Every business regularly spending time creating and adding content to an Instagram account has two things in mind: sales and growth. In the beginning, every new follower is celebrated, and engagement is followed closely.
However, not all businesses are the same, and nor is it a new Instagram account. Starting to see tangible results on social media can take a while, leading some small business owners and digital marketers to try and get ahead of the game.
From buying followers – a tried and tested technique that can seriously harm your Instagram – to binge posting, mass following, and other hidden ways of gathering more followers and leads. I have seen it all. The more desperate a new business or a novice social media professional is to get to the top of the social media pyramid, the more likely they are to fall into traps promising instant fame and money.
Here, 10 entrepreneurs, content creators, digital consultants, and even a magician share 10 hacks to avoid while promoting your business on Instagram.
“The worst hack is using some sort of automated application or Chrome extension (like Everliker) to gather followers through automatic following/unfollowing. On the one hand, it works…for a while. But the users you get from such techniques, for the most part, don’t actually engage with your content. This is also a great way to get your account temporarily or permanently suspended, as Instagram heavily monitors and cracks down on such abuse.”
Jay Andrew Allen – Technical Writer
2. Posting for the sake of it
“One Instagram hack or myth that should be busted is that you need to post every single day.
While consistency is key to keeping yourself visible, it doesn’t mean you need to post everyday. Curating an Instagram account is all about quality and not quantity. If you can post a quality image only 4 times a week then
That is better than several poor-quality posts per day. However, make sure you keep that weekly habit in place.
Mollie Newton – Founder at www.petmetwice.com
3. To use someone’s comment section to promote yourself
“There are several approaches that are not effective for promoting your Instagram. A few things that I see most newbies doing is spamming other accounts’ comment sections with self-promo and having no posting strategy at all.”
Brianna Desira – Content creator at www.girlhustlers.org
4. To buy cheap ads in countries with no potential clients
“I am based in San Francisco, however, when I first started using social media I bought lots of ads in Egypt. I did this because, for a long time, they had the cheapest cost per click. Over time I learnt that buying ads in countries your potential customers were not in is a waste of resources. On top of this, it also skewed who saw my future ads.”
Daniel Chan – Award-winning magician at www.danchanmagic.com
5. Aiming your content at the wrong audience
“I’ve known some companies tapping millennial influencers for IG growth but seem oblivious to the fact that it just won’t work because they’re in the wrong market. Millennials are, by nature, true digital natives. They’ve learned to know which brands to trust and which ones to avoid. They understand how brands are marketing to them. So, they approach campaigns with scrutiny rather than enthusiasm. However, they will react well if the message is authentic, if the product or service is valuable, and if the brand isn’t too pushy. Because of this, the best way to market to them is to avoid being overly aggressive and straight-in-your-face. It’s the reason why influencer marketing has become big business in the first place on Instagram.”
Michael Hamelburger – CEO at Expense Reduction Group.
6. Buying fake followers
“The worst technique that you could possibly use to promote your Instagram account is to buy fake followers.
By doing this, there is no promise of user engagement or promotion of your business. Essentially, most of these
accounts are bots or fake personas created for the sole purpose of inflating your follower count. Not only are these followers useless, but the spammy visuals often associated with these accounts is sure to deter potential customers away.”
Tom Mumford – Co-founder of Undergrads Moving
7. Promoting your Instagram while commenting on someone else’s content
“The worst hack that I have observed on Instagram is people engaging with others in the community with a reference back to their profile. This means commenting on a post with some valuable information, then ruining this connection by referring straight back to your profile. The comment with the valuable information is ok, but the reference back to your profile is not fine. In fact, this is considered spam by Instagram.”
Anjana Wickramaratne – Social Media Marketing Manager at Inspirenix Digital Marketing
8. Following people with the sole intention of selling to them
“One of the worst techniques I’ve seen is mass following, then immediately sending a copy/pasted sales message. Then, unfollowing a day later.
This approach will leave you disconnected from long term growth & authentic connection! Plus, it leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths. This hack is even worse as people do it so often. I’ve seen people follow/unfollow multiple times. This world is smaller than you think!
Sara Tea – DJ and Creative Consultant
9. Following everyone is not a strategy
“As the founder of a website, I made promoting my business my main responsibility. I do it on every platform that is willing to help, especially on social media. However, not all tips and techniques that can be found online can give an advantage to your business. For example, following everyone who follows you. More often than not, they are just following you so they can tag you in their posts to widen their reach. To prevent this, do not follow every account that follows you.”
Samantha Moss – Editor & Content Ambassador at www.romantific.com
10. Off topic comments is a no-no
“One of the tackiest tactics to get more followers and likes on Instagram is commenting on something completely irrelevant under the photos of other Instagram users just to get more attention. I’ve seen a lot of smaller accounts try to comment completely ridiculous things under the photos of celebrities and popular influencers to try to get people in the comments to follow them. Commenting under popular photos and videos for the sole purpose of getting more followers is not just tacky, but it can also anger the person who posted the content.”
Liz Jeneault – Influencer and VP of Marketing at product review website www.faveable.com
Bonus tip – Using someone’s content without crediting it
“Our Instagram account is popular because it reposts content from customers, including celebrities, that use our products. These products include vehicle restoration projects and custom cars. Hence, reposted photos of those transformed cars always help grow our Instagram. However, a mistake you don’t want to make when sharing other people’s content is not properly crediting the person who made or owns that content. When you don’t properly credit customers or creators for their content, you are increasing your chance of frustrating others and potentially getting reported. You also want to properly credit people for their content on Instagram because those people will often share the reposts that you tag them in, which can help your account gain more followers.”
Sturgeon Christie – Auto industry expert and the CEO at www.secondskinaudio.com
Marcio Delgado is a Journalist, speaker and a Content Producer working with brands and publications in the UK and Latin America.