This blog post is a small business Q&A roundup of questions from our followers about Instagram, networking, finding your passion and everything in between.
Q: Which app do you use for analytics tracking and support?
A: Instagram! No outside app. Instagram offers all of the analytics you need.
Q: Can you see who saves your posts?
A: Nope, you can only see the number but it still lets you know which content your users are finding most helpful or inspiring.
Q: As a small business owner, how do you connect with people/accounts who have a bigger following?
A: Networking! Research their brand and pitch them! I have at least 3 companies in mind that were on my "goals list" of brands I wanted to work with this year. I started reaching out to see if they were interested in working together and sharing ideas and ways we can collaborate. And guess what?! All 3 brand collabs are in the works! I am trying to build out more partnerships in 2021.
Q: How did you know art was your passion?
A: I am the happiest when creating art. All day and night I think about art and what I can make next. If you see my camera roll dating back to forever I am always snapping pictures of things that inspire me.
Q: How can a small artist start their own business?
A: Start by using social media, posting your work and sharing behind the scenes process videos on Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and even LinkedIn. Put your art out there for the world to see & get feedback!
Q: How did you come up with the idea to start painting? I know it's not like your other work. Were you nervous?
A: I took a painting class in college and really hadn't painted in years but always thought about it. I was constantly thinking about how I wanted to turn some of my digital designs into paintings but couldn't find the time to do it. Once the pandemic hit and I had downtime to create, I ordered supplies from the art store and got to work. I was definitely more excited than nervous!
Q: How did you grow your business?
A: I have been in business since around 2015 but pursued it full time after I graduated in 2017. I have been working hard to grow over the past few years. Here are some ways I have grown overtime:
- Use all social media platforms
- Do giveaways
- Collaborate with other companies you love
- Share behind the scenes and your process
- Don't give up!
Q: What advice would you give people wanting to start a successful business?
A: Research! I've been trying to watch more YouTube videos and tutorials and I think that’s a great way to learn more about things you aren't an expert in. For example, before I started shipping commissioned paintings I watched YouTube videos on how to pack and ship art and got some helpful tips. There is so much out there online that you can learn from!
Q: What are more tips that you would give to people wanting to start a successful business?
A: When watching some of these YouTube videos someone said to think of your website or IG as your shop window. That’s the first thing you see when you walk past a retail store and it’s a big deciding factor on whether you go in or keep walking. Make sure your website looks professional and your instagram grid is cohesive and inviting, making someone want to stay and follow you.
Q: Do you think stories or reels work better? Can you share the age range of who watches yours?
A: Do both! Stories are in the moment and last 24 hours, unless you add them to your highlights. Reels are built into your feed and stay there forever. There is also a separate tab for reels where you can view reels only. The advice I've learned is to take full advantage of everything Instagram has to offer, especially with the constantly changing algorithm. I see a ton more views on my reels than my posts and my stories. I am also getting more followers which could be connected to posting more reels. All I am doing is recycling my TikTok videos. I am unable to see analytics on Reels, so I don't know age range exactly, but IG is including reels on the explore page for more people to see.
Q: If I don't have a business with physical products, what do you suggest to grow my followers?
A: Give your followers a reason to want to follow you. I learned this advice on TikTok from @itshannaheve. Below are the content pillars to provide value:
"What can I do better on my own page?"
I love helping small businesses learn the best practices for social media. Here's what I had to say to some female-owned small business owners who asked for some help on their own Instagram pages.
- My advice: Change her profile picture to her logo!
- My advice: To take advantage of everything instagram has to offer; reels, IGTV, guides, filters, etc. The constantly changing algorithm makes it hard to keep up to date but it is important! I think you should start creating reels! Just repost your TikToks! I am trying to post a few times a week and have seen a growth in following already.
- My advice: I think you should experiment with reels, TikTok, Pinterest. Make a Pinterest account and add pictures of your hats with the shop link. You never know if someone will find your business that way. Also, if you had an e-commerce store or a google form where people can place orders that could help. Sometimes people are afraid to DM and place an order and would rather do it without contacting.
- My advice: I loved when you were posting these professional photos! You're so great at engaging with your followers! You should take a look at your post analytics and those that perform best, reinvent them somehow. Maybe post that bracelet but in a different setting. I also think you should make reels, TikToks, share to Pinterest and even post on LinkedIn!
- My advice: Your work is awesome! Back to what I said earlier, I heard advice that really stuck with me. Think of your IG as a shop window. If it looks awesome, people will stay and follow you. If not they might move on to the next account. I have been trying to make my grid more visually appealing and am more conscious about what I post vs what I story - since it’s the first thing someone sees when they click on your profile. I think you should try and take some more "professional looking and planned out photos for your feed. Check out what other brands are doing and try to get inspiration from them. Add some props, bright colors, use portrait mode on your iPhone!
- My advice: It's so awesome that you have all these customer photos! Maybe try and switch it up and post a flat lay of the sweatshirt with props, an up close shot, behind the scenes, reposts, etc.