Want to know what works for businesses on Instagram? Hear this and more around why you aren't Insta famous yet and how much time you should spend posting.
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Anna: Welcome to episode four of The Elevatory podcast. Today I'm joined by social media coach Vikki. You've run our accounts for about three and a half years. If not more. And you've certainly spent at least three years coaching multiple clients over time through our various programs.
So talk to me here. This was a topic we sort of suggested with everyone throwing ideas around what they wanted to talk about. And this was something that you mentioned you wanted to talk about. So tell us why.
Vikki: Yeah, I suppose it's because mainly I get a lot of clients asking the same questions, like why after a few weeks of consistency, why am I still not? Why don't I have followers? Like, why am I not getting very good reach? And in truth, the answer is that whilst some businesses make it look easy, it actually takes a lot of work to become Insta famous. And there's a lot more to it than just using a good filter, posting a few times a week and whacking up a reel every now and then. And to be honest, the days of using engagement pods or buying likes and followers or group DM-ing your whole list - that just doesn't fly anymore. Especially with the changes to Instagram's algorithm.
And in truth, the answer is that whilst some businesses make it look easy, it actually takes a lot of work to become Insta famous. And there's a lot more to it than just using a good filter, posting a few times a week and whacking up a reel every now and then. - Vikki
Anna: Wow half of those things I didn't even know you could do anyway, that's it from me. Um, but certainly I hear you. There's a lot of people, I guess there's a sense of if we're putting up content. Why are we not getting where we need to go? So you're saying that obviously what worked doesn't work anymore. So what do you feel does work in terms of getting people to that point.
Vikki: In short, the answer is hard work and dedication, you know, you need to think of relatability as well, and being transparent. What is it that your audience want from you? What do they want to see? There's no shortcuts to be had, so you have to do your groundwork. You have to know your audience, and your on social media may not necessarily be the audience that are walking into your store or that are calling you up on the phone when they see your ad to somewhere else. It might be a slightly different audience. And you need to be really clear on who these people are that you're talking to.
Anna: So question then, how do you think that you get to know your audience in that respect?
Vikki: So I suppose, first of all, you have to be really clear on whether Instagram is actually right for your business. Are your audience even on there now? Because they might not be, and which elements of the platform are going to work for you as well? Instagram is huge. There's everything from reels to stories and video, and feeds and highlight tiles and all these words that you probably don't know what they mean Anna, but they're all just like small little pieces of a puzzle. So you need to work out what is actually going to work for you, whether you need a full social media strategy, or maybe just a small footprint on social media, something simple and consistent so that when a potential customer searches you up on Instagram, there is something there to show that you exist, but not something that's going to take you hours every week to create. So, and in terms of a wider marketing strategy, I suppose you need to look at using Instagram alongside paid advertising, email marketing, sales funnels and everything like that in order to grow your audience there as well.
Anna: Yeah. You know me, I like to look at the broad marketing strategy and think that everything has its place, but certainly I feel like Instagram has its place for some businesses, more than others, as in some people, as you said, will use it as a footprint. Other people could be on it and spend a lot of time in it, but equally it could be really lucrative for them. So I think obviously it comes down to business model and we discussed that before the show, like some coaches can do an exceptional job of just spending time on Instagram and putting up case studies and being on stories and that will get them booked clients. Same thing with e-comm stores, I guess, with the kind of visuals that they can put up in the reels or the unpacking in the stories and the behind the scenes, that stuff can work really well. But it's not the only thing that works. I think in terms of coming back to the audience side of things, I know that we’ve been doing a lot more recently asking a lot of questions of our audience, I know that quite often with our clients, we get them to do market research, so that they can have a look, whether it's surveys or polls or what have you going into their Instagram or going into their emails and just kind of getting a feel for who your people are, right?
Vikki: Yeah, absolutely. And that's utilising those stickers on your stories, putting up question box polls, rate bars, all of those sorts of things. And also, I suppose most importantly, is always just checking your insights. You need to be looking and monitoring what your audience are doing on your account. And if they are reacting to something - replicate it - do that as many times as possible as often as you can get away, if it's something that they're responding to really well.
Anna: So when you say responding, does that mean when you're looking at engagement, so we're looking at engagement metrics.
Vikki: Yeah, basically, at the end of the day, engagement is more important than followers. And it's more important than likes, even though engagement in a way, is likes. But you know, Instagram removed the like button a couple of years ago now because everyone was just so focused on how many likes something was getting. And it's really not about that at all. Whilst follower counts, they do matter, engagement rates, they're the currency of Instagram. So if you're looking to boost your engagement, you really need to start asking your audience to do it for you. So the best way to do that is to ask your followers. Like if you want them to like the post, basically ask them to double tap it if they share the same convictions as you, or if you want them to comment, make sure you're asking a question that is answerable in one line. There's no point asking them for an essay. People aren't going to do that. They're not going to reply in that way. As much as people like to talk about themselves, Instagram's all about very short, sharp replies. You know, if you want them to save a new thing on Instagram, save it for another day, give them a reason to save it. A great way to do that is as a carousel posts. That means that the first image doesn't have to ruin the aesthetic of your feed, but the following images, they can be the ones that really give away some information or some really important knowledge, something that someone wants to save and come back to later. And most importantly, if you want them to click the link in your profile and purchase from you, give them a reason why they should. They're probably the most important things to do to get engagement happening.
Anna: Okay. Awesome. So it sounds like it's amazing, so overwhelming for someone from the outside who is like, again, like a virgin, I'm going to keep saying it, but it just goes to show, I guess how much is involved in the platform. With that in mind then, what are you thinking? I mean, obviously you've been doing this for years. How long for someone who's relatively new or using it as a platform, like how long would you recommend they spend?
Vikki: How long is a piece of string? I always get asked this question, how long should I be spending on my socials? And honestly, the minimum amount of time as possible is the right answer because you have a million other things to do with your business.You don't want to be wasting time in TikTok rabbit holes when you could be doing things for your business that are actually going to grow it. However, it comes down to, again, where your audience is. If your audience is on Instagram and they are buying from you on Instagram and they are responding to the content you are putting up then you're definitely going to have to be spending a couple of hours each week, planning your content in advance. And that's probably the most important thing as well is to plan, bulk create. Plan plan plan. I can't say it enough. You really can't just be sticking things up haphazardly. Sporadic posting just doesn't work. You need to have a content strategy. You need to be looking at your insights. Basically if you don't have a content strategy, the algorithm is just not going to work for you. The way the algorithm works, it pushes you towards people that are looking at that content. So if they know that every time you post a funny meme, you get loads of views, then the next time you post one, it will push you to those same people. Again, if you're just sporadically, sticking up anything that you come across, with no plan whatsoever, the algorithm will push you in circles and you're never going to find your groove.
I always get asked this question, how long should I be spending on my socials? And honestly, the minimum amount of time as possible is the right answer because you have a million other things to do with your business. - Vikki
Anna: How interesting. So planning, I think, is important generally, just to maximise your time. As you say with content, there's a lot that you can do to repurpose it. So obviously you can write your plan and then you can use it across multiple platforms and you can take it and rework it into a post for Facebook groups or email marketing. I know that when we do plans and we've done stuff together, we've made lots of content work really hard and across lots of different platforms, which means you're not writing a million different things.
Vikki: Absolutely. If you can spend half an hour, 40 minutes writing one really good blog post. And from that blog post you get six posts for Instagram, something to talk about in your stories. Maybe you come up with a reel to create, you can share some things on LinkedIn. You can post it on your Facebook page, and then maybe, you know, delve into it a bit deeper in a Facebook group all from one piece of content that you've written. So, yeah, it's really important to sort of be clear across the whole marketing strategy, not focusing on individual platforms at a time. How else can I make this content work for me?
Anna: Nice. Okay. So a few things we've discussed are:
- planning; so you're being smart with your time and making sure you've got a content strategy so that you're getting out to the right people
- obviously taking the time to create engaging content, to drive engagement or asking people to comment or do the things that you want
- using stickers and insights to get to know your audience
- getting clear on the audience that you have
- and to make sure that it's the right platform for you in the first place
- and equally understanding who your people are and how they interact with you and what they do with your account, will then help you getting an understanding of maybe how much time you should be spending there
Vikki: And you don't know what you don't know at the end of the day as well. So it is really important to ask the questions and to reach out to people that are more experienced than you. And to just basically ask the questions and there's no such thing as a stupid question. And people always worry about that with Instagram as well. “Everyone probably knows the answer to this” is how most people start a conversation with me. And the answer is that no, they don't, you don't know until you learn it. So yeah, definitely just start asking those questions.
Anna: Have you seen out of interest with some of the accounts that you've worked on, what are the ones that have been most exciting in terms of seeing the difference with some of the output?
Vikki: Again, it comes down to consistency. The people that go from posting really great posts that are well-written and, you know, look fantastic, but they post them really sporadically, like, “oh, they take me hours I only post once a week”. “Well, you know, I sit down and I write four, but then I post them all in one week and then I have nothing the next month and I'm burnt out of ideas.” And then when we sit down and we sort of come up with, um, a bit of a plan for them, of how they are going to actually sit down and bulk create this content. They're the ones that are probably the most exciting because when they realise that they're just not utilising their time properly, and when they sit down with an actual plan and then work through it, step-by-step and each week they are creating content in advance. They're the ones that exciting things start to happen for because they already know what to write. It's just having the time and doing it consistently.
Anna: Well, yes, like you said, not writing massive long posts and just posting sporadically, but using that. And if you can rework the content again, so lots of awesome ideas. Okay. Well, I'm sure there's lots that people can take out of this and obviously the answer is really that there’s a bit more to it than just posting here and there, willy nilly, you have to have a strategy. It does take time. You need to take the time to learn your people and I guess build a good foundation. And I think we talk about that a lot, genuinely in businesses build a good foundation of knowing who you want to speak to, knowing what those content pillars are, being clear on the pain points of your audience and the outcomes that you want to create. And again, that will really help you with your content. And actually one thing that we do a lot of with regards to surveys, which we mentioned before is when you ask really good questions of your audience, you can find really good content pillars just through the repetitive themes and pain points and outcomes.
Vikki: Yeah, absolutely. And make notes of those as well, because you know, if you start a spreadsheet and start popping up those sort of repetitive themes, you can come up with so much content, you know, there's so many things, once you start writing content ideas, according to that pillar, like when you're in the zone, you'll be able to come up with a lot more. So it's much easier than trying to, you know, sitting down and going right today. I have to write about, you know, running for example, and then you have to sit there and try and think about what to come up with. Whereas if your pain point is, you know, getting off the couch and getting healthy, there's, it's much easier to think of ideas to solve that.
Anna: Yeah, definitely. Awesome. Okay. Well, lots of ideas and lots of food for thought. And I will say to everyone listening that if you've got any more questions related to social media or anything else around digital marketing strategy, financials, metrics, mindset, it doesn't matter how silly, we want to be here to help answer it and we promise we'll answer it. Honestly, everything we want to do here for you is just to give you a real raw and honest look at what it takes to grow your business, whatever platform you're using or whatever it is, whatever part of the business. And if you'd like to know anything more about The Elevatory and our awesome team, you can head over to theelevatory.com and you can book a discovery call with me anytime through that link. Alrighty. See you later.
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