With over a billion Instagram users to capture, brands and creators are always eager to use the platform for promotions. They can, however, sometimes be so eager that it does not turn out right. Here are six of the common Instagram marketing fails that can happen if you are not careful.
Brands sometimes become fixated with finding the best “Instagrammable” photo that will interest visitors. Because of this, they can end up posting images that audiences instead find inappropriate.
In most cases, they find themselves the laughing stock of users for posting such images. There are also instances where such a mistake ends up triggering a controversy, like what H&M found themselves in with their “Monkey Hoodie” ad in 2018.
While the image itself looked like a normal promotional ad, the caption on the shirt coupled with the choice of model led to an undesirable implication for the public. People called out the brand for being racially insensitive.
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@hm u got us all wrong! And we ain't going for it! Straight up! Enough about y'all and more of what I see when I look at this photo. I see a Young King!! The ruler of the world, an untouchable Force that can never be denied! We as African Americans will always have to break barriers, prove people wrong and work even harder to prove we belong but guess what, that's what we love because the benefits at the end of the road are so beautiful!! #LiveLaughLove❤️ #LoveMyPeople🤴🏾👸🏾👨🏾⚖️👩🏾⚖️
The best way to deal with this is to take down the offending image immediately, which H&M did. The brand also issued an apology on its social media accounts, including Instagram.
This was a good move, as while the offensive image was mainly found on their website, it got shared around on social media. People also used the various platforms to express their dismay.
Avoid repeating the problem by reviewing your image before posting. Ask yourself whether it would feel right to your intended audience. Showing it to a test audience first also helps you catch any misinterpretations coming from different people.
Your Instagram captions are also a source of potential marketing fails. In most instances, they are due to typographical errors that were overlooked during editing. Or you might end up including unwanted parts in the captions, which could happen if you are pasting them from a pre-written set. Such mistakes will make you look unprofessional and drive people away as they might perceive you as unreliable too.
Unchecked captions can also lead to controversies if there are inappropriate words and phrases accidentally inserted, like what Tarte Cosmetics found themselves in with this post. The controversy stemmed from the accidental inclusion of a racial slur in the caption.
People could view such an error as intentional and negatively see your page because of it.
When proofreading, don’t just focus on typos and grammar issue. Look for unwanted words and phrases that might result in people misinterpreting your captions. If you are catering to an international audience, be aware of their sensibilities. A seemingly innocuous word in one country might have negative connotations in another.
Do a second pass of your captions after you publish them. You can easily correct typographical errors here by editing them afterward. Read through the comments to see if your audience notices something that you might have missed. Once you spot one, fix it immediately and post an apology for the error.
Reusing Instagram images is a good way to keep them relevant to your audience and gain more engagements, but they can quickly become a marketing fail if you post the same image too frequently, like this one.
People will see it as you being too lazy at creating new content and will lose interest.
Posting duplicate images also makes your Instagram page less discoverable. Your page’s search engine rankings can decrease significantly if you repost an image too often. This leads to even less engagement.
Using the same posting style for the images worsens the problem. Since there is no variety in the content they see, people will find your whole page unappealing. This is especially problematic if you are using your page mostly for product promotions.
Adding variety to your content repertoire is the best way to avoid this. Make sure that you have different image subjects for every post. If you are planning to reuse the same subject for multiple posts, create images taken from different angles and in different backdrops. This gives you plenty of content to use for different posts.
Mixing different content types, even for the same subject, also helps make your page more engaging. Three of the types that you should explore for your Instagram page are:
Create a schedule for these posts to effectively reuse previous images without them looking like duplicate content.
To keep themselves visible to their audiences, many brands ride multiple hashtag trends. The strategy becomes problematic when they start using unfamiliar hashtags. In most cases, your content ends up being ignored by people because it is not relevant to the tag’s subject. People might even feel like you are spamming, leading them to mute all the posts from your page.
You might also find yourself in an unwanted controversy if the hashtag you joined in turns out to have an entirely different meaning than what you thought it has, like what Warburtons found out after posting this promo:
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COMPETITION TIME! To celebrate Crumpet Eve by @TomFletcher, we're giving away VIP tickets to The Christmasaurus Live Shows, plus signed books and even special packs of Giant Crumpets checked over by Tom himself. To enter: – Follow us on Instagram – Upload your best Christmassy Crumpets or Giant Crumpets – Use the hashtag #WarburtonsChristmasCrumpets – Tag @warburtonsuk Competition closes: 5pm Sunday 17th December Ts&Cs in our bio! #win
It originally used the hashtag #CrumpetsCreation, which turned out to be about people dressing up as animals.
Due to the backlash, the company had to change the hashtag they used.
Studying the hashtag trend you want to join in first will help you better understand what it is all about. Instagram now lets you follow particular hashtags, which makes it easier to read the conversations and familiarize yourself with the tag’s meaning.
Don’t ride too many hashtag trends at the same time. Aside from looking like a spammer, the audience will see you as a confused brand. Use only 5-6 relevant hashtags to keep your post focused on the right audiences.
Your Instagram posts’ comments section can quickly become a place for heated discussions, especially when you receive negative comments about your content. Responding to these comments in a confrontational manner, like what cosmetics brand Z Palette did here, can end up turning off your followers.
— kimberly (@oakstrt) February 18, 2017
These disgruntled followers can easily post about their experience with you on social media, causing the incident to become a controversy that will negatively impact your image.
Not responding to negative comments is also a bad move. People will see you as being a snob and not valuing customers, leading them to unfollow. Aside from losing engagement, you end up cutting an important source of feedback. Respond to the comment with apologies, and try to get them to talk to you via email or phone immediately.
Being cordial when responding to negative comments is the best way to avoid a confrontation. Keep your cool and answer each of the concerns thoroughly. Creating guidelines on how you will respond also helps, such as:
Make these guidelines known to your audiences to facilitate efficient commenting.
Brands are on Instagram mainly to promote their products or services, but being too focused on that is a bad idea. If people only see sales-related posts on your page, they lose interest in exploring it more. You end up losing both current followers and visitors who might want to see your page first before following.
This also means that your promotional posts become less effective in creating actual buyer interest. In fact, people might think negatively of your offers, seeing you as being too eager to promote them.
To use Instagram more effectively for promotions, focus on building a more engaging interaction with followers first. Help them get a better understanding of what the page is all about by providing useful niche-related information. You can also answer common questions and concerns.
Once you establish their interest, find ways to make your promotional posts engaging as well. You can, for instance, feature your products or services being used for different projects. Doing contests is another effective way to promote your products without being too salesy. These tactics encourage people to check out the products more.
Knowing how to work around and avoid Instagram marketing fails is important if you want to keep your efforts on the right track. Some of the fails to watch out for are:
Follow these reminders and other Instagram marketing strategies and you can turn your page into a popular one.
Date: January 11, 2019 / Categories: Marketing, / Author: Rich Drees