Instagram is our primary and probably favorite social media platform. We have used it both personally and on behalf of other businesses for the past 2 1/2 years, and love it because of its visual nature. Humans are such visual creatures and Instagram allows us to foster connections that feel really natural and grow a communities in a way that feels organic.
What do we love about using Instagram from a Small Business point of view?
For Prim'd Marketing, our Instagram community is filled with super creative business owners: jewelry designers, stationary creators, event planners, independent clothing brands, content makers and web designers. We love our tribe of like-minded individuals who are sharing similar interests and lifestyles to us both locally in San Francisco and throughout the rest of the US.
We love how Instagram allows brands like Prim'd to share our experiences on Instagram, as well as get a real-life peek at daily life for our brand-friends. We learn from them, gain helpful resources, new techniques, or find out about industry events and workshops going on that we want to be part of.
What are some tips for other small businesses and why should they be using it?
- Hash tags: Research the best hash tags for your business (we use a tool like Websta to keep tabs on relevant hashtags) and use them in your posts to get discovered by customers, like-minded business owners and potential partners. Just don't overdo it and look spammy, we try to limit hash tags to 8 maximum.
- Storytelling: Use your unique selling points to tell your story on Instagram – your personality, interests, inspiration, creative talent etc.
Here are a couple of fashion related examples of small business owners who are stellar examples of how to use Instagram to tell their story, and why it's working:
Create & Nurture a Connection with Followers
neve / hawk is an American made kid’s clothing company that is a family affair. Their Instagram account follows their collaborative creative process and family life, which are entwined. Husband Bob makes the original artwork as hand screen prints, mom Kris sews the details and their kids Neve and Shep provides the design inspiration, which is “childish joy”.
Wife Kris not only uses Instagram to visually tell her family and business story through pictures but also narrates an authentic journey that both parents and business owners can relate to. For example 2 weeks ago she posted a selfie picture of herself saying:
“Y'all, I need an intervention. I have become that person who wears full workout attire, complete with sports bra, when not working out. Please help me. I'm sinking into a dark hole. A dark hole that is laziness and comfort mixed with working from home so little interaction with others. I even have on fuzzy slippers that I wear when walking to the post office. Yes, it's gone too far.”
Why it works: Let’s be honest juggling a home run business and a family is not easy and you have a lot of balls in the air. A lot of women are sick of trying to “have it all” in an unrealistic Martha Stewart way. So Kris’s humorous stories are refreshing, genuine and inspiring which builds a connection with her readers, and they enjoy tuning in to the next installment.
Also, check out how they promote their attention to detail with their packaging, “What You’re About To Open is Awesome” stickers on their mailing bags, their limited edition pieces, their cause; Fight For Creativity and their COMPOSE blog & community that highlights movers and shakers in the kid’s fashion world.
Use Instagram as a Product Catalogue
Zelma Rose is a jewelry line designed and handcrafted by Lisa Anderson Shaffer in her mountain top studio in Northern California. Her location inspires the unique style and limited edition designs of Zelma Rose, and this is reflected in her Instagram account.
I first came across Zelma Rose’s designs at the San Francisco Renegade Craft Fair a couple of years ago and met her 6 months ago at her Style and Shoot workshop she was hosting with photographer Sarah Deragon at MakeShift Society in San Francisco.
Why it works: Lisa is an Instagram pro. She understands the importance of great photos that allow customers to see the detail and quality in her products. This is huge for e-commerce shops, where customers are looking to get a sense of the product before they buy it. She has done a stellar job of building a cohesive gallery of images, which underscores her brand's continuity, and is incredibly important for building trust and capturing sales.
These two strategies help her use the social platform as a catalogue to showcase her new designs and products for sale. She also tells the story of her brand by beautifully capturing and design process in her studio, what tools she uses, her fabric swatches and what inspires her from the world around her, that she also features on her blog.
What Can You Do
If your target customers are spending time on Instagram, start to think about how you can explain your company’s story using Instagram. Consider how you can be making the most of your product pictures or imagery that explain your creative process, share new ideas you are developing with your community to get feedback. learn from and get inspired.
If you would like to see how a marketing company that work with creative entrepreneurs use Instagram to share our behind the scenes and day-to-day inspiration, you can check out Prim'd Marketing on Instagram.
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