By Tajana Pran, community manager at Kontra
The mere fact that you’re reading this post suggests you’ve already recognized the importance of Instagram as a powerful tool for advertising your brand. Even though you did your homework and explored the main components that every Instagram profile should have, there are a lot of common mistakes you can make on your Instagram profile. You have to make sure to optimize your profile as much as possible to gain followers, keep them and delight them with excellent content. This post will cover top 10 mistakes made by brands on Instagram and why you should learn from them in order to have a successful Instagram profile.
#1 BAD PROFILE OPTIMIZATION
The first mistake brands make on Instagram is bad optimization of the profile. Pay attention to following:
- Profile picture
- Description and link in bio
- Settings of the profile
We’ll start with a profile picture. If you don’t have a profile picture, followers are less likely to follow you for one simple reason – they can’t visualize what your brand offers. As a profile picture, brands usually use their logotypes, and we approve of this practice. Use your logotype as a profile picture and make sure it looks good and centered.
Another mistake is a bad description of your brand, or worse, not having a description at all. Description in your bio has to be interesting and inviting. Don’t just describe your products or services and make them boring as hell. Instead, tell users your mission, your vision or even philosophy of your brand. Tell them why you’re doing what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Don’t write an entire story, choose your words carefully and make it readable. Also, don’t forget a link to your website in the bio description. This is a crucial thing if you want to drive traffic to your website through Instagram. You can put a link to your website or just a particular product or service that you’re talking about that week. This will be explained further on.
Next, setting your profile on private is the worst mistake you can make. If you put your profile on private, users won’t be able to see your profile instantly. This is a deal-breaker, so be smart enough not to do it. With private profile, you’re stopping users from seeing your content until you approve their request to follow you. Imagine yourself in this situation. Would you buy some apples if you’re not able to enter the fruit store? Would you wait for someone to open the store? That’s the point of letting your users see what you do the very second they find their way to your profile. Put your profile on public and let users explore it. This will make them follow you based on your content and that’s the kind of followers you want.
#2 BAD PICTURE OPTIMIZATION
This one is one of the most common mistakes made by brands on Instagram. People, you have to learn what Instagram is to be successful on it! It’s all about the visuals and you know what they say – a good picture is worth a thousand words. Take your time and learn how to use it. But, as we’re trying to tell you about some of the worst mistakes made by brands on Instagram, we would like to highlight the ones that make us cringe:
- Low-resolution pictures
- Discolored pictures
For the love of God, please check out the best sizes of pictures on Instagram even before you create a profile. There is nothing worse than seeing a picture that has low resolution and doesn’t fit Instagram sizes. Even though you can post vertical and horizontal pictures now, Instagram still loves the square shaped pictures. The higher resolution of your pictures is, the more credible and professional you look. It doesn’t matter if you have a small brand or a big one, pay attention to your pictures. Also, Instagram provides all sorts of filters, but be careful. Don’t use filters that’ll mess up the colors because it just doesn’t look good.
If you want to be on top of the game, you can use other photo-editing apps to make your pictures look impressive and to get that ‘wow’ effect. We highly recommend VSCO, Snapseed, and Hyperlapse, because you’ll be able to make your pictures and videos pop.
#3 BAD COPYWRITING
This part is important for you to understand if you want to be successful on Instagram. You’re probably wondering why we emphasized this part when it seems so simple. But, there are a lot of brands that think that content has to be super long. Wrong! Would you like to scroll through pages and pages of some text? So, keep in mind the ‘Rule of thumb’. This means you need to stay away from long texts and optimize them in a way that followers don’t have to use their thumbs to scroll down to read everything you wrote about. This rule depends on the industry of your brand. So, if you’re a beginner, explore other similar and more experienced brands on Instagram and take their example.
#4 LACK OF CREATIVITY
We know that some days you just don’t have time to make awesome content. Sometimes you have to settle for less perfect content to stay within your plan. But there’s a mistake that brands often make on Instagram – reposting an old content, or even worse, making your posts look all the same. Think of this from followers’ point of view, and you’ll realize that this is unacceptable for a good and inviting profile. So, sit down and brainstorm what kind of content you can post in a long-term period. Don’t think it’s a waste of time, it’ll be worth your while when you see how followers react to it. Creativity is highly appreciated by followers, and they’ll be more likely to engage with creative, awesome content than some boring one.
#5 KILLING THE FUN
This goes for all the brands out there that are killing Instagram with their ‘buy me, buy me!’ content and making it annoying as hell. If you sell products and want to have a successful traffic from Instagram, don’t make it all about selling stuff. People want to bond with your brand. Lifestyle content is the best way to bond with followers. Show them what your office looks like, who works there, what values you have, what your philosophy is or what you like to do. Some selfie every now and then is desirable, but don’t make it all about the selfies. Again, think as a follower, not as a brand!
#6 CONTENT WITH NO VALUE
Every now and then, you stumble upon some funny pictures, videos or something you really like. You feel the urge to share it with your followers and make them laugh just like it made you laugh. But, remember, this is also a mistake. This type of content is tricky as you don’t want to connect your profile with content that has no real value to followers. For example, you sell shoes and make content related to your products, you make lifestyle content which is also connected to the brand, take care of followers and then you post a video of some funny dog out-of-the-blue. Do you see what’s wrong here? We understand your intention, and it’s fine by us, but don’t post it on your brand’s profile. Post it on your personal profile instead. This is also a thing that depends on the industry you’re in, so think about it in a context of the industry.
#7 TIME FOR POSTING CONTENT
When you don’t have a clear plan of posting on Instagram, you’re doomed. Just imagine this from followers’ point of view. How can you expect followers to trust you and have a positive image of your brand if you post content every now and then? If you plan on posting whenever you feel like it, forget about it. This won’t work on Instagram or any other social network. Make a plan of days you’ll be posting your content on and stick to it. That way, followers will know that you’re credible, trustworthy and more likely to keep following you.
We can’t tell you what the exact and best time of posting is, but the best advice we can give you is to pay attention to reactions of your followers. Even though Instagram has no analytical side as much as we would want to (unless you pay for some analytics tools), it provides you with a glance at your overall statistics. The good news is that you can optimize your posting time to get the most likes and good reach by looking at information Instagram has already provided you with. Play with posting times at first, and after some while and fair numbers of followers, you should be able to see when to post according to the most likes you get at a given time. The story doesn’t end here, you have to track this constantly and adjust as your page is growing.
#8 HASHTAG IT, BABY!
We’re well aware that brands often misuse hashtags and don’t understand their value. Hashtags are there for a reason. It’s not just to look good or to make up some words that come to your mind. Hashtags represent symbols or codes that make web search engines understand and categorize pictures on Instagram. That way, when users search for a term that you posted in copy, your content is shown to them. Be careful with hashtags and don’t go wild with them by making up words without any meaning. Choose them carefully, and make sure they fit your content. If you decide to make your own hashtag with the name of your brand, stick to it and post it in every piece of content.
#9 FEAR FROM FOLLOWERS
Followers are your friends, not enemies. Remember this, and don’t be afraid to engage with them. Brands usually post content on Instagram regularly, pay attention to all the possible details and just forget to engage with their followers. Look, having an Instagram profile is not just about posting high-quality content and good copywriting, it’s also about interacting. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to interact with your followers. This doesn’t mean you have to be on Instagram 24/7, but you should check your profile several times a day. Doing this, you’ll be able to see comments, mentions, and likes on time and react to them in real-time. Followers like to be appreciated and have a feeling of connection with brands. You want to make your followers like you and interact with you in order to delight them. Also, engage with your followers by commenting and liking their content. This way, you’re bonding with them on a higher level and you seem an approachable and down-to-earth type of brand which is a nice addition to your positive image.
Another thing to keep in mind is the number of people that follow you and the number of people you follow. For example, if you follow 1000 people, and 200 of them are following you – it looks sad. We’re not saying that you should stop following people, but take care of who you follow. If you follow every person that liked your picture, no matter his or her real interests, the result will be just the same.
As we have mentioned in the first part of this list, you can put a link to your bio description. Brands often forget about it completely, which is a huge mistake. In this situation, followers have to ‘google’ you and that’s just the thing they don’t want to do. Trust us, people are lazy. If you have an opportunity to post a link to your web page, a logical thing is to use it. The link in the bio should always be on your mind and you can play with it. If you have some kind of a blog, and you’re posting regularly, make a picture or a video of it, put a link in your bio and tell your followers that they can find a link to blog in the bio. That way you’ll intrigue them and make them want to read it which is just the thing you want them to do.
This goes for products also. If you have some product in your web shop that you want to present to your followers in a way that they go to your web shop and check out other products as well, make a content and direct them to the link in the bio. There are many possibilities to play with, and we highly recommend to use them. Sometimes it’s not the best solution to drive followers to your web page if you haven’t had the time to optimize it.
All in all, we recommend having a link to your web page in the bio no matter what it looks like, because, you know, it’s easier for followers to explore your brand. In this case, stay away from posting the mentioned content and highlight your web page until you actually optimize it.
We’ve come to the end of the list of top 10 mistakes made by brands on Instagram. It’s up to you if you are going to listen to our advice or not. Just remember to educate yourself, make your own strategy, be consistent and creative. If you follow this overall advice, we’re sure you’ll successfully sail through a stormy waters of Instagram. Oh, and if you want more advice from us, feel free to contact us. Happy Instagramming!
Blog post was originally published here