Understanding the Value of Instagram

On a personal level, social networking is exhausting. There was a time that I had a MySpace account, I closed that down and moved to Facebook. After a couple of years of having a personal account on Facebook I closed it down. At that time, I just shut down any social network that I was apart of. It was nice, for awhile.

Now that I have been working to bring Tearstone Graphics, my internet based decal and sign firm up to speed, I found it necessary to get back into social networking. Tearstone Graphics now has a Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and now a Instagram account.

One of the challenges that I have had with my particular company is conveying to potential customers what we do. It is tough to explain that what I offer is not sticker, it is a precision machine decal cut from a single flat sheet of vinyl. That elevator pitch has not worked very well, really,  to me it was like a puzzle I have been working on for awhile. On the internet, I found that it was even more difficult when showing the two dimensional shapes that we offer.

I recently discovered Instagram not too long ago when I picked up my first iPhone. I was under the impression that this was just a service for people to post nude pictures of themselves on the internet. To a degree, I was right but it is so much more. I used this as an avenue to publicly share my photography creativity. Although it did not gain too much traction, it seemed that it was easier for my pictures to get seen then when I was publishing on Flickr.

Eventually, I came across other companies that are using Instagram to share the work they do. When I saw that it hit me! This was the solution to the problem I was having. I opened up an account for Tearstone Graphics and begin sharing all the orders that we process. It has even helped potential customers see what we do, come to our site and place orders. I know this, because they post in the comments section that they did just that. It also reminds existing customers that we are still alive and well.

The Instagram iPhone app has the option to conveniently post right out to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Tumblr in seconds. I also have a WordPress plugin that displays my Instagram feed as if it was a built-in gallery. Now, I have one place to post our pictures and then it is replicated out to four other venues in one swoop.

I was struggling with organically generating followers. After about two weeks I only had 41 followers. The other morning, looked up an account for one of the car associations we do decals for, and begin following many of those people. Two days later, I am up to 128 followers. I am really jazzed about the progress we are making to extend our social reach.

One of the main challenges we have is that we do not have enough orders to post every day. I opened up a box of decals that were cut but never sold along with customer pictures to help populate the account with content more frequently.

My Tearstone Graphics twitter feeds are getting a lot of attention and my Instagram post comments have far exceeded the activity on my personal accounts. People are really attracted to products,  consumerism is popular.

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