By Jonathan McFadden
The Charlotte Observer.
From fashion mavens to real-estate brokers, small-business owners seeking to boost their brands and reach younger customers are turning to Instagram, the free photo-sharing app with showy images and hashtags.
Like Twitter, which preceded it, and Facebook, which owns it, Instagram lets users upload photos and share, “like” and comment on their favorites. And since it’s been called one of the fastest growing apps on the market, it has become the go-to social network for businesses looking to leverage their marketing to millennials.
Digital research firm L2 estimates that 3 million U.S. teens abandoned Facebook between 2011 and 2014 and now consider Instagram their most important social network. Another study, by the Pew Research Center, says more than half the adults age 18 to 29 who use the Internet use Instagram, compared to 37 percent of Twitter users in the same demographic.
Given that data, small businesses using the application should spend 80 percent of their time sharing fun and interesting tidbits and the other 20 percent selling merchandise or services, said Jenifer Daniels, founder of Good+SmartCo, a Charlotte-based public relations and marketing academy.
“By the time that 20 percent creeps up, your potential customers or followers don’t feel like you set up an account (just) with sales stuff,” Daniels said.
CAPTURING EVERY ANGLE
When Alejandro Torio, co-owner and marketing director of 5Church restaurant, uses Instagram to advertise lobster and cocktails, he treats each photo like an art form, he said.
For the best lighting, he takes pictures on a table in the restaurant that’s next to a large window. He photographs food and drinks from various angles, overhead shots are great for desserts, while shots from the front work best for hamburgers to see the meat, lettuce and garnish, he said.