This year it is expected that 70% of all brands will have an Instagram account. It’s easy to understand why: approximately 800 million people use Instagram each month, and roughly 50% of Instagram users rely on the platform to conduct product research. Marketers have access to a sea of potential customers when Instagram is in the mix.
But because Instagram has become increasingly popular with brands, and due to recent updates to Instagram’s ranking algorithms, social media marketers must be more thoughtful about posting on Instagram than ever before.
Here are 10 of the most common mistakes brand marketers make when posting content on Instagram, and offers new strategies to try instead.
1. Failing to establish an overarching brand narrative.
The best brands on Instagram don’t just post content that is designed to acquire new followers and engage existing ones. Instead, the best brands use Instagram to tell a specific brand narrative with every piece of content.
When a collection of posts is viewed, it becomes clear that the best social media marketers have established far-reaching content plans that advance a particular selling proposition or storyline.
Take Nike as an example. Nearly all of Nike’s recent posts are designed to celebrate a single athlete. By supporting athletes from professional football players to passionate amateurs, Nike makes it clear that they are a brand that stands for the players.
2. Overlooking the importance of a good caption.
A great Instagram caption has the power to make a relatively good Instagram post something that resonates meaningfully with followers. The secret to writing more engaging Instagram captions is to expand on the story that is already being told by the visuals.
National Geographic does a great job of combining superb visual storytelling with a caption that adds even more insight for those interested. The captions also do a good job of seamlessly encouraging followers to visit the National Geographic website to learn even more about the shared content.
3. Ignoring Instagram Stories.
Instagram is one of the world’s fastest growing social media platforms, and Instagram Stories is growing even faster than the rest of Instagram. Stories was launched in 2016, and within a year this element of Instagram has attracted more users than all of Snapchat.
Some of the best Instagram marketers are turning to Instagram Stories because the tool allows brands to engage with followers regularly throughout the day. Stories also includes great features like live video, masks, annotations and filters, which help brands of all types to create new and more engaging forms of content.
4. Neglecting to look at the data.
Data has never been more important for social media marketers. Instagram relies on thousands of data points to rank the millions of pieces of content uploaded each day to the platform.
Just as the Instagram platform relies on data to evaluate the success of content, social media marketers need to invest in a quality Instagram analytics tool to determine how best to create and share content. Information related to post engagement, follower growth, Instagram story performance and more can all be accessed through an Instagram analytics tool.
5. Refusing to change strategy when presented with data.
Collecting Instagram performance data is important. However, data are useless unless marketers adapt and respond to the information provided. Social media marketers must constantly use analytical skills to tweak Instagram strategy in order to improve performance.
For example, by using an Instagram analytics platform, Instagram marketers can determine when it is best to post new content. Moving forward, marketers should follow the conclusions provided by the Instagram platform, and can then evaluate performance to see if the recommendations lead to improved results.
6. Driving Instagram followers to a poorly designed website.
Facebook (Instagram’s parent company) is a mobile-first company. A quick look at ad-revenue figures confirms this. Instagram is a social network designed to be used on a mobile device. While a desktop version of Instagram does exist, the vast majority of users are on cell phones.
As marketers, the last thing you want to do is drive Instagram users to a website that is not optimized for mobile. Instead, it is best to develop a web experience that is mobile first. This single optimization will most likely have a significant impact on the performance of Instagram marketing campaigns.
7. Forgetting to measure Instagram influence throughout the customer lifecycle.
Instagram is a great channel for generating awareness and developing existing relationships with prospects and customers. An often-overlooked component of Instagram is that the platform can be used to nurture relationships with existing customers through a combination of smart organic content campaigns and paid ads (more on that later).
Using a combination of tools, like a marketing-automation platform and an Instagram analytics tool, marketers can measure the impact Instagram has on generating new leads and on nurturing existing leads down the marketing funnel.
8. Miscalculating the potential value of influencer marketing.
Well over 90% of marketers who employ an influencer marketing strategy believe the strategy is successful, according to one study. Using an influencer marketing strategy is a great way to develop unique content that will likely resonate with the target audience due to the influencer’s expertise. Brands such as Apple, North Face and Salesforce all employ influencer marketing strategies on Instagram with great success.
9. Disregarding the value of buyer personas.
A buyer persona is an archetype used by marketing teams to develop campaigns that resonate with the target customer. Developing a buyer (or marketing) persona is a good idea for social media marketers who are unsure of how to create a compelling brand narrative.
10. Choosing not to invest in Instagram ads.
Approximately 500,000 businesses use Instagram ads. According to statistics shared by Instagram, 75% of users take an action like visiting a brand website or shopping for a product after seeing branded content.
Using the advanced targeting options offered to Instagram advertisers, marketers can develop paid campaigns that effectively engage the target audience without first needing to build a large number of followers.
Instagram is perhaps the best social media platform available to marketers today. The platform provides social media marketers with a number of ways to engage members of the target audience. From Stories to ads to live video, Instagram offers a variety of strategies that marketers can use to craft a brand narrative that produces measurable results.