Did you catch 15 Mistakes Businesses Make on Instagram – Part 1? If not, we suggest you go back and read that one first.
Hopefully you’ve had a chance to review your Instagram account to see whether you were making any of the mistakes mentioned. Perhaps you’ve made improvements and started to see results from them already?
Here, with talk of algorithms, engagement pods and etiquette, and with plenty of actionable tips, we bring you the second half of our list. Enjoy!
9. Sliding into people’s DMs
We’ve all been there. You follow someone and within a millionth of a second they appear in your DMs. The ONLY way they can possibly have done this is using a bot (see point 5!). And to be honest, if I’ve only just followed you I don’t want you to immediately talk to me or sell to me, I want to hang about and get to know you before I decide if I like you and trust you.
Can you tell this one winds me up?
The only (business!) reason you should be sliding into anyone’s DMs is to buy from them or to ask permission to share one of their posts on your feed. Full stop.
10. Only posting to the grid
There are SO many great features on Instagram, it really is a waste if you never stray beyond posting to your grid. But it’s not just that, the platform and its algorithm actually favour those who regularly use everything it has to offer. Think stories, IGTV, highlights etc.
Research is starting to show that more and more people are only focusing on using Stories. That means if you’re not on there, there’s no chance of them seeing you.
11. Forgetting about video
Related to number 10, Instagram provides opportunities to use new tools and they want to see you using them. Yes, for some people video might be their worst nightmare and if that’s you I’m sorry, but
every single platform now reports that their users prefer video to all other forms of content. It helps an audience to really get to know the person behind a business, it helps develop that all important know, like and trust and quite frankly it just works.
Do Instagram Lives, play with IGTV and post videos to your feed and in stories, and Instagram will start to show your content to more people.
My top tips to get you started with video? Do it live, give yourself a topic and don’t overplan. Give it a go and whatever you do don’t look back at it – especially to start with!
12. Using engagement pods
Have you ever tried an engagement pod? Back in 2018/19 there was a real buzz about these. If you’ve not heard of them a ‘pod’ is an agreement between you and a group of others that you’ll like and comment on each other’s posts. You drop a message to the group when you post and they hop on over and leave a comment or a like (the idea is to increase the reach of the post).
While this may work to start with there are huge downsides to this idea. Firstly, Instagram is smart, it soon catches on that the same group of people are commenting on each other’s posts and will begin to offer up penalties. Thinking up comments to add to the posts of the others in your group can take up a lot of valuable time. And finally, it is unlikely that the others in your pod will be your target audience, meaning you’re wasting time engaging with them when you could be engaging with genuine potential clients that will more likely lead to results for your business.
All in all, engagement pods are not a long-term solution to performing well on Instagram.
13. Not putting a link in your bio
One thing that often confuses newbies to Instagram is that there is only one opportunity to put a clickable link on your Instagram account, and it’s in your bio. That’s why you’ll so often see posts that say “link in bio”.
Often, you’ll find people change their link depending on what they’re selling at any given time or if they’ve just released a new blog post. Or you’ll see people use a permanent link to a ‘link tree’ on which they just include new relevant links each time.
If you don’t know what else to put, at the very least link to your website home page or Facebook page – somewhere that prospective customers can go for more information. If you don’t include it, you might be lucky and find that a few people message to ask how to work with you, but far more will just move onto the next Instagram account that does have a link, and forget all about you.
14. Being social and following etiquette
It’s a mantra I use a lot: Social media should be social. That means you treat people with respect, reply to comments and engage with people on Instagram as you would in real life. It can be hard at times, if you’ve scheduled a post to go out, to remember to check for comments and reply to them. If you forget, that’s OK as long as you get around to them at some point.
And if you spot a square on someone else’s grid that you fancy ‘borrowing’ for your own. It’s only polite that you ask and credit them with the post. Instagram doesn’t encourage sharing through buttons like Facebook and Twitter do, you have to go out of your way to download a different app to do it. People spend hours creating their content, it’s only fair you respect that and play nicely.
15. Trying to beat the algorithm
I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve asked me how to beat the Instagram algorithm. And my answer is always the same: You can’t! It will change and it will win. And really, what’s the point in trying?
Create content that works for your ideal client, use the right hashtags, be social and do the right things and you’ll achieve much longer-term success than finding one quick way to bypass the algorithm. You’ll soon be back to square one when Instagram adjusts it and you’ll have to start all over again.
The algorithm will change, your stats might drop from time to time, don’t sweat it, keep doing the right things and you’ll succeed in the end.
Ultimately, Instagram is a business. They want people to stay on the platform for as long as possible to increase advertising revenues and marketability. To do this they incentivise content that creates a conversation. And they penalise behaviours that don’t contribute to this.
So be social, do the right things, and you’ll always beat the algorithm, because the algorithm will be ever in your favour.
That’s enough ‘mistakes’ for now. Download the top 5 things you need to do to get lead from Instagram and find out what you SHOULD be doing instead.