Writing about this has been on my mind for months now. I was hesitant to share it though because I thought “well, who am I to point at these ‘faults’ in business accounts on Instagram.” I’m sure many of the behaviours I’m going to talk about are not important for the people that are doing them, anyway. If you are reading though, is because you care. Congratulations!
No matter the sector or platform you are in, understanding your niche, your clients, your audience is vital if you are to attract people to your content or activities. I’m going to talk here about the things that put me off on Instagram when I go to check an account that’s following me. I might not be your dream client, I get it, but I have a good insight of what people love about Instagram, as a user, as manager of @IgersCantabria (an account I manage with my dear @amspiphone) and as a business strategist.
If any of the above allow me to call myself an ‘expert’ please let me share with you the things that put me off on Instagram and why, plus the things that, as a brand, you can do to avoid them.
Think about the excitement we feel when a notification of a new follower pops up or when we go and see our notifications to see @xxxx is now following us. I go and check the account but any of these things drives me nuts.
1. When an account has a highly unbalanced follower/following ratio: few followers, following thousands of accounts
If the account has 303 followers and is following 1849…
This puts me off big time for a very good reason. In general (with a few honourable exceptions) I know they are following all those people with the aim of getting followers. They are not really interested in engaging with the people who they are following but they follow all those accounts in the hope they will be followed in turn. My thinking goes like this “They just want me to follow them back. They probably haven’t seen what my account is about… Do I like their stuff?” And the answer 99% of the time is no because their content is average tending to poor.
This way of growing an account is going to be bad in the long term for that account too. People who follow an account back just because the account is following them won’t probably engage in the account’s content, pushing down its engagement ratio. That’s bad enough nowadays but it will have major consequences once the algorithm starts to play around. Just saying…..
What can you do if you have an unbalanced followers/following ratio? Well, make a spring clean. Don’t be afraid to unfollow accounts that don’t offer you value. If they stop following your account it’s ok, they probably aren’t engaging with your content. Grow your account by targeting your niche with the right hashtags. More on this subject in this blog soon.
2. When I see lots of quotes on their feed
One or two quotes now and then are good. Even the coolest accounts I know (like @obsessee) use them to engage with their audience (these guys know) but posting only quotes on Instagram denotes that account doesn’t have a clue about what people like go to on Instagram (have you heard of photography?)
What can you do if you are only posting quotes? Creating great content can be tricky for some businesses. Thinking in advance about the themes and subjects that are going to inspire your audience is the beginning. Check how to create a visual strategy for Instagram.
3. When I see chaos on their feed
This is a more advanced feature and not everyone is aware of it. By chaos I mean pictures that don’t match the next one, in style, theme, colours… The most beautiful and inspiring accounts are really consistent in their voice and visual language. I know achieving this requires some kind of expertise but this is what I’m drawn to, and many other Instagram users too.
What can you do if your feed is a mess? Stick to your brand colours (one or two) think your pictures in advance in groups of three. Check this post.
4. When I see dollars or cash on their profile
As many people I don’t like to be sold to. I despise this aggressive way of doing business and with many other people I consider it a very uncool way of doing business. Guys, there’s a better way to sell to people than lying to them.
I hope you are not doing this. Check how to write a great profile here.
5. When they aggressively say free anything
Don’t get me wrong. I love love love free stuff but there are so many free things going on that I only go and give my email address
- first if I know that’s going to be of value for me (need to know the account/business)
- second if I know it’s good quality
How do I know about these two things, by the quality of their accounts’ content. Simple.
If you want to add your free offer in your profile please change capital letters for small ones.
6. Accounts that follow and unfollow you 6 times in a month
This happens because they use a bot to follow accounts that use a certain hashtag or that are following certain people. This is most annoying and makes me think “here we go again” It’d be easy to block them but somehow I feel bad, like “oh, they really don’t know what are they doing…” I have to review this thought and block them away.
Instagram is everything about the community, as businesses are. If your business can afford to have a bot welcoming your new clients into your brand world, good for you. Most businesses I know are better off by organically engaging and growing a proper community that really cares about the amazing things that businesses create for them. I hope you are one of them.
What about you? What puts you off about business accounts on Instagram? Is there any behaviour that infuriates you? Please share with me here in comments or in my Instagram account and lets get rid of this annoying behaviours.