By now, you’re probably aware that Instagram can be an integral part of your social media strategy. Maybe you’ve even created an Instagram account for your business, and have been snapping photos, adding filters and using hashtags like a pro. While there’s a lot you’re doing right, the chances are good that you’re also doing a few things wrong. As with every social network, there are many ways to be a content creating rock star and many ways to totally and completely #fail. On the bright side, knowledge is power, and the team at Sage Island is here to keep you informed and stop you from making any of the following tragic mistakes.
1. You steal content. One of the beautiful things about social media is the opportunity to express your unique viewpoint and show off what makes your business a one-of-a-kind establishment. You can’t do that if you’re stealing images from other people and passing them off as your own. Now, I’m not saying you can’t repost other people’s images. Everyone loves a good meme, and reposting pictures from your followers can be flattering and help build community, but only if you credit the source. A simple “@username” usually suffices, and it doesn’t hurt to say something nice while you’re at it. “Great image!” or “Thanks for sharing this amazing shot!” are good places to start. In the meantime, start creating your own original, amazing and steal-worthy content. It’s the single best way to garner followers, fans and likes.
2. Your bio is boring. When it comes to Instagram, you only get 150 characters for your bio, so choose wisely! A good bio is more than just the name and URL of your business or organization. It’s an opportunity to tell your followers who you are, what you do, and where your passions lie. Your bio is also the one and only place Instagram allows you to embed a clickable link, so make it count and don’t be afraid to change it up. Most of the time it might lead to your website, but if you’re promoting a certain product or sale, link directly to that page in order to get your customers where you want them to be.
3. You don’t caption your photos. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this is true – to an extent. While the images you post put the ‘gram in Instagram, the caption beneath them is almost as important, especially if your posting as a business or brand. Taco Bell has great captions. If they can get creative with fast food tacos, you can get creative with your business. (PS: Whatever you do, don’t forget to add a few relevant hashtags!)
4. Your feed looks like a catalog… and not in a good way. It might be tempting to post photos of your products on a white background and call it a day, but you’re going to have to try harder if you want to stand out. The Internet loves “lifestyle photos.” This means they want to see your products in their natural habitat, being used by happy people. Spend an afternoon crafting a photo shoot, get friends, family and employees involved, and let your creativity loose.
5. You promote your business in every post. This one might seem counter-intuitive, since you’re whole reason for using Instagram is to promote your business, but the best brands are able to strike a balance when it comes to self-promotion and being a good member of the Instagram community. Think about it this way: you probably roll your eyes at those people who post five selfies a day, right? Well, posting about your business –“Check out our latest sale!” “Subscribe to your newsletter!” “Free shipping if you order now!” – is a surefire way to become your industry’s very own Kim Kardashian. I’m not saying you can’t post about your business at all, only that you should balance it with posts that are uplifting, engaging, funny or focused less on buying and more on giving. And don’t forget to include behind-the-scenes snapshots, company events and personal photos that will help your audience get to know the humans behind the screen. After all, we’re the ones putting the “social” in “social media.”
If you worried about making these mistakes, don’t. Getting your business on Instagram means you’ve already made one good decision, and the rest is simply a case of trial and error. If you’d rather leave Instagram to the professionals, we understand, and we’re here to help. Contact Sage Island today and we’ll make sure your Instagram account is doing everything right.
Mike Duncan co-founded Sage Island in 1997, and since then has evolved the agency’s scope to include marketing strategy, creative design, technical development and a wide range of digital marketing services. With an integrated approach that leverages the power and measurability of the internet, the savvy Sage Island team develops strategies, builds brands, writes killer copy and delivers to clients all over the world. And they have an awesome time doing it. Sage’s collaborative working environment keeps creativity and innovation at the heart of the concept. With a 17-year history in Wilmington and beyond, Sage Island shows no signs of slowing down. To learn how Sage Island can grow your business, check us out at www.sageisland.com. To stay updated on the latest in digital marketing, follow Sage Island on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SageIsland, and on Twitter at twitter.com/SageIsland.
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