Kickstarting your brand on Instagram

Instagram is a powerful tool for building an audience. Due to its visual nature and massive popularity, the social medium empowers businesses to showcase a brand aesthetic and cultivate a core clientele, making it an appealing platform to launch your business and capture your first few customers.

Graybert Gardens is a great example. The owner of the flower shop in Birmingham, Alabama posted on her Instagram account to announce that she’d be taking orders for paperwhite bulbs and amaryllis (both in limited supply) over text, providing her number in the caption. She then accepted payments over Venmo or via checks. While that solution is manageable when order numbers are low, it’s not scalable. As you rack up demand, the burden of handling payments in multiple places becomes too much.

This is the story that inspired us to create Bottle. We wanted to make it easy for small business owners to manage and grow their direct-to-consumer sales, without abandoning the strategy of reaching customers easily and personally—over text.

Scaling your business Bottle

As you grow beyond a small set of customers, Bottle is the solution that allows you to provide a similar, personal purchasing experience for your clientele while implementing a more streamlined and automated ordering system for you, the owner.

Instagram is still the right platform to tout new or favored items to capture customers as they’re scrolling through their feed. However, since transactions for meal kits, CSA shares, or wine bottles are better supported elsewhere (like on Bottle), it’s important to set up a clear CTA and a smooth transition off Instagram to keep potential customers on track to buying.

If you’re a small business that’s been selling on Instagram—or taking manual orders elsewhere, like email—here are some tips on how to create a successful digital business that starts with Instagram and ends with Bottle.

  1. Implement a scalable ordering system. Asking your customers to submit orders over email or through a Google form creates a manual and hard-to-maintain process for you, the seller. The same goes for handing out your personal phone number and managing requests over text. By the time you reach a critical mass, your system will be overwhelmed, putting you in danger of falling behind schedule and frustrating customers. Set up shop on Bottle, where you can take orders and communicate with your customers via a portal that automates much of your workload.
  2. Eliminate friction in the transaction process. A system that requires the customer to navigate back and forth from viewing menu options to crafting a message or filling out a form causes fatigue. Giving them a seamless way to purchase is one of the most effective tools to boost your sales. With Bottle, all you have to do is paste a one-click ordering link in your bio.
  3. Reach customers where they are. Consumers that are scrolling Instagram for inspiration are likely to be fluent in mobile apps and prefer SMS communication. The Bottle experience for the customer takes place over iMessage, where they can submit orders and text questions. Placing an order is as simple as texting “order” to xxx-xxxx to get started (another example of copy that you can paste in your bio).
  4. Drive loyalty. In order to turn an engaged follower on Instagram into a loyal customer, you’ll need to keep track of their order history so you can sell to them based on previous behavior. Once they’ve ordered via the Bottle link in your bio, their number is in your system. You can now send them automated reorder nudges with pre-filled carts along with referral and discount codes, directly from the app.