A while ago I asked my audience on Instagram what kind of things you'd want to read about on the blog. Someone suggested this topic to me and I thought it would be a good opportunity to put in my 2 cents and share what I found to work for me!
If you're trying to sell finished goods this year and you want to increase your sales locally, hopefully you find this post helpful. There are a few things I have done intentionally in the last couple years to make my business and my name known. By no means do I have all the answers.. but about 80-85% of all my business last season was from local shoppers. My international sales did not decrease, but my local sales increased, and I think it's because I did a few things right.
Here are a few tips:
1. When you post to your Instagram feed, use the location feature.
Every. Time. Put in your city. Put in the park you're at. Put in wherever the photo is taken. I know it seems like an unnecessary step, but I took a look at my analytics and I get plenty of views from including my location! I never thought people would be looking up photos from certain locations, but they do. Even if it's just 30 extra views.. that's 30 extra people who likely are in your city right now who are potential customers of yours. Free exposure y'all!
2. Use location-specific hashtags on Instagram. Some location-specific hashtags I use are:
#WinnipegArtist #WpgArtist #WinnipegArtisan #WpgArtisan #YWG #Winnipeg #WinnipegMaker #WinnipegKnitter #WinnipegSmallBusiness #WinnipegSmallBiz #WinnipegCrafter #YWGcrafter #WinnipegDesigner #WinnipegDesign #WinnipegFashion #WinnipegBlogger #YWGblogger #WinnipegMarkets #WinnipegHandmade #WinnipegMade #WinnipegEntrepreneur #MadeInWinnipeg #WinnipegClothing #WinnipegAccessories #WinnipegMadeProducts
And then I could repeat every single one of those with "Manitoba" or "MB" instead of Winnipeg, but I won't bore you with that.
Also.. Type in your city and see what the most popular hashtags are. This is helpful to see which tags are most common for your city.
There are soooo many hashtags you could use to target locally rather than target your peers/competition! Last year when I was only producing finished products, I realized that I was hashtagging for other knitters, not for people buying finished goods. Local shoppers who are looking for a new winter hat are not on Instagram searching "#knittersofinstagram" or "#lionbrandyarn".
So, if your goal is to sell your hats, make sure you're targeting people who are searching for hats, not people who are searching for cool knitting pics.
3. Collab with other local businesses.
You likely follow other makers who live in your city. Reach out to one of them and ask if they'd want to do a giveaway with you. In the giveaway, get people to tag friends in the comments. This other business probably has a good chunk of followers who live in your city.
By working together, you can capture part of their audience and they can capture part of your audience. Find a local biz who seems like a right fit for you and your followers. This new relationship can help both of you grow in an organic way and you get to show off another cool local business... bonus!
4. Make sure your location is in your bio.
There are so many people who come across your page daily but don't follow. If they're not immediately interested, they'll swipe back to where they were and continue creeping somebody else. Lol. But - if you have your location, they'll see, "oh they live in my city!" and are more likely to spend time on your page or give you a follow.
You know who else looks around on Instagram? Retailers. If a Winnipeg retailer comes across my page, I want them to know I'm also from Winnipeg so that they can approach me for wholesale or consignment. That's how a lot of my retailers found me - Instagram.
5. Speaking of retailers ..
I personally believe that being in retail stores is great exposure. Do you get less money? Yes. But I think that ultimately you get the exposure to all the people who shop there, and you're also getting exposure to the retailer's social media following. The stores that carry my product write posts about my stuff on their Instagram and Facebook pages, and then those people click through to my page and follow me if they're interested. I think that this is more helpful than you might think.. because these are people who (if they follow you) will likely make the effort to come visit you at craft shows and continue supporting you because they want to support a local business.
I've gotten countless e-mails from Winnipeggers who purchased my hats at local retailers and were interested in ordering more from me. As long as you work with retailers that are a good fit for your business - this is great advertising for you and helps you build new relationships and turn them into loyal customers!
Approaching retailers isn't has hard as you might think. If they don't approach you, send them a friendly email introducing yourself, saying how you think you'd be a great fit for their customers and send them a link to your products in case they're interested. Worth a shot!
6. Use the location feature and hashtag or tag the location of every story.
Every city has a location tag that you can click on and see who else has posted stories featuring that location. What I've found to be particularly helpful is the fact that even if you tag a specific location WITHIN your city, it still can show up on the city story tag. So when I tag a park or a coffee shop that's in Winnipeg, it shows up on the Winnipeg story highlight. Anyone following the Winnipeg location can see my story. Does that make sense?
Tip - If you don't like posting your specific location, save it as a draft and post it once you leave.
This is a step you can add to your Instagram strategy that takes no time at all and could yield you some good results!
Another thing I've found helpful is to do markets, but that's a whole separate blog post. It's coming soon ;)
So that's it - these are the 6 things I implement on Instagram that help attract local shoppers. I found these to be helpful, hopefully you did too! Don't feel like you need to implement all of them if you don't want to, but try out what you think might work for your business. You've got nothing to lose right? Just do whatever feels right for you.
Comments? Let me know below if you found any of this helpful!
Check out: 5 Ways To Step Up Your Instagram Game