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How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “STOP using fake likes, bots etc” With Katriel Sarfati and Candice Georgiadis

STOP using fake likes, bots etc: I get it, if you appear to be larger, you assume more will be attracted. While in theory, this makes sense, in (bad) practice this leaves you vulnerable to just how savvy people are becoming as well as the upcoming Instagram bot purge. Oh and Instagram throttles your reach when they catch you faking your engagement, meaning less of your real audience actually sees your stuff.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Katriel C Sarfati, a Growth and Marketing strategist that started his first business at 15 which sold for six figures. He and his friends went on to monetize their Instagram accounts in 2013 before the term “influencer” was a thing. In the last 2 years, his colleagues and he have launched campaigns that have brought in 6 and 7 figure sales.

With the rise of social media in the last few years, he has gone on to train Executives and Entrepreneurs in some of America’s fastest-growing companies to include the cannabis industry where one of his brands made 25k their first 30 days on a shoestring budget.

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

First and foremost, thank YOU for including me in this awesome venture of yours, i can’t wait to tell my audience about all you’re doing here!

I’ll admit, I was a bit in denial at social media a part of my career path, for years I was a shy introverted nerd haha. Over the years I began noticing patterns and started sharing those patterns and my theories with my friends who were already very “social” having amassed a ton of “friends” on myspace and facebook before they became known as followers (I’m showing my age).

For years I used social media as a listening tool, a window into the convos and tastes happening where I once against noticed patterns which then bled into my professional career, I’d use social media to show my clients and myself where to advertise, what language to use and what emotions to envoke.

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

I became one of the go to’s once the clients and friends I helped began seeing money coming in…. I’ll never forget one of my first campaigns that didn’t read like one brought my client 260k in a few months. It gave him chills, he began telling anyone he liked about me and through word of mouth I began hosting training sessions and sharing my thoughts on social media. I went on to test some of my theories with different industries and after replicating results across the board, in a weird way began influencing the influencer.

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

We would be here all day haha. One of my favorites would definitely have to include celebrating New Years in Las Vegas. It was surreal having that level of service. When I arrived I had a limo waiting for me, which whisked me away to the Aria hotel where the view of the strip alone was inspiring. Moments later I was in a helicopter over the grand canyon with my family seeing the sunset. Hours later there I was biting into of the most succulent steaks I’ve ever tasted while raising my glass to DJ Tiesto who sat across from me. All this wrapped up incredibly with an assigned personal security guard named Stan that got us a front row seat of the fountains and fireworks as the new year rang in, that to me is always a reminder of just how awesome working in this space is.

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?

Almost falling into the “Instagram flexin” trap. While working on some of my campaigns I would often show behind the scenes stuff and one of the clients was a dealership, for about two weeks I was sharing photos of their exotic cars and had someone reach out to me asking me to come to a Hollywood Hills party! They really thought I was this playboy type that drove a new car every day based on those posts alone, it was funny explaining to them that it was just storytelling, he’s still a client of mine today.

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 get asked this a lot — the truth is that it depends on the business. Very often people look at vanity metrics such as “oh this platform has the most users”, but these days it’s more of who’s on the platform, not so much how many are on it, speaking to the demographic that you’re targeting in an organic way is far more efficient.

For example, an entrepreneur I worked with about a year ago was doing great in terms of eyeballs on Instagram, he drove the nice car, he wore the nice suits. In terms of monetizing, ehh he barely broke 2k a month in revenue, we switched him over to LinkedIn and Twitter and within 3 months he was averaging 6k a month.

Another entrepreneur I worked with in California worked in a very niche market, hairline tattoo. He was on every social media platform but still relied on word of mouth for his business, after analyzing his expertise and time in his field, we switched him over to Yelp and Youtube with a dash of IG and he is crushing it these days.

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. STOP with the constant selling: One of the things I personally exploit in social media sales is the countless businesses who operate as a self-important dork, everything is omg look at what we are selling, buy it, buy it now. That lack of social skills is perfect for those that are eager to bring value to those seeking it. I mean, have you ever been to a networking event? The constant being sold is half the reason I avoid them, the other half is the cash bar.
  2. STOP using fake likes, bots etc: I get it, if you appear to be larger, you assume more will be attracted. While in theory, this makes sense, in (bad) practice this leaves you vulnerable to just how savvy people are becoming as well as the upcoming Instagram bot purge. Oh and Instagram throttles your reach when they catch you faking your engagement, meaning less of your real audience actually sees your stuff.
  3. STOP using it if you aren’t able to fit in: this one tends to rub some people the wrong way, the demographic for Instagram success is for those who can speak to, inspire, and rub elbows with the 18–35 crowd (there’s more of a breakdown but you get the idea) while other platforms such as Facebook perform better with the 31–60 yr old crowd. One key difference between Instagram and other platforms seems to be how pop and hip-hop culture influence a ton.
  4. START connecting with people who share your ideologies and vision: Make friends on Instagram, it is after all social media! The people you engage with you eventually realize become your brand ambassadors, your engagement peers, part of your feedback loop and potential partners (more $$ with less investment)
  5. START listening to the convos happening: This alone is how I filter out who I do and don’t work with. This one action weeds out who sells and who doesn’t. If you have a ton of money for advertising then great, but if not, then grassroots marketing and growth hacking is a helpful strategy. Sales are a symptom of the value you bring to the table mixed with how you communicate that. What that looks like is as follows; Company A and B both sell widgets. Company A shares facts about their widget nonstop, a few fun facts here and there, and a few holiday sale discount announcements whenever its time to boost sales. Company B creates content aimed at storytelling, steering conversations and engages those who are prominent in the spaces they do business in. What eventually happens is Company A becomes the company that always needs money to solve their problems, Company B becomes a brand.
  6. START sharing the corporate culture that you have or are building: Keyword in social media is SOCIAL. An important and overlooked KPI (key performance indicator) for a business’s social media is their brand awareness — and one awesome way to do that is to share the insights, quirks and behind the scenes of what you do and the people behind the company. This can be as simple as one of the team members sharing their experiences, their favorite whatchamacallit that helps them work better. Connect!

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. 🙂

Something that’s near and dear to me and brings a lot of good to people is mental health. I have elevated my platforms and reach to collaborate with several people and businesses to share “hacks” for mind and life. This started because back in 2015 I noticed a lot of pages and businesses popping up practically copy and pasting “motivation” everything. From Ferraris to lavish lifestyles, to the dude yelling “just do it” on his video standing next to an exotic car it was showing signs of having negative effects on people who were procrastinators and or not enough resources to get things rolling for themselves. I’ve started helping the people who read all the theory but are kind of stuck at the “ok I’m pumped but now what?” stage.

This often mean tackling things such as cognitive roadblocks, fixed mindsets etc. My background in psychology has come in very handy in helping many many people.

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

As a Nerd who grew up in Brooklyn, NY, a meal with Steven Moffat and JayZ would be a treat.

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

How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “STOP using fake likes, bots etc” With… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.