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Tips: Instagram mistakes to avoid

Like any social platform, Instagram has unwritten rules and best practices for engaging consumers, including millennials. Avoid the following pitfalls on Instagram to ensure you don’t go viral for the wrong reasons:

  • Posting low-quality content: Instagram is primarily a visual medium. For this reason, all images and videos should be top quality. Don’t post low-resolution, blurry or otherwise confusing or unattractive images. Instagram users expect beautiful photos and well-produced videos. Text should be understandable and free of typos and misspellings. Anything less will not generate likes.

Forgetting the hashtags: Instagram users can tell immediately if a post interests them by looking at its hashtags. Additionally, hashtags help other users find your posts and help you track engagement. Use hashtags to describe a photo’s subject, give more information about it, call out interested communities or industries and add your branding. (You can use up to 30 hashtags per post; using three to five hashtags is recommended.)

Not optimizing your Instagram bio: While much of your Instagram activity is fleeting, your Instagram bio endures. Optimizing your bio allows you to convert a casual follower into a more serious prospect or lead. Include your company’s full name, a description, a link to your website, bullets, emojis and your brand’s hashtags.

Not utilizing IG Stories: Stories are an excellent way to: capture attention; share company news; create quizzes, polls or surveys; and promote products. You can also use stories to show “behind the scenes” videos, interviews with employees or customer testimonials, all of which add an element of authenticity millennials crave.

Winging it: Like any other marketing vehicle, Instagram requires a strategy and focused effort to achieve specific goals. A “seat of the pants” approach will be evident to users and can hurt your brand. Be prepared with an on-brand visual and written style, brand hashtags, brand differentiators, relevant content and unique selling points for your company and products. Know what you want to accomplish and track your progress. Use data analytics to tweak content so it performs better.

Broadcasting: Instagram is a social platform; users expect ― and want ― to interact with the brands they follow. They don’t want you to blast them with content. In contrast, they want you to respond to comments and talk to them as individuals. Neglect your followers at your peril; if they feel they’re being ignored, they’ll likely move on, possibly to your competitors. You can’t expect users to engage with you if you refuse to engage with them.

Spamming: Paying attention to your followers isn’t enough. Your communication must have some substance behind it. Empty or needy comments, such as “great photo!” or flatly asking for follows, doesn’t express interest or give anything of value. Be thoughtful about your comments and treat users like you care about them, not just what they can do for you.

Posting inconsistently: Create a content calendar and post consistently. Post about the same amounts weekly so followers can expect a certain amount of content flow. If your social media manager goes on vacation, ensure you have prescheduled and predesigned posts ready. A sudden posting drop-off can cause followers to think you’ve gone out of business or are otherwise irrelevant and they may unfollow you.

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