By Aniruddh Parmar
A picture is worth a thousand words, and through photos Instagram has revolutionized the way brands interact with consumers. With a simple interface and 1 billion monthly active users, this photo-sharing app should be at the top of your list for reaching customers.
If you haven’t already taken advantage of Instagram in your company’s marketing, there are certain things to avoid so that you are successful. The following is a list of common mistakes companies make with Instagram.
1. Lack of a plan
Your first step should be to decide why you are using Instagram. Whether it is to create brand awareness, interact with your consumers, or to showcase your product or services, keep one thing in mind: the content you share must add value to your customers’ feed and is not spamming it. Share what your company is doing, through either photos or videos, and plan ahead what you’re going to upload. People don’t like random content, and a clumsy profile could put your brand in a bad light.
2. Poor content
Most people will scroll through their Instagram feed and pause only when they encounter something different. So when every company is trying to build its brand on social media, how can you make your message stand out? The answer is by providing quality content. Design your content in a way that users will stop to engage with your posts rather than scroll down. Also share high resolution photos and videos which will convey your business believes in quality.
3. Not being consistent
Consistency is key. That said, there may be times when you will be overloaded with other work, but that does not mean you shouldn’t be posting anything new on your account. It’s important to stay in the eyes of your customers, and this doesn’t mean spamming their feed with just any content. Once you are noticed by your target audience, it is imperative to maintain a consistent presence in their Instagram feed. A well-planned feed that posts regularly is sure to give you a good return on the time you invest.
4. Not using the full potential of hashtags
Hashtags can be annoying, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t useful. If you hardly use hashtags, or maybe don’t use them at all, it’s time to start using relevant ones that will increase your posts’ engagement. Create a hashtag that represents your brand, and also use popular ones that can help you get discovered, too. The more hashtags you use, the more likes and comments you’ll receive on your posts. You can use up to 30 hashtags on Instagram, so start using the right ones and see how your engagement improves.
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5. Buying likes and followers
You can buy Instagram followers, but this is not the preferred way to increase your numbers. Many of these “followers” are fake accounts, and recently Instagram has gone after and taken down several such accounts. Your goal should be to improve your organic reach, and the best way to gain new followers is to post quality content consistently and to actively engage with your customers.
6. Failure to use followers the right way
Your followers are your brand ambassadors. But many businesses fail to realize this and miss out on gaining new followers through their existing ones. Take advantage of your loyal followers by asking them to use your branded hashtags or share your content. Doing so will help you reach the friends of your customers, thus resulting in an increased number of followers organically.
7. Posting too much promotional stuff
Put yourself in the shoes of your customers and see if you would like to receive only promotional posts advertising sales or discounts on your Instagram feed. While promotions are important for your business, there are better ways to connect with your target audience. Share photos of your office work culture, or show customers how much effort goes into designing your products. You can even highlight different ways your business gives back to the community. Sharing these types of photos and videos will definitely put your company in a positive light.
8. Not engaging with customers
Customers need a platform to engage with your brand, so when they take the time to reach out to you, don’t run away. Many companies make the mistake of not following back their followers or replying to their comments or taking a look at their mentions. Actively interacting with your customers will help you to gain their faith in your brand, which in turn can give you indirect publicity through their word of mouth. Also follow your customers to know the type of content they like and share so you can modify your posts accordingly.