d much rather you have 1 really solid post per day or 3 really excellent posts per week than to struggle to do 2 per day that are just ok. Quality really does matter and you want to make sure you’re putting out the best content you can. You need a strategy so you know where you’re going and how to get there and those quality posts are what will help you longterm.
Not Engaging or Responding
It’s so difficult to get comments or any kind of engagement on any platform. When somebody leaves a comment, respond. It doesn’t have to be formal or fancy. It doesn’t have to be a paragraph or a soliloquy. All you have to do is comment back or even like their comment. It really validates your end-user. It encourages your followers to come back again and engage with you in the future.
I’m a big believer in the rule of 3. You’re going to get your best engagement and responses when you follow this rule. So you need to comment on 3, respond to 3, like 3, and follow 3. I’m not telling you to random follow 3 accounts. Check out the accounts and pick the ones specifically you want to like, respond to, and follow. If you get on Instagram 3 days each week for 30 minutes and all you do is engage with your followers, end-users, and other accounts you’re going to see some action. Activity breeds activity. Don’t be afraid to engage. It needs to be authentic though, so don’t spam. Engaging with your end-users and friendly vendors will come back to you in a big way.
Not Being Consistent
What does that mean? I mean not posting consistently, not using consistent branding, and forgetting to post on stories. Yeah, stories are a thing. If you’re not using stories, you need to start. The engagement is so incredibly high. It’s like 4 to 1 so if you get 10 likes on a post you’re likely to get 40 engagements on a story. If you’re going to be effective on Instagram, you really need to incorporate stories into your plan.
I’m big on doing what your bandwidth will allow. I’m not telling you to post a story and post every day if it’s overwhelming to you. If you can’t handle that try to aim for one each day. That could be 3 days per week you do a post and 3 days per week you do a story. Just don’t leave out the stories. It’s a different route people can take to get to the same location. You being the location.
Not Using Video
I’m sure there are people that don’t want to hear this. Video posts on Instagram get 38% more engagement than pictures. Video, baby! It’s still huge. You’ll increase your numbers exponentially if you integrate video into your marketing. It can be you in front of your computer or phone. It can be a quick clip behind the scenes. It doesn’t have to be a super polished, 4 camera, green screen masterpiece. As a matter of fact, Instagram kind of wants it to not be all that. They want in-the-moment and what’s happening right now.
Now, does my team generate some of the most gorgeous, polished stories? Yeah, some of that stuff they do is amazing but it doesn’t all have to be that way. Some of it can just be rough behind the scenes and that’s totally ok. People respond to you personally. Some of the biggest stats I’ve had are when I talk about things like the biggest mistake I’ve ever made. People can relate. We’ve integrated video a lot in the past year and the payoff has been huge.
We do 2 videos each week on YouTube, 2 videos on IGTV, 1 app of the week video on Instagram stories, and 1 video each week on Facebook. It is time-consuming. It’s a commitment. It’s a challenge to come up with content. It’s different for every single platform because I don’t want you to see the same exact content that you just saw on my other account when you visit my profile. I want it to be different. Is it a big commitment? It absolutely is. Does it pay off? It absolutely does. Video appears in places other users can’t access. Instagram TV is still relatively new and you have the opportunity to totally dominate your industry by committing to doing a video once a week.
Now You Know
Now that you know the Instagram mistakes that will keep you up at night, you can rest well knowing you won’t look like an Instagram rookie.