Since it was established ten years’ ago, Instagram has been viewed as a platform for sharing selfies and food photos with friends and family. In recent years’ we have seen an incline in Instagram fame. People who have expanded their network past friends and family. They have gained a strong following of avid likers. Which is what makes Instagram a strong platform for new business promotion. That’s precisely the strategy these entrepreneurs have thanked for their success. We managed to pin down a few of our favourites for a quick Q&A.
Hawkins and Shepherd
London based, Carl Thompson, is the owner of Hawkins and Shepherd. Men style blog writer at www.carlthompson.co.uk and Instagram favourite to his 51.6k strong following.
- Describe Hawkins & Shepherd in your own words?
Hawkins & Shepherd was born in 2013 after leaving a successful career to pursue a better work/life balance in the menswear industry. Hawkins & Shepherd sell luxury, handmade men’s shirts including offering a shirt subscription service where subscribers can benefit from a crisp shirt delivered to their door every month. To begin with, I started social media to drive more traffic to my menswear label, but it soon became apparent that the blog and Instagram were developing into something separate and deserved their platform. More and more people were coming to me for advice, and I wanted to provide a place for people that wanted to further themselves.
- Would you say that Instagram is your main platform for promotion?
- What sort of work has Instagram helped you win?
I’m not sure it’s helped me win anything. The blog is still the main hub where people come for style tips, style tutorials etc. The Instagram is just another arm of the business. An Arm that some days feels like an encumbrance on my time, others are deeply rewarding.
- What is your favourite project, you’ve worked on as a result of Instagram promotion?
As a result of Instagram? I really liked the car junkets I’ve been on. The collaborations with Mazda and Morgan Plus were fantastic. But I’m very proud to be an ambassador for all the brands I’ve worked with. The shoot for GQ China was a high water mark for me, and I can’t wait to do more of those.
- Finally, a quote on online presence for businesses?
If you’re going to be anything, be anal about the photos you post on social media.
Emma, based in the Midlands is a cake decorating extraordinaire, avid house poster and blogs all things cake, home and sausage dogs over on hellocakeblog.com. We think her 15k followers on Instagram would agree that her cakes look almost too good to eat!
- Describe Hello Cake to us in your own words?
Hello Cake is a cake decorating business that started as a hobby and completely snowballed. I’d say I split my time 50/50 between decorating celebration cakes and wedding cakes. I’ve been running full time for just under a year (since April 2017) but was working part-time alongside another job for around two years prior to that.
- What got you started with cake decoration?
It started as a hobby, I did a cake decorating course years ago, and it has just grown progressively since then. I also do a lot of blogging, house related posts and some promotion which has helped build my social following.
- Would you say Instagram is your primary platform for promotion? If yes, why?
Probably not for cakes, Facebook is a stronger platform for cake sales because of word of mouth and the ability to share, plus it is a lot more targeted meaning local people see the posts. Instagram is my main platform for ads and blogging because of how vast my network has grown but not necessarily local enough to become customers.
- What is the biggest perk to promotion on Instagram?
If I weren’t on Instagram, I possibly never would have met some of the people I have done work with. For example, Ainsley was actually a friend of a friend, and we knew of each other but hadn’t met until we started to communicate through Instagram, and I now have a stall at her Mama Meet and Markets.
- Can you give me one quote on your online presence and how it helps business?
I don’t put my whole life on Instagram, but I make sure what I do put on there is real and relatable. People seeing you as a real person, in turn, brings more business, it also brings more connections in general, people feel comfortable to ask for advice if you are personable.
- Describe Marcus Cooks in your own words for me?
My work is currently content creation for myself as well as other brands. I’ve always had a passion for food since a young age, where I used to save my pocket money and invest it into cookbooks. Once a month my parents would let me make one of the recipes out of the books, and I guess the passion just grew from there. It’s great now to see the reaction I get from people when I share my content and how much they’d love to recreate it themselves at home.
- Would you say Instagram is your main platform for promotion?
It is, yes!
- If yes, why?
I find Instagram provides me with better engagement when it comes to sharing my work. A lot more so than other social media platforms do.
- What sort of work has Instagram helped you win?
It’s helped me to work with both the Ladbible Group (Foodbible) and Musclefood UK, both two very big companies with great followings and engagement.
- What is your favourite project you’ve worked on as a result of Instagram promotion?
It’s a project I’m currently working on actually called “Different Flavours”. A YouTube series based on food reviews and interviews with other influential people from around the UK.
- Give me one quote on your internet presence…
Social media has single handily turned a passion and a hobby of mine into a way I can market myself to others around the world as well as share my creations.
Katie is the genius behind the up and coming Graze Derbyshire. She’s been running for just under a year and is already a popular choice for events in the East Midlands. Katie creates bespoke gourmet grazing creations – using Derbyshire suppliers where possible meaning they are a local business, supporting local businesses.
- Describe Graze Derbyshire in your own words?
We are a gourmet catering studio offering bespoke grazing tables, platters and food styling for events and clients of all scales. Our focus is on providing fresh and healthy seasonal produce (local where possible) for our clients in a fun way to bring people together.
- What made you decide to start Graze?
I am from Australia, and this way of eating is very ingrained in our culture. Lots of outdoor eating, fresh and healthy meals and I love nothing more than bringing people together and enjoying food in a relaxed way. Fitness, food and nutrition are my passions, and I noticed that there was not a lot like this around. Following some dinner party discussions and encouragement from friends – Graze Derbyshire was born.
- Would you say Instagram is your primary platform for promotion, if yes, why?
- Yes, Instagram has been out the main platform for business. We had a limited budget, to begin with, and in lieu of a website – we went down the social media route for advertising. Our tables and platters are all created to not only taste amazing but to look amazing and to be a real focal point for the event/dinner/party etc. Therefore – our creations are quite Insta-worthy and grab people’s attention. Our Instagram following has grown steadily and over 60% of our business traffic comes from Instagram.
- What do you think the biggest perk for promotion on Instagram is?
Networking. When people tag your products, you instantly have a new audience, and many will then start following you and order from you. It’s also quite targeted – people are generally only going to follow you if they are interested in you.
- Finally – Let’s have your main thoughts on online presence and how it’s helped your business…
Have an online presence but ensure you also have a real presence.’ I really like this quote because anyone can have an online presence, a pretty Instagram page, an online business but you still have to have a personality away from the screen. I’ve met people at markets or gone into shops I’ve seen and liked on Instagram, and the people are blank with zero personality about them or their work – this puts me straight off them and their business. For us at Graze – we are passionate, friendly people both online and behind the scenes. We are constantly chatting with customers, suppliers etc. delivering goods in person, setting up at parties. You are your brand, both online and offline and your behaviour has to reflect this for continued success.
Obviously, we couldn’t interview every Instagram business we love… we’d be here for weeks. But if you liked reading about these businesses try checking out these up and coming accounts that we just can’t get enough of…
- Mummy & blogger extraordinaire
- Pure hair miracles created in Derby
- A cocktail bar with a twist sharing their magic
- Amazing people doing truly wonderful things for children in need
- Recording studio set to open in the heart of Nottingham
- Perfect hand lettering designs available to order
- Local event & wedding planner specialising in charity events
- Mum, blogger and genius behind Mama Meet and Markets