How Pleasant State use Instagram and TikTok ads to connect with customers
Co-founders of Pleasant State, Sian Murray and Ami Bateman
Co-founder Sian Murray shares how an authentic and experimental approach to created content has helped their business achieve remarkable success.
Pleasant State has a clear mission: create a sparkling clean world that’s free from plastics and toxic cleaning chemicals. After connecting over shared interests, co-founders Sian Murray and Ami Bateman launched their business in 2020. Since then, they’ve experienced significant social media growth.
Pleasant State’s clever business ideas have helped them amass over 28k Instagram followers, over 6k Facebook followers and over 3.8k TikTok followers. Sharing their created content on social media has become a fundamental part of their success. Pleasant State’s approach led them to win the Queensland Promoting Sustainability Award at the 2023 Telstra Best of Business Awards.
Sian pioneers the social media strategy. Her combination of organic posts, Instagram ads, TikTok ads and a clear customer-first approach is key to their growth.
Looking for business inspiration to help boost your social media presence? Here, Sian shares how Pleasant State connects with new customers, thanks to their creative social media strategy and engaging created content.
Smarter Business interviews Sian Murray, Pleasant State co-founder
What social media platforms do you use to engage with your audience? And why did you choose to focus on those platforms?
Sian Murray: It's always changing. Every day there's a new platform or channel that we can use to reach our customers. It can be overwhelming. So instead of going for all channels, Ami and I decided to focus on a few select platforms.
We want to do really well with the limited resources we have. We know the majority of our customers are women aged 25 to 35, and then 35 to 45 is our secondary bracket. Our research shows that a lot of them are using Facebook and Instagram. And those are the platforms we’re most comfortable with.
Instagram gives us an opportunity to build a community and connect with our customers. We also have a Facebook group with a few thousand members. They’ll share cleaning tips and we use it to gather product feedback. It’s a great way to have a closer relationship with our customers. We’ve also dabbled in Pinterest, Threads and TikTok ads.
Is your commitment to community the biggest factor in your social media growth?
Sian Murray: We’re customer obsessed at Pleasant State. But we’re also really focused on creating engaging, educational content. We look at cleaning in a different way to our competitors.
Of course, some of the issues we’re tackling – like plastic and toxic chemicals – can be negative. People can feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable about how big some of these problems are. So we really focus on hopeful messaging that empowers our audience. That's a big reason as to why we've been so successful on social media.
We’re really focused on creating engaging, educational content. Our platform makes people feel empowered to make a difference in their lives and the world. That’s why we’ve been so successful on social media.
– Sian Murray, co-founder of Pleasant State
How has your social strategy changed over time?
Sian Murray: We’ve revised our social strategy a number of times. It’s based off our value proposition. When we started Pleasant State, we were really focused on sustainability. We’re still interested in that area, but now we talk about creating ethical products that make home care a form of self-care. So we've adjusted our messaging to reflect that.
I set up our social media business strategy by choosing the channels where our customers are. Then I created content pillars. These are the key messages of our brand and mission that we want to share. Our created content pillars are education, sustainability, ingredients, community and self-care.
Do you have a separate approach for organic and paid posts?
Sian Murray: Yes – the messaging is very different. We use organic socials to build a customer relationship and give them value. Our customers are not just there to hear about Pleasant State and what we sell. They follow us because we give them advice on cleaning tips and sustainability. Or because they’re interested in our founder journey as a female startup business.
For paid posts, we primarily use Google ads, Facebook ads, Instagram ads and TikTok ads. We focus on introducing customers to Pleasant State and leading them to purchase. Or building brand awareness, reaching new customers and encouraging them to follow us.
You’ve run some really successful paid social media ad campaigns. Can you tell me how this benefits your business?
Sian Murray: Paid digital advertising is huge for us because we’re business to consumer (B2C). It’s one of our major revenue drivers. Over half our revenue comes from digital advertising.
There are so many positives to investing in social media marketing. It’s measurable and you can easily test content. Within hours, I know what messaging works, what creative works, and we can keep cycling it through.
It's also reactive, which is really good for a startup business. We don't have long lead times. For example, I can set up a whole social media marketing campaign within a few days. We also find targeting is a really effective way of bringing new customers to our sales funnel.
Do you have any advice for how to create effective paid digital advertising?
Sian Murray: I wish there was a set formula for it. But there isn’t. We run our ads and every morning I tweak, optimise and review them. Something that worked well last week won't necessarily work this week. So you need to be on the ball and open to constantly testing and measuring. If you keep an eye on it, the results can be great.
“Digital advertising is a really quick and cost-effective way for us to advertise and test messaging and creative. It also helps us reach new customers.”
– Sian Murray, co-founder of Pleasant State
How do you manage your social media platforms?
Sian Murray: I’m really excited as our team grows to bring in more support. As a B2C business, I think it’s so important to have daily interactions with our audience. We have people who help with community management, but I’m always checking the messages that we’re getting. This way, I know if our audience likes what we’re doing.
If customers are getting exhausted by one topic, we might see a drop in engagement. This is when I know I need to change up what we’re posting. We map out created content each month based on what we’d like to talk about or any upcoming campaigns.
What is your content creation process?
Sian Murray: I spend a lot of time on social media getting business inspiration. This doesn’t necessarily have to relate directly to cleaning, but there may be a way that we can use a trend, idea, or reel concept.
I'm constantly thinking about how we can communicate ideas in a really creative and engaging way. The introduction of reels and TikTok has been amazing. It gives us the opportunity to easily share created content without needing to over-engineer it. It's quick and fun. It doesn’t need to be professionally shot so you can do it at home.
I've got a little notepad where I write down random ideas for content. Some of them are ridiculous, but the weird and wacky ideas are often the ones that perform really well.
“It’s about giving our customers bite-sized, fun, consumable content that focuses on our key messages.”
– Sian Murray, co-founder of Pleasant State
What does successful social media marketing look and feel like to you?
Sian Murray: Successful social media marketing feels very genuine, and not overly curated. I also look at engagement rates. Sometimes you'll see a brand with hundreds of thousands of followers, but their posts will have 100 likes and a few comments. To me, that means they're not engaging with their audience in the right way.
Social media marketing should be about starting conversations. Not all posts will do this. Sometimes a post will get low engagement, but it’s still worth sharing because we need to make an announcement or mix up our feed. Overall, a good strategy is about having a clear message, consistent visuals and strong content pillars that resonate with your customers.
Pleasant State show us that social media marketing can be a powerful tool for small businesses. Sian’s found success by focusing on engagement over perfection and sharing their business’s story.
If you’d like more information on how to boost your social media presence using business innovation, take a look at our articles:
- Social Selling: how to increase sales with social media
- 4 ways to use TikTok for business
- How to create a social media strategy
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of Telstra or its staff.
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