My DA has had some serious changes since my pitch. My DA is operational only on Instagram at this point and is called @open_illawarrabusinesses. I started the account on 27 March and in just over a month have made 35 Instagram posts and over 70 Instagram stories. I aim to post at least one story each day and engage with my audience at least once every two days. 

I expressed my idea on Twitter, followed by setting up the Instagram page and posting on numerous Facebook groups, such as UOW Buy n Sell and Illawarra Small Businesses, to inform people of the account. I asked people to comment or message me about small businesses still operating and I compiled this list into an ongoing spreadsheet.

Within the first week I spent numerous hours a day creating Instagram posts on Canva. I also used the app ‘Over’ to create Instagram stories that suited the page aesthetic. 

After the first 3 weeks, I realised individually designing each post and story took a lot of time and effort. I cut back on design time and started to share stories without prior design in order to keep up with the amount of content I had. I also started grouping businesses together in order to share more businesses as seen in my mother’s day post. 


  1. Hi Grace,

    I think your DA is particularly useful for small businesses in the Illawara region during the global COVID-19 pandemic. I love your idea. It fits well with the subject objectives as your Instagram account will help local businesses stay afloat during these tougher economic times. You’re really going to make an impact in the lives of many small local businesses. No one knows what the future will look like after the crisis we are going through, but you are really helping the local economy. It’s a good idea to ask groups on Facebook and Twitter what they think about your DA so that you can continually improve it. I guess using Canva to create graphics takes a lot of time, so it’s a good alternative to make stories on Instagram.

    This is an interesting article about the future of businesses after coronavirus, so it may help you :

    You could also think about the power of technologies for businesses. For example, maybe after this, some businesses will close their actual store and move to an online store because it’s cheaper and will use technologies such as websites, social medias (for the marketing)… This crisis could even create a growing demand for IT jobs and create new types of jobs in the near future.

    Keep up the good work!


  2. Hi Grace!

    Hi Grace!

    I’ll start out by saying that I think your DA is an excellent idea! From personal experience I know that during the bushfires a lot of instagram pages just like yours popped up aiming to assist small local businesses. I’m sure you’ve heard about some of them with pages like Empty Esky becoming incredibly successful. One thing that I noticed which unites a lot of these pages is a creation of unique hashtag which they use in their posts and encourage supporters to use as well. Many of these campaigns are highly structured around a hashtag and even become known by them. Have a look at this website ( which details a number of campaigns set up to support local communities through the bushfires – all of them have a home page and a hashtag.
    For this reason I highly recommend creating one (#openIllawarra perhaps?) which will give your audience a way to interact with your content and find it more easily. I would ask the pages you support to start using this hashtag on their own posts to help gain some traction. This source ( goes into a bit more depth about why hashtag based campaigns are so successful with a key reasons being that they spread awareness and allow for user generated content (or in your case, businesses self promoting through this hashtag = you having to do less work as the # then functions as its own form of promotion).

    I think your DA has great viability for the future and as you’ve stated you have a plan for its continuation. As you mentioned, this pandemic isn’t going anywhere any time soon so continued support in the short term future is essential. In saying this, your DA still has relevance in the medium to long term future as many small businesses have periods of downturned trading even without a pandemic and many struggle to create content and maintain social media accounts.

    Although your DA doesn’t link directly to subject topics, it does have some indirect links. The strongest being Wendell Bells’ probable, possible and preferable futures ( Although you’re not making a direct comment on these futures, your DA is definitely trying to achieve what I would call a preferable future – a future where small businesses have all the tools they need to be successful. To help achieve this vision of a preferable future I think interviewing small businesses would be great – not only giving yourself something to post about but something for those business to share as well.

    Overall, amazing work and I hope you received continued support from your audience!


  3. Hey Grace,

    Love the concept of your DA! I just had a look and you’ve got over 600 followers now so you’re clearly on to a winning idea.

    I work for a small business myself and I know one of the biggest challenges we have faced recently is getting the word out that we are still open and trading and trying to encourage people back to the store so I think your page is really useful.

    I really like the page and I think it’s very eye-catching. Something that could be worth considering introducing is little videos from the business owners talking about what their business offers or if they have any exciting deals happening at the time. You could still keep the theme of the account by including an image with the company’s details (as you already are) and then a swipe to the video which introduces people to the businesses better. I think this would help to capture your audience’s attention and helps put a face to the name of the business.

    It seems like you’re already doing a great job but if you want to help increase the reach of your account try some of the tips from this site ( One aspect that they mention is the Instagram algorithm, which I think we all know is probably the hardest one to crack. I do know however that the more your audience engages with individual posts – whether that is swiping through photos or pressing the “see more” part of a long caption – the better, as this tells Instagram that they are interested in your account and so, in theory, Instagram should then show more of your posts to them. 

    Either way, keep up the great work!


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