A social platform like Instagram can be a big sales-maker for businesses, letting them show off their wares or services to a potentially huge audience.
But for many, securing that audience is a daunting task – how do you get thousands of people to follow your business?
One business owner recently vented to Samantha Wills, founder of the designer jewellery brand of the same name, asking “how on earth do you genuinely grow a business on Instagram”.
“I refuse to buy followers but I also don’t want an audience of just family and friends. It completely baffles me how small businesses gain huge audiences, so literally ANYTHING you can offer regarding this would be a big help!” the business owner asked Wills on her website.
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In a response, Wills – who currently has over 220,000 Instagram followers – said it was a great and “very common” question, explaining that unless a massive marketing budget is used, businesses struggle with organic growth and building followers takes time.
“This is not always a bad thing, as it allows you as an entrepreneur (especially if you are a solo-preneur,) to make mistakes along the way & grow & develop with the growth,” Wills wrote.
In her response, Wills said it was important to not focus on the figures and numbers such as follower amounts, saying “if you are aggressively chasing these things, you will make decisions that will compromise your brand”.
“It is so easy to veer off course, not only in the start up days, but even as an established brand. This can be compromised decisions that you are casing to obtain a commercial outcome, it could be posting content on Instagram that possibly gets you a few more followers, but is not at all on brand for you, it comes when you are not being truly authentic, to your brand, and as such, yourself,” she says.
“As an entrepreneur, what you have that no one else does, is the passion for WHY you started. When you feel like you loose [sic] your way a little, or you are frustrated that a certain outcome is not happening – ALWAYS GO BACK TO THE WHY.”
Focusing on why you a building your business instead of focusing on what you are building will keep you aligned to your brand, believes Wills, and will aid your organic growth on platforms such as Instagram.
“People don’t want to be sold to. They want authenticity, and realness, and validating, and purpose. Never underestimate the power in sharing your vulnerabilities,” she says.
“No one cares about a perfect, glamourous story (one, because its not true, and two, because perfection is boring). Tell people your why, share your hurdles, share what inspires you.”