Instagram for Archery Retailers

Marketing to young consumers means broadcasting your message with the correct tool, which is why you should consider Instagram.

Instagram for Archery Retailers

Photo from Matthew Lester Photography/Instagram

I’m going to be honest with you: I really don’t like social media. There are so many platforms that it feels overwhelming, and it feels like I every time I turn around there’s some new platform or feature that the powers that be swear is absolutely critical to use. I understand the temptation to just forget all about social media and stick with more traditional methods of marketing such as newspaper and radio ads.

But ignoring social media today is akin to that old joke about the drunk man searching for his car keys under a streetlight. “Are you sure you dropped them here?” asks a police officer. “No, I dropped them in the park,” the man responds. “Then why are you looking here?” “The light is better.” Sure, it’s easier, but consumers spend more time on social media. And if you want to reach new archery customers, then social media is one of the best ways to do it.

Instagram: Big and Mobile

You don’t need to be on every social media platform out there, but you do need to be on more than one for the simple reason that different consumers use different platforms. Facebook is still one of the most important platforms for businesses. According to Hootsuite, more than 2 billion people log in to Facebook at least monthly, and 68 percent of Americans have Facebook accounts. The problem with Facebook is that’s its users skew older — roughly a third of Facebook’s ad audience is under 25, and only half of American teenagers have Facebook accounts.

So, if you want to appeal to young consumers, you need to go where they are, which is Instagram (72 percent of U.S. teens have accounts), Snapchat and YouTube.

Instagram, while not as big as Facebook, is no slouch in the audience department, with 1 billion people logging in at least monthly. More importantly, Instagram users tend to be mobile. According to Social 4 Retail, 90 percent of the time people spend on Instagram is on their mobile devices (as opposed to the Instagram website on a computer). Want to reach young people? You want to be on their phones, and Instagram gets you there.

With more than 1 billion logins per month, Instagram is a social media platform with strong marketing potential, especially with the younger crowds.
With more than 1 billion logins per month, Instagram is a social media platform with strong marketing potential, especially with the younger crowds.

Instagram Success

You don’t have to take my word for it. Jill Oliveria runs Trader Jan’s Archery Pro-Shop and Wicked Twisted Bowstrings in Fall River, Massachusetts, and she’s been using Instagram for more than 4 years to promote her business. Oliveria is no stranger to social media — her first foray into social marketing was with MySpace, and she’s been evolving her social strategy ever since. Although she’s on several platforms, she finds Instagram to be particularly helpful.

“I have a Twitter account, and I use it from time to time,” she explained. “But I find, for me, I can’t seem to get across on that platform what I need to. It’s such a short verbiage that you have to use. And between Facebook and Instagram, Instagram has actually been the better of the two so far. I know a lot of the younger generation that is on social media doesn’t use Facebook as much as they do Instagram. So I find I tend to be able to reach some of the younger generation better through Instagram, especially since I can tag certain things in the posts. I generally reach a lot more people on Instagram than I do on Facebook.”

Marketing to young consumers can be done via Instagram, where 90 percent of the time the app is accessed via mobile phone.
Marketing to young consumers can be done via Instagram, where 90 percent of the time the app is accessed via mobile phone.


Hashtags are one the features that makes Instagram so good at increasing your reach. Instagram hashtags categorize photos and videos, allowing users to quickly find the kinds of posts they most want to see. Using the right hashtags will help potential new customers find your business on Instagram. In “Instagram Hashtags: The Ultimate Guide” posted on, Benjamin Chacon wrote that a post including at least one hashtag will see a 12.6 percent boost in engagement (likes and comments); the ideal number of hashtags on an Instagram post is 11.

Instagram now allows users to follow hashtags the same way they follow profiles, which makes hashtags even more valuable for savvy marketers. So, which hashtags work best for archery retailers? I asked Oliveria what she finds to be successful.

“Obviously #archery is one of the bigger keywords that I use,” she said. “I do #traderjans and #archeryproshop, because that’s out there as well. We also have a mobile version of the shop, so I tag that. Then different things I can think of like #archeryforlife and #archeryaddicted. Anything that has anything to do with archery. It reaches various people that use those hashtags quite often. I make sure when I do any product-specific posting that I tag the company so I catch all their followers. That helps gain some traction as well.”

When you’re considering what hashtags to use, keep in mind this advice from Social 4 Retail: Mix different kinds of hashtags. There are brand-specific hashtags (those would be your shop name or manufacturer names for products included in a post), industry-specific hashtags (like #archery) and trending hashtags. To use trending hashtags successfully, you might want to spend a little time looking at what’s currently trending on Instagram.

If you set up an Instagram business account, you’ll have additional resources to help you, including Instagram Insights, which provides information on how well your hashtags are doing and which hashtags are most successful.

One recent study reported that 72 percent of teenagers have an Instagram account.
One recent study reported that 72 percent of teenagers have an Instagram account.

What to Post

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to use Instagram. Oliveria finds that people respond well to a wide variety of posts.

“I find that almost all my posts tend to do fairly well,” she said. “I just posted one about doing something for April vacation for the kids. I think that one has many likes so far. I do 3-D shoots, and a post I did on a recent 3-D shoot got quite a bit of likes.”

Oliveria also regularly posts videos where she announces new products, demonstrates the string-building process, reminds customers about her half-price shooting day on Tuesdays, and shares other information her customers might be interested in. In addition, she occasionally has some of her regular customers do videos to promote the shop as well. Oliveria thinks Instagram in general and the videos in particular help promote her business.

“Where we’re located, a lot of people don’t realize how big of a shop I have or that I’m even here,” she said. “I’ve been here so long some people seem to forget. The videos help a lot with showing people the different lanes we have and the different products we carry. A lot of people really like that they get to see the inside of the shop. We’re located in an older mill building here in the city, so the exterior of the shop can be a little deceiving as far as what’s inside. It definitely helps to do the videos.”

Posting photos and videos taken inside your shop will make potential customers more familiar with the products and services you have to offer, and even existing customers may be reminded of services they might have forgotten about. You might also want to post photos of new targets on your range, students taking lessons and staff members trying out the latest equipment. The more you post and the more you tag, the more likely it is that new customers will see your posts.

Building a Following

When you first start an Instagram account, the task of building a following can be a daunting one. I asked Oliveria how she built her following.

“Through persistence,” she said. “Not giving up on trying to attract different people, whether it be to Instagram, Facebook, the shop’s page or my personal page. I just try to reach as many people as I can. I just broke 3,800 followers on the Trader Jan’s Facebook page. If I need, like, 10 more people to break a certain number of followers, I’ll offer a gift certificate. Different things like that.”

As you work on building a following, think about how to make your Instagram feed worthwhile for people to follow. Posting news, tips and specials on Instagram first — and letting your customers know that’s where they can find the latest from your shop — will encourage your existing customers to follow you on the platform.

Is Instagram Right for Your Shop?

Yes. Sure, it will take a little effort to post photos or create videos. And it will definitely take time to get really good at using the social media platform. But as Oliveria put it, “It’s free advertising for your business,” which justifies the extra work.

Putting Instagram on your priority list is smart business, especially when it means you’ll be reaching existing and potential customers on their phones.


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