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10 Instagram Mistakes to Avoid

10 Instagram Mistakes to Avoid


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It’s a minefield out there. Whether you’re a fashion or food brand, homewares or holidays, Instagram is an invaluable tool for reaching a wide audience of potential consumers. But it’s not always easy. Here are 10 Instagram mistakes you don’t want to be making…

1. Buying Likes & Followers.

This is one of the worst, and most common mistakes brands make on their Instagram journey. It seems like a quick fix – if I look popular, I’ll become popular, right? Unfortunately, the old ‘fake it till you make it’ adage just doesn’t ring true when it comes to followers.

While buying fake followers or likes can make your numbers look good on paper, real engagement is poor. Not to mention, the results for your business are non-existent.

Choose quality over quantity. Successful accounts thrive on communication between real people, not floods of bot accounts and confusing spam. If the followers are fake, they can’t become happy and loyal customers.

If you have room in your budget to spend on your organic growth, try channelling it into other streams like competitions or boost posts.

Competitions are a great way to generate engagement.

2. Poor Quality Images.

On the most visual platform, images come under the most scrutiny. This applies not only to the image resolution but to the composition of the image itself.

Before you post, think. Is the photo well taken, with a steady hand and considerate angle? Are the products and people looking their best? Is the light natural, and the background neutral?

Nowadays, there’s no excuse for poor quality images.

Most smartphones have better quality tech than the professional cameras of a decade ago. Plus, with the wealth of editing apps available, there’s nothing a little post-production can’t fix. But please note, we said a LITTLE. Overedited photos can give an unprofessional, unpolished impression, ruining the clarity. Instagram users aren’t stupid, they know a dodgy filter when they see one.

With the number and range of influencers on the rise, user-generated content is another avenue available to brands to help grow reach. However, this does put content production outside of the control of the brand, limiting their options. It’s worth being picky with user-generated content. Only repost the best quality images and videos that don’t contrast the rest of your content or clash with your usual branding

3. Lack of Theme.

Just like your brand’s website, ads, and other online presence, your Instagram needs a visual theme. Try to make everything you post in keeping to create cohesion. This will make the viewing experience aesthetically pleasing.

A cohesive theme is a must

As we’ve already touched on, the visual nature of Instagram means that people log in to consume satisfying images, not chaos. Your grid should tell a story, so make it make sense.

Inconsistent branding can be very damaging to your company’s image. Logos, visual style, editorial tone, colour palette, filters, photo editing styles, stickers, emojis and more should be consistent across your content. This gives a polished and deliberate look so that other users feel confident in the legitimacy and reliability of your account, and by extension, your brand.

4. Posting Too Little.

This one is fairly self-explanatory. People have short attention spans online, and even shorter memories. Keep your brand on their minds by keeping to a regular and consistent posting schedule.

If you’re not present, you’re not relevant, and if you’re not being seen, you’re not worth seeing 💅

5. Flawed Copy.

Unfortunately, though it pains a copywriter to admit it, typos are sometimes unavoidable in general life. However, you MUST keep them out of your official branded Instagram.

Silly mistakes look spammy and unprofessional. If your feed looks like it was jumbled together by someone who doesn’t care, other users won’t care either.

While they’ll NEVER replace true expert human copywriters, online proofreading and grammar tools are available, so there’s really no excuse for not dotting every ‘i’ and crossing every ‘t’.

Come on, you can do better.

6. Using ‘Popular’ Hashtags.

Breaking news: #instagood, #photooftheday etc are where posts go to die.

The truth is, the ‘popularity’ of these hashtags means that each post only ever spends around 1 second appearing to the hashtag’s audience.

Not much chance you’ll be noticed in this crowd…

Instead, use branded or specific hashtags that you know your target audience will already be viewing due to intersecting interests. Popularising your own hashtag can also be beneficial, especially as part of a competition or giveaway.

Customise your hashtags across posts, don’t just use the same generic ones each time. This limits the opportunity for your content to be seen by new audiences.

Don’t just tag along with the crowd. If you want popularity, you have to make it yourself 💁‍♀️ #individual #unique #yougetthepoint.

7. Broken Links.

Hyperlinks don’t work in captions or comments, so they’re dead space if you include them. Plus, you look like an absolute insta-rookie.

Since Instagram only allows for one link in your bio, tools like Linktree are invaluable if you have multiple platforms or landing pages to direct followers to.

This is vital for captions that include a call to action. Letting the audience know there is a “link in bio” gives them a clear path to follow to your e-commerce website, blog, booking system, Trustpilot… the possibilities are (almost) endless.

DMT’s Linktree is a prime example of URLs done right 😏

8. Failing to Engage.

Your Instagram should be a convo, not a lecture consisting of long captions and even longer waits for a reply. Just like we said about fake-follower fails, interactions are key.

Many brands fall short when it comes to monitoring DMs and comments. This is where a dedicated social media manager comes in handy. It’s also worth setting up autoreply tools to ensure that customers always have an alternative method of contacting your brand for customer service, whatever the day or time.

View each and every query as a chance to create a positive connection, and in turn, a happy customer. And remember, Instagram users don’t appreciate being ignored. It tends to make them quite vocal in their criticism…

laurajean_ is not best pleased with her customer service experience…

9. Ignoring Stories.

Stories are quick to produce and quick to consume, appealing to an increasingly impatient user base. Plus, if you make the mistake of not using them, you’re ignoring the 500 million users that do.

Another benefit of stories is that they can be shared via direct message, extending your potential reach into dark social growth. They also produce plenty of quick-to-share UGC, as you are able to repost any stories you are tagged in to your official account in a few quick clicks. This content doesn’t have to be as polished as your official feed, as long as it captures the customer experience in a positive light. Reposts are encouraging to followers, creating a mutual connection and making them more likely to share again.

The interactive questions and polls features built into Instagram stories capture that little bit of attention for a tiny bit longer, not to mention they directly ask followers what really engages them.

ASOS make great use of polls and other interactive story features.

10. Forgetting About Reels and IGTV.

Video content is king for a reason. Instagram videos get over two times more engagement than photos.

The benefit of using video content on your Instagram is that it isn’t limited to one platform, but can be repurposed across touchpoints. Its popularity across multiple platforms speaks for itself – see the speedy rise of TikTok over the last two years as a prime example.

Even within Instagram, there are multiple options for video sharing – stories, posts, reels, and IGTV.

IGTV is super interactive and forges a direct connection between your brand and fans, drawing on the popularity of streaming and its immediate access to a live audience. It’s effective to share impromptu and natural content, such as behind the scenes sneak peeks, meet the team and other ‘exclusive’ style content.

Reels are incredibly trendy and offer opportunities to tag onto current trends. Because it’s a fairly new feature and reels are displayed on the explore page format, they are also favoured by the algorithm as more likely to be shown to new audiences than standard posts.

Now you’ve got no excuses not to be an Instagram expert. Consider your game thoroughly upped.

If you’re now realising the hard work and time involved in running an efficient and effective brand Instagram could be a little too much for you to handle alone, you’re in luck! DMT offer some stellar services in Social Media Management, so give us a bell if you’d like to chat 🤙