Top Mistakes Brands Make on Instagram

by BEN GUEZ, founder, LAXIR

When you start a business, your brand needs to look legitimate on social media, requiring an audience’s attention. Unfortunately, if you are just starting out on Instagram, it is harder to gain a following and master the platform’s algorithm, and it’s important to remember some best practices for social media success. Here are the biggest mistakes I’ve seen brands make on Instagram — and why you should avoid them.

Buying Fake Followers

This is a huge red flag, even for brands that are just starting out. It’s obvious that the follower count is fake when a brand has 20,000 followers with a poor engagement score. Fake followers will even leave a generic comment, such as “Nice!” with a thumbs-up emoji. Brands should stop buying fake and invest in the real. The only thing that bought or fake followers show is that as a company, you tried to take the easy way out and didn’t want to spend the time to organically grow your business. What does this show to potential clients aside from laziness?

Not Defining the Brand Image with an Instagram Theme

Posting images — even relatable images — isn’t enough. Although these images might receive likes, the followers probably don’t know what your brand is selling. Have a set theme and post images that relate to your brand image and signify to your followers whichever niche you’re in. Stop posting pictures of your grandma’s birthday on your business page! You wouldn’t want your brick-and-mortar store to be a mess, right? Apply that same idea to your feed.

Skimping on Information

There’s a reason why Instagram has a bio section. This is where brands can openly define what they do in a creative way. Express what the brand is and its values there. Try to make it welcoming and relatable, and always include contact information for consumers to easily connect with you.

Not Engaging with Followers

Simply liking a comment isn’t enough. Reply to comments and make each interaction with followers personal. Don’t use an automated tool to generate fake comments on your posts either. Think of it as a physical interaction. Would you ignore a question or comment a potential client gave you in person? Of course not! Don’t neglect your followers.

Being Inactive on Social Media

Spend a few hours each week or month to edit, write, and create engaging content to schedule for future posts and let that website post for you. Do your research for that time period and find out if there are any upcoming events or holidays and make posts that relate to them. This way, your posting schedule is consistent and your social media accounts stay active. However, don’t post too much and end up spamming your followers with excessive content.

Don’t Brag

Many companies love talking about themselves on social media. Be confident, not cocky. No one cares that you might be the best company in the world. They do want to know how your company can help them. Make sure your company doesn’t cross that line. Clients love success stories and confidence, but not if it comes across as arrogance.

Ben Guez is a French entrepreneur and founder of LAXIR, a digital marketing agency, and Universal Promote, a growth platform for real estate agents. With more than 80,000 followers on his Instagram account, Guez is seasoned enough to share some common mistakes he has seen brands make on social media.

This article originally appeared in the July/August issue of the Toy Book.