Recently Instagram has surpassed Twitter in its number of average monthly users, and with visual content now king and it’s now time for you to reconsider your Instagram strategy.

Instagram and the retail industry are a perfect pair. Instagram presents the perfect opportunity to market your retail shop in a subtle but seriously effective way.

So how is Instagram used? We speak with many users of all ages that before making a new purchase always check out the shops social media including their Instagram feed as this gives a feel for the product and what service they might expect. If they don’t like what they see, or if a brand doesn’t have a presence on the platform they will find somewhere else that has a presence.

Retailers need to master the ability to persuade Instagram users that they are the destination of choice. It should present a perfect marketing and branding tool for your business.

Tell your story well

Facebook is great for engagement and Twitter can be a useful customer service tool, Instagram allows retailers to show off the aesthetic appeal of their shop and merchandise in a unique way. It allows you to control how the world views your business by enhancing its key features.

You have to fill your feed with images that tell the story you want to represent your brand, giving a glimpse into life at the outlet and provide potential customers with an idea of what their experience could be like.

Keeping language friendly, engaging and personable to show your brand personality. Keep away from pushy sales rhetoric as this will alienate potential guests and result in an ‘unfollow’ button.

The language you use on Instagram needs to be personable, engaging and friendly.

Be sure to include a mix of imagery, product and outlet photos that represents the whole retail experience so include services and all facilities. You should also show what’s in the local area, attractions and other lifestyle. Position your outlet as the destination of choice.

Encourage all your customers and visitors to Instagram

Peer-to-peer marketing cannot be underestimated and you should encourage all your customers and visitors to share images and feedback through Instagram using a bespoke hashtag for your outlet.

The posts from previous customers and visitors are more authoritative as they’re likely to give a truer – and unfiltered – picture of your business.

59 per cent of Instagram users are aged 18-29, while 33 per cent of those between 30 and 49 are on it. The older generation is now embracing the social platform too, with 18 per cent of 50-64-year-olds using Instagram.

You can inspire customers and visitors to share their experience by hosting competitions

Remember that engagement is so important

Instagram’s new algorithm means a user’s most-viewed and engaged-with pages appear higher up in their feed. To stand out from the crowd, retail brands need to engage using strategic posts that call for feedback.

Always respond quickly with a friendly comment to any mentions or comments, and link in with local businesses by reaching out and commenting on their imagery too.

To build your Instagram following use captivating captions and reach the retail community by using some of the most popular retail hashtags and don’t forget to use your own hashtag too. This also makes it much easier to find what users have posted while at the shop.

Instagram for retailers is a valuable brand marketing opportunity. It makes business sense to utilise the tool.  Remember to maintain a strong presence requires dedication of time and resources every day and your outlet will reap the benefits.

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