“The internet doesn’t forget.” You’ve heard this phrase many times before—where else, but on the internet. How far it holds true is debatable, but we can safely say that a social media faux pas has the potential to turn into a viral meme or even a withering news story. Hence, we use the time-tested mantra of checking and double-checking our content before posting. Mistakes can be costly, especially if you’re a brand that’s trying to craft meaningful posts for your target audience.
There may be a zillion ways to mess up a social media post, but don’t freak out. We’re here to show you how to avoid mistakes and remain a brand that posts relevant, targeted content. While it’s important to know what to add to your Instagram Marketing strategy, it’s also important to know what to keep out of it. In this post, we’ll discuss what NOT to publish or do on your Instagram business profile. If you’re a brand that doesn’t want to be remembered for getting off on the wrong foot—especially on social media—you might find this one useful.
Here are our top 6 DON’Ts for your brand’s Instagram account:
1. Using a Personal Profile
The year is 2020. You’re a brand on Instagram trying to up your marketing game. Then why would you still use a personal profile? Before you can get knee-deep into strategy, the first step is to optimize Instagram for your brand. That begins with first, making a quick switch to an Instagram business profile. Not only can a biz profile help you run targeted ad campaigns, but you can also get a glimpse of what’s really working for you – brand analytics. From knowing which segment to target, to when they’re actively ‘hearting’ away your posts, you get a goldmine of information when you’re on a Business Profile. Instagram’s business profiles also support third-party social media tools that help manage your brand’s Instagram presence more efficiently.
While a personal profile can still help you publish content, your business needs a shot in the arm to compete with other brands on the social media space. This is where having the right tools count—and that starts with migrating to an Instagram business account that is built for brands, however small or large.
2. Filling brand space with personal posts
If you’re a brand that’s seeking traction on social media, no matter how independent and small-scale you are, it’s best to treat your business account like it’s meant for business! While it’s nice to bring your audience closer to your brand, with occasional glimpses of your workplace and employees, these posts should be rationed to ensure that you don’t stray too far from your core product.
Why? Because your posts should always be rooted in the business you’re running. Your followers don’t want to see your #throwbackthursdays, they want to see what your business is offering. Respect their scrolling time and give them what they’re there for—and that means doing away with pet photos, personal opinions, selfies, and all things that scream “personal.”
3. Posting irrelevant content
“You know that fitness startup that kept posting about politics? Oh, you don’t follow them anymore?”
As a brand, you may have opinions on current events, but it may not be the best idea to post about them. Your brand’s Instagram handle is not your blog—its purpose is to pull in viewers and make money. Linking to your blog is one thing, but repurposing unrelated blog content to fill space is another.
Posting on different topics that move away from your brand’s domain can quickly make your page irrelevant and lose you followers. You don’t have to jump on every single trend bandwagon—stick to what’s relevant to your brand and target audience, and post only if you have something meaningful to contribute.
4. Being spammy
Coming off as too sales-y, sending out a deluge of adverts, being spammy or #simply #hashtagging #every #single #word #like #this can be annoying and can lose you followers faster than you can say “spam.”
While doing this from a personal Instagram account is understandable, it’s not advisable for a business profile. Don’t flood people’s timelines with so many stories that you drive them away. Ration out your posts and stories to no more than 6-7 a day, because while you want to be an active brand, you don’t want to be a spammy one. Yes, this includes hijacking multiple comment threads with unwarranted brand pitches. Don’t do it.
5. Forgetting hashtags, captions, and mentions
We don’t need to tell you that hashtags, captions, and mentions are the life-source of your Instagram marketing. If you post pretty content but don’t leave a trail of crumbs to your brand’s page, then who’s going to follow you? Hashtags make your content relevant and discoverable for people. Many a witty marketing slogan is built around hashtags and the same applies for captions—think of them as free banner space. You get to advertise, explain what you’re selling, or build interest through your photos and stories.
@mentions work a bit differently, though toward the same goal of getting your brand noticed and drawing people in. With @mentions you can reach out to other brands and engagers on your profile, start a conversation, and even build a personal rapport with them. Who knows, you could even end up collaborating with them. Remember to build a rapport before you slide into their DMs!
6. Following platform etiquette
Before we get to the biggest cardinal sin one can commit on Instagram, let us flag you off to some of the other offenses the profiles can engage in knowingly and unknowingly. There’s a reason why we can follow only upto 7,500 profiles, or perform up to 60 actions in an hour–Instagram is a fast-moving network but that also means you mind your platform etiquette by not tagging too many followers in your contest posts, or send one too many DMs at once. It is similar to the rules of spamming, except here it not only drives away your followers from the content potentially, but also limits the actions you can take on your profile, when you decide to go on a mass-following/commenting spree.
7. Low-quality photos
Open Instagram right now—what do you see? Artfully taken shots of brunch, the crystal clear waters of the Bahamas, or exotic destination weddings. I’m sure you saw at least one of those! Each photo has been through a dozen tools — filtered, cropped, and beautified to ensure that it stands out among the endless ocean of content on your feed. What it tells you is that people take this seriously! In a highly competitive space like Instagram, grabbing attention is tough, with countless brands elbowing each other for virtual real estate.
The thing to remember here is that Instagram, with its thousands of photos streaming in every minute, has a very short memory. The only way to stand out is with impressive, eye-catching photos. And if you’re selling something, your pictures need to turn out great — if not at least interesting and relatable. Putting out grainy, badly taken images or poorly made posters will put your brand at risk of being unfollowed. Instagram works on a visual marketing model, so get your visual messaging on point!
So there you have it. Now you know what not to do as a brand trying to monetize on Instagram. Building a reputation is at the heart of all social media communication, and if you can’t communicate without irritating your audience, then your marketing efforts are in vain. Worst case scenario—you end up on a listicle about Instagram fails. Not even X-Pro II can save you then.