Case Study: Instagram. How to build an active audience.

Case study 5 min read

According to Statista, there is now more than a billion monthly active users on Instagram, which makes it an extremely attractive platform for marketers. No wonder why a majority of dominant brands started running Instagram marketing campaigns by the end of 2016.

Source: Statista

Such amount of active users with a variety of interests, enables the platform to be segregated into numerous niches, stimulating more brands to build their presence. Basically, it is the reason why Instagram marketing services is gaining popularity so rapidly.

Reading most offers, you will be struck with words like "engagement" and "organic growth", leaving you with following questions:

  • Is it possible for a small brand to stand out using Instagram marketing?
  • What should one pay attention to, when running and Instagram campaign?
  • How to build an active audience with no paid advertisements?

We will try to answer them with our Case Study.


Neapolitan pizzeria "Tisto", located in L'viv, Ukraine.

Having quite a decent market share in a food establishments niche, our clients' marketing goal was to develop their delivery services.

Typically, we don't work within the B2C sector, but we have found this project to be an interesting opportunity to support local business.

Source: Tisto Facebook Page


When creating a marketing strategy for Tisto, we have analyzed the whole pizza delivery niche in L'viv. To our great surprise, we have discovered that top-3 sources of traffic were:

  • Organic search;
  • Advertisements;
  • Direct traffic.

Although every company on the market had Instagram profiles, they have never used them as a traffic source. At that moment Tisto's had the most influential Instagram profile in their niche, as it had 7000 followers.

That is why we have decided to continue cultivating Instagram as the main channel of promotion. In general, this campaign can be divided into 3 main parts:

  • Preparation of the profile;
  • Analysis of target audience;
  • Engagement with prospects' profiles (Follow, Like, Comment, Direct Messages).

You can a detailed description of these processes in the "Implementation" part.


Preparation of the profile.

Despite the fact 7000 followers is a considerable audience, they turned out to be mostly fake profiles, converting only in few dozens of orders/month. Having this kind of inactive audience seems to be harmless, as you still have quite impressive followers count. Although, inactive audience disables you to evaluate your reach properly.

In long-term perspective, it is extremely harmful, as you cannot see the real portrait of your follower, thus you are not able to create relevant content. It is crucial to refine your audience, if you want to receive relevant insights in future.

That is why our first step was to get rid of all the fake and inactive account is the "followers" section. You can detect ghost followers using automation tools like "Jarvee" or "MP Social", but we prefer doing it manually in order to minimize the risk of getting banned.

Analysis of the target audience.

Before starting Instagram campaign, we have defined 3 buyer personas who might be interested in pizza delivery:

  • IT specialist. Male, 21-30 y.o., works within L'viv IT Cluster;
  • Student. Female, 18-21 y.o., university student in L'viv;
  • Married couple. Young family who live far from the city centre.

Obviously, we provided our clients with more detailed information but the aforementioned data would be enough to measure if we were able to grow proper audience.

Now the task is was to see how we can reach our target audience on Instagram. We could have targeted them using paid promotion but we prefer using alternative marketing strategies, so we have skipped this option.

In order to make our marketing activities as precise as possible, we needed to figure out which Instagram account does our TA follow. Then we can use this account as sources. As soon as we have defined sources - it is time to check them.

At this point it is extremely important to look at the sources from our TA's perspective. If you check an Instagram profile and understand that your potential client would be interested in it - this is the right choice.

Engagement with prospects' profiles.

As soon as you have your account prepared (posting interesting content, with no ghost followers or hard-selling messages) + your sources prepared and filtered - it is time to take action!

We have outlined a sequence activities to be done in order to engage with the target audience. It is extremely to important to maintain this sequence, as you are starting a customer journey. We all know that first impression is extremely important if you want to build long-term customer relations.

So here are the steps we have made:

  1. Follow target profile;
  2. Like a couple of posts. It is best to choose random posts, not only the most recent ones. Usually, if you like only recent posts, you can be perceived as a bot, as it is the most common configuration for automation tools;
  3. Comment a couple of posts. It is best to choose a neutral comment, but don't go with only a couple of emojis. It is exactly what a bot would do;
  4. If the person has followed you back - feel free to send a greeting manage. Express your gratitude for the follow, send a short introductory message to let one know what kind of company you are.

Please mind that there must be a reasonable delay between these actions. It is up to you, feel free to experiment. Just don't push too much, let the dialogue to begin organically.

Again, these actions can be implemented using automation tools, it will save you a lot of time. Although, we provide our clients with personal assistants to have it done manually. Thus, we minimize all the risks of getting banned and make ourselves secured from mechanical mistakes that bots usually do.


We have managed to double the number of followers, excluding all bots and ghost followers.

The audience is much more active now: followers are engaging with content, visiting the website, looking for directions, arranging calls, etc.

The total number of impressions reaches to 80 000 and even more, providing our clients with an ability to raise brand awareness without spending a ton of budget on paid promotions.

The demographics of the audience are perfectly relevant to our target audience. Location, age, gender - everything is implemented according to our strategy.

To sum it up.

We would like to answer the aforementioned questions:

  • Is it possible for a small brand to stand out using Instagram marketing?

    Definitely! Personalized approach, attention to details, client-oriented mindset. Having these features - you will be able to overcome your competitors in no time!
  • What should one pay attention to, when running and Instagram campaign?

    Make sure your profile is nice and tidy. No ghost accounts, only relevant content. Filter your sources from you TA's perspective, not be afraid to put yourself in your clients' shoes.
  • How to build an active audience with no paid advertisements?

    Visit Respect.Studio and ask for Instagram Growth campaign ;)
digitalmarketing Instagram marketing Case study B2Bmarketing marketing automation social media marketing