Instagram has become a crucial platform for small businesses on their path to success - the social media platform is a great way for entrepreneurs to raise brand awareness and find their ideal client online. With that being said, it's important that you maintain awareness of how your account is performing and how you're running it.
Making mistakes is normal and sometimes it takes another person's eyes to notice them. Being on Instagram for some time now, I have noticed quite a few things on other people's accounts that are unfortunately hurting their account more than helping. Here are a few of those things and how you can fix them!
1) Not Taking The Time To Engage Back
As small business owners, we tend to wear a lot of hats and it's easy for time to slip away. One thing I have learned from experience is to make time to engage. Engage with your viewers and customers whether it's through Instagram messaging, newsletters or commenting, make time to connect with them. Those little conversations make customers feel like they're a part of your journey and they're more willing to push those sales and spread the word if they feel a personal connection. Nobody wants to be a consumer, they want to be part of your story.
2) Taking Long Breaks Between Posts
...Guilty! I won't lie, I took some time off from posting on my personal account and I have to say, it was one of the biggest mistakes I have made. I knew it would hurt my account in the algorithm, but I had no idea how bad until the damage was done. I went from a reach of 10-15K per post, now I'm stuck in between 8-10K. Why? Because Instagram's algorithm prioritizes Instagram accounts that are consistent.
Taking social media breaks is 100% OKAY! However, if you decide to take a break, I recommend setting up a posting schedule through a third-party platform such as Plainly (free). Using a third-party platform allows you to take a break without having to drop in the Instagram algorithm and it's simple: upload photos, arrange, write captions and schedule. Planoly is one of dozens of social media schedulers so do your research and find one that works best for you!
3) Following Irrelevant Accounts
I don't know about you, but one of the first few things I do when I come across a new brand is look at who they're following. This allows customers to connect more with your brand and get a better feel for your mission, views and inspiration. It's important to follow and engage with like-minded accounts on Instagram in order to pop up in potential customers Suggestions tab.
4) Participating In Loop Giveaways
Loop giveaways in my book are considered both a blessing and a curse. I've seen a lot of small businesses and influencers jump on the Instagram trend of loops giveaways and later regret it. Loop Giveaways have both pros and cons in the Insta world, but what most people don’t know is how they’re actually affecting your account. Loop giveaways are going to provide followers that are not there to truly engage with your content. To be blunt with you, they are there to win, and most likely after the giveaway you're going to lose a good portion of followers because there wasn't a personal connection.
IF you're going to do a giveaway, I recommend going a more authentic route and working one-on-one with a blogger or brand. If you're working with a blogger, I recommend choosing someone who has a similar style or aesthetic to your brand that you would be able to swap followers with and convert those numbers into customers. If you choose to work with another brand, choose a brand who has a similar mission who you can share with one another. One example would be an International Women's Day Giveaway with Anato and Aether Beauty. Both are focused on zero-waste, sustainable beauty, but Anato is skincare and Aether Beauty is cosmetics so they're easily able to target the same customer.
5) Random Content - Not Specific To Niche
Instagram is an incredible platform for small businesses because you're able to not only share, but as well visually bring your story to life. However, the visual aspects are where a lot of brands struggle. The first thing your customer sees on Instagram is your feed. This means in order to convert that view into a sale, you need a well curated feed to not only represent your product/service, but your mission. Your feed should connect with your ideal customer. For instance, if you're a skincare line, don't post about cooking. If you're a clothing boutique, don't post about the book you're reading. Save that for your personal account and STAY IN YOUR NICHE. If you want to post about another industry, make sure it connects with your brand and makes sense to your niche or else viewers will get confused with your mission.
These five things are common mistakes I see on Instagram daily. I spend a lot of time on the platform conducting research first hand so these tips are from my own experience to help you and your business succeed on the platform. If you're interested in reading more about eight things you can do to up your Instagram game or more about loop giveaways, visit my previous two blog posts below.