5 Tips for Using Instagram for Business

March 19, 2014

I love using social media for business.  There are a lot of aggravating parts of owning a creative business, but one of the best parts is being able to connect with people from all over the world in a creative and meaningful way using social media!

My favorite social media outlet for business is Instagram (@DearOlympia).

Why?  Because it is simple, elegant and visually appealing.

I see every image put forth by those I follow and vice-versa.  In a handmade industry, it is so easy and fun to showcase your products and wares in a visually appealing way on Instagram.  For a more in-depth walk through of Instagram for newbies, I really like Mashable’s step-by-step Instagram Tutorial.  The following are a few insights I’ve gathered while actively using Instagram for my business.

1.  Share visually appealing pictures.  Are you experimenting with paint colors?  Take a close-up shot of your brush applying the paint, catching the grooves and tones of the different paint colors.  Show case your handmade goods at an interesting angle, mixing straight on pictures with angled photos or detail shots.  I use light photo editing via the app Rhonna Designs.  I typically add a watermark that says “DearOlympia.com” to the photos I share in this app.

2.  Make it personal.  Gone are the days of separating business life with every day life.  I would argue that these two parts of life cannot be separated anyway.  When people follow your business on Instagram, they don’t just want to see your products, they want a glimpse into your every day life with your business.  Don’t go overboard with extremely personal picture posts but once in a while, share a picture of your baby, significant other, your house or your Saturday afternoon activity.  I love seeing little glimpses into my favorite business owner’s lives.  I follow many shabby chic furniture painters in Scandinavia and when I see their pictures, it’s like taking a little tour around the world!

3.  Don’t be afraid of the hashtag.  When posting a picture, write a short description.  Then use the “#” symbol next to descriptive words or phrases.  For example, when I take a picture of a painted piece of furniture, I use #CeCeCaldwellsPaints #handmade #shophandmade #paintedfurniture and #turquoise (or whatever generic color is closest to the CeCe Caldwell’s paints color).

Not sure which hashtags to use?  Browse other people’s Instagram accounts who have similar businesses and see which hashtags they are using.  Hashtags are important because they are a way for people to sort and browse topics of interest.  If you click on #paintedfurniture while in Instagram, you will see tons of pictures of painted furniture (22,920 to be exact).  If you click on each picture, you will find Instagram users who post pictures of #paintedfurniture.  This is a great way to meet and “follow” other people in your industry.  I have found some of my best furniture painting Instagram friends by clicking on relevant hashtags, viewing pictures associated with that hashtag and then clicking and following those who posted them.

4.  Get excited.

Instagram is fun and fresh at its best.  Other people who share your interests will share in your excitement over the little things.  Love a new color combination? Share it!  Let other people be inspired with you.  Don’t be afraid to nerd out on your topics of interest.  I’ve met several new paint customers on Instagram through my “get excited” posts.

5.  Be generous with positive feedback. 

I am constantly encouraged by people’s kind words of encouragement on Instagram and sometimes while I’m waiting for an appointment or waiting in line, I will intentionally do an “encouragement burst” in which I comment and like my Instagram friend’s creative pictures.

What is your favorite part about using Instagram for business?

Thanks for visiting Dear Olympia!  Taylor, the owner of Dear Olympia operates a kiosk outside of the Pearl Harbor Navy Exchange that retails CeCe Caldwell’s Paints and handmade furniture, decor and jewelry. We also run a thriving online shop. All decor and jewelry ships FREE to US/APO and Paint ships via priority flat rate boxes.

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