Numerous businesses have spread across the Instagram community, all looking to promote their products or services to a highly-engaged audience. In a bid to stand out from the crowd, business owners employ various strategies to market their brands and every tactic in the book to stay ahead and relevant.
What most business owners on Instagram fail to realize is that not all marketing tactics are actually great. Some common tactics are outright dangerous to your business goals while some might even seem to work at first but turn out to be highly detrimental in the future.
Here are 6 Instagram marketing strategies to always avoid (and why)
Sometimes, brands on Instagram engage themselves in smart marketing strategies. The aim is to strengthen customer engagement, record business growth, drive more traffic to your website or app, and increase the conversion rates of your products or services.
Yes, there are several Instagram marketing tips out there and each one suggests one strategy or the other. But some of these Instagram marketing strategies, which you may have been using, do more harm than good to your brand...and this is clearly not your goal or expectation.
Below, we get to identify some of those dangerous marketing strategies you should always avoid on the Instagram business platform.
1. Over-reliance on automation tools
Handling an Instagram account could be ridiculously hectic, especially for small businesses that have little human resources. To solve this, brands are often tempted to use third-party automation tools to perform certain monotonous tasks, such as liking posts, leaving comments, and following user accounts.
This would reduce customer engagement when it becomes noticeable to your followers that they are being interacted with by bots. You also have a high chance of getting into particularly embarrassing situations. For instance, a bot leaves an inappropriate comment or likes an irrelevant post.
P.S. Stormlikes provides real likes from real Instagrammers without any dangerous automation.
2. Being an Instagram pod member
Instagram pods are groups of individuals who have been branded together in a bid to grow their followings. Members like and comment on each other's posts, which gives off an impression of high interest in your brand. That's just how far it gets you—an impression.
Recent updates in the Instagram algorithm has deemed this irrelevant since the algorithm now rank posts not in chronological order but by user activity. This means that users who frequent and engage with your IG page are more likely to see your posts than others.
This leaves your pod group beside the point, and the higher percentage of users who get to see your posts are just your pod members. They are not obliged to engage in business with you. They just provide petty likes and comments.
3. Making use of SEO companies
The idea of using search engine optimization (SEO) companies or agencies for your Instagram marketing strategy isn't entirely preposterous. It only becomes dangerous when you let your guard down and leave it all to the SEO company ... that doesn't sound like a great idea.
While SEO services could be all you need to build a strong website, you don't need them for your Instagram account. If you are planning on improving the visibility of your brand's Instagram page, then opt for social media marketers.
The visibility and ranking algorithm of social networks and search engines vary, so each platform requires different approaches. When your goal is to generate great content for your brand's account, you are the best option available. (You could also hire expert social media content marketers to deliver high-quality content for your beloved followers.)
4. Overly consistent (and predictable) posts
Consistency is a word that is easily misunderstood. Many blogs, discussion boards, and websites agree that brands should be consistent with when and how they share each post since posts are vital for marketing your business on Instagram. Similar to other means of user engagement, your posts are expected to be distinct and fun for your followers to read, view, and watch.
Yet, many accounts are in the habit of trying to play it safe to the point that their posts all try to convey the same central message, which makes them predictable and boring. Once their followers begin to lose interest in this so-called "consistency", a significant decrease in user engagement follows.
Sharing only photos and videos of your brand is another common pitfall you should avoid. In contrast, user-generated content is far more effective and go a long way to keep your followers engaged.
5. Practicing quantity-driven posting
Trying to make sure your followers are saturated with your posts just in case they missed earlier posts is a very poor marketing strategy. The law of quality over quantity is straightforward.
You also stand a high chance of annoying your active followers when your posts flood their feeds due to the new user activity-generated Feed algorithm.
6. Overusing hashtags
We are all aware of the fact that using hashtags is one of the most effective ways to get more engagement. But, too many hashtags in just one post can sweep that effectiveness away.
Even though Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, it is always better to use them with caution. Scott Ayres' most recent study found that posts with 7-8 hashtags receive the most engagement. While earlier studies on how many hashtags to use on Instagram found 2 (Klear), 7 (SocialFresh), and 9 (TrackMaven), the recent study found 8 to be the magic number. This, of course, depends on your followers.
Using irrelevant hashtags is not a good way to go either. There are many online tools that help social media marketers avoid this kind of mistake (e.g. Hashtagify).
Further, posts without hashtags can reduce engagement drastically because using hashtags is an organized way to categorize your posts so users can easily find your posts. You can also start using a brand hashtag; for example, WorldStar Hip Hop uses #WSHH.
[Bonus] Having an incomplete business account (i.e. without a profile picture or bio)
Even though this is not a strategy anyone would recommend, we often see accounts without a bio, profile photo, or post. Now, this is one thing you really must avoid if you want the best out of Instagram.
No one will take your business seriously if you ever approach them with an Instagram account missing the most basic info. Profile pictures are not meant to offer search optimization or quick boosts to your followers; instead, they are a vital proof of your brand's identity. Omitting such details will lead to a dead account as many users would consider the account inactive.
Like Harvard Business School professor David Maister once wrote, "Act like a true professional, aiming for true excellence, and the money will follow."
Pro-Tip: Having an incomplete account is one of the don'ts of getting the blue checkmark on Instagram.
[Bonus] Taking stands
It is very common for business owners, in a bid to market their products/services, to take advantage of social issues to increase engagement with their followers. Posts with polarized content may seem good at the time but you end up losing potential and current customers who have a different opinion.
What to do instead
We have talked a little bit about the Instagram marketing strategies you should avoid if achieving impressive results is your end game. If you wish to increase several marketing metrics (such as customer engagement, consumer perception, and conversion rate), then below are some Instagram marketing nuggets to help put your business on the right path.
- Build a strong, complete profile on Instagram (and other social platforms)
- Use filters to improve your photos
- Write compelling captions that grab attention
- Run promotions, contests, and giveaways that are neither immaterial nor questionable
- Use targeted Instagram ads on your ideal audience
- Define an individual strategy for Stories, Explore, Live, and Feed
- Watch competitors closely and learn from their strengths and weaknesses
- Offer great customer service by being polite, helpful, and swift
Sticking to the above tips would surely get your brand's Instagram page on the right path to success. If you've been following this blog for a while, most—if not all—of these tips have been explained in earlier posts.
Understanding the do's and don'ts of Instagram marketing strategies is very crucial to your growth and success on the 1-billion-users community. If you didn't know all of these before, then now is a chance to put the new knowledge to good use. Cheers!