Using Instagram for your business is a GREAT tool. On Facebook and Twitter, posts with photos receive greater engagement than those with text. So, when you have a platform like Instagram that ONLY uses photos, you have a great opportunity to visually tell stories.

  • Share on Facebook
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  • Share on Pinterest

But, like all things, I see too many organizations not using Instagram the best way possible. And, I get it – you’re running a business, you’re busy, and you don’t have time to create A+ Instagram campaigns like Target or Oreo. No matter how small or big of a business you are, there are still mistakes you should avoid on Instagram. 

Stop using collage frames

While it’s totally okay for you to use cutesy blue flower frames and fun filters on your personal profile, don’t do it on your business profile.

If you want to use the occasional collage frame, only use the simple, white frames. These types of collage frames are cleaner and won’t detract from your images.

Avoid writing on your image

While not all text on images is bad, most of the text I see on graphics is illegible. If using text, make sure the background isn’t busy.

As I’ve said many times in my blog posts, use easy to read fonts, in legible colors. Be consistent in the fonts you use on your photos. Stick with 1-2.

Avoid multiple lines of text, or scrunching text to make it fit. If your text is scrunched or stretched, it can look amateur. And in most cases, you don’t need to put your handle on the photo. People who can see your photo can see your handle. The only time it’s necessary to put your handle on the photo would be during a giveaway, where followers will be re-posting your image on their own profile

Related: Creating Instagram Graphics in Canva

Use high-res images

It’s way too easy to hop on Pinterest or Google Images and find an image with a quote that is relevant to your industry. Even though it’s easy, it often results in LOW resolution images (and it’s breaking copyright, but that’s a post for another day). There are too many free stock image sites out there now to be stealing photos and putting your business in jeopardy.

Make it part of your brand

Using cheesy frames and fonts is devaluing your brand online. It’s not “just Instagram” – it’s a way for you to engage with your audience, and promote your products or services. There are still ways to have fun on Instagram, and personalize your posts, without using unnecessary frames and fonts. Take a look at the examples below. (Website on the left, Instagram feed on the right.)

No cute frames, no bad fonts. Just beautiful examples of visual storytelling! Paul Mitchell posts quotes, but look at the background: CLEAN. And the fonts they use: fairly consistent. Posting quotes is not a bad thing if you are consistent in the fonts, and have a clean layout. No one wants to see a handwritten font across a busy photograph. Save that text and just put it in the caption – that’s what captions are for!

Related: Two Creative Strategies to Stand Out on Social Media

We live in a world that inundated with information. On social media, you have to STAND OUT with visuals. In a 2012 study, ROI Research found that when users engage with friends on social media sites, it’s the pictures they took that are enjoyed the most. Want to know why? Our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.

Some ideas to help you stand out:

  • Create your own hashtag, and use it whenever showcasing your product/services online.
  • Post behind-the-scenes photos! People love seeing the REAL you, too! Working late? Desk a mess? Be genuine and show your personality!
  • Inspire and encourage others, don’t just promote your business. Most people recommend the 80/20 rule — 80% of your posts are content that is of interest or value to your audience, 20% of your posts is self-promotion.
  • Hire a professional designer to help you create consistent, stunning visuals for your social media!
  • Check out my ebook to help you create beautiful, branded images!

Figure out how to tell interesting stories with your visuals, but make sure that people will recognize it as your organization. Create a voice for your brand.

Related: Two easy steps to find and use more Instagram hashtags

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