How to create and promote a local brand on Instagram?

According to Kandar’s research, ‘localism’, a preference for local products and services, has become a trend in the post-coronavirus era. With the end of the pandemic, two-thirds of the population (65%) are now choosing small local businesses over big brands. This is very useful for those who run a small business and are trying to decide on a brand strategy on Instagram. Moreover, SMMplanner makes maintaining a business account on social networks as simple as possible: from working with visuals to automatic publication even for a month in advance.

We spoke with the founders of the Friends Kitchen line of home hummus and dips, Alina, Maria and Lesha, about how to start and run a local business through social networks.

Friends Kitchen brand founders Alina, Alexey and Maria

– How did you come up with the idea of ​​creating a brand on Instagram?

The idea to cook dips appeared a long time ago. We came to visit Alina and her boyfriend and there were always cool pates on the table that could be spread on bread or eaten with vegetables. And then the idea came up: why not start cooking something similar for everyone?

For a long time, there was no right moment for its implementation: everyone got tired at their work, the eternal lack of time, uncertainty and many other things that interfere with action.

When we decided, we spent about a year evenings and weekends together. We worked on recipes, thought out the concept and name, studied the market and followed everything that could be useful to us. Together with our other, we created the first sticker design, took photos for the development of the brand on Instagram, purchased everything necessary and, finally, on December 18, 2019, prepared the first cans to order. And in six months we have already done more than 2000!

Instagram brand account @friends_kitchen_minsk
Instagram brand account@friends_kitchen_minsk

– How did you assemble the team

There was no need to collect anyone. We were thinking in the same direction. We realized that we wanted to work only for ourselves and knew that together we would definitely succeed. And they wanted it very much.

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And now we have the best team, we are friends. Everyone has responsibilities, but any of us can do anything.

Creators of Friends Kitchen Instagram food brand
Creators of Friends Kitchen Instagram food brand

– How did you represent the brand when you started, and how did it actually turn out?

We wanted our jars to make people’s lives tastier and easier. And this is evidenced by our motto: it’s easy to live tasty. A spoonful of hummus or pesto, bread, vegetables – and already satisfying and healthy. In a couple of minutes you can prepare a mini-party for your friends with them. It is convenient to take them with you on a picnic, on a hike, or to a summer cottage. Can be presented to your loved ones and friends. Everything, as we imagined, happened 🙂

And Friends kitchen turned out to be sincere. This is a reflection of ourselves and our attitude to business and people. People feel it and support us very much. They share photos with us, tell their friends and acquaintances about us, become our friends.

UGC Instagram post by @friends_kitchen_minsk
UGC Instagram post by @friends_kitchen_minsk
Custom Instagram post about hummus Friends Kitchen
Custom Instagram post about hummus Friends Kitchen

Advice: If you also want your customers to post photos with your product themselves, then:

  • Make a beautiful, “Instagram” package;
  • Do not forget to talk to customers when selling verbally, in correspondence and simply on social networks;
  • React when they do, repost, comment, you can offer a discount.

For more information on how to work with UGC, user generated content, read our article.

– How did you start promoting your brand on Instagram? What are you doing now to grow your business?

Our local branding and promotion is built on five pillars:

1. Friends

We asked friends to talk about us on social networks. Word of mouth works just fine, because friends will not advise bad.

Post from a brand friend on Instagram
Post from a brand friend on Instagram

2. Bloggers and organizations

Also, to promote our personal brand on Instagram, we gave our products to bloggers and various organizations for testing. For example, we have provided our hummus for the Youtube channel of the Belarusian Tennis Federation.

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Advertising post in the account of the Belarusian Tennis Federation
Advertising post in the account of the Belarusian Tennis Federation
Post by blogger Lera Avseeva
Post by blogger Lera Avseeva

3. Media

We offered our product for tasting in local city media, among which, for example, As is.

Post in account As it is
Post in account As it is

5. Offline sales

We also started selling jars on the Komarovsky market (approx. ed. popular market in Minsk). Everything is there: both young people and those who could and would like to buy this, but are not looking for food on Instagram. The advantage of the market is tasting (now, however, due to the pandemic, it has been banned). You can talk as much as you like about how delicious it is. But it’s better to try it once. Therefore, in addition to how to create a brand on Instagram, we wanted to be available to other categories of buyers.

6. Markets

Now we participate in all possible markets: “Pasternak”, Saturday farmers’ market “Usesvayo” and others. There you can sell many times more jars than on the market. People come there purposefully for such products. The media are there too. Recently, we got into the TV3 TV channel, told a little about ourselves.

Friends Kitchen stand at the Vegan Market
Friends Kitchen stand at the Vegan Market

– What is the most difficult part of the job?

The most difficult thing is to combine everything: to cook and to keep all the organizational aspects in mind. There is no such thing that at 18:00 you close your computer and switch off. Now there is almost no time for rest, the priority is always the matter. And the difficult thing is that you need to constantly stay in touch – Direct does not stop talking. But once you get a grateful review, you immediately forget about fatigue, the charge of endorphins is still the same.

– What do you think is important to consider when creating a local brand?

Before creating a brand on Instagram, you can go straight through this list:

  1. First of all, you need to take into account what is relevant now, what the city and people lack.
  2. Assess the market and competitors. Even if someone is already doing something similar, do not be afraid, because you can always do better. Take bread, for example. There is a lot of it, but every bakery has its own regular customer.
  3. Use local resources. We try to cooperate with our farmers and cook, whenever possible, from products grown in Belarus. Once we decided to try making hummus from organic beans, we have a lot of them, they are useful, why not. It turned out delicious! People like it, buy it and thank it.
  4. Don’t forget about friends. This is free advertising, another way to promote your brand on Instagram, and moral support. When you see the satisfied faces of your loved ones, you immediately want to work even more.
  5. Do not be afraid to offer your product for evaluation to bloggers and the media. Without the support of bloggers for a brand on Instagram, it can be very difficult in general. And the assessment is positive or negative – this is very useful, because it motivates to refine the product, look for new solutions.
  6. Carefully consider how to manage the brand’s Instagram. In a local business, you don’t create a faceless, multi-replicated product. Here the whole trick is in home, personal approach, friendliness and quality, for which you are responsible personally. So this is practically how to create a personal brand on Instagram, only this is an Instagram about food.
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As corny as it may sound, if you are building a local brand, it is important to start doing exactly what you love. Because you are selling not only a product, but also a sense of connection with the direct manufacturer, that is, with you. This is what this Instagram branding is based on. Don’t be afraid. While it all starts small, take it seriously and responsibly. And do not expect everything to be perfect. Everything comes in the process. We see in practice that people need local soul brands. Everyone is tired of mass-produced products and wants to look the creators of their favorite hummus in the eye and know that everything is done in it with high quality, conscientiously.

Now is the time to dare, we wish you all success!

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