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Cheese! Small Businesses Get Sales off Instagram
Cheese! Small Businesses Get Sales off Instagram

By Joseph Pisani
June 20, 2014 9:38AM

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Social media app Instagram is an increasingly important part of small businesses' social media strategies. It's helping them drive sales, gain and reach out to customers, and develop their brand. The app is especially helpful to restaurants, bakeries, clothing stores, hair salons and other businesses that sell items that photograph well.
 



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Devitt says reposting encourages more people to share photos of their own Yumbox, getting the boxes in front of even more eyes.

Women's clothing shop and online store UOI Boutique broadcasts its customers' Instagram photos on its website. When someone uploads a picture of a skirt or top or necklace on Instagram with the hashtag #uoionline, it automatically shows up on uoionline.com. The Sterling, Illinois, company also asks its 25 workers to take at least one photo with their smartphone during their shifts. The best are uploaded to UOI Boutique's Instagram account.

HASHTAG EVERYTHING

The right hashtag can attract customers from far away. Brooke Sacco, the owner of Behind The Moon, a shop that sells used and new kids clothing in Hammonton, New Jersey uploaded a photo of a pair of outfits with the hashtag of the clothing's brand name. A potential customer in Dallas was searching for that brand on Instagram and asked Sacco to send the $7 dress and romper to Texas. It was the first time Sacco had shipped clothing to customers since she opened the store in April.

She tries to post six photos a day, complete with hashtags.

"It's free advertising," Sacco says.

BUILDING A BRAND

But it's not just about posting pictures of products. Dyer and Jenkins, an online seller of men's clothing, reinforces that its jeans and T-shirts are made in America through Instagram. Owner Josey Orr posts three photos a day to the Los Angeles company's Instagram account and has a rule: 20 percent of the photos are of Dyer and Jenkins clothing and 80 percent are photos of weathered American flags, classic cars or West Coast highways. The account has more nearly 11,000 followers. (As a comparison, big clothing brands such as J. Crew has more than 500,000 followers and Urban Outfitters has nearly 1.5 million.)

"It's more about the brand and less about selling products," says Orr.

That's also true for Hawaiian hot sauce maker Adoboloco. "We use Instagram to show what we're doing in our lives and outside of the business," says owner Tim Parsons.

He posts photos from the Hawaiian farm where some of the chili peppers used in the sauces are grown. There are also lots of pictures of Maui's sandy beaches and french fries, eggs and other meals drenched with Adoboloco's hot sauce. (continued...)

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© 2014 Associated Press under contract with NewsEdge. All rights reserved.
 

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