Instagram: Pro Tips

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September 7, 2014 by Beth

Whenever I conduct social media training sessions for businesses and the general public, I always skew toward best practices for using these tools for marketing purposes.  While most people today will concede that LinkedIn and Twitter can be excellent for businesses, they often flounder when they try to conceptualize how to use Instagram and Pinterest for marketing.


For Pinterest, I say go straight to the top: my new friend Taylor of Pink Heels Pink Truck (and organizer extraordinaire of Texas Women Bloggers) is a Pinterest power user, having grown from around 3,000 to around 13,000 followers in approximately six months.  Are Pinterest followers the silver bullet and the secret of life?  Nope.  But for Taylor, Pinterest is the top referral source to her blog.  If you sell products online or hope to attract visitors to your business or organization website, Pinterest is an excellent and accessible way to attract more attention (not to mention it’s free beyond the cost of your time).  Here’s Taylor’s post: How To Be A Pinterest Rockstar.

With that said, there are a handful of Instagram power users right here in Arkansas who I regularly mention in my social media sessions (and yet, I always forget to tell them I’m sending people their way!)  Here they are, as well as what they’re doing right so that you can take a page from their play books for your own Instagram marketing efforts:

1.  E. Leigh’s Boutique: Direct Communication With Target Audience

E. Leigh’s Boutique (Conway, Fayetteville, Little Rock) does a masterful job of understanding that their target consumer is spending her free time scrolling through Instagram already.  They could spend their dollars with traditional advertising or even placing news and updates on a website, but the single best way to let their customers know that they are closed on a particular day is to catch her that morning before she ever leaves the house.  Even better, they use Instagram to promote secret sales and exclusive items, and perfectly blend product and news posts with the occasional photo quote for a nice variety and flow.  {E. Leigh’s on Instagram}


2.  Grey Dog Vintage: Online Conversation & Simplicity of Sales

Grey Dog Vintage Boutique (Fayetteville) is an exceptional example of approachability and savvy marketing – in fact, I’ve raved about their unique approach and customer service in the past.  The boutique combines the same friendly and warm tone through Instagram posts that shoppers experience in the store, and their smart styling and posting results in plenty of requests to hold and purchase specific items.  It helps that scarcity (it’s a vintage boutique, after all) drives a sense of urgency in shoppers, but the most important part is that the Grey Dog team closely monitors the conversation, responding to questions and requests for more information… and promptly sending an invoice electronically when a bidder raises her hand!  {Grey Dog on Instagram}



3.  South on Main: Whetting Appetites With Teaser Posts

South on Main (Little Rock) posts daily menu selections, specials and cocktail offerings, causing customers to lick their chops and tag their friends for lunch and happy hour dates.  Their social media savants share that sales of featured blue plate specials skyrocket after posting online, and the restaurant and performance venue stays on brand and goes the extra mile to make every post perfectly convey their signature southern hospitality.  {South on Main on Instagram}



4.  Perrodin Supply: Sharing The Inspiration, The Maker & The Process

Perrodin Supply Company (Springdale) uses Instagram for direct sales once in a while (I’ve written about them previously as well, in Arkansas Life), but they really shine by cultivating ambiance and devoted customers.  They really nail it on Instagram by blending candid, artsy photos of the process and gorgeously staged product photos.  There are plenty of posts conveying moments of inspiration as well as unfinished products or the beautiful – albeit messy – process.  Plus, the Perrodins uplift and feature other artisans, nailing the modern version of cross-selling and genuine investment in their industry and peers.  {Perrodin Supply on Instagram}


What else makes Instagram really sing for savvy marketing?



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