It is a nice vanity metric to have a large follower count, but it is not doing anything to drive your revenue.
Last week, I wrote my 1-year update on the Sunglasses War between Shady Rays and Blenders Eyewear. I noted that Blenders Eyewear had 4x more Instagram Followers than Shady Rays. However, Blenders’ sales were only 1.15X greater than Shady Rays.
This got me thinking. Does your Instagram Follower count matter? Does the number of followers your brand has on Instagram actually help you drive sales?
So…. I took a look at 13 other brands I have been tracking for the past year to see if I could find a correlation between follower count and sales.
And the answer was no, I could not find a correlation between Instagram follower accounts and sales.
Cuts Clothing vs BYLT Basics
Both very similar type of companies. Cuts Clothing has 406K followers on Instagram and BYLT Basics has 300K followers. In May BYLT 2.6X the volume of sales that Cuts did.
In May, Bylt had 162,500 searches for their brand and Cuts had 112,500 searches for their brand. Similarweb estimates Bylt’s may traffic to be about 620,000 and Cuts to be 671,300. Lastly, Cuts grew its Instagram followers by 15,000 (4.2% growth) in May, and Bylt grew its followers by 9500 (3.6% growth).
With the smaller follower count (and growth), Bylt outperformed Cuts in May and in their 1 year order count.
Rhoback and Tommy John both have similar Instagram follower size. In May, Tommy John had double the amount of orders as Rhoback and over a 1 year period of time, Tommy John had 5x the order volume as Rhoback.
Bombas has 207K followers on Instagram, in the 1 year I have been tracking them, they have received nearly 3.8M orders. That almost matches the number of orders Gym Shark received (which have 5.8M followers on Instagram).
Mack Weldon has 82,700 Followers on Instagram, and in this 1 year period they did 4x the sales of Pair of Thieves (who have almost double the follower count as Mack Weldon).
If I hire an influencer, I expect them to have an engagement rate of at least 3%. To me, this means they have enough influence over their audience to drive sales.
Look at the engagement rate for these 15 brands. Only 2 brands have an engagement rate of over 1%. At these levels, it’s next to impossible to drive any level of sales on your site from organic posts.
I think the low engagement rate is a mixture of Instagram throttling back business accounts and these brand accounts just do not produce the content that their audiences want to engage with.
Does This Mean Instagram Is Worthless?
No, but maybe heading that way. You can still run paid promotions and partnerships on Instagram that will drive revenue for your brand. But what this is showing me, is that its extremely tough to monetize your Instagram followers organically.