Are you a new business owner running an Instagram store? We know exactly how you feel. There are so many questions running through your mind right now. What can you do to get sales? How can you get more..
Are you a new business owner running an Instagram store?
I know exactly how you feel. There are so many questions running through your mind right now. What can you do to get sales? How can you get more customers? Why are your posts not getting noticed?
This series was made especially for you. In every episode, we attempt to answer some of your questions by talking to Business owners that have been in the game for much longer than you have. We talk to Instagram business owners and find out how they grew their audience on Instagram.
All our featured guests have upwards of 10,000 followers. We will find out directly from them how they started and what they did to grow their followership.
This is episode three
@Amakas_hairfordays (10.4k followers)
My name is Amaka and I run a hair extension brand that caters to women between 18 and 50. I sell virgin hair (both wholesale and retail), I make custom wigs as well as offering laundry and revamping services.
I created my brand because I personally like to explore the dynamics of black women hair and its styling.
I set up in July of 2016 and finally reached 10,000 followers at the beginning of 2021 so that’s 5 years. It took me 5 years.
Well, growth was not steady at all. From 2016 till the end of 2017, I didn’t really use Instagram for sales. I did most of my sales offline. I’d post on Instagram once in a while and then just leave.
I started actively working on my page in 2018, trying to get more followers, build a community and reach more people. I ran ads and joined small business groups for Instagram entrepreneurs.
Sometime in 2018, I made this video of a girl shaking her hair that went viral. I got about 500 followers from that one video which was a real spike in my growth at the time.
2018 is when I started consistently making content and investing in making good content. I would even get models and have photoshoots with them.
But it was a gradual growth.
Honestly, I did not actually know what to do. I saw what other people were doing and I just tried to learn from that. The groups I joined were also very helpful for me at the time. We used to study the Instagram algorithm together and support each other. For example, we noticed that if a picture got a lot of likes and engagement in the first hour of being posted, Instagram would show it to more people. So every time someone posted, we would all engage with that person’s post. To answer your question, I just did a lot of research and learnt from basically every resource I could find.
Yes. I used to use paid ads. Especially during holiday periods like Christmas or Valentine.
I think paid ads work if you are looking for reach or impressions. I don’t think they are very effective at converting to direct sales. Especially with luxury goods like mine. People don’t see an ad for something that cost almost two hundred thousand naira and just buy it. It happens from time to time but not usually.
For me, ads helped me reach a bigger audience and a small part of that audience would be converted to followers.
A lot of people run ads because they are trying to convert buying decisions but for me, I don’t think it’s effective for that except for really small purchases.
I am still growing but very slowly. My last real spike was towards the end of last year when BBC Pidgin featured me on a story they did on Bone Straight hair. There was a lot of craze around it at the time. That spike was what finally got me to over 10 thousand followers.
To keep my followers engaged, I post regularly. Usually twice a day. The last time I checked, my engagement rate was about 4% which is pretty good for me.
The Average engagement rate on Instagram is 1.22% Source: Digital Marketing Community
I’d say my most effective strategy so far has been content. Even if you don’t boost your content with ads or you don’t share it in groups, once your post good content, it will do well. Content is my main strategy. Posting content and staying alive.
Omo, I’ve encountered a lot of challenges. For instance, there is the issue of scammers. In 2018 when Instagram really became eCommerce friendly and businesses started popping up, the rate of people getting scammed also went up. A lot of accounts would pretend to be businesses and just defraud people of their money. People became very cautious about getting scammed. I’d have people asking me if I am a scammer. Some people would insist on cash on delivery even when they were many cities away.
Once people ask if I am a scammer, I try to assure them that I am not but if they don’t believe me, I just have to let them go.
Another challenge was the Instagram algorithm. Once they switched things up, it took me 6 months to figure out how to use it to my advantage.
There’s also a lot of competition in my niche and customers don’t hesitate to remind me. When I tell them the price of my products, they will tell me they can find it cheaper elsewhere. I’ve just learnt to stay focused on myself. My priority is to keep my business sustainable and profitable. I will offer you the best I can offer you and let you go otherwise.
My follower count has helped to built trust. People will see my account or post somewhere and immediately make large purchases. I think they do it because of my followers. They won’t do that if I had like 300 followers.
Another thing that plays a role is number aesthetics. When I had 1,000 followers and was following 3,000 people, no one trusted me. If you have that type of balance, people won’t take you seriously.
My goal for my business is to expand. I’d like to open a physical store. For social media, I just want my business to become a household name. I want every time people think of hair/wig they think of ‘Amaka’s hair for days.’
Take deep breaths. A lot of things can and will go wrong. Just remember things can break and you can fix them.
Another thing I have learnt is to always remember that I can refund people’s money. Sometimes, things out of my control will go wrong with a customer’s order and I’d have to try to fix it. Customers can get really angry. Whenever I see people making threads about a business on Twitter, I just think ‘that can’t be me’. I can’t let things get that bad. I will just give the customer back their money.
You can find Amakas Hair For Days on Instagram @Amakas_Hairfordays
The next episode in our series drops next week.