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Should You Be Using Instagram to Market?

Although Instagram is much smaller at about 200 million users than the social media giant Facebook, it`s a growing platform with growing opportunity. And since Facebook purchased Instagram back in 2012, we`re going to start seeing more integration with these two social media networks. For example, in the new Facebook Page layout, you`ll find an Instagram tab built into the page. Instagram is a mobile application, so in order to use it, you need to have a smartphone and download the free app. Your profile and photos/videos can be viewed online, but you cannot upload content online, you must do so from the mobile application. Instagram has a bit of a younger audience, with 34% of US teens & millennials (ages 14-34) who use this platform to connect with friends, family and brands. If you`re trying to form relationships with this audience, Instagram can be a great place to start. You don`t have to network on this application as you could also use it as an easy way to spice up photos you take in-store, but then share those photos to the other social media platforms you may be more active on. If you`re thinking about using Instagram to market your store and connect with your customers, or you`re already doing so but want to take your efforts to the next level, here are five power tips for jewelers. 1. Be strategic with your description. Your description can be up to 150 characters long. Keep what you have to be short and sweet, but do so strategically, knowing what`s most important for the Instagram user to know about you and your profile. Local jewelers might include their contact info: phone number, email and address. Or you might have specific instructions for the Instagram user like, "Call ###-#### to reserve or purchase, we ship priority, shipping extra." Finally, you might ask users to use your branded hashtag when posting photos of your store or products. Ex: "Share your photos with us by tagging with #brandedhashtag."


2.  Make photos more interesting. One way to stand out on Instagram is by posting collages and/or photos with text on top of the image. Collages allow you to feature before and after`s, several products at once (like new arrivals or sale items) or tutorials (step 1, 2, 3, 4). Adding text on top of an image, or multiple images, also helps ensure the message is being read. Instagram users are often scrolling through photos but not reading the description unless the photo captures their attention. To create collages and/or add text to a photo, use a third party application like Diptic, which has several collage options, fonts and filters to choose from. This app is $.99 but, in my opinion, it`s one of the best and very easy to use. Learn more at dipticapp.com.


3. Use hashtags. A hashtag is the "#" symbol before a word or series of words (all run together without any spaces #likethisexample). Hashtags categorize images and make them searchable. If you want more information on hashtags go to crystalmedia.co and search for, "What the heck is a hashtag?" One of the best ways to increase exposure and followers on Instagram is by using hashtags. Here are a few ideas on what to use hashtags for:
  • Location - #sandiego #socal (crucial for local brick and mortar stores!)
  • Events - #tbt #selfiesunday #youreventhashtag
  • Emotions - #love #happy
  • Categories - #summer #engagement #ring #gift
  • Relevant - #september #vacation
  • Detailed - #gold #emerald #diamonds


4. Film a video. Videos on Instagram can be up to 15 seconds long. Test out video to see how your network responds to it by filming new product arrivals, taking 2 seconds of 7 different items so it creates a video slideshow. Or film a customer giving a testimonial or yourself giving a quick tip. Video is a strong marketing tool and a great way to be more human and make your social media posts more engaging. Instagram is known for being a more behind-the-scenes, grassroots and artistic platform than other social media outlets. Be human and upload videos (and pictures!) and you, your staff and your customers. Images with faces receive 38% more likes and 32% more comments, so get personal and show your beautiful self!  5. Curate from customers.  If you`re a busy business owner or your struggle with finding content to post on your Instagram profile, ask customers to do so for you!  Within your store, post signage that says something like, "Take a picture in store, tag @storeusername and use the hashtag #storebranded and post to Instagram. We`ll follow you and give a $25 gift certificate!" or "We`ll follow you and you`ll be entered to win a $25 gift certificate!" As you start getting photos from customers, repost them to your profile. To easily repost use athird party application like InstaRepost, which is free, but if you`d like to remove the branded watermark, you can do so with a $1 in-app upgrade. To repost, open the application, find the photo you want to repost by selecting from the home feed or searching for your branded hashtag or by user. Select the photo, hit repost, select your photo filter (if any) and change the description. I suggest adding some sort of text that states the image is a repost like #repost or #regram from @customerusername. This is a great way to find your customers on Instagram, connect with them and create content to share on your profile. Follow Crystal on Instagram at Instagram.com/crystalvilkaitis Follow RDI Diamonds on Instagram at Instagram.com/RDIDiamonds Crystal Vilkaitis is the owner of Crystal Media; a company dedicated to helping retailers integrate proven social media, mobile and email marketing strategies into their businesses. Crystal started Social Edge, an online membership group exclusive to retailers and jewelers looking to gain an edge over competition using social media, who need direct access to what`s important and relevant when it comes to marketing their store and products online. Crystal Media has partnered with RDI Diamonds to offer a special discount on Social Edge for jewelers. For more information visit crystalmedia.co/rdidiamonds.

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