Did you know that users are 58 times more likely to engage with your post on Instagram than Facebook? This data from a Forrester Research study shows why Instagram can be such a useful marketing tool for retailers. And the audience is growing. In September 2015, Instagram reported a global following of more than 400 million users on the photo sharing platform. According to a Pew Research study, the highest usage increase was among young adults aged 18 – 29, with just over 50 percent of these users now on Instagram.

This makes Instagram an ideal place to market your business. Are you making the most of Instagram? Below are five tips to make it an effective part of your marketing strategy:

1) Start with a strong visual image

Instagram’s visual platform is an optimal medium for consumer engagement through strong images. 90% of all information transmitted to the brain is visual. This means the best ways to communicate to your customers is in the form of a photo or video. Show them product and images the communicate the brand of your retailer. And don’t limit yourself to photos: strong text illustrations can have an impact too.

Pro tip: you can use the free online tool Pablo to easily add text over an image for your social media

2) Use hashtags to get in front of your audience

Instagram uses hashtags to organize content, making it easier for consumers to find your posts. Using popular or trending hashtags will increase your social reach to a new audience who is looking for content relative to your brand. You can find the relative hashtags consumers are searching using handy hashtag generators.

Pro-tip: Stuck on ideas for hashtags? You can use the app Grama to automatically generate hashtags for your images

3) Don’t post too frequently

Your target market is particular about when and how often they want to experience your visual content, but it’s up to you to figure out the best strategy. Frequency of posts should be limited to at most once per hour. Post during the windows when your audience is online. According to Microsoft research, a good starting point could be weekdays with optimal times being 2am, 5pm, and 10pm.

4) Link your Instagram content to Facebook

Cross-posting will help you build an audience more quickly by letting people know there is another place to interact with your brand. But don’t stop there. Adding your Instagram handle on business cards, shopping bags, and POS receipts is tells your customers where they can find you online.

5) Seek out local influencers

Do you have customers that share your brand aesthetic? Do you know influencers in your local community or online? Partner with them to showcase your products on Instagram. It can create an exclusive appeal that makes followers feel special. It also helps you reach a new audience.

Pro-tip: look for influencers on Instagram by searching the relevant hashtags for your brand.


Did we miss anything? Tell us how Instagram elevates your retail business. Tweet @joinhomebase or use the comment section below.