Social media today is not what it was 10 years ago. It is no longer a place exclusively for connecting with old friends from high school or sharing your most recent vacation photos. Today’s social media landscape has evolved into a legitimate channel for brand-building, marketing, and even sales—with Instagram emerging at the head of the pack. According to the platform itself, Instagram now hosts more than 25 million business profiles and 80 percent of its users say they follow at least one business on the app.
Mind you, Instagram business profiles are being used for much more than window shopping. According to Instagram, 71 percent of its users are taking action, such as visiting a company’s website after viewing a post, or calling, emailing or direct messaging the business. With newer features such as Instagram shopping—where users can view products on Instagram Stories and purchase them directly—people are increasingly seeing Instagram as a place for consumerism.
Your tattoo shop can and should take advantage of this platform to grow your business. If used strategically, Instagram can increase revenue alongside brand awareness. Follow these four steps to put Instagram to work for your small business.
1. Share content that represents your tattoo shop
You run a high-quality shop, so your photos should be high-quality. While camera focus and lighting may not be as important on personal Instagram profiles where photos are for the memories, you want to represent your space and your services accurately and professionally. This does not mean you need to invest in a multi-thousand-dollar camera. A modern smartphone should do the trick.
Share photos that show users what it would be like to walk into your shop. From photos of the workplace to your artists to your coolest tattoos—Instagram provides users with a preview of the experience they will have at your tattoo shop. It can even be the deciding factor of whether you win their business. Showcase your best work, any and all promotions, and don’t be afraid to incorporate your business’s personality into the content.
Most important is to match quality with quantity. 70 percent of Instagram posts aren’t seen by users due to the sheer volume of content in their feeds, so it’s important to post consistently.
2. Start a social media contest
Incentivize followers to do your work for you by designing social media contests that engage customers and encourage foot traffic. Contests are fun and everyone likes a prize. Check out a few examples:
- After a visit to your shop, customers who post a photo of their tattoo and tag your business on Instagram get 10% off their next tattoo.
- Customers who share your latest Instagram post will be entered to win a free add-on service with their next visit.
- If you have business profiles on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, encourage your audience to follow you on Instagram, too—they may get a $5 coupon for one of your retail products!
The most effective contests will encourage followers to promote your business on their own profiles, allowing you to tap into their networks for greater exposure.
3. Use hashtags to gain visibility
Hashtags are the best way to help raise your brand awareness on Instagram. By tagging #tattooartist, for example, you become part of a social media community of tattoo artists. You also become more discoverable for users searching that term. According to Instagram, 60 percent of users say they have heard about a product or service for the first time through the app. The easier users can find your tattoo shop, the easier it will be for you to convert virtual followers into actual foot traffic.
That said, you want to use hashtags selectively and strategically. According to studies on this topic, the optimal number of hashtags per Instagram post is 11, though you can use up to 30 at a time.
4. Make it easy for users to book appointments on Instagram
With a beautifully curated array of Instagram photos, strategic hashtags, and catchy captions, your followers may be sold on your brand—but how do you make sure they book an appointment instead of scrolling to the next image in their feed? Consumers’ attention spans are shrinking, so it’s important for businesses to close the deal while they are still top of mind. Having a “Book Now” feature is helpful for converting social media scrollers into paying patrons. Or, make sure you link to your business’s website in your Instagram bio, so users can explore appointment options, commit to a time and check out your tattoo shop for themselves.
Social media is a valuable part of any modern business’s marketing strategy. It can bring in new customers, raise your brand awareness and give customers more touchpoints so they feel connected to your brand. Check out this blog post for more ideas to enhance your marketing strategies in 2019.