If you’re a marketer, an agency, or a solopreneur, nearly everyone you know these days is spending less and less time on Facebook, while spending more and more time on Instagram.

Why? Because Instagram is designed to help people do one simple thing: connect with others in a visual, personal way.

No “fake” news!

No “real” news either!!

And, as a bonus, no political text rants!!!

Yet if you’ve been on Instagram long enough, you’ve probably noticed something nefarious showing up more and more on your feed.

No, I’m not talking about those pesky “stories” that aren’t really stories at all but rather photos with text on them. (Of course, if you’re using Instagram Stories the right way, they can be pretty freaking cool… and highly effective at doing one thing well: connecting with people.)

What I’m talking about is something so annoying—a practice bleeding over from Facebook—it should be banned…

It’s the #1 thing that most brands are completely screwing up, yet it’s the easiest to fix…

What is it? What’s the #1 Instagram tip for brands?

Stop selling on Instagram.

Here’s why…

Unless you have an impulse purchase product—less than $10 for someone who makes $25k/year, less than $100 for someone who makes $250k/year—you should use Instagram only for branding, not marketing.

What’s the difference?

Branding is building connections and awareness with people. It’s the first time you meet someone and try to figure out whether or not you like them. It’s finding out their core values, who they really are—NOT what they can do for you.

As a brand, people don’t want anything you have to offer until they feel like they know you (and like you) to some extent.

That’s what branding is all about.

Marketing is the dating relationship. Rarely do people fall in love at first site. In the case of branding, if you’re a nomad who’s been living in the desert for the past decade, falling in love at first sight would be akin to seeing an iPhone for the first time.

But since none of us are trillion dollar companies like Apple, we need to behave like normal, rational businesses and patiently go through the process of branding first.

So, if you’re on Instagram and you want to eventually sell something to people who could really use your value, then I challenge you: Act normal and just be yourself.

I hope to see you on Instagram soon… not selling!
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