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How to make Instagram work for your store

How to make Instagram work for your store

Modern retailers who want to keep up with their customer base must embrace social media. While Facebook and Twitter are likely the two biggest social platforms, there are a number of other services and apps that can help merchants reach out to their shoppers in unique, creative ways. One of these is Instagram, a mobile photo sharing application that is well-suited for retailers of all sorts. If you’re a newcomer to the Instagram scene, here are some tips on how to make the app work for you.

Trick out your Instagram
While the Instagram application that can be downloaded onto most smart phones is ideal for personal use, there are additional apps that offer many tools that could be beneficial for retailers, according to Social Media Examiner. For example, one service known as Statigram can help you keep an eye on your customer engagement. It allows you to scroll through unread comments and respond to them one at a time – currently Instagram does not have its own message center, so this could be quite useful.

Many retailers use Instagram to host contests, and Statigram can help with this as well. Let’s say you post a picture of the new mannequins for sale that you’ve purchased and tell readers you’ll be hosting a competition to see who can dress them up in the most creative outfit. Statigram allows you to list the rules for your contest on the app and announce the winner when the time comes.

Comments and hashtags
Like any good social media app, much of Instagram’s appeal is its interactivity. Users can comment on photographs of your wall displays and jewelry racks, but they won’t likely post comments if they don’t receive a prompt response. Replying to comments in an authentic, unique way is essential for success on Instagram, the news source reports.

You should also use hashtags to link your photos back to your store. Simply put a pound symbol with the name of your shop immediately afterward (no spaces), and users will see all of the pictures tagged with your store name when they do a quick search.

Looking to others in the industry
If you aren’t certain where to start with your Instagram campaign, you can look to leaders in the industry who have already embraced the social app. According to InsideFMM, Burberry, Gucci, Kate Spade, Marc Jacobs and even Sharpie are already running successful Instagram profiles.