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Inspiration, Tip

November 30, 2018

Inspirational Insights for Businesses on Instagram – Facebook Community Boost London

BY: Instagram Business Team

San Francisco, CA

Facebook Community Boost is a global program that provides businesses and entrepreneurs with the skills to help them compete in the new mobile economy. On November 13th and 14th at Millbank Tower, Facebook Community Boost hosted a 2 day event which featured workshops and talks including a very special session hosted by Instagram Business.

Facebook Community Boost London banner
Getting Business Done

We brought together an expert panel of independent small business owners to share their individual insights into how they’ve successfully engaged audiences through Instagram and how by being active on the platform they are Getting Business Done.

Photo of panel of four female independent small business owners
Meet the experts

  • Carrie Dennahy is the founder of Carrie Elizabeth (@carrie_elizabeth_jewellery), a London-based jewelry brand that launched in November 2015 after Carrie identified a gap in the market for luxury jewelry at affordable prices.

  • Emma Watkinson is the CEO of SilkFred (@SilkFred), a digital platform for shoppers to discover and buy from the best independent fashion brands. SilkFred prides itself on being the fashion hub that cuts through the noise of online shopping.

  • Shara Tochia is the co-founder of DOSE (@dose), an online community for “healthy hedonists” which strikes the balance between wellness and feel-good experiences, from candlelit yoga to cocktails and speakeasies.

Connect with communities

The panel shared their perspectives on how Instagram has become a globally-recognized source for daily inspiration, bringing people together around what they are passionate about and connecting them with the businesses that speak to their passions:

I think of my community as an extension of my brand—everyone rallies together, everyone is so supportive. Having a community on Instagram makes my audience feel as if they are part of the brand.
CARRIE DENNAHY, FOUNDER, CARRIE ELIZABETH

By being able to reach out to and engage with the communities that thrive on Instagram, these entrepreneurs were inspired to be bold and bring their unique offering to the world with confidence:

Instagram was the place for us to see if there were people like us out there and if they will engage with our content. It helped us justify what we were doing and tap into a community that was already out there.
SHARA TOCHIA, CO-FOUNDER, DOSE

The two-way stream of communication that Instagram enables between businesses and their audiences has created an illuminating dialogue that has helped to inform better sales strategies and guide the growth of their businesses:

If I’m designing a new range and need advice the best people to ask are my followers on Instagram. I use my stories to get people’s opinions on things, because ultimately if they voted for it, you know they like it and are more likely to buy it.
CARRIE DENNAHY, FOUNDER, CARRIE ELIZABETH
With our community, we’re using it to understand what our customers want. The idea for one of our most successful marketing campaign came from a follower.
EMMA WATKINSON, CEO, SILKFRED
Photo of an audience listening to a panel of speakers
Strength in Stories

Since launching in 2016, Instagram Stories has proven itself to be an extremely effective tool for businesses, and these entrepreneurs have seen the effects of inviting their customers to peek behind the curtain and get a glimpse of their business:

What we’ve been able to use stories for is behind the scenes of who we are as a company. We frequently put our staff front and centre to show our personality.
EMMA WATKINSON, CEO, SILKFRED

Stories create opportunities every day for businesses to embrace spontaneity and provide ephemeral snippets that are highly relevant to the present moment:

Instagram feed is more of your shopfront, but in your stories you can say whatever you want. It’s not as polished and you can show authentic, real-time content.
CARRIE DENNAHY, FOUNDER, CARRIE ELIZABETH

Stories on Instagram are not only great at deepening the feeling of connection to the brand, they have also succeeded in driving measurable actions too:

Tickets were selling but not quick enough. As soon as the Instagram Stories went up, the tickets sold out within an hour. It just shows you the power of real-time content.
SHARA TOCHIA, CO-FOUNDER, DOSE
Go further with ads

Many businesses on Instagram understand the power of organic community reach and can feel hesitant about making the leap to paid ads. These successful business owners on Instagram have learned that paid ads are the natural next step for any business that wants to grow and has a clearly defined audience:

Once we proved our model, that’s when we really started focusing on advertising.
SHARA TOCHIA, CO-FOUNDER, DOSE
I started paid advertising when I knew what worked for our audiences—what sort of posts and content they wanted to see.
CARRIE DENNAHY, FOUNDER, CARRIE ELIZABETH

And almost as soon as these entrepreneurs made the leap to paid ads, the positive effect on their businesses was incredible.

I doubled my revenue in the first month I started paid advertising on Instagram. It’s incredible.
CARRIE DENNAHY, FOUNDER, CARRIE ELIZABETH
Paid advertising is what put power behind our business. It gave us an excellent barometer of where the demand was and where it was coming from.
EMMA WATKINSON, CEO, SILKFRED
See, Tap, Shop

Shopping on Instagram has taken the essential, inspirational qualities of Instagram several steps further by allowing audiences to engage immediately with the products that catch their eye without having to leave the platform:

On Instagram the behavior is different than other platforms, people want to see the products, what’s new and what’s trending.
EMMA WATKINSON, CEO, SILKFRED

For these entrepreneurs, Shopping on Instagram has given them the tools to provide a richer and more rewarding experience for their communities:

Instagram shopping makes it so much easier for the customer and easier for you and your time. [People] no longer have to worry about Direct Messages asking for links to products.
CARRIE DENNAHY, FOUNDER, CARRIE ELIZABETH
It gives the customer a more seamless experience rather than us having to put a 'search for’ description.
EMMA WATKINSON, CEO, SILKFRED

For the businesses themselves, Shopping on Instagram has given them the tools to develop a deeper and more meaningful understanding of their audiences:

We were desperate for Instagram to be shoppable—it made it easier to measure and track our revenue.
EMMA WATKINSON, CEO, SILKFRED
3 things to think about

We wrapped up our panel with some reflections on how, for these businesses and many others, Instagram is Getting Business Done:

  • Instagram is where people connect through their passions, and with the businesses that share them

  • Instagram works for businesses of every size, and is especially great for businesses that want to make a real impact

  • Instagram Stories lets businesses create meaningful content that connects with audiences in the moment, and puts a human face on their brand.

If you’d like to read about more businesses that are successfully growing on Instagram, you can take a look at our Stand Out Series and explore the Instagram Success Stories.

BY: Instagram Business Team

San Francisco, CA