Make Social Media Work for Your Business

Instagram article beach vista

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been using Instagram as a social media marketing tool for business.

You can read about “The Results After One-Month on Instagram” and “What I learned about Hashtags, Likes and Followers” by clicking on the links.

My latest article delves deeper into what a small business owner and everyday people can do to understand and use social media for their benefit, in a healthy way.


I look closer at the impact fake numbers can have on a newbie business Instagrammer and what can help you move past these hurdles.

I’ll be honest, it’s really hard not to watch the numbers avidly – the ‘followers’, ‘likes’ and ‘comments’. Coming from a marketing background, I know you need to track, analyse and take action based on the numbers

Auditing and analysing marketing numbers means you can:

  1. Respond quickly and effectively
  2. Monitor your progress
  3. Assess what is and isn’t working
  4. Gauge your competitors’ actions
  5. Keep abreast of industry changes

Unfortunately, they can also make the small business owner feel defeated, inadequate and bewildered as they sit on their own trying to figure out why they aren’t achieving the hyped up numbers.

So, in the wonderful way of paradoxes, over the past month I’ve tried to:

watch the numbers without fixating on them, compare my progress without being competitive and be reactive as well as being proactive.

Yes, I did have a meltdown or two and wailed “Why didn’t they like that photo as much as that one!”. I’ve pondered why I’m torturing myself with finding new images and creating meaningful, relevant comments when nobody ‘likes’ me.

Here’s what I did and you can too, to keep going even when 1000+ people don’t ‘follow’ you overnight or regram rapidly, spreading your message far and wide:

Focus Outwards, Not Inwards

In the past couple of weeks I’ve discovered the joy of showcasing local small businesses – their innovations, enthusiasm and efforts. It feels great to give them a shout out for no other reason than I like what they do and think others should know about it.

We all have to start somewhere, so comparing yourself to someone two+ years into their journey is just a nasty thing to do to yourself.

Aspire to where they are now; don’t despair about where you are now.

Take a look at the following Instagram posts. The first one isn’t pretty, it doesn’t make you want to be there or buy the product. You can’t picture yourself in the image, so why did it get 93 likes in comparison to the beach scene below that received 72 likes, when it goes against all the advice about using images?

The number and style of hastags were similar, they both had relevant content, they were both posted on a Tuesday…if you know the answer, I would love to hear it!

StartUp KickStart Screen Shot 2016-08-10 roses
The not so pretty rose root stock image


StartUp KickStart Screen Shot 2016-08-10 beach
The gorgeous beach scene

Compare Ratios, Not Numbers

This is one of my favourite pick me ups – 4 posts (and they aren’t even naked Brad Pitt selfies! (you’ll understand the reference if you read article #2)), 2993 followers and 3114 following. This person followed me for about 24hrs and he is ‘following’ more people than he has ‘followers’. This isn’t surprising because he is probably working on the follow for follow auto technique, considering he only has 4 posts.

So, let’s look at the ratio of ‘Likes’ to ‘Followers’. The image in the middle is the most ‘liked’ of the four images he has posted and it was posted 17 weeks ago – roughly one ‘like’ per two ‘followers’ (52%)

Screen Shot 2016-08-10

Since I’m only 8 weeks in, I can’t compare a 17 week old post, so I’ll compare the two day old post below – 66%, but if I work it out on some of my most ‘liked’ images, it’s about 1:1. Makes me feel a lot better about those numbers, and the ‘likes’ are equal to the number of people I’m following.

StartUp KickStart Instagram Screen Shot 2016-08-11

So where does this leave us, when it appears the numbers can be manipulated, ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ may be automatically generated and you have to hypothesise a lot about what’s actually going on?

As I advise my small business clients who use social media for business and are doing it themselves – pick the platform you enjoy.

You’re in this for the long haul, so be consistent and true to yourself. If you do this, the images you are posting and liking, and the comments you are making, will resonate with your niche audience. They are the ones you truly care about.

These individuals are your niche because you created your business for them. You understood their pain points, the problems they are facing, what they need and who they are, so stop worrying about all the other ‘numbers’.

Make sure you subscribe now so you don’t miss the next instalment and if you want more information on how to use social media effectively for your business, contact me.

I hope this series of social media articles  provide you with some easy and insightful tools.


Rebecca Collett, Founder & Managing Director of Snowed Under Solutions and StartUp KickStart



If you like it, please share it