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How can I use Instagram to Promote my Retail Store?

Now that Instagram is growing in popularity with a wider audience, many small businesses are using it to promote their products. Here’s how. 

Instagram For retailersInstagram For retailers

As we discussed in last week’s blog – All About Instagram – this social media site has been growing in popularity and can be a great outlet for retailers to reach out to a new audience. Because Instagram is based on pictures and videos, it’s a natural way to share your store’s product and personality with your current customers and new ones! Here’s how to get started.

First you’ll want to create an Instagram account if you don’t already have one. This blog walks you through some basics starting with what to name your account and moving on to common mistakes to avoid.

Now that you’ve got an Instagram account what should you be posting? How about:

~ Pictures of new merchandise or in-store displays or pretty flyers sharing details on your events or sales

~ Photos and videos of events, your employees, your satisfied customers

~ Videos of new product

~ Fun personal photos or photos of animals or other things your customers will enjoy (remember it’s about fun and personality not just your product!)

Don’t forget to tag your pictures and videos with hashtags. If you’re already familiar with tagging, then you can skip this section. If not, read for a quick explanation of what hashtags are and how to use them.

Hashtags are used to categorize your Instagram post so that other’s searching for content like yours can find it. So when you upload pictures of your latest spring products you’ll want to tag them with hashtags that describe the pictures and videos. These can include #Spring #Gifts #Flowers and more. You can use several hashtags on your post. But how do you know what hashtags are popular or that others will be searching for? Simple. Check out one of the many tagging sites that share the most popular Instagram hashtag. We like Tagstagram, which organizes popular hashtags by topic.

Now that you’ve got your page setup and have started posting pictures and videos it’s time to make sure your customers know you’re on Instagram! Just like you would include a link to Facebook on your website or in your email signature, make sure you include Instagram too. After that consider running a contest to promote your store on Instagram!

While there are many ways to run an Instagram contest the easiest way is to ask your customers to post images around a theme related to your store. Have them use a special contest hashtag and also tag your store in their post. Then you simply select a winner and give them a prize. You can promote the contest in store and online via your website, Facebook or email. You can also post some pictures of your own to get people started. For example your Gift Store could ask people to post photos on gifting using the hashtag #GiftsOfSpring and tagging your store. One winner receives a special gift basket. You can promote the contest using pictures of the gift basket people will win!

If you’re looking for more advanced Instagram contest ideas, we like this article which shares 10 real Instagram contests run by small businesses and offers a critique of each including what was done well and how the contest could be improved. Or, if you want to see how bigger businesses are doing contests, Instagram offers a few case studies for you to draw inspiration from.

Instagram can be a fun and rewarding way to interact with your current customers and to find new ones! Once your setup and running, or if you’re already using Instagram for your business, you’re bound to find your own creative ways to use it for promotion. We’d love to hear about your Instagram success in the comments section below.

Melrose International is an industry leader in wholesale home décor, giftware, and seasonal items. Providing outstanding products, service, design, and value since 1985!

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