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5 Instagram Case Studies Small Businesses Can Learn From

Silvio Porcellana
Silvio Porcellana

Instagram can greatly benefit your small business when used correctly

Despite its 500 million active monthly users and 95 million pieces of content published daily, Instagram is a social media platform that is still snubbed by many businesses, especially small and medium-sized ones. It’s like being the first one to go to Mars: it offers a fascinating opportunity to explore new worlds and differentiate yourself from the competitors. However, the fear of wasting time and energy (and money) prevails in the end.

Instagram Marketing is an opportunity for everyone

The fact is that small and medium-sized businesses often have to implement their marketing plan with limited resources that don’t have room for risk. Therefore, they prefer to focus on traditional channels. In fact, 99 percent of businesses are investing in Facebook, while only 59 percent chose to invest in Instagram.

Facebook seemingly offers two advantages compared to Instagram: it is the most widely-used social media platform in the world and it allows you to reach the maximum audience available to you. It is also quite easy to use, even for businesses. Still, many marketers still do not know how to insert Instagram in their strategy.

Yet in doing so they commit two mistakes: on the one hand, investing in channels with fewer users, like Instagram, allows you to reach a more targeted audience and increase the chances of conversion. On the other hand, although marketers may need some time to learn how to use Instagram in a strategic way, this social media platform provides a new space for communication with fresh audiences and new ways to express your brand.

Sectors, budget and audience will not affect the choice of Instagram

There are other fairly widespread myths that keep small and medium-sized companies away from Instagram. One concerns the sector of belonging: many believe that if you do not have a great product to show, related to fields such as design, clothing, and food, then Instagram is not the right channel to run your marketing campaign.

However, there are many ways to visually express a brand: you can show the people who use your products or services, or you can show behind the scenes pictures or videos of the company, to name just a few examples. Another common myth is that Instagram marketing is only for big brands. In reality, social media, unlike any other channel of communication, does not have a cost of entry and they are accessible to businesses with different investment capacity.  Ideas are often more important than the budget, as we’ll show you in the 5 examples below: these are small and medium-sized companies, which bet on Instagram and achieved amazing results, from which you can draw inspiration.

1. Bloom & Wild

This online business specializes in delivering personalized and hand-picked flowers and has more than 25,000 followers on Instagram: it may not seem like a lot but what we want to tell you is how it reached its audience through a careful and original content strategy. By using the Power Editor, the brand created their first ad on this channel. To reach the target, it imported its existing email list and created a “lookalike audience” from it. Then it tested its ad by running a few low dollar campaigns and identified which of the images created more engagement. The videos had the highest conversion rate and were used for the actual campaign. This campaign resulted in a 62 percent increase in orders and new customers. But what can you learn from this Instagram marketing campaign?

The case of Bloom & Wild shows that even small investments can give great results; in terms of engagement but especially in sales. Another interesting thing to consider is the use of “lookalike audience” when you do not have enough resources to conduct an analysis of your target on a new channel like Instagram, it can be a good idea to use available data such as your existing email database.

2. Camp Brand Goods

The clothing brand Camp Brand Goods is inspired by outdoor, adventure and travel lifestyle. Its mission is not just about offering specialized products, but a real lifestyle. To express this world, it identified images as the ideal format and Instagram as the perfect channel to spread them. The choice of the brand was to make room for landscapes and experiences rather than focusing on the product.

To increase follower engagement, they created the #keepitwild contest, which awarded a t-shirt weekly to the user who posted the most original photo with this hashtag. During the competition, the company collaborated with other Instragrammers who are well-known in the outdoor world and helped them gain more followers. There are no accurate figures on the results of these activities, but the co-owner of the company states that many of the new followers became e-commerce customers, a few weeks after following the brand on Instagram. You can learn three things from this case, especially when you are just starting out and building a follower base. These three things include: posting images that make people dream and not just simple pictures of your products; create a contest involving your target audience, and finally; try and create partnerships with influencers relevant to your brand – they are more likely to direct relevant readers and convert them into paying customers.

3. Bukalapak

The Indonesian marketplace is a platform that allows anyone to buy or sell new or second-hand products in any industry; from clothing to electronics. To reach the younger audience (which are mainly active on smartphones), it has chosen to use Instagram. Their first campaign lasted a couple of weeks and prevalently used the video format and an ironic tone, inspired by the Indonesian pop culture. The call-to-action invited users to download the Bukalapak app. Thanks to insight analysis, the company was able to reduce the cost per click that led to the installation of the app by 39 percent. In two weeks the campaign had reached more than 31 million people, successfully increasing brand awareness.

In this case, what we can learn here is how to construct your message that is entirely focused on your target: identify who you need to reach, study their interests, their desires, and their myths. This will allow you to get better results and optimize your investment.


4. Pet Love

This Brazilian e-commerce business of pet products chose to use Instagram to promote its app to potential customers. This campaign used pictures of dogs and cats of the people working in PetLove, photographed in the offices of the company. These casual, technically imperfect and spontaneous images made it easy for the target to identify with them. Once again, to decrease the costs of the campaign, it created the “lookalike audience” by using the data from its Facebook page and excluding those who had already downloaded the app, they avoided targeting irrelevant users.

What you can follow is the use of the possibility of targeting offered by Instagram, from the creation of the audience to cross-checking Facebook data. If you already have a page and conducted target profiling on this channel, then there’s no need to redo this work. Take advantage of the interconnection between these two channels. Thanks to these measures, PetLove saw a 30 percent lower cost per install and, during the campaign, 98 percent of website traffic was generated by new customers.

5. Framebridge

This company has reinvented the custom frames market through an app that allows you to choose and order their products directly from mobile.

If Framebridge has frames, then Instagram is the right channel to advertise them because it is the biggest resource of pictures that are just waiting to be framed. Therefore, the decision to use this channel was natural, original and intelligent. The goal was to increase brand awareness and build a loyal customer base. To do so, Framebridge ran a targeted campaign on different types of audience, grouped together based on the important events they are experiencing and the moments to be framed, such as marriage or buying a new house. The campaign saw its cost acquire new customer decrease by 71 percent.

Here’s what you can learn from this case: think creatively when running targeted campaigns - especially on Instagram. People love to share and comment on emotions rather than products. Which special moments could be associated with your brand?

After reading these five examples of Instagram marketing, you cannot say that Instagram works only for big brands or in certain countries. Thanks to the acquisition by Facebook, this channel is offering more and more possibilities to test and optimize cost.

So it is worth the risk. Do you already have some ideas for your Instagram marketing strategy? Or do you know other cases that can be a source of inspiration? We’re curious and we would like to know your opinions.



Photo credit: ArthurStock/Shutterstock

Image Credit: NanoStockk / Getty Images
Silvio Porcellana
Silvio Porcellana Member
Silvio Porcellana is the CEO and Founder of, the online tool over 1,000 agencies and professionals use to build mobile websites and native apps for customers worldwide. From his retreat in the Monferrato Hills in North West Italy, he bootstraps companies, writes about the web and mobile marketing, and helps customers succeed online. Read more from Silvio at blog