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Inspiration, Tip

July 13, 2021

BY: Instagram Business Team

San Francisco, CA

For CEO and philanthropist Gizem White, a cup of coffee is much more than a way to kickstart the morning. It’s a way to “bridge cultures,” she says. “Turkish coffee is the world’s first coffee brewing technique, but when I arrived in the US, people really didn’t know about Turkish coffee. I realized that this was my passion, and I wanted to really educate new audiences.”

So in 2009, she founded Turkish Coffee Lady (@turkishcoffeelady), an authentic gourmet coffee business based in Fairfax, Virginia that builds upon her heritage’s 500-year-old tradition. To empower fellow female entrepreneurs and inspire her young daughter, she also launched a nonprofit foundation — the world’s very first coffee diplomacy association — to support leadership and mentorship programs for women.

But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, everything turned upside down for Gizem. “When the store got closed, it wasn’t just a store,” she says. “It was like all the dreams, everything I ever worked for, they were just gone. But I never thought of just closing my small business, ever. I knew that I was going to make it work.”

Enter fashion designer and business owner Tan France, host of Boost My Business, a show about helping small business owners maximize their potential and reach their big goals. As Gizem reworked Turkish Coffee Lady’s digital strategy, she wanted to make sure her social media reflected her company’s legacy and rich history. As Tan put it in the clip above, she’s “leading authentically” in her marketing.

“I encourage anyone who’s thinking about starting a business to pull from personal experiences,” he says. “That’s exactly what I did when I created my businesses. I was catering to my family’s needs and, therefore, I always remembered who my customer was. When you’re sharing something you really love with the world, everybody wins.”

Tan, along with Facebook strategist Julie Howe, showed Gizem how to use Instagram Stories to showcase her selection of coffee varieties and blends. Don’t know what the audience wants to learn more about? Ask them! Stories make it possible to post polls or host Q&A sessions with followers, generating insights to leverage in future business decisions. According to an Instagram Trends Research Study conducted by Ipsos in November 2020, 57%1 of people surveyed say they’d prefer seeing polls and quizzes from brands on Instagram compared to other platforms.

“I was able to see how people were reacting to my new products, [what] age group I was targeting, the demographics — and we had more than 100,000 impressions, which was amazing,” Gizem says. “I felt so confident when I was watching the poll results, because I was engaging new customers. At the same time, our current customers reached out to me and they said, ‘We see your new products, and it’s so exciting that you’re going to make a comeback.’”

Learn more about engaging your audience through Instagram Stories and find more inspiration on the Instagram for Business Blog.

BY: Instagram Business Team

San Francisco, CA