Why Instagram Marketing Sucks At Growing Your Business

Chris Michael Harris, Executive Producer


Instagram madness doesn’t align with traditional holistic marketing.

There are some basic principles of marketing that apply to anything regardless of the platform like Instagram. It’s about the principles and why they don’t apply to immediate business growth. 

It doesn’t mean it can’t grow your business. Don’t mishear me. 

It just means that it’s not the most effective way.

Maybe you’re in a situation where you’re watching this video because you’ve been posting consistently. You’ve poured so much time into it and your content is curated, but it’s not working for you. And you’re wondering why.

Understanding Owned vs. Borrowed Real Estate

Borrowed real estate is using someone else’s platform. You don’t own them but instead, you’re leveraging someone else’s business.

Fundamentally speaking, growing your business on top of someone else’s business is always a recipe for disaster because algorithms change.

Advertisers can get blocked for whatever reason! I should know because this has happened to our company. 

As a business owner and someone that needs to be getting results for your efforts, these are the fundamental principles of why it’s not working.

You’re focused on borrowed real estate when you need to concentrate on owned real estate.

So, what are your owned real estates? 

  • Your website. You own that. You own those assets. You can control everything that happens on that medium. It is yours. 
  • Your email list. You control everything. Each email you have is the equivalent of currency. And anybody that knows anything about building any business regardless of whether it’s on or offline knows the money is in the email list. It sounds traditional in your way, but the bottom line is this, they work.

 There’s a reason why people have gone crazy. It is because you’re chasing these shiny bells and whistles thinking like, “Oh, well, that’s old. This is new.” But just because something’s new doesn’t mean that it works any better. 

 The fact of the matter is, people have built multimillion-dollar companies taking advantage of owned real estate. 

I’m not saying one is inherently bad, or the other one’s not. This isn’t a binary discussion. But you want to use borrowed real estate to convert them to owned real estate.

A lot of people are putting these posts out on Instagram, and there’s no rhyme or reason. There’s no call to action. 

 You need to know this is a strategy that funnels people down to create owned real estate out of the borrowed real estate that they’re taking advantage of. And that is a powerful and beautiful thing. 

Unfortunately, most people don’t treat these borrowed estates like that. They’re focused on vanity metrics and popularity. Not profitability, not growing their email list, not building a funnel, not doing the things that we know make money. 

We have taken advantage of this on multiple occasions and grown several multimillion-dollar companies both before my wife and me over 30 years old. I know that it works. This is the stuff that we’ve done and learned from.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Instagram doesn’t take advantage of the search. Content is like your little salespeople, search lives, and gets better over time.

Search is your best friend. 

Every single content that you create and curate is like a little salesperson. If you’re doing it right and you have a strategy behind it, your content will tell people, “Hey, this is something that I do. This is something that you might be interested in,” and that is the point of creating content. 

Value-driven content is supposed to provide value to people’s lives and then let them know that you exist and you sell things.

That’s the way that it works. 

So take advantage of search. Build your blog, take advantage of YouTube and  Pinterest. They are the most significant search engines in the world.

The difference is that you can optimize them actually to do better over time than what they do immediately. 

Why does that matter? It has happened to us where we’ve had a pin that was multiple years old.

All of a sudden it became a trending topic and people were optimizing it well. We got 5,000 sales a month from that one pin.

Let’s go back to Instagram.

Your post or story is like the Energizer bunny that has a limited amount of battery. Once it runs out, that’s the end of it.

So you always have to hustle and run around the Instagram hamster wheel because the minute you stop doing that, everything dies off. 

You’re not getting any more engagement. You’re probably not getting any more CTR to your website (that is if you’re getting any to begin with).

So make sure that you are taking advantage of search.

Money is on the email list.

An email list is where the money is.

It doesn’t mean there aren’t amazing Instagram strategies out there that help you do just that. It’s just a hustle game, and you have to understand that’s what you’re signing up for it. 

Here’s why email lists are important.

Perception is the reality right now. People put this emphasis on Instagram. 

Let’s say people are on your email list and you do a product launch. They’re most likely going to check you out online and say, “Oh they only have 200 followers and they haven’t posted in a year.”  

I’m sure you’ve heard people say these things, right? So perception is reality. 

Second, nurturing your audience is smart.

If your audience is on Instagram, think about touchpoints in the sales process. There are various touchpoints – from the point that somebody learns who you are to the point that they want to purchase something from you. 

You may have to nurture someone over time and Instagram is an excellent place for you to continue putting out content, letting them know that you exist, and maybe utilize some things to get them re-engaged.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

You need a holistic marketing strategy, including Instagram.

Be strategic. Use Google Analytics and figure out what’s driving traffic and where it’s coming from. Then use something on your borrowed real estate to test an idea. 

For example, if you got instant engagement on Instagram by talking about sales, why don’t you do a blog or YouTube around that specific topic that relates to your industry? 

Then maybe that leads to you building a product around that topic because you realize that people want to hear about it from you. So there is a way that you can incorporate all of them.

Just don’t die on the hill with Instagram. Don’t spend your entire day crafting and curating new Instagram posts and getting discouraged if it doesn’t work.

All right, these are tried and true principles. Make sure that you sit down and craft a holistic marketing plan. Know what your intent is with each platform. You have the strategy behind each one, and it’s all focused on the moneymaker, which is the email list. 

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