This blog post was written by Nikki Anderson, Senior Engagement and Marketing Executive at The Women’s Organisation.

When you’re starting to make plans for your new business, promotion often comes at the end of a long ‘to-do’ list, usually after you’ve started trading and you’re ready to launch your new products or services – but what if you moved social media promotion to the top of your list instead?

Brands and businesses who bring their followers along for their start-up journey are more likely to see success when they start trading – with an established community of loyal fans who have been supporting them from the beginning!

So where should you start? After you’ve had some business planning support and you’re ready to start working on some key actions, open up your new Instagram profile, and let people know you’re starting up. Introduce yourself and give some background – are you planning to take your birthday-cake making skills to the next level with a catering business, or perhaps you’ve decided to take the plunge and start the consultancy you’ve always dreamed of?

By sharing the process from the beginning your posts will help you to stay motivated as you get into the routine of sharing and celebrating every step of your journey. Had a meeting with a business advisor, then why not share a picture from the meeting? Are you looking at new premises, then take a quick video of the location for your story and share it. Use your posts to document each new achievement or milestone and be honest too, if you need to take two steps back then share your setback and your new online community will support you.

I have followed many local businesses as they started-up, and when the day came for the coffee shop to open, or the doughnuts to be baked, I was there on opening day, ready to purchase a product I had been waiting weeks to get my hands on!

If you need some inspiration for Instagram accounts where you can follow a business journey here are some of my faves;

Follow Mowgli Street Food and take a look at how Founder Nisha Katona shares posts of delicious food, family, team members and her gorgeous restaurant interior design. Follow the opening of her latest restaurant, coming soon to Cheshire Oaks, Wirral, as Nisha posts the entire journey with pictures and updates of everything from the empty unit to building work progress and more, all leading up to that exciting opening day.

Check out Toxteth Tie Dye where each new drop of tie-dye socks is counted down with stories and posts showing the whole process; from bulk purchasing of fresh white pairs, all the way through to a rainbow of ‘fruit salad’ and ‘dark and stormy’ finished designs. You need to set a reminder when these beauties go on sale as they sell out fast (thanks to regular posts prepping us all for the latest drop date!) This Liverpool based business is also a huge advocate for sharing customer and fan photos, proving that effective social media promo works both ways.

Scroll back on the Doughmain Wirral account to follow how home baker, Helen went from her first market unit to a thriving shop – which sells out of vegan cakes and doughnuts each week! Here you can see posts showing product development and ‘sneak peeks’ of the delicious treats being baked for the counter.

Remember to have fun with what you post and let your personality shine in your content. Share pics and videos regularly and take the time to respond to comments, messages and photos from your followers. By the time you’re ready to open and launch your products you will already have a community of excited customers ready to support you!

If you need help or advice with any of your business social media then take a look at our upcoming courses at events here at The Women’s Organisation from sessions looking at how to build a social media strategy to digital marketing and managing online campaigns. Take a look here for the latest dates;

If you’re thinking of starting a business sign up for our start-up workshop where you can access one-to-one support from a business advisor and £100 start-up grant. Find out more here