10 REASONS WHY YOUR INSTAGRAM MARKETING ISN’T TAKING OFF
Instagram has become enormous over a relatively short period of time. Initially released in 2010 but only picking up steam in 2012, Instagram now boasts more than 500 million users, making it the second-most popular social media platform in the world, behind only Facebook.
If you’re like most marketers, you start drooling when you read that statement.
Instagram has a ton of potential value for marketers, and not just because of its massive user base—it also lends itself to a more visual form of storytelling and a more passionate, involved following for your brand. But as you might imagine, being successful on Instagram isn’t as simple as creating an account and occasionally posting. In fact, most marketers struggle to generate any kind of momentum.
For the most part, this difficulty can be broken down by these 10 reasons that explain why your Instagram marketing hasn’t taken off.
1. NO DIFFERENTIATION
The best examples of Instagram marketing are businesses and individuals who have something unique to post. There are thousands of brands on Instagram, and many of them are directly competing with you in terms of industry and target audience. So what is it that you’re going to post that sets you apart from everyone else? You need a unique angle here, or you’ll never build an audience.
2. BAD TIMING
Timing is also an important factor on Instagram. The platform’s newsfeed algorithm recently changed from being purely time-based to being based on relevance, giving you a little more wiggle room, but you still need to have appropriately timed posts. Be sure you’re posting images and videos of events as they unfold, and try to post when users are most active, such as weekdays in the morning or around noon.
3. YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY AIN’T RIGHT
Instagram has a relatively approachable learning curve, but it’s still a platform that caters to images—so you’ll need to know at least the basics of photography if you want to be successful. Learn how to use each of Instagram’s filters and editing tools, and frame your shot appropriately. Develop an eye for good shots, and improve your skills over time.
4. YOUR POSTS HAVE BECOME WHITE NOISE
A perfect Instagram post is one that stands out in the “white noise” of the average user’s newsfeed. Instagram feeds are usually clogged up with stereotypical pictures of sunsets, or selfies in typical poses. It’s easy for images to go unseen when users are blindly scrolling by—so choose images and videos that capture users’ attentions immediately. Find a way to stand out with color, or your subject matter of choice.
Hashtags are a powerful tool to help your content be seen and found by users who aren’t already following you; however, it’s easy to go overboard with them, or use them inappropriately. When using hashtags, make sure you understand the meaning behind each of them, and only use a few hashtags at a time. Otherwise, you’ll appear spammy—and maybe even downright offensive.
6. NO FOLLOWER INTERACTION
Good content strategies are always focused on the end users. Your Instagram profile shouldn’t be a self-centered campaign, like a megaphone, dedicated purely to promoting your own material. Listen to what your users have to say. Respond to their comments. Engage with their material. The more interactive you are on Instagram, the more followers you’ll get (and the longer your followers will want to stick around).
7. YOU LACK CONSISTENCY
If you want any kind of user retention, you need a degree of consistency as well. It’s not enough to post every once in a while, or only when you feel like it. You need to make at least one new post on a daily basis to keep your users entertained and aware of your brand.
8. YOUR POSTS DON’T OFFER PRACTICAL VALUE
Though not always required, at least some of your posts should have some practical value associated with them. Can you teach your users something new? Can you give them something? Make it worth their while to follow you.
9. YOU HAVE NO REVENUE-DRIVING STRATEGY
I’ll come out and say it; Instagram is a fun platform. It’s fun to find cool images to post, and there’s a thrill you get when you attract a lot of likes. But how do these likes equate to meaningful revenue for your company? Therein lies the difficulty for most brands. You’ll have to tie your campaign back to some kind of goal or value—whether that’s facilitating more brand trust or funneling more people to your website.
10. YOU’RE NOT IMPROVING ON YOUR STRATEGY AND DISTRIBUTION
No matter how much you’ve researched the platform or how successful a photographer you are, your Instagram campaign isn’t going to be very effective at first. It takes time to build a following, and even longer to develop your skills. You’ll need to make adjustments to your strategic approach, experiment with new possibilities, and gradually improve your campaign, and that’s difficult even for the most experienced marketers. Keep your focus on hard data, and keep moving forward.
*Article originally written by forbes.com*