Instagram Don'ts: 7 rules to remember
With over a billion monthly users worldwide, it seems there’s no need to explain the importance of Instagram as a marketing platform. If you have a business you want to tell the world about, a brand you want to promote, or visual content to put out there, you probably already have an Instagram account. But are you getting everything you can out of it? It’s important to know that Instagram has rules you should abide by and regulations to comply with. We brake down the laws of the land of Instagram to help you stay out of trouble and grow your Instagram following. So what’s strictly forbidden, and what can drive down your reach and engagement rates? We’ll tell you, just read on:
1. Don't mess with the law
2. Don't risk a shadowban
Beyond the written rules, Instagram is known to have a few, somewhat vague laws. Braking these can bring upon you the terrible punishment of shadow banning – which means that the algorithm will hide your content from new users. The ban is especially unpleasant because you don’t receive any notification to let you know what’s going on. You can only know for sure you are banned when you notice that your posts don’t appear under the tags you included. How can you avoid a shadowban? No one knows for sure. Still, there are a few basic rules you should stick to: avoid content that can get you reported by other users and don’t use shady hashtags that can get be associated with banned subjects. You should also remember that the app is sensitive to sudden outbursts of activity – don’t follow dozens of new accounts or “like” lots of posts in a row.
3. Don't underestimate the value of the handle
Choosing the right name for your business page is not always easy. But don’t overlook the significance of this choice. Your Instagram handle is often the first thing new followers see. It’s your business card, and it must mirror your brand. You may be tempted to pick something with fun and memorable with wordplay or an inside joke. But it’s essential to keep the handle clear and to the point. You don’t want people misspelling it. Keep in mind that many users discover new pages through Instagram’s internal search, so including your main keyword in the name may make all the difference.
4. Don't miss the importance of the bio
Like the Instagram handle, your bio is a vital opportunity to tell the world who you are and what you do. All in just 150 characters. Don’t miss this chance to explain to your profile visitors why they should follow you. And if you have a website, be sure to post a live link to it here. The bio is also the place to tag other accounts connected to yours or include a hashtag you regularly use.
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5. Don't go crazy with the hashtags
Every post on Instagram can include up to 30 hashtags. They can relate to the posted image, the nature of your business of a cause you want to promote. Don’t just improvise and invent hashtags from the top of your head. Use hashtags in a strategic and thought-through way. Research hashtags with specialized tools or by looking at what your competitors are doing. Don’t invent hashtags no one has heard of unless you’re prepared to invest in promoting them. And don’t use generic tags with millions of posts, because your post will just get lost in them.
6. Don't forget about the analytics
If you’re using an Instagram page as a way to promote your business, you should switch to a business profile. It’s free, can be done with 3 clicks, and gives you access to stats about your account activity. Get the metrics for each post and story and retrieve statistics, like location, hours, gender, and age distribution of your followers. These numbers provide insights about what your audience likes and what type of content you should be creating.
7. Don't neglect human interaction
As with any social network, Instagram is first and foremost about human communication and should not be used as a billboard for your business. Comment on other people’s posts and reply to comments on your account. Monitor your messages and make an effort to react to people who reach out through DMs. Stories especially, are a useful tool to interact with others, as you can repost stories and posts in just one click.