Since its launch in 2010, the Facebook-owned app has become a favorite among not only smartphone users but also marketers. Seriously, it’s no surprise that the social media platform has over 300 million users thanks to its appealing interface and visual attractiveness.

What’s the best part for marketers? Unlike other prominent social media platforms, Instagram has a high degree of activity. Half of the app’s users spend an average of 21 minutes each day reading through their friends’ photographs and videos, as well as those of their favorite companies.

But it gets better: according to Simply Measured’s Quarterly Instagram Network Study, 86 percent of Interbrand’s 2014 Top 100 Brands have an Instagram account and use it regularly. Surprisingly, that was a 71 percent raise over the previous year. With 2016 just getting started, time will undoubtedly reveal that the pattern has persisted. So, if you are not already using the platform for business growth, it is one of the biggest Instagram marketing mistakes you are making.

So, how does your company aim to make better use of Instagram this year? Here’s what you’ll need to avoid the most typical Instagram marketing blunders:

Avoid being too promotional

Content marketing has never been more popular than it is now. Essentially, content marketing entails the creation and distribution of content that is beneficial to a certain target group. The more value your business can provide for potential customers, from blog posts and white papers to video clips and infographics, the more likely they will become loyal to your firm.

Social media, specifically Instagram, is an important aspect of the content marketing strategy. Yes, it’s critical to promote products and services in a strategic and timely manner, but when they become the centerpiece of your Instagram account, problems are bound to occur. Excessively promotional posts are lazy, dull, and plain selfish. In actuality, being both promotional and classy is achievable.

Understand that the consumer is wiser and smarter than ever before. Nobody believes or fall for the straight advertisements where you directly tell them to buy your product. So, one of the biggest mistakes to avoid when marketing on instagram is to directly ask people to make a purchase from your brand. Your strategy should be to tell people how you can meet their requirements and indirectly fetch them towards your product or service. 

Choose postings that are amusing, instructive, thought-provoking, and give readers a glimpse into your company’s culture instead. Remember that the bulk of purchasing decisions are based on emotions. Instagram, more than any other social media platform, is the finest location to build long-term relationships with buyers.

Prioritize the visual quality of your content

Instagram is all about the images. To be honest, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Even when we all scroll through our feeds, what else we see? Do you not decide your engagement based on who has the most attractive visually appealing content? So what else do you expect from your audience? It is amongst most common instagram marketing mistakes to ignore the visual quality of the content only because you think you cannot or shouldn’t hire a professional designer or photographer. So, the photographs and videos you submit must be of the greatest quality possible.

This is crucial—take the time to consider how Instagram is most typically used. A user frequently glances through his or her feed quickly. Engagement occurs when something draws the eye. If not, it’s on to the next snap, with no regard for what has been overlooked.

Additionally, studies have shown that Instagram posts have a longer shelf life than those on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Though producing a top-tier article for a specific user may need a little more critical thought and grunt effort, the back-end benefits more than offset the required grunt work.

Posts should be scheduled as frequently as possible

Consistency is one of the most common Instagram marketing blunders. It’s critical to publish on Instagram frequently. Through the photos you provide on their respective feeds, your fans should be able to get to know you and your business on a more personal level.

The competition in every domain is nerve wrecking and everybody is trying their best to stay in the eyes of their target audiences. So, if you create a gap of a few days, out of sight becomes out of mind! Even your followers will find new engaging profiles and might not engage with you in a way they use to before.

Hence, the frequency with which you post will demonstrate your brand’s commitment to your audience. The key is to strike the ideal balance between quantity and quality. If one is sacrificed to the point of user awareness, you’ve gone too far and should make adjustments.

According to a recent analysis by Union Metrics, the majority of brands on Instagram post 1.5 times each day. A higher posting frequency may be required depending on the nature of your industry. Not knowing how often to post is amongst the top instagram marketing mistakes that you can make as it directly impacts your business growth. So, spend time to learn about the time of the day when your audience are active and schedule your posting at the same time to get best results.  

Surprisingly, the aforementioned study also discovered that firms who fail to stick to a strict publishing schedule are much more likely to lose followers after they’ve been onboarded. Gaining followers is difficult enough. Once you’ve gotten their interest, keep it by sticking to a posting schedule.

Harness the Strength of Your Existing Fan Base

Listen, just because acquiring followers is vital doesn’t mean you should employ shady means or buy them. To say the least, they are black-hat practices that will cause more harm than good to build relationships with Instagram users.

Instead, make things easier on yourself by focusing on the simplest, most basic means of expanding a good follower base: your present followers. Confused? It’s not a problem; it’s quite simple. One of the reasons that social media is such a great marketing tool is its ability to generate user-generated content (UGC).

Instagram is one of the finest outlets for using followers to do your social media marketing for you, thanks to real-time user engagement, sponsored hashtags, and photo contests. Followers turn into brand evangelists at this point, making Instagram marketing a far more profitable activity.

Final Thoughts on Instagram Marketing Errors

“Anybody can do lousy work, but not everyone performs wonderful work,” as Paul Simon memorably said. He has a valid point. It’s like anything else in life: if you’re not completely committed to doing Instagram properly, there’s no use in doing it at all. Even worse, neglected accounts create a barrier between brands and their customers.

So, any business that has a presence on Instagram should work hard enough to fetch more audiences towards it. One can start with the organic growth strategies, be consistent with the postings, and consider trying paid ads to see tremendous growth.

Though it may appear scary, there is no need to be concerned. If you and your team of marketing wizards can avoid each of the aforementioned Instagram marketing mistakes, you’ll be on your way to success.