As part of its ongoing series of Industry Experts columns, Accessories magazine introduces Heather, the Managing Editor for Local Marketing Institute. Local Marketing Institute provides tips and training or local search, email, social media, online advertising and more–specifically for local businesses. Their mission is to help you use digital marketing to attract more customers, build customer loyalty, and grow your business. To learn more about the tips and resources we have to offer, please visit their website.
Your business probably already uses social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. But what about Pinterest and Instagram? Are they worth your time? Here’s how one local business, 2Tarts Bakery, made it work for them and how you can do it too.
Restaurants, hair salons, and fashion retailers always seem to have great photo opportunities. But with just a little imagination, nearly any business can post photos to Pinterest and Instagram and grow their business.
Sisters April Weilbacher and Ashley Landerman opened 2Tarts Bakery and Catering, New Braunfels, TX, in 2010. They’ve used Pinterest and Instagram to build a following of customers. They organize their catalog and adjust their product line based on feedback from these social media sites. To date, the bakery has 1,620 followers on Pinterest and more than 7,300 on Instagram.
Followers are one thing. But do these numbers translate to real business … actual customers buying 2Tarts Bakery’s cakes and pastries? April says, “Yes!” Customers walk into her bakery daily asking for products she’s posted on the sites.
April’s Pinterest and Instagram Tips for Local Businesses
- Post Awesome Photos — Pinners need images to pin and Instagrammers want photos to share. You can use professional photographers, but April and Ashley handle most the photography themselves. They use their iPhones and Afterlight, an easy photo-editing app. Consider lighting, camera angles, and cropping to get the most appealing and sharable photos. If you’re not happy with the shot, don’t post it.
- Engage With Followers — Your followers are potential customers, so interact with them. Add posts frequently, but also comment on other people’s posts, share other people’s pins, and respond to followers commenting on your posts. The more you work your social media sites, the more they will work for you. April says followers like to know there are real people behind her business.
- Be Patient — It takes a while to build the image libraries on your Pinterest and Instagram profile. It will also take time to build a following. Be consistent, honest, and intentional with your posts, and your following will grow.
- Connect Your Website And Social Profiles — Link your Instagram and Pinterest profiles to your website. Use the Pinterest “Pin It” button on your website to make it easy for people to share your images. Ultimately, you want followers to know where to find and purchase the products and services they’re pinning and sharing.
- Label and Categorize Posts Like a User Searches — You want your products and services to show up when someone searches on Pinterest or Instagram. For example, if someone is searching for a three-tiered wedding cake on Pinterest, be sure to use those keywords on your posts. Use true descriptions as your keywords, not creative, unclear titles. Also, categorize your posts in an organized, easy-to-browse manner the way shoppers would naturally shop for your products or services.
- Use Social Media Analytics — Both Pinterest and Instagram provide site analytics for your business pages. You can see what images are get the most comments, views, and shares. A hot product on Pinterest might translate to a trending product for your business too.
- Display your personality — Every business has a personality or story to tell. Show that in the images and comments you post to Pinterest and Instagram. “We’re quirky, funny and kind of cheeky, so that’s how we represent ourselves on social media,” April said. 2Tarts even takes their style through to how their images are edited by using a consistent filter and crop dimension in every image they post.
Be sure to look at the 2Tarts Pinterest and Instagram profiles, see how they do it, and get some inspiration on how you can use these social media sites for your local business.
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