3 Instagram Marketing Mistakes and How to Fix Them

By on August 27, 2019

As a social media marketer running lots of campaigns, I see businesses repeatedly make the same mistakes when using Instagram to market their business. Whether you own a brand or you are the brand – using Instagram as a marketing channel is a fairly new concept, but one that can be extremely impactful for both brand awareness and customer acquisition, as long as you do it right. With this in mind, I have compiled the three most common mistakes which I regularly come across and tell you how they can be avoided.

1) Posting without a strategy

I am always surprised by the number of businesses that are posting on Instagram multiple times a day without any idea of direction. Therefore, one of my first questions to a new client is always ‘so, what’s your strategy? If I’m met with a blank look, we get to work right away.

To help fix this mistake, I often ask my clients to think of their Instagram channel as a business in itself. To build a successful business, you need to at least a vague idea of where you want to be, which audience you will be serving and the rules are no different for building a successful Instagram channel. Do you know who your audience are? Do you know what content they engage with the most? The answers to these questions are the keys to building a strong marketing strategy.

Step one is to delve deep into your account’s analytics. These can be accessed by tapping the insights icon at the top right of your account page, or on each individual post by selecting ‘view insights.’ Behind these buttons lies a whole world of insight about who your followers are, what they love and what they could probably do without seeing. Next, scroll back through the account’s posts as far as you can go, noting which posts receive the most engagement (videos? Pictures? Competitions? Selfies? Filters?) and the trends that you see will help you work out what your ‘thing’ is.

My clients find these insights priceless, as they can be used to shape their future content. Using a real life example – imagine you are a lifestyle blogger. After studying your Instagram analytics, you realise that your ‘get ready with me’ videos have almost double the engagement than the photos of your food and coffee. Going forward, you decide this is your ‘thing’ and plan to post three ‘get ready with me’ videos a week. Voila – you have the makings of a strategy.

2) Using hashtags carelessly

What would Instagram be without hashtags? Although they are an important feature of the social media platform, they only become clickable in bios in 2018 and since then, I have seen misuse and overuse.

I advise the businesses that I work with that, for bio hashtags to become an asset to your profile, it is integral that they are completely specific to your business. The mistake that I have seen some Instagram channels make is using a generic hashtag such as ‘#healthyeating’ or ‘#fashion’ which, when tapped, will take the user away from your business and into a world of related content. At this point, you can wave bye-bye to the follow or like that the user may have given you and your account will receive zero benefit.

However, hashtags can definitely be useful marketing tools when used correctly. By using a hashtag which is unique and relevant to your brand, you can create a clickable portal where people can see further content related to you – once they are finished browsing your profile, of course.

A great example of a business doing bio hashtags right is Aspinal of London. Their profile invites Instagram users to hashtag their pictures with #myaspinal for a chance to win a £200 gift voucher. The reason this is hashtag perfection is twofold: one, anyone clicking the hashtag in the bio will get a lookbook of other Instagram users and their handbags, which is fantastic free marketing for the brand and two, there’s an incentive to use the hashtag, so Aspinal of London are likely to see a higher rate of usage.

So, the lesson here is, avoid using hashtags in your bio unless it is specific to your brand and will benefit your growth.

3) Prioritizing growth over community engagement

I often see clients who are chasing a follower count to the point where they’ve convinced themselves that when they reach a certain figure, customer acquisition will no longer be a priority. They tell me: “(insert competitor brand here) is a six-figure business and has four million followers on Instagram, so more followers must equal more customers, right?” Wrong.

In actual fact, the answer to customer acquisition is within your immediate control and may already sit in your follower list. When you understand who the people engaging with you are, why they are following you and what they have to say about your brand, you can start to nurture them and convert your followers into customers.

To do this I encourage my clients to engage with their followers as much as their followers are engaging with them and then some. Reply to every comment, DM and if someone tags a friend in the comments, slide into the conversation and thank them for spreading the word about your business. Use the poll mechanic on Instagram stories, reply to every response and if you’re comfortable, you could invite people to ‘ask you anything.’

Using these methods, you will maximize your retention as followers will see you are responsive and remain engaged, whilst lurkers will see the community that you’re building and want to be a part of it. In turn, followers are more likely to transition into customers as they build a relationship with your brand.

The face of marketing is constantly changing as we evolve in this digital-first age, so it may take a fair amount of trial and error to build an Instagram strategy that is right for your business. But, as long as you’re keeping an eye on your analytics, tweaking accordingly and engaging with your followers, you are on the path to success.

About Adam Cooper

Adam Cooper is a social media marketing expert and co-founder of Just Found, a specialist social media marketing agency. He helps small to medium businesses generate more sales in a cost efficient way using social media. If you haven't got the time to run social media ads, or you're frustrated that they aren't cost efficient for your business – get in touch for a free strategy call.
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