Instagram Promotion Through Six Deadly Sins

Marketers started using human weaknesses to attract clients long ago. Food pics make you hungry, cat pics attract your attention, etc. How about using this technique on Instagram? This social network is entirely based on our emotions. So today we are presenting you 6 deadly sins that can become marketers’ best friends.

Each picture your company posts can cause emotions such as admiration, desire to possess, surprise, disgust, or boredom. Let’s concentrate on the strongest emotions that deprive people of their will and force them to perform spontaneous actions like buying your goods. Introducing... the deadly sins!*

*This article uses the Christian concept of capital vices, or deadly sins. We have excluded wrath from the list as this emotion is absolutely destructive. We are not going to dwell upon the moral aspect of exploiting human weaknesses for profit, letting our readers judge for themselves.

Pride (Vanity)

It’s the favorite sin of Instagram users. All those people who daily post pictures of their dinners or flowers from admirers in fact want fame. At least among their followers. But if the fame could just as well reach out there, why not?

One of the best cases belongs to the BlackMilk clothing brand. Today many companies add user generated content to product images on their sites. This allows buyers to see the way clothes look not only on perfect models, but on real people as well.

BlackMilk uses Instagram for this purpose. Each item on the site comes with a unique hashtag. Any buyer with an Instagram account can upload a photo wearing the purchased item and add its hashtag. The company with find the photo and publish it on the website.

What’s the use of it for the customers? Fame and helping other people. And the brand benefits from having a lot of content and a wide range of fans.

The official account of BlackMilk on Instagram has 850 thousand followers.

Attract Clients on Instagram


For example, that’s how their little black dress looks in real life.

Another way to turn human vanity to your advantage is through celebrities. If your audience overlaps with that of a famous pop group or a popular YouTuber, make exclusive gifts to these media personas. As soon as they tag you on their page, wait for an influx of clients who want to feel like a star, or at least a few most loyal fans of these celebs.

Avarice (Greed)

Want to capitalize on human greed? Run contests.

How you can use contests to attract customers:

  • Choose a valuable prize for your target audience (not necessarily something tangible);
  • Determine what you want your followers to do. You can ask them to subscribe to your account, create free content, show their involvement, use your product, etc.
  • Think of a scheme that suits the purpose best.

Your contest terms depend solely on your imagination. It can be something very simple, for example “like a photo - get a prize”. Or it can be an expensive promo involving top social media bloggers.

Let’s take a look at several recent contests.

Sony held a contest featuring a popular blogger with a Sony Xperia SP at stake. The task was to post a photo with any gadget. The benefit for the company was getting a large number of mentions of their device, and positioning the smartphone as an element of style. And the blogger got content and more followers.

Such contests are helpful when the number of followers of the official page of a brand does not yet provide a large coverage, but the brand still wants to subtly promote a specific product.

As a result you get such cute pics.

And that’s how Marc by Marc Jacobs effectively combined greed with vanity. The brand searched for the face of the autumn-winter 2016 campaign among its fans. To participate in the casting call you were just to post your photo with the hashtag #CastMeMarc. The contest received many entries and lots of press coverage, and attracted additional attention to the brand’s official Instagram account (which had 1 million 195 thousand subscribers back then).

The future face of Marc by Marc Jacobs.

 Attract Clients on Instagram


If you want to make a lifestyle Instagram account attractive to your target audience, your bet is on envy. People want to be there - in a pretty and festive picture, and they project their thirst for possession on your product.

In short, envy is the most applicable sin. Resort to it when the image of your product itself conveys nothing. If you just place your goods in chic interiors and surround them with attractive people, show your product making their lives effortless and bright - and envy will attract your viewers like moths to a flame.

Let’s take Beatsbydre as an example. It exploits the image of a ‘successful guy with headphones’. The image turns out to be quite attractive: 1 million 240 thousand followers speak for themselves.


 Attract Clients on Instagram

Sportsmen, musicians, celebrities... Do you want to be on this list? Buy the headphones.

One more case is Sharpie permanent markers. The product itself doesn’t seem to have an image-forming quality. But the drawings created with it do. 15 thousand subscribers are happy to follow the updates of the creative account.

 Attract Clients on Instagram

I can’t draw like this. Probably, because I have no markers. I have to get them.


Food pics look like something Instagram was invented for. If beautiful food is your business, it would be strange not to capitalize on the universal love of food.

It’s especially useful for small businesses that specialize in personal orders. They daily produce a variety of content, and the only thing they need to make a new post is a smartphone and a couple of minutes. Potential clients are already there to anticipate your mouthwatering content.

For example, Kalabasa makes customized cakes and sweets and publishes them on Instagram. More than 9,000 subscribers are actively liking spectacular photos and making new orders right there in the comments.


 Attract Clients on Instagram

Kalabasa makes tempting pictures of really beautiful cakes.


Sex sells, everyone knows that. And it is not about those corny nude pics on garage banners.

If your product makes your target audience feel sexy, get an Instagram account. It’s up to you to decide how saucy your content should be. It depends on your brand image as well as your ultimate goal: do you want your subscribers to be potential clients or just curious idlers?

Victoria’s Secret is doing an excellent job commodifying sex. The photos of its angels are regularly viewed by 4 million 230 thousand followers.

Another great example of an Instagram account with the sea, the sun, and beautiful girls belongs to Roxy - a women sportswear manufacturer. More than 533 thousand subscribers have been attracted by the concept of the page - inspirational seaside pictures of girls’ life. Sportswear is not only comfy but also beautiful.

 Attract Clients on Instagram


What can you buy when you are lazy? Any packaged product from all-inclusive tours to gift ideas for relatives or meal kits. If you offer a service, appeal to laziness. Demonstrate how convenient your service is. If the product can not be viewed, let a satisfied client speak about it.

If you sell clothes, you can win the hearts of lazy people by posting ready-to-wear looks composed entirely of the items you offer. Why is it so attractive to your clients? They don’t have to think how to put together stylish outfits and waste time going around many shops. It’s very convenient to be able to buy a complete look all at once. Your benefit is that you advertise a whole outfit instead of a single item.

This concept is easy to implement. You don’t need models, long preparations, or complicated lighting. A person with a good taste is enough to make an appealing shot. That’s what Forever21 (3 million 200 thousand followers) does on Instagram. It’s an example of perfect content: easy to make and useful to clients.

 Attract Clients on Instagram

Summary: How to attract clients on Instagram

So, when exactly you should use Instagram to find clients:

  • Your product triggers emotions
  • Your product is designed for spontaneous purchases
  • Your business process from seeing an Instagram photo to making a purchase is extremely short
  • Your clients are active users of modern gadgets.

What you need in order to attract clients using deadly sins (essential kit):

  1. A clear understanding of your target audience. So clear that you should be able to picture your follower’s face in detail. The better you know your customer’s profile, the more accurate is your communication, the more feedback you get. Describing them as ‘young people aged 20 to 30, active lifestyle’ won’t do. Just admit it, a 30-year-old software developer and a college girl may consider completely different images as enviable.
  2. A person responsible for your account. It should be a representative of the brand’s target audience. When the author makes content as though for themselves and their friends, the emotions come naturally. The best scenario is an Instagram account managed by a company employee. They have unlimited access to backstage and company events, they feel the company’s spirit and have the opportunity to speak on behalf of the brand.
  3. Goals you want to achieve with the help of Instagram. Will the account be directed at internal clients (current or potential employees)? Or will it aim at reaching the maximum coverage, increasing sales, collecting feedback, or building loyalty? You may have other goals as well.
  4. Now it’s time to choose the sin you are going to target with your content. Think again which emotion will work best at achieving your goal, and go for it.
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