Instagram is one of the best ways for a retailer to promote their products and grow their customer base. With shoppable Instagram posts launching in Australia earlier this year, it’s also becoming more popular as a sales channel. But if you’re putting time and effort into Instagram, you want results. Francesca Nicasio, a retail expert from Vend, explains how you can avoid making costly mistakes and achieve social success.
It is important for brands to constantly interact with their online community and come up with creative efforts that draw attention, likes, and even sales.
That said, retailers need to be careful with how they implement their campaigns. Being too aggressive with your efforts or running Instagram initiatives without thinking them through can cost you your fans and reputation. So here are three Instagram blunders to steer clear of.
Using customer photos without permission
User-generated content is gold for brands, which is why you should make it habit to scour the Instagram universe for fan photos that you could use to promote your store.Once you find pictures that you’d like to use though, get consent from the people who originally posted the images to ensure they agree to their use. This can be as easy as commenting and asking on the user’s post. Failing to take this step can lead to upset customers and negative comments on your own posts.
Another option is to create an official hashtag and make it clear that users who tag their photos using this hashtag are giving you consent to share the images. When you see customers, who are constantly sharing great photos of your products, consider building a relationship with them. Reach out to these individuals directly, thank them for helping spread the word about your brand, and send them a token of appreciation (like a gift card). Doing so will not only score you extra points with the customer, but you’ll encourage them to keep generating content for your brand. And then you’re moving into the realms of having influencers do your marketing for you.
Failing to disclose sponsored content
Influencer marketing – the practice of collaborating with influential people within a community – is very common on Instagram. There are several accounts on the platform that have garnered large followings, and brands are eager to team up with the owners of these accounts, so they can tap into their audiences. Usually, companies strike up agreements wherein the influencer posts something about the brand (usually an image of them wearing or using the retailer’s merchandise) in exchange for products, free experiences, or even money.
Influencer marketing can be an effective tactic to put yourself in front of a relevant audience. However, problems may arise if the people you team up with fail to disclose that they’re posting sponsored content. It’s important to be very transparent about sponsorship campaigns that you’re running with influencers. See to it that they fully disclose their material relationship with your brand by tagging their posts with hashtags like ‘#ad’ or ‘#sponsored.’ This will ensure that you don’t break consumer trust.
Purchasing fake followers
More followers doesn’t mean more engagement, or more sales. It is understandable to want to grow your follower count as quickly as possible but recognise this process may take time – and doing it the right way will pay off far more in the long run. Strive to organically grow your Instagram presence by posting great content and connecting with your audience in relevant and creative ways. Sure, this route takes work and you likely won’t get hundreds or thousands of followers overnight (unless you’re Taylor Swift). But if you do the legwork, you’ll find that the followers you gain are ones who are genuinely interested in your brand and more likely to buy from you. Whatever you do, do not purchase followers. Social networks periodically crack down on fake accounts and the firms that sell them, so while buying followers might give you a nice follower count to look at, it’ll likely be temporary. Instead, start by posting great looking pictures.
To get the most out of your investment on Instagram explore ways to engage with the community. Run contests, encourage user-generated content, or team up with relevant accounts. There isn’t a one-size fits all Instagram strategy, as each retailer is different. The best way to figure Instagram out is to try different things and see what works.