The best way to determine if you should open an Instagram account and start posting photos is to search for the hashtag “promotional products.” Do that, said social media expert and ASI education speaker Marki Lemons-Ryhal, and you’ll see about 2,000 results. “Here’s one thing I want you to think about: Instagram has actually outgrown Twitter,” Lemons-Ryhal told her class, held yesterday on the trade show floor at ASI Dallas. “There are 300 million people on Instagram right now,” she said. “You can use your phone to educate people about promotional products. And how much did it cost you to share that photo?”
Lemons-Ryhal offered effective ways to connect with clients and prospects through social media sites during her class, “Boost Your Sales With Instagram, Pinterest and Flickr.” “There are photos on the Internet of everything,” she said. “Everything. Think about that. You need to let the world know about your products.”
Lemons-Ryhal encouraged her audience to use Instagram for three reasons: It allows users to post one photo across five different social media sites, like Twitter and Facebook; it provides terrific search engine optimization; and users can add a call to action, like a business phone number, to photos and their Instagram profile. “Instagram is a great way to display your promotional products for the world to see,” she said. “Think of it like a highway that can lead you anywhere. At the end of the day it’s how many orders can I get?”
In addition to creating Instagram and Pinterest accounts, Lemons-Ryhal also suggested that promotional product sellers open a Flickr photo and video hosting account because it provides unlimited storage and great SEO. Some of her other advice: learn how to use hashtags and keywords effectively; get in the habit of geo-tagging all Instagram photos so anyone interested in a specific place will see users’ photos, tag all clients and companies whenever possible, and follow companies you’re targeting and share/like their content.
“If you did the T-shirts for a big client, you can pull the content using the hashtag and see all the people wearing those T-shirts,” she said. “Collect all those photos and share it throughout your sphere of influence. You don’t want to just put a photo out there. You want to leverage it as much as possible, with the universe.”
Also, when creating profiles on social media sites, Lemons-Ryhal said, put a brief but specific description of what you do best, such as “social media expert” or “T-shirt guru” in your profile instead of repeating your user name. Then, when people search for that term, your account will rise to the top of Google results. “Put what you want people to buy from you and use words like ‘promotional products,’ ” she said. “Say the same thing in a different way across all your social media sites using the same keywords.”