Instagram. It’s our favorite. We’re not even being sarcastic. It’s at the top of every list for best ways to build your business. But, much like grammar nazi’s cringe every time they see a punctuation mistake or foodies lose their shit when they see someone order a well-done steak, the Wolf Pack tends to get a little triggered when we see businesses with, we’ll say, not so great Instagrams.

As the self-proclaimed world’s largest advocates of small businesses, the Wolf Pack wants to take your ‘Gram and guide it in the right direction; specifically away from these three major mistakes that are guaranteed to kill your credibility and your business.

1) Buying Followers   

This is basically the equivalent of a mom going around asking kids to play with her son at recess because he’s a “sensitive boy”. (It’s also a minor form of fraud, since many “influencers” who do this are making money off of how many followers they have and their engagement numbers, but shhhh that’s probably not you).

So what do you do instead of taking the easy (and unsuccessful) way? Take the time to engage with the right people and build a real community for your brand. You do this by targeting hashtags that are related to and users who are interested in your company or brand.

For example: here, as a marketing business located in Colorado Springs, we are heavily involved in all Colorado Springs related accounts and hashtags, especially focusing on small business. We also are sure to follow, comment on, and like a lot of accounts and photos related to marketing.

You can’t buy brand loyalty, but you can earn it. Follow real people, and real people will follow you back. Leave genuine likes and comments and, you’ll receive genuine likes and comments.

2) Poor Quality Images

Don’t ask Adam about how crappy images on Instagram make him feel unless you’re a licensed mental health professional because he WILL go off. It’s because he’s a millennial who understands the importance of quality, and he knows poor quality images will not sit well with an Instagram audience that’s filled with people who are used to perfectly lighted, posed, but somehow candid looking shots. Entering the realm of Instagram with an essentially useless, poor quality photo basically communicates this:

“I don’t care about what my photos look like, and I don’t care what you think about my photos. Also, my smartphone is severely damaged and I should probably get a new one but I’ve had this since 2001 and it’s the only one I know how to work.”

In other words, bad photos make for bad branding and people will leave your page so fast you won’t even know they were there.

Getting a ‘Gram-worthy photo isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible. Try out these simple photo hacks straight from our social media department:

  • Lighting: When Instagram first launched, slapping one of their generic filters on your photos was good enough. The standard wasn’t so high. These days, dear God the game has changed. If your lighting sucks, filters won’t do any good, so always make sure you’re being intentional. Check out some tutorials on maximizing natural light, so your eye for it keeps developing. You don’t always need a super fancy lighting setup to make a nice photo, you just need to know how to use what you got.
  • Shooting: Once you develop your eye for lighting, start thinking about shooting. Go find examples! There are many styles of photography out there, and some of them are a lot better for what you want to accomplish than others. Learn about angles, perspective, composition, and focal point.
  • Editing: Once you’ve learned to shoot well, using light, angles, and content, it’s time to edit your photo and put the final touches on it. We harp on VSCO as the best editing app for most purposes. If you’re really getting into it and trying to be an expert, give Adobe Lightroom a shot. Get it? Shot? Picture? Anyway. There are also many editing styles, and sometimes it just comes down to choosing a few great filters that you can use consistently to give your brand it’s own personality.

Side note: if you don’t have a photographer but you do have a newer iPhone— portrait mode, bro.

3) Posting Way Too Much on Your Story

While your mom may be willing to sit through a 100-post-Story, your business followers aren’t. It’s content overkill and eventually people will just start skipping through your story or muting it.

Daily is good, but you don’t need waterfalls of content. Just focus on the “best parts”— important updates, business highlights, and even office shenanigans every now and then (it makes you relatable and more fun to engage with).

Get ‘Gramming

Your Instagram presence is powerful, but if you’re not careful you’ll end up losing followers over noob mistakes. If you’re not familiar with Instagram, that’s understandable, but keep our tips in mind and it’ll help.

Of course, we could always do it for you if you want. We like it.

Last, make sure you’re following the Pack on Instagram, too!