How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Switch things up.” With Trevor Cowley and Candice Georgiadis
Switch things up. Make sure you’re posting videos as well as pictures from around your office or place of business. If you look up “#accounting” on Instagram you will see so many stock image/photos in an attempt to look professional. The whole point of Social Media to be more transparent. People want to see who they’re working with and videos will show more of your company’s personality so to speak. If you look at our Instagram account you’ll see a lot of videos, some fun and goofing off and some more serious and motivational.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Trevor Cowley. Trevor Cowley is passionate about business and has been a serial entrepreneur since 2013. Trevor is now the co-owner of 4 different companies and feels fortunate to have business partners that he also considers to be his best friends. Trevor and his partners are now doing 7 million a year in revenue and growing fast. Easier Accounting is his primary focus and Trevor believes the company will force the accounting world to dramatically step up their game in the next 5–10 years.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thanks for having me. I’ve always had a passion for sales. As a child, I would go down to the local golf course and dig through the bushes and jump in the ponds to find golf balls and then go home and polish them up and sell them to the golfers. Right out of high school I went into sales and fell in love with the process of prospecting and closing deals. I was working for my now business partners at 28 years old, the company wasn’t doing good at the time, the final year of me being in sales the company lost $100,000 and was in $66,000 credit card debt. This was due to a previous business partner that mismanaged money. My current business partner Jeremy had to pay $5,000 out of his personal account to cover payroll at Christmas time in 2012. I was making six figures as a sales rep for the company and had money saved and that is when my now business partners said they want me to buy in and run the company. I invest $10,000 into a company that had $66,000 in debt and lost money the previous year, we set up a new account with me as the new partner and the old partner that mismanaged things was out. I took over in January 2013 with a $10,000 investment and an open wallet, willing to invest what was needed to turn the company around. In 2013 we ended up profiting $500,000 and had paid of the debt and each made six figures and padded the company account with $100,000. From this point on we invested into new business ventures, the next investment went well and then a few following that not so much, we lost $20,000 here and $30,000 there. We eventually had 2 businesses running well and had trouble finding a great accounting solution that was affordable to the small business owner (us). We went through 3–4 options over the years, some were great CPA’s but not affordable and in some cases hard to get in contact with when we needed something, we went on to a more affordable solution and got great communication but the work was horrible. We were paying a monthly fee but couldn’t get our P&L’s on time and we thought to ourselves, “If it’s this hard to find a great accounting solution that is affordable then we need to create it”, because we knew others are going through this as well. We founded Easier Accounting by solving our own problem and offering it to other small businesses and haven’t looked back since. We are now using Instagram and Facebook as the main platforms to offer our services and grow our business while giving people an inside look at who we are.
Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?
Because we’ve first hand seen an increase in attention which in turn turns into an increase of revenue. When you have someone follow you on Instagram or FB you have their attention and can provide ongoing value in terms of business advice and then sprinkle in your company’s offers to them here and there at no additional marketing cost. You don’t want to overdo it where it feels like they’re getting overwhelmed with offers, so like I said “sprinkle” it in there here and there. Once we started using Social Media platforms as a business tool rather than a personal tool only we onboard more clients on a monthly basis and have a deeper connection with which each client, this increases our LTV (Lifetime Value) per client. The reason that it increases the LTV is because they have a deeper connection with us because they literally have seen our faces and like or comment on our posts. When you can see who your working with and feel a connection with them it makes it harder to leave. It’s easier to stop doing business with someone you’ve never seen or hardly interact with. We have literally doubled down on Social Meda by hiring a full time in-house videographer that walks around the office filming on a daily basis. This gives us daily content, some tax tips, some business advice or at least our theories on business and then a few offers or discounted offers every so often.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
I would say flying out to New York and going to the VaynerMedia offices. We did a deal with VaynerSports in 2017 to have one of their signed NFL players be a sponsored athlete for Easier Accounting. To walk into an office that was 3 stories and 72,000 square feet was incredible. We spoke with AJ Vaynerchuck about his strategy for building VaynerSports and it was spot on to what our plans were with Easier Accounting. We sat and talked about building businesses that run at a loss for 3–5 years for the purpose of building something special. It made us (me and my partners) know that we were doing the right thing and helped reenergize us to stay focused on the reason we started the company and our long-term goals. Thank AJ!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funniest mistake, this is a tough one. Usually, mistakes aren’t that funny because they cost you money. I would agree that there is always a lesson within each mistake. This isn’t funny but I would say is very relevant to a lot of newer business owners. The biggest mistake I made was thinking that no one can do what I could do as well as me. I had a lot of fear of stepping down from the business I was running and helped build because of fear and ego. I feared that someone would tank what I built and my ego was largely tied to the fact that everyone turned to me for all the answers, being the go-to guy. When running a company you’re constantly putting out fires and then trying to find the long-term solution so that same problem doesn’t reappear. After operating a business for 5–10 years I think you’ve taken it as far as you can and its time for a new brain to be at the helm. A new set of eyes can see things differently and make positive changes that you didn’t even think about. I think a lot of business owners hold their businesses back by not giving up operational control to someone else once they’ve hit a stagnant revenue level year and year. If the company is still growing, by all means, keep running the business, if its no longer growing then think about putting someone else in control of day to day operations.
Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?
We have seen more traffic/revenue come from Facebook. I think its because people are more likely to read ads/offers they see on Facebook than they do on Instagram. Instagram was built around 60 second videos and to get away from all the writing on Facebook.
Facebook was built for writing thoughts originally and has morphed to what it is today. Instagram is a great place for videos and pictures but when it comes to reading an entire ad or offer under the post it won’t yield the same results as Facebook. People are more used to using Facebook for reading articles and click on links than they are on Instagram.
Instagram is still effective and if you’re more visually selling, like an artist that sells paintings would want to use videos or pictures to do your selling, then use Instagram. They can video themselves throughout the process of painting something and post those and use the pictures posts for the finished product. If you need to have an explanation behind your product or service I would use Facebook. Doing accounting isn’t something that is visually fun for people to watch so we need to talk and type out an offer which is why Facebook has been better for us.
Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share 6 ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.
1. I will start with the Bio — Make sure that you are clear about who the company is and what you do while mixing in something positive/fun. This can be one of the first deciding factors whether someone looks deeper and ends up following you. If we only put “Accounting Firm” and left it at that it wouldn’t catch someone’s eye. We start with “Easier Accounting — Built for Entrepreneurs by Entrepreneurs”, then “Documenting our journey building Easier”. People love documentaries and reality TV so if they feel like they’ll be watching you grow over time they will be more intrigued. Throw a few emoji’s in there to make it fun and catch their eye.
2. Make sure that your business contact info is accessible. Some Instagram accounts haven’t linked up there company phone numbers, email or website. They think someone will direct message them if they have questions which does happen but make sure they can do further research right from your Instagram by linking your website so they can click on it and get redirected immediately.
3. Switch things up. Make sure you’re posting videos as well as pictures from around your office or place of business. If you look up “#accounting” on Instagram you will see so many stock image/photos in an attempt to look professional. The whole point of Social Media to be more transparent. People want to see who they’re working with and videos will show more of your company’s personality so to speak. If you look at our Instagram account you’ll see a lot of videos, some fun and goofing off and some more serious and motivational.
4. Do Giveaways — People love free stuff and or money. This also will give you an opportunity to grow your following. In the accounting world, you can write these giveaways off as a “promotional expense” which is different from marketing expense or donation. How you can use this to increase your following is as follows, you have someone “tag 3 friends” to be entered in the giveaway. We do $500 giveaways and switch it up for example, Win $200 and Tag 3 friends that you want to each win $100 and if you’re selected you win $200 they each get $100. They must like this point and follow our account in order to win. In some cases they only need to tag one person and the winner gets $300 and the person they tagged get $200. It makes it fun for everyone involved. This way your engagement goes way up and you get followers faster, this is more people that you can remarket.
5. Hashtags — You want to make sure that you have some hashtags that are relevant to your business and post them with your post. What you’ll see when you do that is you’ll get those organic followers that are looking at that hashtag and find you. Look at it like a keyword on google that people bid on. If someone types in “accounting” then we have to bid on that keyword and pay for that provided someone clicks on it. With Instagram, you don’t have to pay for the hashtag (or keyword) so if someone is searching accounting in the hashtags then I would say that is a potential customer for our company. What I do is, I go back weeks and post the hashtags under older post so when I first post it doesn’t look like I have a million hashtags on it. This way people can just appreciate the post for what it is rather than seeing all the #. Then after that post ages for 6–8 weeks I post hashtags under it, this way there are daily hashtags out there and my followers are seeing a ton of hashtags themselves.
6. Post Daily and Engage — If want your business to see a positive impact on Instagram then post daily and engage with the people that comment on your posts. There is so much content out there that you need to stay in front of people. Some things won’t get a lot of likes or comments which is fine. This doesn’t mean its not being seen. Not everything you post will get in front of your followers, the more you post the more you control that. I would say that even we need to step up our game and post more but you will ALWAYS see us post at least one post per day but ideally is at least 2–3 posts a day. Somedays we will post tax tips videos, general business advice or a simple motivational quote that we create and then credit the source but then put our logo on it for branding. When you post daily you will start to find ways to have more fun with it and the real you will start to come out as you get used to using Instagram. Most start will first start out posting what they think people want to see and then they run out of ideas of what they think people want to see. Once they run out of those ideas is where their real self comes out and that is when it will have a bigger impact on your business. People want to feel like they know who they’re working with.
Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Encouragement, we need to be more encouraging of each other. There isn’t to many feeling on this earth that is better than making someone else feel good about themselves. Too many default to negative when they see someone trying to do something better for themselves and one of the first things you’ll see is someone belittling or naysaying what they’re trying to do. Life and business would be easier if we all were bigger cheerleaders for each other. I guess I’ll end it with #encouragement.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I would most likely say Grant Cardone. We have very similar pasts regarding little formal education and addiction problems. I never stepped foot in a college and didn’t even walk with my class. I got my diploma 6 months after my class graduated by taking packages to get enough credits. Shortly after high school, early in my sales career, I had addiction problems which I have since faced and have overcome 12 plus years ago. I think having some common ground helps make a conversation easier and from there it goes onto building a business relationship. Not to mention, I would love to met him to sell him on the idea of doing a shout out to Easier Accounting on his Social Media platforms. From there incentive him by offering him an affiliate commision on signups. Always have to be thinking about the next big move!
Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!
How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Switch things up.” was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.