7 Common Mistakes on Instagram.  Make Sure you avoid these to use Instagram effectively

Many small businesses create an Instagram account, because they are told that this is the done thing in 2024.  In some ways, it is easy to stumble along and upload photos, but then nothing happens.  Read my tips below to learn which common mistakes on Instagram to avoid and how to use it more effectively to grow followers and subsequently more sales.

One. Partially Completed Instagram Profile

Firstly double check that all the profile sections like website, contact information and bio description are filled in.  Many of us make the common mistake of leaving the description blank.  Take the opportunity to tell your ideal customer about what you do and how you can solve their problem.

Two. Website field is blank or wrong

Next, always take care to put the correct website page in this section of the profile.  If you don’t have your own business website, you can easily put a link to another internet page where there is more information about you or your business.  This could be your Esty store page, YouTube channel, or even your profile on LinkedIn.

Another tip is for you to add a specific webpage rather than your home page.  This can be useful if you are running a specific campaign or want potential customers to go straight to your shop page.

One website link not enough?  if you want Instagram followers to have quick and easy links to multiple pages, then I would recommend using a third party linking tool.  The most common of these, is link.tr.

Three.  Lack of Branding

My top tip for you here is to think of your Instagram profile page as a shop window, where your new customers will look and decide if they want to come in to see more.  Every post you upload builds up the grid of images that we can see on your profile page.   For this reason, I recommend putting the effort in to create posts with consistent branding colours and formats. If you are mainly posting images, consider using a consistent filter to create a coherent look.  If you upload text and graphics, use the same colour codes and fonts.

Four. Putting website links in Instagram posts

Did you know that Instagram wants to keep users within the app as much as possible?  This is why putting a website link in an image or in the post caption doesn’t work.  The hyperlink just doesn’t work at all, so a viewer would have to remember the website address, open up a browser and type it in there.  How difficult is that?  Most won’t bother unfortunately.

The good news is that there are a couple of ways around this.  Firstly, double check that the website field in your profile is pointing to the correct web page.  Then when you do create a conventional post and want to direct customers to your website, you need to add “see link in bio”.

The other ways that works well, is to use Instagram stories with the link option from the sticker menu.  Remember to save these stories to highlights in your profile to give them a longer lease of life.  I mention this because stories normally last for only 24 hours.

Five.  Common Hashtag Mistakes

Instagram is all about following subject areas and discovering new accounts to follow either for personal development or just plain old entertainment.  This is where hashtags come in.   Some people follow a specific hashtag rather than specific accounts.  My first tip here, is to remember to add hashtags to the bottom of every post or reel  – between 5 and 20 is currently recommended.

This leads on to my second important tip – research hashtags before you use them.   I don’t want you to waste time just putting in random words starting with #, unfortunately these won’t do anything.  To start with, check out posts from similar accounts to see what they might use.  Follow this up by searching  # followed by the word and checking that there are between 1000 and 500,000 posts on the subject.  To add to this, I strongly recommend checking that posts for this hashtag are appropriate for you business.

Six. Lack of description and words in the caption

I urge you to take the time to describe your post.  Use the opportunity to tell your followers and customers, what the post is about, go deeper, how will your business help them and what problem are you solving for them?

Before you post, remember to use a call to action, so that the reader knows what to do next.  This could be to go to the link in your bio to go your website, or add their thoughts in a comment or even save the post for reference at a later date.

Seven. Only Posting Photos and Ignoring the Power of Video

Did you know that those busy people at Instagram have been putting loads of effort into creating innovative ways to share information and images?  Of course, you can just upload one photo or image with some text, but you are missing out on the fun.  Try using these formats to create more interest and engagement in your Instagram account:

  • Carousels – This is a series of up to ten photos or images posted at the same time.  I like to think of this as a mini presentation telling a story.  Remember to add a caption and hashtags in the usual way
  • Stories – can be static photos with text and moving stickers.  However, to get more out of them, record video talking to camera, generating excitement and updating your followers on your latest news.
  • Reels are short form video with a viral nature.  Ideally these are short (15 seconds), snappy and entertaining.  So this makes them a great way to get fresh eyes on your Instagram account
  • Whether you are creating a reel or a story, video is one of the most powerful ways to use Instagram.  Take a deep breath, take the plunge, hit the record button and talk to the camera.  Just like you are talking directly to your ideal customer.  Because people love watching people.  For these reasons, video is a great way to tell the world about your business, how you will help your best customers and transform their life.

Finally I hope you have found my tips to avoid these all too common mistakes on Instagram really useful.  I invite you to have fun and enjoy using Instagram to its fullest to drive more business to your website.  Why not sign up to my newsletter below, to get regular tips on Instagram, social media and websites – I’d love to help you.