With 500 million highly active and engaged users per month, Instagram more and more is becoming a key social media channel of choice for small business owners. However like all social media channels, there is a definite culture, a definite style and some basic rules that you do need to follow to make your account a success.
Here is a list of 11 mistakes I regularly see small business owners make and how you can fix them, today!
- Your Profile is poor
Your profile is such valuable real estate for your business inside Instagram and often this says nothing really about who you are, what you do and most importantly - who you serve. You need to be succinct and where possible use some emojis. Be on brand, punchy and focussed.
- You send people to your home page
Yes - this is a massive mistake. Don’t send people to your home page ever. For anything. Your Instagram link needs to send people to a specific landing page that serves a strategic purpose for you. Your Freebie, Your opt-in, Your lead magnet or your Facebook group, but please not your home page. Use a UTM reference so that you can tell how much traffic has come from Instagram to your website - you will be surprised!
- Your photos suck
If you can’t take good photos - don’t try. Purchase stock photos and use Canva. If you sell products, then either get a professional in to take a batch of photos for you to use and reuse over and over again. - OR - invest in a good camera and learn what you should be doing re photography. The quality of your photography and imagery inside Instagram cannot be understated, if you want to do this better there are so many quality photography courses you can do - here is a start, Darren Rowse’s photography school
- Your descriptions are not connecting with your audience
Spelling, Grammar, Tone and Message. When your ideal customer reads your descriptions ( because people do read things inside their Instagram feed ) they need to feel connected to you. Understanding, really understanding your ideal customers are is so critical.
- No context that people can relate to
When selling products inside Instagram, don’t use the same photos from your ecommerce store - you need to have your photos within the context of how they are used in real life. So those classy images on a white background are NOT appropriate for use inside Instagram. People need to imagine themselves wearing/using/eating whatever it is your product is. Avoid messy shop displays too, let people focus on one thing at a time.
- You are not posting enough
Instagram moves quickly and rewards consistency. You must post regularly, daily is best, but at least 3 or 4 times a week. Commit to this schedule as you need to be building interest in your brand AND with the Instagram Algorithm if you are not posting regularly and with frequency Instagram, just like Facebook will ‘punish’ you for not using the platform regularly and people may not even see your posts.
- You are too personal
Be careful with how much of your personal life you share. Behind the scenes of your business are OK - but avoid too many selfies of you. This is all about your business and unless your Instagram account is for the purposes of your personal brand, then I am not really interested in heaps of photos of you!
- Your hashtags are all wrong and you have no idea what you are doing
Hashtags are the key to finding your ideal people and them finding you. However this is the main area that I see clients falling down in. Poor use of hashtags detracts from your credibility. All of it boils down to thinking strategically about how your customers things and researching what appears in the Instagram feed. Choose a hashtag that is too popular and you risk not being seen by anyone, choose one that is too niche and you have not cast your net wide enough. Also avoid jamming your description with hashtags, make sure you put them in your first comment area so as to not detract from your image or message. You need to use at least 10 hashtags per post, but when you are growing your account, use all 30 to maximise your reach.
- Your feed has no consistent look or feel - you have no obvious theme.
Unless your business is one that is meant to send a chaotic message, that is part of your brand you need to decide on a consistent look and feel for your photos. People need to get use to your images so that they will respond to them more readily. I personally love feeds that have a definite theme going on, whether it is a colour theme, a pattern, type of photo or something else. Think about how your grid (meaning the first 9 photos in your feed) will look. Do they seem to go together? Be self critical of what you have put together
- You forget to GEOTAG your business when you post
If you are a bricks and mortar business it is really important to geotag where you are based with your photos. If you are targeting a new area, geo tag that space. People do search inside Instagram for businesses in an area, especially when they are in a purchasing mood, so don’t miss out on this opportunity
- You don’t engage with your audience
You have to engage with others inside Instagram and I don’t just mean in your feed. You need to be active in other people’s feeds. You need to be browsing. You need to be liking and you need to be commenting. A huge mistake I see people making inside Instagram when they are growing their account is their reluctance to follow others and to comment and like other people’s images. How will people know you exist if you aren’t active inside your community. See point 8 about hashtags if you not sure where you should be focussing your energy with commenting and liking on other people.
How many of these items apply to you? Have I missed any other tips, please share in the comments below.
I have a FREE webinar that I have prepared specifically for Small Business owners and Entrepreneurs to help them avoid these common mistakes and fast track account growth.
I look forward to helping you to leverage the power of this fun platform for your business