So last week I confessed to those of you on my email list that I had been doing an awful job of managing my own content and social media networks. I wasn't posting content often and the content I was publishing, was a mish-mash of posts without any clear strategy. I vowed to start walking my walk and following my own advice, starting with Instagram. This post is intended to give you a peek at my own Digital In the City Instagram account and to prove that even a social media strategist (*runs and hides*) can be guilty of the most common Instagram mistakes. 

Here are some of the common Instagram mistakes that I made:

A screen shot of my Instagram account as it is right now. 

A screen shot of my Instagram account as it is right now. 

1. Inconsistent posting 

As a social media strategist, this one makes me cringe because it generally implies that there is no social media plan, and as a strategist, I should really have a plan. You can see huge gaps in content in November, October and September (highlighted in orange in the picture below, eek). Why is this something to avoid? Because not only does it cut down your opportunities to connect with your audience (because there is no content for them to engage with), it is also a deterrent to new followers who scroll down your account and then choose not to follow because they think the account has been abandoned (and will therefore not give them any value).  

Instagram don'ts: Inconsistent posting

2. No clear value or promise

Early on when I was starting this business, I was simply racing to claim my usernames on all of the available social media networks, but I had no plan after that. So while I had the usernames, I hadn't taken the time to fill in the About/Bio sections. This meant that I wasn't taking advantage of key opportunities to connect with my audience and explain why they might want to follow me. Since then, I have done the following to fix that problem:

  • Explained what Digital In The City is about: "Life and Marketing for Modern Entrepreneurs".
  • Supplied users with a reason for following: "Follow to see behind the scenes of running this business" (note that this is the only social media channel where followers will get behind the scenes pics, this gives them a unique reason to follow me on Instagram, even if they are following me elsewhere). 
  • Re-iterated the kinds of topics people can expect to see if they follow my account by playfully using hashtags. Note that hashtags in your bio are not searchable, so they won't help you to get found, but it can be a great way to tell people what they might expect. It is also a great opportunity to insert your own branded hashtag, mine of course is #digitalinthecity 
  • Included a URL so that people could check out my website. Now ideally, I would send people to a specific landing page on my website (ideally with a free opt-in offer), but as I am currently rejigging things, the URL is just set to my homepage. This is currently the only place you can include a "clickable" URL, so don't miss out on this opportunity!
Instagram How-To Write a Biography

3. A mish-mash of fonts and colours

Instagram is a truly visual medium, which makes having a clunky visual identity especially bad. Now, I am not an artist, but I am very good at finding tools that make my clients' accounts look a lot more polished (Check out my list of apps for creating gorgeous content!). In general though, try to stay consistent with the tones, colours and fonts you use, and definitely don't do what I did here:

Instagram Don'ts

See the content in the orange rectangle? These look completely out of place. The font in the black quote image is kind of an eyesore (I'm not sure what I was thinking), and the cut out around the glass of wine might work for another brand but that kind of ornate, curvy detail is inconsistent with everything else I have posted. Compare those early mishaps with the more recent content that looks like this:

Instagram Do's

You can see that these three photos seem to fit together. All I did to achieve this was to decide on the fonts I was going to use moving forward (modern, san serif fonts)*, and to start consistently using only 1-2 Instagram filters so that everything had the same kind of colour tones. It also helps that I have decided on my brand colours (jewel shades of purple, orange and yellow), which makes it easier for me to look for opportunities to use those colours and/or use photo editing options on Instagram to manipulate the photos so that they all look similar.  This isn't to say that you can't experiment, but creating a mostly consistent look and feel results in a more polished presence AND it makes things easier for you because you won't need to create from scratch every time. 

* For some of you whose brand might be built on using multiple fonts, that's totally ok, but for most of us, sticking to a few fonts keeps things easy.  

P.S. Follow over on Instagram to watch as I build my account and show you how my tips and tricks play out in real life. Check it out here: Digital In The City Instagram