Guest blog by Jennifer Everett

Instagram is hands down the most visual platform for posting content. So when it comes to posting photography, you have to be a step ahead of the game at all costs, and making sure that your visuals are Oscar-worthy is a must. Unlike other platforms like Facebook and Twitter, where post copy is just as important (or sometimes even more important) as accompanying visuals, your Instagram pictures are literally worth a thousand words.

It’s important to note that there are several tactics that you take note of too when posting. However, mistakes happen and bad habits form. These things can make or break those awesome posts that you’ve taken the time to craft and could hurt your brand.

5 Instagram Habits to Avoid

1. Not Using Enough Hashtags

Hashtags are a pretty big deal in helping to get your photos the wonderful exposure that they need, therefore it’s important to make sure that your posts are accompanied with a good amount of hashtags.

Studies show that Instagram posts receive the highest amount of engagement when 11 or more hashtags are included. While we don’t recommend using all 30 of the apps allowed tags, we also don’t suggest skimping on them either. A solid number to use is around 10, and don’t just leave them hanging at the end of the copy! Sprinkle general tags inside the copy of your post and more unique, specific tags can be placed towards the end.

2. Using Hashtags That Aren’t Relevant to Your Post

“Our digital agency is good.” What word or phrase should you hashtag in that sentence? If you answered “good,” please take a minute and re-think your whole Instagram strategy! Hashtagging irrelevant or vague words will not help you promote engagement, and users will less likely be able to find your content in that sea of unoriginality. However, someone might be searching for the tag #DigitalAgency, which is why you should focus on hashtagging relevant phrases. Help yourself and save hashtags for words that will appear in relevant searches for your target audience.

3. Too Much Stock Photography

Catalogue shots just don’t look good. These pictures lead to a very impersonal experience where users don’t ever really get to see the real you. It also makes you look like you lack creativity, which, depending on your brand can be a death sentence. You don’t want your Instagram feed to look like you’re so boring that you can’t impress your followers on your own. Spice things up!

4. Alienating Your Audience

Of the 60 million plus Instagram users in 2015 alone, less than 12 million were above the age of 45. What does this mean? Try to keep it hip and cool! All jokes aside, maintaining a successful Instagram account means adhering to the interests of the younger demographic. This means staying up-to-date with all social news and staying trendy, without looking like you’re trying too hard to be relevant.

5. Extra Long Captions

Millennials want to absorb as much as they can as fast as possible. If they need to extend your caption to read the entirety, they won’t and your whole post will be ignored. Make sure to keep your captions short and sweet with attention grabbers in the beginning. Using all caps to announce a new CONTEST and then using your hashtags in a separate comment is a good way to go.

Abide by these 5 rules on Instagram and you will see an increase in reach and engagement with users! Be mindful of what you like to see on your on Instagram and don’t do what you don’t like to see on your on feed.

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