Is Instagram a good fit for your business blog? How can you make yourself stand out? Is it a good platform for promoting your blog?
Sue B. Zimmerman is a serial entrepreneur, she started her first business when she was 13 and had her first $1 million at the age of 22. In total she’s built 17 businesses but these days it’s Instagram and educating others on how best to use it for their business that’s her passion.
She was also one of the 10 expert contributors to my post on blogging mistakes.
Listen below as she tells us her story. How she discovered that Instagram could be an effective tool for business and how we as businesses can be successful too.
How To Get Noticed On Instagram – An Interview With Sue B. Zimmerman
Some of the highlights from our conversation:
How did you get started on Instagram?
Sue started using Instagram for her seasonal store on Cape Cod @suebdo.capecod
Instagram came my way mainly because I pay attention to my twin teenage daughters and particularly their mobile habits. I believe teenagers set the next mobile trend, they were on Instagram and I had my store on Cape Cod. My revenue grew over 40% after using Instagram and empowering my employees to do it too.
Because of that great success and because off-season I was teaching and coaching people with social media I decided to make the shift to do more teaching and specifically Instagram. I knew that so many businesses struggle with which platform, the how and why, the distractions, the overwhelm.
A little over 4 years ago I decided to shift completely into teaching and I was lucky, I got interviewed on some great podcasts. Because of the podcasts, I got asked to speak on many different stages.
For the last two years I’ve been travelling around the world speaking internationally, speaking here in the US and getting paid to speak and that wasn’t even in the plans, it just happened because when you are good at what you do and you give value, people want to pay for that value so I’ve been able to create a whole new business teaching Instagram marketing going all in, staying in my lane and having great success and I’m having a lot of fun.
Your seasonal store was a B2C business now you’re in a B2B business. Is it possible to get those great results with a B2B business?
Every business has a story to tell and every business can visually tell that story. It doesn’t have to be literal. People think you have to be literally showing in the photo or in the video exactly what you are talking about in the description but if you look at a lot of successful Instagrammers there’s a story that relates to the emotional pull of the imagery and often it’s not related to the product or service that they sell.
Think of Instagram as your digital magazine. When someone follows you based on your bio and who you are the content you share in your feed represents a magazine. When you purchase a magazine you purchase it because of the content you expect to see. If there was a disconnect, say the magazine is all about Yoga and you started to show me images about travel there’s a disconnect unless you are a travelling yoga instructor.
So you’ve got to make sure that it’s congruent, that there’s a theme, that there’s a story that’s cohesive. Everyone’s biggest mistake that they are trying to go down too many lanes and be too many things and it’s confusing. If you confuse someone on Instagram you’re not going to get those follows or that engagement that you are looking for.
How do you create that theme?
Take a step back and have a strategy around the business that you are in. More importantly, you have to know what your customer, your client is interested in. That requires time, time spent on their Instagram account, their language, their posts and what makes them tick. Too many people spend time thinking about what they think they should be posting for themselves when it is what is your ideal customer or client looking for that matters. How can you inspire, educate, entertain or give value in a profound way every day?
Can you blog on Instagram? And how do we get people over from Instagram to our blogs?
Instagram just announced a new feature. You can now bookmark posts on Instagram. Now you don’t want people to just click the link in your bio, you also want them to bookmark your posts, especially if you are giving a lot of content.
We just released our top 10 most popular and controversial blog posts of 2016. That’s my latest blog and I am driving traffic to that blog now from Instagram, from my personal account @SueBZimmmerman and from my business account @TheInstagramExpert because then we can re-target them with Facebook ads.
Now with the new update, you can encourage people to bookmark your post as well so that they will be able to go back and read it later, especially when it is a micro-blog post like I typically do on Instagram.
How do you make the time for Instagram stories?
I love doing it, you make the time to do what you love. Look at the post below.
#BusinessTip – You have to create your own happiness! Here’s one truth – when you focus on what makes YOU really happy everyday and work towards doing those things you will feel more alive a grounded. I know it can be hard & overwhelming with all the choices you have to “Go Live” and connect with your target audience especially if you aren’t comfortable on camera. If you are struggling in your business and need someone with sound advice you can click the “contact button” here >> @theinstagramexpert and send me a text… YUP being accessible and available to talk to those who need your gifts & services is great way to listen and learn more about the needs of people you are meant to serve. Try it go ahead send me a text :: #suebsays #instagramtip #2017goals #2017isyouryear
I give a call to action, I make myself accessible. Every time I get on the phone with someone my success rate is 95%. When I say success I don’t mean I’m making money every time I do that. I’m connecting with someone, learning from them, sending them where I need to go.
Do they need to go to my YouTube channel and listen to all my free videos over there? Do they need my Instagram for business free Facebook group? Or do they simply need to talk to me further and book a free 15-minute call. I make myself really accessible and I think that’s different to a lot of people. That’s me, that’s authentically being me.
You use video a lot on Instagram but I’ve struggled to get views even though I get likes. Is there anything we can do to get more views?
I think you have to make sure it aligns with the visual elements in your ‘magazine’ so there’s no disconnect and you have to be consistently giving value. I know what people want from me so I am able to deliver it. A lot of it is trial and error.
I am trying to consistently post my blogs the same way on The Instagram Expert at the moment. I use Phonto to overlay the link to my blog suebzimmerman.com/blog at the bottom of the image. Then I upload it to Legend which does the text overlay of the title as an animation so that it’s not sitting on the photo as I’m not a fan of text overlay.
I’m able to choose the cover photo for a video and the cover photo I use doesn’t have the text on it but if you tap it you’ll see the overlay
BOOK MARK THIS (#NewBlog ) Our 10 Most Popular & Controversial Blog Post of 2106 If you are serious about upping your game on Instagram then this blog post is for you! Here are just 3 of the 10 blog post you can learn from …. ✔️#1 My First Interview With @marieforleo ✔️#2 How to Use Instagram On Your Computer – if you are a desktop user this is for you ✔️#3 Instagram Stories: 7 Tips For Improving Viewer Retention – one of my favs Tap the link in our bio then circle back here & LMK which post was your favorite Cheers to YOU! The @sbzteam appreciates every like, comment, DM, and repost. 2016 has been a year of listening, learning + ♡… • • • •. #instagramtips #instagramblogs #instagramforbusiness #communityfirst #collaborationovercompetition #yougotthis #marieforleo Sent via @planoly #planoly
Because I get more views on my videos this is better for me.
On Instagram you need to make stuff obvious, blatant and a little bit out there. You cannot read people’s minds. If they are scrolling on Instagram and they can’t see it’s a blog post they might think of it as just an image so you need to make it clear.
You’ll see on my Instagram account that the last 3 blog posts are all with this process, whilst the process works you should keep doing it. But a process can get stale, you need to shake it up. Go back and listen to what your audience is appreciating, commenting on, liking, reposting.
Instagram live, how should we be using it?
I’ve not pressed Instagram live yet because I want to be intentional, I want to have a plan. I think so many people jump the gun and just do it and then it’s not special so you lose your audience.
I want to make sure that when I go live [the audience] say ‘I wanna tune into this every time Sue goes live’ I want it to be so good you guys don’t miss one of my live broadcasts.
Everything you do with your business should be done with intention, not because someone else is doing it. You have to think about what’s best for you. I think a lot of people copy other people who they think are having great success without thinking about if it makes sense for them.
And I notice with marketers that they don’t seem to have the creativity on Instagram. They post a lot of text overlay and quotes, they just don’t know how to position themselves.
Create a post on Instagram of anything whilst you are listening to this episode (or reading the post). Then use the tag #suebmademedoit so Sue can see you.
Look at the tag on Instagram for inspiration from others.
You can grab Sue’s free 2017 strategy guide for Instagram here.
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