You’ve heard that Instagram is the place to be if you have a business, but are you seeing the results you hoped for? You may be making these Instagram mistakes right now!

Over the years, Instagram has grown immensely and isn’t showing any signs of stopping. The platform has over 1 billion monthly active users; a huge potential audience for your business –  if you play your cards right.

Whilst there is no guide on how to do things well on Instagram, there are a few definite no-no’s you may be engaging in right now. Let’s explore and get that Insta account back on track!

Your business isn’t fit for Instagram

Instagram mistake number one, and perhaps the most important, first recognise if you should even be on Instagram. Despite popular belief, not all businesses are fit for Instagram; if you cannot communicate your business through pretty pictures, inspiring quotes, engaging videos or humorous memes, it may not be for you. Read our guide on choosing the correct platforms for your business.

You have fake followers

Sure, it’s not always easy to gain 10,000 followers overnight, but fake followers are not the way to go! Do not be tempted to join a free app or spend a few pounds; fake followers are VERY easy to spot. If you are caught out by genuine followers, it’s a sure-fire way to lose them for good. Authenticity is number one for 2019! The same goes for likes and comments, they are easily identifiable as false engagement. Additionally, this type of engagement confuses your analytics and takes you further away from achieving your goals. The only way to effectively grow is through great, shareable content.

Paying for ‘influencers’

There’s no doubt you’ve heard about the fastest growing social media marketing practice of the past 10 years – influencer marketing. The industry is booming and is predicted to be worth a whopping $6.5 billion at the end of 2019, more than double its 2017 value of $3 billion. The industry continues to grow and is highly effective, so why has influencer marketing made our Instagram mistakes list?

Where there is money to be made, there are corners to be cut! Many ‘influencers’ will have 0 impacts on your business and yet, you may pay them a hefty sum expecting ROI! There has been a huge rise of businesses paying for influencers to promote their products only to find that the ‘influencer’ has paid for followers, likes and comments themselves or is in a social engagement ring; a group that comments and likes all photos in the group to drive engagement. Either way, be careful when using influencer marketing and be sure you are getting what you are paying for. There are many free tools to check the viability of page and there are services that can connect you to real influencers that will impact your business.

Not using hashtags

If you’re not using hashtags, you’re losing out on a huge amount of visibility and reach.  Accounts that aren’t paying for sponsored posts will 90% be found by other users through hashtags. Additionally, without hashtags, you will not only be missing out on follower growth, but you will also be missing out on new potential customers – #fail.

When using hashtags, a common mistake is to choose the top 10 that are trending. However, this is the worst thing to do, users will just become angry with your content as it is not relevant to what they were searching for. Ensure hashtags are relevant and niche to your business, or to your content. Change up your hashtags for each post too! Sure you can have a few base hashtags that you use all the time but each post will be different and need new, fresh ideas.

Using too many hashtags

On the other end of the spectrum, using too many hashtags can be just as damaging as using none at all. Posts that have 100 hashtags in an attempt to attract every user on Instagram will be overlooked by Instagram’s algorithms, and therefore not shown as a priority on users feeds. Also, this Instagram mistake is VERY annoying, users will not bother scrolling past the hashtags to leave a comment if that was their original intention. Conversely, you may end up with a negative comment to stop your spam (warning). 10-15 is a middle point for the number of hashtags to use.

Ignoring your audience

One reason that social media for businesses has taken over, is the change in consumer attitude towards brands. They no longer want brands to be speaking at them, they want to be in a conversation with them. This is why so many microbrands are competing in markets that were once monopolistic, they spend time communicating with their customers.

Taking the above on board, you NEED to reply to EVERY comment you receive. Even if you have no idea on the answer – you can direct them elsewhere to somewhere that may be able to help. No answer is the worst answer. Your responses do not need to be immediate but they do need to be consistent.

The key for businesses is to build a community of trust, friendship and communication. Making consumers feel special and important will ensure retention and loyalty. Do not neglect them!

You focus too aggressively on sales

Instagram is a social platform where you can peek into each other’s lifestyles, see what businesses are up to ‘behind the scenes’, get to know who works behind a brand, see what a brand stands for etc. Although highly effective to sell on, your efforts must not look too salesy! Explicit strategies are big 2019 Instagram mistakes! Implicit sales techniques are the only way to go if you want to be successful. Don’t forget, customers will buy into your brand if they feel connected to you, share photos of staff, share quotes in line with your values, and importantly humanise your account!

Content for attention

Long gone are the days when random funny pics or cute animals were acceptable all over your business account. This trend may have increased likes on pages but it did nothing for business, this tactic is now one of the biggest Instagram mistakes. Unless the posts are relevant to your business, they shouldn’t be your main source of content! Sure a few funny posts to entertain your audience from time to time are fine, but if this is how you are currently generating engagement, you are sure to fail to convert this attention into valuable leads.

Overposting

While there is no written rule telling you not to post 20 times a day, the general consensus is that over-posting will repel your followers! Quickly!

Each platform is different when it comes to the acceptable amount of posts, you can post more frequently on Twitter and Facebook than Instagram for instance. It’s good to spread out posts so that your followers aren’t bombarded with all your content at once. Also, spreading your posts is a great way to gauge and test when the best engagement hours are.

Under posting

You guessed it if you can over post then you can under post too. If you do not post regularly, it shows Instagram users that the owner is not serious about their business or that the business is no longer operating. You need to be active at least once a week to show you are at least trying on social media. If you find that time is restrictive, look into a content management tool such as our Shareable dashboard where you can schedule posts. When you stick to a schedule you will see a difference in followers, engagement and leads.

You don’t take advantage of Instagram’s features

Last on our Instagram mistakes list – not using all of Instagram’s features!

Businesses aren’t using stories or IGTV despite the two features being great for engaging your current followers and for gaining new followers. You can even gather great market research from these tools too; stories let you add polls and ask questions. Live videos are great for businesses too, share sneak peeks into your office or what you’re up to, this makes your brand human and approachable!

A word from Shareable

Instagram mistakes are easily avoidable if you follow the basic guide above. However, if you would like any further advice on Instagram business accounts or would like Shareable to guide or manage your account, please get in touch.