Stop sabotaging your sales on Instagram: 5 common selling mistakes you need to avoid

Since it first launched, Instagram has become one of the most effective social media platforms for businesses to market and sell their products and services. When done effectively, selling on Instagram can be very lucrative, allowing you to earn multiple thousands of dollars per month, even if you have fewer than a thousand followers. With that being said, not all businesses succeed in selling on Instagram and many are quick to blame it on social media not working for them when in fact, the reason they aren’t successfully getting new clients and customers is that they’re making one or more of the following mistakes.

1. Their copywriting sucks

It doesn’t matter if you have 10 followers or 10,000 followers, if your copywriting sucks, your not going to make sales on Instagram. This is a mistake I see really often. The business’ messaging is very vague and as a result, they’re not resonating with their target market. 

The most common reason for poor copywriting is that businesses don’t have a clear understanding of their ideal client or customer. Click here to learn more about defining your ideal client and why this should be the first step you take when marketing your business on Instagram. Essentially you want to have a deep understanding of this person’s demographic and psychographic information. The more specific you can be the easier you’ll be able to tailor your marketing message to this person and the higher the chance you’ll actually be able to convert them into paying clients and customers. 

In addition to understanding your ideal customer, you also need to be able to create copy that showcases your product in a unique and interesting way, including a call to action that drives people to take the next steps and buy from you. This is something I spend a lot of time working on with my agency clients as well as my coaching clients because it’s one of the most important factors to get right when it comes to effective selling on Instagram.

2. They’re cold selling in the DMs 🤮

The next mistake I see people make when selling on Instagram is they try to cold-sell in the DMs. This is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves and one of the quickest ways to turn people off buying from you! 

Don’t get me wrong, direct messages can certainly be a great way to connect with potential customers and clients on Instagram, but sending a cold direct message to someone you’ve never interacted with before is really off-putting. 

This happened to me again recently. Someone reached out to me who was also in the business coaching space. They liked one of my Instagram reels and then sent me a DM that went something like this “Hey, love your content. Just wanted to let you know” To which I responded thank you and that I was glad to hear they were finding value in my content.” At this point, I was already on guard as their initial message was very vague and they didn’t mention anything specific about the content I share. This could easily have been a message that was copied and pasted to many different accounts. They proceeded to start asking questions including how long I’d been in the industry and what led me to the industry in the first place. I made small talk for a couple of messages and then BAM, I was hit with “Are you looking for new clients” and further messages about joining their online community. Massive turn-off. 

Now if this person had taken the time to actually build a relationship with me prior to this initial encounter, the conversation could have gone quite differently. As I said earlier, direct messages can be a great way to connect with potential customers and clients however sending these cold-pitch-style messages without warming people first up, is almost never effective. 

It’s important to build a relationship with your audience before trying to sell to them. This can be done by engaging with their posts, commenting on their stories, and offering them helpful information without expecting something in return.

3. They use fake scarcity

The next mistake people make when selling on Instagram is that they create fake scarcity. While creating a sense of urgency can be a powerful selling tool, fake scarcity can actually hurt your brand’s reputation. The fastest way to create distrust amongst your audience is to use false claims about limited availability, stock or time-sensitive offers. As business owners, it’s important to be ethical, honest and transparent with your customers if you want to be successful in the long term.

4. They ignore analytics

The fourth mistake people make when selling on Instagram is that they ignore their analytics. Instagram gives you access to some really valuable insights about your audience, content and engagement. Regularly checking and analysing this data is essential to effectively converting sales on Instagram. 

You can determine what content is working for you and what your audience is engaging with as well as what’s not working so well so you can adapt your strategy moving forward. You also have access to information about when your audience is most active on the platform so you can post content when you know that the majority of them will see it.

5. They oversell and spam their audience

The fifth selling mistake I see people make on Instagram is that they spam their audience with sales messages. This is often accompanied by a desperate energy that people can sense from a mile away. Think of it like this, imagine you’re in a relationship and your partner is super clingy. They don’t give you any space and you feel like they’re over your shoulder all the time. It feels super suffocating and ultimately makes you want to run, right? 

The same is true when it comes to selling your offer on Instagram. If you are always in people’s faces trying to sell, sell, sell without adding any value, this will actually repel your audience and really turn people off buying from you. There has to be a balance between selling your offer and delivering value to your audience. A great book I can recommend is Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary perfectly explains the balance between adding value and selling in your content which is essential for converting sales on Instagram. 

So, here’s the key takeaway; selling on Instagram can be very lucrative but it requires businesses to be ethical and avoid certain mistakes. By focusing on creating engaging copy that speaks to their ideal customer, building relationships rather than cold-selling, being honest and transparent with their audience, analysing their analytics, and finding the right balance between selling and adding value businesses can greatly increase their success with selling Instagram.

If you found value in this post and want to learn more about how you can work 1:1 with me to master Instagram marketing so you can reach more dream clients and customers, without the overwhelm, click here to apply for a free strategy call with me where we can chat more about what it would look like to work together!

Craving more? Click here to read my thoughts on Meta Verified and whether paying for Instagram’s blue tick is worth it for businesses. 


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