Instagram is a major player when it comes to social media platforms. It has multiple post types, a variety of ways to be discovered, and lots of opportunities for connection and interaction between accounts and followers. Instagram is a largely image-based platform, giving you the opportunity to showcase photos of your products or well-designed graphics that can be quickly consumed by followers.
Instagram is a good part of an ongoing indirect marketing campaign. By building up your reputation and showing followers a combination of your products, your brand personality, and the reasons they should shop with you, you can land sales from a wide demographic of clients.
Note - As of November 2021, Instagram has a greater organic outreach and distribution for video posts over still image posts. Create more micro-videos!
Posts, Stories, and Reels
Instagram offers three main ways to post content: posts (sometimes called “flat Instagram”), stories (posts that disappear after 24 hours), and reels (60-second or less videos). We’ll break down each one a bit further.
Posts are the original form of content on Instagram. They are composed of 1-10 images and a caption. You can tag posts with a location or other users to show where your photo took place or who’s in it. Posts stick around forever and can be found on your account page.
High-quality photos are a must, but that doesn’t mean you need to invest in fancy equipment. Most smartphones come with good cameras. Make sure your images and videos aren’t shaky or blurry and if you’re using filters on your photos, it helps your brand image to use the same filter every time.
Stories are more interactive and ephemeral than posts. A story disappears after 24 hours, making it great for information that might not matter in a few days. Instead of appearing in a square grid, they’re designed to fill your entire phone screen. Stories are not typically captioned; instead, you can add text or music on top of your photo or video, or you can talk in a video and post the story with original audio. They are easy to click through quickly and can lead people to your posts or account page for more information.
Reels are Instagram’s newest feature. They are short videos (depending on your account, you may be able to post 30, 45, or 60 second reels). Reels function similar to TikTok, and sometimes businesses will even post the same content on their Reels as they do on TikTok to share the same content with followers who only use one platform.
Interacting on Instagram
Because there are so many ways to interact on Instagram, it may be difficult to discern where to spend your time and energy. Here are some general guidelines that can be helpful to follow when marketing on Instagram:
Create 3 stories per 1 post. You can share your current post, posts from other accounts that you also like and follow, or new stories with photos and videos not found on your main account page.
Reply to comments. If someone comments on your posts, respond to them! If it makes sense to do so, leave an open-ended question to keep the conversation going.
Interact with other accounts. Spend at least 15-20 minutes per day liking, commenting on, and sharing others' posts to your stories. Social media is all about interaction.
Tag other accounts. If you’re posting something from a brand, tag their Instagram. If a client of yours lets you take a photo of them with some new jewelry, tag them! Use the @ symbol to tag someone in a caption or story.
Interact via DMs. See that you got a new follower? DM (direct message) them a coupon code as a thank you. Let them know what you specialize in and ask if they have any questions. You can also DM followers who post questions on your posts to share more information. Always answer any non-spam DMs you get from followers.
Always add at least 3 hashtags to your posts. Then, use these hashtags to find other accounts to follow. If you follow someone, they often follow you back. After you follow someone, engage with a few of their posts; leave some likes and a comment or two on their most recent posts to show you’re not a robot.
As always, your social media efforts will work better if you make an effort to form a genuine connection with your followers. Keep this in mind while devising your engagement strategy.
Instagram for Retail Jewelers
Instagram is a great place to start social media marketing because it offers such a wide range of users and post types. Some ways you can use Instagram to grow your business include:
Product Photos: visual formats are great for lookbooks and galleries. Instagram reports higher engagement levels when there are people (or pets) in photos, so aim for products on models, influencers, or even your staff.
Giveaways: one of the easiest ways to gain followers is to host giveaways. You can do this by yourself or in conjunction with partner brands or influencers. Make sure you read up on Instagram’s rules for hosting giveaways before launching yours.
Shop: Instagram has enabled a “shopping” feature where your followers can buy products without ever going to your website. It’s an easy way generate sales on lower price-point pieces if you’re willing to put in the effort to set up the shop.
Educational content: show your followers where your expertise lies. Topics like how to choose an engagement ring, gem and metal information, or how diamonds are graded are all areas in a niche market that many followers might not know much about.
Of course, there are many more things you can post on your Instagram, but these are some good ways to get started if you haven’t posted much before.