Grab Attention on Instagram

Use social media to show the world your shop at its best.

You might already be using Facebook, Twitter, and other social-media sites to tell the world what your shop is doing (and if you’re not, you really should be). But have you considered a platform that enables you to show what you’re doing?

If you haven’t heard of Instagram, here are the basics: You download the app to your mobile device, set up an account, place photos directly onto your profile via the Instagram app and the camera on your mobile device or use your mobile device to share images already saved to it, caption or comment on the images, and attract others to the images by adding descriptive hashtags to them (#screenprintingmagazine, for example). If it sounds simple, that’s because it is. The Instagram app is free, and all of its standard functionality lives in the mobile app.

How can you use Instagram to drum up business? Snap photos of your press operators at work in a clean and organized shop, capture compelling images of your best print work, and so on. Use it as a virtual open house and sample portfolio. Let your work speak for itself.

Fill your profile with concise information about your business: your specialties, location, phone number, e-mail address, Web address, Facebook account, and so on. Don’t go overboard. Instagram is a quick and compact platform that emphasizes the use of images. Don’t bog people down with a bunch of text-based information they can find on your Website. Instead, prove to your audience that you’re the real deal by posting awesome pictures.

Once you upload a photo, give it a caption and add some hashtags that will draw people to the image. Users are able to search by hashtag, so someone who’s looking for a shop that can handle four-color-process printing might search Instagram for #fourcolorprocess. You get the idea. Be creative with hashtags. Use your knowledge of current trends. Again, don’t go nuts. Folks who like what you post on Instagram will likely tap the follow button on your profile page. This will allow them to see all of your updates in real time. You can follow other users, too.

Instagram is a great place for checking out creative work from other shops, gaining inspiration for new designs, and seeing what’s popular right now. More importantly, it’s yet another way you can differentiate yourself from your competition.

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