Making 300 million people count for your business

There is a good old saying stating that one picture is worth a thousand words. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger very quickly became a world class proof of combining good quotes with even better business results.

So, why are creators and co founders of a constantly rising phone app, Instagram, and the surrounding mist of statistics to be trusted? More importantly, what does that have to do with eCommerce? How to break the rules or make a few new ones by showing up on the photo radar of 300 million users.

Instagram is, for few of those who still haven’t been acquainted with the ‘‘snap and post’’ system, an app available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone which allows it’s users to ‘‘capture and share world’s moments’’, and when I say share, I mean share it with a base of users where 37% follow between 1 to 5 brand accounts.

One more time, yes, it’s official; as of December of 2014, Instagram took a larger piece of marketing cake than Twitter does, so I was just wondering, did you have your dessert already?

Although statistics speak for themselves, many brands still refuse to use Instagram as one of their marketing channels. Social Media Examiner, in its 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, stated that only 28% of marketers use Instagram even though Instagram is showing the most engaged community on the web so far. What I’m trying to say is that when it comes to engagement, Instagram is far superior to any other social network. In blunt terms, that would mean that Instagram engagement is 15 times Facebook’s.

Users spend 257 minutes on average per month using the app, write 1,000 comments per second also giving out 8,500 likes per second which, roughly, translates to 1,2 billion likes a day. With 99% engagement which comes from likes, who wouldn’t want a customer of that sort of dedication?

Even though getting started on Instagram is fairly straightforward, after all, app is free and available, it takes more than handing your marketing team a phone with a camera and saying ‘‘Make us popular on Instagram.’’ Yes, it can be a start, but what comes after signing up is usually the harder part of the seemingly easy story.

For starters, let’s get rid of the most common misconceptions about Instagram.

No, it’s not only for visual products.

Many brands will state that they don’t have ‘‘what it takes’’ to be on Instagram. So, what does it take? It’s not only sharing the product, it’s sharing the culture, merchandise or even better, your customers, and making them feel engaged with the brand and the community you are living on a daily basis. I would say, if those criteria are the key ingredients, every brand possesses them, or at least should. Millennials, as an uprising community with a lot of buying power still reacts the best on more than ‘‘old school tricks’’ and deeply appreciates every incentive to be more valuable, compelling or entertaining.

Perfect example of how it should be done: FedEx.

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Their Instagram is not a one time stop, and after looking at their pictures, neither will be your desire to use their services. Beautifully captured FedEx trucks or planes remind you that, while you’re looking at their profile, they are out there, looking out on your package.

No, it’s not only for the ‘‘big ones’’.

If you’re thinking only big brands can leverage Instagram, you are definitely wrong! Check out the millennial community and how one person can change the scenery. If you do it right, you can see the results even before your product is up or your service running.

Perfect example of how it should be done: Scratch Bake Shop.

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A boutique bakeshop in Rochester, NY, which made it even before they officially hit the streets, hitting the hearts of their customers through amazing pictures capturing the moments of both product and brand creation. It made the opening of the shop highly anticipated event of the season.

No, it’s not only for posting photos.

Make sure that your Instagram is not only posting content! We all know how your product looks like. What customers want to know is how well they connect with it. Does it make them laugh, are they happy about it, how excited they get when there is a new release coming? Include your followers in active communication and don’t miss out on whatever they are trying to reach to.

Perfect example of how it should be done: Adidas.


Instagram community loves showing off and Adidas is well aware of the fact. With their base of nearly two million followers, their spot among 3 most popular brands on Instagram is well deserved. Combining the love for showing off and personalizing the product, in this case their ZX Flux Trainers, was pure genius – Instagram video of the announcement has more than 58,000 likes and what’s even better, it encourages users to share shots of their own personalized shoes.

Now, what makes the world go round is not only knowing but also applying the lessons well learned. You want your customers to buy? Be well aware that they are making their buying decision not only through your amazingly designed web shop, but through every channel they feel connected with.

Make sure that the phone handed to your marketing team also has a set goal of wishes and desires with an image of the company you want your clientele to see. After all, Instagram took 140 characters of Twitter right down to zero, but still counts as one of the strongest platforms to communicate through.



About the author: Ivona is sales and marketing intern at Inchoo. Her previous experience includes working as a Vice President for Marketing at AIESEC local committee in Osijek. She was also a trainer at International Train the Trainers conference in Poland and is one of the founders of KOD.

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  1. Thank you all for your comments and inputs – since Instagram in the world of eCommerce is relatively new, I got into the topic a bit more with the sequel of this article.

    Maybe that (hopefully) will answer some of your questions and solve dilemmas connected with using Instagram for eCommerce purposes. Please don’t hesitate to comment – inputs are always greatly appreciated.

  2. Phone apps are no way the surprise now. With it, an advent of m-commerce is also highly accepted. Instagram is a big hit with plenty of eyeballs flocking around. Social media engagement is indeed a step ahead in any business. eCommerce with its global online network is really a boom!

  3. It seems like for some businesses, the angle for Instagram is obvious, but for others it’s not quite as clear. It’s because of this that in most cases, how to properly utilize Instagram still eludes me. I mean, you say it’s not only for visual products, and it’s not only for big brands, but it seems like if you’re not at least one of those, you’re gonna have a tough time on Instagram.

  4. Instagram is a very powerful marketing tool if used right. You make some valid points in your post about the social media platform and it’s user engagement. Definitely going to read up some more on how we can use Instagram to promote the brand.

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