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Instagram: What NOT To Do On Instagram

instagram marketing social media Jun 27, 2015

Instagram can be a fabulous tool to market your business.  However, Instagram has some quirks that make it a little different from other social media platforms.

I signed up for Instagram years ago, but never really paid much attention to it for my business.  Over the past year, I have started paying attention to it because I know many people who have achieved much success through Instagram marketing.  I studied successful Instagram accounts for awhile and saw a great benefit in Instagram marketing, so jumped on board!

Since then, I have made many observations about Instagram marketing.  Many are positive, like the fact that Instagram definitely gets more engagement than other social media platforms.  I have also noted some ways Instagram users are not taking advantage of everything Instagram has to offer, while others use Instagram in self-serving ways that do not make their businesses very attractive (to me, anyway).  Some of the self-serving things repel me and would be a reason for me to never do business with them.  Here are a few things NOT to do on Instagram:

Don’t forget your business link in your Instagram Bio.

On Instagram, there is only one place that you can link your website or landing page, and it is in your bio. Depending on the link, it may be beneficial to shorten the link for more link clicks, especially if the URL is very long. 

Don’t ONLY promote your business. Provide value to followers!

While some people may follow you because they like your product, they will tire of always seeing sales ads on your page and nothing that provides value to them.  Stick with the 80/20 rule here, just as you would on other social media platforms.  This means that only 1 in 5 posts should be promotional.  Attract an engaged audience by providing information, educating them, or motivating them.

If I look at a page of someone who started following me and all I see are posts about their product or service, more than likely I will not follow them.  The fact is that no one wants to feel like they are always being sold.  It’s exhausting.  If you provide valuable information to people, you will attract an audience who seeks you out.  Your product or service will be far more attractive to them after they have decided they like what you are all about.  This is how you will attract people to you!

Don’t fill your page with selfies!

Okay, many of us love selfies.  I do too!  However, you want your page to be inviting and provide value.  When someone comes to your page and sees mostly selfies, there is no incentive for them to follow you!  Give people a reason to follow you!

When promoting your business, don’t forget a CTA.

When you post anything that relates to your business, always make sure to include a call-to-action.  I see a lot of posts that don’t do this.  While it may seem obvious that people need to click the link in your bio, they are more likely to actually do it if you ask them to!  Aside from asking for the link click, there are a few other ways to reference your business.

1. You can reference your website or how to buy within your image.

2. You can use a custom location.  There are several ways to do this.  You can set the location to your website or landing page URL.  Remember this is not a hot link, but just letting them know where to go. You can mention your business name in the location. Or you can set the location to tell them to click the link in your bio.  I change mine depending on the type of post.  Whatever you decide to use, this is one more place they will see your business name or link.   If you are doing a promotional post, ALWAYS include a call-to-action!  Don’t miss out on telling them where to find you!

Here is an example from my Instagram account that uses my website in the image AND uses a custom location that provides direction to followers, as well as giving them further instructions in the write-up:

*Note: This was created in a web browser.  On Instagram, the account name and custom link will be above the image and the description write-up would be below the image.

Don’t tag random people in your posts when they have nothing to do with your posts.

This is something that sends me running the other direction.  Don’t tag random people to draw attention to your brand unless you have a very good reason for tagging them.  A good reason is NOT that you want to sell more of whatever you sell.  This behavior makes you look desperate, it is rude, it is bad business practice, and it is not creating a relationship.  This is a backhanded sales ploy.  It reeks of desperation.  We all think our product or service is the best out there; that is why we are in the businesses we are in.  When someone I don’t know tags me, it annoys me.  I will not buy from them, follow them, or do business with them. Unless there is a good reason you someone to tag me, it should not be done.  It just makes you look bad.

Don’t comment “Nice” or something similar on people’s posts only to get a follow when you have thousands of followers, but follow very few and have no intention of following the person.  Be genuine!

This is another ploy I find annoying.  Someone with thousands of followers comes to your page and puts a comment (usually the word “nice”) on one of your posts.  They are hoping you just follow them without much thought.  No, I will not.  I look at every account that I follow.  I do this because there are many people on Instagram that will comment like this randomly or follow your page JUST to get a like.  Then they go back and immediately unfollow you.  How do you know these people?  You know them because they have thousands of followers, but follow very few.  They are collecting follows and nothing else.  They are going about getting followers in a purely selfish way, stepping on whoever they can in order to get what they want.  They will not buy from you, nor are they interested in anything you have to say or anything you have to sell.  They are only in it for them.  I will not follow these folks unless they have an EXCEPTIONAL page that I really do want to follow, and even then I question following them.

Don’t follow accounts you are not interested in (and don’t ask people to follow you unless they are interested).

Instagram is active and engaging.  If you plan to participate (and I highly recommend you do), you will not want to follow accounts if you have no interest in their posts.  You want to get to know your followers and you want them to get to know you.  That takes engagement.  While having a lot of followers, may make you seem more credible, it takes engagement to solidify the success of your page.  You don’t want just anyone.  You want folks that will engage!

So, basically, you want to be proactive, provide value, engage, show you care about what your audience wants instead of focusing on you, and ATTRACT the followers that will love seeing your posts.  You don’t want to be the obnoxious self-serving person doing some of the things listed above.  But, you also don’t want to lose sight of the reason you are posting, which is for your business.  Just don’t make it all about you.  Make it about your audience!


If you would like help improving your engagement or want me to do a Social Media Audit on a social platform so you can get back on track and improve your results, schedule a call with me HERE.