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Member Article

Instagram - ten tips for retailers

Social media now plays an even more important role in retailers’ marketing and customer engagement strategies, boosting awareness, acting as a digital window display and providing a platform for product reviews. Maximise your presence on this network, engage customers and gain new business, with these practical ten tips.

Much like Pinterest, Instagram is image-lead, but has the fast pace of Twitter. It’s a brilliant tool for retailers to boost brand awareness and engage with customers. Images can make your brand more relatable, fun, and are strongly connected with emotions. And as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Create aspirational images: Instagram gives you the opportunity to get creative with your products – create images that give followers ideas for how they could use them in their own life. Piece together an outfit and snap it against a blank background, dress up a room with home ware items, or deck out a garden with plants you sell. Always be on the lookout for interesting ways to frame your photos, and focus on quality over quantity.

Hashtags: Optimise who can see your posts by using hashtags. This means that people using the search function for that hashtag might stumble across your images. You can also use it to take your followers to a page of photos about a particular topic e.g. an event you’re hosting. Hashtags work really well on Instagram – and you can have up to 30!

Hashtag the style of your products - #highheels, #brandname, #seasonforfashion, #colours e.g. #pinkbag

Create weekly posts using hashtags e.g. #FootwearFriday or #ManiMonday

Interact with people through comments and mentions: Interact with potential and existing customers by replying to comments on your photos, searching for hashtags relating to your product range, or commenting on your followers’ images, especially if they have mentioned your product or brand. You can also mention people or brands in your own pictures to boost awareness – try to find key influencers in your market and interact with them e.g. a beauty retailer could outreach to beauty bloggers and celebs.

Tagging: Much-like Facebook, you can now tag people or brands in your Instagram pictures, which pop up when some taps on the image. If you’re a fashion retailer who sells various brands, you could tag what brands a model is wearing in a photo (as long as that brand has their own Instagram account).

Regram: You can share other people’s images by ‘regramming’ them – though you’ll need to download an additional app as Instagram doesn’t offer this feature on its own just yet. Regramming is a great way to interact with customers wearing your products, and shows your followers how others are using/wearing them. Bloggers are particularly good at using Instagram – many fashion brands work with bloggers for products reviews, which can then be reposted onto your own page.

Filters: Ever heard the phrase #nofilter? This originates from Instagram as it allows you to add filters to your photos to give them a different style e.g. black and white or old fashioned. There’s nothing wrong with using filters though – they can turn a standard image into an eye-catching one (just don’t over do it!)

Be a Tease: Instagram is great for product launches or surprises. Launch a new line or even a competition with a strategically framed teaser photo.

Show your personality: Don’t be afraid to get personal – show people the world beyond the faces at the counter. This could be an image of a coffee meeting, staff interacting with one another or dressed up for an event like Halloween or Christmas. All these things add personality to your brand, which makes you more relatable to customers.

Web links: Instagram doesn’t allow users to post website links with photos – so for instance if you post a picture of a beauty product, you can’t then link followers to its page on your website. However, you can post one link on your profile page. This can be changed as many times as you want, so a good trick is to point people towards your profile on posts where you’d like to put a link. This works really well for flash sales!

Encourage people to double tap: To like images on Instagram you can either press the heart symbol next to a photo or double tap the photo itself. Encourage followers to ‘double tap’ an image if they like it e.g. ‘double tap if you need this new Wonder Woman comic in your life!’ or ‘double tap if you’re in need of a strong coffee this morning!’.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ian Tomlinson .

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