Over the last few years the growth of Instagram has been tremendous. It has become a highly engaging visual platform with vast amounts of features and potential. As an author, if you get your Instagram marketing strategy correct you can connect with unlimited amounts of readers and forge long lasting friendships. In this article I’m going to highlight the 7 pitfalls to avoid to ensure your account is set up for the best chance of success.
- Avoiding making an Instagram marketing strategy
- Not optimising your bio
- Avoiding all the features
- Not engaging with your followers
- By-passing hashtag research
- Not being consistent
- Failing to adapt your Instagram marketing strategy
Avoiding making an Instagram marketing strategy
I see all too often accounts who randomly post content on Instagram, hoping it’ll suddenly go viral and catapult them into the tens of thousands of followers. The reality is, without a comprehensive Instagram marketing strategy, the chances of that are slim at best.
You need to think of why you’ve set your account up, your aims, objectives and the things you want to be known for. Set aside an hour or two to really establish what you want to achieve before you start transforming your account.
If you’re clear on your strategy then you will attract the right kind of audience. What you want is to gain engaged readers of your genre who will interact with your content and look forward to the next post.
Once you have a razor sharp vision of your niche and your audience, only then you can start creating your content.
Not Optimising your bio
The first thing potential readers see is your bio and within a handful of seconds they decide if they want to follow you or not. You need your profile to stand out, first impressions really do count.
A strong profile image, with a coloured background that complements your branding is a sure way to achieve this. Match this up to your story highlight images and straight away it creates a profile that looks well thought out.
The text needs to tell your potential followers, who you are, what you do and why they should follow you. Follow this with a strong call to action to hit your link below. Whether your aim is to build your email list, send them to your website or sell your books, this is a crucial part.
You are allowed one link on Instagram so this really needs to count. Add a free linktree page to showcase several links, a booklinker link for your book link or add a custom made landing page like I have.
Avoiding all the features
If you really want to grow your account you have to make use of all the features of the platform and know what they all do. This then gives you the best possible chance of new followers discovering your profile.
This is for show casing your best work. This needs to be visually pleasing, engaging, highlight your personality and your books. New visitors to your profile rarely look past the last 9 posts so make sure they always convey the themes of your account.
Stories are only shown to your followers so use this feature to build trust and to sell your books. For best results show your face, talk on camera and if you make it to over 10k followers utilise the holy grail which is the swipe up feature. Also make use of polls, sliders, questions and quizzes, anything which promotes engagement.
Reels are Instagram’s latest big Feature and as a result they reward you for using them. Spend time creating catchy reels and Instagram will reward you with a huge reach on your posts and more followers. If you want to build a big community then get good at making reels.
Here is the place to build great connections with your readers, bloggers and other supportive authors. Send a voice note to really personalise your message to them. Instagram is about being social and building a community, and this is the best place to do it.
Not engaging with your followers
If you truly value your followers then reply to every single comment on your posts. If someone takes the time to message you then at least have the decency to respond and provide value to them.
Not only will it keep them happy, Instagram tracks engagement and not only includes their comments in the count but yours too.
If you can also engage with their content too then do it. Instagram loves to see this and it rewards you with more reach. Who would of guessed it but a social media platform which wants you to be social.
Build trust, relationships, a community and watch your account grow from strength to strength.
By-passing hashtag research
Hashtags should be a key part of your Instagram marketing strategy, but you knew that already right?
The debate over how many hashtags should be used in a post rages on but my take on the matter is use as many as you can that are relevant to you and your post. There is no use shoving 30 hashtags in a post if they aren’t related.
The key here is to do your research. If you’re a small account (upto 2000 followers) use hashtags with less posts associated with them, at the very max 200k posts. This gives you a better chance of popping up in search results and hitting the elusive explore page.
Use one personal hashtag, for me it’s #andyslingeruk and then a mix of location hashtags #UKwriter, genre hashtags #kidlit, personal brand #childrensauthorsofig and hashtags descriptive of the actual post content #quotstagram.
The key here is to research and make lists of relevant hashtags, 3 or 4 lists of say 15 will do the trick, then alternate these within your posts. If you want to speed this process up then there are loads of free and paid apps which do the research for you. Flick, IQhashtags and Later are all worth looking at.
Not being consistent
If you really want to grow your account then consistency is absolutely key. You need to be posting on your feed a minimum of 4 times a week and at least 3 times a day on your stories. I highly recommend you post to your feed daily if you can.
You may think that sounds like a lot and it is but if you really want to expand your audience you have to show up and keep front of your audiences mind.
To make this easier, batch create a week or two’s worth of posts, based on the account theme’s you’ve already identified and schedule them all. You can use Later or the Facebook Creator tool for this.
If you check your insights it’ll show you the times the majority your audience is online. Stick to this time then your followers will be ready for your posts.
Failing to adapt your Instagram marketing strategy
Even the best strategy you can muster up needs to be adaptable to change. However, if you closely monitor your analytics you’ll be able to quickly spot the types of posts which perform the best.
Ask yourself, which kind of posts generate more comments, saves, like and shares? Then produce similar content.
Ask your audience what they’re enjoying about your account and what they want to see more of. Use polls in your stories and you’ll sometimes be surprised with the outcomes.
The key to it all is testing, testing and more testing. You will get it wrong, many times but learn from everything you do. Be clear with your strategy, be patient and you will see results in the end. After a few weeks if it’s not quite working as you’d hoped then make some minor tweaks and compare your results.
The fact you’re reading this post means you’re serious about your Instagram marketing strategy and will make a success of it.
If you have any questions feel free to contact me anytime.
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