Instagram is becoming the go-to platform for budding influencers to establish their audience and brand. When starting out, it's better to err on the side of caution, and avoid these common mistakes newbie influencers make.
Influencer marketing has really taken off in recent months and is showing no signs of slowing down. From food to fashion to design, there are hundreds of influencers on all social media channels, each from different industries and walks of life.
With an active audience of close to 800 million users, influencers love Instagram because there are so many audiences to reach on a single platform. If you're just starting out, leaving a good first impression with your target followers and brands you may want to partner with is important. And when it comes to the content you post, knowing what not to do can make a world of difference for attracting an audience.
Here is our list of common mistakes that newbie influencers make so you can avoid them.
1. Using Hashtags Poorly
Hashtags are a fantastic way to increase your social reach and gain exposure. They're a good way for like-minded people to discover your content. You can add up to 30 hashtags on each Instagram post, but that doesn't mean you should be using that many. Avoid more than 10 hashtags for a single post. While they're a great way to express your creativity and make your posts more interesting, remember to use relevant ones only. Otherwise, you might alienate potential followers.
2. Posting Low-Quality Images
Photos are the primary commodity on this marketing platform. Not only are your photos meant to carry your message across to your followers, but they must also be visually appealing. Use high-quality images and make them look as captivating as you can. Leverage powerful photo editing tools that allow you to enhance, beautify, and improve your photos.
Lacking expertise with professional tools? Apps like Mendr do the editing job for you. Simply upload your photos, make specific edit requests, and a certified pro will handle the Photoshopping for you.
Remember, while quality is the most important, avoid posting and sharing duplicate content. While it takes time to create high-quality posts, it will pay off.
3. Relying on Bots
Sometimes your tireless efforts to grow your audience don't pan out as well as you'd hoped. Or perhaps you're not seeing the kind of growth you'd promised to deliver to your partners. Nonetheless, don't resort to cheating the system and relying on bots to grow your audience.
It's easy to buy followers and fake engagement, but fluffed up numbers are nothing but a vanity metric. If you truly want to succeed as an influencer, focus on curating genuine interactions from people who are actually interested in your content. As laborious as it sounds, organic growth is the only way you'll be able to land those brand deals.
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4. Not Adhering to FTC Guidelines
If you're promoting another product or service, you can no longer share a post on social media without flagging it as a brand-sponsored or paid post. For the purpose of transparency, it's mandatory for influencers to declare their endorsements. On Instagram, simply add a hashtag like #Ad or #Sponsored to your caption.
Do your homework and know the legalities. If you fail to follow the guidelines established by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you put yourself (and the brand you're working with) in jeopardy of penalties and liabilities. Discuss these guidelines with your sponsors so all your bases are covered.
5. Posting Irrelevant Content
Maybe it should go without saying that your content should be relevant for your audience, but this is a mistake many early influencers make!
Focus your content on things your audience expects to see from you. You don't want them to be confused about why they are seeing a post from you. Not only should the images be relevant to your niche, but the captions and hashtags should also be relevant to the image. When you post out-of-place content, or change your style or tone unexpectedly, you risk alienating your audience (and potentially losing followers).
6. Sharing of Content at the Wrong Time
Another common mistake budding influencers on Instagram make is sharing content in an untimely fashion. Consistency is the key to staying relevant. Come up with a proper schedule for when you'll publish each post. Plan ahead and be as regular as possible. Don't go on a sudden hiatus and expect your followers to still be around when you come back.
More importantly, know when the best time to post an image on Instagram is. Do some analytics research to understand the behaviors of your target audience. Maximize your engagement by posting during peak hours when the bulk of your followers are likely to be scrolling through their Instagram feeds.
7. Replying to Comments Slowly or Not at All
User engagement is the secret sauce behind audience retention. Not only that, Google tends to rank posts with higher engagement (likes and comments) higher than others, which is all the more reason for you to engage with people who leave comments on your post.
More importantly, you should be replying to their comments as promptly as possible. Even if it's a simple thank you for a compliment they left, small things go a long way to show your followers that you care about them and their opinions.
You can even encourage conversation by asking your followers a question in your caption and encouraging them to leave a response. For example, if you post a selfie of yourself getting ready to go out Friday night, ask your followers what their plans are for the weekend.
If you're serious about becoming an Instagram influencer, knowing which pitfalls to avoid will put you on the right path to grow your followers and attract brand opportunities.