The “Gift Guide” project has reportedly been designed to showcase the people and products from 30 regional small businesses in the lead up to the festive season. This initiative has been designed to reinforce support of small business, encouraging consumers to “shop it local”.
The social media giant’s decision to help small Australian businesses is a timely one, with a number of Aussie SMB’s claiming they missed out on the revenue benefits of this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping events. According to Vend, this is because small businesses don’t have the capacity to offer heavy discounts like big-box retailers do.
The busy December shopping period, however, still holds a lot of potential for small retailers that are unable to leverage the success of bigger retailers during the growing number of pre-Christmas sale events that take place in October and November.
Spiritwoods Botanicals, a natural beauty brand from Southern Tasmania, is one of the brand’s Facebook and Instagram is launching into the spotlight with its Australian “Gift Guide”. We talk to the company’s owner, Nicole Watt, to learn more about her brand, and how she leverages social media to increase sales and brand awareness.
Looking at the company’s website, you almost feel like you’ve taken a step back in time to the mystical world of Diana Gabaldon and her popular book and television series, Outlander, with moody apothecary images and natural herbs sprawling across each of the website’s pages. The same holds true on her social media pages.
Spiritwoods Botanicals uses natural instinct to curate an aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed.
From a small studio in the depths of Southern Tasmania’s wild forests, Watt is hard at work handcrafting a range of vegan-friendly remedial remedies and apothecary formulations. “[My products] aim to nurture the health of people’s skin, body or spirit in some way. Each product is crafted in micro-batches using time honoured practices and true pathways, with the utmost respect for the integrity of the plants from which they came,” she tells Power Retail.
Because she’s running a business that’s far removed from much of the modern world, Watt says that Facebook and Instagram have become valuable tools for her, allowing her to spread her message of natural health outside of her local community and across Australia.
“I would like to reach those who wish to take a step back from the excessive, the mechanical, the feigned…the rat race…and give them a haven of sorts. A place where things are much slower, where no shortcuts are taken, where offerings are handcrafted and fresh, where the plants and ingredients have a story of their own,” Watt says.
For her, Facebook and Instagram are useful outlets for showing her customers that there is more to life, and their health than shiny packaging, big brands, quick fixes and fad products.
Nicole Watt uses social media to help consumers get back to nature.
“I would like customers who view my socials to get a sense of the natural world that surrounds my products and help them feel like they would like to introduce that into their lives as well,” she explains.
So, how does she achieve this goal? According to Watt, collaborations with other makers from around the world and the simple act of educating consumers through her social channels have proven fruitful for her and her small online venture.
“Twice a year, I collaborate with a group of makers from around the world to run a giveaway on Instagram,” she says. From a posting perspective, she says she focuses on a combination of plant education, home life, and product marketing.
“When I do share posts to direct followers to a new product or make them aware of a product in progress etc, I do notice a spike in website activity around that time. I wouldn’t say there is a direct correlation to sales spikes, though it definitely does increase traffic across the site overall and of course, brand awareness,” she says
“My socials have played a large role in helping me reach the greater public outside of my local community. Having a chance to reach more people to build a relationship over time is important.
“I know of recent customers who have purchased products for themselves who have followed along on my socials since I started last year, but have only recently come to trust the brand enough to invest in my products – these things take time and it feels more natural for me to bring people in that way.”
When viewing Watt’s Instagram and Facebook feeds, it’s clear that she takes the time to carefully curate her posts, with a beautiful aesthetic shining through on all of her digital channels.
“I rely a lot on instinct rather than a specific formula, colour palette or marketing angle when it comes to selecting what to share and when. I am passionate about creating and transferring an atmosphere or a mood, something that touches people in some deeper way, both within my products, my website, my photos and my socials.
“I like to ensure each post has substance, along with a beautiful image; something that people may be educated by, inspired by, may relate to, or be motivated to invite into their own lives.”
So far, Spiritwoods Botanicals hasn’t invested in social commerce features like Shoppable Stories on Instagram, however, Watt says her business is still in the early stages of its e-commerce journey, and that she’s excited to explore these options in the future.
“At the moment I do enjoy the flexibility of sharing via the Stories feature, although I would like to learn a little more about shoppable stories to make it easier for people to find something in particular on my website,” she says. “I don’t tend to use the features on Facebook as much as I do on Instagram for my business – so just having the option for people to be able to access the website and/or store easily via the SHOP NOW button is handy!”