7 Instagram Marketing “No-Nos” (Backed by Science!)

a sponsored instagram ad from Brookhaven Boutique featuring a woman in a blue leather jacket and blue pants on a blue background.

Whether you’re trying to grow your own influencer account on Instagram or using it as a marketing tool to drive sales, Instagram is one of the most powerful social media tools at your disposal.

That may be because, according to Instagram, 90% of users on the platform follow at least one brand or business. Not only that, but one study estimates over 35% of decision-makers use Instagram to inform their B2B purchasing decisions too—even more than Linkedin.

That makes a powerful argument for selling on Instagram! But if you don’t know what you’re doing, Instagram marketing can also be frustrating, discouraging, and overwhelming.

Many social media marketers spend hours each week planning a perfect Instagram, only to see discouragingly small growth and engagement numbers.

To remedy this all-too-common issue marketers face, we’ll use well-known psychological studies and more recent Instagram marketing science to reveal 7 “No-No”s when it comes to your Instagram marketing.

If you’re routinely committing any of the Instagram “sins” we mention below, dive deeper into your own engagement and follower data and consider dropping these bad habits.

No-No #1: You’re a Little Too Polished

The reason people love Instagram is because it provides a visual window into the life of a person or brand they’re interested in.

And while it’s pretty clear that no one is 100% honest or transparent on social media all the time, studies show that keeping things genuine will boost consumer trust and even sales or engagement.

Cialdini’s principle of social proof reminds us that we are more inclined to take an action if people who seem similar to us have taken that same action.

One study found users were more likely to follow an Instagram account that posted images of featured customers to their account.

What does this mean for your Instagram account? Here are a few things to consider:

  • Avoid highly photoshopped images, opting instead for real-life images of people
  • Avoid too many images with text or graphic design elements; users come to Instagram for images
  • Include images of people who resemble your target audience. The more your followers “see themselves” using your product, the better.

No-No #2: You’re Unpredictable & Infrequent

Few companies have the luxury of hiring a full-time Instagram marketer. And few influencers have the luxury of working on their account full-time!

All of this leads to one simple truth: none of us have as much time to post on Instagram as we want to.

Unfortunately, for many of us, this can lead to unpredictable posting schedules and large gaps in our posting calendar.

But beware: science shows that the most successful Instagram accounts post frequently and consistently.

In our own study of over 100,000 Instagram users, we found the more often you post on Instagram, the more likes and followers you gain.

Our findings suggest that accounts who post at least once per day, seven days per week, grow their following significantly faster than accounts who post less than seven times in a week.

Frequency leads to high engagement, which the Instagram algorithm loves, rewarding your account with even more engagement and followers.

Consider scheduling out your Instagram posts in order to get ahead of your own schedule and keep up the consistency!

And if you can’t quite manage to post on a daily basis yet, don’t worry: there’s also a strong positive correlation between consistent posting and account growth.

One study found that accounts who were more consistent and predictable in their posting saw an increase in followers and engagement.

And Tailwind can help! Create unique Instagram posts, visually plan a scroll-stopping feed, and set a schedule to keep you rhythmic and consistent while posting at peak times of engagement!

No-No #3: You’ve Got a Static Bio

When one of your hard-earned followers actually wants to learn more about you or even purchase something you have for sale, can they do it easily?

The default behavior for Instagrammers is to put a “link in bio” (a long-used work-around for Instagrams “no links in captions” rule).

But many big accounts don’t utilize their Instagram bio to convert followers into customers!

And while research shows no correlation between your bio’s length and the number of followers you have, if your bio never changes and your bio link is never updated you’re missing out on some big opportunities. 

We recommend implementing Smart.bio to house one link that auto-updates with all your content as it goes live!

No-No #4: You’re Not Leveraging Instagram Stories

You may not include Instagram Stories in your Instagram marketing strategy. According to the most recent data, that’s a big mistake.

According to a Facebook-commissions survey, 58% of users who watch stories at least once per week say they have become more interested in a company or product after seeing something about it in Stories. 

Not only that, but the same report claims 50% of people surveyed admitted to having made a website purchase after seeing a product or service in Stories.

Instagram Stories are a huge opportunity for social marketers. Instead of turning a blind eye to this growing trend, we suggest you dive in with both feet.

If you’re short on time, consider using an Instagram Stories background template in Tailwind Create to get started. You can then seamlessly schedule your Story creation and post with a push notification!

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No-No #5: You’re Asking Too Much; and Giving too Little

Years ago, a university professor was featured on NPR for his experimentation with the Rule of Reciprocity.

In essence, here’s what happened:

The professor sent out 600 holiday cards to complete strangers at Christmastime. As a result, he got 200 holiday cards back from these same strangers. That’s a 33% reciprocity rate.

So what does this humorous study mean for your Instagram account?

If you’re asking for a sale, a like, or a follow too often without giving back to your community, then you’re working too hard in the wrong direction.

Social Media expert Gary Vaynerchuk calls this “jabbing” more than taking a “right hook.”

Instead, try this: for 2 weeks, just follow people in your target audience, comment on their photos, complement their posts, and give away free stuff if you can afford it in an Instagram giveaway (free digital products with no strings attached or free swag like stickers or t-shirts).

Then sit back and watch the law of reciprocity go to work for you. You’ll be amazed at the goodwill, followers, and engagement you’ll generate.

No-No #6: You’re making too many cold pitches

Along the same lines as sin #5, if you’re asking for the sale too many times on your Instagram account, you’ll find yourself with a decline in followers and low engagement. 

To reduce follower loss and increase sales,  it’s important that you’ve appropriately prepared your audience long before you ask them to get out their credit cards.

In other words, you’ve got to warm up your leads. This all starts by getting your “foot in the door.”

One study on the foot-in-the-door strategy performed in the 60s aimed to see how many homemakers would allow a visitor to enter their home and observe their cleaning habits (a rather large commitment). 

Three days prior to their request, researchers telephoned 50% of participants to ask a few questions about their cleaning supplies.The women who responded positively to the initial telephone call (foot in the door) were 2x more likely to respond positively to the second request.What does this mean for your Instagram account?

Start with small requests (share a post with a friend, tag a friend in the comments) and work your way up to larger requests (purchase my product, sign up for my service, schedule an appointment).

The idea is to leverage the “foot in the door” strategy to your advantage to generate more eventual sales by building trust.

No-No #7: You’re Not Repeating Yourself Enough

You might think it’s annoying to your followers for you to post about the same things over and over again.Research shows just the opposite.

One researcher showed this by displaying a series of foreign characters to a group of participants and asked them to assign meaning to each symbol. Over time, the participants began to assign more favorable meanings to the symbols they saw more often. 

Another pair of scientists displayed just how strong repetition can be when they showed their participants an octagon for only milliseconds among other shapes.

After a short time, they found that participants “developed strong preferences for objects that have become familiar through repeated exposures” even if those objects were not immediately recognizable.

In layman terms: people begin to like things they’ve seen a lot.

Even if they’re just momentarily scrolling past you in their Instagram feed, that repetition can be the difference between your audience recalling you or your competition when the time comes for a purchase.

Putting all this “science” to good use

To wrap this up, allow us to offer some advice about following science and social media marketing tips.

Things change fast. Every account is different. Every audience is different.

And while many of these tactics will work well for most people, there may be some here that are a total flop for you. That’s okay!

The idea is to test as many things as possible, find out what works for you, continue to iterate, learn, and grow. 

That’s the fun of social media marketing. And if we here at Tailwind can help along the way, that’s what we’re here for. Go get ‘em!

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Instagram marketing doesn't have to be rocket science - especially with these study-backed strategies to help you grow your account!

How to Add Music to Instagram Stories

A view of music list choices inside the Instagram Stories music sticker on a purple background.

Who remembers the nostalgic days on MySpace when you’d Google HTML codes to add features like hearts, custom background colors, and free-falling bananas on your page? (Okay, maybe the bananas belonged to my skateboarding middle school crush!)

Most importantly, you’d also pick out the song that would play whenever someone clicked on your profile. And it would show just how trendy and/or angsty your teenage self was feeling at the time. And ooooh, would it set the mood of your page!

Music streaming evokes memories, feelings, and ideas in your audience. It also shows creativity in a way that incites emotion! And sweet cheese and crackers, now you can add music on your Instagram Story, effectively taking your audience’s experience with your content to the next level.

And the best part is you’re not limited to one dramatic My Chemical Romance song, like in the days of MySpace! You can share many different songs depending on the mood you’re going for.

Okay, enough about Myspace. Suppose you’ve been wondering how to share music on your Instagram Stories, whether through the music sticker or another app like Spotify and SoundCloud.

Or maybe you’ve had troubles with the music feature and can’t get it to work. Well, why don’t you come with me to learn how to do all these things (on a magic carpet ride… )

And as always, there will be screenshots to show you this whole new world.

How to Customize and Add Music in an Instagram Story

There are a few different ways you can share your favorite songs through Instagram Stories music. The first and most common is uploading a Story background and adding an Instagram Stories sticker.

So, let’s break down how to add music to an Instagram Story through the music sticker.

1. Open your Instagram Stories camera, and upload a video or photo from your camera roll. 

2. Swipe up and click the MUSIC sticker.

This will give you access to thousands of songs through Instagram’s music library to choose from*, whether it’s on the “For You” tab, browsing by category, or searching for a song title in the search bar!

*Because of copyright laws, having a Business account limits your music options, which we’ll get into later.

3. Once you’ve selected a song, you can choose which portion of the song you’d like to be played to make sure you have just the right beat drop.

You can even tweak how long you’d like the clip to be, ranging from 1-15 seconds.

To make your music choice even more expressive and unique to your account, you can also choose different fonts and colors for the lyrics to display!  

a view of different text options for Instagram music sticker lyrics

Or, you can forgo the typography and stick to one of the two music sticker options that’ll have the song’s name, artist, and album cover.

These options allow you to add music in a way that sticks to your account’s aesthetic and your personal branding, which is pretty darn neat!

Now, let’s say you have a killer song that isn’t offered in Instagram’s music library, but you want to share it with the world?

That may be quite the pickle, but have no fear; we’ll tackle that together in the next section!

Did you know that you can plan, schedule, and post Instagram Stories with Tailwind’s Smart Marketing Assistant? Browse hundreds of Instagram Story background templates personalized to your brand in Tailwind Create, pick your favorites, and schedule them for the times when your Instagram followers are more active.

With handy push notifications, you can decorate your Instagram Story with all the stickers your heart desires, including the Instagram Music Sticker before sending your Story live! Try it out now and be prepared for amazement!

How to Add Music to Instagram Stories Without the Sticker

You can also add music to your Instagram Stories through the SoundCloud and Spotify app! While these options won’t directly play the music in your Stories, you can still share the song and album cover, and if someone clicks on the link, they’ll be taken to the respective app to listen. 

Easy peasy, right? Right. *Cue finger guns*

Related Reading: 5 Ways to Spark Endless Engagement with Instagram Stories

Adding a Song From Spotify or SoundCloud to Instagram Stories

Now, let’s go over how to add a link to your Instagram Story where music is concerned. Both Spotify and SoundCloud have the same steps for sharing a song to Instagram Stories. I’ll show you how to do it with screenshots in Spotify!

Step One: Open the Spotify or SoundCloud app. 

Step Two: Find the song title. You know, the one your heart wants to share with the world.

Step Three: Tap the ellipses icon at the top right corner.

Step Four: Scroll down and click Share.

Step Five: Press the Instagram icon, then, post it. And, voila, it’s ready to be shared in your Stories.

Just like that, your audience will be on the magic carpet ride to your intended mood. 

But, what if you’re still not able to share music in your Instagram Stories?

Don’t worry, friend, take my hand, and we’ll troubleshoot common issues Instagram users experience with the music sticker below!

Sharing Music to Instagram from Spotify

Why You Can’t Add Music to Your Instagram Story

Let’s say you followed all the steps, and you either don’t have the music sticker, or you can’t find specific songs you may have already seen in other stories. What then?

The most common reason the music sticker may not work is that this feature is only offered in the following select countries: Australia, Canada, Germany, France, New Zealand, Sweden, the UK, and the US.

If you live in one of those countries and it’s still not working, here are a couple more tips…

Update your app to the latest version. Not keeping your app up-to-date can cause glitches and things not to work correctly.

If most songs you want to share aren’t available, then it may be because you have an Instagram business account

Here’s what Instagram has to say about it:

“Based on these agreements, which are designed to protect artists, songwriters, and their works, many accounts have access to our licensed music library, but certain business accounts do not.”


Because of copyright laws and agreements, only royalty-free songs are available to most business accounts. Meaning, many popular and trendy songs won’t be offered unless you have an Instagram Creator account or a personal account.

However, all business accounts still have access to the Facebook Sound Collection of 9,000 royalty-free songs and sounds!

If you’re in one of the countries where this feature is offered, you have a creator account, and it’s still not working, then you can email Instagram’s Help Center at: [email protected]

Inspiring Creativity with Instagram Stories Music

Music is a gateway to the soul. It can broadcast your authentic personality and what you’re trying to say creatively. It can also give your audience a sneak peek into who you are and what you like.

Music also enhances emotions and moods, giving your Instagram Story added depth and meaning. 

So basically, it can give you an entirely new and memorable way to connect with your followers and enhance your engagement! 

Whether it’s showing them a portion of your new favorite song, or bonding over nostalgic lyrics, music gives you another window to connect with and make an imprint on your audience.

Plus, if you tag the band/artist, there’s always a chance for a re-share!

So, how do you share music in Instagram Stories? Let me know below!

Until next time, cool cats.

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 A step-by-step guide on how to add music to Instagram stories with and without the app sticker. Along with troubleshooting for most common user issues.