This year for Small Business Week, Cratejoy is highlighting a different aspect of owning and running a subscription box company. Each day we’ll feature a different merchant that excels in a specific area of subscription business.
Day 1 is all about digital and social marketing, so we interviewed Julie Ball, the CEO and founder of Sparkle Hustle Grow, to talk to her about how she’s succeeded in building a strong and impactful Instagram community for her company and subscribers.
What strategies and tactics did you use to build your Instagram following?
The biggest strategy we use is color. We aim to always have bright and crisp colors, specifically matching our branding (primarily hot pink, white and gold).
We invest in monthly box photographs, as professional photos really help you put your best foot forward. It has been key for us. Our box shoots are basically automated through SubscriptionBoxPhotography.com, where we pay a quarterly fee and we auto-ship a box to Becca, the founder, each month.
As far as content (other than the box photos), we post testimonials, spoiler alerts, and a mid-week motivational quote to help our followers get through the rest of the week.
Interestingly, some of the Instagram posts that get the most engagement are the “behind the scenes” pics. It’s important for our followers to be a part of the process and see that we are real entrepreneurs ourselves.
How has having a large and engaged Instagram following impacted your business?
While we don’t have a ton of conversions specifically from Instagram, we know it’s where our potential customers are spending their time. So we want to meet them where they are and nurture them to fall in love with our product.
It has allowed us to communicate with them, celebrate milestones, find new customers (i.e., through researching hashtags), repost customer pics (they love that!) and we actually get quite a few direct messages about potential collaborations on Instagram.
As your Instagram following has grown, have you seen an increase in conversion rates?
We feel that Instagram is more a community-building tool for us. We like to spotlight our vendors and our monthly guest experts. We believe that Instagram is one of the first places a potential customer goes to get to know us.
How should subscription box companies expect Instagram to affect their business?
I believe in the saying “The grass is greener where you water it.” So if you aren’t regularly posting on Instagram and nurturing that audience, they are still cold leads to you.
You can’t expect it to do much. And if you engage in fake engagement such as paying for followers and using irrelevant hashtags, you can’t expect to convert a crowd that isn’t there for the right reasons. We find that when we provide value, ask relevant questions and post fun, genuine content, then our followers are much more engaged with us.
Do you have any recommendations for subscription box companies that are struggling to grow their own social media followings?
Yes! Instagram is all about the imagery. Make sure you are posting beautifully branded images that just draw your ideal client in. Ask questions, tell them to answer in the comments, or tell your audience to “double tap”… you are more likely to get the results you want when you ask/tell them to engage.
From an implementation perspective, I recommend batching your social media. Take one hour one day a week to plan out posts that will nurture, engage and bring value to your followers. In addition to your batched images, also post on the fly as new image opportunities come up throughout the week!
Check out Sparkle Hustle Grow’s Instagram to see Julie’s expertise in action!