Social media is just as much a part of your marketing strategy as your email newsletter, so give it the serious thought and strategy it deserves. You can avoid embarrassing gaffes and create the brand awareness and conversions you have your eye on by following a few best practices.

Here are seven pitfalls you’ll want to avoid to maximize the time you are spending on social media.

You’re being inconsistent

Inconsistency can take (at least) two forms on Instagram. For one, it could look like you post once every three months or you go through a week of posting every day but then don’t post for a month. Posting every day might not be realistic (or necessary) for your brand, but set an informal schedule for yourself — say, two or three times a week — and stick to it. Another form of inconsistency is brand inconsistency. Some days your posts are super-positive and other days your voice is caustic and sarcastic. Define a clear brand voice and stick to it.

You’re not taking advantage of Instagram Stories

There are nearly 500 million active users on Instagram Stories. You don’t want to miss out on that large of a platform. Plus, more users these days are interacting with Stories than they are with the static posts in your feed. But beyond that, IG Stories are a great way to humanize your brand, and they can be a lighter lift because you don’t need to create overly-polished content for this platform. A fun tactic is to have your instructors take turns hosting a Stories takeover — have each of them take a day to share what a day in their life looks like. 

You’re not scheduling out your content

This is mostly for your sanity’s sake. Ideally, you want as much of your social media to be set-it-and-forget-it — you batch the content creation once at the beginning of the week and schedule it out. This way, it’s one more thing off your to-do list and you’re not scrambling day-of to find something to post. It’s also a great way to look ahead and see what kind of content needs you might have and address them proactively. Is National Burpee Day coming up? You’ll want to film an instructor or client doing burpees or create a burpee challenge, and these are things you’ll want to plan for.

You have too much self-promotion

This one may sound counterproductive. After all, how are you going to gain visibility and traction for your brand if you don’t promote it? Of course, you’ll want to have some self-promotion, but an ideal content mix for your brand could look like photos and videos of your studio and instructors, user-generated content from your clients and depending on your brand’s voice, memes or graphics that resonate with your ideal audience.

Your content is too aspirational

You should absolutely go ahead and schedule that photoshoot with your instructors and staff to get great content. But gone are the days of nothing but posed, perfect content. Your followers want to see you. They want to see what’s happening in the studio when a photographer isn’t there and your people aren’t in makeup with their hair done. They want to see the sweat, and they want to see what it will really be like when they come in. An analysis showed that polished videos actually had lower engagement, so save your time and money.

You’re only showing one type of person

A thin, attractive blonde woman might be part of your clientele, but there are also plenty of clients who don’t look like her — and they might feel put off not seeing people who look like them represented on your Instagram feed. This could mean anything from showcasing different races, ages, orientations and body shapes. Diversity and inclusivity are key.

You bought followers

Your investors might be asking to see certain follower counts for social proof, but these purchased followers will do nothing for your brand. Since they’re not actually engaging with your content, they’re not helping with either brand awareness or conversions, which are likely your top goals on Instagram. And whatever you do — steer away from purchasing bot comments.  

Follow these tips to maximize your presence on Instagram and boost your social media following. For more marketing advice, subscribe to our After Class newsletter.