5 things to avoid on your company’s Instagram account

Instagram do's for your businessAs we’ve discussed in recent articles, image-based social networking tool Instagram can be extremely helpful in terms of attracting attention to your business, strengthening customer relationships and building brand loyalty.

However, as with all social media sites, there is a series of “don’ts” associated with corporate Instagram accounts that companies of all sizes would do well to follow.

Here’s 5 Instagram Don’ts

1) Don’t photograph people without their permission

This should go without saying, but in a world when “Snap now, think later” seems to be the prevailing approach, it’s important to remember that not all of your customers – even those who visit your establishment regularly – will be comfortable with the idea of you taking photos of them to post online. Their reluctance could stem from any number of reasons, but when it comes down to it, the specifics don’t matter: If you truly respect your customers, then you’ll acknowledge their right to agree or decline to appear on your social networking accounts, website or other promotional collateral, and you will accept their wishes whatever they choose.

2) Don’t cast your company in a negative light

Again, this might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times someone has posted a photo online without realizing what’s in the background or at the edge of the frame. For instance, if you post a snap of your restaurant’s newly cleaned kitchen, make sure your employees didn’t skip the grease on the backsplash. It shouldn’t be surprising to people that the kitchen gets messy over the course of the evening, but your followers don’t need to see that for themselves.

3) Don’t compromise your employees’ personal information

Typically, staff members go by their first names only, so if some of your employees pose for a photo that’s going to be posted on your corporate Instagram, keep this expectation of privacy in mind when you’re crafting a caption. It’s also best to avoid tagging them in the image if you happen to know their usernames – otherwise, everything they post on their personal accounts will reflect on your brand, and not always in positive ways.

4) Don’t put your business’s security in jeopardy

There’s nothing wrong with posting a snap of employees smiling in the break room or sitting in the office – as long as you take note of what’s around them. Is there a sign on the wall that lists the password to your company’s Wi-Fi network? What about the safe toward the back of the room that may as well be an ad for thieves looking to target your business? Remember, you control what you post on your company’s social networking accounts – make sure you don’t unwittingly beam out information to the world that should be kept private.

5) Don’t alienate your audience

Chances are, you’ve worked hard to build up your Instagram follower base, but unfortunately, there are plenty of ways to alienate your audience. These vary from posting polarizing content (for instance, it’s probably best to steer clear of sharing political statements and other controversial opinions) to making a big deal about an “in-joke” that your employees might understand but the majority of your audience probably won’t. Ultimately, your followers should feel as if they’re part of a community – the community built around your brand – so the action of posting any exclusionary content is in diametric opposition to establishing this sense of belonging.

When it comes to cultivating and maintaining a social media presence for your company, always rely on your common sense. Don’t fall into the “Snap now, think later” mentality mentioned above and think hard about what each image will say about your brand before hitting the “Post” button.

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