Continuing on my series of blogging tips and building your brand, today I’m sharing some big mistakes to never commit when it comes to Instagram. Social media is a great way to build a like-minded community and connect with others, but there are some social media engagement faux pas that can cut your opportunities short. Since growing my followers to almost 700k now, I definitely learned some lessons along the way and realize now that not every single hack and tip you read online will work for everyone. That being said, here are my Instagram no-no’s and things you want to avoid especially if you’re a fashion or beauty blogger.
Guidelines for giveaways
Doing giveaways with other content creators and bloggers is a great way to start building your Instagram and following. However, it can easily get carried away and if you find yourself asking your existing followers to add up to 10+ new bloggers and brands and/or tagging 5 more of their friends. It’s just too much! Yes, it does give you that much more reach and exposure but it’s just not productive when it’s so intensive for followers. Plus, many users are catching onto the “giveaways for followers” trend – and studies have shown that after a giveaway has ended, many of them will unfollow you. Keep in mind that giveaways do work. My advice is to not make the requirements too complex or involved – essentially, don’t ask your followers to do too much work.
It’s exciting once you’ve gotten your Instagram account off the ground and the collaboration requests start trickling in. Although it’s important to be running a business, make sure you have as much organic content as you do sponsored posts! People do notice and get weary when they think all you’re posting is what you’re getting paid to talk about. When you do run sponsored content, you want to add your personality and point of view so that there’s value and not just promotion in your post. Also, always make sure that a collaboration aligns with your style, Instagram aesthetic, and vision.
Follow & unfollow
This one should be a no-brainer, but somehow it still needs to be brought up. Building your Instagram is a long game and you don’t want to be that annoying person that just follows and ghosts. Such a strategy is really short-term and doesn’t really amount to any traction; plus, it’s still a lot of work on your end! Also, it makes people really mad, which oftentimes result in an angry DM. This is no surefire way to grow your account.
Copying other influencers
This tends to be one of the most sensitive subjects for bloggers – especially ones that have established themselves by creating a unique perspective. I hear it time and time again amongst my peers and while I do think imitation can be a form of flattery, it does seem unethical to build a brand entirely by copying someone else. There’s a big difference between taking inspiration from someone and completely copying their work. The worst thing you can do in an already saturated market is copy or try to be someone else. It’s becoming increasingly important to try to hone in on your own voice and show people your personality. Being yourself and original as much as possible is key – not only for the followers, but also for working with established brands when you’re trying to get exposed and build an effective network.
Along with copying other influencers, I also recommend avoiding cliche photos that you see repeatedly on Instagram or if you are going to do a cliche photo – do it in an unexpected way like changing the perspective, the edit, etc. While it’s true that some of these types of photos work for specific people, it’s unlikely that someone trying to establish themselves would get recognized (or regrammed) with a similar shot. I love the random cliche shot every now and then – especially if it’s done in a really unique way, but posting 3-4 in a row is repetitive and comes off unoriginal. It’s incredibly important to give your followers something fresh to keep them coming back for more.
Ignoring your community
Instagram is a community with endless potential to be a huge and powerful network for you and your brand. At the beginning, you might be more eager to proactively reach out and comment on other influencers’ accounts in your niche, but then forget as you gain traction and become busier. I know it can get to a point where it’s difficult to reply to everyone, but still try to engage with people as much as possible! Not showing your support for one another is one of the biggest ways you could be short-changing yourself for more visibility and also more opportunities.
Whether it comes to posting content, blogging, or working with brands, I hope I’ve shared some valuable insight I’ve learned over the years. Of course everyone’s journey and business is their own and I’d love to hear what’s worked for you. Feel free to share your thoughts and experience in the comments!
Lioness Black Blazer (wearing an XS – runs TTS, also love this one)
Anine Bing Tiger Tee (wearing an XS – runs TTS)
Levi’s Denim Shorts (wearing a 24 – runs TTS)
Alexandre Birman Black Tie Sandals (better for budget here)
Prada Cahier Bag
Quay Sunglasses (also here via Amazon)