7 Ideas to Energize a Retailer's Instagram Account

Jackson Lewis, Associate Editor


CHICAGO -- When it comes to reaching teens, Instagram is a rising star. A November 2017 Piper Jaffray survey found that Instagram is the preferred social-media platform for 24% of teens. Instagram offers a way for brands to communicate visually with customers. It also includes analytics tools for business accounts through Instagram Insights. These tools allow businesses to track visitors to their page, followers, popular posts and more. The tools can also help manage advertisements on business pages.

But even the best platform is useless without regular, engaging content. Here are seven themes—one for each day of the week—to inspire online content for a retail brand ...

Monday: Behind the scenes

quiktrip social media

Did employees recently volunteer somewhere? Does someone on staff have a task that the public doesn’t usually get to see—and is worth seeing? Keep Instagram in mind when staff members are doing something fun or visually engaging, and make sure the company’s social-media manager is there to snap pictures. An executive also can grab a phone or camera and post a few snapshots. QuikTrip recently posted a video highlighting its participation with Talking Is Teaching, an early-education initiative. The post not only inspired participation but also created a positive halo for the brand.

Tuesday: Repost from employees

sheetz retweet

Follow employees on Instagram for ideas. Showcasing posts originally made by employees can humanize a business while simultaneously pushing employees to buy in to the company’s social-media strategy. Don’t forget to tag or credit the employee who made the post in the first place.

Wednesday: Educational post

tweeting recipes

Have a recipe for a housemade food or drink product sold at the store? Or maybe tips on the differences between alternative fuels? Being a c-store owner or operator means being an expert on something that can be shared with the community. Post a photo or how-to video along with instructions or a recipe. And

don’t worry about customers coming to the store less often if they have a recipe for a favorite menu item—they’ll remember it’s best when served in the store.

Thursday: Influencer post

pets of instagram

Occasionally, a well-known figure might walk into a store, or one of the “pets of Instagram” (yes, that’s a thing) might be featured on social media alongside the brand. Don’t let these moments pass by without capturing them and reposting them on the company’s page. Associating well-known figures with a brand can expand its audience.

Friday: Motivational post

motivational quotes

These posts usually combine a visual with an inspiring quote or saying. Consider the company’s brand values and think about how to use them to inspire customers. Throw the text in front of an engaging yet simple photo and spread the feel-good vibes.

Saturday: User-generated content

kum&go retweet

Go further than following company employees on Instagram. Follow customers, too, and regularly share their content when it features the store’s brand (in a positive light, of course). Search for posts with high-quality photos that tag the business or use its brand hashtag. Kum & Go sets a strong example for reposting its fans’ photos featuring its stores.

Sunday: Ride a holiday’s coattails

wawa baby

Most public-relations teams have a calendar ready with every conceivable holiday, from Christmas to Shark Week. Retailers can use these holidays as a chance to loop the conversation back to their brand. And watch what Wawa does: On New Year’s Eve, the retailer created a slideshow of some of its fans’ best posts related to the company, from babies in Wawa onesies to wedding parties posing in the parking lot.

Pictured above: Instagram photograph of baby Austin by Vanessa Pollaci