Instagram has provided businesses, both large and small, an attractive marketplace to promote their brands, engage audiences for long-term loyalty, and even sell their wares, either via their website or directly through Instagram shopping. With the rush by both users and businesses to climb aboard the Instagram bandwagon, it is natural that people try to seek out information on how to make their presence felt. Unfortunately, because the platform is relatively new and on top of is a departure from convention inasmuch it is fully image-centric; it has led to several myths becoming popular. Believing in these myths can easily sabotage your marketing campaigns, harm your brand, and waste your precious budget. Some of the top Instagram myths you should know of:
Likes Are of No Consequence Anymore
From its early days, many users of Instagram, including businesses, have competed against each other to get the maximum number of likes on their posts. The competition to acquire likes had got so intense that accounts that failed to get too many likes were considered failures. With Instagram trying to de-emphasize the importance of an “ego” statistic, it has started hiding likes in some countries. Consequently, the “likes” counter was removed from public view, and only the owner of the account could see the total number of likes and the users who liked a post. According to Forbes.com, the trial of this feature is ongoing. However, since it is being adopted in additional locations, it has given rise to a belief that it will soon become a universal change and that likes don’t matter anymore.
However, there are several reasons why you should believe this myth. Links remain an important parameter for judging if your target audience finds the posts relevant and interesting. If you get more likes, it means that your content is being appreciated and your content strategy is on-track. Engagement is still an important consideration in Instagram’s algorithm and likes still a factor in gauging engagement. Just because the likes counter cannot be seen, it does not mean that it has become irrelevant. Instagram marketers can still use likes to engage in retargeting users in ad campaigns- the conversions are likely to be better since they had shown interest earlier.
Stories Can’t Drive Sales
There is a popular belief that Instagram Stories are very effective for driving brand awareness but not too good in sales conversions. While there is no disputing the efficacy of Stories for elevating brand awareness and building relationships, there is absolutely no truth when someone says that IG Stories cannot sell. One reason for people to underestimate the power of Stories is that the product has evolved significantly since it was rolled out a few years ago and now has over 500 million viewers daily. Brands that have 10,000 followers or more can add “Swipe Up” CTAs with which users can see and click on links that take them to another website off the platform from where they can transact. Typically, you will see these clickable CTAs on Story Ads. More recently, the Shopping feature on Instagram Stories allows users to buy stuff directly from an online catalog. Instagram shopping has already been very successful in driving sales, much of it that it would not have otherwise been able to achieve.
Follower Count Is the Most Important Metric
There is a fairly widespread belief among brand managers is that they should focus most of their attention on building the largest possible follower base on Instagram. However, even though a large follower count does matter, it is of critical importance only if you are trying to pursue a career in influencer marketing. While having a large number of followers enables the brand to have a wider reach and signals that there is a lot of interest in your brand, a large follower count is not necessarily what you should be chasing on Instagram. Rather, after getting to a certain number of followers, you should be focusing more on the engagement rate. It is a metric that tells you how many of your followers are engaging with your content and an important factor in Instagram’s algorithm for assessing the quality of your content and where your posts should be placed in the newsfeeds. To jack up your engagement rate, you can buy likes for Instagram as long as they are from reputable agencies that use real Instagram followers. By using bot-based followers, you can increase your follower count, but you can be sure that your engagement rate will suffer. As a long-term strategy, it is better to implement a superior hashtag strategy or hold contests to acquire more followers and boost the rate of engagement.
The Fewer the Hashtags, the Better It Is
Nobody knows where this particular piece of misinformation came from, but most experts guess that someone extrapolated Twitter’s best practices of not using more than two hashtags per post to Instagram. However, most marketers will heave a sigh of relief to learn that the advice is nothing but a myth. Since there is no restriction on the number of characters on Instagram unlike Twitter, marketers have more flexibility. They can also hide reach-oriented hashtags at the bottom of the post under the “read more” tag. You can insert a few space lines just for safety. While Instagram allows the insertion of up to 30 hashtags, using only nine to eleven seems to be most productive for both engagement and reach maximization. Using more hashtags spoils the aesthetics of your post by creating clutter; however, you can work around this, if you want, by inserting the extra hashtags in a comment.
There is a lot of information available online on how Instagram functions and what marketers can do to maximize their ROI. It is better to rely only on reputable sources; otherwise, you run the risk of falling foul of misinformation that can lead to chaos in the implementation of your campaign. Most of the time, the myths contain an element of truth that makes them more difficult to spot, which is why you should always verify the information before taking action on it.