Instagram has been around for quite a while and I was probably one of the last people jumping on the IG bandwagon sometime in mid 2014. At the time I was already overwhelmed keeping up with all my other social media outlets. So what made me change my mind? Two things.
- I decided to focus my time and energy on only the social media that performed well
- After researching instagram I decided to use it as a tool to gain potential customers
Using instagram as a marketing tool has definitely been a learning curve. It requires ingenuity as to which #hashtag to add to which image in order to catch the attention of my target audience. While a huge number of followers might be impressive at first glance - for business purposes quality is more important than quantity. Being followed by say... fashion dolls or well-muscled men does absolutely nothing for my business! To gain the right type of follower also requires posting high-quality photos and posting consistently, that is at least once a day. Yes, it involves time and effort, but it is time well spent as I'm gaining more clients/customers each month. I usually style these photos a week in advance, but if I'm strapped for time and I really don't have anything to post I simply don't. Better to post nothing than what you had for dinner last night.
I'm always quick to respond to inquiries / comments / messages left on my instagram by users. Communication is a big part of customer service, both before, during and after the sale. I anticipate questions regarding my items and always provide as much information as possible to make the decision process easier for potential customers. This is way more efficient than back and forth convos. I check my instagram once every hour or so.
A word about the follow/unfollow phenomenon, which is also very much evident on Twitter and Facebook. Here's my take on it. Some follow you simply to be followed back. If you don't follow back within a couple of days these users will unfollow. Don't worry about it. Some also mistakenly follow. Also, I noticed I get unfollowed with each new photo that I post. Then, overnight, I gain a couple of followers. This is just weird! Then there are those who have been following, liking and leaving comments and suddenly unfollow. Frankly, that's just rude. Whatever their reason they aren't loyal customer material, so good riddance. Also, you will eventually be followed by spam accounts. At some point they might be deleted by instagram itself. Don't worry about it. Rather focus on and interact with real accounts that share your interests. Looking up the hashtags is a great way to find users with similar interests.
That being said, instagram definitely gets more fun once you gain more followers! Just like on any other online plattform it pays to be courteous. Reciprocate likes and leave a friendly comment on accounts you admire. Also, there is a myth going around that accounts that are set to "private" gain more followers. This is simply not true. If you're a small business wanting to attract potential customers than you will most certainly need to have a public account!
Are you a small business owner? What's your experience with instragram as a selling tool? I'd love to hear about it in the comments! #smallbusinesstips