Business development 2 November 2017

Five Instagram fails to avoid as a small business owner

Instagram
Instagram has launched an analytics feature to help boost engagement

From too many hashtags to grainy and blurry pictures, here are five Instagram faux-pas your small business absolutely needs to avoid.

According to social insight executive at HopperHQ, Aminur Rashid, it’s time for small businesses to double check their Instagram practices to make sure they’re getting the best results.

(1) Posting at random times

A “throw things at the wall and see what sticks” strategy will not get you far on Instagram.

Posting pictures at random times is the best way to lower engagement and stop your following from growing. Nor should you simply upload a picture during the general peak hours of Instagram.

Due to the new algorithm changing the traditional chronological order of Instagram feeds, photos are now ordered based upon users’ likes, the accounts they interacted with most, as well as the best performing posts, rather than those that were recently posted.

So, how do you choose the best time to post on Instagram? Luckily, Instagram has launched a hidden feature helping you better calculate your timings and massively boost engagement.

It’s called Instagram Analytics, it’s free, and it provides you with essential data for planning and scheduling your posts at the right times.

To make things easier for small businesses, an automated scheduling tool can schedule your content in advance, so your posts can be posted efficiently.

(2) Going hashtag crazy

Using too many hashtags can make your post look sloppy and “spammy”. However, that doesn’t mean you should not take advantage of all 30 hashtags Instagram allows per post.

The trick is to use a few hashtags to highlight some words of your caption and then separate the other hashtags, by hiding them beneath dots and line breaks, in a second comment.

This way your followers won’t be distracted by loads of hashtags, as your comment will show up with only three dots instead of the whole block of text.

Three small businesses making a killing through Instagram marketing

(3) Being self-obsessed

Take out a piece of paper and mark down your last ten Instagram posts. Who are the photos about? If the answer is mainly yourself or your products, it may be time to have a rethink on your strategy.

It is perfectly okay to show the great things your brand is offering, but make sure you keep these kinds of posts to a minimum.

Your content should instead be entertaining, educational, motivational or funny. Providing value 99 per cent of the time will ensure you attract more followers, and keep them coming back for more.

(4) Sharing low-quality photos

Stop blaming your phone’s camera for those horribly grainy pictures and, most importantly, stop sharing them on your feed.

Instagram is all about visuals. If you post low-quality photos, don’t be surprised when you see your follower count drop. If you’re out of ideas for Instagram-worthy pictures, why not find cool stock photos, or give your fans the chance to show off by simply “re-gramming” their photos.

Start by monitoring the posts people have tagged you in or create a unique hashtag for content submissions. Don’t forget to @-mention the original poster when you re-post his or her picture.

(5) Not engaging with your followers

The size of your audience doesn’t matter if no one is paying attention. And, if no one is paying attention, it’s probably because you aren’t either!

Unless you’re David Beckham and have 36 million Instagram followers, you can’t always expect fans to strike up the conversation and engage with your content. If you want to build a buzz around your channel, you are the one that has to drive it.

Interacting with your audience is essential to maintaining a loyal following. Listen to what your followers have to say and always respond to their comments and questions. You can also invite them to engage with your posts by turning your caption into a question.

Aminur Rashid is Social Insight Executive at HopperHQ, an automated scheduling tool for Instagram users. 

Using Instagram as a marketing tool – because a picture tells a thousand words

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