I'm super excited to be introducing my first guest blogger! Zoë Arpin is the woman behind Teapot Communications, which specialises in helping small businesses navigate the world of marketing, copywriting and social media. Like me, she is passionate about helping people like you.
As your one-woman, outsourced marketing gal, Zoë can help as much or as little as you need, whether that’s taking on your whole marketing strategy, giving you a helping hand or providing training so you can do it yourself.
If you are venturing into the world of Instagram, Zoë has come up with some great tips on what to avoid. If you found this article useful, be sure to follow Teapot Communications on Facebook and Instagram. Enjoy!
Instagram is a great social media platform for showcasing your business and getting it out there to a wider audience. Of all the platforms, it is by far the fastest growing, so it’s definitely worth checking out as a potential marketing tool.
Whilst Instagram is especially good for businesses who sell products due to the visual factor of being able to show what you’re selling, it’s also very beneficial for businesses who provide a service.
There are many ways to do Instagram well, and as a social media platform it’s becoming ever-more complex. However, there are a few vital things which, should you fail to do them, may result in you not reaching and engaging with your target audience.
Here are five common Instagram mistakes that you should avoid for business!
❌ Don’t create a proper account profile
If a potential customer clicks on your Instagram profile and sees blank space or a sentence that tells them nothing about your business or who you are, it’s going to be harder for them to make a connection with you. Your profile should contain details about who you are, what you are offering and how they can contact you (ideally a link to your website). This includes your business logo.
Here’s my profile as an example:
❌ Use unclear, busy or overfiltered images
Most Instagram users follow hundreds, if not thousands, of accounts. They scroll through all these posts; stopping at images which particularly catch their eye to read the accompanying caption.
If you take a photo which is bad quality or which has a bit too much going on for the user’s eyes to be able to settle, the user will scroll right on past and you will have lost an opportunity to reach a potential customer.
If you are using text on your image, such as in a quote, or to promote something, make sure the text is easy to read and stands out against the background (e.g. no very intricate fonts). Sounds like common sense but you’d be surprised how often people do it!
❌ Don’t add any hashtags
For those of you who are less familiar with social media, a hashtag allows you to turn a word (or series of words) into a searchable link, making it easy for others to find it.
Hashtags are your way of reaching out to Instagram users who don’t yet follow you. You can use up to 30 on a post so it’s a useful way to reach different users. That’s potentially 30 different groups of people!
Let’s use Mel here at Meld Business Services as an example. If Mel puts together an Instagram post and uses the hashtag #virtualassistant it puts her posts in front of any Instagram user who are using that hashtag to search for a Virtual Assistant. This will hopefully lead more work for Mel once users have checked out the rest of her fab Instagram feed and then her website!
Similarly, my client below is a paediatric dietitian based in Perth whose target market is mums whose children are fussy eaters or who have issues with food, so on each of her posts, she uses the hashtag #perthmums. Any mum in Perth who uses that hashtag will then see my client in the search results, which will hopefully lead to new business.
Bonus tip: Don’t use the really popular hashtags such as #beautiful or #love. Your post will just get lot in the many, many MANY other posts using these.
❌ Don’t add a caption
You’ve got an eye-catching image; you’ve added a great selection of hashtags which will get you in front of your target audience… you’re ready to go, right?
Wrong! You absolutely must add a caption - it’s the bit that gives your image context! You can use the caption to explain the photo, add a call to action, ask a question, make an announcement or just convey your thoughts to your audience.
❌ Post at the wrong time
If your target audience is (for example) local small business owners and you post at 11pm, chances are that very few of those people are going to see your post. You need to think about the time your target audience will most likely be on Instagram. This will very often be first thing in the morning, at lunchtime, or in the evening after dinner. A bit of trial and error is obviously to be expected, but do make an educated decision about the best time to post.
If you make your Instagram page an Instagram Business page (in Settings) you can get helpful insights into when your followers are online (amongst other information) which is is great way to see when it’s best to reach your target audience.
Thinking about starting your own business but need some help with marketing, copywriting and social media? Give Zoë at Teapot Communications a shout!