Local businesses benefit from Instagram

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With over 300 million active users, Instagram has become a vital marketing tool for many local businesses. (KFSN)

With over 300 million active users, Instagram has become a vital marketing tool for many local businesses.
Businesses are tapping into customers who are increasingly browsing and shopping via Instagram, the photo-sharing app.

Karen Chisum knows what her Instagram followers love to see. They're young (ages 18 to 30) and trendy. At her business, the Foundry Collective in Old Town Clovis, they carefully style outfits before posting pictures of them. "You have to make it appealing or else they won't look at it. So oh definitely there's apps you use to crop, fix the lighting and add the writing to it," said Chisum.

The time they invest in their Instagram account is well worth it. It's become their number one marketing tool, getting customers in the door and spending money. "They'll either come on over if they see something they like or they'll call or buy over the phone," said Chisum. The Foundry even ships merchandise to out-of-town followers.

While customers can't buy directly through the app, Instagram allows businesses to showcase their inventory in front of shoppers who are already interested in it. And unlike Facebook, there are no algorithms that decide what users see or how prominently it's displayed in their feed.

Jo Bloom knows the business potential of Instagram firsthand. The Fresno owner of "Cake Poppin'", has over 40,000 followers. "If you can learn how to do it and do it correctly, it's an amazing thing for a company," said Bloom. The stay-at-home mom turned baker has a clear strategy when she posts: "Use the hashtags. A lot of people take them for granted and they don't really understand how they work and what they're for. Also using the website called Iconosquare that tells you when is the best time to post," she said. Her huge Instagram presence not only brings in orders; it's led to partnerships with party stylists, magazine features, and guest appearances at conventions.

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