In the early days of social media (2006-2010), most businesses created content for three channels; Their blog, Facebook and Twitter.
All that changed in 2010 with the introduction of an app called Instagram. What made Instagram stand out from the social media crowd was its focus on visual content. Today, Instagram boasts over a billion users, and it has revolutionized social media, forcing all competing platforms and apps to adopt more visual content options in order to compete.
Yet as businesses are rushing to use Instagram, they are still making many mistakes.
5 Common Mistakes Businesses Make on Instagram (And How to Fix Them!)
1 – You business uses Instagram the same way it uses every other social media channel. Instagram is about visual content. The focus of your content should be images and videos, obviously. You can’t just post the same image that you did on Facebook and Twitter and expect the same results.
More than anything, Instagram is a wonderful platform for visual storytelling. If you are reading this post and want to know how to get better at using visual content, I would suggest reading The Power of Visual Storytelling, by my friends Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio.
Want to see an amazing example of using Instagram for visual storytelling? Check out what Whole Foods did to its Instagram feed.
2 – Your business focuses too much on itself, and not enough on your customers. Keep in mind that social media is best used as a way to build awareness. Who do you want to build awareness with? Your customers! So why not have your customers create your content for you?
For instance, the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association has partnered with ambassadors throughout North Alabama to photograph the sights of the area. This partnership gives AMLTA access to much more content, and the photographers have a vested interest in promoting that content to their friends and followers. (Disclaimer: I advised AMLTA on their ambassador program as it was being created and launched)
By focusing on your customers, either in creating content about them, or letting them create the content directly, you are giving other customers a reason to engage with your content.
3 – Your business isn’t using Instagram Stories. If no one sees your content, then they can’t engage with your content. One problem that businesses face when they first join Instagram is building a following. Building a following in necessary to get more visibility and engagement. But there’s another way you can improve both: By using Instagram Stories.
Look at the top of that picture. The bubbles for Amber, NickMercs, Donna and Stephanie are Instagram Stories. The big benefit to using Instagram Stories is that the Stories are moved to the top of the IG feed of your followers. That means better exposure and visibility. If you are simply posting to Instagram, then your updates are going to the regular feeds of your followers. With Instagram Stories, your content stands out and is more likely to be seen.
4 – Your photos are poor quality. Instagram is a visual medium. Your content is competing against businesses that are investing in creating top-notch visual content, both photos and videos. If you want your images to stand out, they must be top quality. If you don’t have a photographer on staff, or access to high quality images, you should make an effort to acquire them.
5 – Your posting is erratic. Success in building awareness and engagement with social media content is rooted in consistency. You need to create a schedule for when you post content on Instagram, and stick to it! Keeping a consistent schedule ‘trains’ your followers to know when your new content will be posted, so they know when to look for it.
So there’s 5 common mistakes that businesses make on Instagram, and how to fix them. If you want to learn more about using Instagram for your business, check out all the posts I’ve written on how businesses are using Instagram.