In the age of ever-changing algorithms, competitive paid advertising, and celebrity influencers, it can feel more challenging than ever to establish an impactful social media presence. Maintaining social media accounts for your boutique is a major investment of time—and often money—so you want to make sure your efforts really count. For many boutique owners, Instagram is the most powerful platform for connecting with customers, building a distinctive brand image, and driving sales. Here are five ways you can give your Instagram account a boost without blowing your boutique’s marketing budget.
- Partner with Influencers: If you’ve ever seen a sponsored post from a major celebrity, you know the power of an Instagram partnership. While big-name influencers like Kim Kardashian are out of reach for all but the largest brands, accounts with smaller followings can also have a big impact when it comes to boosting awareness for your boutique. To get the most bang for your buck, consider working with micro influencers (1,000-10,000 followers) or nano influencers (under 1,000 followers). These influencers will often create high-quality content in exchange for product, or for a relatively affordable fee. When working with an influencer, the most important thing is to stay true to your brand. Only partner with accounts that share your visual aesthetic and brand values; locally based influencers can also be great for driving foot traffic to your boutique.
- Host Giveaways: If you’re looking to boost your follower count quickly, a giveaway is a great method to get your brand in front of a new audience. Many retailers find success on Instagram with giveaways that require a specific type of engagement. For example, you might ask entrants to follow your account, comment, and tag three friends to enter—this grows your follower count and introduces your brand to new Instagram users. Partnerships can be used to make a giveaway even more impactful. You might team up with other retailers to offer a larger prize package that will gain exposure for all of your brands, or ask friends in the fashion industry to regram your giveaway content.
- Have Fun with Stories: Adding a post to your Instagram feed can feel like a big commitment—not only does the content have to look great on its own, it also has to look good in the larger context of your feed forever. Don’t stress—Instagram Stories are here to help! Stories are a great way to engage more casually with your followers, post informative or time sensitive content, and show off your brand personality without a lot of pressure to get the visuals just right. Don’t be afraid to joke around in your stories, tease upcoming collections, have fun with gifs and emojis, and showcase behind-the-scenes snaps that might not make the cut on your feed. These informal communications make your followers feel like friends by offering a glimpse into your everyday life as a boutique owner, and allow you to engage with your audience more often without more stress.
- Create Strong CTAs: When you’re catching up on Instagram at the end of a long day, it’s easy to scroll and scroll through your feed without actually engaging with any of the posts you see. For boutique owners who want to boost engagement, that’s where a strong CTA comes into play. A CTA—short for Call to Action—is a punchy phrase that encourages your followers to take a specific action after seeing your content. End your posts with a quick directive (like “Click the link in our profile,” “Tap the image to shop,” or “Leave a comment with your favorites”) to remind users that they should do more than just keep scrolling. An increase in engagement will help your posts be seen by even more users and drive more sales to your website, too.
- Set a Schedule: Depending on your location and target audience, certain times of day are likely to offer a higher level of engagement for your Instagram posts. It’s important to dig into the stats behind your feed to find peak engagement hours, and then create a scheduling plan that allows you to post consistently at those times. There are lots of free and paid apps for planning, scheduling, and analyzing your feed; try out UNUM, Hootsuite, or Sprout Social to get started. (P.S. UNUM also lets you preview your photo grid, so you can make sure every shot looks fantastic before it gets scheduled.)
How are you making social media work harder for your boutique? Share the unique ways you connect with your Instagram followers in the comments!