Worcester Business Journal

May 11, 2020

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14 Worcester Business Journal | May 11, 2020 | wbjournal.com T H E D I G I T A L F U T U R E FOCUS S eed to Stem's shop decor is so embedded into Worcester-area Instagram feeds it would be easy to forget the terrariums, pottery and plants crowding its shelves are for sale – if seemingly every shopper didn't diligently tag the store in a photo aer visiting. Boasting more than 45,000 Instagram followers to date, Seed to Stem's Instagram account (@seedtostem), and posts shared by people who shop there, have made the Crompton Place plant- and-lifestyle boutique a fixture among local social feeds, and beyond. With all of those Instagram-able neutrals and carefully positioned crystals, there's no denying owners Virginia Orlando and Candace Atchue are selling, for lack of a better word, a vibe. And that vibe, it seems, is good for business. "What we post 100% directly impacts what we sell," Orlando said in an email. "When we post an item, people call or come in right away to grab that special plant or make sure they get that certain crystal. On a daily basis, people enter the store and exclaim that they found us on Instagram." Savvy Central Mass. social media managers all seem to report the same phenomenon, a business owner's dream: post a product online and see it fly off the shelves. But anyone who has managed – or even worse, founded – a professional social media account knows accruing a following is not as simple as putting yourself out there. Allocating time for caption writing, picture-taking and comment-managing is a serious commitment. And even then, growth can be dishearteningly slow, making it feel like those with massive, engaged followings have tapped into a magic formula remaining indecipherable and just out of reach for everyone else. But six Greater Worcester business owners and social media managers interviewed for this story pointed to straightforward best practices they've picked up along the way, as well as lessons learned, suggesting cracking the code is not impossible. It just takes work and experimentation. Picking the right platform While many business owners opening social media accounts start with Facebook before later turning to Instagram and other mediums, platforms are not one size fits all. Each social media channel has its own demographic and culture, and using each oen yields different results. While Facebook followers are typically considered easier to accrue, Central Mass. business owners cast the audience there as older, with more conventional market interests. Instagram, they said, tends to attract a younger audience and provides an opportunity to focus more closely on how a product looks and feels. ink: textures, colors, staging. Ricky Nelson, who runs the social media accounts for Worcester Wares (@worcesterwares), said while the company's Facebook following is significantly larger than on Instagram, the store prioritizes Instagram first, with Facebook posts designed in conjunction with what goes on its sister app. "e Instagram Story has been so valuable for us," Nelson said. "Facebook Stories aren't as valuable, at least for the way we do things." Instagram Stories, fleeting images and videos living on top of the app's home feed and disappearing aer 24 BY MONICA BUSCH Special to the Worcester Business Journal Instagram stories Central Mass. businesses unveil the secrets to building a large social media following The Instagram accounts of (above, from left) Seed to Stem, Armsby Abbey and BirchTree Bread Co. show how they each create a vibe by maximizing the visual aesthetic.

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