10,000 Instagram followers: the winning formula of stationery businesses

It is not that difficult to build a successful Instagram channel. The right strategy allows businesses to grow organically while uniting thousands of followers behind them.

Instagram is not only one of the most popular social networks around the globe, but also one of the fastest growing ones. So it comes as no surprise that in the meantime, even the paper, office supplies and stationery industry has taken a liking to this platform. 

These days, there is hardly a brand that does not have its own account with the Facebook company. Yet, a carefully curated Instagram profile can indeed prove very profitable even for smaller businesses. The number of followers for brands like Edding and Stabilo, or even the start-up Buchstabenkult, bears witness to this.

Organic growth through regular posts

It is the number of followers that makes an account's success – only those who have a large community following them can reach many prospective customers with their content. The magic word here is organic growth. However, the more posts are uploaded onto the platform and the more commercial providers there are, the more difficult it becomes to grow organically.

The Social Media Growth Report 2020 by InfluencerDB analysed the development of 660,000 accounts between January 2019 and June 2020. While the analysed accounts had grown by 2.3 per cent in May 2019, the percentage reached a mere 1.5 per cent per month a year later. Still, figures saw a positive development over the period of time: In January 2019, Instagram influencers on average had a following of approximately 146,000 people, and 194,000 in June 2020.

InfluencerDB also examined the optimal posting frequency. The growth rate for accounts that posted less than once a week was nine per cent, while posting three times a week increased this figure to 27 per cent already. The highest level of growth at 37 per cent was recorded by accounts that shared six posts per week.

How to spot trends while avoiding every flash in the pan

Social networking thrives on trends and challenges. One of these trends mixing up the paper and stationery industry was adult colouring. The movement started in France in 2013 and at times resulted in bottlenecks for such big players like Faber-Castell. Grownups were looking for colouring books and grew their pallet of coloured pencils as an antidote for stress in a digital world. And even today, the Doodle DIY trend makes thousands of followers happy on the Instagram accounts of Stabilo or Edding.

Community involvement

The example of Edding demonstrates that it is possible to add many followers to the photo platform in no time. The stock corporation has only been on Instagram since the end of September 2018 – i.e., not even three years. Still, the company already has a solid community with more than 44,000 followers to show for.

The primary focus here are ideas and proposals for DIY projects. Stabilo pursues a similar approach. Next to its global account with 476,000 followers, the Group also has different country accounts. For example, @stabilodeutschland has a following of 80,900 instagrammers, while @stabilonl boasts 21,500 followers.

Creative content that inspires

All these accounts are united in their mission to inspire fans with creative content, says Matthias Paetzolt, Head of Marketing Germany at Stabilo. "We intentionally combine more complex oeuvres to showcase everything that is possible with our products. We also show more simple approaches that are easy for all to copy", the Manager explains.

The platform also serves to showcase trends like lettering or introduce new products to the community – "at times even before their official product launch". However, the community is not only a decisive factor in the success of Stabilo channels as a fan base. After all, "a large part of the content" originates directly from the community, Paetzolt continues. Therefore, UGC – meaning User Generated Content – and the artists behind it are key to the channels' success.

Yet here, too, the look is pivotal. Accounts should not upload everything to their own platform that their users share. It is crucial for content to smoothly blend in with the feed. This is something one should also look out for in relation to one's own content. For example, a look at the account of the start-up Buchstabenkult immediately illustrates a uniform visual language. The account is kept in soft hues and all posts have the same visual appeal. This resulted in the small stationery business generating 19,200 followers in five years only.

Five tips on how to grow organically on Instagram


Following these tips will most likely boost your brand on Instagram:

  • Visual platform: produce quality, target-minded photos.
  • Your profile is your figurehead: a harmonious feed with a clear structure is appealing. 
  • Keep followers in the loop: regularly post photos and stories, but be sure to not overload your community.
  • Entice interaction: this creates proximity and an emotional connection between subscribers and the brand, for example with your own hashtags.
  • Keep an eye on what's trending: no brand needs to follow every single Internet hype, but be sure to tap important trends.

About the author:

BASIC thinking is an online magazine and is one of the widest reaching tech platforms in German-speaking countries. The magazine reports about social media, marketing, and business topics daily. This article was written by Christina Widner from BASIC thinking GmbH.

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