With 150 million users worldwide, brands are racing to Instagram to generate content and secure awareness with a new audience set. But as with most social media channels, some marketers express concern with the inability to directly correlate time invested to increased sales. Despite these concerns, we at Blueport Commerce think Instagram is not only worth the investment, but when done right can help put furniture brands at the forefront of consumer perceptions. It’s a way to not only increase your brand awareness, but also a way to merchandise and promote your products in a fun and interesting way.
Instagram is Visual
Unlike other social media channels, Instagram is a photo and video sharing platform only. At Blueport, we’ve found that 40% of the population respond better to visuals compared to text, and also that visuals are also processed 60,000 times faster than text. This means that Instagram content has a greater chance of being seen by viewers compared to posts on Facebook or Twitter. This is key for furniture retailers since posting photos daily on Instagram will give followers a daily reminder of your brand, so you can be sure the next time they look to invest in furniture, your commerce website or storefront will be top-of-mind.
Define a Strategy: Find Out What Works and Optimize
Just like the rest of your social channels, Instagram should have a brand strategy so you can get the most out of your efforts and properly measure your success. Here are a few tips and tricks that you can use on Instagram:
1. Make it personal.
Since Instagram is visual, use it to connect with your customers on a more personal level. For example, give them an “inside look” into your brand. Post images of new products before they are released, share behind-the-scenes photos from a furniture shoot, or show the staff and office culture. These types of posts will help create a strong connection with your followers and generate customer affinity for your brand.
TIP: J.Crew has done a great job of making a personal connection with their customers on Instagram by posting images of designers at work, style inspiration, and behind-the-scenes photos from catalog shoots.
Optimize your merchandising efforts and show quality details to aid your customers in the online furniture shopping experience. Use Instagram to highlight the quality of your products by posting up close images of your products that show off detail and design. This will help earn consumer trust in the quality of your products.
TIP: Invest in a high-quality camera to emphasize the details of your products. The better the image the more likely you will gain consumer trust in your products and you as a furniture provider.
Hashtags are a great way to increase engagement. Since many users utilize Instagram for discovery purposes, you will increase users coming across your post (and brand) by adding popular, and relevant, hashtags. You can also use promotion-specific hashtag campaigns to help drive visitors to your commerce website, which can help increase consideration and conversion.
TIP: Take the next step in customer engagement by starting your own user-generated hashtag campaign. Invite followers to post their own images of home designs or your products they’ve incorporated into their homes and ask them to post with the hashtag. Then feature some of the best user-generated content on your account. For inspiration, check out HGTV’s “Love Home” campaign, in which fans share images of their home with the #lovehome and #hgtv hashtags.
Make sure you’re measuring user interactions with your content to optimize your Instagram account. While Instagram is still working out ways to provide analytics and measurement, Statigram provides a great alternative, giving you data on your photos and user responses. Statigram (now Iconosquare) will show you which photos are the most engaging, which filters that received the most likes/comments, and how t optimize your hashtag use. You can then apply these efforts to other metrics you are tracking for brand awareness, merchandising and promotion.
Furniture Retailers take note: innovation is key to any successful endeavor in social media. As more and more brands join Instagram, it is becoming critical for retailers to get creative with campaigns and content to increase conversation around your brand, promote your products and drive customer engagement.
Now stop reading, sign up for Instagram, and start posting!