What Not to Do: Instagram Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

instagram marketing mistakes.png

We've discussed the perils of Instagram's shadowbans and the sort of practices that can lead to shadowbanning, but there are many ways to be bad at Instagram marketing. Let's take a look at the mistakes that may not get you banned, but can absolutely damage your brand if you aren't careful. 

Instagram Marketing Fails to Avoid 

1. Using a Fuzzy or Low-Quality Photo

Technically, nobody should be doing this anymore. However, it can still be tempting to post low-quality photos if you are desperate for a particular subject (a person, place, etc.), especially if you no longer have access to that subject. Resist the temptation. A low-quality photo will reflect badly on your brand no matter what it shows, especially in the long-term. Post your best, and be a stickler for quality. Preview images if you aren't sure how they will look!

2. Posting a Collage

The "collage" format is old and has fallen out of favor. Instagram photos need to be immediately visible and understandable. No one wants to peer at a collage photo and try to figure out what all the little images are supposed to be, so people will just skip right on by and look for easier content. Use a carousel or slideshow to show off multiple images instead – people stick around for these.

3. Copying a Popular Instagrammer for No Good Reason

This is a problem of focus, which plagues professional brands trying to succeed on Instagram. When you see photos that are doing particularly well, a common response is to copy that type of photo and hope for your own wealth of social signals. Not good! This ends up with professional brands filling their feeds with pictures of kittens and beaches and farm to table meals. It's discordant, and chasing after the "right" images does your own products/services no favors. So focus, focus, focus, and try to copy Instagram styles or color schemes instead of the content itself.

4. Going to the Hashtag Limit

You can only post about 30 hashtags at the moment before Instagram says enough. That's way too many. Brands who use all those tags are the equivalent of posters that start typing, "#blessed, #soblessed, #blessedtoday" and can't stop themselves. It's annoying to look it, and common or unrelated keywords can often make your content do more poorly. Instead, specialize and pick several hashtags that describe both the image and your goals for it.

5. Posting Over and Over and Over

While an event or a party may seem like a great time to showcase how much fun your brand can have, don't make repeated posts in a short amount of time. Instead, pick several of the best event photos and post them with captions explaining the event. A rapid-fire series of Instagram posts will crowd the feeds of your followers, angering and boring them in equal measure. It's also one of those habits that will get you banned from Instagram in short order.

6. Forgetting About a Posting Plan

Instagram experts have a lot to say about bad advice, but one of the things they agree on is the need for steady, consistent, and regular posting. Businesses that don't have a scheduling plan like this tend to post infrequently, sometimes only once a week or two, sometimes several times in the afternoon. This trains followers to either 1)forget what the brand is about or 2)ignore the brand when they start posting again. Neither is good.

7. Going Crazy on Comments for Other Feeds

Don't go around posting something on everyone's photos just to get new followers or shares – especially if you don't have something to say. It's rude and wastes time: Comment when you have something valuable to add.

8. Deleting Posts You Don't Like

Instagram posts can have a long tail: Don't delete something just because it's not doing well, or you decide you don't like it. This appears to have a poor effect on Instagram's algorithm, and it's bad for your overall brand position. If a photo or video was good enough to post in the first place, it needs to stay as part of your overall Instagram story. If you are really concerned, try archiving the photo instead of completely deleting it. 

download sm copywriting formulas

Ashley Mamula

As Social Media Coordinator, Ashley is constantly researching the latest social trends, and has a passion for creating engaging content. She is a recent grad of Grand Valley State University and has spent the past few years working as an Account Associate on Grand Valley’s student-run public relations firm, GrandPR. On the weekends you can find her doing DIY projects or running around with her puppy, Odin.

Find me on: