Killer Tips for Marketing Your Shop With Instagram

Do you have a dedicated Instagram account for your Etsy business? If you don’t, you certainly should. As of 2016, Instagram is the number one platform for businesses to market their products and services. There are several obvious advantages to setting up a dedicated Instagram account for your shop:

  1. Increased engagement
  2. Building trust and developing personality
  3. Increased traffic
  4. Gaining a competitive advantage
  5. Reaching your target market
  6. Free advertising!

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The quick tips & tricks that follow will help you to capitalise on these key advantages and gain the upper hand on your competition.  Having a presence on Instagram and running it effectively can literally make a business, particularly for small shop owners. In addition, those looking for a less copy-heavy approach to marketing will soon realise the benefits on offer.


1. Don’t rush, spend time in the editor

It goes without saying that you want your photos to look perfect before you put them on your feed. Yet, many people don’t seem to spend enough time experimenting with the awesome editing functionality Instagram has on offer. It’s easy to overlook the fact that you don’t have to rely on Instagram for editing your images. There are a host of other mobile platforms (such as VSCO CAM and Afterlight) which do a superb job of making your images look top-notch. For a comprehensive overview on photo editing for Instagram, Marianna Hewitt has one of the best tutorials on the web – go check her out.

Don’t rely too much on the preset filters for your photo’s. While these might be good for every-day pictures, they may not prove as useful when you go to edit images of your products. Try playing around with the advanced settings, such as Contrast, Highlights, Shadows and Sharpness in order to get that perfect look. Often, these will give you much greater control over certain aspects in your images that you just can’t reach with the presets.

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Image from ‘How to Market Your Shop With Instagram‘ by Katy Svehaug


2. Host giveaways and competitions

Hosting limited time events and competitions such as giveaways on your IG feed can be one of the best ways to drive engagement both to your account and your shop. If there is one thing your customers will love, it’s free stuff! The key here is to make your photo caption as clear as possible. Let them know exactly what it is they stand to gain, what the rules are, and for how long the giveaway / competition is running. I would always recommend directing users to your feed to where they can read more detailed information about who you are and what you’re all about. Make sure you’re prepared to answer any questions from prospective customers promptly wanting to know more about the competition. Importantly, don’t get carried away. Hosting giveaways can be exciting, but do them too often and you risk irritating your fan base. A regularly weekly time-slot often works well and gives your fans something to come back for and remain interested. Lastly, remember to go back and edit the caption once the competition has finished to announce the lucky winner!

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3. Take time to get to know community

This is a simple point but it’s often largely overlooked. Your customers are people too and it’s more than likely you share similar interests. Make sure you take the time to interact with them. Be sure to spend some time scrolling through their photo’s, liking, commenting and sharing along the way. The more you do this, the more your users will interact with you back, resulting in more interest and more followers. Reciprocity is a key driving force behind Instagram and by interacting with other peoples content, you can be sure to increase your own engagement.

Instagram can also be used as a research tool. Check out the profiles of your competition, or of the largest accounts in your chosen niche. Take a look at what they’re posting and who’s interacting with them. A good tip for really targeting the people you want to follow is by following those interested in similar accounts. This maximises the chances that they’ll be intrigued by your follow, therefore making it more likely that they’ll check you out in turn as well as like, comment or share your content.

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4. Don’t be tempted to take shortcuts

When I talk about shortcuts on Instagram I am, of course, talking about ‘buying’ followers. There are hundreds of companies that will offer you this service, many of whom will post links on your content and claim to give you 1,000 followers a day. The old saying goes: ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it is.’ This is certainly pertinent with buying followers. In the unlikely event you don’t get scammed in some shape or form, you’ll likely be buying fake accounts. These may make you look like you have more followers but will contribute nothing towards improving engagement and reach for content. Remember, buying followers is against Instagram’s terms of use and, if caught, will likely get you temporarily blocked or worse, banned altogether. We’re all grown ups and can make our own decisions. My advice is to steer clear.  But, if the temptation is too much, please do your research fully and make sure you accept the risks. If you want to know more detail on why buying followers is a bad idea, Ian Anderson Grey has a good article over at iag.me.


5. Experiment with different types of posts and media 

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Since inception, Instagram has changed a lot in the way creators can display their content. Variety is the spice of life and, thankfully, you can now present your images (and videos) in a host of new and interesting ways. There is no longer the need to only post your images as a single photo. Newly introduced functionality such as ‘Multiple Photo’ allows users to share many different images in one, seamless post. There are also a host of other options for video (now allowing content for up to one minute) such as Boomerang which again provides more capability with which you can get creative. Make sure you test out what the possibilities are here and experiment with what works best for your products. Your followers and potential customers will appreciate fresh content, presented in different ways. So don’t be afraid to try something new!

Do you have any of your own tips and tricks you’d like to share? Why not tell us in the comments section below!

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