Running a clothing boutique is a tough business. Taking care of all your customers, updating your website, taking photos of your latest products and sharing on Instagram and Facebook. Combine this on top of managing employees and everything else that comes with being a small business owner. It can get extremely disheartening at times, especially if you don’t see an increase in sales or followers. These are the things we most commonly hear about when working with small business owners and boutique shop entrepreneurs.
We’ve amassed this guide to teach you the shortcuts on how you can grow your account organically, create beautiful content, & automate the time-consuming aspects of social media such as direct messaging potential customers. This is just some of the wisdom and strategies we’ve used and consulted with dozens of boutiques in efforts to grow their pages by the thousands of followers. We hope you can use these tips to grow your Instagram followers, build a community around them, and grow your business, so you can truly enjoy the reason why you started in the first place. Before we get started, here are some quick Instagram behavior stats to reflect on:
- There are currently 800 million users on Instagram, and almost 80% of Instagram accounts are personal. However, the number of Business Accounts are rapidly increasing.
- The largest segment of Instagram users is aged between 18 – 24. The split between male and female users is equal, with female users forming a slight majority. (Source)
- 51% of Instagram users access the platform at least once per day. (Source)
- Over 300 million people use Instagram Stories every day, with a third of the most viewed Stories coming from businesses.
Facebook Ads or Influencer Marketing?
Growing your Instagram isn’t easy. In fact, it’s very difficult to grow your account even with paid advertising. It usually takes a combination of a giveaway with some paid social to incentivize people to follow your account. The problem with this is that sometimes people unfollow back rather quickly as well after the giveaway is over. Another solution is influencer marketing. This route is a bit better, but vetting influencers can cost a lot of time, and sometimes money if they ask for a fee in return. You also can’t control them if they don’t agree, and then you’re out of the shipping and the product you sent to them. Picking out the right influencers is also a hit or miss. If you do decide to take this route, we recommend using micro influencers. Micro influencers are accounts from real people who have under 10,000 followers but very good organic engagement. Just make sure your target audience is following them. You can usually tell by their bio or the kind of content they upload.
Using the Right Tools to Uproot Growth
Here at Uproot, we use the best technology and software to find the perfect audience to go after when it comes to increasing followers. Sometimes we come across interesting brands and boutiques like yours who have bought fake followers or bots in order to make their brand seem larger. This may give social proof from the outside, but sometimes the damage is so great, that building a true traffic channel with that account is near impossible. Here are the reasons why:
- The fake followers now comprise the vast bulk of your following. Your engagement rate will be disproportionate and very low. This lets Instagram know, that you are posting poor content even if you really aren’t.
- You won’t be able to use that as a source audience when running Facebook Ads in the future. Well, you will be, but it will be a worthless audience to put ads too since they’re fake.
- When using the promotion ad tool, you’ll only be able to manually target a new audience, but never to your core audience since it’s no good. This will ruin the chances of a network effect of having a good community around your brand.
We recommend using a tool like Rocket Social. It’s a tool that automates the follow-unfollow strategy & increases the amount of engagement by engaging with the target audience of your choice. You get to choose your audience by selecting the kind of hashtags and accounts they would be likely to follow. We use a similar tool internally to help grow our client’s account, in combination with other strategies as well. By using this tool, you’ll be able to shave the hours you spend working on your account.
Are Hashtags Really That Important?
We’ve seen, that posts with hashtags receive up to 50% more likes and comments than posts that do not. Now, of course, as a boutique you want all your posts to be pretty and not marked with 30 hashtags that may or may not have anything to do with your account. Our recommendation is to use one or no hashtags when you post and directly comment on all the hashtags. This allows it to be buried by the incoming comments and your post looks just as beautiful. We recommend using a tool like Hashtag Generator to find the hashtags with the most volume.
Direct Message Instagram Marketing
We’ve seen great success with selling and “cold calling” your Instagram audience, whether followers or not via direct message. Before you go and jump into doing this, we do recommend you follow these best practices.
- Establish a script that can be easily duplicatable and is perfect for each stage of the buying process that your follower or audience is in. Make scripts for the following: Followers, Recent Followers, Non-followers, Commenters, Etc.
- Make sure your DM has perfect grammar, speaks in your brand voice, and is personal! Use the follower’s name if you know it and give personalized coupons if you can.
- Don’t be spammy, use a tool like Bitly to make your links shorter and more clickable.
If you think this is too much of a burden, we recommend using a tool called BigBanRam. They automate this DM aspect of this strategy, and they also have some other cool perks that the other Rocket Social tool does as well. To top of it off, just take a look at this mind-boggling stat: 56.8% of sales on Instagram in 2018 were closed through DM alone. If you run an online shop as well, this is a no brainer, especially with the advent of the Instagram shoppable tags.
Making Beautiful Content & Story Covers on The Fly
Making beautiful content may not be that hard if you’re a natural creative. However, we all get a creative block. Luckily for us, we live in the 21st century with tools that would have cost unfathomable amounts of money or just wouldn’t have existed. A tool we use to create quick and easy pieces of content apart from more technical tools like Photoshop is Canva.
Canva allows you to literally create any piece of content you can think of. From Facebook Covers to Wedding Invitations, to Business Cards, Canva has it all. We highly highly recommend their $12/month plan as it’s the most cost effective and comes with all their templates. You can literally create very high-quality posts and Instagram Story covers in minutes. This is a tool that can help keep your content consistent with your brand guidelines and save you so much time.
We hope this guide has been incredibly useful for you, and we’ve pointed you in the right direction for your dreams of having a successful boutique shop. Harnessing the power of Instagram can open many doors for growing your brand and community. If you need any additional help with these strategies, don’t be shy and reach out to us. We’d love to give you some personal feedback and if we’re the right fit, a proposal to work with you.