Why Stories Is the Key to Company Instagram Success Today

Why Stories Is the Key to Company Instagram Success Today

Sue B. Zimmerman, Keynote Speaker and Founder of Sue B. Zimmerman Enterprise, joins the Social Pros Podcast to discuss how Instagram is rising above other social tools to become the next major engagement platform.

In This Episode:

Sue B. Zimmerman

Sue B. Zimmerman Enterprise

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Full Episode Details

Why Stories Is the Key to Company Instagram Success TodayInsta-Connection

Instagram has it all: video, hashtags, imagery, engagement, polling, cross-platform connectivity. Trying to hit on all the tools in each post is a daunting proposition. Thankfully Sue B. Zimmerman, the Instagram Expert, is here to save the day.

First thing’s first: using every tool every time is a mistake. Instead, focusing on facilitating conversations through your posts instead of piggybacking on the latest hashtag trend is the proper way to approach the platform.

Sometimes this means making up your own niche hashtag that only your audience would understand, or not using all 15 seconds of your Stories allotment.

It always means engaging in the comments with your followers and showing them that you’re listening and responding.

If you can connect emotionally and conversationally with your audience, then you are already light years ahead of some of the bigger, more established brands out there. Creativity, conversation, and consistency will always be rewarded over trendiness in the Insta-world.

In This Episode

  • How using Instagram correctly leads to conversations that drive traffic and conversions
  • Why finding the right hashtag means ditching the crowd and referencing the niches of your conversation
  • How focusing on connecting emotionally through pictures leads to aesthetic consistency and niche hashtags
  • Why getting the most out of Instagram stories doesn’t mean using all the time, all the hashtags, and all the tools every time

Quotes From This Episode

“People process visual content something like 66,000 times faster than text.” —@SueBZimmerman

“Whenever I ask anyone why they like Instagram, they say because it’s fun.” —@SueBZimmerman

“If you are doing Instagram correctly, you get that engagement, and you have those conversations.” —@SueBZimmerman

The riches are in the niches. Click To Tweet

“What’s not cool is when you’re using random hashtags that have nothing to do with either the content that you’re talking about, the photo, or your business.” —@SueBZimmerman

“On Instagram, your bio needs to deliver on the promise of what you see in your feed.” —@SueBZimmerman

“The most important thing about Instagram when you’re posting is to emotionally connect and pull people in.” —@SueBZimmerman

“You have to have a creative gene to do Instagram well.” —@SueBZimmerman

Instagram stories is everything right now. Click To Tweet

“It’s the real, raw authenticity that people are craving because a lot of people don’t know what to believe anymore.” —@SueBZimmerman

You can't be everywhere. You've got to focus on where your people are. Click To Tweet

Boring doesn’t cut it in Instagram stories. You’ve got to have some kind of element of creativity going on.” —@SueBZimmerman

“You get 15 seconds, but it doesn’t mean you need to use it every time.” —@SueBZimmerman

People don't have time to consume everyone's full story if you're not sharing something of value. Click To Tweet

“You have to make sure that when you’re doing your Instagram ads, that it still is organic to Instagram and it doesn’t look like an ad.” —@SueBZimmerman

Instagram makes this world a closer, connected place. Click To Tweet


See you next week!

Get a Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the Social Media Operations at Sam's Club

In this 5-episode social media Deep Dive, you'll learn how the busy team at Sam's Club operates their social media strategy. Meet 5 different team members and find out how Sam's Club uses social across their entire business. All 5 episodes are available now, so get ready to binge! Listen to episode 1 of the Sam’s Club Deep Dive now.

Listen to Episode 1 of the Sam's Club Deep Dive Now

Episode Transcript

Jay:Welcome, everybody, to Social Pros, a podcast for real people doing real work in social media. I am, as always, Jay Baer, the founder of Convince and Convert, joined as usual by my special, special Texas friend. He is the executive strategist of Sales Force Marketing Cloud. From the great city of Austin, Texas, he is Mr. Adam Brown. Mr. Brown, what do you know this fine day?  
Adam:Well, I know it's a beautiful fall day here in Austin, Texas. Dreamforce is in the air as we get ready for our little sales force get together in San Francisco first week of November. There's 175,000, no big deal. No, but it's a great time to be living.  
Jay:I wouldn't even want to be in charge of the salt and pepper shakers for an event of 175,000 people. It's a lot to deal with for sure.  
Adam:I've wondered that, Jay. I've wondered who's the person in charge of just making sure there's a brownie with each of the turkey sandwiches for the lunch for 175,000 people. That's an entire org chart just right there for the cookie.  
Jay:Yes, your senior director of brownie inclusion, which is an amazing title. It really is. You know, it's funny, with fall in the air, the leaves are starting to change here in Indiana. I'm sure, insofar as we have real leaves in Texas, there's some leaf changing going on there. Obviously, changing in Boston, where our guest hails from, and from where my wife just got back from visiting our daughter at Boston University. You know what people do, Adam, when the leaves are changing?  
Adam:What do they do, Jay?  
Jay:They take pictures of it and they put it on Instagram.  
Adam:That's right. That's right. That is a perfect segue.  
Jay:Which is why, here in the season of leaf photos and other things that people are going to be taking a lot of pictures and sharing on Instagram or Dreamforce as well-  
Adam:Foliage of photos.  
Jay:175,000 at Dreamforce taking Instagram photos, as well. We have on the program today a very, very special guest. She is the Instagram expert. It is Sue B. Zimmerman. Sue B, welcome to Social Pros.  
Sue:Hey. It's so great to be here, and yes, I was just strolling in the Boston Commons taking pictures of the leaves.  
Jay:See. We didn't even prep this. I'm just that good. I just knew. Sue, what does the B stand for?  
Sue:Beth. My middle name.  
Jay:Sue Beth. You could have just gone Sue Beth. That's okay.  
Sue:No, no, no. My store that I had on Cape Cod before I started teaching Instagram was called Sue B Do.  
Jay:There you go.  
Sue:I wanted that transition to be somewhat smooth and just related back to where it all started. For six years, I had a store on Cape Cod selling clothing, jewelry, accessories, and that's where I discovered the power of Instagram to be honest.  
Jay:Were you taking photos of merchandise and items that you had in the store and putting them on Instagram? Obviously, that was before Instagram was shopable, but still drove foot traffic into the store?  
Sue:Yeah, so that plus I had my seven employees. It was criteria for them to work with me, they had to be posting on Instagram. They were all thrilled because they love their cellphones. They were all teenagers. They're like wait, we get to post on Instagram? I'm like yeah, but here are the rules, you guys. Here are the rules. I had rules and they were good. We had geotags and hashtag rules, and call to actions and descriptions. It was fun. It was back in the day when Instagram was just getting started. This was five years ago-  
Jay:I was going to say that was pretty early to be enforcing Instagram rules amongst your young workforce.  
Sue:Here's what happened you guys. My sales increased so significantly that the light bulb moment, Malcolm Gladwell tipping point moment, was okay, I need to teach this to other business owners because this is the magic of retail going forward. That's when I really dived into going and understanding online marketing, online selling, automation and what it took to teach online, because before all that ... I think you know this, Jay. I've had 18 businesses, but they were all mostly in the consumer product space, or very geographically located to where I lived. Yeah, I decided to seize the opportunity to teach and teach other business owners how to rock it on Instagram and make money doing what they love.  
Jay:Now, you have a series of training courses and workshops and in-person events where you help people with Instagram, and you also help people develop their business overall, not just Instagram, although you're probably best known for your work in Instagram. Why Instagram? As you said, five years ago was when you started when you had the retail shop. At that point, Instagram was not anywhere close to the powerhouse it is now from a daily usage standpoint. Why did you not say hey, let's use Twitter to drive foot traffic into the store, or let's use Facebook, which was substantially at the time? I just find it fascinating that you picked Instagram at that point, and obviously history has proven you correct.  
Sue:Yes, I was using Facebook. I was using Twitter, and more importantly, I was using Pinterest, and I actually used to teach Pinterest. I am a visual thinker. I see things before I see written words, and I also know that people process visual content something like 66,000 times faster than text, or some statistic like that. I knew that people didn't have time to process content, or were not going to have the same amount of time as social got more crowded with choices. Visuals speak so much louder than words, and visuals being on Instagram, as you know, either a photo or now a video, an even deeper story. I have always been able to spot trends and opportunity before they go mainstream. That's me as a visionary as an entrepreneur, and I knew that Instagram was going to be the "it" social platform because the truth is, whenever I ask anyone why they like Instagram, they do say because it's fun. They don't feel like I got to go do social media.  
Jay:It doesn't feel like work.  
Sue:Right, right. I knew that at the core, because I experienced it as a case study, as a user, as a business owner that became successful using it.  
Jay:That's interesting. Interesting point for sure that you felt like it was approachable and that therefore, it would continue to grow, and now, of course, we've got Instagram as certainly one of the "must do" social platforms, and almost all businesses of all shapes and sizes and descriptions are working on it every day. We talk about it all the time here on the Social Pros podcast. You study this all the time. You teach Instagram to businesses all over the world. What would you say, Sue B, are the biggest mistakes that companies are making on Instagram today?  
Sue:I think companies are not responding to questions and comments. Big brands and bigger companies like Michael Kors, where you ask a question to their Instagram story, or you leave a comment in the feed, and it goes unanswered. That doesn't feel good. I've experienced it with some of the bigger brands. This is where there's such a larger playing field for people in business that built their businesses based on relationships and connections. Every single time you post on Instagram is an opportunity to have a conversation with those that you're trying to be serving. If you are doing Instagram correctly, you do get that engagement, and you have those conversations, which ultimately take them off Instagram and to where you're trying to drive traffic.  
Jay:I absolutely agree. In fact, we've talked about this on the show in the past that for a lot of businesses today, they still view Instagram as a one-way channel, as a purely marketing construct, whereas it has very much become a two-way channel where people want to interact with brands, and sometimes they just don't think of it even as a customer service channel, as you alluded to. Even when I wrote Hug Your Haters, it was just starting where people were starting to ask questions in Instagram the same way they'd ask a question on Twitter or Facebook, and now that's happening more and more and more. You're completely right. A lot of businesses just aren't staffed that way, and they're not thinking about Instagram as a place to answer customer questions and engage with consumers. I would argue that to some degree what you're describing for Instagram is how Twitter used to be at one point, right? Where it really was that engagement place, and it still is at some level but perhaps not as much as it used to be.  
 One of the things that I think is really challenging for Instagramer's who don't do this all the time is selecting hashtags and creating effective captions. Do you have some tips for the Social Pros audience about how to find the right hashtags and how to use appropriate captions that actually get results?  
Sue:Yes, I do. Before I got into that, I just want to add to what you said, Jay, which I don't know if you know this or not, but Instagram about two weeks ago released a new sticker in Instagram stories to do a poll. Any business, any brand, can do a poll within Instagram and actually get results right within stories.  
Jay:Yeah, I've seen some of those. That's a really nice experience, too. The UI on it is terrific. Social Pros listeners, if you haven't experimented with the Instagram polls, please take Sue B's advice and play with that here in the near future this week. It's really good, and it hasn't been beat to death yet, so people are really engaging with those.  
Sue:Yes. Let's go back to your question, which was about hashtags and captions. I'll start with the hashtags first, because everyone has a hashtag headache. Everyone I talk to, that's the first question. What hashtag should I be using? It's not the popular ones. It's not the ones that everyone's using. It's not the ones that all the marketers are using. It's the niche hashtags. You've heard this. The riches are in the niches. That is so true on Instagram. You really need to know where your customers are hanging out. You need to know ... I call them hashtag hubs, Jay ... what hubs the conversation is that you can give value to. It's not what your competitors are doing, because you just attract your competitors. All the popular hashtags, they move so quickly that your content doesn't get seen. I don't know if you've experienced this, but I did in the past. Now that I'm very cognizant of what hashtags I use, I very rarely see it, but the popular ones attract those spambots and the automation tools that people use on Instagram, and they spam you, and that feels yucky.  
 To understand where to start with hashtags, there's hashtags that are related to your business, hashtags that are related to your core values. For me, one of my favorites, Jay, is collaboration over competition or #speakerlife. Every time you speak, that's a really good hashtag. Knowing that if you travel, like Jay and I do, and speak all over, knowing the hashtags of your location where you're presenting, where you're speaking, or perfect example, if you guys look at my account, the Instagram Expert, two posts ago, and this I know will change in time as you guys listen, but I did a post with Simon Sineck. I took a photo with him when I was at Social Media Marketing World.  
 He wasn't speaking there, but he was walking across the street and I looked up. I'm like "Simon!" You don't know me, but this is what I do and I love your book, and what I love about it, and I make my clients read it. I had a conversation before I asked him to take an InstaPic, so you need to do that. He said let me take your phone and he held it in the good lighting, and we captured this great photo. I wrote a description, so this is going to segue and bounce off of hashtag description. I wrote a description that was Simon's quote, because this is about him. I'm in the picture with him, but this is not about me. It's about his quote, and I want people to know that his quote is really profound, so I wrote the quote as a description, but then I gave my opinion on what I believe is so important when you are writing quotes on Instagram.  
 I know that you did this great post on Facebook I saw about quotes that we go into in a second, but I believe that when you share someone else's quote, that it really needs to align with your core values, your business and your brand and posting random quotes get you random results on Instagram. All different text styles, it looks yucky, it feels yucky. I then, to get engagement, and this is where the fascinating part comes with the description, Jay. I then said I would love to read your favorite quote below. Tell me why you love it and I will make the first five people a custom graphic using two of my favorite tools, Canva and DeluxeFX. This is the first time I ever did this kind of free I'll make a quote for you graphically and take my time to do it, but OMG, the quotes came in so fast, my engagement on this static post with almost 300 likes is more than I typically get on a static posts and there are 47 comments.  
 This is what we all thrive for, so crafting the perfect post with, I like to call it, the north star photo, one that's really good, and not making it about you, but about a lesson, or a tip, or inspiration that you can give someone else is what it's all about. Then, to take that one step further, is how you lay that out aesthetically so that someone can easily read it. I used emoji check marks so you guys knew where you my checkpoints where, and then, let's talk about those hashtags. I used Simon's name as a hashtag. You can do this. You can do this when you're not crash-tagging a hashtag. Don't use Nike if there's no Nike sneakers or products in your photo, but when you tap into Simon Sineck, I still show up in the top nine with this post, and that's because it's based on how quickly you get engagement to show up in the top nine. Know that there's over 25,000 posts with that hashtag.  
 When I tap into Lead with Love, I was here before, I'm not here anymore because that's a really powerful hashtag, but when I tap into Simon's book, Start with Why, I was in that hashtag hub, and I'm not there anymore. I'm still in that hashtag hub. The relevant hashtags I used were his name, the name of his book, some of my core values and then my private little, insider, Sunday-sipping with Sue B hashtag for my VIP community, where I always want them to get their eyes on everything that I do. That's it. Those were the one, two, three, four, five, six, seven that I used with intention and purpose. Does that explain the combination of the two and how you can bring them together?  
Jay:Where do you find ... You mentioned to use more niche ones that are not overplayed, couldn't agree more. Is there a place that you go to locate those? Is there a directory, or a software program, or some sort of hashtag finding genie that you consult to determine what those are?  
Sue:We have a hashtag handbook that we sell on our website. It's under $34.00 with 35 industries where we did the niche research for you that took hours and hours-  
Jay:Nice. We'll make sure to look that up in the show notes, guys. Go to SocialPros.com. We'll make sure we have a link to Sue's guide, the Hashtag Handbook, because that's exactly what we're looking for. That's fantastic, so we'll make sure we put it.  
Sue:Yes, but in addition to that, I don't want you all to think that that's the only place. There are also tools, but those are very popular because people search to get free hashtag information, and we personally, physically, me and my team, went in deep to these very popular industries that exist on Instagram. Hopefully that will help you guys. Rule of thumb, I have this acronym that is called CLEEP, C-L-E-E-P. The first one is what is the category of your business. This is for beginner's. L is the location, and E is any emotion that you can put into that, or even an event, maybe, or if you sell a product. It's just a word that I use to teach people that are just starting out you got to go think of, I like to say, the top level and then niche it down. If you are a business coach, what kind of business coach are you? Where do you coach? Is it online? Is it in-person? Is it at events? If so, what events? Do you go to Hashtag Social Media Marketing World or you go to Agents of Change?  
 All of those are relevant to use if you have an association with them. What's not cool is when you're using random hashtags that have nothing to do with either the content that you're talking about, the photo, or your business. You're just using them to get engagement, and then you're going to get the wrong engagement, and that's not what you want.  
Jay:Yeah, no question. One more from me, and then I'm going to turn it over to Adam. How important do you think it is to have aesthetic consistency across your Instagram account? What I mean by that is we've had guests on this show ... Esquire Magazine was one that I remember in particular where their IG account, all the photos feel very similar. They're similar shoots, it's the same kind of filter, it's the same kind of color tone, the same kind of compositions. When you actually look at their main page either on your phone or on a desktop, it almost looks unified in the same way that a very good Pinterest board would be unified. Other people have, including myself, more of a randomish collection of Instagram pictures because it's like what is actually happening in your life, which are not necessarily able to posed in the same way. Do you have some advice or counsel on those two approaches, Sue?  
Sue:Yes. I love that you're asking me this. The reason I have a personal account and a business account is for that reason. Jay, like you, I like to share where I'm going, my family, my dog, my vacations, when I speak on a more personal note, but that isn't necessarily the value that I can give to teach all the time, so I make my business profile much more focused on Instagram marketing and teaching, and therefore, want it to feel like Instagram. That aesthetic piece definitely comes into play. It's like the analogy that I give. I think of Instagram as a magazine. It's a digital magazine, so the promise that is made on the cover when you buy Fortune or Success or Vogue, or any magazine, you know is going to be delivered on the inside. All the keywords on the cover take you to that you read about, and just like that, on Instagram, your bio, where you have 150 words that you can write in your bio, that needs to deliver on promise of what you see in your feed.  
 Consistency, in my opinion, aesthetically is very important because it all matches up to your branding, and I want people to think of me whenever they see an Instagram cookie, logo, hashtag sign, any pop of color. Instagram, Instagram. I want them to think of Sue B. That energy, that consistency shows up on every one of my social platforms. I am all about brand consistency because lets face it, it's competitive out there and you need to think of creative ways that you can stay top of mind and often that is with color. Sometimes, it's with written words, or maybe it's with quotes, but whatever it is that you decide to do for your business and brand, you want that to be consistent. I would love for the listeners to understand in my opinion I think the most important think about Instagram when you're posting is to emotionally connect and pull people in, is to get people to want to experience what you're experiencing in. When you have that emotional connecting, you've won ... I shouldn't say won ... You've attracted someone who is really connected to you. Honestly, I think that's the essence of Instagram marketing.  
Adam:Sue, I've been lucky to do this show for over 100 episodes now, Jay, right?  
Jay:Oh yeah. Between you and I, I'd have to say over 100 for sure. Gosh, I'd have to look this up. It's 120 probably.  
Adam:I have written down more notes in these past 20 minutes, Sue, from what you have shared then I have ever written down during the actual production and not just the listening afterwards of a show. This is fantastic stuff.  
Sue:Oh, I'm so glad that you're saying that. I really am.  
Adam:I love riches are the niches. I love CLEEP, and I love all the things you're discussing around captions and hashtags because I think that is so critically important. Jay did a perfect segue as we talk more about the visual side of Instagram. I agree, and like Jay, love your magazine analogy. I agree with that aesthetic consistency that you need to make sure that you're messaging feels brand-appropriate, brand-specific, brand-consistent. My question for you, though, is ... and, it really hit me when you talked about your meeting Simon at Social Media Marketing World, but you said something. You said he came over and he held the camera in the right light, and that struck me like a lightning bolt. Here Simon was really making sure he was setting the stage for the visual to be as compelling as possible. My question for you is when you sit down with Instagram users, Instagramer's, are you talking to them a little bit about the actual art and science of photography, and making sure that not only are they taking the right pictures in the right position, that they're actually taking the right types of pictures?  
 I've always used the analogy GPS for Instagram. There's graphics, there's people and products and there's scenes. Those are the buckets of things that you want to include in an Instagram picture. Long winded question, but what are your tips for actually making sure that the photography side of Instagram is as compelling and as arresting as possible when people are scrolling through their feed?  
Sue:Okay, so I love everything that you said. I really appreciate you referring back to Simon because he literally grabbed my camera out of my hand because his arm was longer and he knew it would be a better composition, and he understood lighting. I know that natural lighting is everything in a photo and you have to appreciate that. In my opinion, you have to have a creative gene to do Instagram well. A lot of people just struggle with that piece, and you have to understand lighting and composition. I have this thing called #hotelfilter. I speak at a lot of different conferences, and the lighting usually sucks and people want to take photos of me all day long inside and I'm like can we just march outside or near the window and take photos there. I make that mandatory. You want a picture of me? Follow me with my signs and my pillow and we'll go over here, and I'll show you how to take a good picture. Yes, I believe that that is such an important piece, and understanding photography because that's essentially how it all started was sharing life's moments is Instagram.  
 Sharing life's moments, and these people that try to do very highly curated content that needs approval from six people from the top down, that's just way too much work and time, and you want it to be instantly posting when the thing happens in the moment of time. You can schedule some of these, but I just feel like the Instagram accounts that have the most success, you guys, are the ones that have a certain magazine look and feel. If you can keep that in your mind when you're crafting your photos, and you're using the same consistent filter, or you're using the same app whether it's Fisco Cam or Camera Plus, or the Instagram app itself, or maybe some other third-party app that you just love the filters from, that is what people will remember your business for, I think. It doesn't mean that every single post needs to be purple if purple's your thing because that's going to look crowded. You have to understand the white space, and you have to understand the intrigue and up-close and far away and angles, and all of that come into play.  
 I will say to your listener's this is true. I've been on this platform for five years now, and there's been a huge shift with engagement now that there's almost a billion people here. When I started teaching, there was 140 million. Instagram stories is everything right now, in my opinion. If you want me to segue into that at any time, I'm happy to. I want the listeners to understand some of my tips there because I think it will be helpful in terms of driving traffic to your feed, because your feed is really important to still be building out and connecting and all that good stuff.  
Adam:I think you did the segue for the segue in terms of stories. I think it is such an important part of especially a brand's marketing mix and their use of Instagram. What are your suggestions for Instagram stories, and maybe one of the things I would love to hear you dovetail into that is something that I've noticed, and this is true for not just Instagram, but I think any visual platform. We've seen this kind of migration from highly produced content and the visual mediums in social being really popular then to more authentic, almost even ragged, not quite as produced. I see the trends going back to a more produced, polished product. How does that fit in with Instagram stories for brands that do want to convey their message that is not just individual posts on the newsfeed?  
Sue:I see the complete opposite in terms of who I prefer to follow on Instagram, the brands that are not highly graphically polished and spending all kinds of ad money creating the perfect Instagram story clip. I'll give you some examples. Chase Jarvis, real and raw and authentic, taking us with him throughout his whole day, all day, every day, and then interestingly enough, I met one of my favorite Instagramer's here in Boston yesterday, Jeff Mindell, who I posted on my personal account, Sue B Zimmerman. He is unbelievable with his Instagram stories. I believe it's the real, raw authenticity that people are craving because a lot of people don't know what to believe anymore. In your feed, oh my gosh, there's an app to get rid of wrinkles, or change your hair, or make you look thinner. Do not believe every single thing you see in Instagram down to how many likes someone might have or the like. There's so much that you have to question sometimes. Are they really getting 1,000 likes when there's no comments? No, that doesn't happen. They bought followers or they paid someone to like their photos.  
 With the stories, here's what I know. It's your story, your experience, and your character. These three components you can play to your advantage. You have your own broadcasting channel. There is not other social platform where you can have a channel and broadcast whenever you want. If you're doing an OJ Simpson at the airport, or your walking your dog in the park, you turn the camera on what you want and you can do 15 second clips.  
Adam:Well, I mean you could do that on Facebook Live. You could do it on Periscope. You could do it on Meerkat back in the day. There's a lot of places you could do that in theory. You could do it on SnapChat. It's not to suggest that only Instagram is the place you could do that, just to clear that up for listeners. That's not the case, but Instagram certainly makes it very easy to do that.  
Sue:Well, I'm talking about a continuous clip. With Periscope, I had to go on and off. You're right about Facebook. You're absolutely right.  
Adam:Everything's got a story now. It's like Excel Stories. It's getting a little crazy even.  
Sue:Yeah. I guess I wasn't thinking of Facebook because I started doing stories there and it was just too much. You can't be everywhere. That's the other lesson. You've got to focus on where your people are. When I say broadcasting channel, for me, it's with that highly creative aspect of either strategically using the right hashtags in your story, the right geotags to show up in more stories that you wouldn't have shown up if you're using those geotags, and it's using stickers in a creative way, and standing out from everyone that does what you do. The entertainment factor, the true entertainment factor with the education, I think, is what makes Instagram stories so magical and easy. If you don't like your story, you can delete it and start it again. You can save your story and you can repurpose your story.  
Jay:Speaking of which, Sue, one thing that you told me last time I saw you in Maine was that you often take all of the pictures, or many of the pictures and videos for your story and then save them and then add them to your story after the fact, right? You're not taking the picture, uploading, take a picture. You're taking them, then thinking it through, organizing them, make sure there's a strong narrative and then adding them all at once, which I think is a really, really good tip. One that I don't follow nearly enough. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?  
Sue:Sure, and I just did this outside because I'm creating a deep dive how-to Instagram Stories class and I need to tutorials. The tutorials were all about how do you do video in your Instagram Stories in a compelling way and not just be a talking head. What I did outside, Jay, was I showed about five or six different tactics to use to create video in your Instagram stories. Whether you're holding the camera up at the sky, and then you're having it come on to your face or you're holding the camera on your feet and you're walking, and then you're showing somebody something, or you're walking into your phone or out of your phone. All of these elements make people want to tap to the next clip, and it's not boring. Boring doesn't cut it in Instagram stories. You've got to have some kind of element of creativity going on. What I did, Jay, is exactly what you said.  
 I saved all of those to my phone so that I can upload them in an order and put some text overlay on it, and then I'm going to actually share it in my Instagram story, and then capture it using ScreenFlow and Reflector so I can include it in my course. That's an example of intention behind a story. For me, it's always a lesson on my Instagram expert account, or I'm introducing somebody to somebody else. Before this interview, I'm like guess who I'm talking to, you guys? Do you know Jay? If you don't, you should. I believe that tagging other people and talking about other people who you're connected to ... I just believe the at mentioning and the tagging is so powerful when you can bring someone to someone else's world that they didn't meet yet. Hopefully, Jay will start seeing an influx of people following him.  
Jay:Yeah, let's do that. It's a good thing I'm going on an 11 day trip right now starting right after this show. I'm going to Miami. I'm going to Vegas. I'm going to my 30 year class reunion, back to Miami, Austin, Tampa. I've got lots to showcase over the next 11 days. It should be pretty fantastic, so thank you for the love, Sue B. Speaking of love, you know who we love, Adam? We love our sponsors here on the Social Pros podcast, including Salesforce Marketing Cloud, who have the wisdom to employ Adam Brown, and are going to host to 175,000 people at Dreamforce coming up right around the corner, which again, as we talked about in the open is insane. However, our friends at Salesforce Marketing Cloud have a fantastic eBook I've been talking to you about. It's called More than Marketing: Exploring the Five Roles of the New Market. It breaks down the five new essential marketing skills that we all need. Maybe we should add a sixth one, which is being able to take good pictures.  
 There's interviews in here. There's stories. There's interactive features to help you get started. Immediately actionable steps to master your new marketing skills. Go to CandC.LY/NewMarketer. That's CandC.LY/NewMarketer. Also, a reminder of two things. One, every single episode of this show, 290 something episodes now, on SocialPros.com. The website is brand new. Super easy to use, works amazingly well on mobile now, so if you've ever missed an episode, you want to get links to Sue's work and the other guests, go to SocialPros.Com, and a reminder, that our new sister program, the Experience This show, is out and rocking wherever you get podcasts. Go look for Experience This show, starring Dan Gingiss and Joey Coleman. Unbelievable podcast about customer experience. Great stories of businesses treating their customers in amazing ways. There's lot of different segments and audio production inside the show. It sounds a lot different than Social Pros. I think you're going to like it. It's super interesting and creative. Also, interactive.  
 You can leave the guys voicemails and participate in segments of the show as well. Go to ExperienceThisShow.Com, or find it wherever you get your podcast. Just look for the Experience This show. Thanks so much. Adam, back to you.  
Adam:Thanks Jay. Sue B. Zimmerman. Awesome to have you on the show. This has been a delight, and again, I am running out of paper here as I take copious notes of all of your tips. Right before the commercial break, you were talking a little bit about Instagram Stories and video, and how to shoot the video. We talked a little bit about the science of photography and making sure that the content is there. We talked about consistency of the actual visuals themselves. I'm curious going back just to video, and then I want to go on to a couple of other things, have you found a sweet spot for length of video on Instagram? We've always heard it should be like potato chips. We need to make it digestible. We need to make it click, click, click. Have people watch multiple videos rather than one long one. Any suggestions on when you're either actually doing those Instagram Stories live or you're going back and editing and cutting and polishing it up, what's that sweet spot?  
Sue:You get 15 seconds, but it doesn't mean you need to use it every time. I think as soon as you're done making your point, stop. Don't feel like you have to fill it in-  
Adam:Don't use it all.  
Sue:Don't use it all. It's time. Time, time, time. People don't have time to consume everyone's full story if you're not sharing something of value, so you got to keep that in mind.  
Adam:One of the evolutions of Instagram, like all the others and certainly we've seen this since the acquisition by Facebook, is the paid side of things. I'm curious what your recommendations are to brands, to companies large and small, how they should start to look at using paid activities and Instagram, and adjusting their media mix for that.  
Sue:We have great success with our Instagram ads, but we only use them when we're in a campaign. When we are looking for webinar signups, or we're selling one of our classes, or we're driving traffic to our ... Sometimes we just drive traffic to our opt-in, our strategy guide, to do list building, too. We call that a mini-campaign. We do have success. You have to make sure that when you're doing your Instagram ads, that it still is organic to Instagram and it doesn't look like an ad. The best ads are ones that makes you take a double take and say oh my God, that was so brilliant. Then you see that it says sponsored. We've had success doing both. We have great success doing Facebook ads as well.  
Adam:You do a lot of YouTube as well? You're using a lot of YouTube videos to drive awareness of your Instagram programs and to teach people Instagram lessons that feels funny at some way, right? Let's use YouTube to talk about Instagram, but it's very successful for you. You're doing great there.  
Sue:Yes, we are. I think we have over 12,000 subscribers now. Our strategy, and I think the listeners will find this interesting, our strategy is to give as much value in our blog post as possible so our blog is a written blog, but it starts with a YouTube tutorial. Then, my copy editor writes that from the YouTube video and it's not literally what I'm saying in the YouTube video, but because YouTube's owned by Google, we have that on our website so people can choose to watch or they can read. On Instagram, every single time we publish a blog, we change out the Bitly link in the bio with a custom Bitly link and we track the traffic from Instagram to that blog. The goal is for 48 hours to drive traffic to the blog so we can re-target with Facebook ads. Separately with Instagram stories, back to Instagram Stories, I use Instagram Stories to talk about what's in the blog to drive traffic to the link, and because I do have 10,000 subscribers on my business account, people can swipe up and go right to that blog post from my Instagram Story.  
 Then, to take it one step further, every time it's blog day, I go live on Instagram Live at 9:00 p.m. EST, talking about ninja tips that I don't necessarily go deep dive in the blog post, so you need to watch my live broadcast on Instagram to see that. Live broadcast now lasts 24 hours. The truth is, I get four times, or five times, as many eyeballs on the replay than I do when I'm live at 9:00 p.m. EST. That's our strategy around growing our business, growing our email list and driving traffic.  
Adam:One last question for you, Sue, before I had it back over to Jay. As this podcast goes live, we will have actually launched a new level of Einstein Vision. Einstein Vision is our new image recognition technology. It's able to go in to pictures, at first on Twitter and now, as this podcast goes live, on Instagram as well, and be able to identify about two million different logos, a couple thousand different places or venues, different items, different foods, different beverages. A lot of interesting things really making Instagram for the first time a really valuable research and development type platform.  
Adam:Of course, on top of that, using all that information to do targeted paid ads and all the activities that you would expect. I'm curious as you look into your crystal ball, Sue, what do you see as the future of Instagram. Do you continue to see this intersection of paid activities and organic activities continuing to work in coexisting peacefully? Or, do you think Instagram's going to be more like we're seeing, sadly in some cases on Twitter and Facebook where organic really doesn't get the same reach as it once did, and actually, quite frankly, pretty limited unless you're putting those paid dollars behind it?  
Sue:Wow. I stopped listening to everything after you told me about the Einstein Vision. I'm kind of blown away. That is unbelievable. I need to see that. My eyes need to see that. Wow, that's the future. You just told me the future. That's crazy that you can identify the content in the visuals and then target based on that, because the truth is there's certain patterns ... I'll just parlay onto that. There's certain patterns that people tend to do on Instagram like put coffee in their photo, make sure there's macaroons. Have a succulent over here. Those people, typically, are stylists, bloggers, designers. A certain category of people that have different industries, so that just fascinates me that you can target based on what's in the photo. You just gave me a mind-blowing experience right here.  
Jay:Look at Adam slipping in the plug for Sales Force. Well done, my man. That was nice.  
Adam:That's why I'm here.  
Jay:Where's the eBook at Einstein Vision that we can promote on the show starting next week?  
Sue:I need to see this Einstein.  
Jay:Get on that. Talk to the marketing team. Let's make that happen.  
Adam:Come to Dream Force.  
Sue:Okay, so I need to see that in action. Yeah, being here for five years, I guess my vision is I think that Facebook ... Yes, Facebook owns Instagram ... I think that Instagram does such a great job at always looking at the user experience and delivering features that make it better and better and better. I just did a dry run for the Social Media Society this morning about all the new features on Instagram since I last taught in the class, and there's 10 new updates. I think that they're always thinking how can this be better, and my vision is I believe that Instagram makes this world a closer, connected place. I can be talking in the Instagram Direct Message video to somebody in Africa at any time, and that's mind blowing to me. The fact that the connectivity of my reach is just so instant and easy because of Instagram. I don't have to get on a computer to do it. It's through my mobile. I didn't really answer your question, but you answered it for me.  
Adam:Sue, as Jay has always done for the hundreds of episodes that we've done of Social Pros, we end every show with the last two big questions. Question number one for you, Sue, are you ready?  
Sue:Yeah. I'm a little nervous.  
Adam:Oh, no, no. It's an easy question. It's an easy question.  
Sue:Okay, good.  
Adam:What one tip would you give someone wanting to be a Social Pro?  
Sue:The tip is to actually be connected to people. Physically look them in the eye and make it an effort to socially talk to people and not just be communicating online all the time.  
Adam:That level of authenticity is still so important isn't it?  
Sue:Yeah. The best things happen in person. I mean, look, Jay and I got to connect intimately in Maine and here I am on your podcast.  
Adam:It's an amazing thing. Sue, last question for you. This one, we could probably say we could do it on Instagram with Instagram Stories but those would be pretty short interviews. The one last question for you is if you could have a Skype call with any living person, who would it be and why?  
Sue:Brene Brown. I love her. Her new book, Braving the Wilderness, really hit me at the core, and I have lived that philosophy pretty much my whole life, meaning always standing for who I am and not compromising myself to please anyone and stand apart. I like being different and I like standing out from everyone else with my own voice, and her book is all of that and so much more.  
Adam:What a great insight and what a great book. That whole concept of conviction and personal self-growth and the self-esteem is so important. Sue, it's been so great having you on the show. I have learned so much. Instagram is such a fascinating platform, and you have demystified it I know for so many of our listeners. For Jay Baer, founder and president of Convince and Convert, I am Adam Brown, executive strategist of Sales Force. Sue, thank you for being on the show. Listeners, thank you so much for listening. Jay would love to hear from you, as well as I. Jay@JayBaer.Com. Please subscribe. Please follow us. Please continue listening. We are so appreciative of your listenership. For Jay, this is Adam, and this has been Social Pros.  
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