December 20

Should you be using Instagram to market your coffee shop?

Source: Fleming (n.d.)

Instagram is an ever-growing social media giant, used by both consumers and businesses. As the title suggests, this post is for businesses, more specifically coffee shops. As you can see from the graph below, Instagram is on the up, so it’s time to decide whether to jump on the bandwagon or not!

Source: Katai (n.d.)

Before deciding whether to use Instagram as a marketing tool for your coffee shop, it is important that you know the benefits and the risks.


  1. You Can Reach New Audiences – Through the use of Instagram features such as hashtags (#) Instagram users can find new content Pinkham (2015). For example, if you are a coffee shop in Brighton using a hashtag such as, #brightoncoffee would be beneficial to reach local potential customers.
  2. Free Advertising – That’s right, Instagram is a free to use service. As well as saving on marketing costs, it allows to ‘show off’ your products via images which gives a great visual to existing and potential customers. Istvanova (2014)
  3. Increased Engagement – Visual content on Facebook and Twitter can be overlooked, this isn’t the case on Instagram. If you are active on Instagram you can gain a substantial amount more of interaction/engagement from your audience Istvanova (2014) A report by Forrester shows that Instagram posts receive a per-follower engagement rate 58 times higher than Facebook and 120 times higher that Twitter Elliot et al (2014)
  4. Scope of potential consumers/customers – According to a recent article by Wade (2017) Instagram has around 800 million users overall. Now that’s a lot of potential customers!


  1. Claim Your Name – If you don’t claim your username, a profile could be set up by a user and used in a way that doesn’t best represent your business. BNFX (2012)
  2. Images You Post Can Be Downloaded/Manipulated By Others – Meaning competition or any type of campaigners could use your own images in a negative way. BNFX (2012)
  3. You Can’t Copyright Instagram Photos – Similar to the above point, you don’t ‘own’ anything you post on your Instagram. BNFX (2012)
  4. You may inadvertently offend your audience – It’s 2017 some people believe it’s their right not to be offended, so there is pressure to be extra careful on what you post especially when it comes to images. Robinson (2013)

Source: Fore Edge (2017)

These are just a few of the benefits and risks of using Instagram to market your coffee shop, however from my readings it seems that the benefits far outweigh the risks. As well as this, some of the risks are entirely avoidable if you treat your Instagram with the right respect.

Don’t Take My Word For It

As much as you’d like to believe everything you see on the internet it is important to have an academic perspective of the topic.

Looking at a variety of academic sources here’s what the professionals have to say about Instagram and how to use it

‘Instagram enables market relations to form through everyday life and cultural space around the production and circulation of images.’ Carah & Shaul (2016)

‘Likes and comments also make images visible to people elsewhere in the network’ Carah & Shaul (2016)

‘Instagram reaches the younger generation, and appeals to diverse societies more prevailingly than other social networking services’ Abbott et al (2013)

 “The more you post engaging content the more you are going to get a following”. Van Dyke, from Abbott et al (2013)

‘Instagram is not influenced by income, age, gender, and education.’ Blank & Lutz (2017)

From the view of the professionals, it’s all about posting engaging content and making sure it gets out to new audiences. In doing so this will improve your online presence in terms of keeping your current consumers happy and engaged as well as potentially gaining new consumers/customers. Instagram is respected as an online marketing tool for businesses so don’t be afraid to use it, at the same time don’t think it’s your saving grace and end up putting all your eggs in one basket.

Decision Time

Source: Douman (2016)

So, should you be using Instagram to market your coffee shop? Well I’ll leave that up to you (personally I would say yes) but there are a few things to consider.

If you do jump on the bandwagon then:

  • Use relevant hashtags to reach new audiences.
  • Take some quality pictures to show off your coffees, cakes and maybe even introduce staff.
  • If you haven’t already set up an Instagram account, hurry up and claim your name!

And if you don’t:

  • Why? Seriously? It’s Free!

As always, thanks for reading.



Abbott, W., Donaghey, J., Hare, J. & Hopkins, P. (2013) ‘An Instagram is worth a thousand words: an industry panel and audience Q&A’, Library Hi Tech News. Vol 30 (Issue 7), p.1-6

Blank, G. & Lutz, C. (2017) ‘Representativeness of Social Media in Great Britain: Investigating Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram’, American Behavioral Scientist. Vol 61 (Issue 7) p.741-756

BNFX (2012) Platform 101: All about Instagram [Online] Available at <> [accessed 20th December 2017]

Carah, N. & Shaul, M. (2016) ‘Brands and Instagram: Point, tap, swipe, glance’, Mobile Media & Communication. Vol 4 (Issue 1), p.69-84

Douman, Q. (2016) Leadership: What time is it? It is decision time [Online] Available at <> [accessed 20th December 2017]

Elliot, N., Paderni, L. S. & Colburn C. (2014) Social Relationship Strategies That Work [Online] Available at <> [accessed 20th December 2017]

Fleming, G. (n.d.) 10 Instagram Feeds For Coffee Lovers [Online] Available at <> [accessed 20th December 2017]

Fore Edge (2017) Ten ways to master decision making [Online] Available at <> [accessed 20th December 2017]

Istvanova, L. (2014) 6 Benefits of Using Instagram For Your Business [Online] Available at <> [accessed 20th December 2017]

Katai, R. (n.d.) 4 Benefits to Advertising on Instagram [Online] Available at <> [accessed 20th December 2017]

Pinkham, R. (2015) 5 Unexpected Benefits Of Using Instagram For Business [Online] Available at <> [accessed 20th December 2017]

Robinson, C. (2013) The Risks Associated with Social Media Marketing [Online] Available at <> [accessed 20th December 2017]

Wade, J. (2017) Instagram Statistics 2017 [Online] Available at <> [accessed 20th December 2017]

Posted December 20, 2017 by Haydn Crellin in category Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *