Couple makes $1k a day from one Insta post
SARAH Holloway knows how social media can change a life - after all, it's changed hers more than once.
Ms Holloway was working as a lawyer in Hong Kong when illness forced her to give up her daily coffee habit.
She switched to drinking matcha lattes as a replacement, and was quickly hooked - but she struggled to find it after moving back to Melbourne in 2015.
Along with her partner Nick Davidson, Ms Holloway set up a matcha import business, dubbed Matcha Maiden, which she promoted using social media only.
It was a tearaway success, and later that year US retailer Urban Outfitters placed a monthly, 3000-package order for a six-month period after spotting the product on Instagram.
Ms Holloway soon quit her job to focus on the booming business full-time, and in 2016 the pair launched a second venture by opening vegan cafe Matcha Mylkbar in Melbourne.
The cafe's colourful, Instagrammable food and drinks soon had customers lining up for a table, but in July that year the game changed yet again after the duo posted a photo of their new "Smurf Latte" on social media.
Within 24 hours, the blue concoction, made from E3 live blue algae, lemon, ginger agave and coconut milk, had made global headlines.
Soon, the cafe was raking in $1000 a day from Smurf Latte sales alone, with lines snaking around the block and customers queuing for up to three hours just to get a snap with the Insta-famous beverage.
Swinging into a super sweaty Saturday at the beautiful new @loveathletica Pilates studio with @niccyboy 🤙🏼 Then backed it up at @f45_training_portmelbourne for a killer Hollywood session with LA legend @paigehathaway 💦 I NEVER workout twice in one day (once is more than enough for me, if I even manage that), but it was worth it today - I’m definitely feeling those endorphins!!!! Check stories for all the action! Happy Saturday!
The drink outsells the cafe's other popular coffees 10 times over, and there are thousands of photos with the #bluelatte hashtag on social media.
Ms Holloway said she still couldn't quite believe the hype over the drink, which gained media attention as far away as Nigeria and the US.
"We launched everything on social media … and pretty much from there we had big queues," she said.
"By the time 24 hours had gone by the post had gone nuts. We already had two- to three-hour queues on weekends and that started spilling over into weekdays.
"It was just crazy and I still sometimes can't believe that just one drink could go so nuts - it took off within a couple of hours and it's quite rare to have such an instantaneous reaction."
Ms Holloway, who also works as a social media influencer through her blog, Spoonful of Sarah, said the power of the medium was undeniable.
"Social media is just so incredibly powerful in this day and age and right now, you really can impact a lot of people in the world very quickly if you know how to use it properly and if you hit the right idea at the right time," she said.
"It has democratised business and talent and influence. It can change your life ... if you know how to use the right tools."
Of course, Ms Holloway is not the only savvy business owner to harness the power of social media and Instagram influence.
In 2016, Australian entrepreneurs and HiSmile founders Alex Tomic and Nik Mirkovic famously got a million-dollar boost after a securing deal with reality star Kylie Jenner, who posed with their teeth-whitening products on social media.
The post, which includes the hashtag #ad, attracted 1.6 million likes and more than a quarter of a million comments from adoring fans.
And a new survey by digital influencer marketing company The Exposure Co has found a quarter of Australians have used a discount code from a blogger or influencer to make a purchase.
Almost 40 per cent say they are more likely to buy something after seeing an influencer or blogger posting about it, and 70 per cent research products they're interested in online, with more than half going on to purchase the item online, and almost a quarter buying on the same day.