Instagram is one of, if not the most powerful social media site for businesses that can be used at their disposal. Companies spend thousands of dollars on advertising when there are other alternatives that can target specific customers that produces a higher success rate in terms of views and interest. One picture of your product can result in a buzz on Instagram, creating a snowball effect that could gain traction in a matter of minutes. How is this possible? Visuals. People want to see a product, not read about it.
As an experiment and being influenced by friends, I created an Instagram account and posted some pictures from an auto show I had attended. Within a few minutes I already gained a few “likes”, and this was without using many hashtags and words. The same can happen for businesses and corporations, yet not many take advantage of this marketing tool that is waiting to be used. BestBuy and J.C. Penney are just a few of the big retail stores that aren’t posting pictures of their products on Instagram, and perhaps this could be one of the many reasons why these two stores are struggling.
Twitter also has this affect if used properly, but the tweets have to be tailored to a specific audience. Instagram on the other hand appears to be different in that pictures tend to go viral faster than words. For clothing stores such as American Eagle, they’ve already figured it out, posting pictures of a discount tag showing that they’re having a sale. Then, posted on the windows of their stores, they ask the customer to post pictures of themselves wearing their clothes. This is how you create a following and market on a small budget. There is nothing wrong with going the traditional way, but social media is proving to be more successful for those who are advertising in 140 characters or fewer.
There are many small businesses on main streets and side streets with high foot traffic, but how many of the people driving or walking by enter those stores? Face it, these businesses get forgotten, or at the very least aren’t recognized for what they are and what services they provide. Along with a Twitter and Facebook account, posting photos of the front of your business or store, the products you sell, or if you’re a contractor with a logo, post it. In every city there is always that one contractor, electrician, or plumbing company that gets most of the business because of their popularity, and because of this, there is a possibility they haven’t ventured out to social media. Do what you’re competition isn’t.
As with all social media sites and blogs, posting often is another way to gain followers. Having a static page that doesn’t update regularly won’t attract any viewers, and there is a chance people will begin to unfollow. Customers want fresh content, and when it comes to a blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, you have to post as if these followers are your clientele. It’s marketing and advertising, simply put. These social media sites aren’t being taken seriously, so you must be the first ones to do so.
As entrepreneurs you must all be open to new ways of spreading the word about your business and what services it provides. For too long small stores have sat in the shadows of the big conglomerates, but with social media that can all change. There are opportunities out there and some of them you’re already using, but not in the form of business, marketing, and advertising. Take the next step and stand out from the rest. Be the first to innovate and change how advertising is done on a local level. Social media is being used wrong, be the first to exploit this technology.