“Sometimes the most successful campaigns come from using a platform in a way it wasn’t intended.”

“Sometimes the most successful campaigns come from using a platform in a way it wasn’t intended.” with Dustin Zick and Candice Georgiadis

Walk before you run. The most innovative Instagram campaigns happen when the social media manager falls down a rabbit hole. Exploring and using Instagram outside of work serves as inspiration when coming up with a social media campaign. Sometimes the most successful campaigns come from using a platform in a way it wasn’t intended. This can lead to Instagram “hacks” that surprise the users and grab their attention. For example, my idea for building an Instagram scavenger hunt came from playing around on the platform. It sparked the idea that I could use geotagging and captivating images to guide users through a scavenger hunt in downtown Milwaukee.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dustin Zick, social media manager at Bader Rutter, who has more than 10 years of experience working for national brands, including Dremel Tools, Paper and Packaging Board, Kroger and Pioneer Seed. He is a Bronze Effie Award winner in the culture and arts category for his work on the Milwaukee Public Museum. Going beyond Instagram’s capabilities, Dustin created a city-wide scavenger hunt, resulting in more than a thousand participants and triggering more than 200 people to visit the Milwaukee Public Museum. Dustin “hacked” Instagram to create a unique experience by creating a collage and tagging accounts to enable an interactive experience. He achieved all of this in a short time period and with a low budget. Not only does he create social experiences but he also he works with bloggers and influencers to create visual content that tells the story of a product.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

In high school, I dreamed of being a journalist and writing for a newspaper. Around 2007 or 2008, when I was halfway through college, it became evident that a newspaper probably wasn’t a great career path. When I graduated college in 2009, I’d replaced my dream of being a journalist with the idea of joining the Peace Corps for two years and hopefully coming back to an America that was rebounding from the recession. Before I could do that though, my dad passed away unexpectedly a month after I graduated. I spent the next year bouncing around doing odd jobs (continuing my college summer job as a cemetery groundskeeper, stocking potato chips at grocery stores and more). After a year of not knowing what to do, I resolved to find a job that could become a career and landed a marketing internship at an e-commerce company that sold costumes and party supplies — this was in the summer of 2010. During my internship, I carved out a niche for myself as someone who was interested in social media — and on Jan. 1, 2011, I was employed as the company’s first social media specialist.

Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about social media marketing?

It’s easy to throw my experience out there and talk about my time doing that, but I don’t think that alone is enough to be considered an authority. Yes, I’ve spent almost a decade managing social for local, regional and national brands, won multiple awards and managed budgets of hundreds of thousands of dollars. But I think one of the most important things when it comes to being good at social media marketing is to be a consumer of it yourself, to submerse yourself in the thick of it. I’m always signing up for the newest service, trying the newest tools and trying to figure out ways to push the limits of what people expect to see from their favorite (and not-so-favorite) brands on social.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

A few years ago, I won a social media contest I’d entered on Twitter. The grand prize was a Zero-Gravity flight experience, on the same parabolic airplane that the filmmakers of Apollo 13 used to shoot the zero-gravity scenes. When I won, I had forgotten I’d entered the contest. I had to ask the woman who sent me my winning email (who was the social media manager for the brand) to call me because I wasn’t so sure that the email wasn’t a scam. So, I am probably one of the very few social media marketers who’s experienced zero gravity.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I was managing the social media for a historic hotel in Milwaukee, I live-tweeted about half of a Milwaukee Brewers baseball game before I realized I was posting it through the hotel’s account and not my own. Fortunately, the hotel is a fan of the team, too, so it was about as “safe” of a screwup as one can have. After that, if I was going to be live-tweeting anything from my phone, I made sure I was logged out of all other accounts at that time.

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

I’ve found great success on different channels, and it depends on the brand, objective and audience. Platforms are constantly adapting and improving their systems, which means we’re often uncovering new successes. Right now, LinkedIn is capitalizing on sales in new ways, like making lead generation easier, and it’s adapting to audience needs as well. Instagram has become a great platform for product sales with its growing offerings. We’re finding highly engaged users; and with robust and growing paid tactics, it’s an effective channel for directly impacting revenue. I start by looking at the brand’s offerings and objectives. Then I dig into audience demographics to determine the best channels.

Let’s talk about Instagram specifically now. Can you share six ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

Think like a general user. Whether you’re a college student trying to be an influencer or a business trying to make buzz, the rules are the same because the platform doesn’t distinguish between the two. These fundamental tips are the foundation to making your business increase dramatically by using Instagram:

1. Think visually. The photo on Instagram should stand on its own regardless of the caption. Don’t try to recycle content from other social platforms or different mediums (like a landscape photo from a Twitter post, for example). Instead, use content specific to Instagram to set your account apart and use maximum real estate on the platform. Instagram is a visual-first platform and it’s important to think of your image and how it relates to your audience. What visual story are you trying to tell? What will it inspire? Imagine the story your photo will tell without a caption before writing one to support the post.

  1. Connect your posts thematically. View your Instagram account as an ongoing story. To amplify the story, leverage different types of media functionalities, such as Instagram Stories and boomerangs, within the app. In addition, think about your hashtags. The newest Instagram trend is to follow hashtags, rather than just accounts. Because of this popularity, Instagram has increased its search capabilities, which gives brands the opportunity to “connect” with hashtags, location identifiers and other accounts.

3. Explore paid promotions. A little goes a long way when it comes to paid promotions on Instagram. Small businesses tend to shy away from investing in social media, but it only takes a few dollars to make a sizable difference. Paid promotions build awareness and capitalize on key efforts of any business. Social media managers only need $20 to $30 when advertising locally to make an impact. There are no minimal contributions on Instagram paid promotions, which means you have full control over your investment.

4. Walk before you run. The most innovative Instagram campaigns happen when the social media manager falls down a rabbit hole. Exploring and using Instagram outside of work serves as inspiration when coming up with a social media campaign. Sometimes the most successful campaigns come from using a platform in a way it wasn’t intended. This can lead to Instagram “hacks” that surprise the users and grab their attention. For example, my idea for building an Instagram scavenger hunt came from playing around on the platform. It sparked the idea that I could use geotagging and captivating images to guide users through a scavenger hunt in downtown Milwaukee.

5. Think about your audience. Your primary purpose on Instagram is to give your audience value. To do so, a solid audience analysis is needed to best direct efforts. What age group is your target audience in? Do they like basic product photos or perhaps they want to see the product in use? Do they follow dog accounts? Maybe you want to take a picture of your product with a dog to best grab their attention. Asking yourself questions about your audience gives you a better idea of how to strategically post on Instagram. You can only engage your audience if you understand what they want to see on social media.

6. Build a social team that responds as quickly as the platform. Businesses need a social media team that can quickly handle a crisis. A single negative comment on a post can escalate quickly if not handled correctly. You need people — even if it’s just you — who are always ready to respond to defuse a situation. On the opposite side, responding quickly to positive posts can be equally important. Say a celebrity shared an image of your product. Responding quickly and capitalizing on the opportunity can increase traffic and lead to more business. Being ready for both negative and positive social moments is key to increasing your business on Instagram.

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I am blessed to have a 12-year-old rescue dog that I adopted from the Wisconsin Humane Society when she was four years old. I firmly and strongly believe that the impact adopting a rescue animal goes far beyond their adopter. My dog has not only helped me through tough times but also many of my friends. I would honestly just put my weight behind the #AdoptDontShop movement. And senior pets. The gratitude senior rescue dogs have is unparalleled. It’s impossible to not feel good around them.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the United States, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. 🙂

Nick Offerman. I’d love to pick his brain on his woodworking shop and how he got into woodworking, and to get his thoughts on how someone like me with no access to tools could get into it — as I’ve always wanted to. I love Parks and Recreation, too, but I really want to talk about his woodshop.

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!


“Sometimes the most successful campaigns come from using a platform in a way it wasn’t intended.” was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

“ It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to have worries. It’s okay to doubt yourself. But it’s not okay

“ It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to have worries. It’s okay to doubt yourself. But it’s not okay to give up because of that.” with Dhar Mann and Candice Georgiadis

Don’t be afraid to go after your dreams. So many people are stuck in fear or self-doubt. They’re worried about failing or what others are going to think of them. But what separates successful people from unsuccessful people is not that successful people don’t have those same thoughts, it’s that they decide to move forward anyway. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to have worries. It’s okay to doubt yourself. But it’s not okay to give up because of that. Don’t live with regret later in life wondering “what if”. Never forget the biggest obstacle is always in your own mind. Push past that mental block that’s preventing you from going after your dreams so you can live your best life!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dhar Mann, a serial entrepreneur who shares his personal stories of success and failure to help inspire others. He is currently the Founder and CEO of LiveGlam, a cosmetics company that he took from $600 in starting capital to 8-figures in annual revenue in less than 2 years. On social media, his motivational videos on life and business have been viewed over 150 million times and shared by millions of people in less than 6 months.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Throughout my life I’ve experienced epic successes and failures. From starting my first business at 19 and funding millions of dollars in real estate transactions to losing it all in the mortgage crisis. From making International headlines as an early pioneer in the medical marijuana industry to going completely broke sleeping on a friend’s couch. I’ve experienced more setbacks than most people can even imagine on the way to creating the 8-figure cosmetics business I run today, and that life and business experience ultimately is what led me to being the storyteller and content creator I am today.

People are able to empathize with failure, and because I’ve failed more than most people have, that’s what makes me relatable. I turned to social media as the best way to connect with more people and spread positivity and inspiration.

Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?

Six months ago, I decided to create my first motivational Facebook video. I committed myself to making two videos a week, and within a short amount of time, my videos started catching on. Today my videos have been viewed over 150 million times and have been shared by millions of people. I’m growing over 50,000 followers a week on Facebook, and on Instagram I have over 500,000 followers.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

On one production for an Instagram video, I was working with a makeup artist who was shooting a class on how to do bridal makeup. The model happened to be another Instagram beauty influencer named Laura (@LauraG_143). At the end of the class, to complete the bridal makeup look, Laura got fully decked out in the bridal veil and wedding dress. When the class was over, we all decided to go out for drinks to celebrate. Laura only had her wedding dress to wear and I was coincidentally dressed up in a white button-up shirt. Everywhere we went, people thought we had just gotten married and were congratulating us. Even though we had just met, we played along. And sure enough, we actually ended up together. So when people ask us about our story today, we tell them we got married the day we met! In summary, using social media is not only a great way to scale a business or make money, but also to meet your partner!

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

In my experience, the fastest way to increase business revenues is through Facebook due to one simple fact: virality. While Instagram and YouTube are the most influential platforms for influencers to drive sales, it takes a long time to stand out on those platforms and to gain influence. But with Facebook, one piece of content can translate to hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in revenue very quickly.

When I first started a nail polish line for my cosmetics company, we had posted a picture of a girl’s hand wearing three different nail polish colors to our few hundred followers. A beauty blogger ended up seeing the picture and decided to share it to her audience. Then all of her followers starting sharing it and it created a massive snowball effect. That one post ended up getting shared by tens of thousands of people and resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue. We had to restock those nail polish colors several times just to keep up with the demand. It’s unbelievable the amount of traction one great piece of content can get on Facebook if done correctly.

Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share 6 ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

Develop relationships with key industry influencers — This is a great way to make the brand more exciting, generate sales and grow a following.

Do giveaways of exciting products and have influencers promote it — Our last giveaway helped my cosmetics company @liveglam.co gain over 80k followers in less than 24 hours.

Take time on your captions — People like to look at pretty pictures, but they really engage with captions that speak to them. Take the extra time to write engaging captions and don’t underestimate the power of storytelling.

Your first 9 pictures matter the most — For most people when they come across your page they will not take the time to scroll it if you don’t capture them right away.Have exciting content that will make people want to follow at first glance.

Use Instagram Stories, IGTV and Live — Facebook and Instagram like when you use their new features. They will rank you higher in the algorithm. Be an early adopter to all new feature releases and your visibility will increase.

Respond to every comment and comment on other Influencer’s pages — It doesn’t matter if you have 5 comments or 500, respond to every single person that comments on your content. Similarly, take the time to like and comment on the content for Influencers that are important in your industry. It’s a great way to develop a relationship, have them get to know your name and possibly want to work with you.

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Don’t be afraid to go after your dreams. So many people are stuck in fear or self-doubt. They’re worried about failing or what others are going to think of them. But what separates successful people from unsuccessful people is not that successful people don’t have those same thoughts, it’s that they decide to move forward anyway. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to have worries. It’s okay to doubt yourself. But it’s not okay to give up because of that. Don’t live with regret later in life wondering “what if”. Never forget the biggest obstacle is always in your own mind. Push past that mental block that’s preventing you from going after your dreams so you can live your best life!

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Gary V simply because he has the ears of a lot of young people aspiring for more. I feel my message will resonate with his audience. I similarly come from an immigrant family, am the CEO of my own business and am creating my own content that’s getting shared by millions of people. He doesn’t read articles, only comments, so hopefully his team sees this!

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!


“ It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to have worries. It’s okay to doubt yourself. But it’s not okay was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business, With LaShawn Wiltz and Candice…

How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business, With LaShawn Wiltz and Candice Georgiadis

Leverage your Captions! Yes, Instagram is a visual platform, but once you hook them with the photo, to increase the chance that they will do more than just double tap and move on, you need to give them a reason to stop and comment. Make sure your caption continues the story that your photo is trying to tell! And give users a reason to comment by using a call to action. A call to action gives a user a reason to do something. For example, Head to the link in our bio for the latest sale information. Or telling users to “leave a comment with your best advice about…” This gives users a reason to comment and a feeling of community when you respond to that comment. And THAT keeps them coming back.

I had the pleasure of interviewing LaShawn Wiltz, the creator of Everyday Eyecandy.com where she blogs about motherhood, her life, her passion for capturing everyday moments through photography and trying to find her version of balance through it all. She was the 2017 Mom 2.0 Summit IRIS Award winner for Best Instagram and is passionate about helping everyone live their best Instagram life. Based in Atlanta, GA, you can find Lashawn on Instagram, capturing the beauty in life’s everyday moments, documenting her days as a wife and mom with half-finished coffee in one hand and her camera in the other.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I have always loved Instagram. Over the years, I slowly built a community over there and even though it was small, it was mighty. I started getting questions on how I did things, why I posted when I did. How I grew. I started helping friends and it bloomed from there.

Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?

I have spoken on the topic of Instagram at conferences ( BlogHer and Mom2.0). I have written about Instagram for online publications and I teach strategies about Instagram to other influencers. And my strategies work!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

It actually happened to my husband! He is rarely featured on my Instagram, but one day he and my son were both recognized at our local YMCA by someone who follows me. He was so surprised because before then, he just thought I was playing around online.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I first started selling courses, I just thought if you build it, surely they will come. NOT! My mistake was just saying I had a course and listening to the crickets for months until I figured out I had to be proactive.

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

I have found that Instagram is! You never know who is watching. I post to Instagram several times a week about my love of coffee. I do a simple story almost every morning about my first cup of coffee. I have gotten many contracts and opportunities in the last few years simply because of that love of coffee. The lesson here is: do what you love, share what you love. Somewhere out there are people who will see that and want to hire you because of it.

Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share 6 ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Be Social and Engage. I put this first for a reason. Instagram is a SOCIAL network that thrives and runs on being engaged. Interacting with other Instagram accounts in your niche by liking, commenting and following is still one of the fastest ways to grow your accounts. Why? Because you are making connections. So if you sell shoes, you should be interacting with companies that sell shoes and fashionistas who wear shoes and post about them on their accounts.There are your people! They are the ones who will most likely to engage back and follow you because they are interested in your content.
  2. Engage Back. When a customer takes the time out of their day to like or actually comment on your content, ENGAGE BACK! Instagram’s mission is to keep you and your customers on the app as long as possible. This is why they gave us the ability to like comments, threaded comments on our posts and the ability to send DM’s. Engaging with your customers shows them that you care and it keeps them coming back. But remember that engagement shouldn’t have a spammy quality. Make meaningful comments!
  3. Leverage your Captions! Yes, Instagram is a visual platform, but once you hook them with the photo, to increase the chance that they will do more than just double tap and move on, you need to give them a reason to stop and comment. Make sure your caption continues the story that your photo is trying to tell! And give users a reason to comment by using a call to action. A call to action gives a user a reason to do something. For example, Head to the link in our bio for the latest sale information. Or telling users to “leave a comment with your best advice about…” This gives users a reason to comment and a feeling of community when you respond to that comment. And THAT keeps them coming back.
  4. Use Instagram Stories. Instagram is personal. It’s still a very “social” network. Users want to get to know the people behind the account. They want to see the behind the scenes of your business, you packing away products, planning for the next launch. When they feel like they know you, they trust you. And when they trust you, they buy your products.
  5. Make the most of the link in your bio. I can’t tell you how many times that I come across Instagram accounts with a simple link and no explanation of where it leads to. The best way to drive traffic to your business is to make sure it is clear where that link leads to by using a call to action. Explain exactly what the link in bio leads to. For example: Head here to get a limited time $25 off coupon.
  6. Use your analytics. If you have a business account( and you should!) use your analytics! There is so much information there about your audience! You can find out what cities they are in, what time they are online, which content they respond to the most to. In other words, you can tailor your content to your audience simply by using the analytics that Instagram collects for you.

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I want people to share their everyday lives, not just our highlight reels. Because it’s those everyday moments that are important. These little everyday moments aren’t perfect and curated, but they are just as special because they are the real you. And that is what helps us to connect to one another.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

It’s so cliche to say Oprah. But I’m going to say Oprah. Because who wouldn’t? I’ve been so inspired by her and the way she has taken everything that she has learned and life, turned it around and shared it with us. As someone who switched careers and started a business later in life ( I’m 42) I always look to how she saw what wasn’t working with OWN, learned from it and bloomed! Who wouldn’t want to sit and learn from that?

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!


How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business, With LaShawn Wiltz and Candice… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

“At the end of the day, no one purchases your product, they purchase your brand.”

“At the end of the day, no one purchases your product, they purchase your brand.” with Melanie Balke and Candice Georgiadis

Here’s the number one mistake brands make on Instagram: Being too professional. Instagram is a social media platform and customers want to see your brand’s personality. When you do show your brand’s personality a customer’s emotional connection to your brand and who you are / what you stand for becomes so much stronger making them more likely to purchase. Because at the end of the day, no one purchases your product, they purchase your brand.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Melanie Balke, Director of Growth Strategy at BAMF Media, LA’s fastest growing marketing agency. Melanie has consulted for start-ups you have never heard of as well as global brands you interact with daily. She’s worked globally across several industries such as automotive, healthcare, clothing retail, skincare, tech and real estate, from Germany, Australia, China and the US.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

If we traveled back in time to when I was 15, we would be standing in the middle of an operating room and I would be helping dissect a cancerous intestine during my first ever internship. That’s a weird beginning to a story, but when I was younger I was torn between going to medical school and business school, which sounds silly because they are two completely different fields. What I loved about medical school was that I would be able to truly help people, but what I hated was the inflexibility. The fact that I wouldn’t be able to move from country to country easily or change who I worked with, take time off easily to have a family or focus on a hobby. Working for a marketing agency and in consulting truly is the best of both worlds because I get to help people realize their dreams and calling with their companies every day while at the same time I get to maintain the flexibility. It’s a blessing!

Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?

In a nutshell, I would say that I have worked and seen brands small and large utilize social media in different ways for different purposes across various industries and types of businesses. Basically, I’ve seen it all and along the way have helped grow accounts organically from 200 to 20,000 followers within a few months while utilizing social media to build a stronger customer connection and increase sales.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

The most interesting story to share is probably when one of my clients, The Vibrant Body Company, accidentally went viral. The Vibrant Body Company is a bra brand that stands for making undergarments for women free of harmful chemicals. They had set up a coupon code for a charity event with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which then got leaked into a Facebook group aimed at sharing freebies. Within an hour, while we were on the phone trying to figure out what to do next, the orders for free bras went from about 160,000 to 300,000 orders.

The best thing is what happened next though. Someone on the internet thought that it was a bit suspicious that people were giving away a $90 bra for free. So, they figured it must be a scam, more specifically, a sex trafficking scam aimed at getting female’s home addresses so they could later be kidnapped. This story then spread like wildfire on Facebook and my client started getting death threats including pictures of guns, dogs as well as unsolicited visits by very angry looking men.

The moral of the story is, if you want to go viral on social media, you better be prepared for it.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

One time I was incredibly sick and totally out of it from all the medication that I accidentally copy and pasted the wrong link into the Instagram bio. Instead of directing people to the giveaway I had promised them in the post, I was directing them to a WebMD page about sinus infection. ?

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

It truly depends on the audience you are trying to reach. I’ve found that Pinterest is mainly made up of window shoppers. A lot of people will engage with your content and pin it but the number of people who will actually purchase from Pinterest traffic is fairly low. I worked with a bracelet brand where people would constantly visit the website coming from Pinterest and engage with the content there, but very few of them converted to customers. Especially because it was a higher price product.

On the other hand, I have found that Instagram story ads have been driving a lot of sales and revenue with the right target audience. Young female millenials are likely to click and purchase something based off of a cool Instagram story ad they saw, if it appeals to them. I’ve used this successfully for a clothing brand client who used summer themed ads with content shot on the beautiful Italian coast of Amalfi to promote their new collection during spring.

Snapchat is a great brand awareness platform. Creating sponsored post stories on Snapchat can really help you reach younger audiences to build brand awareness, which in the long term may also increase revenue, but in the short term usually doesn’t.

Last but not least, the giant, Facebook. Facebook can definitely increase business revenue from an advertising standpoint — (beware: As long as your business is the right fit). However, I’ve seen a decline in organic posts driving traffic from a client’s Facebook page to their website. The new secret weapon for Facebook is Facebook groups. With a client in the nutritional space we’ve successfully built and used a free Facebook group where we offered content around the Paleo diet of life, from recipes, eBooks, videos and nutritional coaching to upsell into a paid membership in another more exclusive group. The more exclusive group contained more / better recipes, videos, one-on-one coaching as well as fitness training.

Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share 6 ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

Absolutely, let me break down the 6 most impactful ways to dramatically improve your business with Instagram.

1) Leverage Instagram Stories To Drive Sales

Instagram stories are a great way to drive sales both through ads as well as through organic content.

400 million people use Instagram stories and observing habits I have noticed that people are more likely now to click through stories rather than scroll through a feed. Instagram stories have people be more actively watching and engaged than just scrolling through a feed. That’s where brands’ opportunity lies to create an Instagram story ad that is compelling and seems like organic content seducing the audience to watch your ad without even realizing it is one.

The number one mistake to watch out for is to have your ad be placed in an automatic placement on Instagram. That could lead to an ad looking like this:

The ad is immediately identified as such and therefore more likely to be skipped. Additionally, the text takes the focus away from the video/image where you want the viewers focus to be and where the audience on Instagram stories wants to focus. A better Instagram story ad is created specifically for the Instagram story audience and would look more like this:

The ad format fits the Instagram story screen perfectly, the video has subtitles for people who are watching without audio and the content on the example to the left seems 100% organic.

All in all, Instagram story ads are a great way to capture your audience’s attention when they are most likely to be receptive and engage with your content.

But there’s more! If you do not want to spend money on Instagram story ads you should still use the feature to create stories for your brand’s account.

Instagram stories are, like I mentioned before, more likely to be engaged with. Instagram at one point revealed that 1 in 5 stories gets a direct message from viewers. So, Instagram stories are a great way to engage with your customers and have them reply to one of your questions, which can create a stronger customer / brand bond, show behind the scenes material giving your customers insight into who you are and what you stand for, again, creating a stronger customer brand / bond, or just selling.

Soludos does a fabulous example of using Instagram stories to announce their new arrivals and jumpstart sales.

First of all, their story tells a, you guessed it, story. Second, their story features a strong call to action. Something that Instagram feed content doesn’t allow for as much. So immediately from watching the story you can swipe up to purchase. Something that is much easier via stories rather than feed posts.

2) Build A Name In Your Niche With Peers & Influencers

Instagram gives you the opportunity to reach out to and come in contact with people that you normally wouldn’t or at least wouldn’t as easily.

Use Instagram to reach out to peers. Brands in your industry that you respect and that would be great for a partnership. For example, Apt2B, an e-commerce furniture retailer I worked with, used Instagram to reach out to other home furnishing brands that would make good partners (not competitors). By regularly engaging with those peer’s posts and establishing a connection long before reaching out for a partnership a base of trust had already been built and the name Apt2B already had recognition.

We did the same partnerships with influencers. Instagram was a great medium to reach out to home decor influencers we liked and partner up with. Not just for posts, but even for long-term partnerships like that with interior designer Kyle Schuneman, who regularly designs collections, creates a DIY series and more for the brand.

Don’t underestimate the opportunity Instagram gives you to reach out to brands you want to collaborate with, influencers you admire or even customers for a one-on-one chat. Direct messaging people within the platform is much more effective and likely to get a response than emailing will ever be again.

3) Give Your Brand Personality

Here’s the number one mistake brands make on Instagram: Being too professional. Instagram is a social media platform and customers want to see your brand’s personality. When you do show your brand’s personality a customer’s emotional connection to your brand and who you are / what you stand for becomes so much stronger making them more likely to purchase. Because at the end of the day, no one purchases your product, they purchase your brand.

Here’s an example of a brand with no emotional connection created with their Instagram:

What did the brand do “wrong”? The images are mostly product images and don’t provide any real value to the customer. However, they are aesthetically pleasing. Let’s look at an example of a brand that curates interesting content driving value for their users.

Vissla is a surf brand, their customers engage with and enjoy surf related content. Instead of posting product pictures of plain T-Shirts that are uninteresting or unengaging, all their content, even the ones including products such as surfboards or wetsuits, are packaged as a visually engaging image. Most of their images are shoppable and really conveyed an emotional message with the image.

Therefore, make sure every post you share provides value to your followers. If you’re selling, don’t try the hard-sell. Rather, go for a soft sell with a shoppable amazing lifestyle image.

4) Create a Movement

More than one movement has come out of Instagram. From clean eating to body positivity and more. For your brand, Instagram and its hashtags offer a unique opportunity to create your own brand movement and engage your customers.

Clif Bar, for example, launched #meetthemoment asking their followers, fans and customers to post pictures of their outdoor adventures with the tag and offering a $1 donation to the International Mountain Biking Association per post. Ultimately, they raised $4,000 for the cause receiving many entries even after campaign end.

But it can go way bigger than that. These campaigns can cause entire movements such as it did for REI when they launched their #optoutside campaign closing their stores on Black Friday and encouraging their customers to rather spend the day outdoors in nature instead of shopping. The campaign turned into an entire movement with people now using the hashtag to express the best moments and days of their lives with over 10 million Instagram entries.

Creating movements like that can spread your brand’s name like wildfire and increases brand awareness exponentially. Encouraging your customers to engage with your brand supporting a movement and cause together also strengthens the emotional bond and liking of your customer towards your brand.

5) Turn Customers Into Advocates: Give Exceptional Customer Service

If you have an Instagram business account you will have likely already noticed that many customers will direct message (DM) you their customer complaints. Especially for younger generations, customer service hotlines and support emails are not the preferred method of communication. They want to talk to your brand on the platforms they are active on. Use this to your advantage and provide them with exceptional customer service by going above and beyond.

Besides answering direct messages that means answering and engaging with your (potential) customer’s comments on not just your pictures, but also pictures of your products by other customers. You can even use Instagram to just engage with potential customers in a fun and playful way even if you are not mentioned in the post at all, but it is content that fits your brand. For example, if you’re a fashion label you can comment on great outfit combinations even if they don’t include your brand yet. If they do mention you or post about your product, give them the deserved attention and repost / repurpose their content. Not only will your customer feel special and appreciated, but seeing user generated content serves as a very trustworthy source of referral for other potential customers.

Use Instagram to get close to your customers and go above and beyond with customer service.

6) Get to know your customers

Nothing is more valuable than having a clear understanding of who your customer is and what pain points they are struggling with. Why are they using your product? Why aren’t they? Where do they live? How old are they? What do they do for a living? Do they have shared interests? All the answers to these questions are crucial in understanding who your customer really is and why they need your product. This knowledge is what you truly need to advertise and communicate your product to the right people further.

The people that reach out to you via Instagram and engage with your brand are perfect examples of customers or potential customers. Using Instagram to study their accounts, who they are, what they enjoy and maybe even engage in further conversation with them to schedule a complete customer interview will give you insight into the questions above and help you refine your targeting and messaging to perfection.

The process might be tedious, but even using a small sample of a dozen people and closely studying their Instagram account and what they post can give you quite good insight into who your customers are.

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Yes, please! If I could trigger a movement I would trigger “1 for 5”: You do 1 thing in 5 categories every day:

● List 1 thing you’re grateful for when you wake up

● Tell 1 person you love them you normally wouldn’t tell

● Do 1 random act of kindness for a stranger

● Pick up 1 piece of trash on the ground

● Do 1 thing that scares you or is out of your comfort zone

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I would love to share a (vegan) brunch & Cappuccino with Ellen DeGeneres. First of all, she’s just so funny and I’ve always wondered what it would feel like to have Cappuccino spurt out of my nose (just kidding). Second, I admire her work and life story beyond being a TV host, but also a business woman and activist.

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!


“At the end of the day, no one purchases your product, they purchase your brand.” was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

How to use Instagram to Dramatically Improve your Business, with Christian Tabing-Dalit and…

How to Use Instagram to Dramatically Improve your Business, with Christian Tabing-Dalit and Candice Georgiadis

I had the pleasure of interviewing Christian Tabing-Dalit. Based in San Francisco, Christian is a Senior Product Manager at Kenshoo, the Sequoia-backed firm known for its industry-leading, cross-channel marketing technology platform. Prior to Kenshoo, Christian served in product management roles at Dailymotion (acquired by Vivendi), Adap.tv (acquired by AOL), and Intuit. He’s a Silicon Valley native and a graduate of Stanford University’s School of Engineering.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was nearing the end of my senior year at Stanford, and unlike many of my peers, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in the real world.

The stars aligned when I met a recruiter at an on-campus career fair. She introduced me to a unique opportunity at Intuit, the makers of TurboTax, QuickBooks, and Mint. Intuit’s Rotational Development Program (RDP) was designed as a career launching pad for recent college graduates. I was fortunate to land a spot in the 11-person program.

Every six months over two years, my position at Intuit shifted to a new function and business unit. I rotated across product management, marketing, and business development roles at Intuit QuickBooks Payroll, Intuit Mobile Ventures, Mint, and Intuit Brainstorm.

My experience at Intuit provided the exposure that I needed to discover my long-term passion — a passion for developing products that enable consumers and businesses to prosper.

Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority on Social Media Marketing?

Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege to advise some of the world’s largest and most well-respected brands and advertising agencies. I’ve authored 20+ patents and have built solutions to help social media marketers reach, engage, and convert audiences at scale — across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, and Snapchat.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

The digital marketing ecosystem has evolved, and continues to move, rapidly. Startups have played an integral role in fueling this growth. It was thrilling to be a part of AOL’s acquisition of Adap.tv in 2013; then, to be a part of Vivendi’s acquisition of Dailymotion two years later in 2015.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

In 2012, I considered going all in on Facebook following their IPO; unfortunately, I didn’t. Since then, I’ve learned to listen to and trust my gut.

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

Facebook’s family of apps, including Instagram, have proven to be incredibly effective revenue-driving vehicles for many businesses. In my experience, businesses within the retail, ecommerce, travel, financial services, automotive, and gaming verticals have yielded the best results.

Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share 6 ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Build a large, loyal following and actively engage your audience with amazing content. Build a reputation for posting visually captivating images, videos, and Stories that inform, inspire, and delight. Airbnb (www.instagram.com/airbnb/) has done this extremely well and has built a community of over 3.6m followers.
  2. If your business manages physical locations, make them Insta-worthy. Take inspiration from Museum of Ice Cream (www.museumoficecream.com) and Color Factory (www.colorfactory.co). They’ve created visually stimulating environments that people immerse themselves within, take photos and videos, then actively share with friends and family via Instagram.
  3. Collaborate with complementary brands (e.g. GoPro + Red Bull) to jointly develop and share content to your respective Instagram audiences.
  4. Hold contests (e.g. “Caption this…”) to actively promote engagement, including comments and likes that magnify the visibility and impact of your posts.
  5. Turn your customers into Instagram followers. Actively remind them to follow your brand on Instagram on receipts, within emails, at the end of customer support calls, etc.
  6. Leverage Instagram’s comprehensive ad targeting options to precisely reach the people that matter most to your business. Drive awareness of your brand, encourage people to learn more about your products, and generate product sales and store visits. GAP, Overstock, SumUp, and Land Rover are just a few examples of brands that have driven results with Instagram.

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Deep empathy and compassion towards others.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I’d love to brunch with the husband and wife co-founders of Panda Express. They started with just a single location in 1983 in Glendale, California. They’ve since expanded to over 2,000 locations worldwide and have become self-made billionaires. I’m deeply inspired by Andrew and Peggy Cherng’s entrepreneurial drive, enduring resiliency, and successful pursuit of the American Dream.

I’d invite them over, along with friends and family, to enjoy a Family Feast including Orange Chicken, Beijing Beef, Black Pepper Chicken, Fried Rice, and Chow Mein.

Thank you so much for joining us!


How to use Instagram to Dramatically Improve your Business, with Christian Tabing-Dalit and… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

“There is no one-size-fits-all plan for social media strategy.”

“There is no one-size-fits-all plan for social media strategy.” with Jen Estill and Candice Georgiadis

Effectiveness really depends on your target market and intended goals. For example, nothing beats Facebook when it comes to promoting events and motivating users to share and amplify your content. Still, you need to acknowledge that Facebook exposes you to an older audience as compared to Instagram. On the other hand, if you’re trying to position a person or a brand as an expert, Twitter is helpful. And when it comes to developing an aesthetic or developing a brand’s voice, it’s Instagram for the win. There is no one-size-fits-all plan for social media strategy.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jen Estill, principal and creative director at Redhead Design Studio, a multi-disciplinary marketing, branding and design studio in Lansing, Michigan. Jen started Redhead Design Studio in 2000, out of a spare bedroom with $200 and a Macintosh. Since then, she’s grown the business to work with more than 200 clients at statewide and national levels. Jen is also co-host of The Speak Easy Podcast, which includes honest advice and conversations for entrepreneurs and those in the creative industry. In her work, Jen strives to combine clients’ business goals with creativity and innovation to help them develop messages that are heartfelt, humorous or inspiring — and always smart.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’m pretty sure I landed my first job at an advertising agency because I knew AP Style and how to read proofreading marks. I had earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University, but by the time I graduated I realized I was more in love with designing the page layouts than crafting the words themselves. So I landed in the design department of a full service agency, and I learned a ton.

But at a certain point, it became apparent to me that the glass ceiling was real, and I wouldn’t have opportunities to grow there. The creative director was a man and there were no women in the upper reaches of the creative department.

So, I struck out on my own to start a design shop which grew into a strategy, marketing and creative development studio. I quickly learned that marketing has an incredible power to change the world for the better. I was hooked, and have been since. Strategic planning, compelling content, and excellent aesthetic are a trifecta that can really move needles.

Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?

Marketing changes as culture changes, and social media literally grew into existence as my business was growing. Therefore, we got into it organically. Our strength is helping clients craft channels that resonate with their intended audiences. That means being clear on voice, personality and aesthetic. We help clients develop social media and marketing plans, then establish new channels or refine existing channels accordingly.

On all of our social media projects, I’ve noticed one major common theme: it’s all about reaching your most relevant audience. You can have aesthetically pleasing content on Instagram for days — but if your target audience isn’t seeing it or engaging with it, there is very little ROI. When planning and executing social media plans, we first help the client determine their target market, and we then motivate these individuals to follow and engage rather than casting too wide of a net.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

Picking a favorite client or project is like picking a favorite child. I just can’t do it. When we’re in the middle of a campaign or a channel launch, I fall in love and it’s all I can think about. Almost every client is my favorite when we’re in the creative stage. Truly, there is so much opportunity to make great, compelling content that really benefits users — the only limits are time and budget.

One project that I would highlight is the Get Real About Breastfeeding campaign we planned and executed for the Ingham County Health Department in Michigan. The campaign aimed to normalize breastfeeding, support families and combat misinformation through a series of social media posts, billboards and display advertisements. When planning social media content for this, research was critical. We talked to numerous mothers and recorded their thoughts on societal judgement toward breastfeeding as well as messaging in existing breastfeeding campaigns. From doing so, we were better able to understand what the audience needed to see: a down-to-earth reflection of the realities of breastfeeding that would spark public conversation. This goes to show the strategy behind social media; without this research stage, we wouldn’t be able to strike the emotional chord that we did.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

A few years ago we launched Love Lake Michigan, an advocacy campaign for the Delta Institute. The call-to-action was simple: sign a pledge committing to protect and appreciate the lake, and get a sticker. We did not anticipate the overwhelming flood of responses we’d get. People love stickers, man.

Because we didn’t plan for the manpower it would take the client to respond to all of these requests, the client had to shut down the sticker component of the campaign after a month. I guess we were too successful. Oops.

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

Effectiveness really depends on your target market and intended goals. For example, nothing beats Facebook when it comes to promoting events and motivating users to share and amplify your content. Still, you need to acknowledge that Facebook exposes you to an older audience as compared to Instagram. On the other hand, if you’re trying to position a person or a brand as an expert, Twitter is helpful. And when it comes to developing an aesthetic or developing a brand’s voice, it’s Instagram for the win. There is no one-size-fits-all plan for social media strategy.

With our Get Real About Breastfeeding campaign, Facebook was a channel on which both the models and the target market were comfortable and active. Our models were able to reshare the client’s content — photos of themselves — easily and add their own voice. They had a lot of pride in the photos and in their role, and therefore became brand evangelists to help spread the message. Further, our billboards were attention-grabbing, so members in the community shared images if the boards on Facebook. In the end, we achieved a high amount of organic mentions and watched a few posts attain viral results.

Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share 6 ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

1. Use targeted channels to send a strong message.

Our client, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, came to us for a campaign geared at teens (primarily teen girls) who are likely to forgo traditional milk in favor of alternatives like soy or almond. The message? Drink your milk because your bones need calcium.

We developed a whole new campaign and language tailored specifically at the target market, and launched a new Instagram channel solely devoted to that market. While the client did have an active Instagram account, the content mostly revolved around farms, fields, and cows. Not exactly to stuff that inspired teen girls.

The new channel, Conquer, offers health tips, daily inspirations, celebrity engagement, and a positive online community for young women in Michigan. Using targeted channels is much more effective than trying to talk to too many markets in one channel. Your content becomes watered down and does not serve anyone.

2. Keep your captions intelligent and goal-driven.

Many of us consider Instagram to be the platform that will establish your visual tone, which is true. But that doesn’t mean you can forget about the caption. For example, I co-host The Speak Easy Podcast, which includes honest conversations for entrepreneurs and those in the creative industry. For the podcast’s Instagram account, we invest time into writing each caption with a central theme, which ties back to the current episode’s topic. This way, it’s able to spark interest in a couple of paragraphs and lead the audience to listen to the full episode.

Before posting, ask: how is this helping us generate leads or express our offerings and services? Thoughtful captions are a part of what separates a personal Instagram account from a business’s.

3. Be strategic with your hashtags.

This should go without saying, but Instagram hashtags should never be random. Do your research on which hashtags will best reach your target market, rather than the hashtags that will simply reach the largest market. There’s a significant difference between reaching a large number of individuals and reaching the people you actually want to talk to.

4. Keep your content calendar flexible to accommodate timeliness.

We advise our clients to keep an editorial calendar or queue of social posts that are pre-scheduled to go out at optimal posting times. But it’s important to be flexible with this. Did a breaking news story just come out that affects your industry? Prioritize a post about that timely event rather than strictly sticking to the content calendar. And, on that note:

5. Keep visuals consistent and on-brand.

Remember to keep your photos in line with your brand guidelines and personality. Across your photos, use the same filter and do your best to maintain a consistent color palette. For example, if you’re sticking to warm colors, throw a red flower in a post showcasing print materials. Small nods to the color palette make a big difference when audience members look at your feed holistically.

6. Engage, engage, engage.

Follow partner organizations and members of your target audience and engage with them on their content. This can be as simple as a like or a short but thoughtful comment on their post. Not only can this inspire more engagement on your posts, but it can help you stay on top of what your audience is up to and help position you as an industry thought leader.

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would use marketing to inspire America to dump money into public education like our lives depend on it. To change perceptions, to increase funding, increase staffing and support for teachers, increase access for families who struggle and increase equity in education. And I’m talking the whole arc — 0 to 20 — from infant care and early childhood education through a college degree.

No family would ever have to wonder how they were going to find the money for childcare or for college. No school would ever had to make hard choices about which books to buy this year or which repairs. No teacher would have to dig into their own wallet to make sure their classroom has supplies. I’d inspire Americans to hold a secure and excellent education for every child as a moral imperative.

If there’s any granting organization out there who wants to fund that work — give me a call. (Ha ha. But really.)

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I’ve been reading about Sojourner Truth recently. If I could travel in time, I would love to hear her talk about what it was like being an abolitionist and advocate.

Thank you so much for joining us!


“There is no one-size-fits-all plan for social media strategy.” was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

“Keep your eyes open for new emerging markets.

“Keep your eyes open for new emerging markets. Nobody ever told you that your photo caption should always be in English.” with Nadzrul Hanif and Candice Georgiadis

This isn’t unique to Instagram but it’s an important one nevertheless. As a marketer you shouldn’t always target the United States or your own country. Think about MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region where the users speak Arabic, Farsi and Hebrew. These are new emerging markets and where you could potentially land yourself in a world where there’s little to none competitors for your products. Instagram supports 33 languages. Nobody ever told you that your photo caption should always be in English.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Nadzrul Hanif. Hanif is the technical advisor at Mindtrick known for their Lightroom presets as well as the range of professional services from Search Engine Optimisation to Video Production Services. Based in Malaysia, Hanif has a successful track records of starting up small businesses and turn them into something special. He has worked with Post Production companies handling clients from Petronas to McDonalds producing some of the best videos known to mankind. His ‘Creative Space’ project in London and his connection to businesses in the Middle East and the United Kingdom has made him one of the most exciting entrepreneurs here in South East Asia.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’m very fortunate that I was born in a family of entrepreneurs, the fighters and soldiers. It was very easy for me to look up to an example, one after another, and simply observe all the good and the bad things around me. I was inspired by not one individual but many from my family members and friends. It’s difficult for me to feel content or stick to just one thing. My focus has always been to get new and exciting things done and I believe that screams entrepreneurship.

Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?

I think because I approach it differently. I see the Social Media as these ‘platforms’ that make up a different kind of world. However it’s not entirely has to be approached in a completely different way. Traditional way of marketing, or what we call the ‘human-touch’ is still present inside the social media. Marketing is no longer simply write-ups or the art of copywriting; but it is now about building brands and having businesses that are transparent to create trust for our customers. That’s why social media is very important, because it allows the consumers to have unbiased look at a brand. Influencers on the other hand can’t simply make an influence through just copywriting; it has to be done in so many ways but mainly by being ‘honest’ about a certain brand or product.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

Well, I started very early. I got into the social media during the Friendster time and they didn’t really call it a social media. There were tons of spamming during those time since it was difficult to detect spams whether it was done manually or even through automated software. During the Myspace era, the funny thing is that ‘Spamming’ was considered to be one of the most effective online marketing methods. We had a small group in Kuantan and we experimented with this ‘mini-Myspace’ project called The Globe. We were one of those little groups responsible for spamming Myspace; asking the users to switch from using Myspace to our own social network.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I can’t really remember anything funny but I used to experiment with different kinds of projects and one of them being a marketplace that sells PHP scripts. I can’t really tell you what it was but there was an instance where one of our ‘PHP script products’ stopped working and we had all sorts of complains everywhere on Facebook. Since then I learned a lot about how important to keep our products to continue to be developed and stay on top of the quality standards. Of course especially and technically since we were in the software business but I guess that is the same everywhere. It’s not just about hyping up a brand, your products need to be great.

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

I would say Facebook. As an advertiser, you have the option to extend your advertising reach to Instagram since they are both the same company. Facebook has made it very easy for advertisers to advertise their products to reach your target in a non obstructive way, as well as respecting the privacy of its users. You can actually read their ToS and you’ll see how much effort they have put into making this work. I’ve had great experience running Facebook Advertising campaigns for my clients, and of course in specific countries like the US, UK and Canada the advertising cost can be a little higher than expected. Based on my experience running these campaigns I would recommend Facebook but keep in mind that you won’t be expecting ROI immediately like how Search Engine Advertising works. You’ll want to keep your ad campaign consistent, things like content marketing for example are great for Facebook. I’d say it is the best platform to create product or brand awareness.

Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share 6 ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

Instagram Doesn’t Stay The Same. Keep Learning.

Sure, for my first tip, I believe it is important that influencers keep learning about Instagram inside out. Why? Because there’s always that new feature or new algorithm that they are going to announce every once in a while. Instagram don’t stay the same and so shouldn’t you. Keep learning and don’t fall under the impression that you have mastered Instagram.

Learn about Photography. Seriously.

Most entrepreneurs who like to leverage Instagram often forget that Instagram is a social media for photos. How do you take advantage of that? Simple, by being really good at photography. Think about YouTube, sure, you can see that some folks get really famous even with cheap production setup. But once they get really famous, notice what happens next? They step up to the game by hiring professionals and get videos done with better editing and cinematography. You just can’t run way from it. Don’t be ignorant, your Instagram feed needs to look good and surely your business and brand will follow.

Keep Your Eyes Open for new emerging markets

This isn’t unique to Instagram but it’s an important one nevertheless. As a marketer you shouldn’t always target the United States or your own country. Think about MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region where the users speak Arabic, Farsi and Hebrew. These are new emerging markets and where you could potentially land yourself in a world where there’s little to none competitors for your products. Instagram supports 33 languages. Nobody ever told you that your photo caption should always be in English.

Share what your followers are posting. Make them feel special.

Similar to Retweeting, you should share or ‘re-share’ what your followers are posting. Let’s say if you own a restaurant, obviously you should be encouraging your customers to share the dishes or the interior look and feel or your restaurant across social media. In addition to that, you should also be sharing what they have shared. If someone posted about that delicious Pasta from the menu to their IG Story, you should re-upload that story, tag that customer and thanking them. Make them feel like they are part of the brand.

Promote Creatively by Making the Most out of Instagram Features

Instagram Stories have become a great feature to promote products. They have the CTA (call to action) opening up a link by swiping. You may have seen these implemented in bunch of creative ways. Imagine if you are promoting a cereal box, you can have something like ‘Swipe up to make your day better’, and it opens up a link to that cereal box. It’s fun because it’s not about baiting people to click on a link, you do have to swipe up, and people don’t accidentally do that. It’s quite effective, and it’s very fun to think about a bunch of different ways to make people swipe up.

Use Instagram Polls to Engage with your Followers

Polls are probably the most addicting way to engage with your followers. I use it all the time not just for business but through my personal Instagram account. For some reasons you get a lot of people to engage with polls compare to other features on Instagram, particularly because it is simple but yet it does requires certain attention to it. You can make a series of Instagram stories with polls and ask people to tag their friends to cast a vote.

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’d like the world to be a safer place just like everybody else, there’s nothing so different about what I wish. I think we can start by looking at ourselves in the mirror and make that change, not just merely imagining all the people living life in peace. The best thing about the social media is the ability to be heard. You don’t have to knock on BBC’s door and ask them to let everybody know about your story. You can do that right away in less than 5 seconds. There’s good and there’s bad online or offline it doesn’t matter. It always have to start with you. We had a movement after movement, but we are lacking significant efforts to change things. That’s my answer. I want people to have a look at themselves and start contributing. We all can inspire a movement in each other.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Elon Musk. Why? He’s the real life Tony Stark. I doubt if we’re going to have a lunch together, but please tag him.

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!


“Keep your eyes open for new emerging markets. was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

“When you show that you have your client’s best interests at heart and when you genuinely root for…

“When you show that you have your client’s best interests at heart and when you genuinely root for their success on and off the field, then your brands’ reach is endless.” with Shahob Mehr and Candice Georgiadis

Your content is seen by so many people, that it may catch the eye of a prospective client. Everyone is one click away from being reached and showing that you have your clients best interests at heart and when you genuinely root for their success on and off the field, then your brands’ reach is endless. Your clientele are your family members, so treat them as such on your platforms.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Shahob Mehr. Shahob is the Social Media and Marketing Manager for William Raymond Communications, a public relations, marketing and crisis communications firm specializing in professional athletes and entertainers. WRC’s clients consist of the NFL, NBA, broadcasters, podcast hosts, and everyone in between who is looking to expand and protect their brand. Shahob has an eagle eye on the social media landscape when it comes to the latest trends, most talked about platforms, and pop culture to fully utilize content creation. Shahob uses his platform to show the other side of sports that you don’t necessarily see every day. He strives in building and developing relationships between athletes and the everyday fan.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was always the kid in school who read, talked, and debated sports. And I had a close knit of friends who shared that same love and passion with me, still to this day. I didn’t know that such a career in social media and sports existed entering college nor was I sure if it was something people considered to be a “real job”. For 5 years, I worked hard and received my Bachelors in Kinesiology hoping to work anywhere in the field related to sports science.

I took a year off after graduating to work full time before realizing that I wanted to be involved in the business side of this remarkable industry. So, I enrolled at Long Beach State University’s Sport Management Master’s program (I will be receiving my M.A. at the end of January!) hoping to open my opportunities, network, and find a new career path.

While bouncing through internships, I was offered the position of Social Media and Marketing Manager by William Raymond Communications’ CEO, Lauren Renschler. Her faith and leadership skills allowed me to be myself. For the first time in my life, I can truly tell people that I love what I do. To wake up every single day to pursue your childhood passion is something that words can’t explain. All credit goes to my second family at William Raymond Communications that works tirelessly with love and enthusiasm for what they do, 24/7, 365 days a year.

Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?

Social Media Marketing is a round the clock, 24-hour job. You must be kept up to date with the latest trends in pop culture and in my case the sporting world. If I miss the latest highlight play on Twitter, or one of my clients’ story on Instagram by a certain time frame, then I missed out on a huge opportunity to capitalize and market my brand.

Social Media Marketing helps validate your brand and drive loyal customers/fans to your company. Often, you are the first line of interaction for anyone. Having that constant mindset of how we can organically create content has driven our success rate. We strive to not just be consistent for WRC, but for our athletes in a timely and responsible matter.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

Not a story necessarily, but the most interesting thing that I have faced since starting my career has to be the general assumption that being involved with social media is simply just tweeting away or posting on Instagram, as if there’s no thought put behind it. That is maybe 1% of what a Social Media manager does in his/her day. There are so many things that goes behind the scene for my career at least. It involves being in contact with graphic designers and video editors for the best quality of photos and videos. I have to be aware of any article, good or bad that is being posted about my clients, my colleagues and I discuss our partners and sponsors that I have to be mindful of when posting something. All of these things I mentioned are under a time restriction too, if a couple hours or days pass, then I lost my window of opportunity to push something out that would’ve made a huge difference in maximizing our company’s outreach.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The funniest mistake I made has to be the typos. The person’s username that I’m trying to tag might have an underscore and/or number eerily similar to a random stranger, but luckily we have the edit button (Twitter, we need one ASAP). The lesson learned is to double, triple, even quadruple check your work!

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

Instagram’s platform for sure. After all, the saying goes “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Our presence on there has been extremely effective due to consistently sending out content in a timely and relatable matter, utilizing Instagram’s algorithm to our advantage, but most importantly humanizing and making our clients relatable to the common person.

Your content is seen by so many people, that it may catch the eye of a prospective client. Everyone is one click away from being reached and showing that you have your clients best interests at heart and when you genuinely root for their success on and off the field, then your brands’ reach is endless. Your clientele are your family members, so treat them as such on your platforms.

Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share 6 ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Hashtags, Hashtags, and Yes, Hashtags:

Posting hashtags is the very first pillar of getting eyes on your account. I say this because think of hashtags as being the first introduction to a stranger for your profile. Find hashtags that are relevant to what you’re posting and the most popular ones related to that relevancy. Finally, post your hashtags in the comments section. It looks cleaner, more professional, and when someone happens to be scrolling by your photo, they’ll see “1 comment” instead of your hashtags spilled everywhere.

2. Utilizing the algorithm to your advantage:

Instagram favors accounts that keeps their followers engaged and active for as much as possible. So keep engaging your audience, respond, comment, like, etc. Do not repeat the same hashtags over and over, or else Instagram will throw you under the spam accounts which means less eyes on your profile.

3. Having accessory applications that aid in the professional and clean look of your page:

Having certain apps will aid and develop your account in ways that Instagram itself won’t. Applications such as CutStory help cut your videos into clean 15 second (or more) slates that help with your stories or 60 second long videos. Another one that I love to use is Adobe Spark Post which creates unbelievable visuals and helps watermark your photos.

4. Adding a location in your posts:

Putting a location on your picture and videos drives even more eyes to your profile. But it’s important to keep the location relevant to what you’re posting. Do not just tag Time Square with a picture of something clearly taken in your living room. This comes in handy for me especially when I’m posting about clients and their games. If a client of mine is playing a basketball game against the Golden State Warriors up in the Bay Area, then whatever photo I post of him will be located in Oracle Arena. Oracle Arena is relevant, related to the game, and you have thousands of fans, media, and others at home checking up on that location in real time. Relevancy in a timely matter is key!

5. Posting at the correct time:

I cannot stress how important it is to post at the correct time. I currently live on the West Coast, so I have to keep the East Coast in mind anytime I send something out. Sometimes that can possibly mean scheduling a post for 4 or 5 in the morning so people in New York, Boston, or Miami can wake up to William Raymond Communications on their feeds. More engagement stems from sending out a picture, video, or story early in the morning or late at night when people are not at work and presumably on their mobile devices.

6. The Caption:

The caption is the most fun and in my personal opinion is the heart of what your business represents. Other than what you post, your captions really differentiate leveraging a good business on Instagram from a great one. I can name several Instagram accounts off the top of my head that has kept me engaged and made me a big fan based off their captions alone. This is where you can make people laugh, get them inspired, emotional, etc. So let your creativity run wild here.

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Create, Create, Create, and Watch it Bloom

If I can inspire a movement, especially on a social media landscape, it would be to find a career that you love and enjoy every single day. Do not ever listen to someone that says your dreams are invalid.

It only takes that one person, that one opportunity for someone to see your full potential and help you take the next giant step. So go pursue that hobby of yours that you set aside and be proud to show off your work on social media. Even if nobody understands what you’re going after, they will respect your leap of faith and you will have many eyes on it.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Man, this is a hard one. Being the sports junkie that I am, sitting down with Kobe Bryant and just picking his brain for an hour would be amazing. He’s a genius beyond the game of basketball. His constant craft and attention to detail in regards to his outside ventures is unmatched and unparalleled with any athlete that I’ve witnessed.

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!


“When you show that you have your client’s best interests at heart and when you genuinely root for… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

“Authenticity creates empathy and loyalty from your followers and goes a long way in building a…

“Authenticity creates empathy and loyalty from your followers and goes a long way in building a long lasting tribe that will last for the ages.” with John Huntinghouse and Candice Georgiadis

Be authentic. Not fake, social media authentic but authentic authentic. Are you a small business and struggling with a business issue? Are you a larger brand and you are trying to get your “tribe” to better connect with you? Well let them behind the curtain. Not the fake curtain that you spend hours prepping and getting ready for prior to you pulling it back but the real curtain. Authenticity creates empathy and loyalty from your followers and goes a long way in building a long lasting tribe that will last for the ages.

I had the pleasure of interviewing John Huntinghouse. John is the Director of Digital Marketing at Epic Marketing, a multi-million dollar a year full service marketing agency located in Utah. He has his M.B.A. from the University of Utah and has over 10 years of digital marketing experience in social media and digital advertising. He has worked with a variety of national and local brands such as Disney, Amazon and VASA Fitness. He has his own blog that receives over 1 million pageviews a month over 250,000 followers on social media. He also has been teaching digital marketing for the past three years at LDS Business College and currently sits on multiple Digital Marketing Advisory Boards.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I actually used to be a cardiovascular genetic researcher until I ended up taking an entrepreneurship class at the University of Utah while I was in my MBA program. I heard that he fed the students pizza so I figured that would be a great class for me. It turns out that it was in that class that I found my true passion in life, understanding the creation process. I learned how to create new things (businesses, campaigns, departments, projects) under conditions of high uncertainty. It was here that I finally realized my true passion in life and from here I started my own business and became a full-time blogger and started my journey into digital marketing.

Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?

You could look at all of the brands that I have worked with over the past 10 years or the millions of dollars I have spent on social media advertising and realize that I might know a thing or two when it comes to Social Media Marketing.

Or the fact that I was able to grow organically, from scratch, my own social media following that currently has over 250,000 followers across Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Or how I helped the #1 TV station in Utah grow their Instagram account by 750% month over month and again say that I know a little about Social Media Marketing.

Or you can look at the over 400 students I have taught social media marketing to and see how they have been able to grow within the industry by utilizing the tools and instructions from the program. You could look at all of these things and think that maybe I know a little something about this space but then again…maybe you don’t. In that case, there probably isn’t much that I could say to change your mind.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

Probably the most heartwarming story that has happened since I started this career came from a former student of mine. He didn’t know anything about digital marketing or social media when he signed up for my “Introduction to Social Media Marketing” class. He struggled at first because he wasn’t very tech savvy at all (he didn’t even have an email account). Slowly but surely we got him to understand the principles of social media and he got fairly proficient at it.

Towards the end of the semester he came up to me and said “I hated computers and hated the idea of social media even more. But this class forced me to get ‘comfortable with being uncomfortable’. I decided to embrace it and do the best I could with it.

Last week out of the blue, my daughter who I have not talked to for over 19 years was able to find me and reached out to me to reconnect. I was in tears. We talked and talked and talked and now my current family and I are all going to be seeing her next month to attend my daughter’s wedding.”

There will probably not be another more impactful story that happens to me than helping this father gain the confidence to get online and helping him reconnect to his estranged daughter.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Probably the funniest mistake I ever made was when I was working for a major local news outlet here in Salt Lake. I was watching an NBA game and I was live tweeting the game like many others on my personal Twitter account. At half-time I switched accounts to make an update of some smaller news that broke on the official twitter account of the television station and then took a break.

When I came back to watch the second half, the refs made some horrible calls and I went onto Twitter and started berated the referees like any idiotic fan would do when all of a sudden, one of my friends who was in the room said “dude, you’re ranting from the news’ account, not your account.” I had forgotten to switch back to my personal account.

It was incredibly embarrassing and funny in hindsight. Lesson learned, be much more mindful and present with whatever I am doing as it may have unintended consequences into other aspects of my life.

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

Both Facebook and Instagram are the two platforms that I have the most experience in when it comes to driving revenue for a business. One of our clients, a multi-state gym has seen tremendous success utilizing both Facebook and Instagram to drive profitability for their business. By utilizing both of these platforms we have increased their total online ROAS (return on advertising spend) from 2.4x to 10.62x. They are both powerful tools in understanding and shaping awareness for any business and are heavily underutilized by most companies.

Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share 6 ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

1) Utilize remarketing audiences and actually advertise with Instagram. I know that nobody wants to hear about paying for ads on Instagram and people are trying to find different hacks organically to grow but most companies leave so much on the table by not actually advertising on the platform.

When you advertise, you can specifically target individuals based on how they have already interacted with your business and by location, both of which you can’t do if you just post organically.

For one of our clients who is a multi-state gym, we retargeted individuals who had already been to the website in the last 30 days who were not already members at the gym. By utilizing this audience, we were able to deliver an 18x ROAS for them during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, smashing their previous records they had in previous years. Yes, you can get sales by organically posting on your Instagram account but nothing compares with the amount of sales you will deliver by spending a few dollars on marketing on Instagram.

2) Create a real paradigm shift: If you want to grow your following on Instagram for your business, you need to stick out. Do you do photography? Do you post amazing photos on your account with very little engagement and followers? Well join the club. Just posting amazing photos onto Instagram alone will not cut it. The reason is because as amazing as your photos may be, there are a bazillion other talented photographers are also sharing their amazing photos on Instagram as well.

Photographer Seth Casteel stood out and really made a name for himself by capturing photos of dogs catching jumping into the water catching different objects. He created a paradigm shift by photographing dogs in a new way that hadn’t been photographed before. Is he the most talented photographer in the world? Of course not but he now has over 118k followers on Instagram and has created a cult following simply by taking something old (photographs of dogs) and presenting them in a new light.

3) Give them a reason to come to your Instagram account daily and be consistent about it. @cupbop is a Korean food truck who posts on a daily basis exactly where their trucks are going to be every day. Their customers have developed a habit of going to Instagram specifically to check out where they will be and as your brand grows, the effect of this habit will be magnified. At first when Cupbop started doing this on their Instagram account, it didn’t drive the needle for new sales or for engagement.

4) Leverage authentic influencers and brands to help fuel your growth. You need to partner up with influencers who will evangelize your brand with their followers..

@shonduras has created a media empire online and fully immerses himself with the brands he chooses to work with. He fully engages the brand and their story into his and does it so well, if he didn’t say that it was a sponsored post, you wouldn’t know that it was. By fully immersing himself with the brand, his followers can see how he would actually use the brands in his daily routine and how they could do likewise.

5) Utilize engagement pods. Engagement pods are groups of brands/individuals who come together who decide that they will interact and help promote each other’s efforts when it comes to their Instagram efforts. This was the tactic that we utilized to help grow our @ldsmsile Instagram account from 200 followers, to over 7,000 followers 8 weeks later.

6) Be authentic. Not fake, social media authentic but authentic authentic. Are you a small business and struggling with a business issue? Are you a larger brand and you are trying to get your “tribe” to better connect with you? Well let them behind the curtain. Not the fake curtain that you spend hours prepping and getting ready for prior to you pulling it back but the real curtain.

Michael Stelzner from Social Media Examiner does this incredibly well and one of their most watched video ever was when he let the viewers in on a real struggle they were having with their shows. Authenticity creates empathy and loyalty from your followers and goes a long way in building a long lasting tribe that will last for the ages.

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could inspire a movement, it would be a movement to help individuals to see themselves as they truly are. It would help individuals to see their intrinsic self-worth without any qualifiers. You are of worth…period. No additional follow ups, no additional commentary but simply a matter of fact.

Not only would it allow for better self-reflection and self-improvement, you would be able to see yourself as you truly are, an individual with intrinsic value regardless of what you did. You then would be in a better position to see areas where you could improve and grow to improve both your life and those around you without falling into the despair of self-pity.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

If I could sit down for breakfast with anyone, it would definitely be Ed Catmull without a doubt. It’s easy to highlight all of his successes now and everything that he has accomplished at Pixar and at Disney but it is his story prior to reaching that success that has always intrigued me.

I always recommend to all of my students to read “Creativity Inc.” that Catmull wrote because I love how he lays out the creative process or put in another way, process of creating new things. This has had major ramification on my life as I apply those principles to almost every aspect of what I do (family, personal, clients, agency work etc.)

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!


“Authenticity creates empathy and loyalty from your followers and goes a long way in building a… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Using Instagram to Dramatically Improve your Business, with John Kanell and Candice Georgiadis

I had the pleasure of interviewing John Kanell, founder of the digital brand, Preppy Kitchen. Preppy Kitchen is a digital food- and family-focused brand that empowers home cooks of all skill levels with inspiration for all of their cooking and hosting needs. John’s goal with Preppy Kitchen is to make cooking at home more approachable, ensuring his audience can spend more time with loved ones. He believes that by providing his followers with the right techniques and a few basic tools, he can help them discover how easy and enjoyable it can be to put together a meal worth sharing. With his cooking, John makes it a priority to use seasonal and readily-available ingredients that will not only make his dishes look delicious, but taste great too. While he loves to scour local farmers markets for the best produce, he also cultivates his own home garden, ensuring readily availability of seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs. A husband to Brian and father to eighteen-month-old twins, Lachlan and George, John is a Los Angeles native who divides his time between Los Angeles and Connecticut. When he’s not in the kitchen, he can be found renovating his new home and its adjacent farm with Brian.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I had been a middle school math and science teacher for over a decade, but have always loved cooking, baking, and entertaining. After my husband and I decided to start a family, I wanted a job that allowed me to work from home so I could spend more time with my (future) children. Now that our sons are 19-months-old, I’m so happy I took the plunge as it has allowed me to be with them every day. Family time is incredibly important to me.

Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?

I’ve grown Preppy Kitchen from zero to over a million followers across various social media platforms in 3 years by constantly adapting to changing audience habits and platform best practices. Almost from day 1 of starting Preppy Kitchen on instagram, video has been my primary medium which helped me stand apart early on. Many culinary bloggers are still only publishing still imagery.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

Having been an art major in college and painted for many years beyond that, I started Preppy Kitchen with recipes I loved but none of the aesthetic from my artwork. After sharing some of my somewhat homely recipes my husband gently reminded me that people can’t taste my creations online so they have to be visually engaging too to stop people in their scrolls and gain their attention. I started applying my artistic sensibility to everything I made and luckily people’s interest was piqued enough to cluck through, learn more about the recipe, and try it for themselves! The amount of user generated content from my recipes has been very gratifying.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I’ve had some cakes just fall over and collapse when I had finally finished decorating them. I ended up sharing the fails with my audience and learned that they want to see what really happens behind the camera, not just the polished end product. Honesty and relatability are crucial factors in developing an authentic relationship with your audience.

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

Brands right now are incredibly focused on Instagram. Brands will always follow audience engagement and right now the lifestyle audience is most engaged on Instagram.

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would want many more people to make their own food and eat together with family and friends. Gathering around the dinner table and sharing your thoughts and experiences with loved ones while you enjoy a good meal is so important for staying connected. Food brings people together and it’s been fun to see how Preppy Kitchen has become a dinner table where people from all over the world gather to celebrate their love of good food.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I admire entrepreneurs like Jeffrey Katzenberg, Katherine Power, and Brian Lee for building incredible businesses that touch people on a daily basis.

Thank you so much for joining us!


Using Instagram to Dramatically Improve your Business, with John Kanell and Candice Georgiadis was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.