Monday, January 26, 2015

Instagram Tips for Business

Instagram is a useful tool for building the presence of your business online through visual representation. There are some easy ways to maximize the benefits and expand your audience. The ultimate goal of your actions should be to create a loyal group of followers who will engage in your posts, thus spreading their impact.

8 Tips for increasing your Instagram audience. 

1. Good photos are key to gaining followers. Instagram is a visual site first and foremost. Make your photos interesting and aesthetically pleasing to your audience. Showcase your items in a unique way. Take a work in progress photo (#WIP) when the light hits your workstation just right or a picture of your hand with paint on it. Then include a finished product photo. To give the item one last boost, post the item in use. For example, if the item is a ring show it on someone's hand while holding a cup of coffee. These posts can be spaced over a few hours or a few days but it will invest your followers in the item and its story.

2. Keep a visual tone. When someone looks at your whole profile, do the photos create a cohesive visual story? They do not need to be (and honestly should not be) too product heavy. Adding a mix of content including personal photos that tell a bit about who YOU are connects your followers to you as a maker. There should be a flowing visual story of you, your interests and what you make. Use complimenting filters and styles.

Check out Connecticut native The Confetti Bar. She uses a mix of personal and business related photos that all work wonderfully together. Check out her beautiful account:  theconfettibar

3. Hashtags are how you drive traffic to your fantastic photos. Use a combination of hashtags that include what the item is, what interests surround the item and general Instagram hashtags.

For example:
Item: #Druzy #Necklace #Jewelry
Interests: #Style #Fashion #Handmade #Etsyseller
General: #Instalove #Instadaily #Picoftheday

To keep your initial description clean include one or two hashtags and then comment on your own photo with the remaining hashtags you would like to use. Shoot for at least 8 - 12 hashtags while you are building an audience.

4. Create a unique hashtag for your business. It would be most effective to be your business name, but if that is taken, find something similar. Use this hashtag on your postings throughout social media to create a history.  Encourage others to use your hashtag by regramming when customers use your hashtag and crediting their account. There are apps that will allow you to easily regram photos - go to your app store and search "regram" or "repost" for an array of free apps.

For example: The Nutmeg Collective uses #nutmegcollective 

5. Tag your photos. If you're picture includes a West Elm rug and a Crate and Barrel vase, tag them in the photo. This will give them a notification and they might regram your photo giving you exposure to their vast audience. Keep in mind when tagging someone that the picture should be appropriate and non-offensive.

 Here you see designer Jennifer Stagg posted a photo to her account
and tagged her sources. She got 377 likes - not too shabby. 

A few hours later, the HomeGoods Instagram account reposted 
her photo because of her tag. The post got 11,267 likes!

6. Engage with others. If someone comments on your photo, comment back using their @ username. When perusing the general Instagram explore feed, like and comment on photos that strike your fancy, even if you are not following the account. Ask light and fun questions in your photo descriptions that warrant an answer from your followers.

7. Add a link to your main profile. Drive followers to your website, blog, giveaway, shop or even a specific listing. The link can be changed at anytime if you want to focus traffic on a specific listing or site temporarily. Etsy does not recognize incoming clicks from Instagram (yet) but if you want to track the traffic coming from your IG page use Bitly or and track it through their site. These free sites will provide you with a shortened link that you can include in your profile and track the clicks on the link.

8. Link your accounts. When you post to Instagram you can choose to share the post with other social media platforms as well. These will then link back to your IG post and help increase your audience. If you would like to add your IG feed to your Facebook's about page visit:

Who are some of your favorite maker accounts on Instagram? 

Written by Alonda Baird-Juhasz, owner of Designer Dwellings, who believes in adding color to life. An avid DIYer, sparkle-loving, all things fabulous addict, her shop features bright and fun home decor accessories and gifts. When not in the shop you can find her interior decorating or visual styling events and photo shoots.

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