We scoured the internet and picked the brains of some of the top industry experts to bring you the best tips to help you grow your business with Instagram.

Social media is one of the best ways to promote your balloon business. Instagram, in particular, is the perfect way to showcase your work and have it seen by thousands of followers. A robust Instagram account can serve as an online portfolio, driving people to your business.

Contributors: Julie Assi of Festeje by Julie ( @festejebyjulie ), Ellen Reid and Laura Slater of Bubblegum Balloons ( @3bubblegumgirls ), Marla Borokoff, CBA, of Balloonzilla ( @balloonzilla ), and Sarah Courtney of Belle Balloons ( @belleballoons )

GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT

Ellen and Laura recommend keeping a balance of event and product photos. It’s important to remember your followers look to your Instagram feed for inspiration. Sarah says that, as silly as it sounds, your followers are like “fans” – they love your work and you need to please them. She suggests that you identify your target market and streamline your account to them. She advises, “Post for your customers, not for yourself.”

POST, DON’T SPAM

Obviously you want to ensure your page has a consistent stream of fresh content but Sarah warns against posting too much. She says, “Three to four posts a week is good in the beginning but it’s important to vary your content. For instance, don’t put up six images of the same event within hours of each other.”

Courtesy Bubblegum Balloons

Courtesy Bubblegum Balloons

Courtesy Bubblegum Balloons

Courtesy Bubblegum Balloons

Courtesy Bubblegum Balloons

KEEP YOUR FOLLOWERS ENGAGED

Julie suggests answering as many of your followers’ questions and comments as you can, even if it’s a question you’ve already answered. She says a positive experience can drive customers from Instagram to your store. Ellen and Laura say that clicking the heart-shaped “love” button next to the customer comments on your post is a quick and easy way to show your appreciation. It creates a connection between you and your customers and makes them more likely to buy from you. Marla recommends engaging with followers by using Instagram to the fullest extent. “Like photos posted by your followers, customers, brands, companies, etc. Comment and repost. Tag customers, companies, brands and famous people in your posts. Use hashtags to include your post in a specific subject and publicize on a large scale.”

ADD A HUMAN TOUCH

Because many potential customers will have their first interaction with your business by seeing your work on Instagram, Julie strives to create a personal connection with her customers. She encourages them to call her by name. “I always try to be informal and be human, not a machine or a PR agent. I want my customers to know that I’m someone they can trust to answer their questions and, hopefully, to decorate their event.”

Courtesy Belle Balloons

Courtesy Belle Balloons

Courtesy Belle Balloons

Courtesy Belle Balloons

GOOD PHOTOGRAPHY IS KEY

If you’re showing off your work on Instagram, you want photos to be on point. Sarah has partnered with big names in the event industry who had a photo shoot to update their website. She offered free or discounted work in exchange for professional photos of her work and publicity on their social media channels. Julie, Ellen, Marla, and Laura echo that professional photos are a highly sought-after resource for Instagram. “Good photos are able to demonstrate and capture the ‘thrill of the moment,’” Marla says.

However, while professional photos are preferred, all five ladies say that a professional photographer isn’t necessarily required to have a decent photo. The key is variety. Make your photos bright and vibrant. Shoot photos against different backgrounds. Ask your client to send you candid shots of the people at an event with your decor in the background.

SQUINT-AND-LIKE PROCESS

Because people have short attention spans and scroll through Instagram rapidly, Ellen and Laura take things one step further. “Instagram photos need to pop. All our images go through the squint-and-like process – if you still like the color you see through squinted eyes, it can be posted!”

Courtesy Festeje by Julie

Courtesy Festeje by Julie

Courtesy Festeje by Julie

Courtesy Festeje by Julie

Be sure to follow us on Instagram at @Qualatex and repost our photos to your account using an app like Repost !