January 2/9, 2017: Volume 31, Number 15
By Ayme Sinclair, marketing director, Stanton Carpet
Now that you know Instagram and its 500 million-plus users is the best platform to use to build an audience at virtually no cost, the next step is to set up your account.
It all starts with a good profile. Remember, first impressions are everything, so if a user isn’t already familiar with you, then your profile is their first experience with your business. It’s tempting to just set this up quickly and enter in basic information, but if you do that you might miss a few golden opportunities.
Within the profile you can show how your business will solve their next home renovation problem. You can also use techniques to push them to your website. It’s great to have a lot of followers but it’s risky to keep them on one platform. Vine, for example, was a video social media platform with 200 millions users, but it recently shut down. All of the popular accounts completely lost their ability to communicate with millions of their followers. If Instagram goes away, so does the audience you just spent a great deal of time building. Having them on your website and email lists allows you to push them to the next big thing. In the land of social media, the only constant is change.
First, you need to select a username. It’s important to choose one that is consistent with your business name. You get 30 characters so use them. Because Instagram does not allow you to use spaces in the username it’s tempting to want to abbreviate. I strongly recommend you don’t do that; you don’t want to make it hard for your current customers to find you.
You get a second opportunity to expand on your username by entering in a name. Both your username and name are considered when someone types a keyword into Instagram’s search field. So in addition to listing your business name, add in words that will increase your chances to be found such as your specialty and your location. For example, if you specialize in selling carpet and rugs in Dallas, then your name should look something like this: “BUSINESS NAME” | Carpet & Rug Store | Dallas.
The next step is to create your bio. This is the area where you get to talk about who you are. Ideally, you should break up your bio into three separate lines.
Note: By default, Instagram won’t recognize hard returns if you type them into the bio on the app. There are ways around that; to learn more about how to do this visit our Facebook group, facebook.com/groups/stantonretailers.
Line 1 should consist of what you do. Many simply write in their mission statement, but I recommend trying something more creative. For example, state how you can solve a particular homeowner’s problem.
Line 2: This should be your phone number. Instagram recognizes emoticons so include a phone icon in front of the number to give it some personality and pizzazz.
Line 3: This should be your “call to action.” You get one link and it shows up directly underneath your bio. Utilize the last line to encourage users to click on the link to act on a request. I recommend including a directional emoticon to further emphasize this is what you want the user to do.
Ayme Sinclair is the marketing director at Stanton Carpet. Her innovative social media programs in the home industry have provided explosive growth and revenue-generating leads prompting case studies from companies like Architectural Digest and General Electric. For more information on how to use social media to grow your business, join the Stanton Retailer Facebook group: facebook.com/groups/stantonretailers.