We all know how important social media is in branding. In fact, when researching a business I usually start by looking it up on Instagram. Why? Because Instagram shows me what the business has been up to lately, should have a link to the website, and provides me with indirect reviews by examining what patrons are saying. Since Instagram is my trusted research tool (smile), you can imagine my disappointment when I encounter any of the following:
1. Your BUSINESS page is private- I’ve tried to think of all the reasons why an entrepreneur’s profile would be private. Clearly you only want to do business with friends and family because that’s who’s going to request to follow you. If your business serves the public, your Instagram page should also be public.
2. Bad Links or No Link at All- Instagram should be used to DIRECT customers to your company’s website, with the ultimate goal of generating sales. No link, an expired link, or a link to a domain that’s been purchased but isn’t linked to a site, tells your customer you’re not on top of your game. Telling your customer that you’re not on top of your game is telling them not to purchase from you.
3. You follow no one- I thought Beyonce was the only person who follows 0 people. But I recently stumbled upon a local business owner with a moderate following who follows 0! This person is telling their audience that they don’t engage (because they don’t follow anyone). It’s like saying, “I’m just on Instagram so I can get paid,” aka “I’m just here so I don’t get fined,” *cues Marhsawn Lynch*. It says, “You can watch my business but I have better things to do than follow ANYONE on social media.” It’s a bit hypocritical and arrogant, unless of course, you’re Beyonce.
4. You Don’t Engage- consumers buy brands based on how they identify with the “personality” of the product. While pictures tell us a little bit about the characteristics of your brand, the CAPTION and COMMENTS tell us more. By composing engaging captions and conversing with your audience consumers feel more connected to the brand and are more likely to become and remain customers.
5. Bad Pics- Instagram was designed to display photos. You are “judged” based on how good/bad your photos are (that’s what likes are for), so why post a BAD photo? Blurry photos, too many stock photos, and photos that don’t relate to their captions are sure ways to get unfollowed.
6. Infrequent Posts- I used to celebrate making daily posts, until someone told me that I should post every 2-3 hours (OMG)! That seemed like a lofty goal for someone like me who had to work to post daily. But I decided to aim for 2-3 posts per day. Since doing so, I’ve seen a significant increase in followers, engagement, website visits, and business inquiries. People who follow you like to know what your brand is up to and can easily become disinterested if your grid says you’re up to nothing.
7. Too many Ads- consumers know that businesses use Instagram as a tool to generate sales. In fact, many consumers use Instagram as a shopping tool. BUT that doesn’t mean they want to see 5 consecutive pictures of all your latest inventory with captions listing prices and sizes. Content related to your business or product can be just as effective as actual photos of what you’re marketing without shoving the product you’re your customer’s throat.