Rebecca Willis is an HR manager, personal trainee in management, freelance writer and an active guest contributor.
With over 1 billion people using Instagram and millions shopping on the platform, no wonder it has become a necessary tool for user engagement and one of the few places where you can jumpstart an entrepreneurial career. But whether a person starts managing an Instagram page of their business or gives it a try as a solopreneur, they all do these 5 entry-level mistakes.
Be aware of them before you start, and you’ll be instantly ahead of the competition.
Mistake 1. “Dead Souls”
The very first and obvious mistake is the “dead Souls” that new bloggers and many commercial accounts buy. They try to grow followers organically, but when they inevitably fail, they start looking to buy some. As you may have noticed hundreds of people are offering to sell you followers.
If it sounds shady to you, you’re completely right. It doesn’t just violate Instagram’s rules but doesn’t help your account at all.
The thing is, Instagram judges your account not based on the number of followers, but based on follower engagement. The followers you buy will not engage with your page at all. This means that the ER (percentage of participation relative to views to actions) remains low, sales do not go up, promotion stands still, but the numbers in the “Subscribers” section rise.
According to studies, 81% of companies consider engagement to be the most important indicator of social media performance. Moreover, you will not get interest from users if they are not real. Therefore, it is better to immediately abandon such an undertaking.
Mistake 2. The visual component of the profile
Now, if you’ve used Instagram for anywhere over an hour, you’d immediately see that it’s all about visuals. The posts that rank highest are the prettiest. Sure, there are some notable exceptions like memes, but very few businesses may get successful with meme promotion, so we’ll focus on the imagery.
What many novice entrepreneurs don’t get is that for the consumers, your products are as good as their photos are. If you do not do a good job of presenting your products, few people will be interested in them. Especially so, if the products are on the expensive side.
This is why it’s crucial you invest not only in editing software but in a good camera as well. If you don’t want to buy a camera or you don’t have staff who can work with it, it’s good practice to order professional photoshoots to get photos to cover the whole month of posting.
According to the report, 32% of marketers confirm that visual images are the most important form of content for their business. And another study shows that the engagement rate of posts with video is 38% higher than that of publications with images. Create truly high-quality content and track user reactions. You should offer what is really interesting and useful to them. This is the only way to become successful on Instagram.
But what if you’re selling a service? How would you take a photo of you editing essays or providing coaching? If you run a service business, go for a photoshoot that shows a happy customer, not a product. For the editing company, you could show a happy customer reading the edited text from a laptop, for the coaching business, show the coach with his mentee. Add a personal story to that post, this is also important on Instagram.
Mistake 3. Ineffective collaboration with opinion leaders
It’s extremely hard to make a successful Instagram business account on your own. Some people do succeed with this, but for the most part, it’s down to their niche or being really good at self-promotion.
The rest of the business accounts need some external help. Those who fail to get these promotion opportunities may be forever stuck at a couple of thousands of followers.
To get exposure, you can do a marketing campaign that doesn’t require much money and gives you huge benefits, influencer marketing. Find people who talk about your industry on Instagram and offer them to collaborate.
But don’t go for the person with the biggest follower count in the niche. You can benefit from making promotions with micro-influencers as well, people who have 5-20k subscribers.
Mistake 4. Not enough effort
One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to Instagram business promotion is not giving it 100%. Many novice entrepreneurs are just trying this social media marketing thing out and are willing to drop it if they don’t see immediate results.
But how would you see immediate results if you don’t have a systemic approach? If you don’t start from the strategy first, if you don’t invest in social media management software, if you don’t post consistently great content, if you don’t talk to your followers and try to engage them, your Instagram account will go unnoticed.
Mistake 5. Long way to buy
This is a mistake many solopreneurs, people who are trying to start a small business or a side hustle, make. They treat their new Instagram account as a personal one. They will post loads of content, but will not offer an easy way to buy their product.
You need to make it super clear to your followers that they can buy your products and give them a way of doing that. Be direct with what you want them to do: whether it’s going to the DMs and talking to you, contacting you via email, or purchasing on the website linked in bio. Data shows that 11% of social media users in the US shop on Instagram.
It’s easy to make one of these mistakes, especially if you’re new to social media marketing. However, once you learn about these and stop doing them, you’ll see how your Instagram following will go up.