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To Attract Clients From Instagram You Need To Do More Than Post Pretty Photos

I have always been a big lover of Instagram and don’t even want to think about the amount of time I’ve wasted scrolling through images of dachshunds dressed as hot dogs or painfully trying to capture an image of my avocado on sourdough toast. As fun as this all was, when it came to launching my business, I knew I’d have to start taking the platform a bit more seriously.

My first attempt at using Instagram for business was a ‘throw anything and everything at it and pray that something will stick,’ kinda approach.

Spoiler alert; this doesn’t work.

With each week I was only gaining a handful of new followers and it was doing nothing for me in terms of attracting new clients and getting visitors to my site. I love Instagram, but any social media is a huge suck of time when you have a business to run. I knew that I needed to get strategic if I wanted the platform to be worth its while.

I started to study brands I admired that were using Instagram well to gain huge followings and build brand awareness and I soon realized that when it came to my own account, I was making many mistakes. So, I got super savvy in what I posted and how I engaged on the platform and in just over six months, I’ve grown my following to over 10k followers.

This has dramatically grown my client base. Not only that, but I’ve formed new business relationships, have been offered guest speaking opportunities and have been invited to exciting events (hello New York Fashion week!) as a result of the platform.

I want to save you the time of making some of the blunders I did in those early days so here is my Top Ten Instagram Mistakes.

#1 Not engaging

Ok, so this one is HUGE and I see this all the time with my clients. You can post away to your hearts content but if you are not connecting with your audience in some way and creating discussion or telling a story then chances are, people won’t stick around for long.

FYI; ‘likes’ don’t constitute engagement. You can get a hundred likes on an image but this doesn’t necessarily mean that people have connected with you and your brand. Chances are, they may have not even visited your feed.

Engagement is about building relationships and a community on the platform. Commenting on other accounts within your niche, inviting people to comment on yours. Its about asking questions and answering questions on other feeds, being both interesting and interested.

[Tweet “Don’t waste your one opportunity to link to your site in your #Instagram bio.”]

#2 Not utilizing your one clickable link

Instagram is a meanie when it comes to clickable links so don’t waste your one opportunity to link to your site in your bio.

If you are promoting a particular product or service, it’s a good idea to change that link so it directs your followers straight to where you want them to go, rather than just your homepage.

With any business, building your email list is key so creating a landing page with an opt in and lead magnet is a good idea. You can then link to this landing page in your bio.

If you don’t yet have a full website but are starting to build up a following on Instagram for your brand, a landing page with subscriber opt in is particularly important as it gives you a place to direct your followers who can then opt in and be notified of your launch.

#3 Not using the proper #hashtags

A little heads up: #cute isn’t going to cut it. You need to do your research and find out what hashtags other successful Instagrammers within your niche are using.

Tip: Too many hashtags may seem spammy. Resolve this by adding your hashtags afterwards in your comments. As people comment, your earlier comment will become invisible but your hashtags will still remain and people will still be able to find you via those hashtags.

#4 Not posting content that invites discussion

Following on from point #1 about engagement, you want to post content that stimulates discussion. Quotes are great for this as people really resonate with them. I find most of my engagement comes from the quotes that I post.

Ask questions in your image itself or in your image commentary. Try and keep the focus around a subject related to your niche so that you are attracting the right type of audience.

Apps such as Word Swag are great for creating your own quotes and graphics.

[Tweet “##Instagram #Tip: Too many hashtags may seem spammy. Resolve this by adding your hashtags afterwards in your comments.”]

#5 Not asking people to ‘tag’ a friend

Posting an image and asking your audience to tag a friend is a great way to extend your reach. I have done this many times, posting inspirational quotes then asking my followers to ‘tag a boss woman that inspires them’. Chances are, when their friend hops on over to your feed, you will have gained a new follower in the process.

#6 Not being consistent with your feed

Instagram is more than your latest photos. It’s a photo reel that should, when you scroll down, be consistent.

I’m pretty anal when it comes to consistency with my feed and tend to keep my theme clean and pretty much monochrome. I’ve found that this really helps stamp my brand identity and my feed is easily identifiable.

Try and stick with a consistent colour scheme, filter or pattern or be consistent with your fonts. If you are building a business, you are building a brand and you want your feed to stand out and be instantly recognizable.

#7 Not being human

For ages, I resisted on posting anything too personal on my business account. I then posted an image of my boyfriend and I to thank him for how much he has supported me since I launched The Clique. Its still one of my most liked and commented on images and it has done wonders for my business as it has allowed my audience to get to know me better. When you are in a client based industry, this is particularly important as people buy into you as much as what you offer.

I’m not saying you need to post your entire holiday album, but every now and then, share something a bit more intimate and allow your personality to shine through rather than being a faceless brand.

#8 Not providing enough value to your ideal audience

Your Instagram needs to provide some sort of value related to whatever it is you sell. Your content needs to attract the attention of your ideal audience and make them want to find out more. There is no point in posting a whole stream of cupcakes if you are a marketer, nor do you want to be posting yoga tips if you gig is wedding photography.

What is your core business and how can you display your expertise/dominance within that niche?

#9 Not asking for feedback

Not only is Instagram a great marketing tool for attracting clients, but its also a good way to assess whether what you are doing so far in your business is working. Bring your audience on board (again, it’s the point about engagement) and ask them for their opinion. It could be about what they want your business to do more of, what they don’t like or it could be on something specific such as designs for a new logo.

By including them in these decisions, you are making them feel like they are a part of the brand and will encourage them to keep coming back for more. A person is far more likely to buy when they’ve been involved in the decision making process of the business.

#10 Not reaching out to other influential Instagrammers

Collaborating with and supporting other Instagrammers/businesses can be an incredibly powerful way to extend your reach.

Promoting another business on Instagram can often leading to them promoting you in return. I’ve experienced this when I have interviewed female entrepreneurs on The Clique and we have then re-grammed each other’s content with links back to each others feeds. Her followers become mine and vice versa.

Identify others within your niche who you would like to reach out to and think of ways in which you could help each other out.

Although many brands now pay influential instagrammers to promote their products, a mutually beneficial arrangement where you promote each other because you both love and respect what they other is doing can be far more powerful than someone posting just because they are getting paid to do so.

[Tweet “Collaborating with and supporting other #Instagrammers / businesses can be an incredibly powerful way to extend your reach.”]

I love using Instagram for business and it will continue to be my platform of choice and if you want it to work for you; you have to make engagement your priority. May people excited for what you have to share, let your feed tell a story and with every picture you post, ask yourself whether it is consistent with your brand message and theme.

Dani Watson is a business and lifestyle strategist and founder of The Clique ( a platform to help women build their empires and bring their A-game. She loves social media marketing, yoga and coffee, although on a Friday she prefers her Espresso in a martini. You can find her hanging out on Instagram (@we_are_the_clique), vlogging on her Youtube channel and posting actionable business advice on Facebook (