Insta-fame. Insta-millions. Insta-success!

Courtesy of Julianna Tan, owner/operator, Those Girls at Market, Saskatoon, SK

I’m just playing with you. Instagram doesn’t mean any of the above but it should be a tool to help you build a following and keep up with the cool kids.

SF photo guest blog Julianna Instagram logo


In the exponentially fast-paced world of social media, Instagram has changed in many ways since we last had a chat. Just a few months ago, I briefly described what Instagram is and how you can use it as a small business owner.

Today we revisit the concept and update readers on the following questions:
What is instagram? How do I use it? What benefit could this social media platform provide for me as a small business owner?

So let’s get down and dirty with the details. Instagram recently announced they’ve reached 500 million users worldwide. Of those users, over 300 million are using Instagram everyday. So what’s the hype?

Instagram instantly builds communities by bringing people together over common interests, from hip-hoppers to shoe-shoppers; the everyday experience lets people stay connected, share experiences with like-minded individuals, and inspire a sense of wonder.

Instagram is a mobile (smart phone) app that allows users to:
• Upload and edit photos and videos
• Write a caption or message along with each photo or video (altogether, we will refer to a photo/video and caption as a “post”)
• Utilize hashtags (#) to “tag” your posts, which allows other users who are interested to find your post (To learn more about hashtags, read here.
• Like and comment on other users posts
• Send direct messages to a user’s inbox

How would you use it? That’s up to you. Just the way everyone has their own personal clothing style, everybody has their own Instagram style as well. Some will choose to make it an artsy portfolio filled with colourful vegetable photos. For an example, you can see my personal Instagram account here.

Others will use it to showcase behind the scenes production- customers love seeing how an item went from the kitchen (or field) to their hands. One of my favourite examples is a local bakery here. Here’s an example of one of their posts that explains some behind-the-scene action.

Others will use it to keep followers in the community updated on upcoming events or news, like this.
(If you scroll down far enough, you will see that I use to run this page. You can tell by the artsy vegetable photos)

Using your Instagram account is a free way to advertise to people in your area by using hashtags. For example, My business operates in Saskatoon so it is important for me to let people in my area know about my business. Therefore, on my posts I make sure to hashtag: #Saskatoon This let’s users in Saskatoon find my posts. If they visit my Instagram page and like what they see, they can follow me and engage with my posts (like them, comment on them). As a result, my photos will start popping up on their feed (their personal homepage those 300 million users are scrolling across everyday).

This helps us find new customers in the area, keep our customers reminded about our products on a regular basis, create a unique relationship with our customers by letting them see our behind-the-scenes production, showcase our new products, and let our customers know where we are located… all for free!

So what are you waiting for…. I’ll follow you back if you follow me here.

SF photo guest blog Julianna Instagram chocolate page


Owners: Ying and Julianna Tan
Phone: 306 241 9390

What’s With The #Hashtag?

Courtesy of Julianna Tan, owner/operator, Those Girls at Market, Saskatoon, SK

The first step to having a successful business is having a desirable product or service The second step is letting your customers know. Taken together, these two simple steps have a significant impact on your success (or lack thereof).

I am not an expert on backyard-scale farming, so luckily the SPIN Community has a plethora of resources and mentors to help ensure you can thrive as far as production goes. I can, however, offer a tiny morsel of advice for getting the word out about your product or service.

At some point, somewhere, someone decided that the traditional number sign on your keyboard, also known as the “pound key” (#) would be a great way to unite people all over the world who share interests, passions, and ideas. This symbol today is one of the most widely recognized symbols and can be the arsenal in your toolbox of expanding your customer reach far and wide to your target audience. This iconic symbol is called the #hashtag.

Anyone on social media can use the hashtag (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). If you don’t have these social media platforms, I would highly recommend looking into using them as a free, fun, and effective way to build your brand and communicate with your customers and target audience. From personal experience, the amount of customers we have attracted through Instagram has been unexpectedly impressive!

So let’s get to the meat of this meal (or should I say the root of this vegetable?). How does one use this so-called “hashtag”?

1. Type the # symbol directly before any word (or small group of words) that relate to your product. Do not leave a space between the # symbol and the word and do not use punctuation marks (spaces and apostrophes). For example: #SPINfarming
This hashtag will “tag” your post and become searchable by other people interested in SPIN farming

2. Use multiple hashtags to reach your target audience. For example: #SPINfarming #organic #urbanfarming #vegetables #local #Saskatoon
These 6 hashtags would allow your single post to be searchable by anybody interested SPIN farming, or interested in eating organic foods, curious about urban farming, looking for vegetable ideas to serve for dinner tonight, eating and supporting local, and people living in Saskatoon. (Do not exceed 30 hashtags)

3. Click on hashtags that interest you to discover others who share your interests and passions.


SF photo guest blog Julianna hashtag 2

Here are some of the words Julianna uses as her hashtags: ethical, sustainable, handmade, organic. What words that best define you? Choose carefully because they will become your “brand.”