Guest post by Elley Mae of elleymae.com
So you’ve finally decided to take on the big wide world of Instagram and get your business out there like never before. Go you!
You’ve already posted a few photos and liked some of your ideal customers content but, hold on… Nothing is happening. Huh?!
There is no denying what the power of Instagram can do for small businesses.
Through Instagram, you can widen your customer base, connect with returning customers, build relationships, gather inspiration and, not to mention, what everyone hopes for in the end, increase your sales.
But, if you’re new to promoting your business on Instagram (or feel like you’re running around in circles a ‘lil bit), then boy oh boy are you in the right place, my friend.
Today, we’re taking a look at 7 simple mistakes that you could be making on Instagram that’s actually costing you customers. Yikes!
1. Having no posting schedule or consistency
As a small business owner, it’s likely that you’re already familiar with the power of scheduling. Whether that be scheduling appointments with clients, updating your income & expenses reports or just scheduling a little “me time” into your weekly to-do list, you know what you’re doing & when you’re doing it.
So, before you begin posting on Instagram, it’s time to set out your schedule. Of course, you can be as strict or as flexible as you like but you want to make sure you have a general schedule that you aim to stick to.
As a general rule of thumb, if you’re pretty set on building a decent following through Instagram, I’d aim to post at least once per day.
Again, how you set out your schedule is totally up to you but whatever posting frequency you decide on, stick with it!
And, if at first you aren’t committed to posting new content on your feed daily, that’s totally fine! Why not make use of the Instagram stories feature?!
By posting content on your Instagram story at least once a day, you’re bound to always be in front of your customer’s eyes. Plus, you can post anything from sneak peeks of new products/services to behind the scenes of your business etc. And trust me, customers LOVE that stuff!
2. Not having a clear brand message
Remember when you first started your business & mapped out exactly what your product was, who it was perfect for and how you were going to give it to them?
Well my friend, just as you push your brand’s message all over your site, blog & products, you need to do the same with your Instagram.
All that time you’ve spent planning out your posting schedule is only going to go to waste if you don’t have a clear brand message.
Your brand’s message is key to growing an engaged audience on Instagram.
Tell your customers who you are, where you are & what you do. Make use of your bio to communicate your brand’s message to your customers. Keep it short and keep it simple - don’t overcomplicate it.
Be sure to keep a consistent message throughout everything you do on Instagram. From your bio to Instagram stories, to captions & comments. Make sure everything you post aligns with your brand’s message and you’ll be set for success.
3. Not tracking your statistics/analytics
Getting into the more complex part of Instagram now, let’s talk statistics & analytics. Don’t worry, I won’t be talking any of that tech-savvy jargon here, plain English always. Seriously, that stuff scares me.
Okay so, you’ve nailed your brand’s message, you’re posting consistently, but now what?
It’s time to get to know your customers!
And what better way to do so than to take advantage of Instagram’s business profile feature & track your statistics and analytics?!
Using a business profile on Instagram lets you delve into the details of your followers/customers even further than before. You can track where your customers are from, which gender & age they are and even what time of the day they are most active.
Pretty cool, right?!
So, if you haven’t made the switch to a business profile already, why are you still here?! Go switch over and then pop back for the rest of the goodness...
Oh, and how could I not mention that once you reach 10k followers on Instagram, you get access to the “swipe up” feature on your Insta-stories! Just another fabulous way to get customers to jump straight to your site & check out in a flash.
4. Writing poor & unengaging captions
I can’t stress the importance of writing drool-worthy Instagram captions enough. In fact, without enticing & engaging captions, you may as well be posting photos with no captions at all!
By writing engaging captions that entice customers to become, well… customers, you’ll see a higher ROI than ever before.
Keep your brand’s message crystal clear & show off what makes you/your business so unique. There’s nothing more unappealing to customers than captions that are flat, boring, dull or worse, all of the above.
There are endless ways you can write engaging captions. To mention just a few - try using humility, showing off your expert status, sarcasm (used carefully), professionalism and more.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your captions.
5. Thinking that your customers will find YOU
Despite the fact that you’re a businesswoman & you know how incredible your business truly is, customers won’t always come flocking. Why? Because they don’t know who you are, yet!
So, if you really want to get your name out there and in front of others, you have to put in the hard yards. You have to get out there and engage!
Find your ideal audience on Instagram and start engaging with them. Like their photos, reply to their Insta-stories, ask them questions on their posts. Just engage, engage, engage!
Thinking that customers will find you is one of the biggest mistakes that too many business owners fall into the trap of. Get out there & show off what you’ve got!
6. Misusing your hashtags (or not using them at all)
Using the wrong hashtags for your business is one of the most simple mistakes you can make on Instagram that can have the biggest effect in the long run.
When you’re building a solid following on Instagram, you want to focus on using hashtags that your potential customers would be using.
Forget about using general #likeforlike #followforfollow (also known as spammy) hashtags, they’ll get your business nowhere.
And, despite what you may think, using hashtags like #shopowner, #beautystore, #shopfront really won’t help your reach either.
Let’s say you’re a cafe owner - you stock the finest coffee beans in the southern hemisphere and you’re renowned for your latte art. Rather than using #cafeowner or #smallbizowner, you could use #coffeeloversclub, #latteart, #morningcoffee etc.
Why? Because your ideal customer isn’t hanging out in the #smallbizowner hashtags on Instagram. They’re checking out what type of coffee’s everyone is sipping early in the morning, browsing wicked latte art & looking for somewhere new to check out.
See what I mean now? Life-changing isn’t it?!
7. Over-promoting & being way too salesy
Despite the fact that your sole purpose of expanding your business onto Instagram is to increase sales, the hard truth is this…
Over promotion on Instagram will kill your reach (and cost you customers).
So, regardless that you’re actually running a business, your Instagram shouldn’t just be promotion promotion promotion. Sure, show off your products & services but mix it up once in awhile.
Use a mixture of images in your feed that represent your brand, show off the benefits of what you sell/what you do and & show your customers why your brand is so unique.
Connecting with your customers on a different level builds trust. So, rather than just promoting 24/7, build a relationship with them, nurture that relationship and then it won’t look so “salesy” when you actually are promoting yourself.
So there you have it, 7 of the most simple, yet destructive mistakes you could be making on Instagram that could be costing you customers.
Well, hopefully not any more...
Have you made any of these mistakes before? Let me know in the comments below how changing your Insta-strategy increased your sales!
Guest Blog by Elley Mae
Elley is the owner of ElleyMae.com where she shares no-bs advice to creative #bossbabes who are ready to make a lil’ side income through the power of blogging & social media. When she’s not working on her next exciting eCourse, you can find her hanging out on the couch, binge watching American Horror Story with her bunnies & a chai latte in hand. Follow along with Elley Mae: Beauty Instagram, Business Instagram