These are a few common mistakes I see small business owners in Hawaii doing with their Instagram accounts. Some are common among small businesses in general, but a few of these are "popular" because of our unique culture here in the islands. Hopefully, this list will help you identify what you could be doing to improve your IG game.
It's a fact that Instagram is growing in use (has been for a few years now) and especially in Hawaii it's really ramping up. Before businesses really began to understand the power of Instagram, IG was used to show off your personal life (like how we do on Facebook). But because of the intense focus on beautiful images, Instagram has now become a place where beautiful things can get likes, comments, and follows.
But you have to know what you're doing in order to succeed on Instagram. Big businesses usually know what they're doing because they hire social media experts, managers, and consultants. These people are trained and know what they're doing when it comes to Instagram strategy.
Unfortunately, small businesses in Hawaii often don't know what they're doing when it comes to Instagram. Local business owners don't have the time or energy to focus on learning a new skill because they've spent all their time becoming good at their business.
I see these all the time in local Hawaii Instagram accounts:
Adding personal images that have nothing to do with your business: Pictures of your family members, meals, or pets don't need to be on your business Instagram account. It's okay if this is once in a while to update your followers on changes in your life or to prove a certain point, but when your entire account starts to look like a personal Instagram account, your potential customers get confused if you're really a business or not. Confused people do not purchase because they are unsure about you. So use your best judgment when posting personal images onto your business account.
Your Instagram handle doesn't match your business name: This is related to posting personal images. I've landed on Hawaii business Instagram accounts that was a combination of the husband's and wife's names or even a nickname. This may be great for your friends to understand your business, but in order for your company to grow in Hawaii, you need to assume your new clients don't know who you are.
Unclear account descriptions: Make it very clear what your business is. When your perfect dream client lands on your Instagram account, you want your description to hit them straight through the heart. Avoid quotes and even witty/funny descriptions if it takes away from the clarity of who you help.
No link in bio: This is not as common, but I still see it once in a while for small businesses in Hawaii. If new clients can't find you, then you won't be getting any traffic from Instagram. And if you don't have a website, don't want to make one and don't want to hire someone to build it for you, then at least send your Instagram traffic to a Facebook or Yelp page.
Fuzzy pictures: Instagram is a social media platform based on eye-catching imagery. People use Instagram visually so your content needs to be visual as well. If you're finding a hard time thinking of content, search for similar businesses on the mainland or worldwide and look at what they post. Small businesses that don't have good images to post (i.e. a freelance accountant) can still post quotes, tips, resources, the work they do, images of themselves and happy clients.
Paying for an Instagram ad when your target audience doesn't use Instagram: I mostly see product ads on Instagram. But once in a while I'll come across a local business that caters to older people who are most certainly not using Instagram. Be wise about your target audience and who will see your ad.
Inconsistent branding and visuals: Your Instagram account looks way better (and more professional) when your posts look similar. This could be done with color, filters, or design. In Hawaii, we also have the added requirement of "looking local". Unfortunately, Hawaii people tend to emotionally "flag" accounts that don't feel local enough. To add a local element to your Instagram account, consider your design and copy to indicate that you are in Hawaii.
Not being human enough: Nobody likes an Instagram account that sounds robotic. Adding a little flair of your personality will really make you shine as a small business owner in Hawaii. Project yourself into your design, posts, and comments to really brand yourself in the Instagram platform.
Liking, but not commenting: This is true for all small businesses because we just don't have the time to comment on other people's posts. We're too busy trying to find the next client, closing leads, and improving people's lives. But compared to commenting, liking someone's posts means next to nothing. It won't get you leads and sales. Commenting and engaging with others will.
Using Campsite or Linktree when you don't need it: Campsite or Linktree is great for small businesses in Hawaii that already have a large following. Their fans already know about their deals, freebies, programs, etc. and know where they want to go. But if you're a small business in Hawaii and everything already lives on your website, then you're just adding another step to getting people to your page.
Compared to other cultures, Hawaii is unique. We're a small island state separated from the mainland and it's a place where everyone knows everybody. We identify as one group especially when you mention terms like "local" or "born and raised". But that's also affected the way we Instagram. Even for business, we often post to IG like we're posting on Facebook to family and friends. Don't forget that when people shop to spend money, they're usually concerned about 2 things: price and quality.
While you can't do much about price, you can do much to show that you're the expert people need to invest in. Own your business IG account and make it professional with a dash of humanity to make you real. By showcasing that you are the best choice, you create a higher conversion rate for yourself and your business.
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