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Grow Your Business Social Media

10 Instagram Marketing Mistakes You Need to Stop Making

10 Instagram Marketing Mistakes You Need to Stop Making
Credit: OlegDoroshin/Shutterstock

If your business isn't on Instagram, you could be missing out. The mobile social network and photo-sharing platform has more than 400 million users, and if you know what you're doing (and have a knack for photography), you might just be able to find huge success for your brand. The key is not to make rookie mistakes that will turn away followers, like overselling products and posting poor-quality images and videos.

How can you use Instagram to find Insta-fame? Social media experts told Business News Daily the 10 mistakes businesses and brands should avoid making on the platform.

"The biggest mistake businesses or brands can make on Instagram is to only post visuals on their Instagram profile, meaning quote graphics or images that they haven't created. It makes the profile look less genuine and less legitimate. Also, those businesses can run into copyright issues if the photo isn't an image they took or isn't a creative commons image. Brands want to make sure that they're posting a variety of content on their Instagram profiles, not just graphics or visuals." – Ayelet Golz, social media and community management strategist, Mack Web

"Product photos on white backgrounds don't match the Instagram environment, yet we're still seeing so many brands make that mistake. The brands that are thriving have managed to develop a unique style that tells their brand's story within a format that is familiar to users and lovers of Instagram." – Angelo Dodaro, CEO, Multivitamin Media

"Brands who post and expect users to come to them are missing a huge opportunity for growth. Instagram, more than any other platform, requires brands to look for opportunities to engage with their audiences. By commenting and favoriting posts and by tracking keywords and hashtags closely, brands get a leg up on the competition in the space — and that often results in a bump in followers." – Marek Cornett, digital manager of social media, Koch Communications

"Brands who post to Instagram without a strategy or flow to their content are missing a huge opportunity to engage their audience. When you visit a brand’s Instagram feed, you want the look and feel to be cohesive and have an overall brand style. This comes from the filters you use, the text, and the type of photos you post. For example, if your brand sells multiple products, you don't want your last three photos to be of the same product. Or only have product shots. Mix it up with a balance of product, lifestyle, events and user-generated content." – Lindsay Mauch, founder, LTM Digital

"Another mistake business owners make is posting too often. Once a day is perfect, you can probably get away with two times a day — morning and night —depending on what you're posting. If it's pictures of an event, a few pictures from the event is OK, but don't flood the stream with dozens of pictures." – Endrea Kosven, CEO, EDK and Company

"The biggest mistake I see [is] businesses trying to sell product over and over with every post. Instagram (and social media) is not about pushing products to people. It is about building a brand, building advocacy and creating a conversation. The sales come as a result of good content that resonates with the targeted audience." – William Derosa, president and founder, Talking Finger

"Another mistake that Instagram marketers frequently make is uploading poor- quality images. Think of Instagram as a place for your brand to showcase its history and promise for the future. It should be a carefully curated gallery that is meant to inspire your followers. Quality and resolution is of the upmost importance. " – Mike Curry, partner, Neon Interactive

"Brands that don't make it easy for people to make purchases based on what they see on Instagram are missing out on a huge opportunity. You're only halfway there if you've got an engaged community, great imagery and copy inspiring people to buy, but you don't allow them to complete the journey. As a user, there's nothing worse than falling in love with an item on Instagram, but not being able to find it online. Not having links in posts makes this difficult, but the single link in your bio can be used creatively and sensibly to make sure potential customers are signposted to the sale." – Jessica Riches, social media strategist, LMW Labs

"One of the biggest mistakes that a brand can make on Instagram is hijacking hashtags. I see it all the time. A brand is just starting out and they're trying to grow but they're not able to crack the code. Rather than focusing on tactics that work, like influencer outreach, automated engagement [and] focusing on great content, they use 20 hashtags on a single post with zero relevance. This approach is a one-way street to making Instagram users upset and annoyed. Don't use hashtags like #ThrowbackThursday to share a photo of the bathing suit you're selling. Don't use hashtags like #MCM to share a photo of your cupcakes. Be relevant!" – Ross Simmonds, author and digital marketing strategist

"My opinion on hashtags is that you should never use more than three at the most. That's why it's absolutely infuriating to see brands posting 20 to 30 hashtags on a single Instagram post. Instead of using every single hashtag that could have the tiniest bit to do with your post [or] brand, use truly relevant ones. In the words of BuzzFeed's Matt Bellassai, 'Hashtags are for the weak and desperate.'" – Megan Ingenbrandt, marketing and social media representative, Green Technology Services

Brittney Helmrich

Brittney M. Helmrich graduated from Drew University in 2012 with a B.A. in History and Creative Writing. She joined the Business News Daily team in 2014 after working as the editor-in-chief of an online college life and advice publication for two years. Follow Brittney on Twitter at @brittneyplz, or contact her by email.