7 Do’s And Don’ts of Instagram For Businesses


Good morning, internet fans. Ryan Perry here, Simple Biz Support. Today is Wednesday, August the 10th. It is Social Media Wednesday. And the lovely and slightly tanner, I’d say slightly, Sarah Giometti from Provaro Marketing is here after two weeks in Mexico. I hope you had a great vacation.

Sarah Giometti: I did. I had a fabulous vacation. And this is probably about as tan as I can get. I joke that I’m a shade darker than albino, but yeah, this is pretty tan for me. This is pretty good.

RP: Alright. It looks good. It goes well with the golden hair.

SG: There we go.

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RP: Yeah, good times. You are back from vacation. We are going to jump right into the next episode, which is this episode of Social Media Wednesday and we’re going to talk about Instagram and some basic do’s and don’ts. I think you had… We’re going to keep it positive, so we’re only going to have three don’ts with four do’s. We’re going to, like a 60/40 split, more positive than negative. And Instagram as, hopefully, everybody knows, is primarily images with some video. We’ve talked about it in the past, here and there. I think we’ve talked about how to connect with people locally in your business in a previous episode using Instagram. But, let’s jump into one of the… Are we going to start on the do’s or the don’ts side?

SG: Well, let’s start with the do’s. Let’s start with the positives.

RP: Sounds good.

SG: If Instagram is the correct platform for you to be on, there are definitely some do’s, things to do to make it work better for you. And the very first one, and this is true for every social media platform, post consistently. You want to pick a schedule and stick to it. If you’re posting every day, which is a lot, don’t think you have to do that yet, or every other day, every third day, three times a week, pick a schedule that you can adhere to, and actually do it. I do use some tools to make it easier for us to remember to post on a regular schedule. And so, we can look at tools like that like I use later, where I’m still physically posting it and engaging, but it’s reminding me to post on the schedule so that I’m not missing dates, so I’m pre-planning my scheduling out. You can use a tool ’cause you’re still having to actually do the work. It’s not automated at all, but it helps keep you on task. That’ll help you stick with number one, which is post regularly.

RP: Yeah. The other option is, we’ve talked about this quite a few, is having a marketing calendar. Part of that marketing calendar is, “I’m going to do X, Y and Z.” And a marketing calendar can be as simple as a piece of paper. For me in the morning, I have a set list as I’m having breakfast. I’m going through, getting my Twitter feed, looking for LinkedIn. I’m also on Reddit and Facebook. I try and get a post on my business page, so I have a checklist that I go through every morning for my social media content. So, it doesn’t have to be fancy. It could be an Excel spreadsheet, it could be a piece of paper, but have a system that works right for you.

SG: Right. And yeah, it’s whatever works for you that you can stick to ’cause it’s different for everybody, but just making sure and then getting into the habit of doing it. For me, it’s putting it on my calendar, reminding me to do things. I live by my calendar. If it’s not on my calendar, it doesn’t happen in my life most of the time. And so, if that’s the way that works for you, yeah, just scrap of paper where you’re making notes, “This is what I’m gonna do for the month.” Whatever it is that works for you, just make sure you do it, so you can post consistently and regularly.

RP: Yeah. This is the professional way. I always recommend just scraps of paper. I do it in the morning while I’m eating breakfast, so it just works well for me. So that we’re not burning all 15 minutes talking about scraps of paper, what’s number two?

SG: Number two is use the link in the bio. Don’t just put the main URL of your website there. Use it strategically. So if you are promoting something very specific, a specific event, a specific blog article, you can change that link at any time that you want to, and then you can post with calls to action to tell people to click the link in your bio. So if you have a landing page for a lead generation, if you’re promoting a specific post or an article, an event, whatever it is, use that as your one spot to have an active clickable link. And so utilize that as part of your marketing strategy, and change it based on what you’re doing and what you’re promoting.

RP: Okay, perfect. And just for people, if you are not familiar with Instagram, unlike Twitter, Facebook, other social media accounts, where every single post you can actually have a link, so I can go, “Hey, check out A, B, C with a link to A, B, C. On Instagram, it doesn’t work that way.” The only place you have a link is in your profile. So, you need to really pay attention to your marketing plan, and make sure that that link is relevant to the content that you’re pushing out.

SG: Yup. And so that will move us into number three, which on your post, ask questions that encourage engagement. So, don’t just post a statement of what it is with some hashtags, have a question in there about whatever it is. If you’re posting about your morning coffee, ask the question, “How many cups of coffee do you drink a day to stay active or to stay productive or whatever?” Whatever it is, ask a question, so you wanna compel people to respond and engage with your posts.

RP: Yeah. And that can be kind of a science, if you will. I know I get defeated every now and then because I try and engage with people, and I’ll do that. Especially for me, it’s Twitter. And so I try and engage with people on Twitter, and also I’m trying to get better on LinkedIn also. And sometimes it’s just crickets. It’s just crickets. So it’s just a matter of learning the nuance about your audience. It’s about what’s interesting for them and not necessarily for you, and that can take some practice. So it’s okay to feel defeated, but keep on moving forward.

SG: Right. And pay attention to the ones that do work, and see what elements of that was what made it work. Was it the hashtag? Was it the question? Was it the thing overall? How related was it to your brand? What time of day did you post it? What day of the week did you post? Look at all those different elements and the ones that do work and see how you can replicate that over and over again so that your engagement over time is more consistent and increases more regularly.

RP: Alright. Perfect.

SG: And that brings us to our fourth do. Do engage with others. Follow other brands, follow other people that are in your community, especially if you’re a local business, and engage in their posts. Don’t just like it, comment on it, and be real live human being, and be part of the conversation because that builds your exposure as well to other local people, not only to that person you’re engaging with, but their followers will see it as well. And over time, if you’re a really active engaged person in that community, you’ll be able to pick up your own followers based on your engagement with others.

RP: Yeah. And I think when engaging with people, try and come up with something that’s unique. Instead of going, “Oh. Cool picture,” something generic or bland like, it’s like, “Oh. When did you take this?” If you ask a question it’s much easier for somebody to respond and answer. They’re gonna be more motivated. And also if you praise people, “Oh wow. That is beautiful. How did you do X, Y and Z?” Praise plus a question, now I’m definitely gonna be motivated to respond and engage. Plus I’ve got a little bit of positive energy coming from you that is going to affect that relationship moving forward, and it’s probably gonna move that relationship forward faster.

SG: Right. Yeah. And one of Ryan’s things about don’t add a generic comment, will lead us into one of our don’ts, but you wanna be authentic. You wanna, yeah, ask another question, ask deeper probing questions about the the picture so you encourage that conversation. You can also ask questions that encourage others to be part of the conversation and build… ‘Cause the original poster will look favorably on you because you’ve helped them create conversation on their own post. That’s a win in your pile and it’ll help your relationship with them, it will help your relationship or build relationships with other people and that person or that business’ network and their following, and so it’s a win-win all around.

RP: Yeah. Definitely. And I love the fact that you said it makes them look good also, and that’s part of… If you’re trying to create rapport with people, anytime you can promote something positive about that person even though you don’t know them, but hopefully you’re responding to unique content that other people are creating. It should be easier to find something positive to say about that person to elevate them not only in their own right, but, like you’re saying, their followers also. Like, “Oh wow. Yeah. I always thought John was cool, but now this other stranger thinks John’s cool, so he must be really cool.”

SG: Right. Yeah. There’s no way to lose… Well, I shouldn’t say that. There’s a way to lose on engagement, and that’s if you’re a jerk. So don’t be a jerk.

[chuckle] Be authentic, be good, and have others in mind. It’s not all about you. Don’t comment to promote yourself, just comment to… ‘Cause your profile name, your handle is right there, and it’s clickable to your profile. You don’t need to promote yourself in the comments, you just need to be active and engaged in that particular post and what’s relevant to that post and that community.

RP: Yeah. And it’s like we got enough jerks out there. There’s no need. I just saw an article this morning, Miranda Lambert had a concert. She actually stopped the concert, told security to get this guy out of here. He was being a jerk. So you don’t wanna get removed from the crowd, especially publicly.

SG: No. Slipknot did that too, Corey Taylor, totally stopped and told the guy to get the F out of his concert. [chuckle] He was like front row. Could you imagine you’re in the front row and you get kicked out by the lead singer of a band that you love? [chuckle] So don’t be that person.

RP: Don’t be an idiot.

SG: So that lead us to our don’ts.

RP: Well, you already did one don’t. We need two don’ts.

SG: Oh yeah. Well, the don’t be a jerk was not actually part of one our don’ts. So our real first don’t is, don’t overpost. And where this happens is, don’t post five pictures back to back, because then you’ll just… Even though Instagram is changing the algorithm, it’s not chronological like it used to be, it’s still more chronological than, say, Facebook, and so the last thing someone wants to do is look in their feed and see five posts from you, and then everybody else. That will just irritate them. And I’ve got, on my personal side, I have a friend who does it, and she post 10 pictures. I’m just like, “Oh my God.” I’m rolling my eyes as I’m scrolling past all of her pictures. I don’t even look at them because I don’t wanna see 10 pictures of her kids. I wanna see one.

SG: Don’t overpost. And if you’re at an event, you can post… At the event it’s okay to post more frequently than your normal schedule, just don’t do five posts in a five minute span. Spread it out a little bit. Wait 15 minutes, wait 20 minutes, and post them out throughout the event, and just kinda strategically post them out. So it’s okay to post more frequently during event, just not five to 10 posts in a five minute span.

RP: Right, and it’s one of those things, you can take 20 pictures doesn’t mean you have to post all 20. Find the good ones within that sequence and just post that.

SG: Yes. Yeah. And ’cause you can later then, if you’re on Facebook also you can create an album on Facebook and upload all the pictures ’cause it’s still only one post on Facebook. So yeah, just don’t overpost. The second one is don’t use auto commenters and auto bots. So there are automated systems out there, they’re not that good, and you run the risk of getting yourself banned, but you also look fake if you’re just auto-commenting, “Great picture,” with a thumbs up or something like that it’s obviously an auto comment, and usually those auto comments are like the minute you post the picture it comments on it within seconds, and that’s obviously… That makes it even more obvious it’s an auto bot. Don’t use that software, just do it yourself or have a staff member, hire it out to an agency so that it’s done authentically and in real time.

RP: Yeah. I think the key word there is being authentic. Enough said.

SG: Yeah. And the final don’t is don’t post irrelevant content just for the sake of engagement. So you wanna stay within your brand, you wanna keep with your brand message, and that doesn’t mean you can’t do personal stuff. If you look at my business Instagram account, I do work out of my house one or two days a week, just out of convenience and I like to, and you’ll see a post of the cat laying on my desk, so it’s not totally irrelevant ’cause it’s part of my business culture and my business life. But if I posted a picture of… I think the silly example we came up with was me with a flat tire while just out on a Saturday afternoon, it’s not relevant to my business, unless I was promoting the tow truck driver that came to help me or something like that. It’s not relevant to my business. Or silly memes that have absolutely nothing to do with your business just for the sake of engagement, so try to stay within brand and within messaging in your postings.

RP: Yeah. I think the key word there is what is your brand image? We have a massage gal that’s in my BNI chapter and her dog Charlie is there all the time, and she naturally attracts animal lovers, especially people with dogs, so for her brand, if she wanted to be on Instagram having regular pictures of dogs would be great because her audience is naturally attracted to being an animal lover just like she is.

SG: Right. So if it’s part of your company culture like dogs, animals, cats are a big part of my life, I love them, that stuff’s okay, but don’t go way off the deep end just for the sake of engagement if it doesn’t make any sense for your brand or company and you run the risk of it harming your brand as well.

RP: Yeah, definitely. Alright. We are out of time, but real quickly if you could recap the four positives and the three don’ts.

SG: So the four positive do’s: Post consistently, use the link in your bio, ask questions for engagement and engage with others. And then the three don’ts are: Don’t overpost, don’t use auto commenters or follower bots, and don’t post irrelevant content.

RP: Alright. Perfect, Sarah. That is it for today’s show. As always Sarah, I appreciate the time and energy that you put into this.

SG: Thanks, Ryan, it’s always a pleasure.

RP: Alright, everybody, hope you enjoyed today’s show of internet marketing or Social Media Wednesday, excuse me. We will see you next week, same time, same place. Take care.


About the Author:

Ryan Perry is the founder and CEO of Simple Biz Support, Inc. Ryan started video blogging in 2009 as an alternative to written blogs to create visibility and credibility online. During the workweek, he enjoys helping small business owners harness the power of video to grow their companies. On the weekends, he enjoys hiking and searching out waterfalls throughout the state of California.

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