Nikita Majajas, founder of jewellery brand Doodad + Fandango, told the City of Sydney Small Business 101 seminar in Sydney on Wednesday that social media has opened her business to a “global audience”.
“I couldn’t afford to pay for advertising or rent a shopfront. But Instagram has allowed me to cut out the middle man and reach a global audience. The label is now taking off in the US and the UK, and I wouldn’t have been able to achieve any of this success without social media,” Ms Majajas said.
But with this global reach comes global copycats, which she said is an all-too-common challenge for her.
“As a creative, someone who is putting out things that I’m designing and making on this platform, I want people to know that what I am making is an original design and what they’re buying from me is something I have made, it has come from my studio. But I’ve been copied a lot... there are accounts out there who have copied me outrageously.”
However, Ms Majajas has found that an active social media profile, particularly through the use of Instagram Stories, is helping her to fight back.
“Instagram allows me to build trust in the brand by telling a story and showing the face behind the product to create consumer awareness and connect with influencers, which converts to sales down the track,” she said.
Ms Majajas explained that using tools such as Instagram Stories allows her to showcase the various stages of product development and design as proof of authenticity to her customer base.
Instagram’s communications manager for Australia and New Zealand, Jeff McBride, said that the “blue tick” feature is also available for businesses to use, which acts as a stamp of authenticity on the origin of images and videos uploaded to the site.
“People ask me about the blue tick all the time,” he said.
“I will say that if anyone wants to get the blue tick, there’s actually... inside of settings on Instagram, there’s a little choice called ‘request verification’, and if you hit that, you can do it yourself.”
How often should you post to Instagram?
Many business owners struggle to know how frequently they should be posting to social media, and also finding the time to make those posts.
Ms Majajas admitted that, as a sole trader, it can be “a little bit overwhelming” to keep posting regularly and stay up to date with all of the new features being rolled out by the social platforms.
“My post today on Instagram was, ‘I’m going to have to check out of here for a while’, because I just can’t do everything. I’ve been really busy in my business the past few months, and I honestly haven’t had enough time to just be a designer.”
Instagram’s Mr McBride acknowledged that it is a common concern among small businesses, and that “it can be something people worry about”.
In terms of stories, Mr McBride said that six to eight is a good number to aim for, but that there is no magic number in terms of the number of posts to aim for each day.
Frequency will depend on the business, its following and time constraints, but that ultimately “the more often you post, the more likely you are to be seen”.
However, he said that for businesses that only have time for one post at a time, there are strategies to boost its impact:
- Use a combination of posting on feed and to stories to capture users across both channels, rather than only one of these.
- Users can now follow hashtags, so incorporate relevant hashtags into posts.
- Consider creating a brand-specific hashtag.
- Respond to direct messages [DMs] as often as possible.
- Liking comments tends to drive better engagement than simply liking someone’s post.
- Use analytics to see who is engaging with you on the platform, as you may be surprised to discover that the bulk of engagement comes from a group outside of your target audience.
- Include your e-commerce website or web page in the profile so that users can swipe to directly access the page to make a purchase.