Growing a small business through Instagram: from 0 to 10,000 followers

After being furloughed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Compiled user Chloe started her small business Pinky Ink Designs to sell handmade jewellery, prints, and gifts. Since, she has grown the business’ Instagram page, @pinky.ink.designs to over 10,000 followers. Now, she actively shares tips with other small business owners, and encourages them to use the same methods that she has to grow her online business. Here, we caught up with Chloe to ask how she first started, and what tips she can share based on her success so far!

What made you start Pinky Ink Designs? Where does your inspiration come from?

“After being furloughed, I wanted to find a way to spend my free-time productively and after spending more time on social media, I realised that there were a lot of female-run small businesses. I was both fascinated and impressed that women like me were becoming their own boss and taking full control over their careers. I thought to myself ‘if they can do it, why can’t I at least try?’. So I combined my creative skills and my knowledge of business and Pinky Ink Designs was born!”

How important has Instagram been for the growth of your small business?

“Instagram is definitely one of the most important parts of my business, and without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Instagram gave me a platform where I can advertise for free, network with other small business owners and interact with my audience on a personal level.”

Is there a particular strategy that you use to grow your Instagram following?

“My main strategy is creating shareable, memorable and quality content that really engages with my audiences. There are thousands of small businesses and I want to make sure that mine stands out from the rest. I also think reels and video content are the future of small business on Instagram since the engagement levels are far higher than regular grid posts. If you haven’t made a reel yet, I massively recommend it!”

If you had to give 5 quick tips to other small business owners on Instagram, what would they be?

  1. Don’t be afraid to get personal – use stories to interact with your audience on a more personal level so they get to know a bit more about the person behind the brand
  2. Networking and making friends is essential – having other small business friends where you can ask for advice, get support and share ideas is a great way to feel part of the small business community.
  3. Be consistent with your content – try posting to your story at least 10 times a week, post 3-5 times a week and post 5-7 reels weekly too. It’s better to post often than have breaks and post all in one go.
  4. Don’t get too hung up on likes/follower count – the algorithm is forever changing and sometimes it reduces the number of impressions your post gets. This doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong, it just means it’s time to change your content strategy.
  5. Have fun, get creative and don’t forget why you started your business – no one said starting a business is easy and there’ll be hurdles that make you question whether it’s worth it. Remember why you started, and keep doing all you can to reach your goals!