5 Mistakes You're Making On Instagram

I'm not quite sure how it happened, but instagram has become something like the king of social media. For many creatives, it's become their online portfolio. Some have even claimed business cards are dead, replaced instead by instagram links.

I agree that instagram is an important tool for networking. It's a one-stop shop to showcase to a potential client not only what you do, but also a piece of who you are. 

Instagram can be extremely useful, if you maximize it's potential. But there's definitely a right way and a wrong way to use it.

Here are some pretty common mistakes I see being made by creatives across the board when it comes to using instagram to promote themselves and their work.


1. Having a private page

Sharing your work via instagram is great, but also pretty useless if your page is private. You've automatically greatly diminished your reach. Using hashtags is also null and void, because they won't be included on the pages with the corresponding hashtags.

Engaging with your followers and other instagram users in general is another great tool for bringing awareness to your brand. However, having a private page hinders all the engagement work you could be doing. 

Imagine you leave a comment on another user's instagram page - someone random who you don't follow and who doesn't follow you. Out of curiousity, they're of course going to click on your page.

And they're going to be greeted with a big, blank private page. Then what?

They have no idea of who you are or what you do. Sure, you have a profile bio that gives the tiniest sliver of who you are but do you think they're going to follow you simply to find out more? 

Chances are they won't.

You've now lost a chance to connect with a future client or someone who could possibly connect you to a future client (and yes, those people are just as valuable as future clients).

So all I'm sayin' is... consider taking that page off private. It could make a huge difference.

2. Your bio is missing your location

I'm sure it feels like a bit of invasion of your privacy to willingly tell strangers your location - I get it.

BUT I can't tell you how many times I've scrolled up & down someone's feed trying to guess where on God's green earth they could possibly be located.

So imagine being a client who's randomly stumbled upon YOUR profile and wow! - you just so happen to provide the exact service they've been needing. AND they love your work. AND they're ready to book you.

EXCEPT.... they have no idea where you're located and what areas you service. And upon visiting your website (which SURELY lists that info, right?) they still can't find the answer to that question. 

So, on to the next.

I've experienced this first-hand, and I can only imagine how frustrating it might be for a potential client.

I'm not saying to give everybody your street address (although, it's 2017 and it's possible to find that info if someone really wants - but that's beside the point).

What I am saying is this: give potential clients an idea of what city you're located in as well as any areas you might service regularly. And PLEASE make sure you have that info easily displayed on your website.


3. Sharing all of your work instead of just your best

I know it's tempting to share every photograph you take, but in reality your portfolio should showcase only your best work.

Since your instagram will become something like your online portfolio, that means only your best work should make it to your feed.

If you have two photographs that are very similar, don't share them both. That's repetitive and might bore turn off your potential clients.

Instead, use your feed that showcases your best work as a way to reel in clients and send them elsewhere, such as your site or your blog. THEN on your blog you can give potential clients a broader look at your work by sharing an entire collection of photos from a session.

Think of it this way: if you're preparing to go to a party for the night, would you head out with your makeup partially done and your outfit halfway put together? Would you show up to the party, say hi to everyone - giving them all a chance to see you halfway done up, then run to the bathroom at the party to finish getting ready?

Do you think the other party goers would remember the version of you all put together as you exited the bathroom and made your way back into the party? Or do you think they'd remember the version of you that first walked into the party still trying to get yourself together? (My guess is they'd remember the first version of you they met).

Always put your best foot forward.

Only show THE best of YOUR best, and use your blog for the rest.

(That's our new slogan, write that down!) 

4. Lacking personality in your posts

Have you ever sifted through someone's feed for some substantial time and then clicked away feeling like you still have no idea of who they are? 

Probably not. And that's because you probably didn't sift through for a substantial time. Because there was nothing holding you there, making you feel as if you HAD to keep scrolling to learn more about them.

When you're sharing on instagram, find a way to infuse your personality into your posts. No, that doesn't mean you have to perfectly curate your feed. Especially if that's not who you are.

What I mean is, instead of captioning the photo you just posted of a leaf being lit by evening golden hour light with "beautiful nature", use it as an opportunity to share a piece of yourself with your viewers.

And it doesn't have be a huge piece of the "you" pie. It can be a little sliver. But at least it's something.

For instance, you can share how you love taking evening walks because they help to clear your mind from a hectic day. Voila! You've instantly given the viewer a little bit of insight as to who you are. 

Now they know that you're more than just someone who thinks a leaf in pretty light is beautiful nature (because duh, don't we all?)

You DON'T have to write a journal entry on every post. Trust me, that's unrealistic and gets exhausting. It's totally okay to throw a "beautiful nature" caption in the mix every once in a while. 

But no one is going to sift through 20 "beautiful nature" captions then leave your instagram profile feeling like they've connected with you in some way.

Give the people what they want. Give them a piece of you.


5. not engaging 

So this is one that hits close to home for me because I found myself doing this. 

I remember in the early days of instagram, before it became super popular, I used to sign onto instagram just to see what everyone was up to. I would scroll my timeline, liking & commenting easily. It was a fun pasttime, really.

But what happens when instagram starts to feel like a chore? You log in, post, and go.

And that's what I had been doing.

I wasn't taking the time to truly interact with anyone else, but I was wondering why no one was interacting with me.

Doesn't that sound crazy? Honestly, it sounds a bit egotistical and I had to put myself in check.

You can't ask someone to do for you what you're not doing for others. That's kinda unfair, right?

So instead of doing the ol' post & go, stay awhile and explore some. Interact with your followers. Leave them some love and encouragement. GENUINE love and encouragement.

Yes, that means the "awesome!" and "superb photo!" comments won't cut it. Those are easy, but they're also a cop out. 

Engage with others and watch your own engagement naturally increase.


Not having your name anywhere

in your profile bio.

I've come across profiles where I can't even find the person's name, nor can I locate it anywhere on their website.

Personally, I don't think it's a smart idea to be the public face of your company but not reveal your name. If I were a client, that wouldn't make me want to book because I don't even know what name to use if I reach out to you.

If you're uncomfortable with strangers knowing your name, at least include a nickname. Just something that allows potential clients to connect with you on a more personal level.

5 Ways To Instantly

Improve Your Instagram Skills

  1. Take that page off private and increase your reach (or create a public page specifically for your business)

  2. Put an end to the scavenger hunt and let people know where you're located

  3. Put ONLY your best work forward

  4. Go beyond the surface and show your viewers more of who you are

  5. Interact! Comment! Like! Share the love and accept the love that is returned

Are there any common instagram mistakes you feel like I missed? Are there any of these mistakes you feel like you're currently committing? Let's work on our instagram skills together! 

Check out these other helpful articles for creatives:

How To Grow As A Creative

How To Push Past Your Fears & Put Yourself Out There

3 Tips To Get Out Of That Creative Rut