Is Instagram losing its value among non-business users?

Instagram may well be on the way to losing its value and credibility as companies (namely new businesses) have been using it to force promotion directly to the common users who use Instagram strictly for personal purposes. This is seen as a form of invasive marketing as they are using what could be regarded as interruption marketing.

Users are usually looking for authentic followers and likes. Having a follower that stays with you throughout your Instagram journey because they like the content you share is much more valuable than getting a follow from a company that will unfollow you as soon as they realize that you show no interest in them or, worse, after you have followed them.

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While it is recommended that you interact with prospects who may be interested in your products or services, liking, commenting, or following a person with no interest whatsoever in what you offer is useless. What’s worse than these? Private messages. Instagram is not the place for cold calling.

Nobody wants to talk to a questionable account that allegedly belongs to a company. In reality, unless you provide the needed credentials, the average user will find it difficult, if not impossible, to tell whether your business is real or not. If you are a small restaurant from New York and you start liking ten photos from a French user’s Instagram feed, don’t expect him/her to show up the next day anywhere near your area. The same goes for shady clothing shops that don’t provide a link to their website.

You can’t go around liking hundreds of pictures hoping to get more followers, likes, comments, and thus free promotion. You will get the followers you wanted, but the rise of your exposure to the general public can’t guarantee your conversions.

Truth is that paid media/marketing is gaining momentum and it has become almost impossible for you as a business that uses solely free promotional methods to compete with the PPC attempts of others. A reputable company will use Instagram’s paid advertising service.

Sponsored Instagram post
Sponsored post example

In this way, your posts gain exposure to a number of users who will decide whether they are interested or not in what you sell. By following you, users agree to give you the permission to keep marketing to them because they truly like what you sell, they want your posts in their feed, and most importantly, they aren’t pressured to do any of this because you have persistently interacted with them before.

As a result, you gain trust, leads, and even possible brand evangelists that are willing to promote your brand without you asking for this. Keep your likes for lead nurturing. Use inbound marketing techniques or PPC for lead generation and then delight your leads with the good old fashioned likes, follows, and appreciation comments.

Instagram power accounts

An Instagram business account should promote useful and quality products, ethical company values, and authentic feelings in a way that will make anyone who comes across your profile to start to follow you without any representative of your company having to beg for this. Having brand evangelists is a different thing.

These people promote your products and services because they were satisfied by what you had offered them and they share the same principles as your company. Valuable content, natural fan engagement, periodical updates, and great customer service are all ways of gaining publicity and recognition without having to spam users’ feeds. Keep in mind that your goal should always be earned media as a result of ethical advertising methods.

Combating spam

If you are an active Instagram user that posts regularly, you have definitely dealt with suspicious follows, bulk likes, and unwanted messages, such as “Want more likes?” or “Follow me to gain more followers.”

Spammy interaction with users is not only dishonorable but also unprofessional. Instagram remains one of the best ways for businesses to get access to free push notifications.

If a user has the Instagram notifications turned on, whatever you like, comment on, or follow will show on their phone first. This is a sly way of getting your brand to the first page of where people go daily: their phone. Like any other trustworthy online service, Instagram provides an easy-to-use anti-spam option.

Fake Instagram accounts are a particularly great issue here as this is a photo-sharing community. Violent, offensive, or indecent photography can easily make its way to any feed and stay there until somebody reports it.

In this case, you can help report an account for being inappropriate. This means the posts are not spam, but they do break the established rules of this social network:

Instagram spam

For more, refer to Instagram’s community guidelines.

As one of the leading social networks, Instagram is mainly used by individual users, and not by companies. This is why the app’s primary purpose will always be a personal one.

Like in Facebook’s case, people go to Instagram whenever they want to unwind and this why they don’t want to see promotional posts anywhere unless they too can be disguised as useful and enjoyable content. As spam will not stop anytime soon, perhaps we should all take advantage of still being able to report spam and fight against the rising trend of spammy Instagram behavior.

Take this opportunity to share your own thoughts on Instagram spam, tips on improving the users’experience on photo-sharing social networks, and/or alternatives to this type of unwanted marketing.

Published by Alexandra Cote

Alexandra Cote is a SaaS content writer and strategist with a passion for workplace productivity, social media marketing wonders, conversion rate optimization, artificial intelligence, and keyword research (Hooray for SEO!). Reach out to her via LinkedIn or her blog.

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