You’ve got friends on Facebook, you tweet on Twitter, and you pin to Pinterest.  And now you’re hearing a lot about Instagram.  Do you need yet another social media outlet in order to promote your business effectively?

I think the answer depends in part on the demographic you are trying to reach. Instagram boasts of 150 million active users a month, posting an average of 55 million photos a day — which is an amazing accomplishment for a company that was founded little over three years ago. A large percentage of its users (68%) are women, and its strongest appeal is to those under 30. In fact, only slightly more than 10% of Instagram users are 35 or older.

So what is Instagram? As one web source says, “Instagram is Twitter with photos”.  There is a steady stream of images that anyone following a business (or individual) sees in his or her feed. But the main difference between Instagram and the other social media is that it is an app, so it is only available on smart phones and iPads (not on a laptop or desktop computer, which is where many of use who are over 30 often access our Facebook or Pinterest accounts).

Since smart phones and iPads have cameras built in, the interface between these devices and the Instagram feed is seamless.  And if you have ever seen an Instagram image, you will recognize the fact that the pictures have a characteristic look. They are square, and often feature a frame or a special effect to make them look retro.

You can set up your store on Instagram easily, however it may be a bit tricky to tie your business’s Instagram feed to your store’s Facebook page  rather than your personal page. Once you do so, however, you can set it up so that every image that you post in one feed will turn up in the other.  And since Instagram was recently sold to Facebook for $1 billion, the ease of making this happen will undoubtedly get easier.

Once you’ve decided to have an Instagram account for your store, you’ll want to let your customers know so that they can follow your posting. You can add an Instagram logo to your web site and to e-mail blasts, and post on Facebook that you are looking for followers.  Instagram has a help page that should answer any questions you have about how to use this hip social medium.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder