A day in the life of a top Instagram retailer

Instagram used to be a purely social media app for the sharing of photos of food and pets. Now it is the third most used social media platform in Singapore, after YouTube and Facebook. Unsurprisingly, a growing number of online businesses are using Instagram to promote their products. As it turns out, 80% of Instagram users already follow at least one active business account.

In 2018, Instagram introduced ‘Shoppable Posts’ to make shopping on the platform seamless. Instagram retailers can easily add shopping tags to social media posts, linking directly to the merchant’s product listing so shoppers can complete their purchase without leaving the app.

With Instagram becoming one of the most popular social media platforms, it is no wonder that businesses are flocking to the platform.

Chloe at a Lovelystrokes pop-up store

Lovelystrokes, a local online jewellery shop, is a good example of a business that is making full use of Instagram’s popularity to promote its products and engage customers. To date, it has over 16,000 Instagram followers. Founder Chloe Chew shares with us some tips on how to build an Instagram account with the right followers for an online store.

Tip 1: Put customer satisfaction first

Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. According to a Nielsen Global Survey, 83% of Singaporeans trust word-of-mouth recommendations over other forms of advertising.

Providing good customer service, especially after-sales service, is Chloe’s priority for Lovelystrokes. A good customer experience will encourage word-of-mouth referrals. For example, when a customer turned to her for help after breaking a pair of earrings she treasured deeply, Chloe did not turn her away.

“Although the transaction was done more than six months ago, I was more than happy to fix it for her because I know how distressing it must have felt for her,” Chloe said. For Chloe, it is important to empathise with customers and go over and beyond expectations in order to provide a good experience.

Tip 2: Engage with followers

Engaging with your followers is far more important than having many posts. Without interaction, it is hard for small businesses to create that personal touch and customer loyalty that is needed to build up a strong following.

Chloe tries to engage with her followers on a one-to-one basis when she has time. One of the ways she does this is by replying to direct messages. “It’s a good way of getting feedback on my products. Sometimes they will also share with me what they'd like to see next,” she added. In fact, some of Lovelystrokes’ launches were inspired by the interactions Chloe had with her followers.

A photo feature of a customer

Besides replying to direct messages, creating hashtags also helps to create engagement between Lovelystrokes and its customers. When they show off their purchases to friends, tagging their pictures with relevant hashtags spreads the reach, visibility and identity of the brand.

Tip 3: Have a unique selling point (USP)

Online stores are a dime a dozen now and shoppers are spoilt for choices. To stand out, you need a differentiating factor that sets you apart from your competitors. Not only can a USP define your business in the market, it also helps you to identify and stick to the mission of your business.

For Lovelystrokes, its USP is curating handcrafted jewellery with unique textures and bold patterns. Like fingerprints, each jewellery made by Lovelystrokes is distinct and unique.

A post on one of their jewellery pieces

For example, one of Lovelystrokes’ most liked photos in 2018 featured a new design called ‘Rustic Embroidery’. “I wanted to experiment with transforming patterns and colours into wearable pieces,” Chloe said. The response was so good that the pieces were sold out almost immediately.

Tip 4: Schedule posts for prime time

When posting on social media, it is important to understand your target demographics and their behaviour so that you are posting at timings when they are most likely to see and interact with your posts.

Based on Chloe’s experience, she gets the best response when she posts in the day, especially during lunch time. She thinks that this could be because her products largely target young, working females in Singapore who browse Instagram during their work breaks.

Since different demographics and social media platforms are likely to experience different peak usage times, the best way to understand when you can get the best response to your posts is to experiment with different timings over a 2-3 month period.

Tip 5: Put effort into posting amazing pictures

Instagram is, after all, an app for posting nice pictures that attract attention. From ideation to photoshoot, Chloe makes it a point to ensure that Lovelystrokes’ aesthetics remains consistent. And the outcome is a carefully organised Instagram page cum mood board, alternating between product feature and fashion shoots. At first glance, the page is already inviting and pleasing to the eye.

Lovelystrokes’ Instagram mood board

“By ensuring that Lovelystrokes has engaging content and consistent aesthetics, I am gaining a steady stream of new followers on Instagram each day,” Chloe said.

All said and done, the fastest way to gain new followers will be to advertise your brand on social media. Get started on Adtiq, an online advertising platform that allows you to run your campaigns on Google, Facebook and Instagram. Try it today!