February 27/March 6, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 19
By Ayme Sinclair, Stanton Carpet
If you look at the top 100 brands in the world, 90% of them have an Instagram account. More importantly, customer interactions with the brands that are on Instagram are 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times greater than Pinterest and 84 times higher than Twitter. Statistics prove Instagram is by far the best platform for staying connected with your customers.
Using at least one hashtag (or keyword) increases the likelihood of these connections, making them an important feature to use on this platform. Users can tag their images with keywords to describe things about the photo to make them searchable. These keywords can be a variety of things such as the name of the park where the photo was taken or the type of animal being shown.
But how would this help a retailer? Dealers can use these keywords to find customers who are looking to make renovations. It’s a great tool to help you identify users who have visited a nearby furniture or big box store. The beauty of the hashtag is it also works in reverse. Users can search hashtags, and if you use them properly they will find you. Once you identify and start using the correct set of keywords, your customer will easily find your Instagram page and see the images you’re sharing.
However, utilizing social media isn’t just about sharing photos. It’s a platform that allows you to talk and interact with potential customers to help you build a relationship with them. Remember, hashtags will only increase these interactions. For example, Stanton Carpet recently helped one of its retailer partners develop an effective set of keywords. At the start, Cove Carpet One Floor & Home, based in Summit, N.J., was receiving about 10 “likes” each time it posted a photo on Instagram. Stanton was able to boost this number to 68 after using the hashtags in only a single post. That represents an increase of nearly 600%. But what’s more important than the sheer number was the quality of the audience. Reports show 30% were designers or contractors with another 30% comprising home improvement enthusiasts; 10% were real estate professionals.
“We connected with more people in this post than we’ve ever had before,” said Donna Dwyre, president, Cove Carpet One Floor & Home. “The results were not only fantastic, but they were instant. It helped us start conversations with customers who had not been in the store for months.”
Which leads me to my last point: The best part about using social media marketing is you can see the results immediately, and all the interactions are documented. These interactions, also known as engagement, are golden nugget leads that your sales associates can use to follow up and get new and returning customers back into the store. And the best part is it can all be done for free.
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.