The excellent City of Sydney’s Small Business Digital 101 hosted its third event in the series with two experts talking to attendees about how best to market their business using Instagram. The two local business owners who were guests on the panel were Hazem Sedda, who owns a convenience store in Redfern, and Pyrmont entrepreneur, Sandradee Makejev who owns St Frock in Union Square.
Makejev started her business with a stall at Bondi Beach markets. It was after the the severe dust storm in 2009 that it occurred to her she might need to consider sales channels that were not so vulnerable to the elements. On a whim, she posted some photos online without much thought or method. “It was 10 really terrible images. The clothes were creased, they weren’t even nicely hung on the hanger when I took them,” she explains. Despite the haphazard approach, she made $350 in sales the following day – not a huge amount but enough to pique her interest in the possibilities. A year after first posting online she had garnered enough goodwill to open a physical store, though online remained her main income earner. Having marketed successfully on Facebook, Makejev eventually came to Instagram which has proven to be a perfect vehicle for her product. Now St Frock is a $12million business and the Instagram account has 62,000 followers and counting.
Makejev shared some valuable insights on how to Instagram, beginning with her primary credo – be consistent. Develop a schedule and plan your content; build slowly and continuously; find out what interests your customers and try to engage them. St Frock alternates fashion and product photos with humorous memes and posts about travel, food, animals. Makejev also uses Instagram tools like stories and polls to interact with customers while also gaining valuable data.
Hazem Sedda quickly built a 14,000 follower fan base simply by asking customers in his convenience store to pose with products. Each day he announces a Customer Of The Day, and it’s developed into a much contested title. People visit his store from all over Sydney and he has followers around the world. He has become so popular that the 500 Redfern Convenience Store t-shirts he doubtfully had printed sold out immediately and have become collectors items.
See their stories here: Small Business Digital 101 – Instagram

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