Why you should go out and meet people who follow you in real life, With Stephanie Lucas & Candice…

Why you should go out and meet people who follow you in real life, With Stephanie Lucas & Candice Georgiadis

One of my favorite benefits of Instagram is getting offline and meeting people I follow or who follow me in real life. It is always eye opening to have coffee with other brands and to learn more about their process and ideas. Every time I meet in real life I learn something new and I make a new connection. I recently had coffee with an influencer who is very close to 10,000 followers. We discussed her posts and stories about reaching for that magic number and about how she connects with followers to grow her brand.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Stephanie Lucas, owner of South Lumina Ave, a boutique marketing and communications company based in Charlotte, NC. This niche firm focuses on helping customers promote their passion, by managing their public image and reaching their full potential using all aspects of social media.

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

For most of my career I’ve done what I love — marketing — but for someone else. After becoming a mother, I really started focusing on what would fulfill me professionally while allowing me to spend the most time with my family. My oldest is now and 5 and I finally found the courage to venture out, build my own brand and help people build theirs.

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

With over 15 years of experience, I have gone from marketing a major city to marketing luxury real estate. In this time, I’ve been an integral part of building new brands and taking peoples’ dreams and companies to that next level. I understand how overwhelming and confusing social media can be for some. While working with clients, I get to see the lights turn on as we discuss how the tools I utilize will grow their business.

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

In addition to working with customers, I manage my own social media accounts and keep in contact with friends, clients, acquaintances and followers. I had a friend direct message me on Instagram. She asked if South Lumina Ave is my company and if I can help her launch a new travel brand. Having worked in the tourism industry for years, I was ecstatic to be a part of her new venture, especially starting from a launch. This will be an incredible project as we work together to grow her new brand.

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 started South Lumina Ave, I built a website on a platform that wasn’t the best fit for my brand. I had to learn new software and rebuild the website before I launched. At the time it wasn’t funny, but it served as a reminder to research before committing and that I can learn new technology very quickly when pressed for time!

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

I always recommend starting a company’s social media with Facebook. With over 2.23 billion active users, this site is a no-brainer to have a presence on. I also want my clients to do one thing well, rather than spread themselves thin trying to be everything to everybody. While I recommend having a presence and posting relevant content to Facebook, I lean towards Instagram for maximizing your brand. The number of users is growing every day and Instagram is a platform that people use to be visually stimulated. Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text, so we can absorb more info more quickly with Instagram.

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

As the founder of a marketing start-up, I can attest to Instagram being a key tool you can use to grow your business. From IG stories to promoting blog posts, Instagram is the fastest, free way to gain followers. It’s even a teaching tool.

1 — Make your Instagram account a business account.

Instagram allows you to convert any account to a business account. This is step one in building your business. It’s free to convert your account and you can track analytics to really drill down into who your audience is. You can also run ads, once you convert your account to business, which you can’t do when you only have a personal account. One of my clients had her mind set on what her customer demographic was, and she catered to that market. Once she set up her business Instagram account, she realized that her target market was off, and she quickly redefined her marketing plan to increase her profit margins.

2 — Be Consistent

It is key to be consistent. The more you post the more you will appear and the more you appear the more people will follow you. You’ll build credibility on being an expert in your niche and people will rely on you for content. Build rapport with followers and convert them to clients by engaging with them. Ask questions in your posts and respond to the answers. A follower of mine commented regularly on my posts. I would always like their comments or respond to them when relevant. After several months, this follower requested an RFP for a project she was working on. We had built a relationship through Instagram comments.

3 — Learn from and remix what others are doing.

We follow people we admire. We look to them for their business acumen, their beautiful feeds, their mission. Look at those accounts and dig deeper into what it is you really like about them. Is it the flow of colors in their feed? Maybe they always have the newest features Instagram rolls out. Or maybe it’s the way they present their message that resonates with you. Take what you learn and make it your own. This past summer, a baker client noticed her real estate agent friend had Instagram stories highlights on her page. She knew this would be a great way to feature cakes she had created and promote her best work in an organized way, so we added highlights to her page.

4 — Network through DM and Stories.

It’s easy to get lost in the online world. People still need to feel a connection, so build relationships through your stories by sharing bits of personal information as well as sending direct messages. Think of DMs as little sticky notes where you can congratulate, cheer on, or support the people you follow. This helps them get to know you and feel connected and will increase your credibility.

5 — Connect with influencers and grow your tribe. Build a community within your niche and make your feed beautiful.

One of my favorite benefits of Instagram is getting offline and meeting people I follow or who follow me in real life. It is always eye opening to have coffee with other brands and to learn more about their process and ideas. Every time I meet in real life I learn something new and I make a new connection. I recently had coffee with an influencer who is very close to 10,000 followers. We discussed her posts and stories about reaching for that magic number and about how she connects with followers to grow her brand.

6 — Post relevant content but stay true to your brand.

Use new content, repurposed content, and user generated content to be consistent in posting to your Instagram page. Make sure to stay true to your brand through the photos you publish and the information you share. Keep your feed visually appealing and keep content relevant to your offerings. Always remember that you are building a business and your Instagram feed is a snapshot of your public persona. Put your best images out there!

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. ?

As a female we are told from a young age that we can be anything we want, but as we grow up, we put ourselves into limiting boxes. We suffer from fraudy feelings and hold ourselves back when we should be pushing ourselves and other women forward. One of my very accomplished, awesome mom friends told me she looked up to me — to me! — and that I was a power mama. This gave me such energy because she is such a super woman herself. We need more support and love in our girl tribe!

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 ?

There are so many amazing people who use their influence to accomplish greatness across all platforms. P!nk has been a source of inspiration and helped me push outside of my comfort zones. Breakfast or lunch with her would be such an incredible experience. There would be kids running all over, it would be loud, and it would be completely girl power.

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


Why you should go out and meet people who follow you in real life, With Stephanie Lucas & Candice… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

“Why you should repurpose content to reach new audiences” With Candice Georgiadis & Frank Kerner

Repurpose content to reach new audiences. We’re continually improving on our content repurposing. We currently use videos on YouTube, Facebook and IGTV. We turn them into blog posts and announce those blog posts as stories on Instagram. We also have plans to turn all of that content into bite-sized videos and posts for Instagram and Instagram Stories in the future. Your audience is diverse, and they each prefer specific types of content, so diversify to reach everyone!

I had the pleasure to interview Frank Kerner, of Pelican State Credit Union. Frank got his start in digital marketing by running and subsequently selling, a blog-turned-website called Geek Preview. He has been featured in Inc Magazine, Facebook Boost Your Business and The Financial Brand. As the Content and Digital Strategist, he oversees all digital, social and content marketing for Pelican State Credit Union, the largest state-chartered credit union in the state of Louisiana.

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

Sure! I got my start in high school by creating a blog. I wanted to talk about video games and film as an art form. It grew quite a bit, and I got to interview some pretty high profile composers and art directors in the entertainment industry. I found myself getting more enthralled in growing my readership and increasing my retention and fanbase.

As I entered college, I thought film would be a great major for me since I loved the art form so much. However, I increasingly enjoyed writing blogs and newsletters, running and researching ad campaigns, finding new ways to attract people to the business. I ended up getting an offer for my website, so I sold it, changed my major and focused my efforts on marketing for businesses.

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

I’ve been doing marketing within social media for almost 10 years now, which is crazy to think about. Growing up and realizing the potential of the internet early on has allowed my skill set to grow with the platforms. I teach classes and do one-on-one coaching for people that need help with their personal branding on social media.

I’ve helped develop strategies for a huge assortment of businesses — software development companies, authors, mechanics and even rodeo queens! At Pelican State Credit Union, we’re currently ranked pretty high on the “Power 100” rankings for financial institutions on The Financial Brand. We’re #62 for overall social media, #61 on Facebook and #48 on Youtube — no small feat!

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

I’d say the most interesting thing that’s happened is when I was personally invited to speak at Facebook’s official Boost Your Business tour in Baton Rouge. It was kind of surreal to get contacted from Facebook about a really awesome experience. Being able to get in front of a large audience and share my experience using social media for business was one of my best professional memories.

We talked about growing your online community, ways to reach your target market and how to get the most return for your money on the platform.

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

One of the funniest mistakes I’ve ever made is actually pretty embarrassing, but I enjoy telling it. It was years back when hashtag strategies were essentially “add them to get exposure.” Well, it was a picture taken at an event with a celebrity impersonator, and there was a joke that they made at the event to go with the picture.

Without thinking, I’m in the middle of laughing at this caption, and I decide to leave a hashtag for the followers to be more personable: #ImDead. In all of the laughter, I forgot that the celebrity is actually deceased, so the hashtag may have seemed a little tasteless when it wasn’t meant as so. I still cringe when I think about it. I always tell the story to remind people to re-read your hashtags and captions once more before you post. It could come across pretty bad when it’s not meant to.

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?

Lately, this one’s been a tie. Facebook is still slightly ahead at increasing revenue, but YouTube has been really growing for us lately. A lot of this depends on your content and strategy, but they both have their perks.

When we launch a campaign, Facebook and Google Display Ads are the main conversion drivers. People come to our website, visit a location or call when those ads are running. With YouTube, there are a lot of perks that marketers and business owners forget about. The view rate for ads is high, as is the retention rate. What it does for awareness and product/brand consideration are incredible.

We ran a campaign back in 2017 called Fall Into Savings to promote our share certificate rates and get more deposits. It was a simple concept: we’d tie into the current season, put some fall leaves and fall-esque sounds to appeal to all of the senses, and then created Display and Bumper ads for Google, YouTube and Facebook. Our highest lift came from YouTube and Facebook, which reached hundreds of thousands of people for 7 seconds each. We saw a huge bump in organic search traffic during the promotional period, and referred almost 16,000 people to our landing page.

We increased our deposits by $7,000,000 in a very short amount of time, and we spent a tiny fraction of that. We got views on Facebook and YouTube for less than a penny a view! You really can’t beat those kinds of returns on investment.

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.

Of course!

· Strategize, strategize, strategize! You can’t improve your business without a strategy, so why should you approach Instagram any differently? When I first approached social media marketing years ago, I didn’t really think about strategizing. It was always, “What will I post today?” By knowing your voice, content and approach on Instagram, you’re taking guesswork out of the equation and are able to make more of an impact with consistency.

· Create a calendar and stick to it. I used to use a tool called Trello to keep organized, but our entire marketing team has been using Wrike, which has been outstanding for social media calendars. We can see upcoming and current content at a glance on the calendar, including previous and future Stories and IGTV videos.

· Repurpose content to reach new audiences. We’re continually improving on our content repurposing. We currently use videos on YouTube, Facebook and IGTV. We turn them into blog posts and announce those blog posts as stories on Instagram. We also have plans to turn all of that content into bite-sized videos and posts for Instagram and Instagram Stories in the future. Your audience is diverse, and they each prefer specific types of content, so diversify to reach everyone!

· Make content because you have something to say, not because you have to say something. This goes back to “What will I post today?” There are days where we don’t have something to say, so we don’t post. Guess what? That’s completely fine. Posting just to say something can do more damage to your brand than saying nothing at all.

· Be real. I see a lot of marketers that want to look like “big brands.” I’ve found that they will forego being their own “real” brand. Being real is a great differentiator — add some personality in your posts! Use pictures, stories and videos of real people to show that you’re not some stuffy, corporate brand page. Being polished is great, but losing all personality to look clean doesn’t do well. Spend time honing in on that brand voice, and you can remain real and look polished at the same time.

· Don’t forget that it’s not about you. One of the biggest problems businesses have with Instagram is that they forget about their followers’ needs, wants and dreams. Keeping these in mind can help you craft content and posts that can make an impact in your followers’ lives. When’s the last time you polled your customers/followers to see why they follow 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’d really like people to know that within social media and on the internet they have the power to create their own happiness. You can choose to see what you want, and there are algorithms in place to show you more of that. If you took just a minute out of each day to like, share and choose happiness and growth instead of engaging in negativity, you’d see more of that.

We are in a unique position with the internet to create the world that we want to live in. If you don’t want to see negative news, don’t read it or seek it out, and it will not be shown to you. If you want to be a better artist, you can surround yourself with other artists and get live, real-time feedback on your work. If your dream is to only see cute pictures of baby animals day in and day out, you can live in that world.

It’s actually easier to do this than most other things. You simply have to not click or read things you do not want to. Hide them from your internet if you wish. Do that enough times in one small week and you will see a huge increase in your happiness. Create the world in which you live well.

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 🙂

Ooh, that’s a tough one. It’d probably be Pete Docter. His storytelling skill set is out of this world, and the movies he’s directed and worked on at PIXAR have been very impactful and inspirational in the way I approach content and marketing.

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


“Why you should repurpose content to reach new audiences” With Candice Georgiadis & Frank Kerner 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: “Target psychographics as well as…

How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Target psychographics as well as demographics”, With Candice Georgiadis & Michelle Chuang

Instagram is one of the fastest growing social platforms in the world right now with advertising revenues just right below Facebook and Twitter. The advertising platform enables a brand to target its customer not only by demographics but also psychographics, making it one of the most efficient way to finding the right customer. But it’s essential for brands to post regularly and consistently. The most effective frequency is once per day. This volume may be daunting for companies that are struggling to produce content, but to establish a strong relationship with your customers, consistency in the frequency of communication is vital.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Michelle Chuang, Principal of MMS Brand Consulting, LLC and the founder of lifestyle blog www.MimiStrawberry.com. With more than 15 years of experience in senior leadership roles at marketing-driven organizations such as Starbucks and Chevron, Michelle has developed effective marketing strategies to increase brand awareness, drive customers loyalty and deliver revenue growth across online and offline channels for multiple businesses.

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

I was an aspiring journalist back in college and had a fantastic opportunity to work abroad in Beijing as an on-air talent for CCTV in China. Due to unexpected life events, my relocation plan fell through. Instead, I ended up joining Starbucks and began this incredible journey developing an exciting career in marketing for the last 15 years. When I look back, marketing and journalism are similar in many ways. Both are about telling a meaningful story and engaging your audience. The only exception is that journalism is based on an unbiased viewpoint, whereas marketing is about taking a strong position on what the brand represents.

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

The beauty of marketing is that it is ever-changing. Marketing is about connecting products and brands with people and through technological innovations like social media, people now have unprecedented access to connecting with products, businesses and each other. The emerging growth of social media marketing in the last decade has really presented social platforms as an effective and engaging channel for marketers to connect with their target audiences. Instagram alone grew five times from 100M users to more than 500M users in just the short span of 3 years. That is why I invested my energy early on in learning social media, to thoroughly understand the capabilities of multiple social platforms and the best way to utilize each of them to more impactfully engage with consumers to generate the result that we aim to achieve. Then in the summer of this year, I started www.MimiStrawberry.com, a lifestyle blog site with the purpose to inspire readers to live a more well-rounded life. MimiStrawberry.com is my creative platform but also a gateway for me to further engage, experiment and experience to gain insights into the world of social media. Also with influencer marketing now exceeding to become a billion dollar industry, MimiStrawberry.com provides me with an inside connection to developing a holistic social marketing strategy involving influencers that will drive brand advocacy.

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

Hmm, this is a tough one. Since I’ve been in marketing for nearly two decades now, I feel that there are so many exciting stories, but at the same time, none are particularly fascinating. I will say that marketing is a very dynamic career to pursue and no two days are the same. Many may feel that it is a glamorous profession with parties and events, but there are also tough days like being on your feet all day staffing a trade show booth or walking the streets for a grassroots marketing program. I’ve had my share of attending cool events and meeting celebrities like Ryan Gosling and Mylie Cyrus, but I’ve also spent countless days traveling through airports and endless nights working in front of your laptop to meet deadlines. The critical thing to recognize is that there is no substitute for hard work but the more you do, you will get better at it. And the better you get, the more satisfaction you’ll get from your job.

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?

As a first-generation Chinese American, I never immersed myself in the American pop culture growing up. I never followed the top 40 charts nor did I listen to hip/hop music or followed any celebrity news. Then when I started working for a large retailer, I started dealing with strategic partnerships that required dealing with PR partnership and celebrity appearances. One day we were in a meeting strategizing about an upcoming product launch, and the team was discussing which celebrity we should invite. A bunch of names was thrown out, and one person suggested “The Black Eye Peas.”

I couldn’t help but follow up with a sincere question to the team, “Is Black Eye Pea a person or the name of a snack?” There was a long silence followed my question then an outburst of hysterical laughter filled the meeting room. As you can imagine how embarrassed I was. Right then, I realized that being good at your job is very different from doing well in school. You may be well-versed in all the business principles, but a well-rounded professional also needs common knowledge in the field that you operate in, to be successful in your job.

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?

When it comes to selecting the right social media platform to increase business revenues, it would depend on the type of the business, price point, stages of the marketing funnel and transaction process of the sale.

Generally speaking, Facebook is the most effective social media platform due to its algorithmic capability in targeting a specific audience group through demographics and psychographics. Facebook’s industry-leading capabilities are rewarded with leading in ad revenue at 11B+, while its sister company Instagram is another effective platform due to the ability for users to shop directly on the image, within the app. Particularly for small businesses such as fashion apparel or other mom & pop shop that has lower price points, Instagram is a great way to engage with the intended audience and drive sale conversion, all at the same session within the app.

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

1. Growing the brand awareness of your business

Instagram helps you find and engage with your target audience (through hashtags.) There are over 500 million users on Instagram daily, and those users are always looking for what interests them through hashtags and “look-alike” aka, people that Instagram suggests to follow. This enhances the relevancy of content and connects the brand closer to its intended audiences. And because Instagram is visual-focused, (image, short video, etc.,), it broadens the scope of reach of the audience through other in-app features such as Instagram stories, live TV, etc.

2. Increased engagements with your targeted audience

Brands can quickly engage with audiences through Instagram through engagements of Like, Comments and Saves. Brands generally see engagement rates 10x higher than Facebook. This creates a personal touch to connect with your customers and also presents positive brand image through its social sentiment. For businesses that are looking to conduct customers research/feedback, Instagram is an incredible platform to implement simple questionnaire as a way to gain input from users. Plus, the more businesses engage with Instagram users, the more exposure your feed will receive by the Instagram algorithm.

3. Stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the market and the competitive landscape

Instagram is also an effective way to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the market and also with competitors. By following key trade partners and competitions, companies gain a good pulse on crucial announcements in the industry as well as what promotions that are happening with their competitors, securing an edge in the business they operate in.

4. Utilize as a source of benchmark to stay up-to-date with your customers.

The Insights section of Instagram is a brilliant way to provide current metrics about your business. You can utilize the metric to determine the effectiveness of your content strategy, which headline and copy is generating most engagement and which Call-To-Action is triggering most conversions.

5. Instagram as a method to survey and “test-and-learn.”

If you’re thinking about a product or consumer research, then the Instagram story function may be a great way to ask questions and get immediate feedback from your customers (followers.) Not only it will present you with the data that you are looking for, but it also shows customers that you’re interested in gathering their feedback, adding positive sentiments to the relationship that you’re looking to build with your customers.

6. Cultivate a strong relationship with your customer

Instagram is one of the fastest growing social platforms in the world right now with advertising revenues just right below Facebook and Twitter. The advertising platform enables a brand to target its customer not only by demographics but also psychographics, making it one of the most efficient way to finding the right customer. But it’s essential for brands to post regularly and consistently. The most effective frequency is once per day. This volume may be daunting for companies that are struggling to produce content, but to establish a strong relationship with your customers, consistency in the frequency of communication is vital.

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 always think the world can use more compassion and I believe a more compassionate world starts with loving ourselves. Love is like a three-tier pyramid. We must first love ourselves by building a foundation of healthy self-esteem and self-respect, then we can give more love to the people and things around us, offering more help and minimizing prejudice. Finally, when we’re good to ourselves and great to others, we will end up with a better world.

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

I’ve recently been reading AI Superpower by Dr. Kai Fu Li, the world-renowned expert on artificial intelligence. In the book he argues because of unprecedented developments in AI, dramatic changes will occur much sooner than many of us expected.

And what’s more fascinating is that as the US-Sino AI competition begins to heat up, the US and China needs to both accept and to embrace the great responsibilities that come with significant technological power. Most experts already say that AI will have a devastating impact on blue-collar jobs. But Lee predicts that Chinese and American AI will have a substantial impact on white-collar jobs as well.

I share Lee’s vision of AI, and the need for us as humans to embrace this science. Just like industrialism advanced the world of agriculture. AI will make us smarter and better at our jobs and in our lives. We just need to embrace it and have the drive to learn.

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


How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Target psychographics as well as… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

“How to create social media content that your audience will value” With Candice Georgiadis &…

“How to create social media content that your audience will value” With Candice Georgiadis & Adwaiz CEO Patrick Smith

The goal with each Instagram post should be to captivate and engage your audience. For example, if you are the owner of a food or drink brand, your posts should aim to make your following hungry or thirsty. For a restaurant it is important to showcase more than just food and drinks. Take your audience behind the scenes and show them what the people working behind the bar and grill are up to. Showcase a facet of the restaurant that people wouldn’t see through traditional channels. You need to create content that will be valued by your audience, rather than simply create a video because everyone is saying you need this to succeed. Always ask yourself, what does your audience expect and does your post deliver that.

I had the pleasure to interview Patrick Smith, the CEO of Adwaiz, Patrick started his entrepreneurial career at age ten DJing at parties and weddings, while at the same time showing a great interest in building websites with photo editing tools such as Photoshop and Lightroom. When he first came to London three years ago, Patrick’s passion for photography and technology spurred him into creating his own Instagram account, ‘Londonfoodboy’, which showcases London’s best food and drink, and is now one of the most respected ‘foodies’ in the London scene. Shortly after, Patrick founded his own social media and influencer marketing agency, Adwaiz, in April 2017, with headquarters in Central London.

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

In August 2016 I started my own Instagram account, ‘Londonfoodboy’, with the aim to document the best of the London bar and restaurant scene. The success of this account quickly became greater than I could’ve possibly dreamt of. Not only did Londonfoodboy become really popular amongst my followers, but I also noticed that my account caught the interest of the food and drinks industry.

As an Instagrammer myself, I quickly identified that there was a substantial gap in the market, and specifically that brands and influencers had no easy way of connecting, which ultimately inspired my first venture within this space.

I decided to launch a series of events called Someetup, with the objective to start a conversation between brands and influencers. At Someetup, companies such as UberEats, JustEat and Shake Shack were able to meet with some of London’s most influential social media stars, and exchange their respective business needs with each other. Hosting these events, we soon began to get approached by the attending companies, who would ask if we could help build content for them, and manage their social media.

This was when I realised the business potential of what I was doing.

In April 2017, I rented a desk in a friend’s office and less than a month later, I had ten paying clients and hired my first employee. This became the start of my company, Adwaiz. Today, less than a year later, we are a fully formed social media and influencer marketing agency of 30 people, and have worked with world famous brands such as Glenfiddich and Moet Hennessy.

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

As an influencer myself, I have a true passion for digital storytelling, and insider knowledge about the social media space that many other founders of agencies of our kind are lacking. With over 4000 influencers in our network, we help our clients — which range from established brands to stellar start-ups — to be more engaging and inspiring across all social media, particularly focusing on content creation, social media management and influencer marketing. We are hugely proud to have worked with some of the UK’s top names such as The Ivy Collection, Jamie Oliver, superstar chef Richard Corrigan and Stonegate, just to name a few.

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

Before I moved to London, a close friend of mine gave me a phone number which belonged to a very influential real estate agent in London called Gary Hersham. I was told to only use this number ‘in case of an emergency’.

I moved to London without knowing anyone, or having any business connections and experience within the UK market. One night, I got talking to a young gentleman at a local bar, who wanted to introduce me to a man he had recently met.

He arranged for me to meet him 3 days later at a restaurant in the renowned London department store, Harrods. We got on very well and by the end of the meeting, I asked about the contact I had and whether he knew him by any chance. Surprisingly, he asked me why I wanted to get in touch with him, so I explained how I got the number. He then revealed that Gary Hersham had been his closest friend for 30 years, and that I did not need to call him.

I deleted his number immediately and the new connection I made in Harrods is now a very close and dear friend, as well as my mentor, who has helped me progress through every step of my career ever since.

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

When forming my C-suite team, I was close to making one of the biggest mistakes of my career by not recruiting the right person for the role of CFO.

At the time, it was obvious to me that I had already met the right person for the job, it just happened to be that the most qualified candidate was also the person I was engaged to.

I was advised time and time again not to get my fiance involved in my company, because of the potential negative effects this would have not only on my relationship, but also on my company. For a brief period of time I was considering looking elsewhere for a CFO, but in the end, I followed my instinct and hired my fiance.

As a company founder, this is one of the best strategic decisions I have ever made, and just as I had expected, my fiance is now one of my most valuable team members.

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

It generally depends on the brand’s target audience and on the campaign’s key objectives, but for all food and drink brands, the most effective platform tends to be Instagram. Instagram is particularly effective because you are able to showcase your products using captivating and engaging content.

For the brands that I’ve worked with, I have seen a significant ROI from using Instagram. More footfall and traffic has resulted in not only increased brand awareness, but also significant increases in revenue. Some of the clients that we work with have seen an impressive 40% increase in revenue by working with us for only six months, and using social media as their main marketing channel.

We know that 30% of millennials would be less inclined to visit a restaurant if it had a weak Instagram presence. With this in mind, the goal for every marketer should be to treat their social platforms, and especially Instagram, as their shop window.

Ultimately, the most effective platform is the one that works best for you and your business.

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.

a) Content is everything.

The goal with each Instagram post should be to captivate and engage your audience. For example, if you are the owner of a food or drink brand, your posts should aim to make your following hungry or thirsty.

For a restaurant it is important to showcase more than just food and drinks. Take your audience behind the scenes and show them what the people working behind the bar and grill are up to. Showcase a facet of the restaurant that people wouldn’t see through traditional channels. You need to create content that will be valued by your audience, rather than simply create a video because everyone is saying you need this to succeed.

Always ask yourself, what does your audience expect and does your post deliver that.

b) Context

You should know your style, tone of voice and how to portray your brand in the best possible way. Use your personality and the concepts you have created for your brand.

Find out what works for your brand. From my own experience, I have noticed that authentic content works better than polished (magazine quality) content. Be consistent no matter which direction or platform you choose.

c) Make people rave about your products.

Today, in this new era of social media, anyone that comes to a restaurant or bar and tries your product is a potential influencer. Make sure to use every opportunity to create brand ambassadors and encourage user generated content to be posted. Maybe invest in a small light from Amazon to hand around and make sure the restaurant social media handle is available for everyone to see.

Engage with the people that have posted online about their experience at your restaurant and maybe offer them a drink on their next visit as a small thanks.

I recommend using micro influencers to support or amplify a message. As a part of my influencer marketing offering, we have created a model we call 1/9/90. By using specific influencers whose audiences fit a desired demographic, they act as the 1% who will influence the 9% of engagers (who comment, contribute and share) who will then go on to influence the remaining 90% of the market (who read, rate and consume).

d) Attract talent, not just customers.

Instagram is a great platform to attract talent and send traffic to any job ad. Utilise your workforce to showcase why anyone should work with you. This is ongoing work (not just when you are looking to recruit people) and you have to include everyone in the team. Create a strategy and send the login round for people to share stories and build content. Don’t be afraid to show or give away too much.

e) Motion creates motion

As in all businesses, motion creates motion. That applies to social media too. In this logic, you need to give out ten likes to get one in return. Make sure you treat your followers as a community. Engage, share and encourage/motivate them to respond. Give them a reason to follow you and be more concerned about them unfollowing you, rather than not gaining enough followers.

f) Make a plan and create a strategy

My father always said to me, ‘You need to make a proper plan, because proper plans prevent piss poor performance!’. Find out what works for you and utilize the content to produce new content. Create a strategy and a set of pre-planned posts in advance. This will solve your everyday hassle of finding something to post.

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

Since moving to the UK I’ve been appalled at how kids eat and the lack of healthy options available, especially in the restaurant trade. Most children’s menus consist of empty calories, white carbs, fried foods and sugary drinks. I would like to challenge all restaurants to create smaller portions and make more options available.

I would love to use my influence to support great people like Jamie Oliver and his campaign to reduce unhealthy food choices in British schools and support the youth of the future to make better and healthier choices. I would be extremely proud if I could help inspire a movement which taught kids how to appreciate the value of buying and eating local, fresh and healthy foods and I believe a change in the restaurant trade would help us achieve such an attitudinal change.

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 🙂

My fiance and I are huge fans of the Obamas, and a double date with Barack and Michelle would be an absolute dream for both of us.

We spend everyday working on communication strategies for our clients and I would be really interested to learn how they have both managed to effectively communicate to mature audiences but also appeal to younger generations.

Personally, I have always been fascinated by how Mr. Obama is able to skillfully communicate with such great enthusiasm, and really get his message through to people around the world, of all demographics, and across all platforms.

It was also during Barack Obama’s presidency that social media really exploded on a global scale. The year Obama became president, the White House joined Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo, iTunes and MySpace, in 2013, the first lady posted her first photo on Instagram and in 2015, the president sent his first tweet from @POTUS. And in 2017, the White House posted its first official story on Snapchat. Barack Obama is arguably “the first social-media president”, and in my opinion, the biggest influencer out there.


“How to create social media content that your audience will value” With Candice Georgiadis &… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

“Why a founder needs to be highly aware of trends as they pop up” With Pokeworks Co-founder Kevin…

“Why a founder needs to be highly aware of trends as they pop up” With Pokeworks Co-founder Kevin Hsu & Candice Georgiadis

One story I would say isn’t really a mistake, but more of a funny coincidence, was when the new “Pokémon Go” mobile app game came out. There were a lot of correlations between Pokéworks and Pokémon, even to the point of media reaching out to us for comment. To our surprise, we did start getting a good amount of Pokémon Go players to our store to catch Charmander. This did help attract a new audience for us, which ultimately taught us the lesson that we need to be highly aware of trends as they come up and to be ready to act on them immediately.

I had the pleasure to interview Kevin Hsu, the Co-founder of Pokeworks

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

Social Media platforms have exponentially become the single most important marketing tool to utilize to channel brands to the “right” audiences. So, it was only natural (not only for Pokéworks, but what I believe a large percentage of marketers out there) to either adapt or be left in the dust.

For me, social marketing truly started at Pokéworks with social marketing our first store in Midtown. Our product being very photogenic with the vibrant colors and the different combinations and textures, immediately became “Instagrammable” and something that was readily shared amongst friends, family and colleagues.

In 2015, Instagram was just starting to be more prevalent for food influencers, therefore between myself and Pokéworks’ other co-founders, we would constantly seek out ways to benefit from the platform, A/B testing different content strategy, and keep track of analytics like a hawk to find better ways to reach new followers and engage with our existing fanbase.

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

Honestly, I don’t believe in anyone being an authority on social media marketing, mainly because the platform is ever-changing. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter will always have new features and tools that change the game on how audiences consume content. There is always that constant challenge of finding a pattern that achieves goals based on the newest ways that audiences receive content and engage in the digital space.

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

When we first started at our first NYC location, we had setup a “Instagram your Creation” wall, which would feature Pokéworks fans’ poke bowl creations on the wall. Of course, this wasn’t the most technologically advanced way to feature fan photos, but it did inspire eaters that came into our restaurant to take a picture of their order and share.

From there, office colleagues, friends and family started noticing these colorful photos on their feed, which inspired them to race over to try Pokéworks for themselves. Soon after, these photos started garnering attention from national media, including a foodie video showing our Poke Burrito creation that went viral in 2016, resulting in 50+ million views across the world. From there, we knew we had to accelerate our knowledge on social media in order to continue nationwide growth expansion.

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

One story I would say isn’t really a mistake, but more of a funny coincidence, was when the new “Pokémon Go” mobile app game came out. There were a lot of correlations between Pokéworks and Pokémon, even to the point of media reaching out to us for comment. To our surprise, we did start getting a good amount of Pokémon Go players to our store to catch Charmander. This did help attract a new audience for us, which ultimately taught us the lesson that we need to be highly aware of trends as they come up and be ready to act on them immediately.

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?

Each social media platform appeals to different audiences for different purposes. For the food and restaurant industry specifically, Instagram rises above the rest as it is more of a visual outlet. Our target audience as a restaurant brand can be easily reached via Instagram vs. other platforms since our concept is highly visual. For this reason, Instagram allows us to easily share our core product with our target audience.

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

1. Build Your Audience: Share your content on Instagram through your own channel, but also share across by hashtag or collaborating with other influencers. All these avenues are great building up brand presence. At Pokéworks, we value influencer relationships and encourage influencers to visit our restaurants as these influencers can play a vital role in furthering brand awareness.

2. Listen to Your Customers: Provide an open channel for feedback. We have learned first-hand that when you engage in two-way communication with your customers, you open the door to receiving unique insight into your customer preferences of the brand, product and overall experience.

3. Engage, Engage, Engage: Although it’s important to constantly reach new audiences, it is just as important, if not more to keep an active two-way engagement with your audience as well. When you engage with your audience, you can establish loyalty amongst your customers and audience.

4. Content with Intent: If your brand has a cause or mission statement, it is important to be transparent with that upfront and keep it consistent with your social media posts and stories. Your mission does not have to be in every post, but you must ensure your audience understands what your brand is all about.

5. Insights in the Details: Although Instagram can improve on providing more analytics capabilities, it is important to track very closely on how each of your posts performs and determine how it can improve in future posts. We have learned that if you don’t review analytics and insights, you will never be able to grow your social presence or your brand.

6. Instagram Stories vs. Posts: We are beginning to see more engagement with stories, but it is still important to keep posts going just the same as your posts to keep your brand relevant and visual so long as they are regularly shared. Stories offer unique engagement tools to gather feedback from your audiences which can be critical to brand and social presence development.

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 personally strive to be conscious of the food that I eat and conscious of what I am putting into my body. I appreciate when restaurant brands have transparency with their customers in terms of the food being served. Healthy eating is not just a trend, but a necessity to ensure you are eating something that is good for your body. At Pokéworks, we are striving to deliver more clarity on the sourcing practices we have with every item we serve. Brands like Sweetgreen, which I personally admire, are on the forefront of this and we believe we can do our part to encourage healthier lifestyles.

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 🙂

This is more of a personal request, but if either Danny Meyer, for the great successes with growing Shake Shack from simple ‘burger + fries’ concept to a worldwide brand, or Eddie Huang, for the similarities in backgrounds growing up and being a key influencer for Asian American entrepreneurs out there (and being a Taiwanese 1st generation as well). I would love to just be able to kick it with them.


“Why a founder needs to be highly aware of trends as they pop up” With Pokeworks Co-founder Kevin… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

“Why you should treat your social media profile as a portfolio or resume” With Candice Georgiadis…

“Why you should treat your social media profile as a portfolio or resume” With Candice Georgiadis & Gabriel Bianconi

Your profile is the first thing people see when they come across your brand. There isn’t a single recipe for a successful profile, but you have to make sure it has high-quality content and reflects your brand’s identity. For example, a brand whose audience is teenagers shouldn’t use the same messaging as one targeted at older professionals, but both should provide consistent, polished, and engaging content. First impressions matter even more when hundreds of thousands of brands are competing for attention on social media.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Gabriel Bianconi. Gabriel is the founder of Scalar Research, a full-service machine learning and advanced analytics firm. In addition to its main consulting practice, Scalar incubates innovative technology companies. We’re about to spin out our first project, LABEL Talent Management, a talent agency for digital influencers and models. LABEL leverages proprietary technology to create innovative content, campaigns, and events. He began his training as a B.S. & M.S. student in computer science at Stanford University, where he conducted research on artificial intelligence. He’s also worked at Google, Facebook, startups, and investment firms.

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

Absolutely! Thank you for having me.

During my five years in Silicon Valley, I immersed myself in the tech startup ecosystem. I spent time at large companies such as Google and Facebook, startups, investment firms, and research labs.

I started Scalar after noticing a huge gap between groundbreaking academic research in computer science and traditional industries that could benefit from these innovations. Our goal is to bridge this gap and help companies tackle complex business challenges with data-driven products leveraging cutting-edge machine learning and data science.

At this point, Scalar is focused primarily on consulting with existing companies across different industries, but we’re also starting to incubate our own projects. The first one we’re working on is LABEL.

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

I wouldn’t necessarily call myself an across-the-board “authority” in social media marketing. It’s such a fast-changing field, and I’m still learning and experimenting with a number of topics.

That said, I’ve found success in coming up with innovative ways to leverage social media for growing businesses. In particular, LABEL makes heavy use of Instagram to connect with hyper-relevant local talent and partners, and distribute our content.

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

Shortly after we started LABEL, we decided to organize a community-driven photoshoot. We reached out to a number of Instagram influencers and professional photographers to organize a pop-up photoshoot at the High Line in New York City.

We were very surprised to find out that all the parties involved were very interested in collaborating. The event was a great success and inspired us to use social media more heavily at LABEL.

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 was that we didn’t realize that you need a permit to have photoshoots at the High Line and almost got in trouble. Make sure to research the venue carefully!

But the biggest lesson came from an earlier mistake. Initially, we didn’t communicate the value of working with LABEL clearly enough. Our conversion rate grew considerably after we iterated our pitch based on the questions we’d get. I strongly believe that iterating quickly with a continuous feedback loop is essential for finding product-market fit.

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?

Currently, we work exclusively with Instagram influencers. The advantage of Instagram is the ability to search for very specific content. For example, the post location feature is very granular; you can often find a lot of content created at a specific venue that’s relevant to your project. This enables us to quickly search for the right people to work with and communicate with them while using our profile as a portfolio and social proof.

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) Connect with people on Instagram proactively

Most companies using social media are focused solely on their own profile — publishing content, and sometimes engaging with their existing audience. Instead, search Instagram for people you’d like to connect with and engage with them proactively.

Rather than waiting for their audience to find their profiles, businesses should actively go after potential customers, partners, and collaborators on social media. The main component behind LABEL is that we partner with hyper-relevant local content creators by proactively searching for and messaging people for those projects.

That said, it’s important to note the difference between what we’re suggesting and spamming others. We don’t blast messages to thousands of unrelated accounts; we manually message specific accounts that could be a great fit for a specific project with tailored content.

2) Treat your profile as a portfolio or resume

Your profile is the first thing people see when they come across your brand. There isn’t a single recipe for a successful profile, but you have to make sure it has high-quality content and reflects your brand’s identity. For example, a brand whose audience is teenagers shouldn’t use the same messaging as one targeted at older professionals, but both should provide consistent, polished, and engaging content. First impressions matter even more when hundreds of thousands of brands are competing for attention on social media.

3) Create value for your audience

Many brands focus on the content they’d like to promote rather than the content their audience wants to see. These aren’t necessarily aligned. Repetitive and spammy content will likely turn off your followers.

Instead, focus on what your audience is interested in. Even if the content doesn’t directly help you increase your revenue, creating valuable content will encourage sharing and engagement, which, in turn, later helps grow your company.

4) Encourage sharing in creative ways

Your audience is more likely to share your content with others if you’re providing value. That said, there are many creative ways to encourage people to share even more so.

For example, giveaways are a great way to encourage sharing. Sunny Co. Clothing, a bikini brand, recently went viral after a (controversial) giveaway that promised a free bikini (S&H not free), as long as people followed their accounts and reposted their content. The profile quickly grew from fewer than 10,000 to over 750,000 followers.

There are many other creative ways to encourage people to share your content, such as tagging friends and reposting.

5) Engage with your followers

Don’t treat your social media profiles as a one-way street. Brands often post content but completely disregard individual customers interacting with it. Instead, consider replying to comments and direct messages. Many brands, especially on Twitter, successfully use social media as a channel to talk to customers.

6) Cross-promote with other marketing channels

Many companies keep their marketing channels siloed, especially on social media. Brands often have profiles on multiple platforms, but they’re completely independent.

Instead, cross-promote your channels on Instagram, and vice-versa. Encourage people to follow your social media accounts on your website and mailing list (and potentially even on the physical product, by adding them to flyers or packaging). Similarly, encourage people on your Instagram to connect with your brand on other channels, too — ideally by offering some value in doing so, such as a coupon code for signing up to a mailing list.

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. 🙂

Social media is a place where we idolize people with large followings and meticulously created content. We at LABEL want to make it accessible for everyone and inspire anyone to express themselves in their own positive 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 🙂

Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’ve always been impressed by his accomplishments across multiple domains: bodybuilding, business, entertainment, and politics. Most people confine themselves to a single field, but he was able to reinvent himself successfully over and over.

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


“Why you should treat your social media profile as a portfolio or resume” With Candice Georgiadis… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

“How you should use (but not overuse) hashtags” With GeekSmash CEO, Joe Delbridge

Use (but don’t overuse) hashtags — Hashtags are becoming less important with each new Instagram update, but they’re still somewhat useful for when someone wants to search for that tag. While the # symbol isn’t necessary if you can work the words into your post, they can be helpful for variations. Place them as a comment rather than crowding your post.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Joe Delbridge, CEO of GeekSmash, a pop culture focused marketing agency that manages influencer marketing campaigns for major brands and popular social media influencers. Joe started GeekSmash in 2012 as a blog and converted it into a marketing agency in March of 2016. Also an experienced martial artist, Joe derives many of his business principles from the “The Book of Five Rings” by Miyamoto Musashi and he has a passion for teaching and helping others realize their dreams.

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 my pleasure. I love going to comic cons; I have since I was a kid. I knew I wanted to work in the industry, but getting a job in it can be quite the challenge, so rather than wait for a door to open, I built my own door, kicked it in, and now here I am! I’ve found that I’m gifted in creative marketing strategy and in growing brands and have combined that with my passion for the pop culture industry, specifically on the geeky side.

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

I finished my bachelor’s degree in Internet Marketing at Full Sail University in early 2017, graduated Valedictorian, and had multiple awards, including the Academic Achievement Award. I’ve since taken on the influencer marketing space with vigor. I regularly connect with brands that want to grow their businesses through influencer marketing and have provided income opportunities for social media influencers by working with these brands. I’ve managed over 100 social media influencers directly and I’m currently on the forefront of the industry, creating standards in the influencer marketing space on which the brand and influencer can rely. Up until now, it’s been pretty much the wild west in terms of what influencers can charge, what brands should pay to see a good ROI, and some best practices for seeing results.

I’ve even created both Instagram and YouTube engagement rate calculators, which you can find on my website, https://www.geeksmash.com. These calculators show both parties how much a particular influencer should be paid based on their followers, average views, and engagement rate. It’s also a nice tool to help prevent a brand from being taken advantage of by a fake influencer who buys followers.

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

No single story stands out. I think that mostly, I just feel so fortunate to surround myself with exceptional individuals who remind me every day in what human beings can do when they find their calling.

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 is the heavyweight champ here. We consistently compare closely with Google Ads in terms of cost per click, but usually fare better. The reason that it works best is because of several factors:

YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine, so there’s a greater chance that people will find your promotion simply by searching here. Frequently, people will search for brands to view unboxings or reviews on YouTube before purchasing.

YouTube videos tend to continue to get a reasonable amount of views long after they’re published as opposed to Instagram, which tends to slow down to a crawling halt only a couple of days after posting.

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. Tag curators — These are accounts who scrub the web and Instagram daily to curate content that their readers might find interesting, so help them out by sharing your story and your products with them through your posts.
  2. Use (but don’t overuse) hashtags — Hashtags are becoming less important with each new Instagram update, but they’re still somewhat useful for when someone wants to search for that tag. While the # symbol isn’t necessary if you can work the words into your post, they can be helpful for variations. Place them as a comment rather than crowding your post.
  3. Share your story — Everyone loves a good story and you have one whether you think so or not. Use Instagram to chronicle your journey and share this with your followers. It humanizes your brand and makes you more relatable.
  4. Share mistakes — This goes back to humanizing your brand. Don’t worry about being perfect.
  5. Create a curation account — If you can find a way to curate content and grow that account beside your own, you can eventually use it to post your own products without having to pay an influencer or another curator.
  6. Spend money — It’s no mystery that these platforms operate off of revenues from ads, so don’t be afraid to fork over money to gain followers and spread your brand message. Just be sure to include the link to your website or store in your bio.

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’m oddly passionate about reducing waste. For example, if we could remove unnecessary printed receipts and coupons from grocery stores along, we would have an enormously positive impact on our environment. Plus, it would be a great cost saver for the stores, so I don’t know why this isn’t already happening!

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 meet Arnold Schwarzenegger! He’s inspired me since childhood. He’s a habitual winner that plows through any obstacles to obtain his goals. It would be an honor to meet Arnold and share my appreciation for him.

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


“How you should use (but not overuse) hashtags” With GeekSmash CEO, Joe Delbridge was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

“Why you should never ask for trades on social media” With Finish Fit CEO, Armen Ghazarians

Avoid statements like “shout-out for shout-out”, “like for like”, or “follow for follow”. Never ask for trades. It’s rude and most likely you’ll get blocked by the other party. Simply be generous with your likes and be gracious with your comments on other profiles. Read Bob Berg’s book called the “Go Giver”. You’ll understand these steps after you read the book.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Armen Ghazarians, the CEO of Finish Fit®. With over 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, he has created the Finish Fit® Coaching System which combines the power of technology with the knowledge of Finish Fit® Coaches to remotely train its clients around the world.

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

In high school I was a cross country runner. I was fit and felt great. My story changed when I started college. I focused so much on school that I lost sight of my health and fitness. I gained 50 pounds over 5 years and my cholesterol shot through the roof. The funny part was that I didn’t realize how overweight I was until I took a good look at my license photo. I was shocked! So, I hired a personal trainer and went on the WW diet. It wasn’t long before my trainer told me that he landed a gig on a TV show. Understandably, he left to pursue his dreams. The next question for me was: now what? I studied fitness, got certified, and started working as a trainer at various gyms. Now, after spending nearly 20 years in the fitness industry and receiving over a dozen certifications, I’ve started my own fitness company, Finish Fit®. I created Finish Fit® with the desire to help all those who are struggling with their health and fitness just as I did. My mission is to help change lives for the better, just as my trainer and WW helped change mine.

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

I believe I’m an authority on Social Media Marketing because I’ve leveraged it successfully to promote the Finish Fit® brand.

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

Perhaps the most interesting story that has happened to me is that I’ve had to transition from being a technician (personal trainer) to an entrepreneur (CEO) in order to make my company a success. The learning curve has been steep and I’ve had to work extremely hard to master many different skills.

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 completely oblivious of social media when I started my company. So, I would randomly create posts at odd hours with little engagement and for a very long time I could not figure out why. Eventually, through a lot of trial and error, I learned how to time social media posts correctly for best engagement.

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?

For many years we used Facebook exclusively to increase our business revenues. However, recently, we have had a paradigm shift. Our Instagram posts have gained greater audience engagement than our Facebook posts. Hence, we have begun to focus more of our social media marketing efforts on Instagram.

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

  1. Treat each engagement as a “make it or break it” interaction. Take the time to respond to every comment and be generous with you “likes”.
  2. Avoid statements like “shout-out for shout-out”, “like for like”, or “follow for follow”. Never ask for trades. It’s rude and most likely you’ll get blocked by the other party. Simply be generous with your likes and be gracious with your comments on other profiles. Read Bob Berg’s book called the “Go Giver”. You’ll understand these steps after you read the book.
  3. Timing your posts is essential. We have found that posting between 5pm-7pm PST works best on weekdays. And posting between 3pm-5pm PST gets the most engagements on weekends.
  4. Content is king. However, not just any content will suffice. You have to go beyond generic posts. You content must be educational, inspiring, novel, and authentic. You must engage your audience and your content must be catered to your niche.
  5. Master “Pareto’s Principle”. Applying this to Instagram, the 80/20 rule suggests that 80% of your results come from 20% of your posts. So, it’s vital that you follow each post’s analytics to know which posts perform the best. By doing so, you can model future posts after ones that have a proven track record.
  6. Research your “hashtags”. Use the right “hashtags” to get your content found on Instagram. There are tools like “http://hashtagify.me/” that can help you with this.

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 inspire everyone around the world to begin a healthy lifestyle that incorporates good eating habits, regular exercise, and daily stress management.

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 have breakfast or lunch with the CEO of WW, Mindy Grossman. When I began my personal weight loss journey over 20 years ago, I joined WW and went to its weekly meetings. WW changed my life and set me on my current path. I’d like to partner with WW to bring the Finish Fit® Coaching System to its members.

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


“Why you should never ask for trades on social media” With Finish Fit CEO, Armen Ghazarians 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: “Gather qualitative data” With Kara…

How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Gather qualitative data” With Kara Harms and Candice Georgiadis

Instagram is an incredibly useful way to gather qualitative data. You can write thought starts in a caption or questions to prompt comments from followers/customers. You can even use the “Questions” feature in Stories to do this. Ask your followers a question that can’t be answered with quantitative data points and within a few hours, you’ll have plenty of responses to review! Best part? You can do this for free! I use this all the time when making roundups. Just this week I used the Questions feature to quickly gather a list of books for an upcoming blog post.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Kara Harms, the co-founder of Whimsy Soul, a body positive lifestyle blog based in San Francisco. She creates content that is focused on inspiring women to find confidence in their daily lives. Kara and her husband made over 100,000 in 2018, all with under 65,000 Instagram followers. After earning six figures this year alone, Whimsy Soul is proof that you don’t need hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers to have a lucrative channel. Just a powerful, close knit community and an authentic voice.

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

I’m one of those people who had no intention of being a fulltime blogger / influencer. Heck, that wasn’t even a real career yet when I was in college! When I moved to San Francisco from the Midwest (I hate the snow and needed better weather, seriously!) I was set on pursuing a career in social media for big companies out here like Uber or Old Navy. The catch 22 of the real world is that it’s really hard to get hired for a job like social media management when you don’t have any professional experience actually running social media channels.

I quickly realized after a series of unsuccessful interviews that I needed to have at least one social community I could point to and be like “Look at this. I did this well and grew this channel by x% in 6 months, so you should hire me to work on yours.” So one night, I started Whimsy Soul and scaled it to 3,000 Instagram followers in about 2 months. It honestly started out as a way for me to show off my creative skills to get a big girl job, and it worked! I was able to leverage my personal Instagram account and blog into multiple full time jobs over the years. But, it didn’t take long for me to really fall in love with working on Whimsy Soul. I l love writing, creating and inspiring fellow women. By the end of that first year, I was set on making Whimsy Soul my full time career. After 3 and a half years, I made it happen.

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

I’m one of the rarities who have actually worn both the hats as a brand and a content creator/influencer. I’ve been on both sides professionally, which has given me the opportunity approach social media marketing in different ways that others may be able to. This really comes in handy every day when we work on sponsored content. I have to ability predict what a brand is probably looking for, how they are measuring success, how our work will be talked about internally and use that forsite to craft meaningful social content that jives with our followers well while helping our partners reach their goals.

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

Being an influencer can take you on some crazy rollercoasters. For instance, in January 2018, we worked with Lufthansa on a campaign where they sent us to Frankfurt… for just one night! They reached out to use just a few days before Christmas with this trip happening the first week in the new year. Lufthansa holds an annual fashion show on a plane (it’s a pretty great way to pass time on a long flight!) and wanted us onboard to cover it.

The catch? That flight left from Frankfurt, so we had to fly there first. It all happened so quickly that there wasn’t time to send us any earlier, so we flew all the way to Frankfurt, got to walk around the city for about 7 hours, passed out in our hotel, woke up and flew back to the United States the next morning. I was so jetlagged I legitmaily fell asleep in a Frankfurt historical museum!

Even though it was a crazy whirlwind trip, it was so much fun and makes a really great story. I mean, who else can say they flew to Germany for one night randomly (and got paid to do it)?

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

#love #shoe #dress #cool #blogger #street #ootd #iloveshoes….

Sometimes I look back on some of my first Instagram posts and can only laugh at the the stupid hashtags I used. Why so many stupid hashtags? These days I’m way more strategic about what hashtags we use on a post. I use this tool called Display Purposes to conduct hashtag research to help extend the reach of our posts. #love just doesn’t cut it anymore!

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?

Hands down, Instagram has been the best social platform for my blog business. As an influencer, Instagram is where the money is at right now in terms of brand deals. Everyone and their mother wants to run Instagram-based Influencer campaigns. This year alone, we’ve made over six figures from brand deals and most of our partners were interested in working with us because of our Instagram channel. Even though we have a strong blog readership and even command over 1 million monthly views on Pinterest, leveraging our Instagram channel into a revenue stream has literally been the key to making Whimsy Soul a hobby-turned-career.

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. If you’re an influencer, now is the time to leverage Instagram from just a social channel to a main source of revenue. I firmly believe that a successful blog business needs to have multiple streams of revenue. Affiliate sales, banner ads and selling products are classics ways to earn passive income, but right now Instagram-based campaigns are a great way to quickly increase your business’ revenue. I’ve personally made over six figures this year, and most partners wanted to work with me because of my Instagram account. Having a profitable year on Instagram means I can afford essential business upgrades and have the liberty to write blog posts about whatever I want, usually evergreen content that overtime can earn tons of passive income.
  2. Instagram is an incredibly useful way to gather qualitative data. You can write thought starts in a caption or questions to prompt comments from followers/customers. You can even use the “Questions” feature in Stories to do this. Ask your followers a question that can’t be answered with quantitative data points and within a few hours, you’ll have plenty of responses to review! Best part? You can do this for free! I use this all the time when making roundups. Just this week I used the Questions feature to quickly gather a list of books for an upcoming blog post.
  3. Of course, you can also use Instagram Stories to gather quantitative data. On top of monitoring insights on static posts to help indicate what products, ideas, mesassing, etc your customers are responding to, you can also use Stories to do quick polls. Want to know their opinion on a new product or article vertical you’re considering? Use a poll! (IE: would you like to see us sell shoes?)
  4. Drive more pageviews with Instagram Stories and Highlights swipe-ups. “Link in bio” works, but the swipe up feature is a powerful way to drive traffic to your website and make conversions.
  5. Conduct takeovers with influencers to spark brand intrigue and gain access to a new audience! Working with key influencers to do channel takeovers is a smart way to diversify your content and tap into a new audience who may turn into paying customers.
  6. Forge an emotional connection with customers. Instagram is highly personal! Your social media manager has to read and reply back to comments. They may be coming from a brand, but a human is still behind the voice. Take the time to write meaningful replies and answering DM’s in a timely, thoughtful manner can help you forge a loyal following. I personally take the time to answer any questions my community has and work on relationship with my followers. This high emotional connection has lead to a loyal following who keep coming back to Whimsy Soul to feel that connection1

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 love the idea of using influence to spread doing good. It’s not all about sharing cool vacation spots or a trendy jacket to buy. Just today I bought sandwiches for a homeless man at the bus stop and reminded my followers on Stories that doing good for others in need is important. I’d love to see more influencers share about topics like politics they believe in or great charities to support. If we can use our influence to drive massive revenue streams for brands, why can’t we apply that same power to helping others? The world would be such a better place.

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’m pretty sure drinks with Gary Vee would be both enlightening and entertaining.

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


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

“Why you need to understand the Instagram algorithm” With Brian Peters, digital marketing manager…

“Why you need to understand the Instagram algorithm” With Brian Peters, digital marketing manager at Buffer

Understand the Instagram algorithm. Social media algorithms play a very important role in the ability for marketers and business owners to make an impact online. And although the Instagram algorithm is often difficult to understand, businesses need to learn to work with it and not against it if they want to find success. In hundreds of conversations with marketers around the world, we’ve found that something as simple as posting consistently can dramatically improve your business results.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Brian Peters. Brian is the digital marketing manager at Buffer, a social media management platform that makes it easy for businesses and marketing teams to schedule posts, analyze performance, and manage all their accounts in one place. Based in the Rocky Mountains, Brian manages Buffer’s digital marketing campaigns and initiatives across the board such as social media, partnerships, advertising, content, video, the Buffer podcast, and more. Brian and his wife Katelyn have lived in eight different cities over the last two years, including New York, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, and Vancouver, B.C.

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 am very fortunate to be in the position I am today at Buffer — it’s truly a dream come true to be able to live and work remotely from wherever makes me happiest in the world.

I started out in the insurance industry in 2012 and quickly realized that insurance wasn’t going to be my long-term career path, but I had no idea what I wanted to do. That’s when I met a professor at my alma mater that introduced me to the world of marketing. Although I was really good at sales, marketing captivated me in a way that is hard to explain. I never looked back.

Five short years later, after various marketing roles in social media, brand management, and digital marketing at one of California’s top universities, I am proud to say that I’m going on my third year at Buffer. Every day brings a new opportunity and challenge to solve as digital marketing manager, where my role includes a bit of everything: social media, advertising, podcasting, content marketing, partnerships, product management, video marketing — you name it.

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

There are so many incredible people working in the social media industry these days; I feel super grateful to be able to play a small part in helping marketers, and business owners improve their social media results on crucial platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

Over the years I’ve helped multiple organizations grow their social media accounts — followers and engagement — while simultaneously impacting the bottom line. As the digital marketing manager at Cal Poly University, I led the team that increased engagement by 800% over the course of two years. I also managed all social media and communications for the Office of the President. At Buffer, I’ve helped to increase our total audience size from 400,000 in 2016 to more than 1,000,000 followers across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Perhaps most importantly, I’ve worked with several great brands such as Animoto, BuzzSumo, Delmondo, and others to publish original pieces of research in the social media industry. This science-backed approach to social media marketing is one of the main factors that have helped us to be so successful over the years.

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

I’ve always believed that in the world of marketing and social media, if you focus on consistently helping and educating people, eventually someone will take notice.

That’s precisely what happened in early 2017 when we partnered with Animoto on a big research study that looked at how landscape (16:9) video format performed vs square (1:1) video format on social media.

That partnership led to an invitation to speak alongside Gary Vaynerchuk and Sue Bryce at the Animoto Video Summit in New York City. I was out of my league, but Gary and Sue were terrific people. They gave me some advice on those starting their marketing careers:

Learn to love failing. Trying and experimenting with new strategies almost always leads to failure (and that’s a good thing!) Success is often by a byproduct of failing and getting back up.

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

I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my career!

However, one of the biggest mistakes I made when I was first starting out, and one that I now look back on and laugh, was when I was personally managing the President of Cal Poly University’s Twitter account.

As many social media marketers know, you can easily switch back and forth between Twitter accounts in the app. Well, I thought I was Tweeting from my personal account, but I was still logged in under the President’s account. I Tweeted something about the Los Angeles Dodgers and didn’t realize for about two hours that I had sent the Tweet out under the wrong account. Needless to say, the President wasn’t too happy with me!

I learned that when you’re in a public-facing position such as roles within marketing and social media, you have to be nearly perfect with everything from timing to spelling to grammar. That Tweet is the reason why I still double-check everything before posting anything to social.

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?

Today, I’ve found that Facebook and Instagram offer the most effective way for businesses to increase their revenue on social media directly. Not only do they offer more than 2 billion monthly users on their platform for businesses to target, but they also feature robust advertising tools to reach very specific audiences.

For example, I helped consult for a small e-commerce brand on the side during the Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend, and we were able to drive more than $2,500 in revenue from Instagram Ads alone — spending a mere $250 total in advertisements. That’s a 900% return on investment (ROI)!

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

  1. Utilize Instagram Stories

An incredible 400 million people around the world use Instagram Stories on a daily basis (with that number rapidly growing by the minute). Whether you’re promoting your product, giving your audience a behind-the-scenes look at your business, or simply posting entertaining content, the Stories format offers businesses an exciting new way to reach audiences. At Buffer, for example, we’re using Instagram Stories to drive awareness around various company initiatives that help drive traffic back to our key landing pages.

2. Understand the Instagram algorithm

Social media algorithms play a very important role in the ability for marketers and business owners to make an impact online. And although the Instagram algorithm is often difficult to understand, businesses need to learn to work with it and not against it if they want to find success. In hundreds of conversations with marketers around the world, we’ve found that something as simple as posting consistently can dramatically improve your business results.

3. Boost your top performing posts

Growing your account organically is wonderful, but it’s also a huge challenge for many businesses. By putting a few dollars behind your top performing posts, you’re greatly increasing the speed at which your account will grow. At Buffer, for example, we spend $20 per day on boosting our top posts, which has helped us to grow our account by an average over 50% month-over-month. Not to mention the thousands of engagements we receive in the process.

4. Embrace user-generated content

One thing that we hear from businesses is that it’s difficult to find and create consistently engaging content for Instagram. I believe that the best way to supplement your own branded content is to feature posts from your community and other users. There is an unlimited amount of beautiful content on Instagram today and businesses that know where to look and how to tap into that content are seeing tremendous results. During the period of six months in 2018, we saw a 300% growth in audience size after experimenting with a UGC strategy.

5. Maximize your hashtags

Instagram is one of the few social media platforms where hashtags truly matter and make a big impact on results. Hashtags play an important role in the Instagram algorithm when it comes to content discoverability in the Explore feed. When used correctly, hashtags can help users that have never heard of your brand or business discover your content. For pro users, we recommend adding the hashtags as the “first comment” on your own post in order to keep your caption clean and tidy. Also, try to use no more than 15 highly-targeted and relevant hashtags for best results with your content.

6. Pay attention to the small details

With more than 1 billion monthly users, Instagram is becoming a second “home page” for businesses around the world. In other words, your Instagram account is an extension of your brand’s website or storefront. Businesses should treat it that way. Pay attention to even the smallest details such as your company description, website URL, how your feed looks on the whole, the language you use, your captions, etc. Everything matters. Many of the most successful brands on Instagram today use their feed as a visual representation of what their brand is all about.

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 spark a movement it would most certainly be in relation to social media and the 2 billion+ people that use the various networks each month. While there is a TON of good on social today, I also feel like there is a lot of negativity that is spread and passed along on social media.

I’d love to inspire and encourage a larger majority of people to use social media to positively impact the world. Whether that’s raising money for natural disasters, helping others that are going through tough times, or simply saying something kind each day to people in your network, there’s so much potential. After all, social media connects more than one third of the earth’s population, we just need to understand how to better leverage that power.

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

If I could sit down with one person in the world for breakfast it would be the host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah. He went through so much growing up in South Africa to get where he is today that I think I could learn a ton from him. He’s an inspiration in so many different ways.

Plus, Trevor Noah is an amazing storyteller and has a knack for understanding and conveying the human experience on a deep, personal level. That sort of thing is infinitely interesting to me.

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


“Why you need to understand the Instagram algorithm” With Brian Peters, digital marketing manager… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.