5 Perks of Instagram

October 17, 2014

in gift & gourmet business, Packaging, Social Media, trends

So many gorgeous red ribbons! What's your fave?

A photo posted by Nashville Wraps (@nashvillewraps) on


With so many social media networks to keep up with these days, why would a busy small business owner want to sign up for one more?

Nashville Wraps hasn’t been using Instagram for long, but we’ve noticed some real advantages to investing a little time in yet another network. Here are 5 reasons to check out Instagram, if you haven’t already (or, reasons to make it work for your business):

1. User engagement is much higher than it is on Facebook – currently as much 15x more, according to Social Media Examiner. Have you noticed that customers are no longer seeing and interacting with your Facebook posts? There’s a reason for that: Facebook wants you to pay to “boost” your posts. For now, Instagram doesn’t restrict which posts its users see; if you’ve shared a photo (or video) recently, your followers will see it in their feed. So post new photos regularly, but try to avoid sharing several photos at once – that can be overkill.

2. It’s EASY to share photos (and videos). Remember what a challenge it once was to get decent pictures of your products? And then what a hassle it was to get the photos from your camera onto your website? With its easy photo-editing capabilities, Instagram puts the creative power into your hands via your smartphone and allows you to share photos instantly. (Don’t want to take the time to figure out how to use it? Just ask a teen to show you – this social network is a big hit with them.) Once a photo is shared, it has a distinct URL which you can use to share elsewhere, or you can embed the photo into a web page (just click on the photo and then click on the “…” button next to the comment field to copy and paste the embed code). If you’re using WordPress to run your website, there are plugins available to display a gallery of your Instagrams on your website. And of course, since Facebook owns Instagram, sharing there is a piece of cake as well.

3. You can get creative with product photos or quick how-to videos. Just got some new products in for your online shop, but can’t wait until your photographer is available to start showing them off? Instagram is the perfect way to give a “sneak preview” of coming attractions, allowing you to experiment with different props and real-life settings. It’s easy to let your brand’s personality shine through. It’s also a great way to get the word out about current promotions or items with limited availability, or demonstrate how to use a featured item – and you’ll get instant feedback from your followers.

How to use tissue paper with a gift bag, featuring our new Chevron Stripe design

A video posted by Nashville Wraps (@nashvillewraps) on

4. A picture or video is, as they say, worth a thousand words. A peek at Toms’ Instagram account, for example, shows a company whose mission is about much more than just shoes and glasses. Among the first to put the “buy one, give one” model into practice, Toms includes photos of their philanthropic activities thrown in with cool product shots, giving an overall picture of a fun-loving, hard-working company that enjoys giving back. Your Instagram account should show off the things you’re passionate about – but I want to mention one caveat: your followers might start to lose interest and “unfollow” you if you’re only sharing photos of your adorable dog or the amazing meals you’ve had (might want to save those shots for a separate, personal account). Keep your posts focused on and related to your brand so you’re adding value to your followers’ experience, and your audience will grow. Got styling tips for that new accessory, or a serving suggestion for an amazing new gourmet product? Show how excited you are about the product, and your enthusiasm will catch on.

5. Your customers can show off your products for you. Speaking of photos of amazing meals: Many diners will Instagram their plates before digging in, including the name of the restaurant when they share the photo. This taps into the concept of “social proof”: if our friends and family recommend a product, we are more likely to choose that product as well. Encouraging the use of a particular #hashtag for your shop will make it easy to find those customer photos, because who knows? You might even want to feature them on your own website. Anthropologie encourages customers to share photos of their clothing, accessories and home goods in action. The resulting collection of pictures is more creative and appealing than the company’s own Instagram feed, with minimal effort or expense.

We’re still learning as we go, but there are some excellent resources out there for using Instagram for business, such as this great blog about how to use hashtags to grow your audience, how to attract your competitors’ followers and the best times to post. There are also plenty of photography tips out there for creating beautiful photos. Above all, keep in mind that it’s meant to be fun. You’ll enjoy seeing the “likes” and comments start rolling in when you’re sharing photos that you love.

Priscilla Medders

Priscilla Medders is a graphic designer based in Nashville. She helps to prettify the Nashville Wraps catalog and blog site. She enjoys singing and playing music with her husband, the dashing Cheyenne Medders.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Priscilla Medders November 26, 2014 at 9:26 am

Hi Samantha! It should be just a matter of logging out of your personal account, then signing up for a new account for your business. You may need to use a separate email address for the new account, but I can’t remember for sure. It *can* be kind of a nuisance to have to keep logging out and logging back in to your different accounts, but so far that seems to be the only way to do it. Have fun! 🙂

Samantha November 24, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Hi. Priscilla,thanks for the article, I have been wanting to get on Instagram and this has really encouraged me to get moving! I have a personal Instagram account (which I barely use but don’t want to get rid of). I can’t seem to figure out how to set up a new – business – account, as I have my personal account on my ipad etc. do you know how to do this? Searching has not turned up anything useful. Thanks,
Samantha

Priscilla Medders November 6, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Hi Pat! Thanks for the comments! 🙂

You definitely could post photos from Pinterest to Instagram – you’d have to get the photos into your phone’s photo library first. The best way I can think of to do that is to download an image to your computer first, then email it to yourself. Then when you open the email on your phone, tap and hold your finger on the image and select “save image”. Then you’d just open up Instagram and choose the photo from your library.

Have fun!

-Priscilla

Pat Gates October 30, 2014 at 8:50 am

LOVE! THE POST ABOUT PERKS OF INSTAGRAM!

Is it possible to post Pinterest photographs to Instagram. I am a terrible photographer…no matter HOW HARD I TRY 🙂 ha ha

I DO have my FB business page linked to Twitter…which helps a little, but NOT as much as I would like.

And you are absolutely correct about FB….they want small business owner to PAY TO BOOST THEIR POSTS. Shame on them

Thanks for any hints, tips and tricks you might provide. LOVE YOUR POSTS on the Nashville Wraps site

Pat Gates

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