10 Instagram Marketing Mistakes that You Cannot Ignore
Instagram has never been hotter than it is today. It has proven to be one of the fastest-growing social media platforms; it has reached over 1 billion active monthly users.
Given the success and the fact that “everyone is on Instagram,” it’s been harder and harder to catch attention and differentiate your brand. Instagram is a highly visual platform that is very popular among the younger generations. According to Statista, 32% of users are aged between 18 and 24 and 33% are aged between 25 and 34.
So, if your brand is trying to appeal to these demographics — you know where you need to succeed!
Did you also notice that Emily in Paris was exclusively about marketing on Instagram? Fun fact, huh? No, it just proves that the platform is extremely powerful and can do wonders for your brand.
P.S. I am sceptical about the techniques Emily used.
I have shared quite a lot of content on Instagram marketing before and you can find it here on Medium; however, in this article, I’d like to discuss some of the reasons you may not be getting the desired results.
You believe in magic success formulas
We all follow at least a couple of “famous” Instagram accounts that pocket hundreds of thousands of followers, maybe even millions. It’s important to understand that they didn’t end up where they are today overnight. Most likely, it’s been hard work that took years to bring them where they are today.
You should not listen to the shams online about overnight success stories. All these stories describe ways of getting followers in illicit ways — most frequently through Instagram bots (an activity, that’s not allowed by Instagram).
I highly recommend you not to go that way. What’s the point of having hundreds of thousands of followers who don’t engage with your content? No point, whatsoever. You also risk being banned by Instagram with your content being invisible to others.
It isn’t worth the risk.
I use Tanke to analyze the engagement rate. Anything that’s less than 8% isn’t good enough for me. I wouldn’t hire such accounts for Instagram marketing jobs.
My best advice is to stay consistent and work on your Instagram account. Treat it as a part-time job. The amount of work you put in will translate into the results you get.
You aren’t clear on your themes
The most successful Instagram account publish content that has a feel, vibe or emotion to it. Generally, these accounts have two or three thematic ideas that they continuously repeat. These Instagrammers keep the themes consistent and produce content that is related to the chosen theme. They stay focused and, therefore, get attention from people who are interested in these themes.
Treat the themes that you choose as a niche for the audience that you want to attract.
Some examples of the Instagram themes: inspiration, motivation, innovation, teamwork, spirituality, health and fitness, cooking, travel, science, etc.
Choose two to three these and remember that they should be the core for your content. Your audience will want to see content surrounding these themes and anything that’s not relevant may confuse them.
I often see new nano-influencers who haven’t decided what their Instagram will be about and they post something that seldom connects. For example, posting about travelling, beauty and inspirational quotes may be confusing for the potential audience. Therefore, they will not click the follow button. I’d suggest having something that has a close relationship.
For example, Adam Pfau: Fitness & Nutrition has a very clear theme for his Instagram. You will follow him if you want to lose weight, learn to eat healthily, and learn more about exercising. The way he produces his content makes the visitor understand that they will be getting content within these fields.
Once you determine the themes, you should clarify your visual presentation and style. Your Instagram feed will look ideal if you have a consistent and engaging strategy. Make sure to use the same (or similar) Instagram filters across your posts, have a strong brand identity (logo, company/brand name, tagline, hashtags, etc.) and a consistent caption-writing style.
You don’t have clear goals
Social media platforms are tools that we use to achieve our business goals. You won’t be able to achieve your goals if you cannot clearly define them. Depending on your business, you may have different goals for Instagram:
- increase visits to your website
- increase sales via social media
- get new leads
- grow your brand awareness
- get more followers or improve the engagement rates
These are just some of the examples and don’t limit yourself to these — anything that you want to achieve via Instagram can be a goal. Maybe you want to increase the number of readers of your Medium articles? Instagram can help in one way or another.
Define your goals and measure the success of your efforts. Without doing so, you won’t be sure why you aren’t reaching your goals.
You don’t track your milestones
When you have your goals, you should track them. I was at a stage where I was totally demotivated to continue my Instagram journey. Why?
I am a person who needs so-called “instant gratification”. It means that when I publish, I expect the post to bring hundreds of new followers, get thousands of likes, etc. In reality, it doesn’t work this way. Unfortunately.
To actually keep me motivated, I started doing a weekly report which includes the main metrics I want to track — reach, likes, engagement, number of followers, engagement rate, the average number of comments, etc.
It has really helped me to see the progress I have been making on a weekly basis. It has also helped me better understand what has worked and what I shouldn’t do again.
That’s why go ahead and come up with a simple table on Excel and start tracking your results — you’ll see how motivating it will be to work harder to achieve even more. Be accountable to yourself — it is hard to get results when there is no accountability. You can even go one step further and set specific targets and goals you want to achieve, say gain 10% more followers this week. Then the process becomes like a game and you are more motivated to perform.
You believe in Quantity over Quality
Some people may have the best niche, the best brand identity, but they post too much of the mediocre content. My rule of thumb always is — only the best of the best will be posted.
How many times have you just skipped the stories, because an account had a tremendous amount of stories uploaded within 24 hours? The second I see there will be tons of stories under one account, I skip. Simple, I want the best content, I just want to see something that’s mediocre.
Some accounts also try to post lots of posts which flood the feed.
Or they post 20 posts today but remain silent for the next 2 weeks.
This isn’t a sustainable and consistent strategy, and if you’re doing it, it may be a reason why your growth, for example, is poor.
I always take at least 10 different shots. I play with angles and later on choose the best content to edit. I use Lightroom by Photoshop to edit my photos on my phone. I love this software as it allows me literally to just enhance the quality of my photos without overdoing it.
Also, I always ask myself — why am I publishing this? What benefit will it have to my overall Instagram presence and will it be interesting to my audience? If the answer is “just because I have to post” — I close Instagram and carry on with my daily activities. I want to deliver the best quality to my audience and I want the content to be relevant and beneficial.
You don’t follow my Daily Actions Checklist
Success on social media is based on the routine. You cannot expect to expedite your growth if you post sporadically or don’t engage with others. Every day I follow a simple routine — a checklist of small things that I have to do:
- Post one picture
- Post at least three stories (spread out throughout the day)
- Save the stories as relevant Highlights
- Leave at least 20 comments under posts with relevant hashtags
- Like at least 50 pictures with relevant hashtags
- Respond to comments under your posts or posts that you’re tagged in
- Look for accounts that are interested in your niche and engage with them
Try this strategy and I’m sure that you’ll be seeing growth in terms of followers and engagement within a week.
You don’t show the human side of your brand
As humans, we cannot live without socialising. It’s also very important to know who we are socialising with. Nobody likes talking to an imaginary person, that’s why, if possible, you should share human photos on your account.
If you’re a corporate, you can share photos of people in the company. If you’re a blogger, add photos of yourself.
I remember It was scary to upload the first face photo on my Instagram foodie account. It took me close to a year to run that Instagram account to show my face. It was scary because suddenly the work I was doing became real; it’s publicly associated with me. But the first photo of me eating noodles had the highest engagement at that time.
I do add photos of myself from time to time. What I notice is that their engagement rate is higher than “no-human” photos. It is actually understandable because as human being we tend to relate and engage with other humans.
You don’t use all that Instagram has to offer
Instagram has plenty of ways to bring your content to audiences. Sadly, many users who want to grow don’t maximize on these tools.
Geolocation — I notice many accounts not tagging their posts geographically. Did you know that it’s a great way to get discovered? Always tag the location.
Stories — I noticed that more and more people check stories and not their newsfeed. It’s maybe because stories are more engaging and entertaining. Make sure that Insta stories are in your strategy. And don’t forget to add hashtags and geotag, as well.
Suggested for you — I always make sure to check out the accounts that Instagram suggests to me. The algorithm knows what content I like and suggests users based on that. I make sure to engage with these users which often leads to extra followers.
Filters — Instagram filters are a great way to beautify your photos within seconds. Adjust colours, make the pictures more vibrant and eye-catching before hitting that post button.
Caption — Your content should have an engaging and personal caption that would interest your audience. If you’re sharing a food picture, tell us about it; if you’re sharing a selfie with spot-on makeup, let us know how what eye shadow you used. Instagram is becoming a place for microblogging and people love reading captions (unless they are boring).
Profile data — People can discover your account through search based on the information you provide in your profile description. If you say that you’re a makeup artist, there is a big chance a person searching for a makeup artist as a keyword on Instagram search will discover you. Thus be wise and specific in how you describe yourself.
Instagram is a great platform to grow your brand. I believe that these tips will help you reach your goals faster. Don’t get discouraged as it requires time and a lot of effort, analysis, adjustments and planning to actually make it work.
You don’t use specific hashtags
Instagram allows you to have 30 hashtags under each post. However, don’t make a beginner’s mistake by using the same hashtags for every post. In fact, I experienced that Instagram exposes my content to a more narrow audience if I keep using the same hashtags.
That’s why you should aim to interchange your hashtags with every post. Even better if you think if narrow and niche hashtags that would describe specific content.
I know you noticed that sometimes when you follow a specific hashtag, the content that pops up on your feed is nothing related to it. For example, #foodie, it frequently brings content that’s not related to food or foodies in any way. The reason for this is that people use a general list of hashtags that they believe are most popular on Instagram. By doing this, they expect to gain new followers and engagement. However, in reality, it seldom works that way.
Little do they know that such efforts, in fact, bring little fruits. I wouldn’t follow an account that posts random selfies under #foodie hashtag. Would you?
That is why choose hashtags that describe your photo and avoid using the same one again and again.
You don’t have fun Instagramming
If you loath creating posts, writing captions or have no interest in the niche that you’ve chosen, you won’t achieve your goals and the negativity will drag you down.
Therefore, choose strategies, themes and content that you love. Enjoy the process and don’t overstress about achieving the results. Remember that the results aren’t only based on numbers (followers, likes, comments), they can be about something intangible — you improved your writing skills, you learnt to take nicer photos, you met people who love the same things you do.
All of the above can be your goals and are equally important.