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Good morning, internet fans, and happy… I don’t know if we say Happy Veterans Day, but it definitely is Veterans Day. Very proud and lucky to have this broadcast on this day as a lot of my family are retired veterans, and I have a number of friends who serve. So, to all those who have served, will serve and are serving, thank you very much. Today is also Social Media Wednesday, therefore, I have Provaro Marketing, which is Sarah Giacometti, getting everything backwards today. Good morning, Sarah.
Sarah Giacometti: Good morning, Ryan. How are you?
RP: I’m doing pretty good, thank you. We’re going to talk about Instagram today and you’ve got five tips to make your Instagram community love your brand.
SG: I do. I do. I wanted to go back to Instagram because it is kind of, it’s hot, it’s growing, and I think a lot of business owners especially if they’re a B2B business, they struggle with trying to figure out a way to be on Instagram. And so, I thought it would be a good time to do an episode, especially with the holidays coming up, on how to help businesses improve their community and grow their Instagram, grow their Instagram community, and interaction, and strategy.
RP: Right. So, I guess there’s two issues that I think we should address first before going to the five, and that is first of all, as a small business owner, how relevant is Instagram? I mean, I’m already doing Facebook, I’m already doing Twitter, I get to handle billing in all these other things and now you want me to do Instagram also? The other thing is, the return on investment, I understand Instagram on a very large scale. I read an article a couple of days ago where the hot thing are people that have huge accounts they’ll do brand endorsements. So, this is XYZ brand. If I incorporate any drink in the brand in the picture based on like for every 1000 likes I get, I get $150, $200, but as a business owner, especially a small business owner, I’m not going to get a 1000 likes.
SG: No, you’re not, it’s definitely it’s the same as Facebook, it’s the same scale kind of thing. You can still be very relevant on Instagram for a local business. We were talking off-air about for our community. We live in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, and you can still follow their community organizations on that, there are other businesses. And so, you will have to do a little bit of research for your own community, but look for the city you live in or the county, the Visitors Bureau, places like that, and see, follow them, interact with them, see kind of what they’re doing, what hashtags they are using, and kind of like it’s dig down a rabbit hole a little bit of data research, and you can still have a very influential Instagram campaign and strategy. It will definitely be on a smaller scale. So, if you get 25-30 likes for your local business, it could be great for you. Especially if it drives traffic to your website and puts people in front of you, in your doors, in your stores. You don’t need it… I mean, obviously you would probably have loved to have a 1000 people walk through your door, but if 30 walk though the door, that are more 30 new people walk through the door, you’re going to be thrilled.
RP: Okay, perfect. And I guess the other issue is Instagram, that’s all about high school kids on their cellphones sending pictures, and all that type of stuff, isn’t it?
SG: No, it’s not, it’s… The biggest user group is 18 to 34. It’s pretty close to a 50/50 male/female split. And you got to think 34, they’re married, they’ve got kids, not everybody obviously, but they’re definitely going, having families. At 34, my kid was a teenager, almost. So, you gotta… You think outside the box a little bit, 18 to 34 covers two different generations. And we all get older every year, so that’s just going to increase. It’s kind of going the way as Facebook, Facebook started in college and then it grew, plus they got older, and so the demographics grew. Now, Facebook covers 18 to 65 very well, and Instagram seems to be going a little bit in that direction. So, don’t dismiss it out of hand, thinking it’s just teenagers, because you do have people all the way up. You have all ages, but the biggest users are all the way up to 35.
RP: Okay, perfect. So, what is going to be tip number one to make people fall in love with your brand on Instagram?
SG: Build a community around actionable hashtag. So, create a hashtag, don’t hijack somebody’s. But create a hashtag that will get your community involved for them to use. So, a perfect example is Nike ran one that was Choose Your Winter, and they had a… I think it was Choose Your Winter, something like that. And they used this hashtag and they encouraged their community to post pictures using this hashtag. There’s two benefits to this. One, you get the hashtag used a lot and so you get exposure through that. But it gave Nike a really easy opportunity to repost and highlight their followers. And so, because you can do a search by hashtag and all the pictures that your followers have posted on Instagram with your hashtag, and it is basically giving you free content because you can just repost their stuff and highlight them and their activity. So, you can build a community around something that encourages them to do something, and do it within the lines of your brand. If you are an outdoor store, do something that goes with outdoor; if you are a gym, do it a lot with weight lifting, or running or working out. I got a girlfriend who is part of this workout community and every… She posts and promotes them in every post when she’s working out. And so, you wanna build that kind of loyalty community and utilize the hashtags so that other people are kind of doing some of the work for you.
RP: Yeah, I mean, the biggest websites out there today, for the most part, they’re not creating their own content. People are creating it for them. So, from a marketing point of view, anytime you can get people to give you content, one, if you’re just one person trying to come up with creative ideas, you’re going to be limited to the scope that you think about but if you… Even if you have just have 50 people coming up with original content ideas and sharing it with you, who knows what it can do for your business?
SG: Right. And you can promote it on other platforms. You don’t just have to promote the hashtag on Instagram. If you’ve got a really good following on Facebook or some other platform, you can drive them to Instagram, and say, “Hey, post your pictures of doing XYZ activity using this hashtag and we’ll Regram our favorite ones,” or things like that. So, you can be a little bit creative about it, and encourage your community to help you create content.
RP: Okay. And just to clarify what the hashtag… What you’re talking about is creating your very own hashtag that nobody else is using. So, you wanna make sure if you come up with something creative, it needs to be short, memorable, easy to remember. And ideally, do a little bit of research, make sure nobody else is using it because you could be sending people to your competitor’s website.
SG: Right. And on Instagram, especially on the computer, it’s really easy. You type the hashtag… Type the hashtag you wanna do, and it’ll auto populate and tell you if there are posts already using it. So, it’s a really quick and easy way to figure out if you’re being unique enough or not.
RP: Okay, perfect. And then it’s 9:53, so what’s number two?
SG: Partner with a good cause that’s in alignment with your brand. So, this is especially good during the holidays. If you are a restaurant, and you can partner with a brand that is feeding the homeless. And you can offset… Donate your unused food that you can’t serve in the restaurant. Something like that. And leverage their community with your community, and have joint promotions.
RP: Yeah. And that’s just really smart because if you’ve got a 100 people, and somebody else has 500 people, you just increased your visibility by fivefold overnight by tagging in with them. So, that’s just smart, smart, smart.
SG: Yep. And it’s a… Most of us do some sort of community service or believe in a cause. So, highlight that because it goes back to the brand name. People wanna know, like and trust you, and relate to you. And so, by highlighting your community service, especially for a local business, showing how involved you are in your community and how involved you are in your cause will really endear people to you.
RP: All right. Perfect.
SG: Number three, do not over post.
SG: Twitter is like the only one that this does not apply to. I have a personal friend on my personal Instagram account that she… She just, it blows up my feed because it’s her, her, her, her. Instagram is chronological. And so, you definitely wanna be conscientious of that. That if you’ve got people following you, especially people who are not… They don’t have a ton… They’re not following a ton of people. You wanna be conscientious that you’re not blowing up their news feed because then they’re just not going to wanna follow you because they’re just like, “Oh my God. More. More.” You’re going to tire them out. So, be aware of that. That it doesn’t… You can’t do a whole album. It doesn’t group them together like Facebook does. So, it’s… Every single one of them’s an individual post. So, you wanna keep it to a minimum. One, two, three times a day max. One should be sufficient. One every day, every other day, should be sufficient for Instagram.
RP: So, I guess the key takeaway here is that if you have 20 pictures, obviously you’d throw it up on Facebook and create an album. With Instagram, just choose the best one of the 20. I enjoy taking photography, and I take a lot of pictures. And I post some of them on my Facebook account. And I just got a comment yesterday, “Oh, you take such beautiful pictures.” And my typical response is, “I only post the good ones.” That’s why I take good pictures because I only post the good ones. All the other… The 98% that I don’t post are crap, and I don’t post them.
SG: Right. And the same goes for Instagram. Yeah. Pick the very best of the 20. That’s what everybody does on Instagram. They post the best of the best. Like that article, The Girl That Was Making A Ton Of Money. She stopped doing Instagram, and kinda said, “Yeah, this is not real life. I took 500 pictures to get that one that I put on Instagram.” So, you definitely don’t need to go that extreme, but, yeah. Pick the one best of the group that you’re looking at for Instagram.
RP: All right. And I think we’re coming up on number four?
SG: Yep, number four. Find the beauty in your brand. And this really applies to B2B. What am I going to show? Me sitting in front of the computer, or Ryan and I in the office? Which I have, actually, but that’s… The work that I do, there isn’t a ton to show of the actual work I do. And so, you have to be creative. Like I said, find the beauty in your brand. So, I do post pictures of Ryan and I in the office doing videos or having a meeting or messing around with him throwing a paper airplane at me. So, especially if you don’t have product, you can still be creative or… And mix it in with quotes or pretty pictures. I put pictures of my cats because when I work from home… The couple of days a week I work from home, they like to lay on me, on my arms, on my desk. And so… But they’re also a big part of my life and I am my brand. So, you can think outside the box a little bit on what you’re doing but… And that’s where it goes back to find the beauty in your brand or highlight your customers, your clients, their products, things like that, don’t have to think if your… You don’t have to be a restaurant or a bar or a business that has a product to sell to be on Instagram. You definitely can do it as a B2B service business, you just have to be a little bit more creative about what you put out there.
RP: All right. And the other thing I’m thinking about is if you’re involved in nonprofit or if you build business mixers, those type of things, especially ’cause we’re talking about local community, local business, trying to build a local following. Let people know where you’re at, because if they see that you’re showing up at the local chamber mixer every month, and somebody wants to reach out and contact you, maybe that’s a way that they’re more comfortable of showing up.
SG: Exactly. And so yeah, show you in the community, and people will engage with you, for sure.
RP: All right, perfect. And we got about two minutes left for number five.
SG: Number five is check what you… The people you are following, what they’re doing. And how you do this is, in your Instagram app, if you go to your activity newsfeed, which is… I had to pull up my phone to remember what it looked like, the little bubble with a heart in it, first, it pops up your activity and that’s what people have done with your pictures, their likes, that they liked it, commented, followed you. But on the right hand side is the word Followers, and click on that and you can see what the… The people that you are following, what they’re doing. And so, that’s also a way to do a little bit of research to see what kind of creative things they’re putting out there, what hashtags they’re using, who their followers are. It’s definitely a way to look at and a way to increase who you should be interacting with, maybe you should add some more followers, change up your hashtags a little bit. It’s definitely a great way to find the people that are likely to love your brand on Instagram.
RP: All right, perfect. So with that, we’re running out of time for today’s show, but I think there’s definitely five usable tips that you can start implementing today in your business. One of the key things is, always do a little bit of research first, just like any conversation, when you go into it being the new person, listen first and then start engaging. With that, Sarah, I appreciate your time. We will see you next Wednesday for another episode of Social Media Wednesday.
SG: Thanks, Ryan, it’s always a pleasure to be here.
RP: All right everybody, that’s it for the show, take care and have a great Veterans Day.