The top tips and risks of using Instagram to target a new customer audience in the cosmetics sector

When forming new initiatives for your business strategy, it is important to consider whether they are innovative, and are appropriate to any issues in the previous strategy- such as missing an underrepresented market (Dye and Sibony, 2007). This blog will focus on the initiative of using Instagram to target a new customer audience in the cosmetics sector. It will provide the top tips on how it can be done well, as well as the main risks to be aware of.


How can this be done well?

According to Djafarova and Rushworth (2016), Instagram is one of the fastest growing platforms. Adding to this, Sheldon and Bryant (2016) explain that people are spending more time on it than other sites. With people taking more pictures nowadays and using social media to select cosmetics products, it is vital to ensure that your promotional campaigns are effective (Kestenbaum, 2017). Virtanen, Björk and Sjöström (2017) state that this could help increase awareness, and gain followers when a company is unknown to a new customer audience. Below are the main tips on how this can be done effectively:


1. Use hashtags so the new audience can recognise your brand

  • Hashtags can help attract new followers, and spread brand awareness. There will be a higher chance of consumers finding your business if they search for the ones you are using  (Dietrich, 2017).
  • It is best to use hashtags specific to your sector, such as #cosmetics #beauty #products #skincare, or for particular products, hashtags such as #lipscrub #showergel #bodybutter.

Below is an example of The Body Shop (2018) using hashtags to promote their skincare products to potential consumers. More can be viewed here:












2. Respond to comments made on your posts

  • McCormick (2017) states that this is important when acquiring new customers, as it will show that you value their comments, and can help to create engagement.
  • It will allow you to respond to questions, and receive feedback- for instance, if the new audience feel as if the products are targeted well towards them (Nobre and Silva, 2014).
  • Coelho, Oliveira and de Almeida (2016) further explains that compared to other social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram has more interaction between the customer and the organisation. By making your new consumers feel valued straightaway, it could persuade them to make purchases.
  • But, contradicting this, is that some people may give negative feedback- which may not be appealing for new customers (Einwiller and Steilen, 2015)


Below is an example of Lush (2018) replying to comments on their Instagram (names are taken out for privacy reasons). More can be viewed here:












3. Run competitions

  • According to Dholakiva (2016), 75% of people inspired by a post then visit the company website and make purchases. Instagram competitions can entice people, and expand your reach (Bunskoek, 2014).
  • By awarding the winners some of your products, it could be a great way to get the new consumers to sample them.
  • This could lead to a positive view being spread to friends and family, and potential purchases in the future. For more tips, see:


4. Show people behind the scenes

  • By posting images such as staff enjoying work, or customers using your products, it could give a more personal feel, making new consumers feel as if they are part of your brand (Scherer, 2017).


So, now a few tips have been given, below are the top risks to be aware of.



1. Uncertainty on whether the customers will respond and engage

When targeting a new audience, it is unknown how they will respond to the promotional campaigns on Instagram (Maecker, Barrot and Becker, 2016). This is because there has not been a relationship built with them previously (Liu, Pancras and Houtz, 2015). Not only this, but you will be competing with companies that are already targeting this audience.


2. Negative feedback 

If the cosmetics have not been targeted to the new audience effectively, there may be chance of receiving negative feedback (Parent, Plangger and Bal, 2011). To avoid it, it is important to ensure that your cosmetics products are suitable for your new audience. However, contrasting this view is that positive feedback is more common (Kimmel and Kitchen, 2014). Some consumers could respond positively, by commenting that they like the cosmetics.

Below shows some comments from customers on Lush (2018) Instagram.












3. May be hard to gain a significant amount of followers and likers

When creating an Instagram account, it could initially be hard to gain a significant following. But, this may depend on the size of your company. Because it is a new audience, it could take time for people to become aware that you are now offering cosmetics to a new age range, gender etc. Miles (2013) states that 1000 followers is the amount to be seen as credible for a small company. However, by posting regularly, using hashtags, and engaging with consumers, this can help build up your recognition (Search & More, 2017).



Overall, this blog post will help you to ensure that your promotional campaigns on Instagram for a new audience in the cosmetics sector are effective and engaging. Hopefully it will help you be more aware of the risks, and know how to avoid them!


These are some useful links/videos that provide further information:

Shopify (2014)


More information on using Instagram effectively:


Ways to ensure you know your new target audience well:




Arevalo, M. (2017) ‘Getting Targeted on Instagram’. [Online] <> [Accessed 12th February 2018]

BizFilings (2018) ‘Your Target Market: Critical for Business Success’. [Online] <> [Accessed 18th February 2018]

Bunskoek, K. (2014) ‘How to Run a Successful Instagram Contest’. [Online] <> [Accessed 21st February 2018]

Coelho, R.L.F., Oliveira, D.S & de Almeida, M.I.S. (2016) Does social media matter for post typology? Impact of post
content on Facebook and Instagram metrics. Online Information Review. Vol. 40, No. 4, p458-471.

Dholakiya, P. (2016) ‘6 Ways to Convert Your Instagram Audience into Customers’. [Online] <> [Accessed 10th February 2018]

Dietrich, G. (2017) ‘A Small-Business Owner’s Guide to Using Instagram Effectively’. [Online] <> [Accessed 10th February 2018]

Djafarova, E. & Rushworth, C. (2016) Exploring the credibility of online celebrities’ Instagram profiles in
influencing the purchase decisions of young female users. Computers in Human Behavior. Vol. 68, p1-7.

Dye, R. & Sibony, O. (2007) ‘How to improve strategic planning’. [Online] <> [Accessed 8th February 2018]

Einwiller, S.A. & Steilen, S. (2015) Handling complaints on social network sites – An analysis of
complaints and complaint responses on Facebook and Twitter pages of large US companies. Public Relations Review. Vol. 41, No. 2, p195-204.

Kestenbaum, R. (2017) ‘How the Beauty Industry Is Adapting To Change’. [Online] <> [Accessed 9th February 2018]

Kimmel, A.J., & Kitchen, P.J. (2014) WOM and social media: Presaging future directions for research and practice. Journal of Marketing Communications. Vol. 20, No. 1-2, p5-20.

Lush (2018) [Online] Instagram Page. <> [Accessed 11th February 2018]

Maecker, O., Barrot, C. & Becker, J.U. (2016) The effect of social media interactions on customer relationship management. Business Research. Vol. 9, No. 1, p133-155.

McCormick, K. (2017) ‘How to Market on Instagram (Effectively). [Online] <> [Accessed 10th February 2o18]

Miles, J. (2013) ‘Instagram Power: Build Your Brand and Reach More Customers with the Power of Pictures’. McGraw Hill Education: New York

Nobre, H. & Silva, D. (2014) Social Network Marketing Strategy and SME Strategy Benefits. Journal of Transnational Management. Vol. 19, No. 2, p138-151.

Parent, M., Plangger, K. & Bal, A. (2011) The new WTP: Willingness to participate. Business Horizons. Vol. 54, No. 3, p219-229.

Scherer, J. (2017) ‘How to Promote your Business On Instagram: 21 Techniques, Tips & Strategies’. [Online] <> [Accessed 20th February 2018]

Search & More (2017) ‘Struggling to gain followers on Instagram? This could be why’. [Online] <> [Accessed 21st February 2018]

Sheldon, P. & Bryant, K. (2016) Instagram: Motives for its use and relationship to narcissism and
contextual age. Computers in Human Behavior. Vol. 58, p89-97.

Shopify (2014) How to use Instagram for Business: How to Build an Audience of Followers for Your Business. [Video] YouTube. <> [Accessed 21st February 2018]

The Body Shop (2018) [Online] Instagram Page. <> [Accessed 11th February 2018]

Virtanen, H., Björk, P. & Sjöström, E. (2017) Follow for follow: marketing of a start-up company on Instagram. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development. Vol. 24, No. 3, p468-484.

4 thoughts on “The top tips and risks of using Instagram to target a new customer audience in the cosmetics sector

  1. What are the best practices for creating compelling content on Instagram to attract a new customer base in the cosmetics industry?

    1. Your in-depth analysis shed light on the complexities of the subject. For a different perspective on the same topic, click here to explore a contrasting viewpoint.

  2. Your in-depth analysis shed light on the complexities of the subject. For a different perspective on the same topic, click here to explore a contrasting viewpoint.

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