This week, small business editor Caitlin Sykes talks to business owners about Instagram.

Lucy Wildman is a co-founder of Little Flock of Horrors. The kids' merino clothing brand has around 2,000 followers on Instagram.

When did Little Flock of Horrors start using Instagram?

We jumped on Instagram about two years ago, but we started taking it really seriously as a platform for marketing our business about a year ago. We're now posting every day, thinking more strategically about our content and identifying other people on the platform that we want to be associated with and follow.

What was the impetus to ramp up your efforts?


About 40 percent of our business comes from the States, and when we were going over to trade shows there the people who were coming up to us were primarily asking 'are you on Instagram? What's your handle?'. Even in the three years we've been going to trade shows in the States we've noticed that increasingly the buyers are from online stores, as opposed to traditional bricks and mortar. Those online retailers have huge Instagram followings, and can sell out an outfit just by posting it on Instagram. It's been the kick in the pants we needed to really be taking Instagram seriously.

What are some specific things you've done to build your following?

To me the difference between an average Instagram account and a good one is an authentic voice. People don't want to see posts that say 'save 20 percent off this'; they want to dig a bit beneath the surface of a brand, see who's behind it and what's going on.

For us that's a natural fit, because our message is that we make merino for little monsters; we're not about capturing perfectly beautiful moments, but about being real. We'll post a slogan like 'is it wine o'clock yet?' and we'll get good engagement, because that kind of thing is funny and real for our audience.

We've also formed alliances and brand partnerships with people who have a similar tone to their Instagram accounts - for example, some of the bloggers and influencers out there who talk about the reality of having kids. For example, there's an Instagram mum who's behind the website Our Grand Tour. I sent her son Mickey some stuff, which he wears all the time, and we've since collaborated to do a couple of styles with her with a limited edition screen print. We're aligning ourselves with peers in our space and there are natural connections we're making as a result.

I've read you also formed an alliance with model and mum Anna Reeve. Did that come about in a similar way?

We've been following people like Anna Reeve who have a great Instagram following, and with her Instagram account for her kids - The Reeve Nuggets - they are right in our space. I sent her some of our leggings for her children and because I follow them on Instagram I could see they were wearing them all the time. I just sent her an off-the-cuff little comment saying 'we need to make a Nuggets limited edition release of these pants', then she sent me a direct message saying 'let's do it'. It all came about in a really cool way, and all through Instagram.

What are some of your goals for further developing what you're doing with Instagram?

I'd like to replicate what we've been doing with our followers in this small test space in New Zealand and apply it to the North America, UK and Europe markets. I'd really like to sit down and come up with a strategy for doing that in other parts of the world.

And then it's just about getting more brand representatives out there, so getting more kids into merino - and getting them photographed wearing merino - is a big target for us.