Why Posting Pretty Images on Instagram is not a Marketing Strategy


Yes, we have all heard the claims “I get nearly all of my business from Instagram” or “Instagram is my main source of inquires”. While I do believe there are people out there who are getting a good majority of their business from Instagram, there are a lot more of us who believe Instagram is the be all and end all of online marketing. At least in the creative entrepreneur realm. Let’s stop that thinking right now! Marketing your business needs to be more than just Instagram. Even Jenna Kutcher is shouting from the rooftops that Instagram should not be your only marketing effort. Instagram is a great conduit for marketing your business, but it is not the solution.

So you are wondering what exactly is a Marketing Strategy and why doesn’t my beautifully curated Instagram qualify? Business Dictionary defines marketing strategy as “An organization's strategy that combines all of its marketing goals into one comprehensive plan. A good marketing strategy should be drawn from market research and focus on the right product mix in order to achieve the maximum profit potential and sustain the business.”

A few key things to take away from that definition, marketing strategy combines your goals into a comprehensive Marketing Plan. Which means all your activities are building off each other to reach your overarching business goal.

For example: your #1 goal this year is to double the number of inquiries you receive. So, you are going to think of all the different ways you can get customers to make inquires, like making the inquiry process super simple, including a call to action for the inquiry page on every email you send to your list, 5 social media posts per month that demonstrate the value your clients receive, add automation so any inquiry submissions receive an email within a few minutes explaining when you will get back to them.

These are all different pieces that fit into your overarching goal, and social media (read: Instagram) is only 1 piece of the puzzle.

Okay, let’s break this down to why posting pretty pictures is not going to cut it.

1. Quality over Quantity

Do you want 10,000 followers who just like looking at your pretty pictures or do you want 1,000 followers who actually read your posts, know who you are and believe in the value you are providing? The latter right, these are your potential customers. Adding substance to your Instagram captions is going to help you get the engaged followers.

  • Fill them in with your why
  • Share the story behind client, why your clients are so great and why they trust you
  • Give tangible advise that shows your followers that you have expertise (trust me you do!)
  • Don’t tell me you are drinking coffee again or how you are just so so busy

2. Convert to avenues that you own

We all notice the Instagram algorithm changing, posts are receiving less engagement than ever before. You cannot guarantee that your followers are actually seeing your content, if you are not communicating with them in other ways they are going to miss the amazing services you offer. This is where growing your email list is super important, you OWN the data when you send an email it is landing directly in the inbox of your potential customer. While they may not read it, at least you know that they received it. Instead of posting to the infinite realm of Instagram and hoping the algorithm puts your post on your followers feeds. Moral of the story -> Get traffic back to your website!

3. You're probably not talking to engaged followers

Your follow numbers go up and then go down, up then down and you want to just scream! Someone follows you and they have never liked or interacted with a photo before and then they are gone. Focus on developing a core group of engaged followers. Get to know your followers, ask questions and respond to comments ALWAYS! This will create a personal relationship and your followers in turn will be more engaged.

4. Are you really marketing at all? 

Have a goal in mind and consistently market this goal throughout your social channels. For example, this month I am going to promote my new service and the majority (over 80%) of my posts are going to be related to this. This does not mean sell your services in 80% of your posts, but tell your followers about past client’s success, about your core values, why you provide this service, or several free tips that are related to the service and show your expertise. Learn how to create a Marketing Strategy and Marketing Plan

5. No end goal in mind

The end goal is not having a perfectly curated Instagram feed, you will not be looking back when you’re 80 thinking wow I am so glad my Instagram feed was amazing. Your end goal needs to be specific and business related. Some examples:

  • Build the know, like and trust factor
  • Inform potential clients of your mission, your unique selling proposition or your core values
  • Direct followers to your website
  • Direct followers to your opt-in
  • Make sales

Tip: Use an instagram scheduling app to coordinate your feed and plan out your strategy. Check out this review of Plann, Planoly and Later.

6. Lack of analytics

Convert your profile to a business account and start looking at the numbers, even if you just glance at them. You want to specifically look at how many people are viewing your profile, this means they are interested in more than just that one pretty picture and caption. Also, how many link clicks there were. Try to keep growing this number.

At the end of the month, look at your Google Analytics account and see how much website traffic is coming from Instagram, there should be more than before if you are using the above techniques. Use this to plan your next month’s tactics.

Not sure about your analytics? Check out this tutorial on getting Google Analytics set up.

Need help deciding which of your marketing ideas you should tackle first? Get in touch.