Instagram is the Marmite of the social media world.
You either love it or you hate it. You either find yourself working with the algorithm successfully or falling apart at the mere mention of the word “engagement”. For some businesses, it’s the social site that generates the most business, engagement, and brand awareness, but that’s only the case when users have educated themselves on successful strategies … or have hired a social media manager.
(P.S. I’m one of those, just in case you’re interested! Shoot me a message if you’d like to learn more about what I can do for you and your small floristry biz.)
You may find affiliate links in this blog post, which means I will earn commission if you click & buy — at no cost to you. Thank you so much for your support. Find more information in my disclaimer.
CAN INSTAGRAM WORK FOR YOUR SMALL FLORISTRY BUSINESS?
Yes, it absolutely can. According to 2019 polls performed by thepreviewapp.com, 62% of people (over 10,000 took part) use Instagram to find the things they will or want to buy in real life.
You can use the social platform in a number of ways, all of which have been shown to benefit businesses. You can utilise Instagram Stories, alongside IGTV and your feed, but you may need to experiment a little bit to figure out which strategy and which tools will work for you. It’s all a learning curve, but that doesn’t mean that you should feel intimidated by it.
Experimenting with your feed is half the fun!
HOW MUCH WORK & TIME WILL IT REALLY TAKE TO USE INSTAGRAM FOR MY BUSINESS?
The answer to this question very much depends on you and how much time you can put into your strategy.
Setting up your Instagram account so that it ROCKS as a business Instagram account will only take you about half an hour or so. Maybe a bit more if you want to really think about how you’re filling in those boxes.
Posting on Instagram daily only takes a few minutes out of your day, but that’s if you’re organised. Bloggers tend to “batch” their work, taking photos of multiple things on the same day and then scheduling it to go live on the Instagram feed over days, weeks, or months. You can take the same approach with your business feed, and there are plenty of scheduling tools that will help to automate things and make the process quicker and easier.
My blog’s Instagram strategy is the first thing that suffers when I’m snowed under with work. It’s the first social network I neglect, across all of my websites. When I *do* work on it [regularly], I spend about an hour per week planning and scheduling my content for the week or two ahead, after I’ve written and scheduled posts to go live on the blog.
You CAN put together a successful Instagram strategy when you only have half an hour or so to spare each week. You just need to be savvy with your time. Alternatively, you could hire a social media manager to do the work for you, or at least some of it. This will save you a considerable amount of time on a complex strategy but will cost you. It IS possible to do all of the work yourself. That’s what the scheduling tools are for!
A GUIDE TO USING INSTAGRAM FOR YOUR SMALL FLORISTRY BUSINESS
So, without any further ado, let’s just jump right in. I’m going to talk you through setting up a killer Instagram business page, and then run it so that it generates lots of engagement — likes, followers, and comments. In turn, this will lead to more sales.
Your profile is important. Very important. Probably more important than the content you’re about to post to your feed.
You should think of your profile as a digital first impression — the first thing that a potential customer will see and read when they land on your account. The idea is that you tell viewers exactly what you’re about and that you’re worth following.
Your Instagram username should be your business name, or as close to it as you can get. There are a LOT of Instagram users now, and that means that a lot of the regular usernames are going to be taken. There’s a chance you’ll need to get inventive with your tag [@].
There’s some evidence to suggest an image of a person or face does better on Instagram than a business logo or similar. Using a photo of yourself makes your account look more approachable and friendly, but it is more professional to use a logo if you have one.
Being a florist, you could always consider using your best arrangement of flowers as your profile picture, but I recommend having a good play around to see what works for you. Try a picture of yourself at first and see how people react to it. Then try a photo of a floral arrangement you have put together or your logo, and note down how people are reacting to those. The one that gets the best reaction is the one that wins — the most successful one for you and your small floristry business.
This is the hardest part for so many people, mostly because you have 160 characters to tell visitors as much information as you can. You should definitely say that you’re a florist, and the area in which you work, and perhaps something that makes you stand out — unique — from everyone else in the area. What’s your proudest floristry achievement? Are you award-winning? Infamous for creating something really cool? Been spotlighted in a local paper?
Give your visitors a reason to follow you.
Tell them why they should!
You get ONE spot to add a website link on Instagram, and that’s in your bio. (Unless you have one of those elusive swipe-up/tap-tags-to-buy accounts.) If you have a floristry website, you should add it to that spot. If you don’t, why not add a link to your florist’s Facebook page? Facebook actually offers some pretty cool ‘shop’ functions that make selling on the site a breeze, including taking payments and other complicated stuff.
You can extend that one link to more links if you’re smart and use a website such as Linktree. I use this on my Instagram account for my vaping website [best-ecig.co.uk]. Add your Linktree link to your Instagram account and when a visitor clicks on it, they are taken to a page that brings up a list of whatever you put there.
Even better? It’s FREE.
*There is a premium/paid version with more options.
If *I* were a florist, this would be what my Instagram bio would say:
Southend, Essex Florist | Winner of the Imaginary Floristry Oscar for Innovative Design 2019 | See website for arrangements & to inquire about booking:
Website Name . Com
BUSINESS OR PERSONAL?
You’re trying to start a floristry business, right? In that case, totally go with the business account type. It has a lot to offer you, including the opportunity to run ads on your account, getting access to stats and analytics (likes+follower numbers/times/etc.) that will help you better your strategy, and opening up the “Email” button on your profile. It also looks more professional when you have a business account over a personal one.
I would personally recommend starting a brand new Instagram account for your business, rather than using an existing personal one unless you’re willing to delete or archive a bunch of images and change the account name. You don’t want a whole load of your personal life on your business account, for safety reasons as well as many others.
And that’s it … You’ve got yourself a brand new, shiny-sparkly Instagram account for your small floristry business. Now all you need to do is fill it with lots of pretty pictures or videos.
WHAT TO POST
Don’t just share photos of your floristry work. You should share as much of that as you can, obviously; that’s your business. But you should also look at posting other things to keep your feed alive, interesting, and worthwhile for your audience.
You could share photos of work you have recently completed, and perhaps images of works-in-progress too. Don’t share images of flowers or arrangements that haven’t even been delivered yet (you might give the game away), but a sneak peek of something new keeps people interested. They might want to see how it ends — what it looks like when it’s all finished.
Why not share images of your workspace? Messy or not, sometimes it can be fun to invite your following into the little area of creativity where you work your magic. You can always crop out the REALLY messy parts. That’s what I do. Photo editing for the win!
Take photos of individual flowers and then share information about them. What colours do they come in? How tough are they to keep alive? What other flowers look good with them in an arrangement? Maybe even share shots of other arrangements you have created containing the flower you’re talking about.
Photos of yourself are definitely a must. Who doesn’t love a selfie? Share images of yourself working, going out, relaxing on a Saturday afternoon … whatever it is that you do. Share a little bit of information about yourself and even invite questions from your audience. Just make sure that you don’t share *too much* information. (See the next section.)
There are plenty of ways that you could utilise Instagram for your small floristry business. If you sign up to my Social Media For Floristry Email Masterclass, you’ll get access to more ideas than you could ever need! You can also shoot me a message using the Contact Me form.
WHAT NOT TO POST
I don’t recommend that you share photos of your kids on social media, especially on a business account. I could tell you a hundred scare stories of family/child photos being screenshotted on Instagram and shared around Twitter, so be mindful of any potential safety implications when sharing personal content online. For the same reason, you should also be careful when posting about your home or business premises — no front door/house number shots. It doesn’t take a lot to make you a target for a wide variety of crimes.
Don’t share the details of your personal holidays — times that your home or business premises might be left empty or with lesser security than usual.
Don’t share details of customer information. I know this sounds obvious, but I know of one business that accidentally posted customer information in the background of a product picture. Those sneaky phone numbers in the background — make sure you check for them!
*I talk a lot more about checking your images in 7 Things That Ruin Your Blog & Social Media Images.
WHEN TO POST IT
I’d love to tell you what the “best times” are to post on various social media platforms, but I’m afraid you’re going to need to do some experimenting to figure out what times and days work out well for you.
You should think about when your audience is likely to be on Instagram — journeys to and from work, weekends, lunchtimes, etc. These are great times to post, but you’re going to be competing with everyone else on the internet also using those times to better their Instagram strategies. Instagram also gives you access to stats, such as when your followers are online, with a business account. This means that you can post at times when you know your audience is ready and waiting to see your content, giving you a higher chance of ‘making it’. (Whatever that means for you and your floristry business.)
You should post at popular times AND non-popular times. Social media scheduling tools allow you to post in the middle of the night while you’re actually asleep, allowing you to respond to any engagement that comes your way when you wake up. Those same scheduling tools also ensure that you post when you say you’re going to. You have no excuse to forget to update your Instagram feed when you’ve already set a reminder in the form of a scheduled post.
HOW MANY TIMES?
I personally recommend aiming for one Instagram update per day to start with. It might only take a few minutes out of your busy day, but trying to remember to post every day will prove harder than you’d think. That’s even more so the case when you have nothing new to talk about or share.
You can always increase how many times per day you post, but get started with an easily attainable goal first. Posting three times per day is hard when you haven’t got anything planned.
WHAT TO WRITE
Sometimes, you might have fabulous images but can’t think of a great caption to share. Do you want to know what I recommend for that particular problem? I’ve got a few suggestions –
- Tell your audience about your day.
- Share a fact about the flower in your image.
- Offer your followers a great deal.
- Tell them about a new product or arrangement you’ve started to offer.
- Offer a countdown of days, such as days left until Valentine’s Day.
Again, you’ll find plenty more suggestions if you sign up to my Social Media For Floristry Email Masterclass.
Hashtags are important. Very important. Like, one of the most important things you could use during your Instagram strategy. You could take the most perfect pictures in the world, but if you don’t use hashtags when you post them to Instagram, you’re potentially missing out on a worldwide audience.
You can add up to 30 hashtags to your caption. Each hashtag potentially opens up a brand new community of people, so the more hashtags you use, the more people are likely to see your post. According to thepreviewapp.com, 40.8% of people use between 15 and 30 hashtags.
Use a mixture of hashtags, including names of specific flowers, general floristry-related hashtags, day-of-the-week hashtags, seasonal hashtags, and even ‘lovely little random hashtags’. Using irrelevant hashtags, such as #footballfriday, isn’t going to be productive for you. Well, unless you catch the eye of a football-lovin’ chap who forgot his wife’s birthday … It could happen. You want to attract the attention of people who actually want to follow you and buy your wares. That’s just one reason why inorganic traffic is not worth it.
Inorganic traffic = purchased followers, follow-unfollowing, or using spam bots to grow your account or engagement.
Don’t use the same hashtags time and time again. There is a lot of evidence to support the idea that using the same ones repeatedly could get you shadowbanned [short version: you won’t be able to grow your account because you’ll be on Instagram’s naughty step for a day/week/month]. Using new hashtags each time will broaden your reach — making your posts visible to as many people as possible.
There are bazillions of different hashtags you could use. Okay, probably not bazillions, but you know what I mean. There are plenty.
I’m going to give you 60 –
- #essexflorist [replace with your town/city name]
If you’d like access to MORE hashtags for florists and small businesses, sign up to my Social Media For Floristry Email Masterclass.
WHERE TO INSERT YOUR HASHTAGS
You have two options as far as hashtag placement is concerned. You can either add hashtags to the caption itself or add them to a comment once you’ve posted. The latter separates the hashtags from the caption completely, neatening things up.
Unfortunately, there is again some evidence to support the idea that throwing hashtags in the comments rather than the caption could see your account facing a shadowban.
I recommend using three dots or similar to separate hashtags from the main caption. This makes it easier for your audience to read.
You should definitely use the location feature of Instagram — tagging yourself in a specific business location, town, city, etc. If you’d rather not tag yourself at your business premises (if you work from home), you could just tag yourself in the town. If you live and work in Southend, Essex, you’d use the ‘Southend’ location tag. This opens you and your Instagram feed up to people in the local area … who are the people most likely to use your services.
If you have a business premises — a physical flower shop — you will need to create the business location on Facebook before you can then use it as a business location on Instagram. You’ll find *this* Instagram help page useful for that.
If you provide flowers for a venue, share that exciting news on your Instagram page and tag [@] the venue, if they have an Instagram page of their own. The same goes for events. It’s all about putting your name out there — and you really do need to throw it out there. No one else is going to do it for you.
In order to get engagement — likes, comments, etc. — you’re going to need to throw some engagement out there. That means liking, comment, and following similar accounts and posts on Instagram.
When you like, comment, or follow another account, you’re making them aware that you exist. That account might like, comment or follow you back in return. You shouldn’t follow for a follow, though. People find that follow/unfollow business VERY annoying, and they WILL pull you up on it. (You know how the internet loves to get bitchy.)
You should tell other florists that you love their work. Follow them. Throw your likes their way. Wouldn’t you want someone else to do that for you? Like your stuff and follow your account? You reap what you sow and all that …
If you want to share the photos of others, do it. Just make sure that you’re asking for permission first. Not everyone wants their images ‘stolen’ and shared about on the internet, and when you’re using someone else’s image without their consent (and without giving credit) that’s pretty much what you’re doing — stealing their work. Many people are happy for you to share their work as long as you properly tag them, not just in the comment/caption of your post, but also as a physical tag on the photo itself.
If you’re not sure, ask.
The BEST way to get engagement from your followers is to ask for it.
- Ask for opinions — do they like arrangement A or B better? (With two images, obviously.)
- Ask what problems people face when buying flowers, both online and in-store.
- Ask your audience what kind of flowers they like, or what they’d like to see you create next.
Find out what your audience is really looking for — what they really want. Not only will the responses create much-needed engagement on your Instagram posts, but they’ll also give you a good idea of what you should put out there to please your people.
Scheduling your Instagram posts is a GREAT idea.
Firstly — it gives you an option to plan and put together your Instagram strategy at a time that suits you. You could spend an hour working on it over the weekend and have it all done for the week ahead. You will be prompted by an app on your phone to post at the times you specify, and when you are notified that it’s time to post, the actual sharing of it takes one or two minutes. Some scheduling tools also give you the option to completely automate things — the program posts on your behalf rather than prompting you to finish the process.
Secondly — being prompted to post on Instagram also prompts you to throw some engagement on other people’s accounts. Sometimes, when your mind is elsewhere and you have a million other things to do, remembering to work on engagement and new posts for Instagram completely slips your mind. A wee notification on your phone will remind you.
Thirdly — having a plan means that the strategy is more likely to work. Being all haphazard about things means that there is room for slacking, but when you have everything all planned out in advance, things are more likely to run according to plan.
You have many options for Instagram scheduling. Hootsuite, Later, and Buffer are three that I would recommend to you, and they all offer free trials or packages/memberships. The Buffer free version allows you to schedule ten posts in advance, so you could have a full week’s schedule all done and dusted for free if you opt for 1 or 2 posts per day.
AND THAT’S YOUR LOT …
That’s pretty much what you need to know to get started with an Instagram strategy for your small floristry business. There are plenty more things to learn, of course, and many more ways of using Instagram than what you’ve seen mentioned on this page, but it’s good to cover the basics before you start looking into advertisements, stats and analytics, and using Stories or IGTV. That’s another post for another day.
I really hope this post helps you to master your Instagram account, but I have many more tips n’ tricks to share. I’ve added a few other blog posts that you might find helpful below, and I’m going to remind you one last time about my free Social Media For Floristry Email Masterclass. No spam, just awesome tips that’ll help make your floristry business bloom. (Pun totally intended.)
If you have any questions, throw them my way. If you’d like to work with me, get in touch. And don’t forget to leave your comments in the box below. I’d love to know what you thought about my guide.
Have a blooming marvellous day!
The floral images in this blog post were found on pikwizard.com. For more free stock photo images that you can use on your blog or social media profiles, check out 75+ Places to Find Free Feminine Stock Photos.