10 Things Small Businesses Need Instagram to Fix
If you promote your business on Instagram, you’ve probably pulled out your hair at least once.
But Instagram isn’t making it easy on me. The more I use their app, the more little annoying things I notice — and the more they add up to a massive headache. Here are 10 things I can’t believe I have to point out that Instagram should fix:
1. You can’t save multi-image posts as drafts. Seriously. How is this not possible. If anything, it should be the other way around: multi-image posts require more editing, so there’s more work to lose if you can’t save a draft! Even worse, Instagram is so unreliable when it comes to preserving its app state that if you switch to a different app and then back to Instagram, your work is usually gone.
2. When you create a multi-image post, any image after the first that isn’t square automatically gets cropped. To fix this, you have to open each image in the “adjust” tool and uncrop it. Please, Instagram, can you at least crop each image in a multi-image post the same way as the first image?
3. You can’t post from anything but the Instagram app on your phone. Maybe this is just part of Instagram’s overall strategy to blatantly copy Snapchat, but this is a detail that has no discernible purpose. Anyone trying to build a presence on Instagram knows how important it is to get captions and hashtags right. Managing hashtag collections is pretty essential, and copy/pasting on a phone is not designed to be done on a daily basis. Working within a text field that doesn’t expand as you type in it makes this all the more infuriating. Instagram’s API is so limiting that even the services that let you schedule posts can’t post on your behalf—they just send you a reminder to post at the “scheduled” time.
4. You can’t save draft posts if you run multiple accounts. Ok, technically, you can, but Instagram bleeds drafts like crazy when you switch between multiple accounts. I’ve lost so many draft posts this way. How is it not possible to make a drafts feature that actually works? This is basic stuff!
5. You can’t put line breaks in captions. This is perhaps the annoyance I understand least. What possible benefit is there in forcing people to fill their posts with random periods or symbols when they want a line break? On a platform known for beautiful content, this is remarkably un-aesthetic. It seems to me that were line breaks possible, people would actually use fewer of them than they currently force with the period strategy. This is a case of behavior restriction leading to even worse behavior.
6. If you change your handle, the change is not implemented universally. Photos you’re tagged in will display the new handle and stay linked to your account. But captions and comments you’re tagged in will keep your old, non-functional handle. I understand the difference between link-based and text-based tags, but I don’t see why Instagram couldn’t make text @ mentions more functional. Beyond keeping older tags from making your account more discoverable, it’s just plain sad to think about the legions of needlessly-defunct handles scattered across Instagram.
7. Autocomplete hashtag suggestions sometimes display wildly inaccurate usage numbers. Again, hashtags are essential to Instagram promotion, and anyone giving advice about using them to generate followers and engagement will advise you to stay away from hashtags with tens of millions of uses, because your posts will instantly be buried. Likewise, you shouldn’t use hashtags that have fewer than 1,000 uses because no one will be searching for them. But if you can’t trust the numbers Instagram is displaying for the hashtag you’re about to use, what’s the point?
8. You can’t search for multiple hashtags. My hub account appeals to a pretty niche market — people who want to see teal things in Philadelphia. I’m always looking for posts to feature, and it’s really disappointing that I can’t just search for “#teal #philly.” Likewise, it sure would be handy for niche accounts if people could find you by searching for several keywords. The same goes for finding inspiration or potential collaborators. From a technical standpoint, this would be SO easy to implement.
9. Instagram is picky and unclear about connecting to Facebook. When I created an Instagram account for my freelance business, I naturally wanted to link it to the Facebook Page for my business, which is in fact required in order to have a business profile on Instagram. But even though my Facebook account was linked to Instagram, it wouldn’t display my Page, and gave me no information about why. Reloading the app, unlinking and relinking Facebook, and even deleting and re-installing Instagram had no effect. I eventually tried unlinking Facebook from the other Instagram account it was linked to, my personal one, and that finally got my page to show up. Is it too much to ask to have my personal Facebook account linked to my personal Instagram and my business Page linked to my business Instagram? Or at least an explanation that this is not possible? By the way, I later encountered another page load error while setting up my business Instagram.
10. There’s no way to permanently get rid of the ribbon urging you to enable notifications (among other annoying ribbons). Come on, Instagram. Ask me once; shame on me. Ask me 50,000 times; shame on you. If you intend to build a presence on Instagram, you don’t want to be notified of every little like that comes in. Even when you have a very modest following, nobody needs 50 notifications per day saying that someone tapped a button on their phone. Please just let me disable this once and for all so it doesn’t take up precious screen real estate.
11. Bonus: that one time about a month ago when an update broke the app so badly it couldn’t even open without crashing.
I’m not sure what’s going on over at Instagram, but there are some serious (and less serious) issues that could really use some attention.
I work as a one-man creative agency for small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals — doing design, photography, writing, you name it! I originally published this piece on www.ericdalecreative.com, where I blog about my self-employment journey to help other freelancers. Celebrate or commiserate by clapping or commenting. Or send me an email to collaborate!