Since its launch 7 years ago, Instagram has become one of the leading social media platforms for image-based content, with over 600 million active monthly users. But where this platform really shines is its level of user engagement. Engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest and 84 times higher than Twitter. What’s more, this platform is nicknamed “the king of social media”, accumulating 4.2 billion likes per day.
Using Instagram can put your small business in front of the right audience. I have discovered many new brands over Instagram myself. Their gorgeous pictures were the first step in convincing me to visit their website and make a purchase. What sets Instagram apart as a social media platform is the ability for businesses to show their products without overtly advertising them. As Kissmetrics says, “images allow viewers to make their own decisions without feeling pressure from your business, removing the dreaded used-car salesman from the scenario.” Brands who do well on Instagram show off their product without coming off as too pushy, resulting in creative imagery.
Check out these five small businesses who are doing Instagram right, and what strategy fuels their successful social feeds:
1. Pura Vida Bracelets
Pura Vida Bracelets was established in San Diego five years ago, by two recently graduated friends. Their website tells the story of how it all started: “Pura Vida” is Spanish for “pure life,” a Costa Rican philosophy that encourages the appreciation of life’s simple treasures. Slowing things down, celebrating good fortune and refusing to take anything for granted embodies this laid back lifestyle. “Pura Vida” means choosing to live life to the fullest. It’s more than just a saying… it’s a lifestyle.”
Instagram strategy: This lifestyle fuels Pura Vida’s Instagram feed, promoting this way of life. When scrolling through their pictures, you are transported to a laid-back, sunny and simple place. Every picture is full of personality, allowing viewers to imagine themselves with the product. Their product has reached customers all over the world with the help of their Instagram account. As a small business, you can use Instagram to showcase your products in action. Show the culture and lifestyle that surrounds your products, this will associate positive feelings with your brand.
2. CLUSE Watches
CLUSE watches are crafted in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in a small atelier with specialized watchmakers. Their Instagram-worthy watches have helped them grow to 690k followers, with customers from all over the globe now ordering their product.
Instagram strategy: An important part of their strategy is sharing user-generated content. Their customers often post pictures of themselves wearing their watches. CLUSE makes sure to collect these photographs and share them on their own account, while giving credit to the original Instagram account. This not only shows off their large fan base, it also tells customers that the brand cares about their input. As a small business, you can do the same by featuring your customers with your product. On your Instagram profile, ask customers to share picture with a specific hashtag or by tagging you in their photo. This way you can easily gather all user-generated content for your own profile. There should be a good balance between followers’ pictures and your own.
3. 33 Acres Brewing Company
33 Acres Brewing Company is a craft beer brewery located out of Vancouver. As their website states: “We’re influenced by the natural elements of our surroundings, fueled by creative thinking and driven to make the highest quality product.” Looking at their website, their logo and their vision, this brand is all about minimalism, simplicity and quality.
Instagram strategy: 33 Acres does a great job of translating their brand into an Instagram account. Their identity shines through in every single picture that they share. Their instagram feed conveys a certain mood; simple and cozy. Businesses need to develop a unique visual content style that is instantly recognizable every time a user sees a post in their newsfeed. When it comes to pictures, brainstorm about what you want your profile to convey and choose pictures that fit into this style. When editing them, stick to one or two (similar) filters, so your pictures form a cohesive branded whole.
Letterfolk is a small business run by a husband-and-wife team who create and sell handcrafted letter boards. The letter boards each come with a full set of characters so people can personalize their board. This company’s team of two have managed to garner 181k followers with their creative approach.
Instagram strategy: Letterfolk’s Instagram account is funny and relatable. Using their own letter boards, they inspire their audience with engaging content. All their pictures invite people to like it, tag others in it, and share it in social media. While the other accounts we discussed have an air of perfection surrounding them, Letterfolk portrays real life. As a small business, you want to reach your customer on an emotional level. Your pictures should make an emotional connection with viewers.
5. Bien Cuit Bakery
Bien Cuit Bakery takes inspiration from the phrase “bien cuit” that the French often use to describe the darkest, crunchiest loaves. This NYC-located bakery is all about making basic food, like bread, become extraordinary.
Instagram strategy: This mission is also important for their Instagram account that features their amazingly-plated bread and pastries. And who doesn’t love pictures of delicious food? There photographs are so persuasive, you instantly want to go over there and try it out. Their strategy is simply, showcasing their product in the best possible way. There are no gimmicks, no elaborate filters, just real food. If you are a small business in the food industry, look no further for your instagram strategy. Food photography is one of the most popular topics on Instagram, as people love to look at drool-worthy treats. Make sure your pictures are high-quality and well-lit, so you’re Instagram account works as a stunning menu for your establishment.
You don’t need a big budget or a large crew to make it on Instagram, it’s a level playing field where any business can be successful with the right approach. If you haven’t set up an account yet, take the time to brainstorm and lay out an Instagram strategy that your customers and followers will love.