Instagram can be one of the toughest social media platforms to navigate and use efficiently. I’ve done some research and found some of the biggest mistakes made when creating an Instagram account. With Facebook, you can easily find people with similar interests and join groups. Twitter is more opinion-based.
But Instagram accounts require careful curation and attention to detail if you want to grow your followers. Not only do you have to be aware of the trends and effective practices, but you also have to pay closer attention to the parameters and requirements laid out for the platform.
When I created my account on Instagram and started trying to build my followers, I made quite a few mistakes. I take comfort in the fact that I’m not the only one who has done so. There are some pretty common ones; I’m certainly guilty of more than a few of them.
But don’t worry, because I’m going to explain five of the biggest mistakes made while creating an Instagram account, AND I’m going to give you a few tips on how to avoid those mistakes.
1. Inconsistent Branding
Even though these are in no particular order, I would definitely say that this one is a major error that is constantly made. I think most often it is because people just don’t pay close enough attention, or they don’t have a clear vision in their mind.
The whole point of an Instagram Account is to give instant access to your followers and for them to find you easily. You can’t expect them to do that if you have a different logo or a different name, or even if the messages that you are sharing aren’t on point.
Create a plan
Before you start setting up your Instagram account, create a business plan. You’ll want to include things like branding, logos, mission statement, messaging goals, etc. Once you have those in mind, make sure that you are using them across all platforms. Your followers should be able to find you easily, and your branding should be clear no matter where they see it.
2. Content Volume
You can have everything in place and have great content, but if you aren’t posting often enough, people won’t be able to find you, and the Instagram algorithms will drop you down in searches. Conversely, if you post too much, you’ll saturate your followers, and they may feel like they are being spammed.
Consistency is key
It is generally accepted practice to post no more than two to three times a week and never more than once a day. You want to keep your followers interested but not overwhelmed. Creating a calendar and setting a cadence or expectation of when you will post will keep your followers coming back.
If you post three times a week, consider posting at the same time on the same days with the same content. For example, Tuesdays can be fitness, Thursdays can be mental health, and Sundays can be motivational.
3. Content Quality
Once you have the frequency of your posts figured out, the next step is to ensure that you have quality content. It’s easy to get stuck in what you think might be interesting but might not actually mean anything to your followers. Or the content that you are posting has nothing at all to do with your branding or your message.
It has to make sense.
Again, as you are getting established, you need to be able to “read the room” (so to speak) and post content that is going to both engage and interest your followers. Pictures should clearly show the message you are trying to relay and should be cropped accordingly. There is no space for trying to be esoteric and making your followers hunt for the meaning. They’ll just move on.
You may have the inclination to just dash off a post without checking it, figuring that people will understand being in a hurry or that mistakes happen. Wrong. Spelling matters. People can forgive punctuation (especially with limited character counts) but spelling errors just show people that you don’t really care – and if you can’t be bothered to fix them, maybe your content isn’t up to par either.
A word about these. When you use them, your post appears on the page for that hashtag, and if someone is following that hashtag, your post can appear in their feed even if they aren’t following you…yet.
If you use too many hashtags, you water down your message and your brand. Plus, nobody wants to read a post that is all hashtags. Do your research and use a mixture of obvious and connected hashtags. Choose correctly, and you could bring in new followers easily.
While all of this talk about content is important, it is simply not enough to just post and coast. You have to engage your followers. This means interaction, responding to comments, and sharing stories (to name a few). Your followers want to be a part of what you are building. Include them in the journey from the beginning and you will soon have loyal “customers” who will help you spread the word.
Do unto others
Only interacting on your own account isn’t enough either. You can have your competition work for you by engaging in their posts as well. Not only can you establish good professional rapport, but you may entice some of their followers to follow you as well. Just don’t go negative to make yourself look better. It will backfire every time.
5. BONUS: Artificial boosting
As you establish your Instagram Account, you will notice several offers to buy likes and followers (i.e., for only x amount, we can promise you 5,000 followers).
Simply put, don’t do it.
It’s not worth it and could ultimately come back to bite you as real people may consider you to be as fake as your follower count. Put that money towards ads, post-boosting, or creating an eye-catching logo. It will be money better spent.
So, there you have it. Five of the biggest mistakes people make when creating an Instagram (plus a bonus one). What they all boil down to is having a consistent message that can be easily found and quality content that continues to engage followers across several interests. Good Luck!
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