When Sarah Nicholas purchased VA-based Ladles and Linens in March, one of the first things she wanted to do was to grow the brand’s presence on Instagram, a photo-centric social media site.
“If you are looking to get followers, especially from a younger audience, Instagram is where it’s at,” said Nicholas. While she noted that the audience on Instagram is small, it is growing quickly, which, she said, is due to some of her best practices.
Ladles and Linens has three stores – one in Richmond, VA, one in Roanoke, VA and one in Lexington, VA. Nicholas said that she chose to give each of her stores its own Instagram handle to cater to the different customers that each store has.
Another best practice, added Nicholas, is using hashtags on everything.
“I find the shopping local hashtags work really well because it’s cause driven and crosses all types of people! You may reach folks that you otherwise wouldn’t,” she explained. “Always use the same hashtags too. This will link your photos. Also, look for groups and associations with hashtags.”
Promoting, tagging and using hashtags from other surrounding local businesses, too, can help create more traffic, she said.
“Be good to your neighbors. Repost, tag and promote other businesses around you. It helps everyone and is fun,” said Nicholas.
And while the end result is to help increase business, Nicholas said that adding personality on the social media site is key to attracting more potential customers.
“Make Instagram human. Don’t only post product, post a story. Post customers using your stuff, have picture contests and things like that. Videos work really well, too. Or you can create a community and do contests,” she explained.
To find out how Nicholas is also building the brand’s sales on Instagram, see the September/October issue of GOURMET INSIDER.