Are You Making This Mistake on Instagram?

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The one thing too many small business owners do wrong on Instagram...

Their content is ugly.

Ok, I feel bad saying it! But it’s true! I’m going to be Harsh but this is waaaaay too important to sugarcoat.

Content is extremely important and yet most people don't seem to get it: Instagram users have tiny attention spans and a never ending sea of great, aesthetically pleasing content out there to amuse them. In order to capture a slice of that attention and convert people into followers, customers, and clients, everything you need to communicate about your business must be said in a one-second glance. 

Instagram is a visually-based platform. So is just about every other social media out there. Nearly every "why aren't people following me?" or "why aren't my ads converting" complaint I see from businesses can be answered with one simple response: your content sucks. Your feed is ugly. No one cares about your badly-lit photographs, unplanned content, sporadic uploads, and complete unawareness of what your potential customers or clients actually want to see

Why Your Instagram Content Sucks

Reason #1 - Your Photos are Bad 

Sloppy, low-quality, barely focused, properly edited photos are not inspiring. They motivate no one to pay any attention to your business. In fact, if you can't even be bothered to learn how to take and edit a photo properly (it's not hard), why should they trust you or buy from you at all? 

There are literally millions of free photography and photo editing tutorials on the internet - whether you learn from reading (Google, Pinterest, etc), or by seeing (Youtube, Skillshare, etc), there are absolutely zero excuses. You don't need a fancy camera or editing programs. Just a good phone and a couple of free apps and you can create quality content. If it's really too much, consider hiring a photographer. 

Reason #2 - You Have No Lifestyle Angle

While I typically advise against only posting sales-related things, many stores make it work by having a strong lifestyle element to their product photographs. In other words: they don't just take a boring, sloppy picture of the product on a plain background or wherever it's sitting on the shop floor. Care and effort is put into displaying and photographing products with a strong focus on the lifestyle the products afford, as opposed to focusing on the product itself. 

You need to think about what your customers want out of your productWhat kind of lifestyle do they lead or want to lead? How does your product (or service) help them achieve that? How can you translate that into how your products are displayed and photographed?

Reason #3 - You Only EVER Post Sales-y Content

This one is a bit more complicated. On the one hand, it can make total sense to only ever post product photos, or things for sale, especially if you are a boutique that runs primarily through Instagram sales. But for that to work well I strongly believe you need to adhere to point #2 - having strong, branded photographs. 

Constantly posting content that is trying to pressure your followers into parting with their money can be off-putting, while adding in some non-"sales-y" content helps build genuine connection and thus also converts into sales (and more of them) without being pushy and confronting.

Here, the captions can play an important role: you can post a great product shot but instead of making the caption a sales pitch, you could talk about the story behind the product, your thoughts and feelings about it, or even ask your followers what they think of it. Remember, Instagram is for building a community around your business as much as it is for showing off what you've got to sell.


Ok Harsh Emily is gone now. What I really want you to be able to take away here is that content is important. And I get it, the Artistic Eye isn’t everyone’s forte. Personally I believe it is a skill that can be acquired. I have spent years engaging with art and beauty - from classical art to modern, from architecture to fashion, interior design, garden design… everything beautiful in this world. I’m obsessed. You can build taste by engaging with tasteful things. Observe and try to recreate it for yourself. If it’s really not something you enjoy or feel confident at, invest in hiring someone who can pull it off. Your business deserves it, you deserve it, and your customers certainly deserve it!