How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Do not underestimate the power of raw…

How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Do not underestimate the power of raw emotion to connect with your audience” With Gracie Page and Candice Georgiadis

Stories were introduced by Instagram when they started realising users were making a second, private account to share less perfect images with their closest friends and family. Responding to this obvious need for a place to share what real life looks like, Stories was born and it’s also the perfect place for your brand to show what real life means to you. Whether its product development, team lunches, getting shipments ready or even the office dog, this is where you can show the heart, personality and soul that goes into what you’re selling. Do not underestimate the power of raw emotion to connect with your audience.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Gracie Page. Innovation Lead for global advertising agency VMLY&R and adtech expert Gracie Page, who works with iconic British and global brands like McDonald’s, the BBC, Ford, the Premier League, Monopoly and many more to design brand-consumer interactions that make customers lives better. Gracie knows the world’s strongest brands are those connecting with their audience past simple transactional moments, and works to ensure technology is always used as a means not an end. When she isn’t supporting teams of strategists and creatives, or mentoring as a Mayor of London “Digital Pioneer”, she’s writing for the press.

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 been a long and winding road! My first career started age 9 when I commited full time to an Olympic dream of figure skating. A spinal injury put an end to that, and I went to university as a “mature student” to study molecular biology. After a stint in genetic engineering, I realised I had to choose between going for my Ph.D in cancer research, or taking a left turn and studying for a Masters in tech entrepreneurship. I bit the bullet and turned my back on a life in academia, opting instead to found a skincare company in week two of my Masters course using research from my days in the lab as the basis for the product. When the company crashed and burned, I realised I didn’t have a clue how to discern or speak to audiences, so I took the very logical next step of applying for a job in advertising to learn as much as I could. I brought in ten years experience as a freelance web developer, my tech entrepreneurship battlescars, and scientific mindset and never looked back!

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

I’ve been working with the social media medium for over ten years in a plethora of guises. Between running a top-10-on-the-internet niche subject matter blog, devising creative low-budget start-up strategies for social campaigns, heading up daily production of McDonald’s social media content in the United Kingdom, and working on every part of the social media marketing funnel from strategy, creative ideation through to technical feasibility, platform partnerships and delivery, there isn’t a corner of social media I haven’t explored. I led the team that saw Play-Doh launch their first ever UK-specific social media campaign, produced wildly popular social media stories for Monopoly, and work hand-in-hand with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter every week to push the boundaries of what’s possible on their sites and apps for world-leading brands.

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

Every day in an interesting story in my line of work! No two days are alike, which makes it difficult to choose just one. As a Creative Technologist at Young & Rubicam the default expectation of me was to bring technology-heavy solutions to the business problems we were solving for our clients. Sometimes technology isn’t needed, but a scientific outlook can bring left-field answers to the table when they’re least expected. Once I was asked to solve the problem of driving guests to in-resort dining destinations, and the front-running idea at the time was to make an app to smooth the reservation process. Once we got in to it though, I realised the goal wasn’t to put butts on seats in the resort restaurants, but rather reduce the number of guests bringing in their own food from surrounding supermarkets. With this in mind, the team and I got on the phone and brokered a partnership with a leading cooking box subscription service to deliver recipes and all the necessary fresh ingredients to guests who weren’t into sitting in restaurants at the end of a long day with the kids. The answer wasn’t an incredible piece of technology, but rather to reconsider the job at hand and the customers’ needs. I always think back fondly on this anecdote because it proves that being innovative isn’t always synonymous with building apps.

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 coding a website for McDonald’s and closed my text editor before saving the file. Right at the end of the day. I had lost about 2 hours of debugging work, and ended up in the office until 3am re-cleaning my code. The later it got, the less my brain worked, and what had taken 30 minutes before now took three times as long. I was horrified at my own stupidity, and rather fittingly just sat there alone in the office, with the motion-sensor lights switching off every 3 minutes. Darkness, a glowing screen, and me intermittently flailing my arms like a mad woman to turns them back on. My partner brought me those yoghurt snacks that come in a tube at about 11pm, and I’ll never forget writing CSS drinking strawberry yoghurt through the night. Thoroughly absurd. I learned that backups are king — a simple lesson but a lifelong one!

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?

That depends entirely on the business goals and the people the business is trying to speak with. Notice I said “with”, not “to” — social media is a place for dialogue and brands that connect with consumers are those that do best out of social. When I was producing McDonald’s we spent 4 days a week coming up with new concepts, trying them out, shooting them and getting them fit for Facebook. But the best post we ever put out was shot on my iPhone at the local McD’s on London’s Tottenham Court Road, and simply showed a McFlurry ice cream with the tag line “tag a mate who should go on a McFlurry run now”. We hit over 30,000 comments in one day, and racked up millions of views. This is testament to the fact that social media marketing works when you bring the user in on the action.

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. Show your brand’s personality (alongside the glossiness)

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the ultra-manicured visuals of the Instagram platform. Every image in a profile’s “grid” should sit harmoniously with those surrounding it — no mean feat to plan and execute, and it’s essential to convey your brand’s product, purpose and message. But what about personality? That’s where Instagram Stories comes it. Stories were introduced by Instagram when they started realising users were making a second, private account to share less perfect images with their closest friends and family. Responding to this obvious need for a place to share what real life looks like, Stories was born and it’s also the perfect place for your brand to show what real life means to you. Whether its product development, team lunches, getting shipments ready or even the office dog, this is where you can show the heart, personality and soul that goes into what you’re selling. Do not underestimate the power of raw emotion to connect with your audience.

2. Make your content interactive

We all know that consumers are saturated with online content, and we’ve all been a thumb-scrolling zombie at one time or another on Instagram. The content just flows in a never-ending stream, and our eyes glaze over as all the perfection blends into one. So how can you draw your customers and leads out of autopilot mode? Ask them for their opinion. Ask them for recommendations. Ask them to choose between things. Making your content interactive is an amazing way to connect with your customers on IG, because it not only shows you value their input, you might actually unearth incredible insights that can help inform business decisions. AirBnB did this brilliantly in a campaign where they posted a beautiful photo of a destination and asked the audience to choose between two options as to where they thought the photo was taken. Simple, but very engaging.

3. Engage at an individual level

It’s no secret we all just want to feel heard. When you’re a brand on Instagram and you’re doing well enough to be receiving comments, shares and answers to Stories, the least you can do is respond to that person. Although you may be dealing with 1,000 such interactions a day, those individual prospective fans only interacted once (most likely). This is not about you, it’s about your customers. So put yourself in their shoes: if you commented on a post of a brand you love, and they responded something genuinely warm/funny/helpful you’d experience a heightened affinity for that brand. So do to others as you’d have done to you as a consumer. And if you’re getting too many to feel like you can manage to engage individually, congratulations! That’s a lovely problem to have. The solution is to hire a community manager who can consistently deliver the tone of voice that represents your brand’s personality on the platform.

4. Lead a community

There’s a lot to be said for standing up for the things that are important to your brand. If you take the risk of raising your hand, you’ll find your tribe. So start something, and lead it. Starting a # on Instagram is hard work, but if it truly encapsulates what you and your followers are about it can reap rewards of spreading the word about your brand organically (that is, without having to spend money) and lend enormous credibility to you as a movement-leader. Editorial brand @theprettycities has amassed over 350k followers on its main and city-specific accounts by launching #prettycities as a call to action for users who are already sharing images of the cutest corners of their hometowns. This works because it taps into a pre-existing user behaviour (taking such photos), and gives those snappers a community to belong to.

5. Give the world tools to express themselves, then get out the way

Millennial knitting brand Wool And The Gang are all about knitwear. They sell all the implements to start crafting, and have an irreverent makers-are-ace attitude on their social media accounts. But on Instagram they went one step further, by creating a set of “Instagram Stickers” (technically there’s no such thing as brand Stickers, but brands can create GIFs on a transparent background and distribute them through Giphy, which has an Instagram Stories integration). Consumers posting stories about their daily lives love to embellish them with nuggets of visual content, and GIFs are one of the most popular ways of doing so. By creating these “Sticker” GIFs, Wool And The Gang gave millions knitters on Instagram a way to express themselves when they’re posting about their knitting. Just like that, the brand spreads organically, and users enjoying the stickers will remember WATG for longer as a brand that helps them live their best crafty life.

6. Understand the value exchange

We must always remember that when consumers engage with branded content, they are doing so on the basis that they’ll derive value in exchange for their attention. And as consumers become increasingly time-poor, what they get in return for their attention needs to be inordinately wonderful to justify that sacrifice. As a brand, remember that it’s your job to deliver so much value to users when they consume your Instagram content, that they can’t help but want to come back for more. This could be insanely useful tutorial content, insights from experts they could never normally gain access to, or even sheer entertainment that puts a smile on their face. Whatever they’re giving you, you need to give back 10x.

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. 🙂

That movement is what I call: Slow Tech Living.

In Western society, it has become essential to be “connected”. To consume digital technology to go about our daily lives. We have digital products and services for every aspect of our rich, complex existence: from taking a pro-grade photo of your best friend, to calling home on the other side of the world, or finding the love of your life. Or, you know, just ordering pizza. Tech has afforded us convenience and connection, but many want to shame you for your use of it and purport the only way forward is to “log off”, “delete accounts” or perform “digital detox”. Whatever that is. These so-called champions of a less connected life use hyperbolic language to make us feel guilty about the services we know and love to use. “Put your phone away NOW!” shouts one headline, “You’re addicted to your phone!” reads another.

But there’s something else going on here.

Technology companies, governments, educational institutions, and many more society-shaping organisations have spent billions of dollars designing products and services that leverage fundamental human psychological hooks to keep us using their services. I reject the premise that our use of such services makes us somehow “weak”, and I reject the premise we should be ashamed of it. But of course, I’m no fool, and I can see that over-stimulation through constant connection is starting to hurt us. The reports on the links between dwindling mental health and screen usage are undeniable. But isn’t there a happy medium, that doesn’t require us all to promptly throw away our iPhones?

Yes, there is. It’s called Slow Tech Living.

“Humane tech”, or “slow tech” is a school of design thought that outlines a set of design principles championing the placement of the end user at the heart of the digital experience. By applying humane tech thinking to the design of digital products and services, people are able to use technology as an enabler of their own potential. And those are great guiding principles for the companies designing the future phones and sites we’ll love using. But what about the rest of us?

Slow Tech Living is the translation of slow tech principles into our daily lives. It’s a philosophy that champions mindful disconnect at the right time, helping you enjoy the moment fully. It doesn’t suggest you throw your phone away, and it doesn’t presume you’re fine with the idea of throwing away the conveniences modern tech affords us. Life is all about balance, with tech as with everything else.

You can find my full post on the topic, and my most important message (cut yourself some slack!) here:

https://thatchicgeeklife.com/2018/07/16/quit-feeling-guilty-why-technology-isnt-your-enemy/

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 🙂

Angela Ahrendts, Senior VP Retail at Apple. She is an incredible role model for women in business and is spearheading a shift in the way Apple interacts with its customers and the wider communities in which they operate by refocusing the retail experience around deep connection that transcends transactions. She films a weekly selfie video for the Apple workforce that goes over whatever’s on her mind that week, making herself an approachable leader as a result. Angela’s simple approach to designing user-centric experiences is what I admire most however. Simply put, she says: “have empathy. Care. It’s not rocket science.” And she’s right, it really is as simple as that.

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


How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Do not underestimate the power of raw… 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: “Mention other influencers in your…

How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Mention other influencers in your industry” With David Pagotto Founder and Managing Director of SIXGUN and Candice Georgiadis

In your Instagram posts, mention other influencers in your industry. Being mentioned, it is likely they will like and share your post, giving you more reach.

I had the pleasure of interviewing David Pagotto. David Pagotto is the Founder and Managing Director of SIXGUN. He has been involved in digital marketing for over 10 years, helping organisations get more customers, more reach, and more impact.

SIXGUN focuses on scaling organisational growth and building sustainable results for the long-term, with a data-driven approach to developing strategy. As a Melbourne based digital marketing agency, SIXGUN focuses on Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Marketing, and Social Media Marketing.

David is passionate about seeing organisations grow while working on his mission to support meaningful causes.

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 began my entrepreneurial journey early in high school, selling things to my friends during lunch time. A few years later I was selling a wide range of outdoor adventure products on eBay and doing well. Straight after high school I set up a retail shop with a business partner.

However, after a few years I realised I loved the digital marketing aspect of the business more than the shop. I moved into digital marketing, working at different agencies in Melbourne to learn what to do — and what not to do. I realised that many agencies don’t have a win-win-win philosophy; where the clients, staff, and business all win. I was either seeing staff be burned out, or I was seeing client results slip. I decided that I would build an agency where clients, staff, and the business wins.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey opened my mind to the possibility of creating powerful win-win situation.

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

SIXGUN handles Social Media Marketing campaigns for some of Australia’s leading brands.

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

Hiring my first employee was nerve-wracking!

It’s always a big leap to go from a one-man band to having your first full time employee, and all the responsibility and risk that comes with it.

I knew I wanted to hire a senior team member, because I had watched other agencies hire more affordable talent who couldn’t deliver outstanding work. I realised that the best strategy for hiring well was to hire someone I already knew. That way there would be no surprises later as to their actual abilities. But who?

I thought long and hard about who I had worked with who had really impressed me, and one person came to mind. Initially, this person already had a position they were happy with, but over the course of numerous catch ups where I did everything I could to persuade them to come onboard the idea started to make sense to them.

They became SIXGUN’s first employee, and to this day they still do an outstanding job. I see myself very lucky to have them as a part of the team.

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 don’t know how funny it is, but I’m a risk-averse personality, which means I tend to move more slowly in business than others who throw caution to the wind. It means I’ve built my business on solid foundations, but it’s taken longer!

A typical example is I will read every line of every contract (no matter how dense!) before signing. This often happens late into the night when my girlfriend is laughing at me and telling me to relax and get some sleep!

The moral of the story here is that aiming for perfection can slow you down and you need to be well aware of that.

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

Both Facebook and Instagram can be strong platforms to boost your business revenues.

Highly visual brands and products, such as fashion accessories, lend themselves better to Instagram. Products and services that are more general in nature, or B2B tend to fit better with the Facebook audience.

We have used both of these platform — often in tandem — to get strong results for our clients.

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.

Here are some core areas to leverage on Instagram to dramatically improve your business.

1. Influencer Marketing on Instagram

Influencer marketing is powerful because it helps you reach a captivated audience through someone who already has built trust with their followers.

For example, if you have a footwear label, utilising influential Instagram profiles is a great way to amplify your latest range.

2. Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are a great way to get attention for your brand or product in more creative, unique way. The genuine, spontaneous feel makes people connect with them more deeply than a post.

Continuing with the footwear label example, you could create an Instagram story of a model walking over a stunning, rocky outcrop wearing a pair of bright red shoes from the new range.

3. Instagram Shopping

Shopping on Instagram is a great feature to take customers straight to your product from a photo. You can tag the product in the photo, with a link that takes them to a product description page on Instagram, and then to your online store.

For example, as a footwear label, you could take a range of fun, vibrant, artistic photos of the new shoe range and tag in the name and price of each shoe in the photos. From there, users can click on the shoe they like and be taken to the product page, and then to your website to buy.

Shopping on Instagram remains a highly underutilized feature for brands.

4. Use Ego Bait

In your Instagram posts, mention other influencers in your industry. Being mentioned, it is likely they will like and share your post, giving you more reach.

For example, you could mention an influencer by saying you think they would look great in your latest shoe.

5. Don’t Forget General Marketing Principals

Having faces in your images will get more engagement. Using hashtags will help people find your posts. Balancing your posting frequently (and the time of your posts) will ensure you don’t harass your audience. Using the right colours and ensuring your messaging is on brand will help with consistency.

Don’t forget marketing basics, the things that have been around for decades and get constantly remolded into the latest “course” or blog post.

6. Focus on Building Brand Ambassadors — The Kind of People Who Do Your Advertising For You

Most companies on Instagram focus on growing the number of followers they have. Followers are good, but brand ambassadors are far better. Rather than focusing on numbers, focus on the quality of your followers. In Tim Ferris’ book Tools of Titans, Kevin Kelly talks about any only needing 1,000 true fans to be successful, with a true fan defined as “a fan who will buy anything you produce.”

For example, as a footwear label, focus on having your brand ambassadors follow you, and more importantly converting your general customers into raving fans. Often this can be achieved by providing above and beyond customer service.

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. 🙂

Creating a business philosophy of win-win that permeates through society.

As mentioned earlier the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People explains the power of win-win really well, and it’s a philosophy I live by, but I unfortunately come across others who don’t. If everyone in business valued win-win, it would create a more trusting environment between businesses and consumers, and would show the world that business can be good and do good.

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 have always looked up to Warren Buffet. I love his philosophy, his way of working, what he has achieved, and what he has given away.

He has always struck me as someone who moves slowly and makes calculated decisions. Value investing (one of his fundamental investing principles) is something that I apply to a number of areas in my life.

I would love nothing more than to sit down with him and discuss the fabric of life and business (by discuss I mean intently listen!).

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


How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Mention other influencers in your… 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: “Create your own product”

How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Create your own product” With Jessica Castaneda and Candice Georgiadis

Create your own product. Sponsored work is great, but I’ve learned the well can dry up if not enough brands like what you’re doing. When I started talking about body positivity and self love, a lot of brands stopped reaching out to me because I was pushing the opposite of what they wanted to sell (weight loss). Luckily, I was already working on my own product and was able to replace that income by selling something that I created.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jessica Castaneda, the owner of Easy Living Today LLC and busy mother of two toddlers. She is a self proclaimed mombie that is using her business to help other mombie’s live healthier lives despite mom life.

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 vividly remember being seven months pregnant and working 11 hour days at a job I absolutely hated. I had to drive an hour to sit in a cubicle all day and felt like my life was just being wasted away. One day I was on Pinterest on my lunch break and kept reading all of these blogs and was like “you know what? I can do this too. If they can make money blogging, so can I.” The next day I quit my corporate job and never looked back.

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

I actually have a Bachelors degree in Marketing. It has always been a passion of mine, until I was doing it for someone else. When I finally used it to build my own business, and not someone else’s, I began to study it day in and day out. I’ve been able to use my Social Media Marketing experience to sell out products and grow a large following that I consider my tribe.

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

Oh man, so many interesting things have happened! I would say the most interesting, though, was when I decided to create my fitness planner and actually put it all together myself. One day I dropped my kids off at daycare and went to the store, in my pajamas with 0 makeup, to get some supplies to start building my Fit Life Planner. While I was there, someone approached me and was like “Oh my God, you’re Easy Living Today! I love you so much and have been following you on Instagram for a year! Is this all for your planners?” That was the first time I was ever recognized in public and had no idea how to react! I wanted to cry, I wanted to hug her and I wanted to hide all at the same time. It all hit home for me that day, what I was doing was working and my brand was real. At a time where I was considering giving up on my planner, it gave me the motivation I needed to push through.

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 my Instagram page, I happened to also be on the market for a new house. I was so trapped in this insane social media mentality that I thought I needed a white house that would look good on Instagram. Mind you, I also had a baby at the time and was pregnant with my second boy. I bought the perfect “Instagram house” (you have to know what I’m talking about)… and I just listed it for sale the other day. Those perfect looking white kitchens are not toddler friendly! They are a pain to keep clean and I never want to look at one again. My mistake was living my life for Instagram and not just living my life and sharing that to Instagram. Ya’ll, I bought a whole house because it would look good on Instagram- if that’s not the craziest/weirdest thing to do… I don’t know what is!

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?

Definitely Instagram! I started a business Instagram profile three years ago as an extension to my blog. However, as time went on Instagram became my business and my blog became an extension of my Instagram page. Due to the following I was able to grow on Instagram, I was able to sell out my Fit Life Planner in just under two weeks! I was shocked, to be honest. At the time, I had no idea Instagram was that powerful or that my followers would even buy anything from me. But at that point we had grown such a bond that everyone was actually excited to spend money on my product.

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. Always remember it’s about quality followers, not quantity. It’s easy to get sucked in to thinking you need to have a certain amount of followers to be successful, but what you really need are quality followers that are a part of your tribe. There was a time I did a big giveaway to attract followers and grow my numbers, and that just let to me being followed by people that just wanted free stuff. Then I had to waste a bunch of time removing all of these people because they were ruining my engagement. Once I deleted all of them, I finally had followers that were my people and started building a loyal following.
  2. Connect with other Instagrammers. I’m a huge introvert, so this was hard for me! But actually putting myself out there and leaving comments on other influencers pictures or even messaging them changed a lot for me. Some of the best advice I’ve been given has been from influencers I wouldn’t even know if I didn’t sneak my way in to their DM’s.
  3. Create your own product. Sponsored work is great, but I’ve learned the well can dry up if not enough brands like what you’re doing. When I started talking about body positivity and self love, a lot of brands stopped reaching out to me because I was pushing the opposite of what they wanted to sell (weight loss). Luckily, I was already working on my own product and was able to replace that income by selling something that I created.
  4. Use influencer marketing to sell your own products. As an influencer yourself, it’s a lot easier to understand and work with other influencers. When I released my Fit Life Planner, I emailed a bunch of influencers (their emails are always in their bio if they do collabs) and offered to send them my product just for feedback. I got lucky and most of them posted about it on their stories and it helped me both sell out and grow my following. I knew I couldn’t afford to pay them at the time, but I also knew I wanted my product in their hands because I believed in it. It worked out very well.
  5. Use Instagram ads! I used to not want to spend money on them because I never felt like there was a large enough ROI. But that was because I was just using ads to grow followers. However, when I reworked my ads and used them to link directly to my products instead of to my profile- the returns were huge.
  6. Be true to yourself. No matter who you are or what your passion is, there are other people that can relate. It’s so easy to get caught in to the trap of wanting to be like other influencers or thinking you need to be doing what they’re doing to grow, but you don’t. There was something about them that people connected with, and you have something unique that people will connect with as well. Listen, I even bought a white house because I thought it would look good in pictures. It was the perfect “Instagram” house. I’m now selling it because, well, a white “Instagram house” is not cozy or convenient at all!

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. 🙂

My goal is to inspire women to workout and live a healthy lifestyle for themselves, and not just to conform to society norms of what women should look like. Working out is so good for both your mental and physical health, not just for weight loss. I want women to understand that, that your appearance doesn’t define your health and working out isn’t solely for physical appearance. Exercise can change so much more than the way you look, and there’s nothing wrong with the way you look to begin with!

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 Vee, no question. He is so inspiring and whenever I feel like giving up on my business, I literally take a day to watch all of his Instagram videos. The next day, I kid you not, I am super refreshed and focused working on a million new ideas. If it weren’t for him constantly popping up on my timeline, I probably would have given up a long time ago.

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


How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Create your own product” 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:”Always check in at a location” With…

How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business:”Always check in at a location” With Alexander Onaindia and Candice Georgiadis

Always check in at a location! Your followers want to know where that awesome picture was taken and your image will show up on that locations Instagram page, giving your post and page extra exposure.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Alexander Onaindia. Alexander Onaindia is the co-founder and CEO of Distinction Agency and VP of Communications for Revolving Mind Media. Based in Miami, Alexander has developed strong relationships with Fortune 500 companies and global start-ups, marquee media, professional athletes and teams, social media influencers and non-profit organizations through innovative marketing and communications campaigns. Alexander has had clients featured on national media outlets including ESPN, Forbes, Good Morning America, O, The Oprah Magazine, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, The Today Show and The Wall Street Journal.

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

As an athlete and sports fan growing up, my dream was to be a professional athlete. I learned early on that was not going to happen for me despite my best efforts, however my desire to join the big leagues never faded. I always found myself consumed by the business of sports and marketing at a young age. I knew I had to break into the industry when I found myself more interested in reading Darren Rovell’s sports business columns instead of game recaps from beat writers. During my time at Florida State University, I interned with a sports PR firm that worked with collegiate teams and businesses that were involved with athletes. After that experience, I knew that marketing and PR was the path that I wanted to take.

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

When I first started my career, I’d say I was far from an authority in social media marketing. I was largely focused on PR and communications campaigns early on. As time has gone on and I’ve started my own business, I’ve realized the importance and reach of social media for businesses of all sizes. As we’ve built the Distinction Agency, we’ve leveraged the power of social media and direct messages to generate thousands of dollars in business for the agency and our clients. The great thing about social media is that it’s ever evolving and what worked last year most likely won’t work this year. Every day I continue to stay plugged into the industry, between being informed through trade-specific articles and attending key industry events — it’s important that my team and I remain at the forefront of an always changing landscape. As a team, we know that the difference between “scoring” for our clients or coming up short is how engaged we remain with the times, there’s always something to learn in social media and marketing in general. Even in today’s digital era, it can be much easier to initially connect with a brand or individual through social media rather than a traditional cold call or email.

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

Celebrating a large win for one of my clients at a Las Vegas club during CES and seeing one of my biggest role models right next to us partying, the very well-known businessman and reality TV star, Mark Cuban. It was a memorable night. Then, the the next evening, who do I stand next to in line at The Venetian and laugh about the night before with? Mark Cuban.

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 my professional career, I was intimidated by older generations telling me social media was only a bad thing and to hide everything. That couldn’t be worse advice! Social media is the most powerful networking tool in the world if used effectively. Whether it’s setting up an interview for a client through Twitter or signing a new client through Instagram, I see the positive benefits of social media almost every single day. The lesson I learned is that business constantly evolves. The most successful businessmen from 40 or 50 years ago would not be successful today if they approached business the same way they did back then. While I probably could be a bit further along my path today had I trusted my gut early on, it was a valuable lesson in patience and believing in yourself. Now fast forward to today, some of these same people are calling me for help and advice on their social media strategy. Can’t help but smile when that happens!

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. The person largely responsible for me commiting to Instagram as a way to generate new business for our agency is Gary Vaynerchuk. By listening to Gary’s podcasts, reading his books and following his content, it opened my eyes to the power of the platform. For us, our Instagram page (@distinctionagency) is a constantly updating billboard of what we do, what we believe in, what drives us, and the awesome influencers and brands we work with. It has also been a huge driver of why we’ve been able to secure meetings with some very cool people. We’ve had influencers and brands message us saying they love our page and that it’s right in line with who they are as a company too. It’s nice when your social media page can win half the battle for you!

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.

  • Direct Messages-If you are effective with how you reach out, you can reach ANYONE through a DM. The first few clients of Distinction Agency all came from DMs and the majority of our business still does!
  • Influencer Marketing-When I connect with someone on Instagram about an influencer partnership, I typically ask if they want to move the discussion over to email. One of the first brands to work with one of our influencers made a generous offer on the spot without an email or phone call.
  • Instagram Stories-Instagram Stories have made Snapchat almost irrelevant and has given the public an inside view into the daily lives of their favorite athlete, celebrity or entrepreneur. When I first started negotiating influencer marketing partnerships, all brands cared about was posts on the influencers page. Currently, many brands are seeing more ROI from the stories than from a post on the influencers page. It’s been a major shift for the platform.
  • Instagram Live-Have you noticed how you get a notification when someone goes live on Instagram? That notification is key in driving people to a person’s Instagram Live.
  • Checking In-Always check in at a location! Your followers want to know where that awesome picture was taken and your image will show up on that locations Instagram page, giving your post and page extra exposure.
  • Instagram Advertising — You gotta spend money to make money, right? You can’t depend on solely your followers to convert into clients or help generate greater business. Sometimes you just need to place yourself in front of the right people! Every time we promote a new influencer, we put them in front of their target audience. Immediately, engagement skyrockets and the post gets shared even more due to effective targeting.

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

If I could inspire any movement, it would be to challenge anyone with influence to reach out to someone who is currently struggling and help them in any way you can. You never know what a simple phone call, text or meeting can mean to someone who is struggling physically or emotionally. There’s no better feeling than helping someone who needs your help and giving them the tools or motivation to succeed.

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 🙂

Tough question. I’d have to say LeBron James business partner, Maverick Carter. LeBron went against the grain when he was drafted in the NBA, trusting his childhood friends to run his brand and business. Man, has that paid off for him. What Maverick and his team have been able to do for LeBron and his brand over the years has been remarkable. I think they are still scratching the surface of what they can and will accomplish.

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


How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business:”Always check in at a location” With… 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: “Tell your story” With Sahara Rose and…

How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Tell your story” With Sahara Rose and Candice Georgiadis

Tell your story. People want to know YOUR why behind the work they do. They want to connect to a human, not a company. The posts I share on how my health had totally deteriorated, body had gone into perimenopause, digestion stopped working, hormones shut off and hair had fallen out and THAT is the reason why I practice and teach about Ayurveda, by far do the best.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Sahara Rose. Sahara Rose is the best-selling author of Eat Feel Fresh: A Plant-Based Ayurvedic Cookbook and Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda. She has been called “a leading voice for the millennial generation into the new paradigm shift” by Deepak Chopra, who wrote the foreword of both her titles.

Sahara hosts the Highest Self Podcast, ranked as the #1 top podcast in the spirituality category on iTunes. She is an Abundance Mindset Expert and guides people to pave their path to freedom, joy and purpose.

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

Growing up I was extremely unhealthy and addicted to junk food. I decided to begin practicing yoga at 12 and fell in love with the practice. I began reading books all about the yogic lifestyle, from authors such as Deepak Chopra, and it deeply changed the course of my life. I began traveling and volunteering in over 30 countries, learning about ancient healing cultures across the globe. When I was teaching health in the slums of India, I got very sick and it was then I discovered Ayurveda, which radically changed the course of my life. It healed my mind, body and spirit and I decided I would write a book on the subject — though I had never met an author. I spent two years living in India studying Ayurveda and eventually completed my book, then was hired by Penguin to write the official Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda, which became the #1 best-selling Ayurveda book nationally. Today I have educated thousands on Ayurveda, written a second best-selling book, Eat Feel Fresh, and speak around the world. My passion is modernizing this ancient healing science so it can help people the way it has me.

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

I use social media to bring ancient topics back to life in a way no one has before. I have created a movement around Ayurveda, the world’s oldest health system, and have educated hundreds of thousands of people on the topic. My podcast has over one million monthly downloads and is less than a year and a half old. My email list is 200k+ and Instagram is 126k, all grown organically on a topic that most had never heard of before me.

I’ve built my business and even gotten my book deals because of the social media community I have cultivated. I began blogging in 2011 and since then have put out thousands of articles and social media posts educating people on Ayurveda, wellness, spirituality, entrepreneurship and holistic health. I use social media as a tool to inspire people to look deeper within themselves. Because I’ve built long-standing trust with my following, I have a seven-figure online business with various online programs and brand sponsors related to Ayurveda, wellness and conscious entrepreneurship.

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

That would definitely be seeing Deepak Chopra at a conference, walking up to him, sending him the PDF of my not-yet-published book, him liking it and wanting to meet with me and soon after, him offering to write the foreword of my book and now both of my books. It’s moments like this you fully understand that there are greater forces at play in the universe. When you are in alignment with your purpose (dharma), things line up in ways you could have never planned or imagined. This is called living in kriya, flow, which is a topic I now speak a lot about on Highest Self Podcast.

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 health-coaching, I had on my website a menu tab that said “$20 Consultations.” I was willing to help anyone with any health problem, for just $20 an hour. If you wanted to lose weight, gain weight, get pregnant, run a marathon, balance your hormones, I was your girl. Clearly I didn’t get that many clients from what I believed was an unbeatable deal because most people would NOT trust someone who just valued their time at $20 with their health problems. I learned quickly that abundance is a result of worthiness and that if I was serious about becoming a wellness professional, I needed to dive deeper into my studies to set myself apart. I ended up studying Ayurveda in India for two years, becoming an Ayurvedic Practitioner and writing multiple books on Ayurveda. Now I don’t work with clients because my calling is to educate and uplift the masses.

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 podcast had been my primary way of sharing my programs, books and brand sponsors with my audience. I believe in this day-and-age we’ve become so isolated and tired of meaningless, curated content that we are CRAVING more depth and interaction. That is why podcasts do so well.

In that hour, you really dive into the head of another human-being and understand their fundamental beliefs and values in a way no logo or caption could have shown you.

People want to know the why. They want to hear how that supplement helped you with that health problem, how that tea soothes your anxiety, how that program made you who you are.

Podcasts also have a longer shelf-life than social media posts because people often go back and listen to episodes from months or years ago, whereas few people scroll back to see what you posted on Instagram last year (unless they’re stalker status.)

Podcasts also attracted more educated listeners. A successful person does not have hours to spend scrolling through Youtube and watching your face talk for an hour a day, otherwise they would not be where they are. They’re busy. They need content that will be available for them in their in-between time; during their commute, on their walk, while running errands. I find far more high-end customers from podcasts than any other form of social. Podcast listeners tend to be educated, serious customers who are ready to invest in the products and programs that will improve their lives.

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.

Yes!

  1. Use Instagram stories. I spend far more time on Instagram stories than I do on the feed because the feed has become so overly curated that it lacks depth. People want to know: How do you spend your day? What matters to you? What products do you use? Be authentic and honest.
  2. Tell your story. People want to know YOUR why behind the work they do. They want to connect to a human, not a company. The posts I share on how my health had totally deteriorated, body had gone into perimenopause, digestion stopped working, hormones shut off and hair had fallen out and THAT is the reason why I practice and teach about Ayurveda, by far do the best.
  3. Have a clear theme/ message. What is the essence of your page? What can I expect from you? I think of my Instagram like my altar. What represents who I truly am? Followers should be able to feel you just from looking at your feed. There needs to be heart.
  4. Have one call to action per post. Most people have no call to actions and then wonder why their business isn’t growing. Some people have multiple call to actions, leaving people confused on what to do next, thus just scrolling away. Have one clear action-step on the post/ story. For example, “My kids are never sick for more than a day because of this essential oil blend I use. Swipe up to learn more about it” or “Growing up, I had so much shame around sex and money but from rewiring my beliefs, I’ve never felt more confident and abundant. Head to the link in my bio to read about my journey.” Give value, then guide them in the right direction to continue gaining more.
  5. Be out-of-the-box. Do something that hasn’t been done before. Much of my success is because no one has ever modernized Ayurveda the way that I have before. This has made me the go-to expert on Ayurveda, though it took years to cultivate. Take a risk and pursue what sets your soul on fire. It will take off if you truly believe in it. Trust the timing of your life and social media.
  6. Show your face. Gone are the days where Instagram feeds were a place for pictures of your breakfast, dog and sunset. People now want to see the person behind the brand. People want to connect to a person, not a product. I used to have a fear that if I showed my face, people would unfollow me and the opposite ended up being true.

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. 🙂

Immigrant rights is something I am very passionate about and share on my Instagram regularly. Right now, we are living in such a jaded world where we see our neighbors as our enemies and have so much fear of those who we believe are different from us. If we can see that we are all humans before anything else, we will drop the illusion of separation and come together again.

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 get in touch with anyone who wants to take Ayurveda to the mainstream, whether it’s conferences, products, apps or anything in-between! Feel free to reach out to me with ideas on how we can collaborate at sahara@eatfeelfresh.com and connect with me on Instagram @iamsahararose. Let’s raise consciousness together!

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


How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Tell your story” With Sahara Rose and… 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: “Equality in the workplace is a topic…

How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Equality in the workplace is a topic that I deeply care about” With Steve Weiss Founder and CEO of MuteSix and Candice Georgiadis

It may sound like a cliché coming from a white male, but equality in the workplace is a topic that I deeply care about. I’m a product of a single mother and was raised by an African-American stepfather, I firsthand witnessed workplace discrimination when it came to the people I care most about. After my stepfather passed away, I pledged to myself personally to creating an equitable workplace no matter how small or big my company.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Steve Weiss. Steve is the Founder and CEO of MuteSix, founded in 2014. He is responsible for the overall vision, strategic leadership, service delivery, culture, and growth of the creative agency leading to a billion in trackable revenue for clients. Under Steve’s direction, MuteSix has earned the distinction as most awarded Facebook social advertising agency with more Facebook & Instagram marketing case studies than any other agency. MuteSix has grown into a comprehensive and integrated global marketing agency with prominent clients across all major industry B2B/B2C sectors, including leading brands in retail, e-commerce, luxury, nonprofit, technology, sports, publishing, and financial services. Steve is a frequent speaker at industry events and is regularly quoted in business and tech publications.

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

I had been running various internet marketing companies since I was 16. That’s when my mother gifted me my first computer for me. From that point on, she facilitated my way into the tech direction. And, I got hooked.

My first success was an internet lead generation company for the mortgage industry. I got to experience some pretty high highs of success and some embarrassingly low lows and that internalized alone. I’ll say this — with age comes benefits. When I was young, I would come to people, ‘I’ve got this great idea,’ and they just never took me seriously. From this I learned that you can get great human capital from experience, as well as social connections, both of which helped boost the odds of success for as an entrepreneur.

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

I have been running ads on social media since 2007 long before the phrase #adtech was understood. Actually, the very first Facebook ad I ran was for folks to pop by my standup comedy shows while in college. It’s now been 11 years and through today, I have managed well over $100 million+ in paid Facebook spend and have built an agency from scratch. Today I’m proud to say that our firm been made the Inc 500 list for two years in a row and that we grew from a team of two to 100+ employees who live and love all things advertising.

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

I grew up in a small suburban lower middle-class town in New Jersey and I don’t know many people from my side of the world that are in tech or let alone are entrepreneurs. I was at conference and I ran into my neighbor who grew up in the apartment right across from me. It turns out, he has a super successful company in the tech space and shared loads of similar experiences that I went through I this space. Upon reconnecting, I realized that even without connections, it was values like curiosity, commitment and confidence that are traits shared by successful entrepreneurs no matter what your pedigree or start.

I’ve come to appreciate that in order to become a successful entrepreneur you have to cultivate a certain entrepreneurial mindset. Many entrepreneurially-minded people have launched successful careers with different backgrounds, skills and values. And, have made it work.

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?

Once, my co-founder (Daniel Rutberg) and I were sharing an office with a client who offered to give us free desks for our use. The problem? He didn’t actually tell the owner of the building that we were getting those free desks. So, one day, in the middle of a prestigious client meeting (to secure a six-figure contract) as were working over one of the freebie desks, the owner comes up to me and asks, “Why are you here? And, who are these people?” I told him that we were given free desks! But he knew nothing about the agreement, so it got awkward pretty quick when you realize when you think you have an office…but you actually don’t. FYI — We ended leaving and working out of a Starbucks.

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

Facebook even for business has still been the greatest place to stay relevant in people’s minds.

To this day everyone still has a Facebook account. And, you’d be surprised how many leads I gotten from my own personal network of friends without soliciting a single business post. Sure, I can post about my personal purchases, preferences, travels, reading materials, jobs, families, interests and much more. As such, I’ve seen firsthand how social media drives a unique yet incredible overlap between today’s business and personal spaces. Ultimately, Facebook is the most effective — and most cost-effective — channel to reach potential customers whether they’re friends or not.

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 a beast. To dramatically improve your business, I say:

  1. Makes your posts shoppable
  2. Have engaging CTAs that are solid
  3. Reward followers with exclusives and insider promotions
  4. Optimize your brand bio for lead gen
  5. Show off the people who love your brand
  6. Tell a captivating (visual) story

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. 🙂

The movement would definingly be around equality in the work place. It may sound like a cliché coming from a white male, but equality in the workplace is a topic that I deeply care about. I’m a product of a single mother and was raised by an African-American stepfather, I firsthand witnessed workplace discrimination when it came to the people I care most about. After my stepfather passed away, I pledged to myself personally to creating an equitable workplace no matter how small or big my company.

I want to further the movement for eliminating bias and inequality in any workplace whether it be through training for bias or using AI to educate. At MuteSix, we’re testing interview loops where we include more diverse employees (women, ethnicities, non-technical backgrounds, etc.) when recruiting new talent.

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 🙂

Richard Branson: I was always a big believer in combining business with a mission and purpose while having a blast with the people you care most. He’s the type of leader who exudes those traits and puts things in such a very positive way of being brave when it comes to how he thinks about business. He read that he once said, “Screw it, let’s do it.” When I took the plunge with my agency, I thought the same.

For further questions, please contact PR @MuteSix:

Nav Mundi: nav@mutesix.com

Sura Hurt: sura@mutesix.com


How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Equality in the workplace is a topic… 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: “Switch things up.”

How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Switch things up.” With Trevor Cowley and Candice Georgiadis

Switch things up. Make sure you’re posting videos as well as pictures from around your office or place of business. If you look up “#accounting” on Instagram you will see so many stock image/photos in an attempt to look professional. The whole point of Social Media to be more transparent. People want to see who they’re working with and videos will show more of your company’s personality so to speak. If you look at our Instagram account you’ll see a lot of videos, some fun and goofing off and some more serious and motivational.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Trevor Cowley. Trevor Cowley is passionate about business and has been a serial entrepreneur since 2013. Trevor is now the co-owner of 4 different companies and feels fortunate to have business partners that he also considers to be his best friends. Trevor and his partners are now doing 7 million a year in revenue and growing fast. Easier Accounting is his primary focus and Trevor believes the company will force the accounting world to dramatically step up their game in the next 5–10 years.

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

Thanks for having me. I’ve always had a passion for sales. As a child, I would go down to the local golf course and dig through the bushes and jump in the ponds to find golf balls and then go home and polish them up and sell them to the golfers. Right out of high school I went into sales and fell in love with the process of prospecting and closing deals. I was working for my now business partners at 28 years old, the company wasn’t doing good at the time, the final year of me being in sales the company lost $100,000 and was in $66,000 credit card debt. This was due to a previous business partner that mismanaged money. My current business partner Jeremy had to pay $5,000 out of his personal account to cover payroll at Christmas time in 2012. I was making six figures as a sales rep for the company and had money saved and that is when my now business partners said they want me to buy in and run the company. I invest $10,000 into a company that had $66,000 in debt and lost money the previous year, we set up a new account with me as the new partner and the old partner that mismanaged things was out. I took over in January 2013 with a $10,000 investment and an open wallet, willing to invest what was needed to turn the company around. In 2013 we ended up profiting $500,000 and had paid of the debt and each made six figures and padded the company account with $100,000. From this point on we invested into new business ventures, the next investment went well and then a few following that not so much, we lost $20,000 here and $30,000 there. We eventually had 2 businesses running well and had trouble finding a great accounting solution that was affordable to the small business owner (us). We went through 3–4 options over the years, some were great CPA’s but not affordable and in some cases hard to get in contact with when we needed something, we went on to a more affordable solution and got great communication but the work was horrible. We were paying a monthly fee but couldn’t get our P&L’s on time and we thought to ourselves, “If it’s this hard to find a great accounting solution that is affordable then we need to create it”, because we knew others are going through this as well. We founded Easier Accounting by solving our own problem and offering it to other small businesses and haven’t looked back since. We are now using Instagram and Facebook as the main platforms to offer our services and grow our business while giving people an inside look at who we are.

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

Because we’ve first hand seen an increase in attention which in turn turns into an increase of revenue. When you have someone follow you on Instagram or FB you have their attention and can provide ongoing value in terms of business advice and then sprinkle in your company’s offers to them here and there at no additional marketing cost. You don’t want to overdo it where it feels like they’re getting overwhelmed with offers, so like I said “sprinkle” it in there here and there. Once we started using Social Media platforms as a business tool rather than a personal tool only we onboard more clients on a monthly basis and have a deeper connection with which each client, this increases our LTV (Lifetime Value) per client. The reason that it increases the LTV is because they have a deeper connection with us because they literally have seen our faces and like or comment on our posts. When you can see who your working with and feel a connection with them it makes it harder to leave. It’s easier to stop doing business with someone you’ve never seen or hardly interact with. We have literally doubled down on Social Meda by hiring a full time in-house videographer that walks around the office filming on a daily basis. This gives us daily content, some tax tips, some business advice or at least our theories on business and then a few offers or discounted offers every so often.

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

I would say flying out to New York and going to the VaynerMedia offices. We did a deal with VaynerSports in 2017 to have one of their signed NFL players be a sponsored athlete for Easier Accounting. To walk into an office that was 3 stories and 72,000 square feet was incredible. We spoke with AJ Vaynerchuck about his strategy for building VaynerSports and it was spot on to what our plans were with Easier Accounting. We sat and talked about building businesses that run at a loss for 3–5 years for the purpose of building something special. It made us (me and my partners) know that we were doing the right thing and helped reenergize us to stay focused on the reason we started the company and our long-term goals. Thank AJ!

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

The funniest mistake, this is a tough one. Usually, mistakes aren’t that funny because they cost you money. I would agree that there is always a lesson within each mistake. This isn’t funny but I would say is very relevant to a lot of newer business owners. The biggest mistake I made was thinking that no one can do what I could do as well as me. I had a lot of fear of stepping down from the business I was running and helped build because of fear and ego. I feared that someone would tank what I built and my ego was largely tied to the fact that everyone turned to me for all the answers, being the go-to guy. When running a company you’re constantly putting out fires and then trying to find the long-term solution so that same problem doesn’t reappear. After operating a business for 5–10 years I think you’ve taken it as far as you can and its time for a new brain to be at the helm. A new set of eyes can see things differently and make positive changes that you didn’t even think about. I think a lot of business owners hold their businesses back by not giving up operational control to someone else once they’ve hit a stagnant revenue level year and year. If the company is still growing, by all means, keep running the business, if its no longer growing then think about putting someone else in control of day to day operations.

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?

We have seen more traffic/revenue come from Facebook. I think its because people are more likely to read ads/offers they see on Facebook than they do on Instagram. Instagram was built around 60 second videos and to get away from all the writing on Facebook.

Facebook was built for writing thoughts originally and has morphed to what it is today. Instagram is a great place for videos and pictures but when it comes to reading an entire ad or offer under the post it won’t yield the same results as Facebook. People are more used to using Facebook for reading articles and click on links than they are on Instagram.

Instagram is still effective and if you’re more visually selling, like an artist that sells paintings would want to use videos or pictures to do your selling, then use Instagram. They can video themselves throughout the process of painting something and post those and use the pictures posts for the finished product. If you need to have an explanation behind your product or service I would use Facebook. Doing accounting isn’t something that is visually fun for people to watch so we need to talk and type out an offer which is why Facebook has been better for us.

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. I will start with the Bio — Make sure that you are clear about who the company is and what you do while mixing in something positive/fun. This can be one of the first deciding factors whether someone looks deeper and ends up following you. If we only put “Accounting Firm” and left it at that it wouldn’t catch someone’s eye. We start with “Easier Accounting — Built for Entrepreneurs by Entrepreneurs”, then “Documenting our journey building Easier”. People love documentaries and reality TV so if they feel like they’ll be watching you grow over time they will be more intrigued. Throw a few emoji’s in there to make it fun and catch their eye.

2. Make sure that your business contact info is accessible. Some Instagram accounts haven’t linked up there company phone numbers, email or website. They think someone will direct message them if they have questions which does happen but make sure they can do further research right from your Instagram by linking your website so they can click on it and get redirected immediately.

3. Switch things up. Make sure you’re posting videos as well as pictures from around your office or place of business. If you look up “#accounting” on Instagram you will see so many stock image/photos in an attempt to look professional. The whole point of Social Media to be more transparent. People want to see who they’re working with and videos will show more of your company’s personality so to speak. If you look at our Instagram account you’ll see a lot of videos, some fun and goofing off and some more serious and motivational.

4. Do Giveaways — People love free stuff and or money. This also will give you an opportunity to grow your following. In the accounting world, you can write these giveaways off as a “promotional expense” which is different from marketing expense or donation. How you can use this to increase your following is as follows, you have someone “tag 3 friends” to be entered in the giveaway. We do $500 giveaways and switch it up for example, Win $200 and Tag 3 friends that you want to each win $100 and if you’re selected you win $200 they each get $100. They must like this point and follow our account in order to win. In some cases they only need to tag one person and the winner gets $300 and the person they tagged get $200. It makes it fun for everyone involved. This way your engagement goes way up and you get followers faster, this is more people that you can remarket.

5. Hashtags — You want to make sure that you have some hashtags that are relevant to your business and post them with your post. What you’ll see when you do that is you’ll get those organic followers that are looking at that hashtag and find you. Look at it like a keyword on google that people bid on. If someone types in “accounting” then we have to bid on that keyword and pay for that provided someone clicks on it. With Instagram, you don’t have to pay for the hashtag (or keyword) so if someone is searching accounting in the hashtags then I would say that is a potential customer for our company. What I do is, I go back weeks and post the hashtags under older post so when I first post it doesn’t look like I have a million hashtags on it. This way people can just appreciate the post for what it is rather than seeing all the #. Then after that post ages for 6–8 weeks I post hashtags under it, this way there are daily hashtags out there and my followers are seeing a ton of hashtags themselves.

6. Post Daily and Engage — If want your business to see a positive impact on Instagram then post daily and engage with the people that comment on your posts. There is so much content out there that you need to stay in front of people. Some things won’t get a lot of likes or comments which is fine. This doesn’t mean its not being seen. Not everything you post will get in front of your followers, the more you post the more you control that. I would say that even we need to step up our game and post more but you will ALWAYS see us post at least one post per day but ideally is at least 2–3 posts a day. Somedays we will post tax tips videos, general business advice or a simple motivational quote that we create and then credit the source but then put our logo on it for branding. When you post daily you will start to find ways to have more fun with it and the real you will start to come out as you get used to using Instagram. Most start will first start out posting what they think people want to see and then they run out of ideas of what they think people want to see. Once they run out of those ideas is where their real self comes out and that is when it will have a bigger impact on your business. People want to feel like they know who they’re working with.

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. 🙂

Encouragement, we need to be more encouraging of each other. There isn’t to many feeling on this earth that is better than making someone else feel good about themselves. Too many default to negative when they see someone trying to do something better for themselves and one of the first things you’ll see is someone belittling or naysaying what they’re trying to do. Life and business would be easier if we all were bigger cheerleaders for each other. I guess I’ll end it with #encouragement.

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 most likely say Grant Cardone. We have very similar pasts regarding little formal education and addiction problems. I never stepped foot in a college and didn’t even walk with my class. I got my diploma 6 months after my class graduated by taking packages to get enough credits. Shortly after high school, early in my sales career, I had addiction problems which I have since faced and have overcome 12 plus years ago. I think having some common ground helps make a conversation easier and from there it goes onto building a business relationship. Not to mention, I would love to met him to sell him on the idea of doing a shout out to Easier Accounting on his Social Media platforms. From there incentive him by offering him an affiliate commision on signups. Always have to be thinking about the next big move!

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


How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Switch things up.” 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: “Learn about Gen Z through their eyes”…

How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Learn about Gen Z through their eyes” With Jaya Jaya Myra and Candice Georgiadis

Learn about Gen Z through their eyes. Every generation has differences in what is the best way to market to them. Since so many young people use IG, take advantage of this. See what they’re saying and doing, and why.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jaya Jaya Myra, an internationally acclaimed author, motivational speaker, and creator of the Well Method. After healing herself naturally from debilitating fibromyalgia, Myra developed the Well Method to teach others how to live a healthy, fulfilled and successful life based on each person’s unique elemental composition. Her approach to wellness and purpose shows why one-size-fits-all solutions don’t work for everyone, and how to find what will work for you.

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

Wellness has always been a priority of mine, growing up in a family that was anything but “well.” I’ve always wanted to heal people and help others live their best possible lives. I started out thinking about this only in terms of what I could do to help, but I later learned how I promoted myself was equally as important as the message and work itself. That led me to learn everything I could about marketing, branding and publicity, and to keep current with social media.

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

Many years ago I opened a marketing, branding and PR consulting firm based in NYC, working with agencies, major brands and startups. I’ve been leading marketing initiatives for amazing clients for over 12 years. In the current marketing landscape, social media marketing is crucial to understand well if you want to grow your influence and really succeed as a brand or business.

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

The most interesting (and exciting) thing to me was being able to become a recurring guest on national TV. That was so much fun! My first national TV experience solidified for me the importance of media (including social media) for inspiring and motivating others to succeed. That was the point of no return that solidified my desire to do more with visual media on TV, and also social media. In case you’re wondering the connection between TV and social media, TV needs ratings, and if you have a large following you are more likely to get featured on TV than if you don’t have a social following.

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 using social media, I avoided Instagram completely. That was a huge mistake! It’s by far one of the most dynamic and engaged social media outlets out there right now. I was intimidated because it’s all visual, and I am not a designer or a photographer. I’ve since found ways to use IG that work well for me, and now it’s my favorite channel to create content for because the type of content is so authentic and engaging.

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?

Twitter and Instagram. I’ve found you get lots of very high caliber business people on Twitter, probably because of the low barrier to entry (aka, a 260-character tweet and click of a button to retweet works great for busy CEO’s, versus a visual IG post that takes time to create). Also, Twitter doesn’t limit the number of people you can follow, so you have near unlimited growth potential. It’s a great way to connect with lots of people. I’ve made some amazing business deals from people and brands I’ve met by connecting on Twitter, so don’t ever underestimate this channel! People tend to, but my experience has shown that Twitter can outperform LinkedIn for business, if you use it right.

Instagram has also been great, especially for growing my mailing list; I’ve found people tend to be more engaged and communicative on Instagram. For example, if I send a message saying I have a free offer available on my website if you join my mailing list, I get a thoughtful reply and people join my list. This doesn’t happen much on any other social media channel.

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. DM’s to followers — grow your list. If you direct message your followers, they will likely write you back, making it easier to communicate with new people and grow your business. I’ve found it’s easy to grow my mailing list this way; even better than my free offer on my website.
  2. Show behind the scenes content. People want to know, like and trust you before they’ll do business with you. IG allows a great visual platform to show people what’s going on behind the scenes on a daily basis. In fact, people tend to like authentic content of this type even more than highly curated video or graphic-designed posts.
  3. Brand segmentation. If you really look at the kind of content your followers are posting, you can get great insight into what people in different audience segments value. IG makes this easy since it’s so visual. This is a great exercise to use when working on your brand and knowing how to target audiences of different types.
  4. Learn about Gen Z through their eyes. Every generation has differences in what is the best way to market to them. Since so many young people use IG, take advantage of this. See what they’re saying and doing, and why.
  5. Poll your followers. Instagram makes it super easy to poll your followers via your IG story. You can get tons of data this way from your followers and know exactly what they want from you.
  6. Launch a content or giveaway. This is a great way to engage your current followers and attract new ones. You’ll likely find using IG for this works much better than your email list. Post your giveaway and tell your followers to tag 2 of their friends in the post to enter. You’ll draw more people to your page that will likely engage with you (because people don’t ever want to tag their friends and spam them, so they’ll tag people who are likely genuinely interested in you). Hopefully you’ll get more followers this way, and also remind your current ones why you’re so awesome. Remember, if they like you they’ll want to do business 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. 🙂

I would like to inspire people to be the best possible version of themselves. The more you work on yourself, the more confident and charismatic you’ll become, and this is how you start to influence others and make change in the world. There is so much a single person can do, and more people would realize this if they’d only get out of their comfort zones and try. I believe being the best version of yourself helps individuals to be more successful, and can help build an empowered, diverse and tolerant society.

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 🙂

Definitely, Harry Connick Jr. His daytime show was the first national TV appearance I did, and the first time I was there taping, it was my birthday. It was one of my most awesome experiences ever; a day I’ll never forget, and he is such an awesome person! I did segments on his daytime show talking about food for mood, and how food can affect your mind and emotions in powerful ways and make or break major life events. Harry mentioned it would be fun to have dinner so I could tell him how the food would affect his mood, and I agree!

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


How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Learn about Gen Z through their eyes”… 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: “Demonstrate your success stories”…

How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Demonstrate your success stories” With TV Host Shannon O’Dowd and Candice Georgiadis

Demonstrate your success stories: Before and afters are so powerful as well as redemption stories. If you can show your product or service helping people in a clear way, you are using the platform in the most effective way. Videos are great, testimonials are awesome, before and after shots, etc. are all powerful for consumers.

I had the pleasure to interview Shannon O’Dowd. Shannon is a TV Host/Spokesperson as well as an on-camera coach and media trainer who specializes in TV hosts, influencers, and experts. Originally from St. Petersburg, FL with a degree in Theatre Performance from Florida State University, she has been working on both sides of the camera (as on-camera host and also as a coach), for well over a decade. As on-camera talent, she has been the spokesperson for several national commercial campaigns including Cable One, Sunsweet Raisins, OfficeMax, Invisalign, and Nissan. As a host, she has been on QVC as well as being the face of many spots in the infomercial world including Keurig, Aerobed, Instant Figure, Nano Gym, Lipozene, Bankruptcy Legal Network, etc. As a coach, she has clients on the Today Show, the Doctors, HGTV, Hallmark, WE, DIY, QVC, HSN, and on talk shows, news appearances, morning shows, and more! Her training focuses on camera technique, brand messaging, talking points, and sound bites for TV Appearances, Press Junkets, Talk Shows, Social Media, etc. Shannon specializes in getting the best performance possible out of her clients with spot-on adjustments & information that “sticks” & aids in many areas, even beyond just on-camera work. Shannon is precise, insightful, fun, and great at getting the best performance possible from her clients.

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 started out in LA as an actor and would freelance line produce when not acting. Producing also gave me an opportunity to create projects I could be in as well. By 2007, I went from a recurring role on Bold and the Beautiful to a series regular role in the first scripted drama on TLC called Diagnosis X. When that series didn’t get picked up for a second season because of the 2007/2008 writer’ strike (and a lot of theatrical work dried up for a time), I turned to auditioning for commercials. I quickly landed the role of the spokesperson for Sunsweet Raisins. It was all essentially hosting (talking directly to camera, interviewing). When a commercial director friend saw the spots, he said “you should be a host!”. I wasn’t even sure exactly what that meant. But we hired a shooter, went out a shot a hosting reel, I started auditioning for hosting opportunities, and the rest is history.

I also took a hosting class early on, and shortly after completing the class, I started teaching the level 1 of that class. I couldn’t believe how much I loved training aspiring hosts when I wasn’t working as a host myself. After 7 years of teaching for that studio, I broke off and started my own company where I both train hosts and provide media training for people who are experts in their field and want to take that expertise and transfer it to either TV appearances or even a career as a TV personality. Media training is so fun for me because you are not only helping your clients be good on TV, you are also co-creating their messaging and branding. I get to use my producer part of my brain as well as my coaching part of my brain. It’s the best of both worlds.

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

As an on-camera coach and media trainer, I am often brand building for my clients along with their publicist, PR firm, agents, and/or managers. And a lot of my clientele over the last 5 years have become influencers. And the trend for influencers are they are being encouraged to put out more video content. Not just pretty pictures. Many influencers have no idea how to put out great video content. That’s where I come in. So we are creating content that their viewers want to see, testing, and adjusting/tweaking as we go. I have a pretty comprehensive understanding of social media marketing through going through that process with so many of my clients. I know what works.

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

I think the most interesting moment in my career is definitely when I was the spokesperson for Cable One and I had a bobble head made that was me! They actually measured every angle of my head to be as accurate as possible, and took so many pictures of my head as well! And when I would go to do meet and greets at the Cable One headquarters and sign autographs for their employees every year, most of them would have my bobble head on their desk. It was surreal!

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 really the leading social media platform in general. LinkedIn is working on being more of a contender and has the potential to be really impactful since it’s already so career/business related and are now allowing for video content by users, etc.

If you are looking to run ads, Facebook ads have been popular in the past. The downside to this is that now Facebook’s demographic is older now that a lot the younger generation is leaving Facebook. And the trend is that people 45+ are less likely to buy from those type of ads and are pretty set already with their buying decisions (i.e. they know the brands/products they like and aren’t likely to change). Therefore ads through IG (who is owned by Facebook) with a smaller media buy on Facebook might be a good way to go.

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) Utilizing the platform: Make sure the link in your bio to easily direct you followers to begin the process of buying your products or services. Also offering deals and promo codes to your followers through that link also really helps to make them feel special for being part of your group. Make sure you also are tagging companies like you that you might want to collaborate with or who has followers that would also be interested in your services. And in Instagram, doing an Instastory promoting each of your regular posts that exist in your grid is a good way to show your followers you posted something new (since it’s relatively still new to the platform, IG still favors Instastory posts in their algorithm).

2) Utilize Supporting Apps: Making sure you are using programs like follow/unfollow, cleaner, VSCO or Facetune, etc. will put you in the game of utilizing social media’s potential and looking super professional in your posts.

3) Find Out What People Want: Use your posts to find out what you followers need and want from you. You can do a post asking people what their frustrations are in __ space or what they most want when they see __ person/company for ___ service. Your followers will feel like you really care about them PLUS you are getting a free focus group to discover what people want from you and how you can serve them in a more thorough capacity.

4) Demonstrate your success stories: Before and afters are so powerful as well as redemption stories. If you can show your product or service helping people in a clear way, you are using the platform in the most effective way. Videos are great, testimonials are awesome, before and after shots, etc. are all powerful for consumers.

5) Engage With Your Followers: This should be done within the first 24 HOURS of your post. Comment back to those who left you a comment. It’s also great to go their page and find out something about them to use in your comment back. This will create a genuine interaction. Also, going on their page and commenting on a post they did is great for relationship building with your followers. And following people and brands in your space or field and like/commenting on their stuff is a great way to get them to not only return the love but also creates a space for future collaborations where you can potentially get followers from each other.

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 really passionate about animals. They have always been my cause and animal welfare organizations are always where I make my monthly contributions. I think if I could inspire a movement that would bring about real change, it would be to end factory farming. I’m not advocating everyone be vegan. I think we as a society can find a way to continue to consume meat while still giving those animals a humane life while they are alive. I think the way we breed, contain/confine, and treat the animals we intend to eat is barbaric and inhumane.

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

If I could have breakfast with anyone in one of these fields, it would probably be Reese Witherspoon. I love that she has branched out to being such a powerhouse producer with such an amazing production company putting out really thoughtful, interesting, layered content. I also think she is an advocate for women and their right to receive equal pay and opportunities without using her energy to shame all men for the inequities of the past or the ones we are still working to correct. We are all in this together and I think it’s important to remember that.

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


How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Demonstrate your success stories”… 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: “Create a content calendar” With…

How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Create a content calendar” With Veronica Belmont of Adobe Spark and Candice Georgiadis

Create a content calendar. As I mentioned, posting on a consistent basis is the best way to stay top-of-mind for your users. Creating a content calendar (I love using Airtable for this kind of project) enables you to have a future-looking plan of all the things you want to communicate. Maybe you’re planning posts for the holidays, or you have a special promotion that you’re going to be running. Front-loading a bunch of content will make it a lot easier to get those posts out when they’re most effective.

I had the pleasure to interview Veronica Belmont. Veronica is a product manager, podcaster, and technology evangelist living in San Francisco.

At Adobe, she is a product manager and evangelist on the Adobe Spark team, where she works to help social media creators, marketers, and influencers bring their brands and creative ideas to the masses.

As a podcaster, she previously hosted Mozilla’s IRL: Online Life is Real Life, where she spoke to people all over the world about how technology and the internet is shaping their existence — from the relationships we make to the policy that is changing how we even access the web. On the Hugo-nominated Sword & Laser (co-hosted with Tom Merritt), they cover the latest news in science fiction and fantasy, interview authors, and discuss the monthly book picks.

Veronica has also worked extensively as a public speaker, startup advisor, and presenter for companies of all sizes, including IBM, Intel, Sony, AOL, Discovery Digital, and more.

In the world of gaming, she was the host of Playstation’s first digital magazine, Qore, and is the co-founder of the largest World of Warcraft guild in North America.

Veronica was named one of the most influential women in technology by Fast Company, and received the Young Alumni award from her alma mater, Emerson College, in 2012.

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

I’ve had a somewhat unusual career path! I started as an audio/video producer, began podcasting, moved professionally into on-camera hosting and producing, started working with startups as an advisor, and then transitioned into product management. The common thread is that I’ve always lived at the intersection of technology and creative expression. I’ve never been especially “artistic,” so finding ways to use tech to express myself has been important.

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

First of all, I’d love to get into how we (our team at Adobe Spark) thinks of “social media marketing.” This was one of the things that resonated most with me when I joined. We’re all social media marketers. If you have a side hustle, or a charity you’re passionate about, or you’re a freelancer like I was, you’re implementing the same strategies for your own content that many social media marketers employ at massive brands. Understanding your audience and knowing how to craft your message is just the start. I’ve worked with both planning and participating in campaigns of all sizes, so I’ve definitely seen what works and what doesn’t.

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

That’s a good one! I think for me, the most interesting thing that happened was how I got my first product job. I decided to switch careers back in 2016, to get out of freelance production and into product management. But though I felt that I had the skills necessary to get into that field, I didn’t have the typical background to make the jump into a big company. So I started learning as much as possible, and establishing domain expertise in areas that interested me. One of those areas was around bots and conversational interfaces. I spent months becoming an expert in that area, and reading and writing all about the industry. Eventually, I became an admin for a huge Slack community of bot makers and enthusiasts, called BotMakers. Another member saw me in there, and heard that I was looking for a PM role. Lo and behold, he hired me to be the first employee at their new startup as a PM. So there was some luck there, but I also positioned myself in the right way for success.

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 won’t name names, but I will say that at my first week at one job, I forwarded a phishing scam email to a coworker, which caused our Instagram account to be compromised. I felt horrible because 1. I should have known better (I have literally recorded entire podcasts about the danger of phishing scams), and 2. I put another coworker in a terrible position, and 3. IT WAS MY FIRST WEEK ON THE JOB. Everything worked out ok, but I felt terrible.

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues?

It really depends on where your audience is, but I’ve seen the most success for companies with Instagram. Instagram gives brands the most support, I’d say, for reaching the right users with targeted ads while also now giving them the ability to sell directly from the platform. Plus, there are endless social media influencers that have access to very targeted audiences that can fit a micro-brand’s niche perfectly. Plus, I think it allows brands to have conversations with customers in a really authentic way.

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. Have a consistent look and feel to your posts

We all know the importance of a good brand, but carrying that over to your visual aesthetic on Instagram is important too. Brands and influencers alike are using tricks like custom Lightroom presets or consistency around content (and how often you post) gives customers a sense of familiarity. Plus, they know to look forward to your content every day!

2. Be a fan!

If you want people to be a fan of your brand, then you need to be a fan of your users. Get out there and find the people who represent the message your brand is trying to convey. If you’re a fitness brand, find the influencers in that space, follow them, and engage with them on Instagram! Comment on their posts, like, etc, but make sure it stays authentic. People can smell a phony (or a bot) a mile away, and that will do more to hurt your reputation than help. And most importantly, integrate user-generated content into your feed! It shows you’re appreciative of your viewers and fans.

3. Make use of Instagram’s tools

Instagram lets your create shoppable posts, so if you’re selling goods make sure to use this important feature. If Instagram is where your customers are (and for some brands, it might not be!) then make it as easy as possible for them to buy what you’re selling. Make sure the images are clear and beautiful, and that you have an active Business Instagram account that’s linked to a Facebook page. There are some other rules as well, so check up on them before you get started.

4. Create a content calendar

As I mentioned, posting on a consistent basis is the best way to stay top-of-mind for your users. Creating a content calendar (I love using Airtable for this kind of project) enables you to have a future-looking plan of all the things you want to communicate. Maybe you’re planning posts for the holidays, or you have a special promotion that you’re going to be running. Front-loading a bunch of content will make it a lot easier to get those posts out when they’re most effective.

5. Use templates!

I’m a little biased here, considering I work on the Adobe Spark team, but I’m a huge fan of templates — and Spark has a lot of great ones to choose from. I’m not a designer, but I know what looks good. Being able to create content using templates designed by actual professionals helps me have a starting point to work from. Plus, if you’re using multiple social networks to promote your brand or business, it helps to have those templates be able to switch between aspect ratios for everything automatically. You’ve got enough on your brain to have to remember which networks are square or 16:9.

6. Hashtags are your friend

When I first started out, hashtags seemed like an unnecessary addition to my posts. However, I’ve seen how well they’ve helped people find their niche online, and how well they’ve enabled brands to expand their reach on Instagram (where pretty much everyone company in the world has a presence). Create something very specific to your brand identity, and encourage your fans to post with that hashtag. Essentially, you’re helping your community go viral without having to do all the work.

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.

Be kind. It’s so easy to say, but it can be very hard to live (especially online, where people feel like there’s very little consequence to NOT being kind). That can mean responding to an email request for help or advice, or saying something nice to someone who is having a tough time. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the vitriol online something, but a little kindness can go a very long way.

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

Serena Williams. She’s kind of my idol right now. So smart, savvy, and dedicated to her passions. Also I want her workout tips!


How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Create a content calendar” With… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.