Arizona Students Use Instagram for Business

Gabi Daiagi's post and follower count on her Instagram page.
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Instagram gained another 100 million users since April putting them at 800 million monthly users, according to TechCrunch.

With 2 million advertisers now on the platform, Instagram has become a business for other businesses.

Business owner and Northern Arizona University student, Shawn Malkou, created Enzo Social Media with that in mind.  Enzo helps others businesses utilize Instagram ads to the best of their ability.

Since Instagram has become such a powerful tool for businesses to target their audiences, Malkou realized many businesses might not know how to utilize it correctly. He was right and now has several clients whose advertisements he runs on the platform.

“They don’t know what they are doing with social media ads. In light of this, I pretty much handle all aspects regarding the ad campaign,” said Malkou. “They give me their advertising budget and I decide how to use it to maximize results.”

Malkou will either pay influencers to post pictures of the company’s product on their personal Instagram pages, or run Instagram ads. “In most cases it requires both,” Malkou said.

Targeting the correct audience is only half the battle, according to Malkou. After it reaches its desired audience, the company must know how to interact and connect with them to understand their needs.

A success to Malkou is at least a 100 percent return on investment (ROI), and in the several months the company has been opertating Enzo Social Media has helped its clients reach up to 500 percent ROI.

Another, less conventional, way users run their business through Instagram is by marketing themselves as a personal brand.   

Instagram influencer and Arizona State University student Gabi Daiagi, 20, did just that. She had her first request from a company to promote their products using her image on her personal Instagram page at 7,000 followers. 

“Once I hit 15,000 followers I started getting paid for posts, not just sent free products,” Daiagi said. “This is when I realized I had my own personal business.”

Now, Daiagi has 52,000 followers and uses Instagram’s ‘public figure’ business function so her profile has a button that companies can click to e-mail her directly for business inquiries.

Daiagi accepts about two business proposal collaborations a week. From there, she has to take the companies requirements into account while also trying to successfully market to her target audience.

“Companies expect more traffic after I post their product, but it depends entirely on my audience’s opinions on the product and pricing,” Daiagi said. “Figuring out what your target audience wants to see takes time.”

Instagram is an ever-changing platform for trends, which constantly affects the business side, according to Daiagi. Leaving her earning anywhere from $50-$500 a month depending on numerous Instagram factors. “If I don’t post for a few days I lose followers. It is very important to stay consistent and that is one of the hardest things to do,” Daiagi said.

Malkou agreed saying, “it is an unstable market to be apart of due to circumstances out of my control.”

Instagram influencer and ASU student Mackenzie Dipman has even downloaded a separate app altogether just to track the analytics for her Instagram posts to see what works. “I try to pay attention to which photos reach the most people for the longest span of time, and that’s the purpose of the app,” Dipman said.

Knowing her outreach helps Dipman tailor her posts to what her audience prefers and would like to see more of. Her audience’s opinion is what made her personal brand possible because Dipman concludes “before you can even consider building your Instagram business you first have to create your image to be something that is universally appealing or highly desired by a certain demographic.”

Even while Instagram is still on the rise, Malkou believes, “everything rises and falls. While Instagram can offer some great paydays right now, it won’t always be a steady and successful channel.” That is why he warns, “you’ve always got to look for the next big thing.”


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