The social media craze has continued to grow at exponential rates and savvy business owners are among those optimising their networking tools by boosting their social media presence to promote their businesses.
Brisbane designers Yiota Karalouka and Thessy Kouzoukas were looking for other jobs after their ailing business, Sabo Skirt, struggled to get off the ground, but a last-ditch attempt to use social media to boost their profile turned their fortunes around.
The pair decided to join social networking site Instagram and uploaded hundreds of photos of their latest designs over several months, followed by an explosion in sales.
They have attracted almost 900,000 Instagram fans, overtaking well-known fashion labels including Sportsgirl, which has 57,000 fans, and Witchery with 31,000. They now have 12 full-time staff.
Karalouka, 25, says their move to the social media trail was a resounding success.
“We started an online store from Thessy’s house … and we were steadily going for about 10 months until we started an Instagram account,” she says.
“Then we noticed a drastic change in our sales and the popularity of our Instagram profile is booming and growing at a very fast rate.”
Kouzoukas, 24, says the pair have posted more than 2500 photos, including three or four pictures a day of their clothing, while also finding time to release about 12 new fashion lines a week.
“A lot of work and thought goes into (social media) and they are quality posts as well,” she says.
“Before Instagram, we were selling a few dozens items a week compared with now where we sell hundreds, or in some weeks in excess of one thousand items.”
As the use of social media continues to expand rapidly, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission deputy chairman Michael Schaper says there are key measures SMEs need to adopt when embracing social media.
“Social media allows businesses to step over the boundaries of geography and reach right out to a market,” he says. “First of all you need to monitor your social media pages and remove anything that may be misleading to your general customer base.
“Put in place rules for your followers and don’t put up anything yourself unless you follow the golden rule and know it’s true.”
Australian Small Business Commissioner Mark Brennan says social media may not be the “right fit” for every business.
“Businesses should consider the impact that social media could have on their business and the time and resources required to maintain it,” he says.
“The challenge with social media is to sustain interest over the longer term, which requires frequent posting to ensure followers stay engaged.”
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