November/December 2018 Marine Electronics Journal 41
the name sign at the marina where you are
working; maybe you have some camera
skills and capture a rainbow, nature or other
notable element in the picture. You then
caption the photo with the location and a
description of what you are doing there
today, like: “At the marina we’re installing a
new satellite TV system.” Once this is posted
to Instagram, any user can search keywords
or “hashtags” and may discover your post
and decide to contact your company, just
like traditional advertising.
Your post could be shared through a network of users. Someone who sees your post,
maybe a “follower,” may decide they need
the services of your business, maybe because
they are at that marina, or they are interested
in what you are working on or are located
You can become more creative on Instagram if you desire. Instead of general pictures you can skillfully take pictures of
something your company specializes in?
Maybe it’s the clean and neat wiring behind
the helm or custom transducer installation.
Take a picture and add the appropriate caption, include key works such as boat
brands, electronic brands, geographic locations, etc.
Often the description includes a hashtag,
which is a way to group or categorize your
picture post. The majority of tags you choose
should be relevant in some way to your
industry. That way, more people who stumble across your posts will actually be interested in what you do and offer.
When posting to Instagram, consistency
is the key. It will be easier to keep followers
if each of your posts carries a similar theme
to the others. Each post should fit seamlessly
into the bigger picture of your business’s
story. So keep the happy hour, food, family,
politics and pets on your personal Instagram
account and stick to business on your business account.
While it’s optional, engaging with others
on Instagram can have numerous benefits.
It’s a key ingredient in both customer satisfaction and brand advocacy. You can engage
by commenting on your other posts, reposting (sharing someone else’s content) and
“following” others in your industry.
Instagram is fast and easy to browse.
Users can browse hundreds of images of
their liking in a few minutes, so it’s easy to
get noticed if you have an interesting or relevant picture (or video).
While traditional print advertising agencies may not classify this as true advertising,
you are sending a message out to the whole
world, showing them what you do, who
you do it for and where you do it. This
information often does not expire and can
be relevant to a wide variety of existing and
potential customers. Maybe one of your
existing customers who “follow” you on
Instagram will discover a service or product
that they did not know you provided. Incorporating an Instagram account in your business can help increase your reach and
Some detractors may say their business
has a large backlog of work and that they
don’t need to advertise or participate in social
media. While your company may be at maximum workload capacity, advertising and
publicity are not just to gain new customers,
they reinforce your presence in the marketplace.
For example, look at Coca-Cola, why do
they still advertise? We all know who they
are and what they offer, but that alone will
not ensure Coca-Cola sells better than competing brands. While marine electronics
dealers may view themselves as adding value
and having a competitive advantage from
other dealers, the consumer may think of
dealers as a commodity–all the same with no
loyalty or preference. Advertising and promotion remind people of your business and
capabilities, which can help steer an indifferent customer or a new customer your way.
If you decide Instagram is for you, be sure
to explore all it offers. One of the newest features for business is the ability to allow your
customers to shop from within the Instagram
app. Shopping on Instagram turns your business into a visual storefront for a community
of one billion to explore your products with
a single tap. With one click, your audience
can go directly to the product page and add
your products to their shopping cart; this
reduces search time and clicks while improving customer conversion and revenue.
Advertising on Instagram
You can pay Instagram to display your
advertisement to their users. The cost can be
calculated in two methods: cost-per-click
(CPC) or cost-per-1000 impressions (CPM).
You can expect that you will have to pay
somewhere between 20 cents and $2 per
click on an Instagram campaign. If you prefer
to run your ads on a CPM basis, focusing on
impressions, then you are likely to pay
around $5 per 1,000 visitors on average.
Instagram allows you to fine tune your adver-
tising campaign, targeting specific demo-
graphics and budgets that you select.
Social media is here to stay. You don’t have
to be a teenager to get onboard. Learning
about the various platforms and experimenting with each can help you determine what is
best for your business and your customers–try
something so you don’t get left behind. MEJ
About the author
Steven Katz is the owner of Steve’s Marine Service
Inc., serving Annapolis and Ocean City, MD, for
over 20 years. He holds credentials from NMEA,
ABYC, and the USCG as well as B.S. and M.B.A
degrees. Steve’s corporate experience includes
management positions in engineering and technology. He is currently Vice Chairman of NMEA and
has served on the Board of Directors since 2012.
Instagram is a simple and inexpensive way
to promote your business. All you need to
do is post a photo—a job you’re doing now
or a custom installation you’ve just completed, etc.—and add a caption. Including
a descriptive hashtag can help potential
customers find your post quickly.