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3 fatal mistakes your brand must avoid on Instagram

Knowing how to sidestep Instagram disaster is invaluable, as mistakes can snowball quickly.

March 2020 - the month where the stranger sniffling away opposite you on the daily commute changed from a mild stomach churn to potentially lethal. With limited data (at the time) as to what we could expect, we all went home and we ended up staying there. 

Necessity has always been the mother of invention. Even the most reluctant technophobes among us were driven online, acting as a catalyst and accelerating the inevitable shift to eCommerce by five years. As the dollars shift to digital, thousands of companies are scrambling to grow their digital presence. With more than a billion users and sky-high user engagement, Instagram has become the cornerstone for many brands. There are hundreds of articles about how to grow your business on Instagram, all advising some combination of more videos (reels, IGTV, etc), more hashtags, and more commenting. But knowing what to avoid is every bit as valuable, as mistakes can blow up big and fast...

1. Buying followers.

Buying fast follower growth is sort of like a late-night ice cream binge — it feels good for a moment, but you’ll probably regret it later. Fake followers will leave you with a lot of posts without any engagement, costing you dearly in the eyes of the all-mighty Instagram algorithms and ultimately undermining the progress you’re looking to achieve. 

Growing a strong Instagram presence is a long-term game of building up a loyal community that loves to engage with your brand. There’s no short cut or easy answers to this, no matter what the latest marketing email that landed in your inbox promising “overnight results” said. As long as you’re regularly posting genuine, authentic content that excites your audience, you’ll be rewarded as you watch the brand love snowball organically!

2. Hyper-polished, curated videos and photos.

Though it may sound counter-intuitive for a photo-sharing app, overly polished, hyper-curated photos are a turnoff for today’s consumers. The lid has been well and truly lifted on the idea that you somehow caught the perfect candid photo — no one’s face happens to be truly radiant when caught off-guard, and we all know it!

Authenticity is the antithesis of airbrushing. You need to find a balance between professional and fun. Everyone makes the odd little slip-up, and we aren’t born camera ready. These less posed, more homemade videos lead people to rave about your brand in a new way, with people engaging to say “I love your brand” instead of just “I love your product.” 

3. Posting daily, regardless.

With every post, you need to be able to answer the “why”. Why are we posting X, Y and Z? Why is this important right now? If you don’t care, your audience definitely won’t. That is not to say you should limit your imagination — asking "why not?" can also unleash your creativity and permit you to experiment in all sorts of remarkable ways.

But if you’re scrabbling around to find something — anything — to post just for the sake of it, just hit pause first. Consistency isn’t key when it turns posting into a chore, and your audience will sense it a mile off.