Croydon businesses need to get on Instagram

By - Monday 15th May, 2017

Potential Croydonian customers are all on Instagram, why aren’t you?

A picture from Boxpark’s Instagram.
Screenshot author’s own.

Recently, I wrote about how setting up Croydon’s first fashion label (Croydon Vs The World) led me to discover the joys of the photo-based social network Instagram.

Having explored the medium a little further since then, I’ve discovered extraordinary stories of enterprising individuals who use the platform with little effort to make thousands of dollars and – closer to home – I can see that there is huge value for Croydon’s business community to take inspiration from the likes of Boxpark Croydon and start using Instagram to get more custom.

What is Instagram?

For the uninitiated, Instagram is a social networking app made for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone. Similar to Facebook or Twitter, everyone who creates an Instagram account has a profile and a news feed. When you post a photo or video on Instagram, it will be displayed on your profile. Other users who follow you will see your posts in their own newsfeed. Likewise, you’ll see posts from other users who you choose to follow. As with other social networks, you can interact with other users on Instagram by following them, being followed by them, commenting, liking, tagging and private messaging.

As of April 2017, the number of Instagram users crossed the 700 million mark. As I found out, people, pictures and products related to Croydon are hugely popular, and there is a massive community of Croydon locals that are on Instagram everyday commenting and connecting with Croydon businesses based on the photos that they’ve posted.

Why should Croydon businesses use Instagram? 

As with every new social media platform that appears on the scene, be it Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Youtube, etc. Instagram provides an ability for local businesses to engage, nurture and convert local customers without having to spend lots of money on advertising (although if you are that way inclined, you should definitely advertise in the Croydon Citizen). Instagram is free to use and the only cost is your time.

Croydon businesses use Instagram in a variety of ways to build a captive and interested audience. Croydon Candle Company (@CroydonCandleCo) simply post gorgeous pictures of their products. Kassy’s Hair & Beauty (@KassysHairAndBeauty) post pictures with unique promotional offers for their Instagram followers. Centrale Croydon (@CentraleCroydon) has eschewed promoting products or offers, and instead posts pictures of the local area – a surefire way to gain the attention of proud Croydonians.

In a world where everyone has a mobile device, there is no excuse not to be using social media tools such as Instagram to generate more business. This is as much the case for the beleaguered Surrey Street stallholders as it is for Croydon’s major retail outlets. Your future customers and your competition are all on Instagram, why aren’t you?

How Croydon businesses can get on Instagram

Fortunately, the leap from reading about Instagram to getting on it isn’t too big.

Instagram is simple enough that if you’ve got your head around faffing on Facebook and twiddling on Twitter, then you are 50% there. Download the Instagram app onto your phone, sign up and register with your business details, choose a picture (use your business logo) and start uploading pictures that are relevant to your particular business offering or service. If you add hashtags to your photos (such as #Croydon or #LegalAdvice or #hairdresser) that is an easy way to have your pictures found by Croydonians looking for those particular tags.

Consider also paying for Instagram training for either yourself and your staff. It will only take a few hours but will pay dividends as you create a workforce that is able to competently use Instagram for your business goals, be it brand awareness or increased sales.

Instagram is slowly turning from a ’nice to have’ to a ‘need to have’. Croydon businesses need to be on Instagram.

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose is a committed Christian who has lived in the Croydon area for nearly twenty years. He is an active participant in his local community, serving at Grace Vineyard Church and organising Purley Breakfast Club, and was ranked "Croydon's 37th most powerful person" by the Croydon Advertiser (much to his amusement). He owns a lead generation company. He is the Head of Content at marketing technology company Idio, the founder of the Croydon Tech City movement, a LinkedIn coach, and creator of Croydon's first fashion label, Croydon Vs The World. Working on Instagram training and a Linkedin lead generation service. Views are his own, but it would be best for all concerned if you shared them. Please send your fanmail to: jonnyrose1 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  • The Purley Girly

    I love Instagram, it’s definitely my preferred social media tool. I love that it makes it so easy to find new companies and things to try (usually food in my case!)

  • CDN

    The other option is for these businesses to also court people like myself who’ve been on the platform for years devoting vast amounts of time capturing the town and various businesses. The merit is the opinion and choice of what is captured and lovingly edited to share with the world is out of choice and love of that eatery or shop not and maybe seen as more genuine like these fashion and make-up vlogs.

    Until Maddy’s article I personally feel the work that the community of Croydon photography bloggers has been vastly undervalued in light of the dazzling amount spent on projects by the big boys, some of whom only turned up once things were on the up and there was dosh to be made not due to pure passion and want to show a different side to this town they live in.

    With your legion of Croydon VS The World fans I feel I don’t need to point out the merits of someone else also blowing your trumpet to you but all the same I feel its an asset of ambassadors not being utilised enough.