Done right, Instagram can not only bolster your business, it can become the heart of it. This is especially true if you’re an e-commerce retailer selling visually appealing items.
Whether your business is running on your own domain or is a shop on a large platform like Etsy or eBay, Instagram can give you incredible exposure.
Take Lululemon, for example — the California “lifestyle” company that sells athletic apparel. They’ve amassed over a million followers and average about 5,000 likes per Instagram post.
Lululemon uses a brand aesthetic that clearly resonates with many people.
Frankly, their results are not even close to typical, but if you can do a fraction as well, your business can be successful on Instagram.
Sometimes, the success of an Instagram business can be hindered by mistakes, some simple and easily avoidable, some more complex.
The 10 Mistakes to Avoid
1. Not Having Clear Branding
A logo and a tagline are a good start, but they’re only a small part of your brand.
You want to show your products as being an essential part of a desired lifestyle — whether it’s outdoorsy, all-natural, on-the-go, or new mom, people have a vision of how their lives should be, and you want to show it to them with your brand.
2. Not Having a Consistent Aesthetic
This is related to your brand, but more specific to the images that you post to Instagram.
Not only should they be extremely high quality (and no, you’re not limited to using your phone to take pictures), and visually appealing, they should convey a certain “feel” (again, look at Lululemon’s Instagram to see a very focuses and consistent aesthetic).
By “spamming,” I don’t mean posting “How to make $1,000 a day” messages. You should limit the number of posts you make each day, and space them out, so your posts don’t fill up your followers’ feeds.
People look at their feeds to see the latest from everyone they follow — if they have to scroll through post after post from your business to find posts from their friends, you’re asking for an unfollow.
The only thing that can hurt your success more than posting too much is not posting enough. If Instagram is a big part of your sales plan and you let Instagram go dark for weeks (or even days) at a time, you’re doing it wrong.
Posting regularly gives your brand a familiarity to your followers and makes them more likely to interact.
If you go dormant for any period, people will start to forget about you.
This matters because during that time they might be looking for something you offer but buy it from someone else simply because you’ve fallen off their radar.
5. Amassing an Inorganic Following
Instagram can be difficult in the beginning, when you have a small number of followers. If you’re fortunate, you have a good list of contacts who will want to follow your Instagram.
Beyond that, following similar pages and interacting with them is a way to attract organic followers — people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
Follow people who have common interest: Photo Cred
Any inorganic method, such as follow-for-follow or purchasing followers isn’t going to help you. Potential customers will respond to your images and your products, not your follower count.
6. Posting Low-Quality Photos
Quality is part of consistence, but it can’t be overstated that Instagram is a visual medium, and successful Instagram posts have visually appealing pictures (and videos).
If you don’t have a good camera (on your phone, at least) and/or the skills to take really eye-catching photos, you’ll need to find someone who does. Otherwise, Instagram is not the business tool for you.
7. Only Posting Products and Promotions
While many people who use Instagram for their business use it as a sort of interactive catalog that links to their store, it’s still a social media platform, and it’s a good idea to create “personal” posts to help your followers get to know you.
By this I don’t mean sharing the intimate details of your private life, just post some fun photos of you and/or your staff sometimes.
Or take a cue from TV and movie Instagram accounts and share some “behind the scenes” of your business, such as a designer working on product development (without giving away anything proprietary, of course).
8. Being Negative
Your followers on your business Instagram are not there to listen to you rant about your bad day, your private issues, or politics.
For that, use a personal social media account. Don’t respond angrily to negative comments on your posts, either — stay as calm and positive as you can.
If a user stirs up a lot of negativity on your page that can’t be resolved, block them. Blocked users can’t see or comment on your posts.
9. Tag Spamming
Your tagging becomes spam when you tag users — especially users you don’t know — in an effort to create a wider reach and/or to get their attention.
There are times when you should tag other users, such as tagging the people in the photo or the designer of an item you’re selling, but don’t abuse the tags.
Experiment with two or three general tags per post to see which are most effective, rather than putting every tag you can think of in every post.
10. Using One Instagram Account for Both Personal and Business
Yes, you should post some “personal” things on your business Instagram, but it shouldn’t feel like your day-to-day life — it should feel like your brand.
If you need a personal Instagram for photos of your kids, your vacations, and what you’re having for lunch, you can have two accounts (using different email addresses), which you can switch back and forth from easily using the Instwogram app.
Do you use Instagram for your business? Share your experience in the comments!
Are You Ready To Start Doubling Your Business With Half The Effort?
If you have a business, whether it’s established or brand new, wouldn’t it be great to know how to use free and low priced modern marketing methods to boost the number of customers banging on your door and dramatically increase your profits? And with no technical degree, no sales staff and just a few minutes a day.
As a member of The Owners Club, you’ll get free access to the methods I used to bootstrap my company from zero to a million dollars in its first 12 months with no sales staff (it was actually $1,002,000). And the methods I’m using today to keep growing it beyond 97,000 customers with very little effort. Best of all, it’s absolutely free.