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Small business marketing practices change over times, furnishing new opportunities for entrepreneurs promoting goods and services. Print media, television advertising, and other platforms historically dominating marketing strategies are still viable, by some measures, but the paradigm has dramatically shifted during recent years. Effective promotion now leans heavily on social media campaigns and online marketing, using tools such as Google AdWords.

As drastic as is the contrast between traditional marketing and modern methods, there are also shifts underway, within today’s tech-forward promotional strategies. For example, Six-week Start-up author, Rhonda Abrams, points out that a few years ago, Facebook was a prime platform for promoting retail businesses. Today, landing marketing messages within some demographics is best accomplished on Instagram, rather than spreading brand awareness on other social media sites.

Ms. Abrams recently shared several tips for maximizing Instagram impacts. Her insightful article can be viewed on usatoday.com, helping small business owners find social media marketing success.

Make it Pop

Instagram is a visual medium, so catching visitors’ eyes is essential for effectively marketing your brand on the site. In the case of small businesses such as retail shops, spas, salons, and other ventures operating from physical locations, paint colors that “pop” off the page serve as tools you can use to increase interest and appeal on Instagram.

Sprout Funding logoExpert, Abrams, suggests vibrant pink, yellow, coral, and teal shades, for maximum the effect – even if you just paint one wall in your facility, or part of a wall, helping it jump out at prospective Instagram customers. She cites millennial women as members of a modern, progressive demographic, particularly tuned-in to the visual aspects of Instagram. An eye-catching approach increases the likelihood they’ll engage with your brand on the site, which in turn elevates the possibility they’ll someday spend money on your products and services.

Be a Backdrop

Instagram users seek out interesting, colorful backdrops for their personal pics. The demand is so strong for striking, themed backdrops that some businesses cater almost exclusively to Instagram users. Ms. Abrams identifies these examples in her usatoday.com piece:

  • Museum Of Ice Cream (MOIC) – This interesting concept (it’s not really a museum) promotes sharable environments, based on ice cream. The organization’s imaginative installations extend from a creative team of designers and producers, committed to stimulating fun, inclusivity, and optimism. Visitors pay to access the exhibits, creating Instagram content for their own pages. Product partnerships are also formed, sharing the ice cream inspired buzz between MOIC and companies such as Sephora, a recent collaborator from the beauty and wellness space.
  • Color Factory – Originally launched in San Francisco, Color Factory is an interactive exhibit, featuring colorful installations. A team of creative designers and artists tell their unique color stories at the Factory, engaging visitors with hues that inspire curiosity and play. A new wave of participatory installations now brings Color Factory inspiration to New York City’s Hudson Square neighborhood, allowing Instagram users to create colorful, engaging content.
  • Rosé Mansion – Visitors are invited to walk the many themed rooms of this venue, dedicated to the storied pink wine, known around the world. Each room highlights a different time and place, transporting guests as they sip wine and learn the history, culture, and science of the beverage. The New York mansion served as a sought-after Instagram backdrop, and the fun continues into the future, in different cities.

Extend an Invitation

Though your primary trade probably isn’t luring Instagram users, connecting with devotees can still be good for business. Creating an inviting space or feature at your place of business can result in tags that ripple outward, generating interest and visits from Instagram fans. An Austin cafe capitalized on the phenomenon by posting a love themed slogan on an outside business wall, drawing interest from passersby and café customers. Many people embrace the mantra, posting Instagrams tagging JosCoffee.

In another example, shared by Rhonda Abrams, the owners of a New York City nail art salon created a dedicated Instagram camera space within their SoHo facility. Among other strategies adopted by the creative business entrepreneurs, the in-store attraction helped the service outlet gain upwards of 170,000 Instagram followers.

In addition to the specific examples shared above, small business author, Abrams, recommends the following moves for maximizing Instagram impacts:

  • Make your @companyname conspicuous everywhere you turn space into a potential Instagram background
  • Design restaurant items such as tableware, furniture, and napkins to be Instagrammable
  • Position patrons properly by identifying precise placement indicators, such as “stand here” footprints on the floor, so your company information isn’t obscured in their images, bound for Instagram
  • Make Instagram posts a daily event by assigning a theme du jour and inviting visitors to take a pic and tag your brand

Generate a Buzz

Businesses with storefronts and other forms of brick and mortar presence have a big advantage, gleaning Instagram benefits. But don’t count yourself out, without a marketable, physical, business location. It may be a little harder to break through to Instagram users, but you can still generate a buzz, without a building. Abrams suggests these strategies:

  • Inspire followers with upbeat messages and quotes
  • Create a consistent presence, using signature colors, fonts, and templates to carve out a recognizable brand identity on Instagram
  • Utilize Instagram Stories to take followers behind the scenes, giving them an insider’s perspective on your business workings
  • Post multiple striking images, prompting viewers to engage by swiping

Social media marketing is only one piece of the promotional puzzle, but connecting via social sites can have a big impact, without substantial spending. If you’re not making the most of Instagram opportunities, elevate your approach with these tips from business expert, Rhonda Abrams.

sprout-fundingThe Sprout Funding blog offers tips, reports, insights and other ideas to help small business owners learn and grow. Have a question for our team? Email us at: info@getsproutfunding.com, and tell us how we can help you.
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