This may seem a bit counterintuitive: You may want to find ways to incorporate some branding within your Instagram feed, however you don’t want your logo to be the star of the show. Some brands can get away with a little more integration, though.
If you follow Starbucks on Instagram, you’ll see its logo and cups dominate its feed. Not every brand can get away with that. Take a browse through Starbuck’s photos and you’ll notice they do take care to post interesting and artistic photos of its products in different locations. The feed also has a lot of Starbucks-related events and features some Starbucks employees.
If your brand lacks the recognition and following of a Starbucks, concentrating on complementary content that gives a sensibility of your company or product is the direction. Take a look at home decor store West Elm’s Instagram content; the West Elm team does a great job of showcasing the brand and its sensibilities.
You’ll find behind-the-scenes images of store set ups and displays from West Elm’s locations. However, they also feature photos from design and decor events they attend. From the series of photos you get a sense of where the brand’s design inspiration comes from and where it’s going.
Don’t Repeat Content From Your Other Social Networks
Instagram is solely focused on photography, so the content strategies you employ for your Facebook and Twitter feeds shouldn’t be the same as they are with this community. Though you can use Instagram to instantly cross-post to Facebook and Twitter, ask yourself if you want to blanket your social networks with all the same content. If that’s the case, what value is it for someone to follow you on all three networks?
While it’s true that sometimes what you post to your Instagram feed will appeal to the community of followers you’ve built up on Facebook and Twitter, consider that there is some value in maintaining separate strategies across separate social networks. Not all fans and followers are created equal.
Don’t Repurpose Press Shots
Repurposing photography comes off as a lazy way to participate in Instagram. If this is the only source of photography you think will work for your brand and business on this social network, then perhaps you shouldn’t consider signing up.
When someone is a fan of your brand, there is an appetite to see something exclusive or different from an Instagram feed. Follow Showtime’s Instagram account and you’ll notice that much of its content comes from freeze frame images of their television programs. This offers little of value to followers of the account. And, you can see this in their numbers. Showtime has very few Instagram followers for such a major television brand, and the engagement on its photos is low.
Fully Commit to the Community
As we said at the outset, don’t sign up for a new social network if you don’t have the time to commit to it.
Do you really feel Instagram is a great fit for your company’s brands? Then perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the time you’re spending on other social networks. If there is a way to take time away from something else or disable an under-performing social network in lieu of Instagram, then perhaps you should take the plunge.
Just as with any social activity you pursue online, regular contribution is key. It makes your brand look bad if you are hot and cold in your social networks. Regular activity with quality content is the best way to build your Instagram following.
Don’t Post Text, Quotes, or Infographics
Text and quotes in the feed are odd occurrences for regular Instagram users. They really stand out, but not in a good way. Instagram is about photography; although apps like Versagram exist to create graphically pleasing text and quotes into your Instagram feed, they may not attract the right attention. They could cheapen the look of your brand’s overall offering instead of enhancing it.
Similarly, infographics don’t seem to work well in Instagram’s square format images. If your business or brand has a niche that quotes and infographics are more suitable, then a social network like Pinterest may be a better fit. A strong niche of those following and posting that sort of content has emerged in that community.
Do you have some tips on what to marketing mistakes to avoid on Instagram? Please share in the comments below. If you’re looking for more tips for Istagram success, check out 5 Creative Ways to Use Instagram for Marketing.
Jessica McLaughlin: Jessica is a digital media professional in Toronto, Canada with broad experience in web—particularly social media, online communities, content development and blogging. Jessica has worked for many major Canadian broadcasters, including YTV, Food Network, and HGTV.