Instagram is becoming increasingly effective as a social media marketing tool for all kinds of businesses. It’s a great way to take advantage of the huge – and still growing – desire on the part of social media users for image driven content and to reach a mobile audience that may not be particularly interested in following your business on other, older platforms like Facebook and Twitter. It’s also a great way to build your brand image and give followers that ‘inside’ look at your company that many of them find engaging and appealing.
On the face of things, Instagram is pretty easy. Snap a great picture on your phone – or upload one to post via an Instagram posting tool like Later – add a quick caption and a few hashtags, post and you’re done.
In reality it’s not quite that simple, a successful Instagram marketing campaign takes work, as is the case for all SMM. It’s also not hard to make some rather embarrassing mistakes that can quickly waste all of your efforts. Here’s a look at four of the most common Instagram ‘fails’ brands and companies fall prey to and how to avoid them yourself.
#1 Going Hashtag Crazy
People do make great use of hashtags on Instagram, and often it can seem like it would be a great idea to #just #go #hashtag #crazy to get #your #post #seen. After all, the platform does allow 30 hashtags per post, so surely using lots will increase your post’s visibility?
The simple answer is no, it won’t, and your post will look spammy to those who do see it. Using just 3 or 4 hashtags that are truly relevant to your post is a much better idea and is actually more likely to get you the Instagram search visibility you are hoping for.
#2 Trying to Get Away with Low Quality Images
Instagram is primarily a visual platform, so the images you post have to be of the highest possible quality every time. This does not mean you have to possess Annie Leibovitz level photography skills or buy an expensive camera. Instagram was designed for use on a smartphone so those cameras actually usually work best. In addition to Instagram’s own filters you can make use of photo enhancement apps to improve your snaps and, if you are really stuck for content make use of good stock photos instead, as long as they are properly sized for the platform.
#3 Failing to Respond to Comments
People comment on Instagram posts in the same way they do posts on Facebook, and yet far too many businesses simply don’t bother to respond to them. The fact is though if people take the time to leave a comment they expect a response, and doing so will only take a few extra minutes of your time.
#4 Using an Illegal Posting App
In the seven years it has existed – yes, it’s that long – Instagram has never changed its official policy; all posts must be made from a mobile device. This can be annoying for a business owner used to the set it and forget it scheduling that apps like Hootsuite have got them accustomed to and looking for a workaround is something people have been doing for years.
Every few months, a service will pop up that claims it will allow you to post to Instagram directly from a PC or laptop. Some of them even work. However, these utilities are violating Instagram’s Terms and Services and accounts found to be using them are banned. For good.
The fact is that services like Hootsuite and Later do have a functionality that will allow you to preschedule Instagram posts. Then, when it’s time for the post to publish, a notification is sent to your mobile device for you to do so from there. It’s still mildly inconvenient at times but it won’t get your account banned and you’ll still be able to do much of your post planning ahead.
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