13 Instagram Marketing Don’ts – What You’re Doing Wrong and How to Stop
Instagram is a crucial part of your digital marketing efforts in 2020 and beyond – there is no denying that. What do you do to ace Instagram marketing? Better yet, what should you NOT do on Instagram if you want to make the most of the platform?
What tactics are pulling you down?
Did you mess up your first Instagram post and it has all been downhill from there?
We’re going to tell you how to remedy the situation.
You can see this as an “Instagram for Dummies – Stay Away From the Following Practices” guide.
We’re pretty confident you’ll learn something new by the end of it.
This is what we will cover:
- What Should You Not Do on Instagram – Strategy
- Don’t Forget to Plan Your Strategy
- Don’t Be Inconsistent with Your Posts
- Don’t Create Content for the Sake of Creating Content
- Don’t Underestimate Instagram Shop
- Don’t Ignore Consumers in DMs
- What Should You Not Do on Instagram – Individual Posts
- Don’t Forget Your Brand Voice
- Don’t Leave Your Bio Incomplete
- Don’t Forget UGC (User-Generated Content)
- Don’t Be Robotic – Share Your Story with the Audience Raw
- Don’t Stick to Only Single-Picture Posts
- Don’t Be Boring – Emoji It Up!
- Don’t Overdo It with Hashtags
- Avoid to Thrive on Instagram
Let’s get right to it!
What Should You Not Do on Instagram – Strategy
Don’t Forget to Plan Your Strategy
A plan is essential if you want to start at point A and set off on a journey toward point B.
In this case, point B is Instagram marketing success.
See, here’s the thing: you must likely have the endpoint in mind. But without a strategy in place, you won’t be able to take the actions needed to reach that goal.
And that means tons of wasted effort and lost opportunities.
A few core elements of your marketing strategy include:
- Determining the audience you are targeting
- Setting clear goals (short- and long-term) as milestones for success
- Selecting content types and producing high-quality, engaging content
- Creating a plan for analyzing and auditing your Instagram marketing efforts at regular intervals
Start with these things and you’ll learn the ropes along the way.
Don’t Be Inconsistent with Your Posts
A great way to hamper growth on Instagram is to be inconsistent in the way you post on and the manage the page.
It’s great if you’re creating and posting 1-2 posts per day. It’s also okay if you’re managing three a week.
What’s not okay is for you to post multiple times a day on some days and not at all on others.
What’s also not okay is for you to get consumers into the habit of coming across something from you in their feed on a particular day and time, and then stop posting at those times.
This can massively affect your viewership AND the way your consumers see you.
The best way to ensure consistency is to create a content calendar and have posts ready well in advance so you never miss your posting slot, even in the case of an emergency.
Don’t Create Content for the Sake of Creating Content
Having said what we did above, you can’t just post anything because it is “post day” and you want to “follow the calendar.”
Your social media marketing needs to resonate with your audience and give them a certain message. It also needs to make them feel a certain way.
Look at this beach resort’s feed, for example:
Everything about this feed screams beach, fun, relaxation, and just a darn good time! You can almost hear the sounds of the beach and can’t wait to take a trip.
Which is exactly what the intention of these posts is – to encourage you to visit the beach resort as a break from life.
Now imagine if this Instagram business account started posting pictures of a hurricane. Or if they went ahead and posted things like “10 essentials to bring to the beach this year” – a post they planned and created way before the COVID-19 crisis and shelter-in-place.
This will be irrelevant and will completely throw off the feel of this feed.
Put in the effort to create content that is meaningful to your consumers.
Don’t Undermine the Power of Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories is where it is at nowadays – they are the perfect place for brands to interact with their consumers.
And the best thing is that the potential for creativity is unlimited. Instagram knows how much Stories can help your brand, which is why there are lots of features you can use to engage your audience.
As an example, you can:
- Conduct story polls and make your consumers feel like they have a say and their opinion matters to you.
- Use Emoji slider stickers to achieve similar results.
- Share content that you have been tagged in by consumers (UGC).
- Use quiz stickers to educate the audiences (your engagement will see a definite boost as people who participate will come back to see the results).
Done right, Insta Stories can make your business an all-time favorite in, well, NO time at all.
Don’t Underestimate Instagram Shop
E-commerce dominates modern-day shopping trends – pandemic or no pandemic.
And Instagram knows that it needs to take this element of online business seriously.
The photo-sharing platform has expanded its horizons and offers an immersive storefront shopping experience to users.
The platform is also on its way to offering a dedicated Instagram Shop tab to users for their ease.
And honestly, one would be a fool not to take benefit.
Imagine displaying your products to consumers with all their details mentioned, including the price. Better yet, imagine giving them the option of buying the product directly with a few taps, instead of searching for the product elsewhere online.
It is a gamechanger that you definitely want to bring on board if you are to win at selling online.
Don’t Ignore Consumers in DMs
We live in a world of no delays.
You order something from Amazon and want it delivered the next day. Or even the same day!
This is the norm.
Can you imagine then the impression you would leave on your consumers if you left them waiting for a response when they reached out to you in a private message?
They could have a query about a product, an incident to share, or a complain.
The message may be time-sensitive or otherwise.
None of those things matter. Yet all of them do.
What matters the most is that the consumer gets an answer as quickly as possible from your brand.
What Should You Not Do on Instagram – Individual Posts
Don’t Forget Your Brand Voice
Your brand voice tells the consumer a lot about your company – its personality, values, and persona among other things.
It helps you bring like-minded people together and create a community.
But that’s not all.
By working hard and establishing a brand voice that is recognizable, you make sure that, in turn, your brand is recognizable.
And social media is the best (and most important) place to do this because that is where you interact with your consumers.
They should see a post and instantly realize its from your account, even before seeing your handle. And this can only be possible if your brand voice is consistent – from your first Instagram post to today.
Read about creating a brand voice for Instagram in a lot more detail here:
Don’t Leave Your Bio Incomplete
Your Insta bio is the first thing a consumer will go through if they are coming to your page for the first time.
It is like your very own online business card – you have your name, what you do, your contact details, a link to your site.
What it has in addition to all that is a description of exactly who you are – a one- or two-line introduction to new folks.
Here’s what an updated Instagram bio does for you:
- It instantly tells people who you are and what you do when they land on your Instagram page.
- People get a great idea of whether they belong on the page just by looking at the bio.
- You can redirect people to your site by including a link in the bio.
- You can also link other accounts in the bio.
- It can help you obtain content. How? By displaying the hashtag you potentially use to attract UGC.
We think these reasons are enough for you to go and start working on improving your bio ASAP. Can you think of other important ones we’ve missed out? Let us know in the comments below!
Don’t Forget UGC (User-Generated Content)
User-generated content is all the rage nowadays.
And why shouldn’t it be?
It makes the experience with a product or service much more real for potential consumers. They can relate to it.
And guess what? Instagram is the perfect platform for promoting user-generated content. Consumers do it on their own too – bloggers, influencers, ordinary people will review your products or mention them in their posts.
All you have to do is share that content from your Instagram Business Profile.
Here is a recent example from Starbucks. A loyal consumer took a nice shot of their Starbucks order and put it up on Insta.
Starbucks shared the post and got – wait for it – more than 116,000 likes!
This is one example of many.
And that is why it is very important that you don’t just rely on content that you create. Whether you share random UGC or launch a full-on campaign, it’s a must!
At its core, what is Instagram?
It’s a photo-sharing platform that people use for visual storytelling.
And that isn’t restricted to personal Instagram accounts – it’s what your brand needs too!
So don’t just post distant, promotional, impersonal stuff on your Instagram account.
On this particular social media platform, when the audience sees the Instagram handles of their favorite brands, they almost expect to learn a new piece of their story.
They want to know your values, what you represent, what your team looks like, what your history is, what your consumers mean to you – the list can go on.
Be real and be raw in a way that also showcases your products and services – that will show the consumers what life can look like with your products in it.
Don’t Stick to Only Single-Picture Posts
A lot of the time, brands stick to posts that consist of a single picture on Instagram.
And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
But we think there is massive potential in using carousel posts on the platform.
The list of opportunities you can explore with these multi-picture/video posts is endless.
- Telling a story that’s a little longer than usual? Break it up into multiple pictures or videos in a single post.
- Putting up a post introducing or promoting a product? Show it off from multiple angles in more than one picture.
- A new product has more than one uses? Tell the audience all about its applications in a single post.
- And so on.
Look at these pictures (which are coincidentally part of a UGC campaign Apple has launched where users submit photos #shotoniPhone #atHome): 1
These are just four of the photos in a single carousel post by a man finding ways to avoid anxiety and boredom in his new home during the pandemic.
They tell the story of a man who is settling in, finding ways to keep busy, and just coping – something everyone can relate to nowadays.
Don’t Be Boring – Emoji It Up!
So many times when you don’t have words to express how you feel, an emoji steps up to the task and says it all.
We all use them on our private social media every single day.
But did you know that they have a massive benefit for your business too?
Quintly, a social analytics platform, carried out a study and found that the greater the number of emojis in a post, the greater the interaction with the post.
What’s also true, though, is that more than 52% of the 34,000 businesses analyzed in the study do not use any emojis in their posts.
You might be one of these Instagram handles.
We understand that emojis may seem a little childish or you may feel they just don’t resonate with the voice of the brand.
But the numbers suggest that you should at least give them a shot and try to incorporate at least SOME emojis in your posts.
Using hashtags is a great way of reaching more and more people. Which you obviously want to do.
But how do hashtags help you reach a much wider audience?
Well, your post becomes visible to people who are searching for the same things but don’t follow you yet. They’re already interested – once they see the post, thus, they have a higher chance of converting.
So how should you be using hashtags? Should you be using one, many, or none at all?
Quintly found that smaller businesses use more hashtags (and more often!) than larger counterparts.
And this makes perfect sense if you think about it. Larger brands have wider audiences and a massive reach – they don’t need hashtags to reach people.
Smaller brands, on the other hand, that not many people know, gain a lot more in visibility, exposure and reach by using hashtags.
But here’s what interesting: according to Quintly, as the number of hashtags used by larger businesses increases, engagement with their posts go down.
Whether that is because of consumers seeing them as unauthentic, trying too hard, or something else, larger brands are better off sticking to fewer hashtags.
Analyze your business, see which approach seems to be right one for you, and then implement that. If you’re unsure, try both approaches and analyze the results at the end.
Avoid to Thrive on Instagram
We hope you have a lot of clarity about what to stay away from on Insta and won’t feel to need to ask, “what should you not do on Instagram?” again any time soon.
Remember your Instagram marketing plan takes into account specifics related to your business.
So some of the things we discussed in this blog post may be a lot more relevant to you than others.
And you will likely know which ones you need to focus on.
But if you still have any confusions, our experts are always here to help you figure out Instagram marketing – in its entirety.