After limited success on Facebook, bespoke furniture maker turns to Instagram with huge results.
Interview by Dan Willersdorf
Owners: Tim and Sally Scarce
Business Years: 6 years and counting
Instagram Account (@greencathedral): 8,468 followers and counting
Facebook Page: 1,156 likes and counting
From a young age, Tim Scarce had a passion for furniture making. Even whilst working as an aircraft engineer at Boeing, he was designing and building pieces for friends and family.
In 2009, Tim took a voluntary redundancy from Boeing, used his redundancy money to buy some key tools, and Green Cathedral was started.
Their first business goal was to build up a client base of interior designers requiring a custom furniture maker and to create a portfolio of high-end custom pieces. This all changed when his wife Sally joined the Green Cathedral team in 2011.
With her encouragement, Tim designed and created his first piece from one of his many scrapbooks of original designs – The Babanees stool. Within two days, it was selling from a store in Hastings St, Noosa. Within the next 4 months, the range had extended to include a bench seat, dining table, and kids furniture (the Mini Babanees range), and it was selling from three new stockists in Victoria.
“With limited resources (i.e. finances), the initial marketing strategy was to get as much exposure for as little cost as possible, so Social Media was the obvious channel,” Sally shares. Sally had previously done a number of Social Media for Business workshops in Brisbane for another business that she was involved in.
Their first Social Media experiment was on Facebook marketing. Over a 12-month period they spent approximately $500 on Facebook (targeted) marketing. “We usually advertised posts of new products intermittently with good photos of our current pieces and found that we had a spike in new followers after every post.”
“Facebook did bring some brand awareness and a number of sales and enquiries, and we found that our fans increased from 49- 500 in six months,” Sally shares. “However, we did find that this started to decrease over the following months, and the advertising was not having the same success in increasing new followers to the page.”
In August 2013, on the recommendation of a client, Green Cathedral joined Instagram and started posting regularly. “Within four weeks, we had surpassed the number of Facebook followers and had started receiving sales enquiries directly via the Instagram page.
“Approximately 40% of our direct sales … originated from Instagram.”
“It took less than 12 months for Green Cathedral to gain 6,000 followers on Instagram and almost 2 years to gain 1,000 on Facebook,” Sally notes.
“We have run two (giveaway) promotions on Instagram with the aim to increase followers and traffic to our page. Both were extremely easy and successful.”
Sally says that once they established that a high volume of enquiry was coming through on Instagram, they started to track and measure the orientation of their sales.
“We have proportioned approximately 40% of our direct sales to have originated from Instagram. This does not include the sales that have been made directly through our stockists.”
GREEN CATHEDRAL’S FINDINGS USING INSTAGRAM:
Peer Support and Referrals Increased
. We have received many (product) tips, ideas, and encouragement from an extremely supportive international community of Furniture Makers,” Sally says. “We also gained instant referrals from Interior Designers, decorators and stylists.”
Updates in the Industry
“We can easily keep up-to-date on upcoming fashions, trends and information that is relevant to our specific industry based on pages that we follow,” Sally shares.
Regular Wholesale Enquiries
“We receive at least one wholesale request a week originating from Instagram.”
Why Turn to Social Media?
- It’s FREE!
- It can be as quick and simple as you need it to be.
- It has quantifiable results.
- You have a captive audience – the people who choose to follow you are more often than not interested in what you are doing, unlike radio, print or TV.
Helpful Tips if YOU Want to Get on Instagram:
- Start watching how others in your industry are doing it.
- Choose what they are doing well and put your edge to it.
- Use this simple strategy to increase exposure: ‘tagging’ bigger brands in relevant posts – e.g. by using a well-known bedding brand on our beds and tagging them in the post, they “regrammed” the image and gained 800 followers in 24 hours.
Final thoughts from Sally: “Social Media is great in business because…. haven’t you been reading??”
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