Four Things On Instagram You Can NOT Do As A Marketer…and Four Things You Should
Instagram is at the front-and-center of many successful social media campaigns these days. The platform allows you to reach potential customers with a wide variety of posting formats.
Like TikTok, the app can be addicting to users because it provides content within an algorithm that serves users content predicated on their past behavior. This is an asset to propel your content to an audience that it may miss otherwise.
However, there are caveats to using the platform, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Instagram plays by its own set of rules, and you must play by their rules to look like you belong. Failure to adhere to the proper standards and practices put you at risk of looking like a novice, or an untrustworthy source. In turn, potential customers may subconsciously rank you lower than other brands in your industry vertical that are more competent in social media. Below are a few key do’s and don’ts that will help you keep up with the pack.
DON’T: Overuse Hashtags.
Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags to be posted at one time in a caption or comment – but #that #doesn’t #mean #you #should #use all 30. The ideal number falls between 5-7 hashtags. Pick only relevant hashtags to your topic. Don’t flood your caption with #unnecessary hashtags that results in your post being lost in the shuffle. Hashtags can be posted in the caption of a post OR as a comment as well. Both will be beneficial to get some additional eyes on your post.
There are click-farming bots that can spam your comments section if you use a certain type of hashtag, or use the same hashtag frequently. If you see these, you can just delete them or report them, but keep in mind bots on Instagram are inevitable and there’s only so much time you should spend in doing this.
DON’T: Use Repeat or Recycled Content
Vary your content! Posting the same image about an event once a week for a month will do you no good. In fact, subsequent repeat posts will likely be buried by the algorithm. If you have a timely promotion such as an upcoming event, post different images every time, or switch up a caption so things continue to look fresh. Your profile grid will look varied, and it will appear that your brand is busy and active.
DON’T: Get Too Complicated
Keep your messaging simple. If you have complex product rollout, spread relevant information across multiple posts as opposed to cramming all the information into one. Attention spans are short, and something in paragraph three of a four-paragraph Instagram caption is going to get glossed over more often than not.
DON’T: Buy Followers!
Nobody likes a cheater, and on Instagram, it’s easy to spot someone trying to rig the game. You may have a high follower count, but if each of your posts is getting 15 likes, they aren’t real! Instagram bots don’t do anyone any good.
9.5% of Instagram’s 1 billion monthly users are fake profiles, rising from 79% in 2015*. These bot accounts can only hurt brands because… they’re not real people. They wont buy your products or help you spread your message. Fake bot brands cost brands $1.3 billion dollars in 2019*. Buying followers is only putting up a front that your profile is bigger than it is.
DO: Optimize Your Creative
You’re better off taking extra time and tailoring your content specifically to optimized formats and sizes that Instagram prefers. Your content will look better. It will perform better, and potential users will take notice of its quality.
Image/video specifics that perform best on Instagram:
- Photo/Video Posts: 1080 x 1080 Square (1:1)
- 1080 x 1350 Vertical (4:5)
- 1080 x 608 Horizontal (1.91:1)
- Stories/Reels/IGTV: 1080 x 1920 (9:16)
Video posts can be anywhere up to 60 minutes (in certain cases), and reels (Instagram’s answer to TikTiok) can be up to 90 seconds and must all be a minimum of 720p 30fps.
Above are two examples of poorly optimized/executed creative. The post on the left features a blurry/pixelated logo image, and the right is a widescreen photo that was cropped to fit in a square frame. Neither post performed and make your brand appear to be unprofessional or amateur.
DO: Post Links Properly
You cannot post clickable links in your Instagram captions! However, any link can only be pasted and clicked upon in the “bio” section of your profile. So, it’s common to send someone to click on your link by saying “LINK IN BIO” in your caption.
Likewise, there are solutions for changing links in your bio. Services like Linktree, Lnk.Bio, and Everlinks make it easy to always keep your promotions and web links updated in your Instagram bio, so whenever you say “LINK IN BIO” you’ll always be sending people to the correct link.
DO: Use Social Media Schedulers Like Creator Studio
Facebook/Meta Creator Studio is an excellent free tool that is often underutilized by marketers. When set up properly, you have near full control to schedule any type of Instagram post type, from stories to carousels to IGTV videos and more.
DO: Engage On The Platform
Instagram is not a “set it and forget it” type of model. The best accounts and brands ENGAGE with their followers, other accounts, and their content as well. Share other brand’s stories, repost posts that are relevant to your brand, anything that will, make it believable that the account is run by a person, as opposed to a group of people or a brand. Engagement like that builds trust and humanizes the account.
Instagram story polls are a perfect way to learn about your followers and how to tailor content to them better. Also, if someone were to tag you in a post, share it to your story and message them back an thank you message! That kind of personal touch goes the extra mile.
Do you have more Instagram tips and tricks we didn’t cover? Leave a comment below and we’ll cover it in a new post!