Do I really need Instagram for my small business?

The short answer is yes! If you have your own small business and you’re not on Instagram you are missing out on so many potential sales. If you have a product based business with a target audience of 16-50 years of age you need to click onto the app store and download Instagram asap. If you are one man/woman band you are the best person to showcase your business on Instagram, after all people buy from people. So sharing who you are and what you do via social media helps build rapport, trust and ultimately to sales! Still need convincing? Let me to give you five reasons why Instagram can work for your small business.

1. It’s how customers can find you

Think of Instagram as your virtual store front, it could be the first time someone has ever come across your business. It can communicate who you are, what you sell and how they can buy it, and most importantly why they should buy from you and not someone else.

2. You can generate direct sales via Instagram

If you have an online store that integrates with Facebook you can also integrate it with Instagram and make your images shoppable! That means someone can click an image on your grid and then buy whats on it! This makes the customer journey so much shorter and easier. For further info on how to set this up click here 

3. It’s free!

You don’t always need to spend money on expensive ads whether via social media or in print. You can be your very own marketing team via Insta. If you’re a own person business your time is super precious, I get that, but Insta when done well is worth investing time in. You don’t need to be on there all hours to make it worthwhile. Setting aside time to plan content and to interact with other accounts will all boost your visability.

4. You can speak directly to your customers and target market

One of the best things about Insta and social media in general is that customers can interact with you directly. When you manage your own Instagram and someone direct messages you with a sizing query you can reply straight away. You can build a rapport with potential customers and relationships with loyal customers that will end up being your biggest supporters. I love sharing products I’ve bought from small online stores and tagging in the shop so others can find it. 

5. It’s a great way of getting feedback and finding out what your customers want

Instagram is not just about sharing pretty images of your products. It’s a fantastic way of finding out what your customers want. You can ask questions in the captions. You can chat to them over Instagram Stories and even set up polls. It can inform your future product lines and even help you decide which product to launch and when. 

My top tips for getting started

  • Make sure that it’s clear from your bio what your business is and what you do. Have a direct link to your store/website
  • Mix up your content. Don’t just show product images, make sure there’s lifestyle photos and share about yourself too – afterall people buy from people
  • Think about your overall aesthetic, does your account, ‘grid’ look good?
  • Take the time to interact. Rather than just posting content and running spend some time before and after you post replying to any comments, liking other pictures from accounts you follow. Find and follow complimentary businesses and potential customers. All in all, build a sense of community – Instagram loves that and will show your posts to more of your followers.
  • Try and be consistent with when you post and how often. Don’t post 3 posts one day and then none for the rest of the week. Some people swear by posting at the same time of day each day, or just first thing in the morning or in the evening. Why not think about when your target customer is most likely to be on Instagram.

If you’d like to know more about using Instagram for your business I run Instagram group workshops, and I also create bespoke 1-1 power sessions that can be held face to face over coffee if you live in the Preston area or via video call. Click here for more info on my coaching packages.

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My Favourite Colourful Family Life Instagrammers

This isn’t a list full of huge Instagrammers with hundreds of thousands of followers, these are a few of my favourites that make me smile with their content and fantastically colourful feeds. Some will be well known and others are gems that should have way more followers than they currently do. As well as sharing a few photos from their accounts I’ve asked each Instagrammer for their top tips and favourite hashtags for a little insider knowledge that we can all learn from.

Colourful Family Life Instagrammers

 

Lucy | @Dear_Beautiful_

Lucy’s youngest girl has THE best bedroom, I mean just look at the rainbows! I really enjoy Lucy’s instagram, not just because we’ve been friends ever since I started blogging but because it’s a lovely space that reflects her family. The pops of colour and the beaming family photos are a joy to look at and shine so brightly as I scroll through Instagram.

Lucy’s top tip – ‘Don’t let the algorithms sap your joy. Post what you love and what makes you happy. Like and comment on the photos you love and that make you happy. Instagram is, and always has been my happy place. And to keep it that way I have to let all the follower-engagement-likes-unfollowing-dramas go.’

Favourite hashtag/s#colourcolourlovers because it’s so pretty and I love #meandmimeproject not because it’s mine but it makes me smile to see so many happy family photos.

 

Hannah | @MakeDoandPush

Like so many of my favourites, Hannah has such a knack for capturing bright and fun moments. Her photos are full of colour and fun and I love her photographic style. Not to mention how cute her kids are!

Hannah’s top tip – ‘My top tip would be to mix up your hashtags every couple of weeks to see which ones are working best and to discover new ones.’

Favourite hashtag – ‘My favourite hashtag at the moment is #mycolourfulkids (created by @ladybirdsadventures) because it basically sums up everything I love posting on Instagram.’

 

Gill | @Gill_C

Gill’s wall is just so vibrant and happy, she is so clever with her use of colour within each photo and her wall as a gallery. Too much colour can be overwhelming but you don’t get that from her account, her clever composition and use of space mean that each picture can be enjoyed. Her daughter is very much like my youngest with their love of tiny colourful toys!

Gill’s top tip – ‘If you’re going to post lots of colourful things then pick out 2-3 colours to focus on (but don’t get too obsessed with something ‘fitting’ if you like it then post it anyway!).

favourite hashtag –  #walltravelled – colouful walls from around the world.

 

Molly | @MollyjForbes

I love Molly’s instagram, you know me I’m a fan of keeping things real (but still pretty!) and Molly definitely does that. Her girls remind me of mine when they were younger and they share the same love of the colour yellow! Molly mixes up her wall with photos of her family and photos of her own style, clothing wise. Weaved through it all is her love of bright colours and a sense of fun.

Molly’s top tip and favourite hashtag – ‘At the moment I’m really enjoying #whatmamaworemonday. A tip from me would be, engage, engage, engage. Comment on hashtags and keep looking up your favourite accounts and liking and commenting (don’t just wait for them to turn up on your feed) and give regular shout outs to other Instagrammers you love.’

 

Jenny | @LetsTalkMommy

You’ll know by now that Jenny is a ‘real life’ friend of mine, but don’t think I’ve included her because of bias. One look at her Instagram and you’ll see it’s bursting with colour and family fun. She is such a bright and shining person in real life and her photos really reflect that.

Jenny’s Instagram tips – ‘My tip is to create new friendships with engagement. Don’t just like and comment in bulk. These are the people that will continue searching back for you and will like and comment regularly not just as a one off. If you use hashtags, which I absolutely love, ones like my own hashtag #lifecloseup, have great support. Don’t just use hashtags, join in the conversation and be active in the hashtags you use, this will help you get more engagers from this hashtag coming back to you too. Try to love Instagram for what it used to be not what its turned into. Let’s keep sharing what we love.’

Favourite hashtags – #letthemplay #littlefierceones #myweekofhappiness #joyfulmamas #lifewithatoddler #lifewithkids #mummyshot #siblingsproject #meandmineproject #curiouslittleexplorers #rememberingthesedays #myfamilyadventures #littleloves #onemillionmagicalsmiles

A huge thank you to these lovely Instagrammers for letting me use their photos and for sharing their advice. I do love the blogging and Insta community for this kind of thing.

For more Instagrammers I love check out my post on my favourite UK Inspiring Instagrammers

 

DO YOU FOLLOW ANY OF THESE?

WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITES?

LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW

 

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My current favourite inspiring UK instagrammers

inspiring instagrammers with tips and hashtags

This isn’t a list full of huge Instagrammers with hundreds of thousands of followers, these are just a few of my favourites that make me smile with their content and beautifully curated feed. Some will be well known and others are little gems that should have way more followers than they currently do. As well as sharing a few photos from their accounts I’ve asked each Instagrammer for their top tips and favourite hashtags for a little insider knowledge that we can all learnt from.

Inspiring UK Instagrammers

 

Kerry Villers | @KERRYVILLERS

 

Kerry is a fellow blogger and I’ve been following her on Instagram for quite a while now. Her thoughtfully curated feed is so beautiful, there’s so much light and creativity to her shots of her home and family life. Follow her if you love a bit of greenery, light interiors and a glimpse into family life.

Kerry’s top tips – 

“I go through phases of either loving Instagram or finding it a bit of a drain. Worrying about numbers is one thing that ruins the fun for me. More recently, I have tried to worry less about numbers and think more about the kind of photographs I would like to take. The photos I enjoy taking may not get as many likes or attract as many followers as others, but that’s OK. I have also stopped following some of the popular advice to like and comment on so many photographs in a hashtag after posting a photo, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I think that advice can work, but I found it sucked the joy out of Instagram for me. 

I recently found the bookmarking function on Instagram and absolutely love it. I bookmark the photos I find particularly inspiring and look back through them when I am feeling a bit meh. I find it helps me to think of ideas for the kind of photographs I might like to take and provides a reference point to the kind of style I like and admire. Emily Quinton advises to make Pinterest boards of your favourite Instagram photos, but I’m not organised enough to do that, so bookmarking has been a god send. 

If you’re struggling to find accounts you want to follow, go through your favourite accounts follow list. You will find a ton of great accounts there. 

Antonia from Tinker Tailor Online recommended using an app called Mosaico in a recent blog post. It’s amazing. It has the same grid layout as Instagram, so you can see what your next photo would look like in your feed, or what it might look like if you deleted a photo. Worth the £5.99 purchase price, in my opinion. 

Listen to Me & Orla’s podcasts – Hashtag Authentic

Engage with your followers. There is nothing worse than liking and commenting on photographs time and again, only to get nothing back. Plus, why are you doing it, if not to engage with people?” 

Favourite hashtags –  #littleloves, #lifecloseup, #myeverydaymagic #cornerofmyhome

 

Tigerlilly Quinn | @TIGERLILLYQUINN

 

We’ve both been on the blogging scene for a few years now and I would call Fritha a friend, though I must admit still have a fan girl moment whenever I meet up with her in real life. She is such a beautiful authentic soul and this is reflected in her relaxed and colourful feed. With over 30k followers I am not the only one to love Fritha’s account that  simply bursts with family adventures, stylish and creative fashion and every day life in Bristol. The hashtags #dresscolourfully and #thebrighthome are both run by Fritha* and she has individual instagram accounts for each to showcase the communities.

Fritha’s top tips – “Don’t get sucked into comparing yourself to others or focusing on the numbers. Engage as much as you can and slowly but surely you’ll see that return on your account and followers will happen naturally”

Favourite hashtags – #dresscolourfully #thebrighthome

 

Old Fashioned Sus | @OLDFASHIONEDSUS

 

Fellow north of Watford instagrammer, Susie, shares her home town of Manchester in her feed. Weaved in with her love of vintage fashion and styling Susie gives us a glimpse into her life and loves. Expect rich architectural shots and interiors full of texture and beauty. Champion of the breton tee, Susie also runs the hashtag #bretonloversunite where she invites fellow breton striped fans to join in and hashtag their breton striped pics.

Susie’s top tip – “My biggest tip is be yourself! Also posting around the same time each day helps you get into a routine of connecting, I try to post before I get the kids up for school.”

Favourite hashtags – “These change all the time but I’m going to biased and say #wallsofMCR which is my newest baby and there’s loads of amazing walls in Manchester to see!”

 

The Ordinary Lovely | @THEORDINARYLOVELY

 

Rachel and I entered into the parent blogging community at similar times and both of us are now on blogs that reflect our lifestyle rather than one centred on being a mummy. She made the leap before me and was so helpful when I made the transition. Through her instagram account Rachel shares her home and interior style with us in such a fresh and inspiring way. She has fantastic taste that works for family life yet doesn’t compromise either style or practicality. Her feed is so fresh and bright, sharing beautiful home style as well as family adventures and trips. 

Rachel’s top tips – “I’ve read so many articles and so many posts about how to increase your Instagram following, but very few touch on using it simply because you love to. Using it because you love to share photographs and stories and because you love to look at photographs and read other people’s stories. Even if your goal is to have a mega huge following and work with lots of amazing brands, never forget that you’re building a personal photo album and no matter the quality of the images and no matter the amount of likes you receive, at some point in the future, you’ll look back on a technicolour history of precious memories and moments.”

Favourite hashtags – “My own feed is full of family adventures and colourful interiors … the first is my life and the latter, my hobby. I use hashtags for both so that I can look up and connect with others who share similar interests. #UKexplore is my very own hashtag (with Karen from @Mini_Travellers) which is all about days out and beautiful places to visit across the UK. And I love #realrooms in order to have a nosy around other people’s homes. It’s addictive viewing.”

 

 

Kelly Goyette | @KELLYANNGOYETTE

 

I am fairly new to Kelly’s feed and it was love at first sight. She has such a beautiful eye that captures even the tiny moments of her family’s life. I personally find Kelly’s feed inspiring and it definitely challenges me to up my ‘instagame’! Now I just need to convince my children to love being in front of the camera..!

 

 

This is the first in my series of Instagram favourites. Every so often I’ll be highlighting a few themed favourites, such as inspiring home style accounts, mama style, etc. I hope you enjoy them!

 

Do you follow any of these?

Who are your favourites?

Let me know in the comments below

 

(* #dresscolourfully is co-run with @hungermama and #thebrighthome with @lottie_storey)

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Thinking about becoming a Social Media Manager?

Are you a blogger looking to make the step towards being a social media manager? It’s definitely something I’ve been considering recently. As an experienced blogger and social media addict I think it would be a good fit and a great way to apply the skills that I already have AND make money, obviously. It’s quite a daunting jump though and there’s still more I’d like to learn so I can be completely prepared and ready to take on clients.

I’ve been reading tutorials on Pinterest and researching courses to take. There’s such a wide range out there and they can be really costly. One I looked at was thousands of pounds and when looking at the content it covered lots that I already knew. I came across this, Social Media Manager Support Course run by Social Bods, headed up by fellow blogger Joanne Brady. Joanne is mum to four girls, and has been a blogger since 2011. She made the leap into doing paid freelance work in 2013 and now has a range of clients in varying industries from all over the UK. She lives in East Yorkshire and spends her free time enjoying watching TV in peace and drinking wine.

I particularly like that this course is aimed at bloggers like myself who want to make that transition into freelance social media management. Because of this the course does require prior social media experience and knowledge. At £200 it’s definitely a much more affordable course than lots of others out there.

Here’s Joanne herself providing a bit more info about the course.

Modules covered – 

  1. Finding and winning clients – How do you go about finding clients? What are the best type of clients to have? Are some clients better than others? How do you go about convincing them that you can do the job?
  2. Pricing, costing, and invoicing – How to price a social media job when they don’t have a budget? How do you produce a social media plan from a given budget? How do you keep track of time spent? How do you get payment from a customer in a timely fashion?
  3. Skills needed – What skills do you need to be able to manage social media for a business? How do you go about learning these skills? What skills do you need to be able to manage your workload effectively?
  4. Essential tools – What do you need to procure so you can get the job done? Do you need to pay for tools? How do you find the right tools for the job?
  5. Content creation and curation – How do you decide on a content strategy for your client? Where do you find good content to share? How do you find interesting things to talk about? Does a content calendar help or hinder you? What tools can be used for content curation?
  6. Reporting and stats – How do you justify yourself to a client? What stats do you need to keep track of? How best to present your data so your client understands it? What stats can you use?
  7. Managing your time off – How do you manage your work when you need to take a sick day, or a holiday? Are there any tools you can use to help manage your time away? Do you have a contingency plan?
  8. Professional and business development – Are there any courses which can be done to further your social media skills? What publications could you be reading? Should you think about certification?

I’ve been lucky enough to have had a preview of the first module and I found it so helpful. I took lots of notes and loved that because it’s a live webinar we were able to interact with Joanne while she delivered the course. You can type in questions or queries as you go along. You can even watch the webinar back afterwards in case you missed anything.

Dates –

The next course kicks off on the 20th of January, which is a Friday. Webinars will be on a Friday morning at 10am. There is NO webinar in half-term (w/c 20th February).

The eight webinars will be – 20th Jan, 27th Jan, 3rd Feb, 10th Feb, 17th Feb, 3rd March,
10th March, 17th March

Webinars can be watched back later if you are unable to attend a specific date but you MUST register for that webinar to receive the invite for the replay.

Pricing – 

£200 – no vat applicable

This is for eight modules with a weekly webinar and handouts, and includes ongoing membership of the Facebook support group.

The fee is payable in two four-weekly installments of £100 and payment can be made by direct transfer, or by Go Cardless.

To sign up to the course

Please email socialbods@gmail.com and we will add you to the roster for the next available course. Full details of how to pay, how to join the Facebook group, and the full webinar schedule will be sent back by return.

What do you think? 

Will you be joining me on this course?

 

 

Disclosure – I’m working with SocialBods to help promote this course

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How I use Instagram Stories as a blogger and brand

Are you as obsessed with Instagram as I am? If you are you’ll have noticed quite a few changes on there recently, from the introduction of the non-chronological news-feed, to business accounts, and Instagram Stories. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a huge fan of all the changes but I’ve adapted to them and love to use Instagram Stories as a blogger and brand for my business, Little and Fierce Kids. It’s a great method of sharing more about you and your business in a fun and more relaxed way.

How I use Instagram Stories as a blogger

 

I love having fun on Instagram Stories, it’s a lovely way of sharing more photos that might not make it on to your curated feed. I use it a lot like I used Instagram when I first started on it over 5 years ago. I don’t worry about making sure the photos are styled and perfect, it’s a lot more informal. As my blog is a lifestyle and family blog I can share pretty much anything on there. If you’re used to Snapchat then Instagram Stories will be a doddle for you. I never did get my head around Snapchat and hated having yet another social media platform to figure out and produce content for. The great thing about Instagram Stories is you already have an audience of followers and it’s all in the same app so much easy to remember to do and quicker to get content on. If you’re panicking that it’s just another thing to learn and be on top of then you can relax, it’s easy and I think, really fun!

The basics

Take some time seeing what others are doing, click the round buttons at the top of your home screen and have a scroll through. When it comes to making your own, have a little play. Click the icon in the top left corner, you can take a pic there and then, hold the button down for a video or use a picture you’ve taken in the last 24 hours by pulling down at the top of your screen. There are currently only a few filters to choose from (just scroll left and right to see them) but you can add text, emojis and draw on the pictures. I try to keep mine cohesive in that I use the same colour behind my text (a pale pink like my blog colours – I know, I’m such an on brand geek!)

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Top Tips

Think about how you want to use it as a blogger, what is your niche? Parent blogger, craft blogger, lifestyle, home style? 

When you’ve got your niche and an idea of why people follow you then use that to think about what you share on Instagram Stories, ie if you’re a craft blogger you might want to share a short video of you making something, or share before and after shots of a project.

As I’m a lifestyle and family blogger I share a mix of content, some family shots of us out and about as well as sharing ‘behind the scenes’ of what I’m up to during the week. People are nosey (I know I am!) and love little snap shots into your daily life. You could even do a little ‘day in the life’ sharing pics and little videos throughout your day.

Think about how the content you share can draw people back to your blog or at least increase interactivity. I’ve shared a mini video promoting a new blog post, it was as simple as showing just my hand scrolling my blog post page on an iPad.

Have fun with it! As much as you want to make sure you stay ‘on brand’ people also want it to be fun and not feel like they are being targeted or marketed to.

 

 

How I use Instagram Stories as a brand

 

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Little and Fierce Kids

 

I use it to share a lot of behind the scenes shots, people love to see how a business is run and especially for a small business like mine I know that my customers also buy into me and my family as well as the products. A key part of my brand identity as Little and Fierce Kids is the personal touch so sharing bits from family life as well as shots like new products and packing orders is really important.

Top Tips

If you’re on as a business user, which if you are a brand then you really should be it’s great for analytics, you can see how many people see your photo and who they are. This is great to keep an eye on, I’ve hear stories of competitors checking out at this content even though they don’t ‘follow’ you and then copying it. Obviously you can’t do much about this but just make sure all your content is ‘on brand’

Following on from this look at who sees your photos and videos on Instagram Stories, often it is different to those that interact with your photos. 

Like with your feed keep the Instagram Stories consistent and make sure your ‘ideal customer’ is in mind when you post. 

My business is an online kids accessories store so I would share content like new products, sneak peeks on any new lines, packing orders, as I’m a small business that is quite family focused I also share photos from my family life. My followers like to see the person behind the brand, it’s one of my key points and a great thing to remember that as a small mum run business people are often buying into you as a brand. You aren’t a big ‘faceless’ corporation so use that to your advantage.

Have fun with it! You can put text on the pictures, draw on them do little videos, make it engaging.

 

To see for yourself how I use Instagram Stories you can heck out my Instagram accounts here – @Coffeeworksleep @Littlefiercekids

 PIN ME FOR LATER 😉how i use instagram stories as a blogger and brand

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on how I use Instagram Stories as a blogger and a brand.

If you’ve got any questions or even tips of your own then leave them in a comment below.

 

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