How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Use giveaways effectively” With The…

How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Use giveaways effectively” With The Young Travelier, Chris Young & Candice Georgiadis

Use giveaways effectively. Giveaways are a great way to get new followers to engage with your page, but to do them effectively requires that you collaborate with the right people. For example, if your brand is a facial beauty product, it might make the most sense for you to collaborate with a hair tie brand or a bathrobe brand because those are products that are used in unison with each other. Think long and hard strategically in order to drive the most traffic and new followers if you are going to spend money on giveaways.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Young. Chris started his career as an entertainment lawyer and has since been the founder of multiple successful e-commerce companies, one of which was taken public. During the past few years he has developed his passion of videography, travel, and food into a lifestyle blog and Youtube channel with millions of views, and 250,000 readers and viewers.

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

Since I was 13 years old, I’ve always created content, starting with photography in the dark room. I had dabbled in it on and off since then but after selling my last company, I took some time off and started pursuing some of my old hobbies again. Photography turned into videography, then I started messing around with iMovie and Final Cut Pro and was instantly hooked. Quickly, I realized there was a need for clients in the travel industry to hire content creators for their social media needs, and that’s sort of how it all started.

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

I’ve been asked to create e-courses with other creators such as Erik Lauer and have consulted hotel groups such as the Ritz-Carlton, Anantara and Four Seasons on how to develop their social media marketing. I have also run multiple e-commerce companies that specifically use social media marketing to drive traffic and revenue. Additionally, I have an investment in a social media marketing tool called Magiclytics that helps brands identify what type of revenue they can drive off of influencers.

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

The most interesting thing that happened was the first time I got paid to go on a trip to shoot content for a hotel — it was for the Ritz Carlton Reserve in Bali. It seemed like a dream to be able to go to a hotel that was on average $600 a night and to get paid to do something I loved to do. It was surreal to me that this was even a real thing.

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 was asked to shoot for a hotel chain which I will leave unnamed, and they wanted me to shoot a model in one of their suites in a massive jacuzzi tub that had a view. We used shampoo to make the water more opaque so that there wouldn’t be any nudity, but what I failed to realize was that the mirror on the ceiling of the bathroom created a reflection that totally negated that. Needless to say, the pictures were not able to be used.

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?

Youtube and personal blogs seem to create the most business revenue. Instagram is probably the most popular, but its low barrier to entry and the need to create an endless stream of daily content on it really makes the return on investment incredibly low. You can write a blog article once a week, or create a Youtube video once a week, and the long tail on it is greater than a single picture or video on Instagram. As a result, advertisers and brands are willing to spend more on them.

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. Post consistent content. This seems so basic, but it’s something people fail to do. The Instagram algorithm rewards consistency and will make your profile much more available for new followers to find you or to view your work. When I post consistently, I notice my engagement and impressions improve by multiples.
  2. Tell a story. Every single article out there always suggests that your Instagram should have some sort of call to action, but what it fails to say is that you should use the text portion to also tell the whole story behind the picture. Although Instagram is very picture heavy, people will spend more time if you write something thoughtful and meaningful — something that tells the story behind the picture or video. I have found that my engagement dramatically improves if I spend time writing out more than a few words on a post.
  3. Try new types of content to test out what works for you. Each brand has its own feel and what works for one brand might not work for another. For example, I have seen some brands post only lifestyle content, but then change over to more product pictures and their engagement improves dramatically. If you’re not constantly testing new ideas and strategies on Instagram, you won’t know what works specifically for you.
  4. Use giveaways effectively. Giveaways are a great way to get new followers to engage with your page, but to do them effectively requires that you collaborate with the right people. For example, if your brand is a facial beauty product, it might make the most sense for you to collaborate with a hair tie brand or a bathrobe brand because those are products that are used in unison with each other. Think long and hard strategically in order to drive the most traffic and new followers if you are going to spend money on giveaways.
  5. Use tags in Instagram stories for related subjects. This is something that is often overlooked. If you are a shoe brand, for example, and you put up a picture on your Instagram story feed, you should research and use tags that are indirectly related in order to drive new traffic to your story. Hashtagify or Sprout Social are good tools to use when doing related hashtag searches. It doesn’t hurt to use a lot of them and then minimize them so they don’t detract from the story video or photo content itself.
  6. Don’t use follow unfollow techniques. This is an old technique to get people to follow your account. I don’t know why people are still using it — it’s outdated and will hurt the visibility of your account via the Instagram algorithm. I don’t know how many countless “services” are still being sold using this as a method to help “grow” your 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 love for people to be more present. I know this is completely dichotomous for someone who uses social media constantly, but I believe that social media can be a great way to learn and see the world, but not at the expense of enjoying and experiencing it yourself. I force myself to put down my phone for at least a few hours every day at some point and focus on just being in the moment. I think everyone would be a bit happier if they did this at some point in the day, considering how attached we are to our miniature computers in this day and age.

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 pick the brain of Elon Musk. He seems like a pretty enlightened individual who has some really out there ideas. I’ve met less than a handful of people who really thought truly outside of the box, and every time I have met individuals like that it’s made me reassess my own thinking and world views.

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


How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Use giveaways effectively” With The… 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: “Improve Customer Service With Quick…

How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Improve Customer Service With Quick Replies”, With Brand Storyteller Melanie Deziel & Candice Georgiadis

IMPROVE CUSTOMER SERVICE WITH QUICK REPLIES: If you have a business profile (vs. personal profile) Instagram now allows you to create the Instagram-equivalent of keyboard shortcuts, making it easier to provide friendly customer service and save time on sending common responses. To do this, go to your profile page, tap to expand the menu in the top right, and tap “Settings” at the bottom. Scroll down to “Business Settings” and tap “Quick Replies” to create your own shortcuts for common responses. For me, this includes shortcuts I can use to reply to common questions I get via DM. For example, if someone asks me for help coming up with brand story ideas, I can type the phrase “help1” and Instagram automatically inserts pre-written instructions for accessing the free downloadable Story Idea Guide on my website. For your business, you might create shortcuts for how to submit a help request to your customer service team, how to resolve a specific error, answers to common product questions, or something else that saves you time and helps your customers and followers get the information they need.

I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Melanie Deziel. Melanie is a brand storytelling keynote speaker and the Founder of StoryFuel, a firm that teaches marketers how they can think like journalists to tell better brand stories. Before founding StoryFuel, Melanie was the first editor of branded content at The New York Times, and helping build the sponsored content teams at The Huffington Post and Time Inc. She serves on the board of the Native Advertising Institute, served as a adjunct professor for Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications and developed the first course in Content Marketing for Fairleigh Dickinson University. Melanie has traveled the world as a keynote speaker, speaking to tens of thousands of marketers and gracing the stages of industry leading events including Content Marketing World, Social Media Marketing World, Inbound, Native Advertising Days, The Inbounder, SXSW and more.

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

I studied journalism in school, and always thought I’d end up in a newsroom telling hard-hitting stories about what was happening in the world. But when I was on the hunt for a job, I discovered that my skills as a reporter, interviewer and content creator were extremely helping in the marketing world, too. I learned that many marketers wanted to embrace content marketing and brand content, but weren’t quite sure how to come up with differentiated content ideas, create compelling content and distribute it strategically. I joined the Huffington Post in the early days of HuffPost Partner Studio, helping our ad partners tell stories that would appeal to our audience. I later moved to The New York Times, where I helped form T Brand Studio, and taught our advertisers how to create content that would appeal to an NYT audience. I also spent some time as the Director of Creative Strategy at Time Inc, laying the groundwork for a brand storytelling team that could serve ad partners for all 35 of our US magazines. I decided to take my mission of educating marketers about the power of brand storytelling global in 2016, launching the speaking and training company that is now StoryFuel.

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

I’ve worked on hundreds of branded content campaigns, each of which had strategic social distribution plans attached to ensure we engaged and reached the right audience. I’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on social promotion over the years, and been privileged to run social accounts for my brand partners that amassed tens of thousands of followers. While I now focus more on strategy for content, much of that content ultimately finds its home on social media. And in my own life, I leverage social media to connect with my speaking audience and potential clients each and every day.

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

Last year, after I finished speaking at Social Media Marketing World, I was approached by D. P. Knudten. He’d been a longtime follower of mine on Instagram, and it was our first chance to meet in person. He gave me a copy of his book, “ROTOMA: The ROI of Social Media Top of Mind,”where I’m featured as a case study on how to build a personal brand on instagram. It was so cool to meet, so we could go from social media connections to real-life friends, and to take a photo together with the book! As a nice bonus, his book referred to me as “less-caffeinated GaryVee with a far better wardrobe.” Not too shabby!

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 out speaking, I didn’t realize how much better my craft could become if I focused on a single presentation with some customization, versus trying to create brand new presentations for each and every event. The more times you give a presentation, and the more rehearsal you get with that content, the better it becomes and the more your audience will benefit!

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 is my favorite platform, but perhaps for an unexpected reason. As a former journalist, writing is my first content language, as I call it. Instagram challenges me to think in a different way, and to use visuals to tell my story. This is an exciting creative challenge, and has made me more mindful of the unexpected beauty all around me, in both my frequented locations and in the wonderful cities I get to visit when I travel to speak. By sharing my adventures, I get to help my followers understand what it is that I do, and I’ve met so many new friends and connections this way. While folks aren’t always requesting keynotes in DMs or commenting to ask about consulting from StoryFuel, Instagram allows them to get to know me so we can form deeper connections that often lead to business relationships down the line.

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. MAXIMIZE YOUR BIO LINK WITH LINKTREE: One of the key challenges on Instagram is the inability to drive traffic with clickable links in your comments and post captions. This has resulted in the ubiquitous use of the phrase “link in bio.” But Instagram only allows you to have one link in your bio, which can limit your ability to promote multiple links at once, or make it so that you have to be editing your bio all the time when your business priorities change. Instead, try a tool like LinkTree, which allows you to have multiple links in your bio, so you can link to all of your relevant promotions, pages, sites and campaigns. In my Instagram profile, I used to have to decide between linking to my website, other social platforms, or my latest lead magnet available for download. Now that I’ve started using LinkTree, I’m able to include links to my website, my speaker booking page, my downloadable Story Idea Guide, and links to my favorite products featured in recent posts.
  2. FOLLOW HASHTAGS TO FIND YOUR TRIBE: In December 2017, Instagram introduced the ability to follow hashtags the same way you follow users. When you follow a hashtag, selected posts with that tag appear in your feed. While this might be a cool way to get more content you like in your feed, it’s also a great way to keep an eye on your industry, monitor your competition, engaged with potential clients and connect with future customers. The key is to think carefully about the tags that these groups use, follow the tag, and make an effort to engage with these posts when they appear in your feed. As a brand storytelling keynote speaker, I want to make sure that I’m engaging with my fellow speakers as well as event organizers who may be interested in booking me. To that end, I’ve followed relevant hashtags like #keynotespeaker, #callforspeakers, and #professionalspeaker, so that I see posts from these people in my feed, even if I’m not following them individually. I make a point to like and add meaningful comment whenever I can, so that I’m part of the conversation and consistently connecting with new colleagues and potential clients.
  3. SECRETLY TAG YOUR STORIES: We know the power of hashtags to help people find our profile posts on Instagram, but we can often forget that the same discovery can happen with our Stories. At the same time, we don’t want to layer a bunch of text over out photos in a way that obscures the image itself. But if you do it right, you can use the built-in features of Stories to add up to 10 hashtags — the maximum allowed in Stories — and make them nearly invisible. If you do it right, your hashtags won’t detract from the beauty of your photo, but the Story will still be discoverable in relevant hashtag searches, giving you access to the widest possible audience. Whenever you’re creating an Instagram story, use the text tool to type a list of 10 relevant hashtags. Next, highlight the text and use the color-picker tool to choose a text color that matches some part of your photo. Once the color is selected, pinch the text to shrink it down as small as you can, and place it over the matching background color. They’ll essentially disappear!
  4. CREATE RECURRING IMAGE TYPES: When someone lands on your profile, they’ll look at your most recent photos to get an idea of the content you share and decide whether they want to follow you to see more content like that. By having a set list of post types that you create, you help your audience clearly understand what they stand to gain by following you, and you also create some visually pleasing consistency in your feed. Some folks will preach about a specific pattern that you create in your grid, but I think generally, consistency of some kind is more important than creating a pattern, since most followers will see your posts individually, as opposed to in your profile grid. On my feed, I try to stick to a few general categories of post types that best represent my company, my life and my brand: I post photos of me speaking to help emphasize what I do professionally. I post photos of coffee since it’s something I enjoy and people can connect with me on. I share photos of books and other items I recommend that I think my audience will enjoy. And I also share photos of my shoes on interesting floors, because it’s a quirky thing I take notice of. Because of this consistency, and the fact that I use a consistent color palette, people know what to expect when they follow me and they can recognize “an @meldeziel post” in their feed, almost before they see the name.
  5. IMPROVE CUSTOMER SERVICE WITH QUICK REPLIES: If you have a business profile (vs. personal profile) Instagram now allows you to create the Instagram-equivalent of keyboard shortcuts, making it easier to provide friendly customer service and save time on sending common responses. To do this, go to your profile page, tap to expand the menu in the top right, and tap “Settings” at the bottom. Scroll down to “Business Settings” and tap “Quick Replies” to create your own shortcuts for common responses. For me, this includes shortcuts I can use to reply to common questions I get via DM. For example, if someone asks me for help coming up with brand story ideas, I can type the phrase “help1” and Instagram automatically inserts pre-written instructions for accessing the free downloadable Story Idea Guide on my website. For your business, you might create shortcuts for how to submit a help request to your customer service team, how to resolve a specific error, answers to common product questions, or something else that saves you time and helps your customers and followers get the information they need.
  6. REQUEST VERIFICATION: While other social networks have elusive and mysterious processes for getting verified, Instagram actually allows you ro request a verification badge when you think you’re ready. If your business or personal brand would benefit from a verification badge, or if you’re battling some imposters on Instagram, go through the process to request your Instagram Verification, and signal to potential followers trust that you’re a quality profile worth following and engaging with. To do this, go to your profile page, tap to expand the menu in the top right, and tap “Settings” at the bottom. Scroll down to “Request Verification” and enter the requested information. You’ll need to share your full name, any aliases, your brand category (such as News, Sports, Government, Influencer, etc.) and then upload a photo of your ID to prove you are really you. Send the request and wait to hear back on whether you’ll be granted the verification badge that offers extra credibility for your account.

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. 🙂

In my own work, I’m hoping to inspire people to take an empathetic and audience-centric approach to the content the create and the marketing campaigns they deploy. If we can all focus on our audience, and the ways we can bring them value, then not only will we create better content, but we’ll also form deeper connections with our current and potential audience!

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 🙂

As a young journalist, I was mesmerized watching the Page One documentary about the New York Times. I was lucky to get to know David Carr when I worked at The Times, but never did get to connect with Brian Stelter, who was also featured in the film. Talking shop with a fellow lifelong student of media would certainly make for a great meeting.

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


How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Improve Customer Service With Quick… 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 Stacie Brockman and Erin…

How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: With Stacie Brockman and Erin Kleinberg founders of Métier Creative

If we could inspire a movement, it would be knowing when to put your lives public and when to keep them private. Social Media turned us into these content monsters who feed off of likes, feedback, encouragement, feedback with a need to overshare. The truth is, not everything that happens in life needs to be shared — even if it does make you seem “relatable” or “authentic”. We’ve turned into a generation fueled on social currency and the fallacy that over-over-sharing makes us more human. In fact, it makes us more narcissistic. As 2 people deep in this industry, we relish in the moments of keeping parts of our life private and offline. If we really want to tell someone about it, we’ll grab dinner IRL or maybe FaceTime (does that count?)

I had the pleasure to interview Stacie Brockman and Erin Kleinberg. Stacie Brockman is the co-founder of Métier Creative, a creative branding and advertising agency guiding luxury fashion, beauty, and lifestyle brands into the social-first and digital world. She is an innovator, writer and brand strategist, known for always thinking big picture and figuring out how to connect the dots. Within Métier, Stacie primarily focuses on overseeing the Editorial, Strategy and Community Management department, while maintaining the day-to-day client relationships with Erin.

Brockman has worked at the forefront of digital marketing and advertising for most of her career and her areas of expertise includes, editorial, advertorial, digital, social , partnerships and programs. Her understanding of content and community is leading the change of how today’s brands look at communication, from advertising, packaging, social media and influencer marketing. Building new brands and revamping the old ones is her expertise, having worked with worked with an extensive client roster that included LVMH Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, V Magazine, CR Fashion Book, L’Oreal and Hain Celestial while at previous advertising agencies. Prior to the ad world, Brockman spent three years as the sole voice behind Coveteur, editorial content and social media, where she was responsible for launching & overseeing the management of all platforms.

Brockman holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto, ON. She resides in New York City with her puppy, Ollie.

Erin Kleinberg is the co-founder of Métier Creative, a creative branding and advertising agency guiding luxury fashion, beauty, and lifestyle brands into a the social-first and digital world. She is a creative director, brand strategist and a serial entrepreneur. Her role focuses on overseeing the conception and implementation of creative activations and content for Métier’s clients, which include CHANEL, Dior, Estée Lauder, Tiffany & Co., OUAI Haircare, Moda Operandi, Stuart Weitzman, Miami Design District, Clique Media and more. Having worked in brand and business development for most of her career, Kleinberg’s areas of expertise range from art direction and styling to creative campaign development and roll-out across social platforms. Kleinberg knows how to build brands and with passion, in 2008 she launched her successful clothing line erinkleinberg, with distribution to over 80 retailers worldwide. In 2010, she co-founded Coveteur, where she oversaw all creative and art direction, brand development, strategic business relations and editorial executions. Today, Kleinberg is leveraging her first-hand understanding and experience of all aspects of operating a brand for her clients, encouraging brands to look at their communication strategy from how they are building (sometimes, rebuilding) their identities, executing their vision, and ultimately, creating communities. Kleinberg holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Western Ontario in Toronto, ON. She resides in Toronto with her husband and their daughter.

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

SB: I think I’ve been an internet kid since I came out of the womb. I have such vivid memories of fighting with my siblings over the dial-up internet and our parents having to play referee so we could each take turns. I was a full-on Napster-downloading, MySpace-trolling, Poker Room-playing, ICQ-chatting computer kid. Every time an emerging platform came out, I felt inclined to get on it, learn it, adapt it and usually abandoned it it as quickly as I adopted it. I always knew I wanted to be an editor and journalist. I went to school for Journalism with a dream that was very much The Hills/Devil Meets Prada. I did a bunch of internships at fashion magazines in Toronto and then turned my final internship into a full-time job, while still in my final semester. As the first intern-turned-employee-turned-Managing Editor of The Coveteur, I did everything from ghost write the website, run all of our social media (which I grew cross-channel to over 650K), cast talent, style photo shoots, produce advertorial content and more.

EK: I’ve always been a trend-forecaster and creative director. I see myself as a designer, stylist, creative and just serial entrepreneur. I launched my namesake clothing line, erinkleinberg, when I was just 18-years-old. I didn’t know a thing about sewing, pattern making, distribution, wholesale, merchandising, etc. But I’ve always just figured it all out myself. Almost in an instant, I was selling to 80 stores worldwide including, Barneys, Saks, Neiman Marcus, Intermix, Lane Crawford, and more. Then in 2011, I co-founded The Coveteur. As the President and Creative Director, my role was multi-hyphenated: styling, art directing, casting, operations, financials, etc. I was the driving force behind the big picture business.

BOTH: In 2015, we co-founded our own advertising agency albeit not even knowing what an advertising agency was, nor having the traditional MBA qualifications one would need. Stacie had worked for 1 year at an agency, but that was the basis of our very minimal knowledge. Both of us had never watched Mad Men, understood the agency model or even knew who the key players were. All we knew is that we understood how to build brands that resonate with our generation.

SB: I left my role at The Coveteur to take on a new challenge. I loved overseeing the editorial of the website and learning how to build a social-first brand in real time. I had worked on creating such a distinct voice and identity for The Coveteur and the opportunity to do that from the ground up building new brands or re-imagining existing ones was exciting, fresh and terrifying all at the same time. I then quit my job at the ad agency to launch Métier Creative with Erin because, at 25, I felt the time was right to finally start my own thing. I had offers to go in-house to build the personal brands of notable celebrities but it didn’t seem as exciting as starting from scratch on my own company. In the years working for others, I realized by dream role didn’t exist and would only exist if I created it. I wanted to work for myself, be able to mentor others, scale something, and redefine the archaic Mad Men industry as we knew it.

EK: In 2014, I decided to re-launch my clothing line. We had been privileged with so much exclusive access inside the homes and closets of today’s tastemakers and celebrities that I had been given unique insight into how people dress. I felt like it was the perfect time to bring back something that truly understood how the modern day woman wanted to look and feel. I then paused on the clothing line to launch Métier Creative because Stacie and I felt like it was the perfect time to be a first-mover in this rapidly changing social landscape. I had just built a new home, was 9 months pregnant with my first child and was eager to create my third company (all before turning 30 because I’m crazy and ambitious like that!) Stacie and I had no idea that we would eventually become a full 360 creative branding and advertising agency, but we knew that it was the right time to shake things up. There was an inherent white space in the ad world to bring this social-social-first dual perspective from the publisher side (The Coveteur) and the brand side (my clothing line and the brands Stacie was working on).

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

BOTH: In short, it’s all we know. We were practically raised on social media and our phones. While we both love the nostalgia of a good magazine, there’s no denying we are a generation of glued-to-our-phones trolls. From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed, we are constantly consuming culture. We are plugged in — probably too plugged in — but enough to have a pulse and temperature check on what’s resonating, why it’s resonating and how (if possible) to make that ownable and relatable to what we’re doing. We see the world day in and out through a social-first lens. From our convos in the DM, to group chats, Slack, emails, and beyond, our world has been consolidated into a small screen of information overload. The ability to know how to actually make thumb-stopping, DM-worthy content is truly something innate in our generation. We have always been social pioneers and truly saw the vision for a social-first brand back in 2011 with The Coveteur. We were this weird hybrid of not-really-a-blog, not-really-a-publisher and not-really-a-creative-agency; we were a true social-first brand. We understand how to be nimble and reactive to crowd-sourcing feedback from our community all day, everyday. We learned how to drive traffic, curve our editorial, shift our casting and grow as a social-first platform by tapping into a two-way dialogue with our online community. This is truly in our DNA and what we do for our client’s daily.

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

BOTH: Being in boardrooms with some of the most powerful CEOS of Fortune 500 companies and having them look us dead in the eye and say, “I don’t know. This is your world. What do you think?” It’s truly empowering to see this shift happen and for us (you know, without our MBAs or sufficient Advertising backgrounds) to be looked at as experts is incredibly flattering. It’s even better when the advice we give goes from a thought to an action. It’s even worse when you subsequently hear said person regurgitate your speech to another person as if they came up with it themselves.

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?

Both: When we were starting, we had a serious sense of cockiness and pride. We definitely were a bit standoffish when certain brands came to us asking for help to rebrand and reposition themselves as a “social-first” brand. Funny enough some of them ended up becoming our client a year or two later! We learned that not every client is going to be a sexy name to brag about to your friends to, but it will be more worthwhile to take them from Point A to Point B. Another funny mistake was the opposite; we would entertain brands that were so far from our realm of expertise or interests (I.e. a Surgeon, a Nightclub, a Yogurt Company). We were convinced we could make anyone a “thing” until we checked ourselves and realized not everyone has the power (yet alone budget!) to be a social media sensation.

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: We’re both Instagram-obsessed and can see the conversion happen in real time. When we first launched @theOUAI, celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin’s haircare line, we would freak out as people would send us screenshots of their orders. It was a true phenomenon to watch people literally get OUAIsted and drink the kool-aid, switching out their go-to hair products for this new, buzzy line. Another great example is our client, The Last Line — a direct-to-consumer fine jewelry brand. We knew instinctively this has the power to be the Warby Parker or Outdoor Voices of the fine jewelry world. We instructed the designed to release the collection in a series of highly-anticipated drops. During the teasing weeks leading up to each drop, we would encourage fans to shop via the DM on Instagram.

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. Know your audience. Don’t try and copy someone else because you see their content is performing. What works for them may not work for you and vice versa. The key is to manually audit what works vs. doesn’t work — a click-bait caption, a flat lay, a selfie, a funny caption, etc.
  2. Listen to your audience. Now that you know them, you have to hear them out. Ask them what they like, what they don’t like, what they want to see and what they don’t want to see. Crowd-sourcing is your lifeline to knowing what’s working and what’s not. It’s a free, 24/7 focus group. Use it wisely!
  3. Be you and be funny. Everyone talks about authenticity, but very few people actually are. Be your genuine self — don’t just show your greatest hits. We want the good, the bad, the ugly. We want to know you’re a human, like us. The only want to truly get through to people is making them laugh. Get off your high horse, be a little self-deprecating, and make someone giggle. There’s nothing better than someone’s vulnerability to remember that someone else in the world also has some weird quirks like you.
  4. F*ck a feed! Stop trying to treat Instagram like the motherf*cking MOMA. It’s not a museum. It’s a playground. Get messy. Post weird stuff. Make your feed inconsistent. Nobody gives a sh*t about “your brand” or “your aesthetic.” It’s 2018 (make that almost 2019) and it’s not cool!
  5. Know the platform and play to the platform’s strengths. Not everything is “Grid Goals” — it’s not meant to stay there forever (even if you can archive it). Sometimes a fleeting moment or post is better off posted in IG Stories… and if there’s a good takeaway, turn it into a Highlight. Treat your feed like a publication — you are a brand and your channel is the billboard. Think of it as a daily destination and give people a reason to explore your content for the right reasons.
  6. Instagram is NOT a dumping ground for content. Don’t post for the sake of posting. Ask yourself, “Will this make someone laugh? Will this make someone share? Will this inspire UGC?” Leave your photoshopped ad campaign shots for .com, billboards, banner ads, newsletters and e-commerce. It’s time to put the INSTA back in INSTAGRAM! If it doesn’t look native to the platform, don’t post it. If it doesn’t look like it was shot on iPhone (and FaceTuned or VSCO’d the hell out of it), don’t post it. If it doesn’t look like a piece of content that someone could recreate as UGC, don’t post it.

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. 🙂

BOTH: If we could inspire a movement, it would be knowing when to put your lives public and when to keep them private. Social Media turned us into these content monsters who feed off of likes, feedback, encouragement, feedback with a need to overshare. The truth is, not everything that happens in life needs to be shared — even if it does make you seem “relatable” or “authentic”. We’ve turned into a generation fueled on social currency and the fallacy that over-over-sharing makes us more human. In fact, it makes us more narcissistic. As 2 people deep in this industry, we relish in the moments of keeping parts of our life private and offline. If we really want to tell someone about it, we’ll grab dinner IRL or maybe FaceTime (does that count?)

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 🙂

SB: There are too many! Adam Grant is a big one for me. I’ve read his books “The Originals” and “Give and Take” so many times and give it like a Doctor’s prescription to everyone I know. I once sat next to Arianna Huffington on a plane and highly regret not mustering the confidence to ask her to lunch or something. Oh, and of course every Shark on Shark Tank and Sheryl Sandberg.

EK: Like Stacie, my list is endless. Steve Jobs is probably my number one. To me, Apple epitomizes everything about a brand that I admire. I’m all about mingling with other momtrepreneurs so anyone who knows the struggle of raising a baby and business is ideal dinner company.

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


How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: With Stacie Brockman and Erin… 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: “Use a media calendar to organize…

How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Use a media calendar to organize daily, weekly or monthly themes” With Julia Joy & Candice Georgiadis

For all social media, I recommend using a media calendar to organize daily, weekly or monthly themes to concentrate and fully develop topics. On every platform, but especially on IG, you are creating a story, so your content experience needs to be more like a chapter book, not a pile of random postcards. And be consistent! There needs to be a story behind the Stories — you can’t post just one. Think of it as a TV show; there’s an overall theme that plays out over a series of smaller episodes. To leverage Instagram, ask yourself (or likely your team and your community): Is your brand sassy? Sophisticated? Edgy? If your service is all about a luxury experience, show off all of the small ways in which clients are pampered and, of course, the results.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Julia Joy. Jules (as her friends call her) is the PR Director for Swyft and an experienced media adviser, having consulted for over 100 SMBs. She specializes in media relations, engagement, social marketing and creating cultures of communication. You can find her online commenting on the state of PR and she is often featured in media and business news outlets.

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

My favorite thing is communicating. As a kid, I ran focus groups with my friends and provided my family with surveys to get to know each other better. I fell in love with PR when I interned for an entertainment public relations agency in LA and from there, I grew into corporate and agency positions, always developing my ability to engage stakeholder groups and to create cultures of communication.

I have had amazing professional experiences while working for agencies, tech companies large and small and consulting with over 100 organizations — creating visibility, expanding communications, defining engagement, and connecting with external audiences. My motto — everything you say and everything you do is Public Relations — reflects my comprehensive approach to meeting communications challenges.

I grew up in Oregon, where my fondest childhood memories are of climbing gorgeous, towering trees, picking fresh summer berries and playing on the Oregon coast. I dreamed of moving to NYC to study fashion but instead meandered through school, obtaining a degree in Graphic Design. After a brief return to Portland, I moved to LA to continue my studies and broaden my horizons (code for getting out of the rain!) An inspiring Communications professor recommended me for a highly coveted paid PR internship, where I blossomed with a passion for communications.

While my children have brought immeasurable joy and balance to my life, I have never given up my first love — PR.

In 2001, I founded Z Group PR as a freelance consultancy after years working with communications teams and public relations agencies. I have been told by more than one client that my poise, writing skills, and media expertise make me a valuable asset, but it is my straightforward approach to marketing, cheerfulness and passion that makes them want to work with me. I enjoy being involved professionally in many business groups and I am a registered Girl Scout Leader. Now, with 25 years of experience, a second marketing degree, and an MBA, I can solve client PR issues faster than you can say, “Super PR Lady!” I am an “international steward of creativity” with extensive expertise in media relations, brand management, and marketing strategies spanning a myriad of industries.

I offer proven abilities in strategic marketing, corporate messaging, traditional and digital communications and social media marketing and am highly adept at developing vertical markets, identifying business opportunities, creating unique ideas, and building strategic alliances that drive market expansion and generate revenue growth.

As a polished communicator, I enjoy building influence and consensus with professionals of all levels.

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

Well, in person I would joke that I am an authority on social media marketing because I am old, which always gets a laugh. Really what I mean is that I learned communications the old fashioned way, in a traditional, non-technical environment, where we had to do it the hard way… like actually write things without Googling them first and call experienced (impatient) journalists on the phone to pitch press releases in person. I did not have the option of hiding behind a screen. It was stressful and while I have enjoyed each piece of technology that has come along since my early career (I started before email was a real thing and I was the FAX expert at the office in my early days) by practicing the craft the hard way.

My early traditional media experience made me more thoughtful (more fearful really in some ways) and more strategic in my thinking. When placed in an environment where today’s easy tools are the norm, I see people who did not have a broad traditional media experience early in their careers making mistakes. When social media came along, instead of being new to mass-communications and jumping on the bandwagon, I treated like any other tool, and while it is extremely useful and enjoyable to use social media, I still approach it from a more traditional vantage point. This makes me well suited to communicate on behalf of and across an organization, including with the C Suite, and to bring social media into focus for public relations and marketing strategies. I am also too old to buy the hype. Email was going to change everything about PR and it certainly made our jobs easier, but it also created an all too easy on-ramp to crappy media relations. Social media has the same downside — it’s so easy that it is deceptive. Communication is still a strategic art and a science, regardless of what tools are made available.

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

Ha. Too many and lots that I cannot share due to client confidentiality, but there is one that I still love and highlights the always interesting relationship between PR and journalism. Mid-career I worked as a spokesperson for a public entity that happened to be involved with an ugly public lawsuit. The regional media had decided that we were the bad guys and each morning’s paper brought a fresh new take on how horrible we supposedly were. Through consistent and unrelenting relationship building, I turned the entire media focus towards the real issues, to the point that by the end of the crisis, my organization was the recipient of many sympathetic news stories that resulted in solidifying community support . It was not fun. I hated being yelled at by reporters and frankly, I cried in my car more times than I care to remember. However, I had the truth on my side and because I am ridiculously competitive, I would not let my organization go down without a fight. It was an exhausting two-year slog, but I am a much better practitioner because of 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?

Yep. Still laugh about this one. I turned in a perfect press release to my CEO for approval. He loved everything about it. And at the end he asked slyly, “Did you want to spell your name correctly in the contact section or is this a PR thing?” I spelled my own name wrong in a press release! Yikes! One I learned to relax a little so that I could take a step back and really see a project as a whole and two, I learned that every good writer needs a great editor.

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?

My go-to for business is still Twitter because it started as a news source and has maintained, even with all of the changes, a deep connection with media, journalists, and communicators. I have Twitter friends that have recommended me for jobs, sent me clients, promoted my work, and collaborated with me in ways that made me better at what I do.

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. Leverage Instagram by remembering it is not Facebook. I do not think business users understand key points or differences about the platform. Understand the tool and dive deep into how communities are built here. For example, business users need to understand that there is not yet an option to use direct links in posts, so you have to edit or reframe your content with that in mind. It is tricky to link directly to product web pages and to incorporate links into video so you cannot simply take your existing Facebook or web advertisements or content and drop them into Instagram and expect results.
  2. What the above means is that to leverage Instagram organizations need a specific Instagram-focused strategy with specific links and specific web destinations that are well supported within the platform. This means that on the backend and on the creative side there may be some extra work to develop a streamlined presentation and process to sell or promote from Instagram because you may have only one link you can use in the profile section. Advertising is a lot easier now due to the integration with Facebook in terms of billing, running campaigns, and managing ads, but on the creative side and the messaging side, there’s practical issues that will need to be addressed.
  3. A lot of executives are hearing about “Influencers” and Instagram is the ideal place to connect with an influencer and to bridge product sponsorship or product integration within an existing account. However, this does not end well for some organizations and an experienced marketer needs to be on hand to implement a strong influencer campaign. I am starting to read articles where money is wasted, influencers are sued, or marketers have egg on their face because they jumped in without asking the hard questions. Leverage Instagram means understanding the specific community and environment first.
  4. Yes, everyone wants to sell stuff, but when you try to lead people away from IG to a website, messaging and the customer experience can get wonky. To leverage Instagram for business, first, I would ask any organization to consider why they are wanting to lead followers away from IG to tie it to existing marketing? It is not a broadly proven sales platform yet, so the secret sauce for many organizations connecting with Influencers is to keep the content where the fans are and to use IG for branding and PR, not sales. If you have determined that there is a true need to redirect followers, again, Instagram is tricky because not all accounts can use links and the vibe changes immediately after someone clicks away. My advice is to understand all of that before you move forward.
  5. Don’t be stingy with the advertising budget if you want to leverage Instagram for business. Know that the differences between organic and paid reach will have an impact on your results and your customer’s experience. Many posts will need to be boosted, as increasing engagement is harder these days.
  6. For all social media, I recommend using a media calendar to organize daily, weekly or monthly themes to concentrate and fully develop topics. On every platform, but especially on IG, you are creating a story, so your content experience needs to be more like a chapter book, not a pile of random postcards. And be consistent! There needs to be a story behind the Stories — you can’t post just one. Think of it as a TV show; there’s an overall theme that plays out over a series of smaller episodes. To leverage Instagram, ask yourself (or likely your team and your community): Is your brand sassy? Sophisticated? Edgy? If your service is all about a luxury experience, show off all of the small ways in which clients are pampered and, of course, the results.

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. 🙂

Well, I am a Girl Scout at heart and I would love to save the world in all the very important ways it needs to be saved, but from a professional standpoint, I would like to change my industry in a way that limits the number of inexperienced practitioners who are left to their own devices to do the work. I laugh and cringe on a daily basis at the number of bad PR pitches and press releases that journalists post, share, and complain about publicly as a warning to (or as a way to humiliate) those in the profession who cut corners. I think that PR people are on a whole very ethical. It seems to be a calling for many of us to uphold the ethics and values of our profession, out organizations and our clients. Then some bozo sends a vagina cream pitch to a financial tech writer and all of Twitter sees us as a bunch of twits. There needs to be structure and oversight within the profession and out in the greater communications world because I am offended and scared for my profession when someone inexperienced and unaware has the power to bring us all down a notch. A consumer-level grasp of social media does not make you a PR practitioner. I would start a movement that elevates our profession, removes the myths, and gives us the credit that we deserve, while training or terminating the people who do not take the responsibility to heart. We are in a scary place in general with media and journalism these days. PR practitioners need to do their part to uphold the ideals of journalistic integrity and if we are pitching crap products to the wrong publications via poorly scripted and executed mail merge blasts, we really are part of the problem.

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 🙂

Great question! I would love to chat with Jay Carney at Amazon, Sheryl Sandberg, Elliot Hill over at Nike, and Dan Wieden and David Kennedy (of Wieden+Kennedy) together, if possible.

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


How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Use a media calendar to organize… 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: “Utilize Gary Vee’s $1.80

How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Utilize Gary Vee’s $1.80 rule” With Becca Booker of Homemade Social & Candice Georgiadis

Utilize Gary Vee’s $1.80 rule. This is my favorite trick to recommend to clients. However, it takes quite a bit of time! You can read up on the technique here, but basically the idea is to comment highly engaging comments on other account’s posts that would be likely to engage with you and follow you.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Becca Booker, Owner of Homemade Social. A Northern California native living in the heat of Phoenix, Arizona, Becca Booker owns Homemade Social, a boutique social media marketing agency. After attending ASU and double-majoring in Marketing and Journalism, Becca started her agency to work hands-on with small- to medium-sized lifestyle brands and businesses to implement social media and Facebook advertising strategies to elevate their brand and reach.

Becca understands that creating messaging for lifestyle brands is a long-term game of strategy, not just cranking out day-to-day content. She works to understand her client’s goals and provides seamless integration with other components of the consumer experience to ensure exponential growth.

Plus, she loves corgis.

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

It’s a pleasure! I was honestly one of those kids who knew what I wanted to do since like 8th grade. I have always had an interest in social media and have always been great at getting engagement on it (I’d use click bait techniques to get more responses on my MySpace Discussion Boards).

I was an early adapter to both Facebook and Instagram, and when I was in college I was voted my sorority’s second ever “Instagram Chair” — meaning I was in charge of running our public social media account with the goal of attracting new members. That was the first time I had ever managed an account other than my personal one, and I took it and ran with it. I created graphics, liked photos of relevant hashtags hoping the users would follow us back, etc. I got quite a few internships in social media from this position alone, and ended up working as the Marketing Director for Bloguettes shortly after I graduated college.

While employed full-time, I started doing freelance social media management on the side for extra money and took an online course in managing Facebook Advertising. I saw a huge need to help entrepreneurs who were often lost & too busy to be handling their brand’s social media accounts. I started my company (full-time) in October of 2017 to help small businesses exponentially grow their social media and have grown to a team of 4 since!

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

As the founder of a leading Social Media Marketing Agency based in Phoenix, our strategies have landed us clients across e-commerce, fashion, lifestyle, and real estate and have enabled us to exponentially grow their social media following and drive sales and growth.

In a quickly-evolving and ever-changing industry like social media, my team and I put education & innovation first so we can stay ahead of the trends for our clients. I find it’s increasingly important to be hands-on with social media so that we can adapt strategies whenever algorithms change or new features are released.

As both an influencer and the owner of a social media marketing agency, I have the advantage of being able to see how various social media strategies affect both influencers and brands. Some techniques that work for one won’t work for the other!

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

I’ve actually be surprised several times at how many agencies have purchased fake followers on Instagram for their clients. I once took over a client’s account after they had been working with another agency, and when I started posting content for them our engagement dropped 70%. Turns out the previous agency had been buying likes/followers to fake results to the client!

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?

Back in the day, Instagram didn’t allow you to be logged into multiple accounts at the same time. I was still managing multiple accounts at the time — one of them being an online pet retailer — and I accidentally posted a puppy picture to another client’s account (who was a lawyer! lol). I had a slight panic attack and didn’t notice the slip up for a good 15 minutes, but the client never said anything about it. Phew!

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 story advertising!! Hands down. If you can create a short, compelling 15-second video that doesn’t look too much like an ad, it will really intrigue viewers to swipe up and check out whichever product or service you may be offering. I had a client utilize Instagram Story Ads to prompt viewers to get on her email list (in exchange for a freebie) and she got 359 leads for $2.96 a piece! With a potential lifetime value of $500 — that campaign had a huge return for her!

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 Gary Vee’s $1.80 rule. This is my favorite trick to recommend to clients. However, it takes quite a bit of time! You can read up on the technique here, but basically the idea is to comment highly engaging comments on other account’s posts that would be likely to engage with you and follow you.
  2. If you’re in a service-based business, have a freebie on your website and encourage people to download it in your bio! This is a great way to get leads and build your repudiability to your ideal audience.
  3. Instagram Stories is a great tool to show the behind the scenes of your business. If you’re in a service-based business, you as the business owner can show a “day in the life” of going to meetings, making decisions, and team outings. As a product-based business, try polling your audience (using the Poll or Question sticker) on what colors they like, what they love about their favorite product of yours, and what they want to see next!
  4. Sync your e-commerce store with your Facebook account (and make sure it’s connected to your Instagram account) so that you can tag your products directly on Instagram. Shopify should connect really easily. This will help with your conversion rates so users can click directly to the product on your website that you are posting about.
  5. Use the same filter on every photo. This is a great tip for making your Instagram account appear more cohesive and on-brand. Find a filter that works for your brand (ie. light & white, saturated, pink-tones, etc.) and stick to it. This way, whenever you post a new photo, your audience will get used to your style and will be able to tell it’s your photo without even seeing your name attached to it!
  6. Quality over quantity — don’t post just to post! So many people feel the need to share content daily, but it’s more important to share content that serves a purpose to your audience. Always aim to educate, inspire, or entertain your audience with every post!

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 wish the blogging & influencer industry was more sustainable. The amount of packages a blogger receives in the mail each day is insane. Not only is there so much cardboard going to waste getting the products to the blogger, but brands often send MORE than enough product for the blogger to actually use, so a lot of it ends up getting thrown out or expires before the influencer can use 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 🙂

Sara Blakely! The owner of Spanx. I love how transparent she is about owning & operating a business and how she still shares her fails as both a boss and a mom. If you’re looking for a motivating podcast, her episode on “How I Built This” by Guy Raz cracked me up! She’s so inspiring.

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


How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Utilize Gary Vee’s $1.80 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: “Identify who (what audience) you want…

How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Identify who (what audience) you want to talk to and use hashtags to get involved in conversations”, With Zoé Bélisle-Springer & Candice Georgiadis

Identify who (what audience) you want to talk to and use hashtags to get involved in conversations. Hashtags not only make your content reach more people, but they’re also great for finding the discussions you want to take part in. Take for example Victor Valverde, of Kut Haus Salon in California, whom we interviewed for Phorest’s Instagram eBook. On his salon’s account, 60% of the communication is geared towards their general public consumer or ideal client, 20% towards the industry, and 20% to industry partners, such as brands like Oribe or L’Oréal. It’s all about finding that balance and understanding what drives your business. I won’t get into the whole “working with influencers” conversation because we could be here for days, but hashtags facilitate finding these people or brands you want to talk to.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Zoé Bélisle-Springer, Digital Content Editor at Phorest Salon Software. Zoé is an experienced content producer whose expertise lies in building relationships and developing content channels such as award-winning podcasts and blogs that have a proven track record in driving growth at the top of the marketing funnel and positioning SaaS companies as thought leaders in their vertical.

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

Sure! Three years ago, hailing from a sound recording career and in need for a change of perspective on life in general, I took a one-way flight to Dublin, Ireland. I didn’t have much to my name at the time: I had a 2-year working holiday visa, a bit of money, and two backpacks. I fell back on my feet within three months, during which I simultaneously continued the freelance work I had been doing on the side for a few years and looked for a full-time job. I couldn’t afford to be picky, but I fell upon what felt like the dream job on paper — turns out it was also a dream job in real life! — writing blog content and managing social media at Phorest Salon Software. I had the writing experience through freelancing, and although I didn’t have a marketing degree of any sort, I had been working with advertising agencies in Montreal for five years through working at a post-production sound recording studio. Fast-forward three years later, and here we are! Still growing with Phorest, with the only exception that I’m now back in Montreal, working remotely and travelling to the US on a regular basis to help the team build the brand out there!

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

Until recently, I had been managing Phorest Salon Software’s social media platforms and running its worldwide campaigns for nearly three years. Alongside this, I have been producing and distributing a variety of educational content across six regions, including the United States. For instance, our blog includes social media advice and tips, including things like how businesses can use Instagram to increase engagement, while our podcast provides insightful interviews with industry experts, coaches and consultants — sometimes very social media focused.

Over the past three years, I’ve also written e-books (guides to Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat) covering the ins-and-outs of using each of these platforms to promote and brand businesses in the hair and beauty industry. My most recent work includes moderating a panel of artists at Modern Salon’s Salon Digital Summit, which took place in Los Angeles in early November 2018, and which discussed the impact of being authentic and showing personality on social media, but especially on Instagram.

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

Well, if I’m 100% transparent, I did initially turn down the final round interview in Phorest so technically; this career might not have even happened! I suppose that makes for an interesting story, considering where I’m at now, haha.

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?

During my first week in Phorest, I was tasked with taking the two blogs I had written as part of my “challenge” during the recruitment process, fine-tune them and publish them. Now bear in mind, I can sometimes go into long and over complicated technical explanations. So, rookie mistake, that’s exactly what I did… except I wasn’t talking to the right audience for that. Not even in the slightest. It didn’t pass “quality control,” and I had to rewrite the entire blogs from scratch. I can’t be thankful enough for that mistake to happen though: it’s what taught me the importance of being able to read and understand an audience, but also adapt to tone and voice.

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 don’t think there’s just one answer to this. For some, it can be Instagram. For others, it can be Facebook. I think to answer that question you must understand who’s your ideal client, what they’re like, on what platforms they are and where you can find more people like them. If you look at the salons and spas in Ireland compared to those in the United States, for instance, there’s a world of difference. You’ll see most of our salons’ clients in Ireland active on Facebook, whereas in the United States, there’s definitely been a shift toward Instagram. And let’s be real, as long as they have online bookings to support the growth of their business, people can book appointments on any social media platform!

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. Make sure your profile is public and switch to an Instagram Business Profile
    The easier you make it for people to get in touch, the better. With an Instagram Business Profile, you get to add call-to-action buttons such as “Email,” “Call,” and “Directions”. For businesses who take appointments, you can even go one step further and add a “Book Now” button to really make yourself accessible. We’ve seen this work incredibly well for salons and spas’ online bookings systems.
  2. Use Instagram Stories to drive business and engagement
    Stories have become Instagram’s most reliable feature to drive business and engagement for both personal and business accounts. It’s the perfect feature to show your business’ personality and bring a bit of “human” into the mix. Show behind-the-scenes, introduce your staff or highlight what’s going on during your events! Being personable and authentic builds your audience’s trust. Other benefits include: building engagement faster and easier with interactive stickers (polls, questions, gif), drive traffic to a specific website or link (‘link in bio’ or Swipe Up Feature for Instagram Business accounts that have over 10K followers), sharing content that doesn’t disrupt your feed’s theme or aesthetic, sharing exclusive content and staying in front of your followers’ minds. Also, don’t forget to tag locations and people in your posts!
  3. Start using Instagram Live
    If you’re comfortable with speaking in front of a live audience, then going Live could separate you from most Instagram accounts, as the feature still isn’t getting as much use. However, do plan a strategy. How long will your Live be and what topics will it tackle? Who will be involved? How will you promote your Live in advance and on other platforms? Often, it’s also a way to gain new followers. Finally, make sure you answer people’s questions when you do go Live. This feature is a comments generator, and you’ll want to make sure you’re also engaging with your audience in that regards. Going live can help you with connecting with your followers, getting discovered by new people and learning more about what your followers like. Think about using it for announcing giveaways, contests, winners, introducing a new product or service, show behind the scenes content from the events you attend, host Q&As and even do a product demo or a how-to!
  4. Get on IGTV before it gets too crowded!
    Not every business has started using IGTV, so it’s the perfect time for you to shine. I was speaking to a hairstylist during an event a month ago, and she was saying how with IGTV, she was able to get featured on the Explore page. Instagram is pushing people to use it more, and she had a “first-mover” advantage. Don’t sleep on this feature!
  5. Identify who (what audience) you want to talk to and use hashtags to get involved in conversations
    Hashtags not only make your content reach more people, but they’re also great for finding the discussions you want to take part in. Take for example Victor Valverde, of Kut Haus Salon in California, whom we interviewed for Phorest’s Instagram eBook. On his salon’s account, 60% of the communication is geared towards their general public consumer or ideal client, 20% towards the industry, and 20% to industry partners, such as brands like Oribe or L’Oréal. It’s all about finding that balance and understanding what drives your business. I won’t get into the whole “working with influencers” conversation because we could be here for days, but hashtags facilitate finding these people or brands you want to talk to.
  6. Use Instagram Ads
    The final tip on the list: pay to run ads on your account. Your promotion will appear in people’s feed amongst regular posts and will have a “sponsored” mention. These posts will not appear as a post on your salon’s profile feed so they don’t disrupt your feed’s aesthetic and they can be as timely as you want or need them to be. The ad can also display a call-to-action, so if you’re looking to drive people to a booking page or a website, you need to get onto this. Slick and efficient, this technique will generate brand awareness, drive traffic to your site or links and get you new followers from reaching targeted audiences.

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. 🙂

Every year, on a set day and for 24 hours, Bell (a Canadian telecommunications company) donates 5 cents to mental health initiatives for each text message, mobile and long-distance call made by Bell Canada, Bell Aliant and Bell MTS customers. The company also gives 5 cents for each tweet using #BellLetsTalk; each view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Snapchat; and each use of the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. Since the initiative began in 2010, more than $86.5 million has been donated to mental health initiatives across Canada.

I would love to see the social media giants (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat) do the same thing for the funding of a worldwide ocean cleanup. We need to do more around this. It’s unarguable; we need healthy oceans. Maybe if we all started using the #IChooseTheOcean and had it trending on all platforms for an extended period of time, our voices might be heard?

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 🙂

Seth Godin — without the slightest hesitation. I can’t think of many authors who have had the kind of lasting impact he’s had, and I profoundly relate to a lot of his ideas and mental models. I always look forward to seeing his short blogs in my inbox. They’ve helped me push through a whole lot of projects and challenges in the past few years, and I’d love to get the chance to thank him personally for always coming through with the right words. Who knows, maybe I’ll get a chance to do so at some stage; his AltMBA online workshop is actually on my list of things I want to accomplish before I turn 30!

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


How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Identify who (what audience) you want… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

“A picture speaks a thousand words right?

“A picture speaks a thousand words right? So you better make sure your pictures do that.” with Vivek Chugh and Candice Georgiadis

Content marketing. Instagram, maybe more than every other platform is all about quality content. A picture speaks a thousand words right? So you better make sure your pictures do that. Otherwise why will people follow or engage with your photos?

I had the pleasure of interviewing Vivek Chugh the founder of Listables. Vivek started Listables two years back after realizing that there had to be a better way to use checklists. He has also worked at senior positions for the best companies on the planet in their respective computing verticals, and managed world class product, engineering, and operations teams worldwide.

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 really have always had a desire to start my own business, but never really had that spark or idea. Until one night, at 3 am trying to debug a major deployment issue, I wondered why couldn’t we make checklists more collaborative, interactive, auditable and community oriented.

I started digging deeper into the idea, looking for services that would fit, but I couldn’t find anything just right. Either they were too complicated, or not built well enough. So I decided I wanted to build something to fit my criteria. Fast forward a couple of years later and here we are.

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

When you are the founder of a startup, if frequently requires you to wear many different hats. You are the CEO, you are the marketer, the customer service, project manager and so on. Since that is the reality of a startup, it allowed me to very closely work with our marketing team over the past couple of years to really hone in on what our marketing strategy should be, what works best, our ideal customer and other KPI’s.

Through this process I really think I have become very experienced in social media marketing from content marketing, to influencer marketing and other strategies.

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

I think one of the most interesting things about my personal journey is leaving a very secure six figure job to pursue my own business. It wasn’t a decision that was taken lightly but, one that I am very proud and grateful to have made. I truly enjoy working on my own business and the challenge of making it succeed.

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, I was working very long hours. One particular night I was up very late finishing a build for the app. The next day I had a very important conference call with some potential partners, 10 minutes into the call I dozed off for a few minutes. Thank God I wasn’t snoring because the other people on the call just thought I got disconnected.

From that point on, I made every effort I could to make sure I was getting enough rest. People always champion hard and long work hours, like you are stronger than the next person. However that is not the case. Giving yourself proper rest, and daily breaks will allow you to work more efficiently, and produce better quality work as well. Plus you won’t fall asleep on conference calls.

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?

The social media platforms that we found to be most effective for Listables, are Facebook and Instagram.

Using paid Facebook and Instagram advertising combined with influencer marketing we have been able to grow over 200% year over year with an incredible ROI.

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 is certainly one of our favorite social media platforms and makes up a large part of our marketing penetration strategy.

Here are 6 ways we leverage Instagram.

Content marketing. Instagram, maybe more than every other platform is all about quality content. A picture speaks a thousand words right? So you better make sure your pictures do that. Otherwise why will people follow or engage with your photos?

Use stories. We try and use Instagram stories as often as possible. It is a great easy way to communicate with your followers and the best part about it, many people don’t use it. So while you are competing for screen time on your followers time line, when they are viewing stories, less people are posting so you will show up more often.

Engage with your followers and other users. It is important to take some time each day to engage with your followers and other users who might be interested in your business. Like their photos, make a comment, even repost one of their images.

Use influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is one of our very favorite ways of using Instagram. The concept is simple, find a popular influencer who has a similar demographic to your business, and pay them to post. For this to have the best effect you should try and have the post be of some value. Good information, a funny meme, something that will get high engagement while not being to advertorial usually works best.

Boost your posts. Like Facebook, Instagram has changed their timeline algorithm making it more difficult for business to get in front of their followers. They best way to solve this is to have good content. Aside from that, boosting your posts is a great way to increase engagement as well as get in front of current and new customers. It also doesn’t have to cost a fortune. $100-$200 per month will do the trick.

Use paid advertising. Similar to boosted posts, however this is a more structured direct sale or advertisement. For example we very aggressively use Instagram paid ads to promote the download of our app. Whereas boosted posts is more branding and awareness. With the paid ads we are trying to get a user to take a specific action.

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. 🙂

Like many people currently, I think this world can use a little more empathy and more people to lend a helping hand. I always loved the thought of the pay it forward movement, and we actually have diligently been working to build up the community section of the Listables app where users can share checklists with the community. Offering up skills and knowledge that other people in the community might find valuable. For example we partnered with the American Cancer Society to create checklists like “6 steps to help lower cancer risk” and others to help spread cancer awareness and prevention.

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 🙂

The first person that comes to mind has to be Michael Jordan. I feel there are many things we can all learn from Michael. From his work ethic, to his dedication, to his business prowess.

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


“A picture speaks a thousand words right? was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

“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.