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June 15

How Oat Haus Created an Authentic Brand Using Instagram Shopping

BY: Instagram Business Team

San Francisco, CA

The world’s first spreadable granola may taste like “liquid Teddy Grahams”—at least, according to @oat.haus’s Instagram bio—but it’s also organic and nut-free. Founded by CEO @alibonar, the company uses its Instagram as a “personal diary,” she says, to share the highs and lows of the business with its audience and bring its community along for the ride.

“There’s no curated ‘brand message’ to get across, because we’re just showing up authentically as ourselves,” Ali says. Still, Oat Haus’ shop on Instagram is the perfect place for Ali to show off her business’ products and to help reach new customers.

Below, Ali talks about how Instagram Shopping tools have helped her build her brand and how she created the most engaging content for her community with commerce insights.

Ali Bonar provides Instagram Tips and TricksPlay Icon

Tell us about how and why you started Oat Haus.

The idea for Granola Butter came out of my eating disorder recovery. I struggled with multiple eating disorders for over a decade (orthorexia, binge eating, exercise addiction) and hit rock bottom in 2016. I was sick of living in a mental prison I had created for myself, where every second of the day I was thinking about food. I reached out for help and started working with a nutritional therapist who saved my life, and I documented the entire journey on my personal Instagram. A huge part of my recovery was reincorporating foods I had restricted for years—nut butters being one of them. I had a tough time digesting nut butter, though, due to gut dysbiosis from years of restricting and binging. I didn't want to give up on recovery, so I tried some of the nut-free spreads on the market. None of them resonated with me, so I decided to create my own, and Granola Butter was born!

What do you hope customers take away from your products?

I hope our products inspire people to have more fun with food. For too long, I saw food as the enemy—something to be afraid of. Our goal with Granola Butter is to remind people that we can choose foods simply because they make us happy or spark joy. Our products happen to be free of the top 8 allergens, so regardless of your dietary restrictions, you can enjoy Granola Butter. You’ll never find us saying “eat this because it’s healthy!” but we will say “eat this because it brings you joy and tastes darn good.”

What’s your approach to how you curate your shop on Instagram?

We love sharing UGC recipe content in our shop on Instagram to give customers an idea of how to use our Granola Butter. It’s a totally new product idea, so having some context is important.

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How does Instagram help you reach new customers?

When people in our community tag us in their feed or stories, it helps spread the word in an organic, word-of-mouth way. If you see your best friend using Granola Butter in her morning smoothie, you’re more likely to try it , versus seeing it in a paid ad.

What advice do you have for other small businesses getting started on Instagram shopping?

Create engaging content for your community: entertaining, educational or value-add. The less you focus on directly selling your product, and the more you focus on creating valuable content, the better your audience will resonate with your brand.

What do you look for from a brand when you're shopping on Instagram?

I always check out their Instagram page before purchasing, so having a solid community is a must. You don’t need the most amount of followers quantitatively, but it’s important that you’re engaging with the community you have and making an effort to create high quality content for them.

More tips from Ali and @oat.hausPlay Icon

As a business owner, what's been the most personally rewarding part of sharing your business on Instagram?

The juicy conversations I have in the DMs with our community members gives me LIFE. It’s so rewarding to hear how our product has changed or improved their lives. Bonus points if they send me cute pictures of their kids or dogs eating it!

Learn more about how to prepare your shop on Instagram for sales and how commerce manager insights can help you understand the content that your community is engaging with most.

BY: Instagram Business Team

San Francisco, CA