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As of August 2017, Instagram is the fifth most popular social media platform, boasting 700 million monthly active users. This year, more brands are projected to use Instagram than Twitter.

Instagram can be a powerful social media platform for businesses of all kinds. This article will show readers how to use the social media network to drive sales.

This year, more businesses will use Instagram than Twitter for marketing purposes, according to eMarketer.

Influencer Marketing

According to a report cited in Adweek, 94% of businesses that engage in influencer marketing believe it is successful. Of those who responded positively, 54% of businesses believe influencer marketing is successful at driving prospects to a company website. For businesses interested in using Instagram to increase sales, influencer marketing can be an effective method of reaching skeptical prospects.

Notably, the same study found that a majority of businesses (87%) prefer using influencer marketing via Instagram.

Influencer marketing campaigns appear to be especially effective for B2C products. Companies such as the Gap, Hallmark and North Face use Instagram influencer marketing to expand brand reach.

In the example above, famous National Geographic photographer and North Face athlete Jimmy Chin posted a picture on Instagram that tagged North Face. The post received over 30,000 likes and hundreds of comments, providing the brand with great exposure to ideal potential customers.

Account Optimization

Instagram analytics can be helpful when trying to use Instagram to drive sales. In order to improve account performance, it is first necessary to know how your account is performing. Instagram analytics can also help account owners optimize content so that it can better serve business goals. Below are a few areas that can be optimized to increase sales.


Every follower base is different. That means it is important to find the best time of day and week to post content so that it has maximum reach. Otherwise, the content you and your team worked hard to create or curate will have diminished results.


Understanding engagement allows you and your team to ascertain what type of content truly resonates with your audience and what does not. Once this is determined, it will be easier to anticipate how followers will react to various pieces of content. This knowledge can be helpful when creating content designed to encourage followers to take a sales-driven action such as visiting a website.

User-Generated Content

User-generated content, often known as UGC, can be a great way of demonstrating social proof while also recognizing a brand evangelist by amplifying his or her content. According to data cited on the Buffer blog, 70% of shoppers use some sort of social proof when making a purchasing decision. The same article indicates that social proof is more influential than product descriptions disseminated by the brand.

The Instagram post above is a great example of the power of user-generated content. GORUCK produces backpacks and other gear for fitness and outdoor enthusiasts, and the brand has cultivated a loyal following. The company shared a picture taken by a fan, which received over 1,200 likes and a series of excited comments by enthusiasts happy to see a GORUCK product used in the wild.

Some Instagram analytics platforms can help account owners identify user-generated content, making it another important, though often overlooked, part of Instagram account optimization.

Wouldn’t it be helpful to know if followers were actually clicking on the URL listed on your Instagram profile? Better yet, wouldn’t it be helpful if you and your team knew how much revenue or how many leads were generated from that link? With tracking URLs, you and your team can do just that.

Some Instagram tools allow you to create a tracking URL that features a special UTM code. This code can be tracked via the Instagram analytics platform you’re using, or via other tools like marketing automation or analytics platforms. This will allow you and your team to know if traffic is being referred to your website, and if so, how those visitors engage with website content.


Instagram is one of the largest social media platforms in the world, and brands are already finding success via the channel to increase brand awareness and sales. In order to drive sales through Instagram, it’s important to understand how the channel is performing by monitoring various metrics related to audience preference and behavior.

For businesses interested in truly driving more sales through the platform, it may also make sense to invest in influencer marketing as well.

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