Instagram is one of the most popular social interaction platforms for both personal and business uses in the 21st century. Instagram has over half a billion users who operate on their systems every week! Instagram stories, however, are a relatively new addition to the multi-billion-dollar platform. Stories were designed as a more instantaneous, swipe-like feature which allowed people to pick the content they want to view rather than scrolling through every photo and seeing all the content on their explore pages or feeds.
Although stories are still new on the scene, their targeted and ‘snapshot’ approach combined with Instagram’s already tailored algorithm has allowed them to shoot to popularity. Recent studies have shown as well that almost one-third of viewed Instagram stories everyday come from businesses and corporations advertising their products and/or services. Instagram stories are a fantastic way to grab the attention of both new and existing customers through social media interaction; however, like any advertising tool, they are very easy to slip up on! In this article, we will be looking into the 7 most common mistakes made by businesses when utilising the Instagram story feature.
Consistency is key. No matter what you are relating it to, a business that is inconsistent will never garner a large support or following. Consumers relate consistency to trust, even if it is something as silly and little as a colour scheme. Consistency with what you post, your messaging, your themes, fonts, and other post attributes all contribute to what customers will perceive to be your ‘brand’. Ensure your posts are consistent with your brand’s aesthetic and overall message.
One of the biggest undercover and not thought about contributors to consistency is regularity and timing of posts. Consumers (especially those who use Instagram most often and follow your account closely), will get unknowingly used to the times of day you post and how often you do so. This contributes to consistency and overall customer trust in the business and brand.
For example, if you are posting once a month; your brand will not stay at the front of your consumers’ minds and become irrelevant. On the other hand, if you post too much and sporadically, they will see your brand as pushy and inconsistent.
2: Over-complication and Overuse of Text
Think about the last time any advertisement really caught your attention. I can almost guarantee you that that advert was not stuffed with text or unnecessary information. Even if it eventually led to a lot of text once you clicked on it or looked into it further; the initial advert would not have been overloaded with text.
An Instagram story should grab the reader’s attention in the span of 3-5 seconds, and if it takes longer than that to read or process, the vast majority of onlookers will not stick around to learn more.
3: Duplicating Content
This is tempting, and a tactic often employed by less creative businesses when they use social media tools such as stories. However tempting this might be, do not be allured by the ease and seeming simplicity of reusing content unimaginatively! Consumers are actually quite observant these days, and will clock on to seeing the same advertisement, the same wording, or the same picture in the multiple campaigns. “This is not consistency; it is just laziness in marketing. Although content, wording, and campaigns can be reused; you must repurpose them in an inventive and clever way. Consistency is key, but repetition is not consistency; so do not mistake it as such” says Billy Kelsey, a SEO manager at UK Writings.
4: Not Being Intentional
There are far too many businesses out there that are using Instagram Stories as an afterthought. You may have an idea or concept pop into your head and think ‘oh yes, I’m going to share this,’, but this kind of thinking is only going to lead to inconsistency.
Instead, you need to make sure you’re including IG Stories in your content strategy, plan the content you’re going to post, just like you would with blogs and articles. This is the approach that’s going to bring quality to your profile.
5: Not Being on Brand
Just because you’re posting on stories, that doesn’t mean you can post anything. You need to ensure your posts remain on-brand with your content, including the style of image and language, the voice of the content, and so on. You need your posts to remain recognisable to your fans.
Think about adding a logo, matching your brand colours, using the same filters and image style to achieve this.
6: Not Using and Hiding Hashtags
Using hashtags in your stories are so important because they dramatically increase the range you’re going to get because your stories can show up on the hashtag page. However, hashtags actually on your story content look messy and take up room (which is probably why you’re not using them in the first place), so be sure to minimise them so small that they can’t be seen, ensuring your story looks high-quality.
7: Not Re-posting UGC
This stands for ‘user-generated content’, and any brand or page who isn’t reposting user-generated content, aka, the photos people take and tag your business in, is missing out on huge opportunists to build a community around your brand.
You’ll need to run events and campaigns to encourage people to create content, but once you have some and start sharing, this in itself shows you’re connected to your fans and will encourage people to create more content for you to then share, and so the cycle continues!
The creation of Instagram stories was a revolutionary one. It allowed businesses to promote their goods and services through paid stories, to promote their businesses to existing followers, and catch the eye of potential customers who are browsing their home page and profile.
Instagram stories thus offer businesses a new and inventive way to interact with their audiences and capture their attention in a short 3-5 second window. However, all great tools come with caveats. Instagram stories can easily become repetitive if the same content is reused in a lazy and boring way, can portray inconsistency if not used correctly, and can be easily ‘skip-worthy’ if wording is overused or too clunky. However, if you avoid these 3 major missteps, you should find Instagram stories to be a great interactive and promotional tool for your business.