How can I use Instagram to market and promote my business?

Answer

Whether you are already using Instagram, or you are a newbie to this platform, here are nine tips on how to best use Instagram to promote and market your business:

  1. Create a meaningful and memorable profile. You have 150 characters to entice the user to follow you and ultimately become your customer. Say something that gets their attention and convinces them to click that follow button. With business accounts, you can list your business hours, location, email, directions, and phone number.
  2. Establish your identity. Your page should have a particular look. This “look” instantly tells people that they are on your page. It identifies with your brand. Instagram for small businesses works best when you have an identity that sets you apart. Your identity includes a color palette. Pick up to five colors and stick with them. Also, develop a cohesive writing style for captions.
  3. Creativity counts. Get funky with your photos to get more impact. Don’t worry about showing the entire product. Post the great texture in the knit of a high-end fleece to make it seem like the person looking at it can practically feel the fleece. Zoom in on stitches, post a photo of a mountain of boxes of blanks or a close-up of a design running through your machines.
  4. Instagram loves video. Share short 30–60-second videos of machines in use, whether it’s embroidery, screen printing, heat press, laser, pad printer, engraver, or direct-to-garment, show them all running different kinds of jobs. Get close-ups so the viewer can see the work.
  5. Share the journey. Engage users by bringing them along on the ordering process. Plan it out as a slide show from the initial sketches of what the design might look like and the digitized printout of the logo to the boxes of inventory, the running machines, and eventually, the finished design, trimming, folding, and packing. Also, show the happy customer seeing or wearing the product.
  6. Become a #hashtag ninja.  Relevancy is the key to hashtags. Instagram permits up to 30 per post, but keep your tags focused and only use three to nine tags per post. Include the one you create and always use for your work, and then include tags that relate to a post, which might be the product type (#customhoodie, #performancegolfshirt, #varsityjacket) or customer type (#plumbershirt, #restaurantapparel, #HomeBuildercustomjacket). Skip generic tags like #embroidery or #hoodie, which have millions of posts. However, #customhoodie or #schoolhoodies have much fewer posts giving you better odds of being noticed.
  7. Name drop. Instagram is an excellent platform for sharing customer success stories. Not everyone will see a specific hashtag, so be sure to tag them by including their Instagram handle (@theirname). Ideally, they will share it.
  8. Create teasers. Reward your followers with first glimpses of new catalogs, new products, new equipment, new techniques, services, or an event. Post teasers before you head to a trade show and invite your followers who are in attendance to check out the latest.
  9. Measure and adjust. Unless you take the time to measure how your posts are doing, posting on social media becomes a guessing game. The only way to discover what kinds of posts generate interaction from your ideal targets is to keep trying, see the results, try something different, and measure again. Regularly measure your follower count, engagement, and clicks so you can refine and improve your posting strategy.
National Network of Embroidery Professionals (NNEP)