How my small business benefitted from an Instagram Challenge

Ever wonder how Instagram Stories work, and how they can help your business? Find out how one small business used an Instagram Challenge to grow her engagement and solid follower count to achieve online success.

In 2017 Instagram stories doubled its user base in just one year. By November 2017 it had just over 300m daily users, almost 60% of its user base.

So how can Instagram stories benefit you as a small business?  I recently completed an Instagram stories challenge on my own fledgling business account.

The challenge was started by the fabulously supportive  Social Mouth Sam. Sam has also announced that she is running another challenge in June. I definitely recommend joining in and below are some of my learnings.

Hone your business pitch

With each recorded segment only 15 seconds long, I found that recording brand elements are so helpful in honing down the pitch for your business. I’m sure we have all been in the dreaded network event, having to sell ourselves and our work.

I personally really struggle with it, especially as a service based business and natural introvert. Now I feel that when the question, “tell the group what you do” comes up, I will can answer succinctly and confidently, with less “ems” and more positive energy.

Increase engagement and followers

Despite the fact that initially only friends and family were really watching my stories (even if they were about SEO or GDPR!), the Instagram algorithm must have recognised that I was active and I found that my engagement levels shot up and I started to gain more followers.

As I was treating this as more of a self-training exercise for myself this was a pleasant surprise and confidence boost.

Tell your business story

With 90% of my work coming from referrals from previous colleagues and clients I know there will be further benefit in the future from the time invested in the challenge. Emma Cossey from The Freelance Lifestyle talks about one of the scariest part of working for yourself being telling friends and family what you do. Recording video stories is a non-intrusive way of doing just that.

Discover new businesses and networking opportunities

I was most intrigued watching other service-based businesses. I loved seeing how they pitch themselves and add value to their audience. Instagram is not just a platform for creative businesses, yet its visual nature can be a way to capture your customer’s attention.

In addition, I was able to find out about a local networking event run by Laura at DiscovHer. I would never have signed up to an event like this without having pushed myself out of my comfort zone and put my business face in front of the camera.

Now that the challenge is over, I do find that I am more comfortable using IG stories and try to post something a several times a week. A key point is to only ‘sell’ 20% of the time. I aim to offer useful tips, behind the scenes plus updates on trends in marketing for small business.

Ruth is a freelance marketing consultant. She runs Kandu Marketing and provides no-nonsense B2B marketing support including copywriting, content marketing, digital marketing and marketing strategy.

Photo by Jenna Day