The exciting social media application Instagram is a free and easy way to market your handmade company. With your smartphone or other device, upload and filter pics that reflect your brand, show off new products, and announce a sale. There are a variety of ways to promote your items and inspiration through Instagram- let's look at a few specifically for crafty business owners!
Display New Products
When you have a new product that is just made or listed in your shop, show it off on your Instagram feed! Always use "hashtags" and link back to your web store so curious searchers can find your photos (and products). Hashtags are simply words preceded by the # symbol. #IndieMade and #art are just two examples. They are searchable on Instagram (just like on Twitter), so use these tags to draw in potential customers, followers, and fans. Also remember to "follow" fellow artists, boutiques, and press that relates to your particular field.
You can also use this as an opportunity to actively engage your followers by asking a question. For example, if you just can't choose between two different fabrics or colors, create a split-screen photo that shows the different selections. There are all kinds of additional photo-editing apps for smartphones, so make use of these free tools to enhance your photo feed. Restrain yourself from overly editing and keep the use of "filters" to a minimum for your product shots so it doesn't distort or misrepresent the colors of the handmade item. To learn even more about taking fantastic product pictures check out this IndieMade resource on how to take great product shots.
Show Your Inspiration
Customers love seeing what a handmade artist finds influential. The Instagram feed of every crafter will be different -- mine is mostly plants/nature, yummy food, street art, and cat pictures, with some jewelry shots mixed in. As with all social media used for your business, try to maintain the same look and feel of your products, online store, and website. If you make delicate silver jewelry, very bright or jarring colors and textures all over your Instagram might not fit in with your brand's aesthetic. Sticking with similar color palates and backgrounds will help develop an identity for your handmade company. For even more information about branding your handmade business with Instagram, check out this resource article on branding yourself with photo sharing apps.
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Offer a Sale
Another marketing option is to promote a sale in your crafty company's online (or brick and mortar) store through Instagram. If you sell handmade goods via an IndieMade website, Etsy shop, or other platform, advertise a discount or coupon code via the photo app. Simply make a square picture using a photo software like Photoshop or Microsoft Paint -- it should declare the name, terms, and dates of your sale, along with any redemption information. Make it bold, colorful, and easy to read so customers will know how to use the discount or buy your items on sale. Do a quick search on Instagram for terms like #sale and #handmade to get some inspiration from other Instagram users.
Reveal a Bit about Your Life
Everyday photos can offer customers and fans insight into your creative inspiration as well as the life of an artist and designer. We know it's not as glamorous as some might think, but it is definitely interesting! One big reason Instagram's so fun is that you'll mostly use it from a smartphone, allowing you to capture life in real time and on-the-go. Share with your followers fun and unusual photos from your daily activities, but keep the really personal stuff out (or on a separate private account). Always think about how you are representing your brand and products.
These tips will help you share on Instagram like a pro. You can even add a link to your Instagram account to your IndieMade site -- each username on the application now has its own web page (my Instagram online page, for example, is http://instagram.com/purpleandlime). Whether you are promoting a sale in your online store, showing off your pets, or gauging interest in a just-made item, Instagram is the way to go!