Jess Williamson started Ete Swimwear (pronounced et-teh) at the age of 22 back in 2016. Based in WA, Australia, Ete Swimwear heroes luxurious, unique designs with hand painted watercolour prints that are exclusive to the brand by a local WA artist. Since the beginning, Jess has grown her business Instagram account to an incredible audience of 49.1K followers and definitely has some knowledge to pass onto other small business owners.
Firstly, how important has Instagram been to your brand awareness and growth?
When I launched, it was the easiest route for me to use Instagram as my main marketing tool and just grow it as fast as I could. I grew the Ete Swimwear account to about 5,000 before launching, and within a few months I had up to 20,000 followers. In the beginning our marketing plan was 100% Instagram, which was amazing for us as an online business without having too much budget to start off with.
What was your initial approach or strategy for Instagram?
In the beginning I was posting every two hours – I was literally on Instagram 24/7! It was a bit crazy, but that was how I grew so quickly. People always want the magic bullet that will just grow you to 100,000, but you really have to basically spend 24 hours a day on Instagram to grow that quickly if you want the results.
What advice would you give to someone starting their business Instagram page?
BE YOU! All you can do is to stay authentic to who your brand is, post great quality imagery and videos and engage with your audience!
How have you chosen to plan out your Instagram posting? Do you use a scheduling tool?
I would never use a scheduling tool, I like to keep it authentic and real when posting so love to engage in conversation with whoever comments on the posts and with a scheduling tool, it posts the image and then its forgotten about. I do use a planning tool where it lays out the feed so I can see what images work well together and then I sometimes draft up posts in Instagram and then just post, this saves some time when its the weekend or when I am busy and don’t have time to think of what image or caption to post next but I still personally always post the images directly to the platform whether they are planned or not.
How has your Instagram strategy changed since growing a large following?
To be honest it hasn’t really changed. My Instagram is just an extension of the brand and early on I knew exactly how I wanted my brand to look and what it stood for so I just post what I feel aligns with the brand and always have been very strict on only posting great quality content. Often people send me beautiful images of them in Ete swimwear but if the image isn’t great quality I just unfortunately cannot use it and I may just post it on my story instead. One thing that has changed is the introduction of Stories, this is a great tool because we can engage more with our audience. From the beginning I always wanted to provide great service so I reply to all comments and DMs, even though we have a bigger following now its still a priority not to let service suffer.
We’ve noticed that you run a few giveaways and competitions. Have you found these beneficial/ what has the response been like?
I try not to do too many giveaways, you don’t want people to wait until you do another giveaway so they can try win a free bikini rather than buying one, and also you have to be very careful who you partner with on giveaways. I make it my strategy to only partner with complimentary brands who have a similar size and quality of audience so we all benefit the same. We also don’t want to just gain more followers, we want a quality audience who actually like our brand so through our giveaways I aim to keep them relevant to what my audience likes for example the most recent one we did was to win a trip to Hawaii and Fiji and we partnered with other companies such as sun lotion, hotels, and travel influencers so we all had a common audience. By doing this it reduces the number of un-follows but it also keeps the giveaway relevant to our brand. We wouldn’t just engage in an iPad giveaway because it could get us lots of followers.
What is your content creation process?
Usually I will use campaign images, we do one main campaign per collection with a professional model, photographer and hair & makeup. I am very particular on getting great content because it showcases your brand in a more professional way and showcases the products the best they can. I also do flatlys and product images myself, I get props and other products to include in the shots which also encourages the other brands to share. Another main source of imagery for social media is influencers – they create great content all around the world which is aspirational for our followers as they love to travel.