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6 Crucial Tips From WNY Business Owners Who Grew Their Brands on Instagram

There’s no doubt that social media plays a huge roll in the success of businesses today. In fact, it’s one of the most commonly-cited factors that local business owners here in WNY say has contributed to their growth and profits.

Without further ado, meet six local businesses across all different industries who have benefited from a solid social media strategy – and get their biggest tips for success!

1) Chef Darian Bryan

Celebrity chef and owner of The Plating Society

“My best strategy for creating content on social media is to give the people what they want. Find out who is your target audience and focus on it. And keep in mind that you can’t please everyone; some people like their lamb medium rare and some like it well done, there’s nothing you can do about that lol. Don’t try to do everything you see other people doing. Whenever I post, I try to make it engaging so you get people going, and I try not to post too much to get people overwhelmed. Before I post a picture I go back to my last post and like all of the comments so that people are aware of a post comment. Make Stories everyday, find time to reply to all of your DMs – sometimes with a voice note to let these people know that you are a real person. I know that probably sounds a little corny lol [but it works]!”

2) Shaunna Russell

Artist & owner of Weekday Best

“Even though you want to be responsive to your audience, consistency is important. I see too many people give up on their business or social media presence much too early. While every photo does not need to be too similar, your overall feed should have a consistent color scheme and feel. That’s a really tough thing to put your finger on, but simply using a specific photo editor and filters will help. Don’t overlook this! It’s a balance to look authentic without looking too amateur. And for goodness sake, post every day at least. You shouldn’t feel weird posting too often. Your viewers are probably only spending about 2.7 seconds of their attention on it. Just keep it in front of them regularly, and they will remember you. When I find a feed that hasn’t posted in several weeks, it feels like walking into a shop with no one behind the counter, and I leave! Be present and talk to your followers on social.”

3) Nicolette Tse

Owner & founder of The Knotted Fox

“Always make [your social media] aesthetically pleasing and make it slightly personal. Personal enough where your customer gets to see who they are supporting. I always make sure to have a little fun with it while still being my true self. Engagement is important too; I make a conscious daily effort to interact with the online community. I often take polls or surveys within my Instagram to create conversation and I also get to listen to what they are telling me. Including them on sourcing rug selections or DIY home renovation choices is a great example of letting them know they are important to me and that their opinions affect my own decisions.”

4) Nick Argy

Owner of Macy’s Pizzeria

“Well I’ll have an idea first off. Usually these days it’s a new pizza we’re gonna sell. Create it. Build it. Get some dope photos and or video. I may have the Guinness world record for pizza photos in my iPhone. Then comb through the photos find the one I like. Do some editing. Figure out a caption. Add a crazy amount of hashtags. Then post away on the ‘Gram, Facebook, and Twitter and hope for the best. There’s no particular grand strategy, I guess I kind of go off of a feeling when posting. How I’m vibing that day and what’s going on around me as ridiculous as that may sound. Just kind of feel it out and hope people react positively to it all. Like I said it’s me just being myself and using my voice to connect to people.”

5) Rachel Stepien

Owner of The Plant Shack

“Wing it. Post it. (Kidding.) For real though – we try to post a mixture of engaging photos/captions along with quick updates/fun surveys on stories (on IG). If someone doesn’t believe a photo is exciting, they may not read the caption. Annnd when it comes to captions – we make sure it’s relatable in some way and shares both quality info and/or something relatable (like that Rachel was late for the 3rd time this week or that Anna wore her favorite Crocs to work). We have humans that work at the shack, and we want to be friends with everyone!”

6) Stefan Coker

Co-founder & owner of What’s Pop-in’ Gourmet Popcorn

“We post at least twice a day on social media and always interact with our customers. I see customers as family and I make sure we show them the utmost respect. Without them we would not exist!”


Check out all of our business tips, from Pete Cimino at Lloyd to Emily Morrow of Step Out Buffalo and more here!

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Step Out Buffalo Business

Step Out Buffalo Business is a business focused publication featuring tips and tricks for entrepreneurs and small business people in Buffalo & Western New York by the team at Step Out Buffalo. We write what we know and when we don't know, we ask an expert in the field. We've gained our knowledge through experience growing businesses in various industries.

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