Words matter - but pictures are becoming more and more popular among social media users. According to Brain Rules, “Hear a piece of information, and three days later you'll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you'll remember 65%.” In a recent NPOA survey, you stated that you would like to learn more about how to use social media to your print shop's advantage. This article is to help print owners like you understand how visual content is just as important online as it is in a printed job. Here are the basics to help your shop's Instagram get off on the right foot:

The Basics

  • You must use your most recent logo as your profile picture. Usernames can sometimes be hard to identify; a logo is unmistakable.
  • Convert your account from a Personal Account to a Business Account.
    • This allows you to connect to your business Facebook page, provide contact info, and regulate comments on your content.
  • List your business location, email address, and phone number on your profile to make it as easy as possible to contact you.
  • Put your website in your profile! This is the only place that allows for a clickable URL on Instagram.

The Photo

  • Quality is key when trying to set yourself apart from the crowd on Instagram. Your Blackberry from 2008 isn’t going to take a picture that wows a potential customer. If your shop has a nice DSLR camera, use that to take all of your pictures; if not, a nice smartphone camera will do.
  • Find a place with plenty of natural light and a clean background to take your pictures if you can. Avoid dark, cluttered rooms - you are setting yourself up for failure if you can’t produce a quality picture of your quality printed product. 

Photo Editing

  • Restraint, restraint, restraint. There are a million third party photo editing apps at your disposal in addition to built-in photo adjustment software within Instagram itself. Nothing looks worse than a business that gets carried away with heavy filters or stylized effects.
  • Your best bet is to make slight edits to brightness and saturation so that the focus is on your photo’s content.

Hashtags

  • With over 700 million active Instagram users, reaching an ideal, local audience can be a difficult task. This is where hashtags come into play. Hashtags allow you to expose your content to a wider audience instead of just those who already follow you on Instagram, as users often search for topics in the search bar.
  • Find a balance between hashtags that are too generic and too specific, or you will not reach actual potential customers.

Tags and Geotags

  • There are two other means of tagging on Instagram. Geotagging allows you to reveal your location to everyone in the vicinity. People will often search their location for people and activities nearby. This is a perfect way to reach out to a local audience at a specific time.
  • You can also tag other user accounts. The account will show the picture that you tagged them in to all of their followers via their profile page. This helps to establish a trusted partnership between two accounts, which can form a common follower base.

Like your business’s Facebook page, pushing your brand does not necessarily mean you should try to make a sale at every turn. A simple ‘like’ or comment can do wonders for building a relationship with a person, business, or community. Cater to your ideal audience with a relatable brand voice that works for you and your print shop.