Modern Retail

Instagram essentials for online retailers

Instagram

Instagram was founded in 2010 and quickly grew in popularity, but what began as a photo sharing platform has revolutionised business in recent years, enabling online retailers to maximise their success when used correctly.

So how can online retailers grow their audience, convey their brand messaging and increase sales through Instagram? Here are six top tips to get you started

Create a Game Plan

Begin by determining your target market and understanding what your potential customers want to see. It is important to outline your main focuses, whether it is growing brand and product awareness, increasing your number of followers, achieving higher levels of interaction or even attaining more website visits.

The best way to reach your desired audience is to create regular and relatable content, posted at times which your target market is active on social media, for example, after working hours, at lunch times or weekends. From here, posts can be created with specific goals and messaging in mind.

Visual Brilliance

Instagram made a name for itself as a photo-sharing platform, and this continues to be its primary purpose. It’s vital to create a visually attractive image of your brand, presenting your business as desirable and of a high quality.

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to capture striking imagery and videos, with plenty of inspiration on Instagram to learn from. Photos of your office, employees and products help to grow trust while images including text can capture your audience’s attention and promote a call to action.

Most importantly, your Instagram feed should be eye-catching, full of colour and demonstrating varied content.

Hashtags

Instagram announced it had reached the milestone of one billion users in 2018. To tap into this highly dedicated and active audience, one of the best methods of maximising reach is through the use of hashtags.

There are two types of hashtag; unique hashtags and mass interaction hashtags, with the secret to success lying in a combination of both.

Unique hashtags are ones based around your brand. The most successful hashtags include the brand or specific campaign name, reminding viewers continuously as they interact. These can be used throughout your posts and campaigns, encouraging others to use the hashtag and making your profile easier to find as the use of the chosen hashtag grows.

Mass interaction hashtags are those which are commonly used by the masses. From #Retail to #MondayMotivation, these gather enormous interaction on a regular basis and create the opportunity for you to enter this conversation, capturing the attention of those already engaging.

Interact With Your Community

It’s important to keep your Instagram community involved. Following other channels and liking relevant photos are brilliant ways to interact with your target market, as well as responding to any posts you are tagged in.

Attending events and tagging geolocations are methods of reaching select communities on Instagram, showing that your company is present and aware of trends, making your channel easy to find on the platform.

In terms of customer satisfaction, Instagram can also be a valuable platform to reply to feedback, responding to comments and providing customer service. Fully visible to potential customers, these public comments work to grow trust between online retailers and potential customers.

Current Content

There is no better way to remain at the forefront of customers’ minds than to post stories. Capture the attention of your followers with interactive posts and regular updates.

The latest addition to Instagram is the ability to create ‘highlights’, enabling you to categorise your all-time favourite posts and keep them on your channel permanently. These can be used to meet set objectives, promote certain campaigns or even have a ‘giveaways’ highlight reel.

Get People Talking

Instagram is a place where businesses can be fun and creative, using imagery to make long-lasting emotional connections with the masses of users on the platform. There’s nothing people love more on social media than the chance to give their own input, so challenge your followers to interact and incentivise engagement. This can include anything from asking followers to caption an image, submit their own photos, answer a question or even tag a friend to win a prize.

Each of these tips is easily actionable and will help any online retailer to create an Instagram feed they can be proud of. By following these simple steps, businesses can grow their reach and interaction, creating a loyal following and increasing sales exponentially.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to put these tips to the test.

Holly Worthington

Holly Worthington

Holly brings a wealth of experience in both print and digital publishing. As Modern Retail's Content Editor, Holly is passionate about helping independent retailers to thrive in today's ever-changing market.