“Excuse me, but do you have Instagram?”
How often have you heard that question? These days, everyone seems to care about your Instagram pictures first and everything else second. Sometimes, it may feel like your business depends on the attractiveness of your Instagram profile.
Why does Instagram matter so much? Well, according to research, Instagram is the fastest growing social media with 180 million active users uploading 70 million photos and video per day every month. Now, imagine yourself being one of these users and you wonder, how to not drown among thousands of other wedding vendors? Eventually, your quest is to get your name out, (really, really) inspire a bride-to-be and get picked as the wedding vendor.
How to gain more followers and increase engagement?
First of all, take a good photo worth sharing for (or as people say, instagram-able). Then, write a simple, straightforward caption that explains your services and encourages your audience to “like”, “comment”, or “repost”. Remember to include relevant hashtags to make your posts easier to find. You can use 3rd party tools like Websta.me or Iconosquare to discover popular hashtags for your product category and come up with your own specific hashtag (for example, #weddingcake #weddinginspiration #JohnDoeweddingcake).
Another one is to do cross-marketing with other vendors. You can either post a shout out (“hey, check out this new dressmaker sewing badass gowns in town @xxxx!) or ask to be tagged on other vendors’ posts if you’re all involved in the same wedding. Also, you can tag popular curation accounts that repost other users’ pictures and give credit by tagging and mentioning them. Use the hashtags specifically created to indicate your photo submission and who knows you’ll be featured!
As more people are engaged and follow you, you’ll be building a chain whereby people start referring you to their friends and the followers of your followers will start seeing more of you in their Explore Page hence, further increasing your followers.
How to maintain your followers?
It is good to have a regular and scheduled post because the moment you lose your rhythm, you may lose loyal followers too. Try Buffer if you think you need a scheduling tool that will automatically post at the assigned times. The suggested number of daily post sits between 3 to 5 a day. A quick tip from Annie Malinkowitz, Bridalope’s Social Media Manager: a post has up to 2 hours of life before it loses its ‘hotness’. So, maximize the impact of every post by giving it time before uploading the next one.
If you’re an owner managing every social media activity related to your brand, it may be wise to separate the business account from your personal account to maintain professionalism. Sure, your audience want to know the person behind the scene so, it is OK to post about yourself once in awhile. But, remember that a lot of your followers are following you because of your wedding works. The moment your account start becoming too personal, they may become uninterested.
While posting is to gain followers, interacting is to maintain them. Make it a habit to acknowledge your audience by responding to their comments even if you can’t reply everybody. Let them know you appreciate their good words and improving feedbacks.
When is the right time to post?
Posting at the right times bring more effective engagement. Malinkowitz said that Bridalope’s engagement increases on Mondays & Wednesdays. This isn’t to say you should post only on Mondays & Wednesdays because remember, post regularly and be scheduled. Test with your own audience and analyze everyday performance. This way you’ll be able to mark the days & hours when your followers are most engaged to tweak your marketing strategy accordingly.
Now, Instagram has 15 times more engagement than Facebook with users spending an average of 257 minutes every month. With interesting images of your works and proper engagement, you can represent your brand idea, increase brand awareness and achieve sales conversion. So, vendors, if you want to share your own Instagram experience, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. If you find this article useful, share it to your friends!