On the up · 2 June 2017

Instagram founder Mike Krieger shares startup stories with Made in Chelsea entrepreneur

Instagram founder
Mike Krieger co-founded Instagram in 2010
At a gathering of the UK’s leading Instagram entrepreneurs, Business Advice heard from an expert panel of startup owners led by Instagram founder Mike Krieger.

Krieger took to the stage in Hackney’s Perseverance Works to celebrate the innovative marketing approach taken by the founders present, while also revealing a few secrets as to how he and his co-founder grew their company from a living room to the global app we know today.

Painting a picture of Instagram’s early days, Krieger said he and his co-founder soon moved into a co-working space with other startups. In this period, it was important to keep the company as lean as possible. He said the two entrepreneurs were ‘swooping like vultures? on the space’s free lunches at every possible moment.

Krieger went on to explain how the photo app expanded from an initial two-man operation.

that first hire is so essential, the Instagram founder told the audience. The criteria was more obvious who can we bring into the team that will add value to the business

For a promising tech startup, investment in the company’s development side would perhaps have been the obvious choice. Krieger’s first recruit was a community manager. But, as Krieger explained, technology is not the reason people love Instagram community is.

it was about building up the team to then build up the culture, he added.

Krieger admitted he barely finds time now for development work at Instagram. However, his new role of growing the app and making business owners worldwide aware of its potential has been as much of a success.

His extra hours have seen the development of the Business Tools offering that caused a boom in Instagram’s community of small companies. Bespoke business profiles give owners analytics tools to assess how their marketing efforts have worked.

Reflecting on the app’s recent milestone of 700 million users, Krieger was reminded of being taken aback by how many people follow numerous brands. The Instagram founder cited inspiration to action? as something unique offered by the app.

when we talk to people, a huge number are taking action 75 per cent have been inspired to interact or spend with a brand on Instagram, he said.

Hugo Taylor, co-founder of the Italian-inspired Taylor Morris sunglasses brand and a former star of reality show Made in Chelsea, cited his own naivety as a driving factor for his business. He and his co-founder Charlie Morris kept their mission statement simple let’s become the next biggest eyewear label.

instagram was a free way of getting your image out there, and to help drive campaigns, Taylor explained, highlighting its value over expensive recurring ad slots in Vogue.

User generated content through Instagram was championed by Taylor as vital to the company’s early growth. A simple hashtag that invited users to share their own pictures helped the high-end sunglasses brand build a following from nothing to 10 to 15, 000? almost overnight.

For a luxury brand like Taylor Morris, a careful balancing act was needed to engage with followers through Instagram but without drawing the curtains wide open. Instagram Stories, for example, can help give an intimate insight into a business, but it’s about working the trade-off of how much you let people in.

The event featured the first ever shoppable Instagram showroom,  each item created by a small UK business
The event featured the first ever shoppable Instagram showroom, each item created by a small UK business

 
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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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