As the business model for the world of antiques continues to evolve, many dealers have begun investigating new ways of attracting business. If you’re new to social media, it can seem overwhelming. How does it all work, and where should I focus my energy? Taking your business online is a process, and with our Instagram Basics for Dealers Guide we’ve got you covered each step of the way.
Let’s start with the basics, one channel at a time. For dealers who may be unfamiliar with Instagram, we thought it might be helpful to go over a few basics. Every social media channel is unique in how it functions, and consistent posts on Instagram can help increase your online sales.
What is Instagram?
Instagram is an app that allows you to share photos and videos. For dealers of antiques, vintage, and one-of-a-kind pieces, Instagram is the ideal place to share beautiful images of your inventory and grow your customer base.
When it comes to Instagram, the most crucial factor is the quality of your photos. The images you present on Instagram give a potential buyer the first impression of you, your shop, and the quality of your inventory. The images you post must be high-quality and crisp, as well as extremely visually appealing. Once you have selected the photos to post on your Instagram account, it is time to consider the written content and hashtags for each image.
The beauty of Instagram is its ability to showcase a specially curated gallery of items in one place. It is both a visual gallery and a medium for short-form storytelling. As you upload your inventory to Instagram, plan your grid carefully so it tells a visually-appealing story that will attract interest from the type of buyer you want.
The first step is to decide what visual aesthetic you’d like your account to portray. Spend some time looking at other accounts for inspiration. Is there a common thread between the accounts you love? A review of what others have created will give you ideas on how to direct your own feed for a presentation that reveals the quality of your inventory.
There are a handful of tools that can help you create an Instagram feed that is visually stunning and will appeal to your ideal customer. Each of the tools listed below has a plan available free of charge, with access to more tools for a minor investment. Here are a few of our favorites:
UNUM is a visual Instagram planner that allows you to plan and visualize your content in advance. Available for both mobile and desktop, UNUM provides a rich suite of features where you can craft Instagram copy, curate collections of hashtags, and schedule your posts all in one organized place.
Much like UNUM, Plann is a visual planning tool for Instagram. With Plann, you can add a team member (will your staff be involved in planning your Instagram feed? A Plann paid version could be the ideal choice), along with analytics tools help you monitor how your posts are performing.
If you’re interested in scheduling posts for more than just Instagram (think Facebook or Twitter — more on those later), Later could be a good option. Later not only permits you to schedule and plan your Instagram posts, but the professional version also gives you the opportunity to link from posts in your Instagram feed to outside websites, including your own. More later about this feature in another blog.
Take it to the Next Level with Instagram Stories
Once you have mastered the basics of posting, it’s time to move onto posting Instagram Stories. Stories are a fun, creative way to reveal your personality and engage with your followers. They’re also a great way to stay top-of-mind with your audience. Using Instagram Stories, you can publish short videos, take polls, ask questions of your followers, or even give your followers a LIVE tour of your shop! The possibilities are endless.
If you’d like to learn more about how to use Instagram to boost your business, check out this great guide!
Many people miss that the purpose of social media is to be social!! Make sure you’re spending time each day following new accounts, engaging with your followers, and answering the questions or comments you receive. The more time you invest in responding to your followers, the more you can grow your audience – and transform followers into buyers.
Ready to get started, but still need a friend to guide you through the process? Read this blog posted by our friends at HootSuite.