How Grants Creek Nursery uses Instagram
Instagram is a great tool for promoting your green industry business. The photo-sharing app is one of the fastest-growing social networking platforms with over one billion active users per month. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, there are no clickable links to share, but by using the platform as a portfolio, you can engage with audiences by showcasing your products and services.
Meredith Croom of Grants Creek Nursery has been managing the company’s Instagram account (@GrantsCreekNursery) for six years and has more than 1,500 followers.
“We had an existing Facebook account, so adding Instagram was just a natural progression,” said Croom. “I’m a very visual person, and the platform lends itself very well to visual representation – more pictures, less verbiage.”
Because the platform is focused on sharing photographs, it is an ideal spot for landscapers, nurseries, and retail garden centers to share completed projects, new plants and supplies, and to promote events and sales. You can also share behind-the-scenes images to give followers a glimpse into how your operation runs.
Instagram can also help position you or your company as an authority on a subject. By sharing tips and resources, you can provide useful content for your followers and demonstrate that your company is knowledgeable about various topics.
Croom also suggests that if you are showcasing another company’s product, you should tag them in your post. You can search for their account to ensure you tag the correct one.
“Most companies love seeing you use their product,” Croom explained. “It gives them free exposure – and they will often share your post on their social media platforms, which also helps you.”
One of the ways Instagram sets itself apart from other social platforms is through hashtags, which are topics tagged with a pound symbol (#) at the end of your post. New users can find your account by searching for hashtags of interest to them. You can look up a hashtag to see how popular it is by using the search feature in the app.
To help get you started, check out the sidebar for popular hashtags used by green industry businesses.
Once you find the hashtags that are appropriate for your business, plan to use them in every post for maximum exposure to potential followers. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, but only use tags that work for the content in your post.
“Use your ‘notes’ app in your phone to list your most used hashtags so you can just copy and paste those instead of having to type them out each time,” suggested Croom.
Using Instagram Stories
The Stories feature on Instagram can be used as real-time marketing for your business. Your Stories show up as a highlighted circle around your user profile picture – and in an age where metrics can determine what a user sees, Stories can help get your account in front of followers faster.
Stories are only on your profile for 24 hours before they disappear. Information that may not be relevant later is appropriate for Stories because those entries will not appear on your profile permanently. With the Stories feature, you can promote sales and events, or provide a video of a project being completed.
The Stories feature is also useful for getting immediate feedback from customers on products and services. Croom likes to use polls and ask questions in Stories so she can discover what her customers are most interested in seeing the company offer.
When to Post
With any social platform, on-going posts will keep your account relevant. Instagram is no exception. Find a schedule you can maintain, and then plan to post regularly so that your audience is continually engaged with your content, and to keep your company top of mind with followers.
Croom said she tries to post three times a day, but you can aim for three times a week at first. Give yourself time to find content and write your posts in advance, then create a schedule for when you want to post.
“If I post to Instagram Stories, I can take a few quick pictures from our retail store and post them. Regular posts take a few minutes because I try to utilize hashtags and a little verbiage,” explained Croom.
You can create your posts manually each time you want to share one, or use a social media management program like Hootsuite, which allows you to schedule content weeks in advance.
How to Get Followers
Once your Instagram account is up and you’ve made a few posts, be sure to share the link for your account. You can put the link on your website, in your email signature and on your other social media accounts. Croom advises green industry businesses to at least give the platform a try to help gain more exposure for your business.
“You have nothing to lose,” she said. “It is very user friendly.”
Here are a few popular hashtags for different segments of the green industry. Be sure to also use the Instagram search function to find hashtags that work with your content.
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