With Instagram being a major social media platform that became an instant hit, it is no surprise that brands are taking advantage of it to promote their products. Moreover, Instagram has allowed individuals to expand their personal brand and with a little hustle in them, become “Instafamous” aka, Instagram or social media celebrities/influencers.
It is no secret that Instagram is a great marketing tool that could do 2 things: bring attention to your brand and increase sales.There seems to be room for just about everyone on Instagram, particularly those in the fitness and supplement industries.
As a brand manager, the first thing I go look at in a potential athlete is how many followers s/he has on Instagram with other social media not being as important. While I don’t base my decision entirely on this, it is definitely an important factor.
Unfortunately, because of the way brands are using Instagram as well as scouting for social influencers to become part of their marketing campaigns, the Instagram thirst is real, just as the return on investment could be.
This is why we cannot entirely blame those who overwhelm us with their booty or progress pictures – brands are also to blame for contributing to the Instagram thirst.
With such a competitive Instagram field, I have a list of things that I cringe at when I look at brands or individuals. I have some recommendations on what to do in its place as well. Read on.
1. DON’T do Engagement Bots. I call this the most annoying form of spam to ever surface. Ever. This is by far the most disingenuous thing you can do. This is even more annoying when you click on the person’s profile and you find that they have low number of followers making it obvious that they are trying to get you to follow them. You’ll often see a comment like “Outstanding!”, “Cool!”, or an emoji (or several), or other random comment. Sometimes you’ll get a bot leave a comment on a post that has absolutely nothing to do with the actual photo posted! How embarrassing to you or your brand!
When I see accounts that do this, my trigger finger goes into full effect and I immediately respond to their comment or report them for spam.
Accounts such as Dreaming Elegance, Fire line and Division Supply are notorious for this. Every time someone posts any fitness related photos or videos and use a specific hashtag (#fitness, #gains, #fitspo…etc), the comments begin rolling in. Don’t be that person. Don’t be that brand. You are going on the assumption that people are stupid and you will find out that while you might fool some people, you will not fool all the people.
2. DON’T Purchase Followers (unless…): This is a more common practice than you might think. I actually have done this for some of my clients and I know of several other social media agencies who resort to this method when all else fails. I am actually OKAY with this…if done properly.
Let me explain. There is one Instagram account from an individual that jumps at me. This person has over 100K followers. Cool. Must be an Instagram celebrity, right?! Only problem is that the photos posted by said person receive less than 100 likes! If you do the math, it makes absolutely no sense that someone with that many followers has such a small number of post likes. It looks ridiculous and it only cries out as desperate. Not a good look.
Do this instead: I believe that there is such thing as the psychology of social media, something I began exploring and writing about in 2012! One of my theories of social media psychology is the “monkey see, monkey do” analogy. When a person appears to have tons of followers, they are automatically seen as “important” or a “someone”. Same reason why some content, with a little strategy, could go viral very easily. This is why some agencies do purchase followers, which I am fine with. But if you go that route, have a plan for how you are going to make up for the number of likes you SHOULD have on your posts according to the number of followers you have.
3. DON’T use crappy images or images that are not cropped properly. I’ve noticed some people who own brands yet are not familiar with Instagram, have taken it upon themselves to dive right in. Brave, I know. But they are doing it wrong by not knowing how to resize the images so they fit the Instagram frame and just post them anyway. Don’t do this. It looks horrendous! Also don’t overwhelm your followers with too much text in a photo.
Instead ask for help. There’s nothing wrong with getting someone to show you how to do post to Instagram properly or …hire someone temporarily until you get the hang of it. If you don’t have high quality images, then set a budget aside for stock photography. Remember, Instagram is a highly visual platform that thrives on the capture of beautiful and aesthetically pleasing photos and content.
4. DON’T leave your messages or comments hanging. Sure you’ll get tons of spam, but you should reply to comments or questions your followers may have about your products. It might make the difference between closing a sale or not.
Make sure you check your messages often – when a person doesn’t follow you, their messages will be held until you go in and approve it. This is done to avoid spam.
5. DON’T share your Instagram content to FB with all your hashtags attached. Also make sure you update your content to match the platform. For example, I often use “click link in bio” on IG posts but when I share the image to FB, I make the appropriate edit by adding the actual link.
6. DON’T be monotone – having a specific flow to your brand and a certain look is fine. But when all you post is sales, buy this, buy that, then it becomes too monotone and people will lose interest.
Do this instead: Diversify! Add humor, memes, motivational quotes, and repost people using your brand/products!
7. DON’T get too long winded: Have you ever come across a post that’s so long that you just keep it moving? It’s very rare an Instagram user will stop her/his due scrolling diligence to read long posts.
Instead be short and sweet. In the case that your post requires a lot of information, use emojis to make it more attractive and colorful or prompt the user to click the link in bio to continue reading or learn more.
8. DON’T share everything you post on Instagram to Facebook. Sure it’s easy. Just click the button and voila! Your post is now on FB. Remember, these are 2 totally different platforms, and each one has its different audiences and uses.
Do this instead: Be selective of the posts you share from Instagram to your Facebook. When it comes to Facebook, less is more. Since Instagram is my “hub” where I originate most of my content from, I choose to slowly trickle those posts onto Facebook. I do 1, and at the most 2 posts per day with several hours in between. I even go a day or 2 where I don’t share anything from Instagram to FB (especially if I have an ad running).
-For the love of all things loved on this Earth please use SPELL CHECK! Know the difference between “your” and “you’re” or “there”, “their”, and “they’re”. Nothing looks as bad as coming across a brand, especially in the already stigmatized bodybuilding and fitness industry, to read posts filled with poor spelling and grammar. If something is brought to your attention, or if you notice an error, delete immediately. It is simply not a good luck and reflects poorly on you and your brand. I sure do hope that if you find errors here you’ll drop me a note.
Here’s a great article on Common Grammatical Errors
– Identify the best times to post that work for YOU and/or your brand. I am not lying when I tell you it took me nearly a year to come up with a solid schedule and times that worked best for posting on Instagram for the brand I work for. I am sure there are quicker and easier ways to achieve this, but that’s how long it took me to actually build a schedule that made me feel 100% confident about it. This schedule also includes the type of content to be shared.
I did this by readings tons of articles on the topic, then testing, retesting, and testing it again. I used several different methods to gather and review the data and eventually I stumbled upon a software that allowed me to better identify my organic reach, and the times I posted it. It’s a beauty. I now stick to the calendar I created and rarely stray from it.
– Think twice before switching to “business profile”. I have been advising my clients to NOT be tempted by the pretty “contact” button in your Instagram profile. In my opinion, what this is doing is the same thing Facebook has done to page owners – basically force you to pay to “boost” or promote content via their ads manager in order for people who have already liked your Facebook [business]page, to even see your content on their timeline. This is likely a way for them to do the same thing they have done with Facebook and make you pay for content and monetize out of those who identify as “brands”. Just remember, Facebook owns Instagram, and when you create an ad on the Facebook ads manager, you have the option to include your Instagram account in it, despite you switching to the new Instagram page or not.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If you are like me, you probably enjoy Instagram as much as I do. I’ll be the first to admit that I spend a disgusting amount of time after I’m already in bed browsing those quick makeup tutorials while simultaneously writing a makeup shopping list. See, Instagram is a great marketing tool and they get me every time!