I admit, I am not an avid Instagram user but it is a platform that does (or should) benefit some of my clients so lately I have been digging into the inner workings of Instagram.
The Instagram platform is currently targeting teens and the fashion oriented crowd. That means, even though I can’t stand Instagram, when you have a client that is a Salon, Instagram is huge! Here are some issues I have with Instagram as a seasoned online community builder:
Instagram is Comprised Mostly of People who are Not Social Media Savvy
Now I’m not knocking the social media challenged but I do have issues with practically every account hashtagging every word in a posting. It makes no sense. Hashtags were meant to get you into a conversation and when using too many hashtags you bring attention to the fact you do not know how to use a hashtag, hence you’re practically telling everyone you are not familiar with social media, you only know how to post pictures. On Instagram it’s Monkey see Monkey do. Everyone does it so I should too. Overuse Hashtags and they become useless. Use 3 or 4 hashtags at the most. Anything more than that and you lose your social media credibility.
If you WERE social media savvy the first thing you would do is find some tools that will help you manage your new Instagram community. My personal favorite is “InstaGhost“. InstaGhost is an iPhone app that will scan through your followers and following lists. After this scan you can now drill down into your followers and following lists to see what the heck is going on!
There are Way Too Many Bots on Here!!
Do you know how to “spot a bot”? It’s easy if you know where to look. On Instagram Bots are accounts that seem to be incredibly active. They don’t follow you but have the ability to like and comment on posts. Bots can increase engagement and make you think you are using your Instagram account correctly. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Here’s how I am finding bots: using instaghost click on the “Extra” tab, then click on “Insights Pack”, under “Discover” check out “My Secret Admirers”. These are accounts that are actively engaging you by commenting and liking your posts. They are NOT following you. Then check out how many followers they have. I noticed that many of these accounts have follower lists in the hundreds of thousands! How can they possibly be liking and commenting on so many posts for so many other accounts???
You just found a bot! It’s not a part of your community. Now ignore it!
You Can Buy “Likes”, “Follows” and even “Comments”!
Do a search for “Buy Likes and Followers for Instagram”. There are over 414,000 results for thousands of sites where you can buy as little as 500 followers for $2.99. Many of these sites are geared towards giving you instant credibility on Instagram. Does credibility lead to sales? Maybe but if you’re in the habit of taking shortcuts in social media you are probably taking shortcuts in your business too and it will stand out to the social media savvy. Remember, on social media you want to target the social media savvy who will get the word out about your business to their strong networks. You should not be trying to gain as many followers as possible.
Are you buying followers? You just wasted your time and time is money. Ignore them, they are not a part of your community.
It’s Next to Impossible to Build a Community That Will Drive Sales
If you cannot identify a bot you will never be able to build a community. A community is composed of real people who are engaging in your content because they actually like your posts. These same people will eventually be future customers but a bot will never result in a sale. Always remember, on social media, content is king.
I’m also finding that it’s very hard to even locate your actual customers when you have accounts loaded down with so many bots. Removing the bots from your “Following” list will be key to finding and targeting your true fans which in the business world are called “Brand Ambassadors”.
It drives me mad to see business’s thinking they are successful on Instagram because they are getting tons of “Likes” and even “Comments”. They have no clue what a bot is and how much of their valuable time is being wasted by engaging these bots. In the long run avoiding bots and building a community on Instagram will pay off by driving customers into the doors of your business.