Tips on Using Instagram for Small Retailers

by / Tuesday, 14 October 2014 / Published in Small Business Marketing


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What’s so great about Instagram? For one thing, more and more marketers are waking up to the possibilities of the medium, with its simple to use interface and engaged demographics. True to form, marketing tools are emerging that can provide business owners with more functionality and insight surrounding how they post on the network, an indicator that businesses are taking it seriously. At face value, Instagram is seemingly the perfect platform for marketing visually appealing products, since its emphasis on images and its scrolling system of browsing are reminiscent of window shopping and in that sense is similar to Pinterest, which many use in order to create virtual wishlists. In order to make your small business’s efforts on Instagram pay off, there are a few factors that business owners should consider regarding what they are posting and how.

Quality trumps quantity. The feeds that have the most subscribers aren’t always the ones that post the most content. Instagram users tend to be pretty finicky about what level of image quality they expect from the accounts that they follow. If you have a choice between posting two or three images or a single image that you spend time editing to look great, you should choose the latter option in order to give your profile a uniform appearance of quality, making it more likely that people will choose to follow you.

Don’t be afraid to use image editing other than the native filters. Instagram’s original popularity stemmed in large part from the option of its users to apply vintage filters to the images that they posted. There are a large range of filters to choose from native to the program, but should you wish to go more in depth with image editing, don’t be afraid to use programs like photoshop to prep your images further before you share them. The exception to this rule is if you use image editing to make your products appear different from how they are in real life to the point that it can be construed as deceptive. Other than that, feel free to go beyond the basics in terms of filters in order to make memes, frame non-square images and give your profile a professional look.

Remember to #hashtag! Small business owners should be familiar with what a hashtag is at this point, seeing as it has become more or less ubiquitous in the digital marketing world. Knowing what they are and using them effectively is another story, however. A good way to get familiar with the lay of the land on Instagram regarding hashtags is to take some time for yourself and use the Explore feature to look for accounts similar to your own and examine the hashtags that they are using. The hashtags used by accounts with the largest followings should be given weight, along with hashtags that may be unique to your business you are already using on Twitter or Facebook.


Photo Credit to Vladimir on Flickr


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