Marketing Your Cottage Food Business on Instagram
Make your account an Instagram business account
Making your Instagram into a business account is easy, and anyone can do it. Head to your profile and click the three lines in the top right corner. From there, navigate to Settings > Account > Switch to Professional Account and click Continue. Next, you select a category for your business from a dropdown menu (we suggest Food & Beverage), click Done and then you’ve made your Instagram into an official business account! From here, you can also connect a Facebook business account.
Having the business status on your account makes it easier for people viewing your page to more quickly identify that you are selling something, and that your posts could hold important information about your business and products. Being a business account also adds legitimacy to your Instagram profile. You can also access invaluable insights about who is visiting your page, how people are interacting with your posts, and how many people have seen your content.
Look at your insights
You can access your insights via the three lines in the upper right corner of your Instagram profile. There, you can see helpful information about your account from any period of time. You can customize whether you see data from the last seven days or 30 days. You can go even further and select any date as the start date, and any date for the end.
There, you can see how many accounts you reached, how many people interacted with your posts, and how many new followers you gained during the period you look at. You can also see the amount of posts and stories you’ve uploaded, and look deeper into how each individual post performed.
You can use your insights to understand which kinds of content that you post garners the most attention and interaction. If you have high interactions and a big jump in followers one week, take note of the kind of posts and stories you were making, and keep doing what works! Your insights can also help you figure out what kind of content doesn’t perform as well, and you can shift your approach.
The more you post, the more content your audience has to engage with, and the more your account can grow. If you post often, people who visit your Instagram account will have lots to see, more to choose from, and know that you’re active and engaged. By posting more, your Instagram is more visually interesting, and has the potential to highlight varying aspects of your cottage food business.
Use clever captions and hashtags
Captions are the place where you can really elaborate on your products and let people know who you are and what you’re all about. The first lines of your caption are the most important, because Instagram automatically cuts off longer captions into a “read more” format, where you have to willingly tap on a caption to expand it if it’s longer than 140 characters. Those first 140 characters are where you have to grab people’s attention, to make sure they are interested enough to open up the rest of your caption.
Hashtags are a great way to categorize your posts, and also to reach an audience broader than just who currently follows you. People scouring different tags in the Instagram search engine could stumble across your posts, and from there they could become a new follower, commenter, or even customer. Knowing which hashtags to use is key to increasing engagement with your posts, and it’s best to look at which tags are the most popular. Check out this list of the most popular food hashtags on Instagram to figure out which tags best fit your shop.
Pay special attention to what people comment on
Comments are a great way to gauge your followers’ interest in your posts. Posts that get more comments usually get more likes and reach more people across the platform. Posts where there is a high rate of follower and non-follower engagement in the form of comments are the ones you want to try to replicate. If people comment more on some types of posts (for example, pictures of food versus pictures of other subjects), you can learn what kind of content you should put the most energy and effort into creating for your Instagram.
Respond to comments and have your DMs open
One of the best ways for your followers and other people who happen upon your account to feel like they know, trust, and like you is for you to engage back with them. A person who responds quickly is someone dependable, and getting responses to comments on Instagram makes followers feel noticed and included.
You should also state in your bio that your direct messages are open, and people can message you with questions, concerns, or other messages. You can specify that you don’t do transactions in your DMs, but having a direct channel for communication between you and your followers makes it easier for you to create a relationship with your following.
Curate a unique identity
Though a big task, the best way to set yourself apart from other accounts on Instagram doing similar things is to present your cottage food business from a unique perspective. Think about what’s different about you versus other home bakers, and what is special about all your delicious bakes! If you can tap into your unique niche, people who come across your account and posts are more likely to stay interested.
Greta is a social media strategist, Anthropology major at Barnard, baker, and proud cat parent. They enjoy crocheting and collecting enamel pins. They have a lot of favorite noshes, but right now it is classic vanilla cake.