Simply Marketing Blog – How to use Instagram Stories to grow your business

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Are you making the most of social media marketing?

In today’s Instagram-ready world, it’s unimaginable to think how difficult and expensive it was to promote your business or services before social media came along.

Social media advertising

Back then, the traditional route was print or radio advertising but this was costly and there was the danger you might not see much return. TV advertising was for the big players, and totally cost-prohibitive for most small to medium sized businesses.

One of the most reliable – and cost-effective – forms of promotion was word of mouth. Recommendations from friends or colleagues was a sure-fire way to generate enquiries and increase sales – back then, and it’s the same now, people liked to be ‘in the know’ and felt safe buying from someone that they felt they could trust.

Social media is really a step on from that word of mouth idea. Only, instead of just a small handful of acquaintances to spread the word to, we now have the opportunity to tell the whole world about out businesses.

One of the most effective methods of this type of communication is through Instagram, especially Instagram Stories. By posting stories on Instagram, you are inviting people into your world, showing them a rare insight into the behind the scenes workings of your business.

You are also showing them the personal side to your business – they get to see the real you and this can influence their decision to do business with you. This is definitely what Chris Suitor, aka The Belfast Tailor, of Suitor Brothers Tailoring, discovered.

When Chris joined the family business he started dabbling in social media, first with Facebook then Twitter. It was just a few posts here and there but as it gained traction and the business started to grow, he quickly realised there was something in this new form of communication.

social media advertisingThe ‘eureka’ moment didn’t happen until 2015 when Chris discovered the power of influencer marketing, quite by accident. He decided to ‘sponsor’ a young Irish boxer named Michael Conlan, by dressing him in Suitor suits for TV interviews. He went on to win the World Championships and from that moment on the world began seeking out Suitor Brothers Suits.

However, far from adopting a scatter gun approach to social media marketing, Chris has developed his own strategy, unique to his business. This includes suit giveaways – in the early days one giveaway alone racked up an incredible 58000 views leading to 900 followers; contributing to TV and editorial pieces – Chris is now paid to comment on the BBC; Instagram Stories – using the handle The Belfast Tailor, this is where Chris shows off his personal side; Twitter – this is where Chris built his fan base, and where most of his celebrity clients come from.

“How much of my marketing is social media? 100%,” says Chris. “Since I started with social media four years ago, the turnover in our store has nearly doubled. And the only thing that’s really changed during that time is the social media. You couldn’t get that return with traditional marketing spend, and I’ve barely had to spend a penny.”

As well as updating his posts a few times a day, Chris finds time to make videos, which he feels are the future of social marketing. One video he showed of ‘how to tie a tie the Christ Suitor way’ was seen by 50000 people within 48 hours. And it only took a few minutes to make.

“People want to buy into the product, the brand, the story behind the product,” says Chris.  “You can get anything online now in just three clicks, but there’s definitely still a market out there for people to buy into people. I want people to buy from me – we want to treat people the way we think they want to be treated.”

By using social media to show this personal side to the business, Chris has built relationships with would-be customers. He has used social media to develop confidence in his brand as well as trust in him as a person. It’s the new word of mouth for the social media generation and it’s there for us all to use!

How to do social media marketing the Christ Suitor way:

Keep the content different:

I drop five or six stories every day to keep people watching and wanting to come back the next day. I also make two or three posts on each page too so they don’t go stale.

Show your human side:

There has to be personality behind any product or service –that’s the key to it. Instagram stories is my favourite thing – I just try to show people what I go through on a daily basis. It means people know who I am and that I am genuine and the business is genuine.

Keep it relevant:

What you have to say has to be relevant and listenable. It helps that I’m pretty good at knowing what to say and at the same time can say the right thing.

Be strategic:

You have to have a strategy for social media – you know why you’re there. Keep in mind that the amount PR or press would have cost if you’d paid for advertising would have been phenomenal.

Stay positive:

I do Instagram Stories because I enjoy it. instagram storiesBut I tone down the content for Twitter because I can’t stand the negativity. It’s more like antisocial media but that’s not helpful. Social media can be a really positive tool – it’s there and we need to use it. The fact you can reach out and link with people globally is phenomenal.



For more details on how to  use Instagram Stories to grow your business listen to the full Podcast at




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