Instagram may not be one of the social networks that springs to mind if you are thinking about using social media to market your business.
Instagram, owned by Facebook, now has over 300 million users! The majority of these are aged 18-34 but don’t dismiss it completely even if that isn’t your target audience. More and more people are joining all the time and it’s only likely to get bigger. Plenty of small businesses are taking advantage of that fact that Instagram can help you reach a massive audience.
You don’t have to be a professional photographer or have an expensive camera either. Snap away on your smartphone and off you go. Engagement on Instagram is now around fifteen times higher than it is on Facebook! Several small businesses have grown massively thanks to this.
Here’s How You Can Be Awesome On Instagram:
You don’t have to be a major brand to benefit from hashtag campaigns. Joe Wicks aka The Body Coach has amassed an impressive 300k followers and has enjoyed plenty of media coverage thanks to his #Leanin15 campaign. Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach Joe made over £600k in his first year thanks to his 90 day healthy eating plan. Even John Terry is a fan.
A post shared by Joe Wicks #Leanin15 (@thebodycoach) on
I read about Cousin Couture, a retailer in a tiny American town that managed to increase their sales and gain 10k followers thanks to their use of Instragram. They share their latest products and allow customers to order over the phone or leave a comment to put an item aside.
If you need inspiration for creating a short and sweet video just take a look at The Body Coach’s Instagram. You can add your Instagram videos to your website or blog too.
Social media is meant to be social. Speak to your followers, like their photos. Search for popular and industry related hashtags and like away.
It’s important to be consistent and post regularly. Your followers will look out for your posts. There are plenty of brands on Instagram who post once in a blue moon.
One of the best examples of a small business doing extraordinarily well that I’ve seen is a locally based menswear company co-owned by the brother of a friend and colleague of mine.
With nearly 100k followers and great engagement from their fans, P and Co are a shining example of how to do Instagram properly. Some of the big menswear brands should take note. They post regularly, have a good mix of content and know how to build up anticipation for their latest collections. Just look at their coffee collection! I love the Death Before Decaf Reusable Mug but it’s currently sold out.
A few months ago I met with the owner of a local designer menswear shop that has been around since I was young teen. He used to have a couple of shops in two busy Warwickshire towns and they were the place to go for the latest designer clothes for a huge majority of both towns. One of the stores closed down a few years ago and one remains open but I never see it anywhere near as busy as it was back then.
Obviously times have changed, people shop differently thanks to the ease of online shopping. I asked him why he still didn’t have a website yet and if he’d be interested in having one built. He said a relative was in the process of building him a website. I talked about social media marketing and how his business could benefit from being on a Instagram and having a web presence. He wasn’t keen on paying somebody else to do this for him. Months later and the shop still isn’t online. No website, no social media presence.
I just can’t understand why so many small business owners are still so hesitant, especially when sales have dropped so dramatically. Local independent shops don’t necessarily have to go for an e-commerce site if they don’t want to sell online. A nicely presented responsive brochure site would be a huge improvement on having nothing at all. Current customers could view the latest stock and new customers that never knew the shop existed could find them. Offer website visitors an incentive to sign up to a mailing list and you could draw them in to your store with promotions, new stock, discount codes, sales and more.
Just want to say a HUGE THANKYOU to Dan Gissane who of has put together and donated 6 of these life saving Back Packs that we can now fill with emergency supplies for homeless and badly housed people in and around Rugby ✌️❤️ this is a great help as we can now pack individual bags for people that contain vital clothing, sleeping equipment, cosmetics and even food. All of the items have been donated by YOU our customers and now each bag potentially saves the life of someone who needs that kind of support in an emergency 🙏 Dan & all of you who have given up something or other you are all 💎💎💎 THANKYOU 🙏✌️❤️
A post shared by 💈MISTER ROBINSON'S BARBERSHOP💈 (@mrrobinsons) on
I’ve gone for another local business as an example of Instagram done well. That’s me above pictured with local Barber and business owner Matt Robinson.
Mister Robinson’s Barbershop in Rugby, Warwickshire, is still relatively new and has only been up and running for a short while now, probably not even two years. The shop, the atmosphere, the staff, the social media are all a cut above the rest (excuse the pun!) and they really do stand out above the rest in a town with so much competition on the doorstep.
Matt is a genuinely amazing guy and does a lot for the local homeless community. The only downside of their success for me is that there’s constantly a long line of people waiting. But, good things come to those who wait! Regular Instagram posts and a strong brand identity since opening have helped this small business gain the awards it deserves. Their posts feel authentic with photos of real people including customers and fun, happy staff. This authenticity shines through in their Instagram posts. The other barbers in town should take note.
Still, no website yet but hopefully Matt might give us a call in the near future.
Here’s another example of how Matt keeps his followers engaged:
Apothecary 87's new Beard Conditioning oil is almost ready to be released gentleMEN. Tag a bearded badass in this post and 1 lucky MAN will WIN a 10ml bottle of MANliness💈😎 (free post to the winner) #keepithandsome #keepitreal #competitiontime @beardedvillains @a87themanclub @apothecary87 @beard_club_uk @beardsandtats @beard_and_proud @beardthefuckup @barberconnect @londonschoolofbarbering @fhmagram @barberology_uk @londonschoolofbarbering @b_i_l_f
A post shared by 💈MISTER ROBINSON'S BARBERSHOP💈 (@mrrobinsons) on
Keep up the good work Mister Robinson and and the team!
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