How to Research Your Business’s Instagram Competition

By Jennifer Herman, Eric Butow, Corey Walker

Chances are you already have a good idea about who your competition is offline, especially if your business serves customers locally. If you have several business names to research, finding them on Instagram is fairly easy if they each have an account.

Here are two easy ways to find the Instagram accounts of your competitors:

  • Go to their websites and see whether they have a link to their Instagram accounts. If so, click the link or Instagram icon.
  • Go to Instagram directly and click the magnifying glass at the bottom of the page to display the Search field. Type the business name in the Search field and see whether the business appears. Tap the name to go to the account.
instagram searching businesses
© Graphics and More
Type a business name in the Search field, and look for its Instagram account in the list that appears.

If you’re using the second research method, several accounts might have similar names. If you can’t distinguish which one is the correct account, use the first method to verify that you’ve found the correct one.

After you locate a competitor’s Instagram account, look at its profile page. Some businesses take more care with their profile page than others. Ask yourself the following:

  • Does it have an easily identifiable username?
  • Is that account set up as a business account? (Call, Email, and Directions buttons are displayed only on business accounts.)
  • Does it explain what the business does in a simple way?
  • Has it included a link to its website or another resource?
  • Are photos, images, and videos used in a cohesive way?
  • Does it have an Instagram story running?
INstagram business profile
A business profile can display buttons for Call, Email, and Directions.

Look at what your competitor has done. Can you learn any lessons, good or bad, for your own profile?

Next, tap the last photo that the competitor’s account posted. Take note of the image and caption. Does the post

  • Have an intriguing image, video, or photo?
  • Use text overlays that might include a quote, phrase, or statistic?
  • Use filters? If so, is one filter used consistently?
  • Have a caption? If so, does it make you want to know more?
  • Use hashtags? If so, how many?

Go through this set of questions with several of your competitor’s posts. Note which of them received the highest engagement, including likes and comments. Also note the posts that received low engagement.

If you’d like to get more technical, set up an Excel spreadsheet using the preceding questions as column headings and note similarities between winning and losing posts. Repeat the process with other competitors. Then use the information to craft posts that are more attractive to your target audience.

This process doesn’t need to be restricted to competitor research alone. Feel free to see what other brands are doing successfully on Instagram and determine whether their techniques can be translated to your business.