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Instagram: Paving the Way for Online Business

Published on November 20, 2020, at 12:50 p.m.
by Caroline Ladd.

Social media is a communication strategy that has been essential to businesses in recent years. In 2020 specifically, companies have been taking advantage of these channels in order to have a better connection and drive engagement with their consumer base.

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One company using social media as its primary form of communication with audiences is Coley Home, which launched in October 2019. This company created the first customizable bed in a box that is delivered straight to the consumer within 10 days. Founder Coley Hull’s family has a long history in the interior design industry. Her family’s passion for furniture and her knowledge in textile design inspired her to come up with the idea of the Crown Bed: Coley Home’s original product.

When engaging with customers, it is important to choose the social media platform that best works for each company. Many factors are taken into consideration when creating the social media strategy for a company’s brand, including which channels are primarily used by the target audience and a budget that is feasible. Hull recommends that “starting small and growing organically through Instagram is probably your best bet” for a smaller company to attract a loyal consumer base. Coley Home chose Instagram because its target audience, which ranges from college kids to people in their mid-30s, uses Instagram more than any other platform available according to Hull.

Within the past few years, Instagram has become one of the best used platforms to engage customers with a business or product. There are many ways for a company to “interact with their consumers” via Instagram. This platform allows a business to be more visual with its audience, which can build a better relationship when a customer knows exactly who is behind the scenes working to help the company run smoothly.

Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

Instagram also launched the Instagram Shopping feature, allowing businesses to easily engage their customers directly with their products. This element has been helpful for businesses because it provides them another way to engage customers by streamlining sales. This process is now shortened to clicking one or two buttons, and a potential customer is automatically granted all the details of that specific item. Hull mentioned that this feature in particular has allowed Coley Home’s Instagram page to gain much more traffic for its products than it would without it.

Strategizing different tactics that can be used to engage a company’s consumers on their social media platforms is essential.Instagram is useful for Coley Home because of how easy it is to interact with its audience. Hull explained that even after trying ideas such as podcasts or Google ads, the staff still heavily relies on Instagram and its communication features.

One of the best parts of using Instagram is it is a very visual platform. Elizabeth Ellington, Coley Home’s head of social media, explained that “being consistent on Instagram and posting every day” has helped its consumers stay involved with the company and its products. Ellington also mentioned that giveaways draw a lot of attention to the company, and that it is one of the team’s most useful tactics when they are trying to expose the company and its products to as many people as possible.

Another great way to create buzz about a company on social media platforms is the use of influencers — specifically micro-influencers, because of their power to assemble consumers for a company. Some brands may view them to be more effective than celebrities, because micro-influencers are known for being more trustworthy and relatable, they create a higher engagement rate, and there is one for just about any brand on the market, according to IMPACT.

Over quarantine, influencers on online channels grew. Hull even had a few products sent out to people, one being Dave Portnoy, Barstool Sports’ president, who would stream over Instagram live while opening packages sent to him. In addition, she sent a product out to Heather McMahan, a comedian who uses the platform of Instagram to connect with her followers and update them about her upcoming tours.

When speaking to Hull about how this exposure promoted her company as a whole, she explained how she noticed when Portnoy brought up her company’s products the attention and engagement they received was “so instant.” Even though his following is not the kind of demographic they usually engage with, its website crashed immediately after their Coley Home’s exposure to his audience, but the company did not receive many new followers on its Instagram page. However, when McMahan talked about Hull’s products, the company saw many new Instagram followers but not many direct sales despite the fact that McMahan and Coley Home share a much more similar demographic.

Overall, utilizing social media in order to engage with consumers is a must. It is the most effective way for a company to interact and communicate with people to become more personal. If a company’s strategy is implemented right, it can instill a loyalty and trust that otherwise would not be able to be attained without social media, especially in the midst of this quarantined year.

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