Doing Business on Instagram and a Review of Instagal's Class

A few weeks ago we put out a call to ask where you like to sell online. Tammy Cannon eagerly told us Instagram! She told us about success she had already experienced and how that helped to land her on a CreativeLive class with Sue B. Zimmerman, aka Instagal and The Instagram Expert. She was happy to share her experience being on the CreativeLive and how she's been using Instagram to sell.*

My name is Tammy Cannon of GlitterStylesDotCom on Instagram. We take Instagram images, mount them to 4” x 4” canvases, and hand pour epoxy over them for a unique artistic effect. We also reduce the size of the images for a square ¾ inch charm for chain and bangle bracelets. Hand poured epoxy makes the canvases and charms super shiny, and the addition of our signature sparkle elevates the images from digital to art.

I have used the past few weeks to find Instagrammers to help us refine our offerings. It has been so great working with @design_wright to design our final logos half-way across the country. I also want to offer 4” x 4” raw wood frames to compliment the canvases we are privileged to make. We found @thesummeryumbrella who is handmaking frames especially for our shop this week. I could not believe the quality of design in the sample she sent me from the east coast! Collaboration has been such a wonderful surprise inside the Instagram community. I think this is my favorite part.

I have been tuning in to Creative Live for about a year now. Creative Live streams workshops for things like photography and social media live, with the option to purchase the program for a certain fee. When I heard there would be a second Instagram workshop with Sue B. Zimmerman, I contacted her to let her know that I was excited to tune in, since I had watched the first one. She checked out my profile and asked if she could feature our Instagram account because she liked the concept of what we were doing. I decided to send Sue an Instagram image of her choice on canvas and a charm bracelet to match. She ended up featuring us at the close of the workshop, and we were so thankful!

Whether you have a new shop and are new to Instagram, or have been using Instagram for a while, this 3-day course was packed with very helpful information for artists and handmade businesses. There were over 20 Google Hangouts and guests to round out the program and to give real world examples of how Instagrammers are not only making money, but how they are doing so, how they are photographing their products, what online platforms and apps they are using and more. It really is worth it’s weight in gold, and for such a small price. All of the information in this program was geared toward artists, service industry people and makers. All of it was relevant and useful for all industries.

I think it is important to remember that all things take time. Many of us give ourselves a short window for success, and quit before all the magic happens. Finding out that it does take a couple of months to build your small community of like-minded folks who support each other, was both surprising and comforting. Develop your strategies, implement them, and be patient.

I learned more about having a meaningful hashtag strategy, and testing out which hashtags are right for your product and industry. Take a look at hashtags and make sure you want to be associated with them. Also, utilizing the geotag in a new way is helpful. For instance, you can create a mock geotag, where you turn location services off, post a clever geotag address (even a website), and once its posted people won’t be able to actually click on the geotag to find you at your house! In addition, having a profile with relevant key words works better than a paragraph or sentences.

I have updated my profile to something that I think is easier to understand. I’ve done a mock geotag (which even worked after I turned location services back on), and I’ve paid more attention to my hashtag strategy to find potential customers that might understand and appreciate my products. For instance, I have to assume that people who like getting their Instagram pictures printed from sources like @socialps (formerly Printstagram) or @Printle_net, would also appreciate their images elevated in a more artsy way, so I’ll use hashtags within this industry.

We are just about 6 weeks old (at the time I wrote this), and made our first sale within 10 days of being open. We use Instagram exclusively (with a link over to Facebook for possible future use), and a website we created ourselves using Weebly and it’s storefront option. Our Instagram handle is @glitterstylesdotcom and our website is Look for a feature we were asked to write on Weebly’s blog on using social media to drive traffic to a website.

We really believe that any problem can be solved with a little bit of sparkle. Sparkle can be in the form of a compliment, a smile or anything else that elevates the mood or someone’s day. That’s why my family is starting the #sparkleinitiative to remind people to find their sparkle and share it with the world.

*Note: The links to CreativeLive are affiliate links and if you choose to buy something after visiting using the link we might make a little bit of money... not getting rich but going to support our work with handmade artists!