How to Use Instagram as a Marketing Tool for Your Business
by Robert Clough, Search Engine Guide
January 20, 2018

Businesses have yet to really figure out Instagram as a marketing tool. It's massively popular and everyone wants a piece of that traffic. And most people think they have it figured out, but they don't.The Instagram audience is extremely specific. And most people actually have no idea how to measure success on Instagram. Is it Likes? Followers. It's neither, actually.

Remember: Not Every Business Belongs on Instagram
You have to ask yourself if your business belongs on Instagram and give yourself an intelligent answer. Now that answer is not just based on a gut-feeling or assumption. You need to answer it by doing extensive market research on your target market to really know.

You can assume Instagram is or isn't right for you, and be right 75% of the time. Do you sell industrial sized wood lathes? Instagram likely isn't for you. Do you sell bootcut jeans dam? Then people probably do want to see your stuff. But you can never know for sure, until you do the research.

Never Buy Followers
It looks impressive at first glance. Your brand has 500,000 followers....The jig is up the second someone looks at your posts....They will notice the fact that you have 175,000 followers, but absolutely zero likes on your last post.No engagement really stands out. And once people notice that, they will know you bought a following. And they will lose respect for you and your brand.

Know What Success Looks Like

First of all, you need to be sure on your own end on exactly what you're looking for. You need to have a goal, or you'll end up floundering and doing nothing. Why are you even on Instagram? "Because everyone else is." Wrong answer. "Because we want to grow our brand awareness or thought leadership." Much better.

Be clear if you're on IG to generate brand awareness, or to generate sales leads. Because too many don't make the distinction, focus on either, and accomplish neither.

Brand Awareness
Look at engagement, not followers. It's better to have a smaller following full of people commenting and liking your content, versus having a massive inactive following.

Also, don't forget about "dark social shares." These are shares that happen outside of the app, and out of easily measurable range. As much as 89% of your social shares will happen on "dark social." This means someone will screen-grab your image, or the link and share it via:
  • Text message/ SMS
  • iMessenger
  • Whatsapp
  • Facebook messenger
  • Email
  • Any other IM or messaging service



I'm glad that it mentions that not every business belongs on IG. I think just because it's popular, sometimes people think they can slap something on there and have it go viral. Due diligence! Before adding a business on any social network, we need to know if our product works well with that platform and audience. Just common sense but if you don't know, you don't know.

Like all marketing, you need a goal and a strategy to maximize results.

I like that the article 'tells it like it is'.

Julia Sta Romana

Top Contributor
And with Instagram, you have to make the effort to interact with fans and followers. Just posting isn't enough. If you want to make sales, talk to your customers.
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