Project Empower Circle
The Process Lab: Promoting yourself on Social Media with Hannah from The Aesthetics Studio
"I was not always the best at promoting myself…but once you start it snowballs from there." - Hannah Wang, Creator of The Aesthetics Studio
The Aesthetics Studio is a sticker shop created by Hannah Wang. With a passion for illustration and design, Hannah started her sticker shop as she completed high school and has seen substantial growth on Instagram. She prides herself in building a community on Instagram by engaging with her followers and other sticker shops.
Setting up Shop
Hannah started thinking about creating a sticker shop during March break in her final year of high school. Hannah was never quite the person who carried around a sketchbook, nor did she have a lot of experience in illustrating. However, she had access to a Wacom tablet at school and this is where she was able to start sketching and fall in love with digital art. It allowed her to work in layers, something that traditional art did not allow for. Hannah wanted to apply her newfound passion for digital art.
“At school I had access to a Wacom tablet and I was able to draw stuff and have it shown on Adobe illustrator… I really liked it because I could work with layers and that’s something traditional art didn’t give me… that really drew me in.”
As Hannah was getting started, she realized that there were many elements that needed to be put together before she could open up shop. Hannah conducted a lot of research into the sticker paper material she needed, the cutting machine she would use and how she would make her listings on Etsy. She started experimenting with different papers and learned how to print her stickers in May. She officially opened shop in July 2020, just after she finished high school and started to prepare for university.
Our takeaway? Do the research when starting your business. Hannah spent months conducting research to find the right materials and practicing her process before she launched her shop.
Growing on Instagram
Hannah launched her shop when she only had 700 followers and it took her over 2 days to make a sale. However, in just over 5 months, Hannah’s Instagram page has grown to over 10K followers. This growth can be attributed to Hannah continuously engaging with her audience and building a community around her brand.
Hannah spent time genuinely engaging with other sticker shops to build a mutual connection. She used the ‘Community’ page on Instagram to get to know other accounts and allow them to get to know her. It wasn’t always easy to put herself out there, as some pages did not appreciate her efforts to connect with them, however, Hannah respected boundaries and listened to any concerns other pages brought up to her. Overtime, she was able to learn and substantially grow her page.
“You want to put yourself out there in a way that is not spamming people and in a way that is respecting their boundaries, but also allowing people to know who you are.”
In addition to the engagement piece, Hannah also recommends using high quality photos and striking a balance between longer and shorter descriptions. This increases the quality of your page and encourages people to explore your page further. Another key element for growth that Hannah shared was using appropriate hashtags. She recommended using a mix of smaller, specialized hashtags as well as hashtags used more frequently to increase reach.
Our advice for those thinking of starting a small business on Instagram? Take the time to grow your reach by genuinely engaging with pages that align with your work and values. Social media can be a powerful tool for growing your business and the key is to engage with others doing similar things as you!
“Likes do not necessarily correlate to sales...your sales come from customers and your customers come from an engaged community.”
From Etsy to her own Website
Hannah started her shop on Etsy but noticed that her page wasn’t always promoted by the algorithm and every Etsy shop looked the same. Further, she also ran into some technical issues on the platform. This prompted her to start exploring the option of launching her own website as she brought the majority of her customers to Etsy through the traffic on her social media. Hannah hopes to one day operate fully on her own website.
Many businesses use Etsy as their primary platform for sales, however, it is worth exploring how people are finding you. Is it through your Etsy shop being promoted on Etsy? Or are you driving traffic through your social media? Answering these questions can help you evaluate your sales strategy and lead to growth.
Hannah has tons to offer when it comes to growing your business on Instagram in a short span of time. She is a great example of what research and engagement can do for your business. When asked what empowers her, Hannah highlighted one key word; COMMUNITY. Her community continues to empower her and has helped her grow. When there are obstacles and challenges along the way, it’s the community that serves as her inspiration to persevere.
“If you have a community, people know who you are. Even if people aren’t buying from you, they know of you and that’s important because you want your name out there.”
Hannah’s vision for herself is to expand her product line. She recently added washi tapes to her shop and she looks forward to growing The Aesthetics Studio with her community. For the world, Hannah really wants to see more eco-friendly shops. She is an advocate for eco-friendly packaging and wants more brands to incorporate more sustainability into their processes.
This article is written by Pallavi Dutta and edited by Hannah Wang.
Thank-you to Hannah from The Aesthetics Studio for providing the images.