Is there any room for independents to use Instagram as a marketing tool for independents? Saam Ali says there is

As the world’s third largest social media platform and with over 14m active users in the UK1, Instagram represents an excellent way to reach people, meaning there’s plenty of opportunity for marketing. However, when we consider that the significant majority of Instagram users are female and between the ages of 18 and 292, your marketing strategy should adjust to accommodate. For example, it wouldn’t be very businesses savvy to begin a marketing campaign promoting TENA Men’s incontinence pants. Rather, by understanding the most popular demographic of this channel, you’re able to create much more targeted – and engaging – campaigns.

Focus on the demographic
Since we’ve established that Instagram is primarily used by younger women, and that we are a pharmacy business, we can tailor health and beauty campaigns that focus on helping this demographic. Remember, social media is all about building trust with your audience so avoid relentlessly trying to “sell”. The following examples might give you a taster of what you could do with your business.

Bodyform UK


Bodyform UK has teamed up with an Instagram artist to create a campaign that is helping to breakdown barriers for women talking about their period. Humorous images are published once a month that capture the difficulties that women face and it’s creating plenty of engagement. Engagement is what creates brand awareness. Could you create a similar campaign in your pharmacy?

Alopecia Areata Awareness


Although this organisation isn’t just targeting the younger female demographic, it’s a great example of how they are increasing awareness of the condition, really effectively, through user generated content. They are hardly generating any content themselves. Rather, they are getting their audience to post images of themselves giving the “AA sign”, most of whom have alopecia, and is creating excellent engagement (see above). Could you get your audience to create content for you through a similar health campaign?

• Boots UK
As you can imagine, Wallgreens Boots Alliance, represented as Boots UK on Instagram, has an impressive following. If you have a look at their posts, it’s practically all based around make-up and products for the younger female generation. They understand the demographic of Instagram and so focus marketing primarily on these products. Their products are even linked to a shop, which is an add-on feature by the visual platform Olapic where their audience can purchase the products directly. Do you have an ecommerce website that you could link your products to on Instagram?

Untapped opportunity
Although 700m users are active on Instagram each month (and the numbers keep on rising), there are extremely few independent’s using the platform as a marketing tool. So why are we not using it? Well, it simply comes down to the fact that it’s a new form of marketing that we haven’t even thought about trying yet. It’s simple to set up, and I bet that at least one of you in the pharmacy is using Instagram personally on a day-to-day basis. If so, get them to run an Instagram campaign, connect it to your Facebook account and even show a feed on your website for extra engagement. The market is huge and the competition is practically non-existent. This is the perfect time to campaign on Instagram.

References
1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/06/21/ instagram-reaches-500-million-users/
2. https://www.omnicoreagency.com/instagramstatistics/

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