5 Instagram Mistakes You Are Probably Making (and how to fix them)

A South African business woman once contacted me for assistance on finding some makers on Instagram in the clothing, textile & fashion industry. While browsing some Instagram accounts, it became clear to me that this was going to be tricky. A lot of information was missing. It was difficult to tell whether these accounts were in business, or if they were doing it as a hobby.

Some of these Instagram accounts’ feed looked like a product catalog with a series of handmade items and salesy captions. Success, I thought. Clearly, they are in business. However, when I wanted to contact them, I was again met with certain ‘obstacles’ before I could make contact. I wasn’t particularly motivated to leave a comment because comments left by Instagram visitors before me were left unacknowledged. Why would it be any different to me?

Are you making these Instagram mistakes?

I’m writing this post to address the mistakes you might be making on Instagram as a small business owner. This can have serious impact on the profitability of your business. I’m here to provide you with some insight on what it is you might be making as mistakes, and how to fix them. You can also watch the LIVE replay on Facebook I made on this topic by clicking here.

Mistake #1 - Having your Instagram account settings set to ‘private’

It’s completely fine to have your settings set on private for a personal Instagram account. Maybe you have photos of your kids or really personal pics that you don’t want just anyone to see, unless you know them IRL.

As a business account though, you want to make it as easy as possible to be visible. That’s the reason you’re on social media. You want people to be able to see you and find you on Instagram. You want to attract prospective clients on Instagram by showcasing your products and what your brand is about. If you set your Instagram account on private, we have to first request to follow you, before we can see any of your posts. By the time you accept our request (it might be when we are asleep, or out of Instagram), we have probably forgotten about you.

Fix it: Make sure you have your settings set on public so anyone on Instagram can see your feed, follow instantly, and engage with you.

Mistake #2 - Incomplete bio

A good bio includes what it is you do, where to find you, or how to contact you. Are you a physical or online shop? Do you ship worldwide?

Fix it: Include a website link or where you want to drive traffic to. Make sure we know what your business is about, and can contact you easily.

Mistake #3 - Not using hashtags properly

I’ve seen two main things happen when it comes to hashtags within Instagram posts. The first instance is where someone uses hashtags as their caption. So they’ll post a photo of a tote bag and then include #totebag #greentote as a caption. Please, no! On the other spectrum, some don’t use hashtags at all, or don’t know what they are for, so include a bunch of hashtags that don’t serve any purpose for their artisan business.

Fix it: Hashtags regroups posts of a similar category you can use up to 30 hashtags in your Instagram posts. Include them into your caption itself instead of the comment section. Use hashtags to convey what your brand is about, e.g tropical or - season it with your personality.

For more visibility, or reach, use the hashtags appropriate to your brand and industry as well as a mix of popular hashtags and less popular ones (less than 10,000 posts).

Mistake #4 - The spammy posting

This is when you post five pics at once within the same hour or day. This could be spammy and intrusive on others’ feeds, especially if you’re a new account. Imagine scrolling your Instagram feed and seeing photos of five handmade items from ONE artisan brand. Talk about annoying, right? Careful with this, as that’s what can lead people to unfollow your Instagram account.

Mistake #5 - No consistency in posting

You’ve got people following you on Instagram for a reason (because they like your content) therefore it’s important that you show up. Don’t leave us hanging for months without posting anything. Or posting once every two months! Perhaps your challenge is that you post on Instagram when you have lots of pictures (maybe you’ve done a photoshoot), but once you’ve used them, you don’t have anything else to post. I totally understand - that’s why it’s key to plan ahead.

Fix it: Plan the content for your Instagram feed ahead of time. That way you can spread your images across several weeks or even months, and mix them with other types of posts (quotes, promo posts, behind-the-scenes, etc). If you do not have enough pictures to posts - go to Unsplash, Pexels, PixaBay.

I hope these tips above will be valuable to you and that if you’ve been making any of these ‘mistakes’ on Instagram, you’ll be taking action. Let’s use social media effectively - it will reward you in the long run in terms of profitability and client reach.