I’m a huge fan of Instagram. So much that I have two accounts (a fashion one for this blog and a personal account) and am about to open a third one at the end of the month to run my other business.
Speaking of, I wanted to talk about using Instagram for your business. For the last year or so, I’ve seen a lot of things as a consumer that I believe bloggers/small business owners should NOT do. So today, I want to scratch the surface of the Instagram dos and don’ts.
Let me tell you, people know it’s not realistic for you to go from 500 to 1,000 followers in one day. If people really want to, they can check to see how many real followers you have. Yep. Busted. Think about it this way: if you’re lying about the number of your followers, can your true followers really trust your products, services or what you recommend? I know I wouldn’t. It may take a long time to grow your numbers, but people follow genuine people. Being a great leader and business owner is all about character.
Do automated responses.
I unfollowed a blogger after she commented on one of my posts with, “You’re so gorgeous!” and the picture was a regram of a living room I loved, lol! Her automated comment made me realize that all the other comments she had left on my images were not genuine. On my end, it didn’t feel good at all and she was the one who left the comments.
Here are a few other doozies: “Hit me up when you read this! Would love to talk more about the business that you’re building.” Um, how do you know if someone is building a business? You DM them. Doy. Yeah, you look kind of ridiculous and it’s very obvious.
Don’t comment with emojis only.
To me, leaving emojis as comments (online network marketers, I’m looking at you!) is just pure laziness. It leaves an impression that you’re all about you because you didn’t read the caption. Unless you know the person, at minimum, take time to write a sentence or two. People tend to notice longer comments and they may respond because your paragraph-looking comment will stand out on their notification feed. I know I notice those more than I do emojis.
If you have to leave an emoji, consider adding a hashtag that is relevant to that person’s post. That way, they know that you read their caption.
I once had a company comment: “Cool pic! You might want to check out ::insert company name:: to find the best time to post for next time. 😏” so I responded with, “If you want business, your comment wasn’t the way to do that. 😒” Yep. I went there because they went there. Not everyone is looking for likes or engagement. They share because they want to share. Just out of courtesy, I’m not posting their company name because I’m sure it’s a lesson they’ll never forget, ha!
If you want to sell your products/services to people, don’t say something like that and expect for people to follow you much less be a customer of yours.
Follow someone and then unfollow them.
Ugh. How do I say this? People notice. Don’t pretend to like someone by liking a few photos on their feed, follow them and then turn around after a couple of days, weeks or months to unfollow them. Since your concern is all about you and your precious numbers, consider yourself unfollowed by people like me. #truth #IDontCare #ByeFelicia
Build your following organically.
It feels good to have followers who actually love you and your brand. Like I said above, it’ll take time, but which would you rather have: a small base of followers who love you, your brand and your products/services or a lot of followers who just like your posts?
Take time to respond.
Taking the time to respond to followers and people who comment on your posts will go a long way. If you don’t have time, make time. Set aside some social media blocks on your calendar to like and respond to comments. The most precious commodity we have is time. People can tell what kind of person you are if you use your most valuable resource to respond back to them.
For example, this comment someone left me felt real: “My goal is to provide value to a handful of people each day. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help!” He tells me what he does and offers assistance. I would’ve totally responded to him if he DMed me too!
I personally set aside 15 minutes each evening to comment back and have built many relationships that turned into friendships by taking time to respond. Connecting with people on a real level is a great trait real business leaders have.
Give credit to the original person.
When regramming or posting someone else’s photo, credit them! Tag them in your caption and on the photo you’re posting. You’ll never know if they’re engage with you! Case in point: Aimee liked this photo I recently regrammed. The woman has about 4.5 million followers. Talk about standing out in her insane notification feed!
People take a lot of time to think about their ideas, style their photos and spend money on equipment to take those photos so be considerate when using their images.
Use hashtags that are relevant to the image.
One annoying thing I see people do is using hashtags that have nothing to do with the image. Yes, that tells your audience that you’re looking for exposure, follows and engagement. However, you’re not getting the target audience you want to interact with. Is it worth it? No.
Know when to sell and when not to sell.
This is mainly towards bloggers who use liketoknow.it on their outfit posts. If it’s an outfit post, post the picture with the affiliate link. If you’re having family problems or personal issues and post a “fashion-y” photo with an affiliate link, your audience is going to question you. It just rubs me the wrong way because all I can think is, “Are they really sad about what’s happening to them/their family member?”
If you’ve done this before, trust me and stop it. You can post one personal image without having to shill the products in that image. You can do it. I believe in you.
And that’s it for today’s business tips! I hope you’ve taken away some kind of value regarding Instagram dos and don’ts through this post!