Mistakes happen. Instagram mistakes, unfortunately, happen in public.
To keep away the unique humiliation that comes with Instagram faux-pas, read on to discover the 12 most common Instagram mistakes brands make on this platform—and, more importantly, how to avoid them.
1. Using poor quality images
Instagram is a visual platform. So if you’re going to publish something, it should be beautiful—or at least interesting!—to take a look at.
For example, don’t post a gross closeup shot of beans like this.
Even if you don’t have professional photo skills or a top-notch camera, try taking photos with natural light or on neutral backgrounds.
You’re really better off publishing no photo than a bad-quality photo. However, with so many great tools out there for photo editing and graphic design out there, there’s really no excuse to publish something sloppy.
Take a look at our step-by-step photo editing guide and the latest Instagram photo trends to pop Insta-photography journey up.
2. Posting too much or too little
Find out the right number of posts on Instagram per day—or any social media platform, really—is a delicate dance: a social soft-shoe, if you will.
Too few posts and you risk looking out of touch or people may forget you. Too many posts and you might seem desperate or annoying.
So what is the right number of Instagram posts to publish? You can check out the latest data here, but keep in mind that the sweet spot and user habits change over time. It also depends on your own brand and audience.
For a news outlet, posting multiple times a day would be essential, but for a makeup brand, a few times a week might make more sense.
So watch when your followers are online, focus on analytics, and experiment with your posting schedule to discover what their content tipping point is.
You can even automate your scheduling to really find your options. Maybe your audience loves a little midnight action, who knows?
3. Ignoring analytics
Speaking of analytics: another huge mistake marketers make on Instagram is to ignore the data.
You should be obsessively tracking the metrics that matter so you can find trends and growth.
Consider it like football players watching back the tape of their winning match. How are you going to keep away from getting tackled next time? How are you going to replicate that, um, big… field… dunk?
If you’re trying to gain more engagement rates, but you aren’t monitoring your stats, how can you repeat your successes? Also, have I ever watched a football game? At least one of these questions can be answered with Analytics.
4. Using too many hashtags
Anyone who’s ever been to an all-you-can-eat sushi bar knows that you can experience too much of a good thing.
Hashtags are an effective way for Instagram users to find your content. They’re also a perfect way for your content to look like straight-up spam.
You can add up to 30 hashtags per post, but the most common number of hashtags you’ll see on Instagram is between one and three per post. AdEspresso suggests that up to 11 is acceptable. You’ll need to experiment to see which one works best for you.
5. Posting boring content
In the public court of Instagram, the biggest Insta-crime of all is publishing boring or spammy content.
If you want users to engage with your brand, you need to give them interesting things to engage with. Don’t just post for posting’s sake. Making posts that they’ll care about—something intriguing, or informative, or fun.
Give your followers interesting things so that they’ll comment, like, and share… and ideally, build a deeper relationship with your brand. Providing high-quality content will also give new people a reason to click your follow button, too.
This fake sprinkler company account here, for example, is not going to get very far with this kind of bland content. Instead, the fake social media manager should try asking a question, hosting a contest, sharing using submissions, or creating a sprinkler-themed meme.
For more specific tips for creating engaging content—for sprinkler companies and beyond—check out this social engagement 101 guide.