Should You Be Actively Using Instagram?

November 5, 2015
53 Percent of Instagram Users Follow Brands…

A recent infographic (posted below, credit to by Global Web Index found Should you be actively using Instagram?

53% of Instagram users follow their favorite brands and 44% use Instagram to conduct brand research.

The natural first thought is it go full throttle and start making Instagram your new best friend based strictly on the infographic, but a word of caution is in order.

I firmly believe Instagram is a great platform and small business owners and solopreneurs would be remiss if they weren’t at least using it to some degree.

However, the results, like those of any study, should be looked at with some additional scrutiny to determine how much effort or focus should be put into Instagram.

Defining ‘Brands‘.

I’m not looking to actually define what a brand is but determine what was considered a brand by the respondents of the survey. For most, mention brands and we immediately think if Coca-Cola, Old Navy, Porsche….. what we consider to be nationally recognized name brands. Your business and even yourself, if you’re a professional, are brands. One of social media’s core roles for your business should be to make your name recognizable and a ‘household brand’, if even on a local level.

But, if we were to logically assume the brands followed were those national brands, do those same numbers correlate to local brands? Do local brands see the same or similar percentages?

The Demographic.

The study did look at the active base of each network from 16 to 64, but Instagram’s core user is under 35. According to GWI’s email regarding the study to the SocialTimes about 70% of Instagram’ users are under 35. but that number is actually 90% (as of 6/16/2015 according to Here are two very significant statistics from the same report that should affect how you should interpret the results:

30% of all Instagram accounts are inactive (7/2/15)

70% of all Instagram users are outside the US (9/20/15)

After discounting the inactive accounts, with so many users outside the US and the vast majority under the age of 35, how many in your target market are using the platform? Of those, how many are active daily and seeing your content. Further reduce that figure by the percentage likely to follow you or engage with your content you will start to get a better picture of how truly effective Instagram will be for your brand.

B2B or B2C?

The study, at least per the infographic doesn’t tell us if the users are businesses following other businesses or consumers follow businesses. Given the core user base it’s probably safe to assume they’re individuals following businesses. Instagram, while having value for those engaged in business to business sales, it’s probably safe to say Instagram is a far better channel for business to consumer brands.

Should You Be Using Instagram?

Again, I am a firm believer in Instagram (though I did need to rethink how I was using it) so I’m not recommending you abandon it or reconsider getting started. I maintain accounts for both myself and Tactical Social Media (have you looked at how I use Instagram for my brand, which is business to business focused?)

My concern and what I want to get you to recognize, is that every study and report should be looked at a little closer before you shift your focus or put too much stock into it.

Your Turn

Are you on Instagram? Why or why not? If you are (post your profile so I can follow you), have you see results either in terms of engagement or traffic?

GWI Instagram Brands Infographic

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