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How to Expand Your Business Using Instagram

(April/May 2018) posted on Mon May 14, 2018

Is your shop missing out on a free opportunity to showcase work, keep clients coming back for more, and reach new customers?

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By Dylan Gilligan

I'm a big believer in social media. It has always been my preferred way to contact new customers and stay in touch with old ones. My company, Upstate Merch, is a screen printing and merchandising shop located in upstate New York and we generate a huge part of our business from social media. I started my first company when Myspace had just come out, and for me it was perfect for sending direct messages to exactly who I wanted to talk to. There was no hunting around the internet for phone numbers and emails. I spent my days messaging people directly, asking them if they could use my print services.  

Dylan Gilligan scrolls through Upstate Merch’s Instagram feed on his desktop, keeping an eye out for inspiration and ideas.

Over time, Twitter and Facebook came out, and later, my personal favorite, Instagram. I feel that Instagram is perfect for a visual industry like ours. Customers like to see the products, the cool print techniques, and the behind-the-scenes story of how their shirt is being made. With the analytics, hashtags, and discover pages, you can target exactly the right customer for you.

Getting Started with Instagram
Starting an Instagram page is easy. Begin by creating your profile picture and bio. Use your company logo as your profile picture and make sure it looks good in a small circle: You want your logo to be recognizable as users scroll by. Your bio needs to be strong. Make sure it’s short and sweet, but shows exactly who you are. More than likely, you will be establishing a business page, so you will have options for linking to your website and email, making it unnecessary to put them in the bio. 

Now comes the harder part. If you want a good social media presence, you need to put the effort in. It doesn’t have to take up much time, but your approach needs to be consistent. Take a picture here and there throughout the work day. You can also create a few Instagram stories about the project you are currently working on. It really doesn’t have to be too complicated. It should be fun.


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