An Instagram feed can be a marketer’s most powerful tool
Here’s a query for small business owners: When was the last time a customer visited your location and didn’t, at some point, have their nose buried in their phone?
Consider that a rhetorical question.
Whether you’re a restaurant or clothing boutique, an art gallery or museum, chances are your patrons are swiping, tapping, or texting while they’re at your location. And that’s not a bad thing — they may be sharing their meal our outfit with the wider world. Or, following your social media handle so they can stay in touch after they walk out the door.
Instagram specifically can be a boon for small business owners: The Facebook-owned social media platform reached 1 billion monthly users earlier this year, according to TechCrunch. And users “like” over 4 billion posts each day, reports HootSuite. Further: Instagram can be an invaluable tool for turning those tourists down the street into customers. Consider this recent headline in the Independent, the English newspaper: “’Instagrammability’: Most important factor for millennials on choosing holiday destination.”
Hubspot recently summed it all up nicely: “In a world where visual content remains a crucial part of any business’ marketing strategy, Instagram marketing presents a unique opportunity to visually represent your brand, celebrate its personality, and keep it top-of-mind for all those users who scroll through their Instagram feeds every single day.”
So: How can you ensure your Instagram game is as good as the competition’s? Here are three quick tips:
Leverage hashtags. Hashtags are hugely important on Instagram — they serve as a search and sorting mechanism for those 1 billion users. And so brands should ensure they’re posting not only colorful and well-lit photos, but also relevant hashtags. Capitalize on popular existing ones, like #photooftheday — a restaurant might snap a picture of the daily special, or a doggy day care might share a photo of a new puppy. You can also generate your own hashtags to link together specific content — like a weekly photo contest.
Be Instagram-able. Is your brick-and-mortar location optimized for Instagramming? You can’t expect customers to share photos of a bland sale rack, or uninspiring plate of food. If you make your store and merchandise colorful and memorable, visitors will be more likely to snap pictures (which, in turn, will bring in more visitors).
Make your presence known. What’s the point of being on Instagram if no one knows you’re there? Clearly market your Instagram handle in emails, with in-store signature, and elsewhere. You can even offer shoppers a small coupon if they follow you, or share their purchase with their Instagram followers.
Setting up your Instagram account is just the first step; next comes the quality content and the awareness building. Ready? There are 1 billion users waiting for you.