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Author Biography:

Sarah Orlandi  is attending John Carroll University where she is currently a major in Integrated Marketing Communications. As an Administrative Assistant Intern at Wholesale Supplies Plus, Inc. she works closely with Debbie May learning the ins and outs of the handmade soap and cosmetic making industry. She works alongside the marketing team to help promote handmade inspiration and industry trends.

How To Market Your Small Business With Instagram
By Sarah Orlandi Friday, August 28, 2015
With the recent boom of social media there are so many new ways to promote your small business. One of the most popular and widely used social platforms is Instagram. Instagram is a photo-sharing social network that allows users to connect with others via pictures and videos. With Instagram’s engagement being fifteen times higher than Facebook, utilizing it for marketing could transform your small business into a booming success! Here are a few tips to create an effective small business marketing campaign utilizing Instagram!

Creating Connections. The great thing about Instagram is that it can connect to other social media channels. By sharing your Instagram photos to all platforms you get more for your money – not to mention it also helps build followers on your account. By allowing Instagram posts to be shared on your other social media accounts, your images automatically post to those profiles. People can then click on the Instagram stream, and interact with the post by liking, commenting or following your brand.

Another great way to create connections is to interact with followers. Responding to followers’ comments makes your brand more personable. Make responding to comments a habit! Followers love it, and it increases your brand likeability.  Also, when you gain a follower, follow them back! Let them know that you are just as interested in their posts as they are in yours. They may also spark some handmade inspiration in you to use in your own recipes. Also, following other small business accounts can keep you connected on handmade industry trends. These additional accounts can be used as a source of inspiration for your own posts. Connecting to all your social media platforms is a great way to promote your Instagram profile. It can increase traffic to your account and allow you to interact with followers!

Engage your Audience. Post things that you think your followers will be interested in. It’s that simple! Do not feel like your posts need to be professional quality. Followers may appreciate a quick snapshot posted from your phone. This also gives you an opportunity to show followers a behind-the-scenes look into your business! Posting a photo of an upcoming product line or the making of a product can inspire your followers and engage them with your brand. 

Encouraging followers to upload their own images to your Instagram feed can also be a great way to engage them. Your followers’ products can be showcased on your business account and used to inspire others! Keeping your posts simple shows followers an inside look into your business and encouraging them to post their own product is a great way to keep followers involved with your business. 

Build Your Brand. A large part of marketing a small business is having a brand identity. A clear idea of who you are as a brand allows followers and customers to identify with your business. Other forms of social media, such as Twitter, limit you in expressing your brand. With Instagram you have the opportunity to visually impact your fans! Post photos of things other than your products. Tell followers about your business’s values through the use of pictures. Building a brand identity can help customers and followers understand more about your small business. 

It is also very important to have consistency throughout your brand. Having too many messages can confuse followers and lead to brand confusion and weaken the brand identity. Stick to your business’s core standards and create your messages based upon them. Consistency is key in building a brand!

Fun Facts. Here are a few additional facts that can help build your business that could not be left out!
  • 70% of Instagram users check their feed at least once a day. Take advantage of this and post pictures to capture the followers who check it on a regular basis!
  • 83% of all Instagram posts contain a hashtag. People sort images using hashtags. So by applying a hashtag to one of your photos it gives you the opportunity to reach more people. An example of a relevant hashtag would be "#handmade".  
  • Images that contained blue as the dominant color received 24% more likes than posts containing other colors. Not all of your images will be a predominantly blue color palette, but it is important to understand the psychology behind what attracts viewers’ attention. 
With the expansion of social media, you need to take advantage of platforms like Instagram. It can be a great tool for building your business and your brand. Keeping things simple and staying connected with fans will promote your products while also keeping you linked to trends in the handmade industry. 

  1. "23 Interesting Facts About Instagram." Buzzfeed. N.p., 22 Jan. 2014. Web. 28 June 2015. <http://www.buzzfeed.com/javim2/23-interesting-facts-about-instagram-bw9q#.tjdz3Llyo>.
  2. Emerson, Melinda. "10 Ways to Grow Your Small Business with Instagram." Succeed as Your Own Boss. N.p., 18 Aug. 2014. Web. 28 June 2015. <http://succeedasyourownboss.com/ 10-ways-grow-small-business-instagram/>.

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