With Facebook’s shifting algorithm and trust issues, more and more users are moving to Instagram. Should you follow suit? Paige Wiese, a digital marketing expert and the Founder and CEO of Tree Ring Digital, reveals the factors you need to consider before jumping into this image-based platform. She also explains the benefits behind Instagram’s features and how they fit into your business, whether you are selling a product or publishing a book. Instagram doesn’t have to be expensive nor difficult. Listen closely to this episode to discover how.
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Making The Move To Instagram with Paige Wiese
Before we get started with our guest, I want to invite you to go over and take our Promote Profit Publish quiz. You can find it at www.PromoteProfitPublishQuiz.com and find out where your platform building skills are at. I’m excited about my guest and I know I say that all the time, but I’m excited about all of these people because they’ll help you be able to build your platform more efficiently. We have had a lot of people ask about Instagram. I know many of you are hopping off Facebook, you’re tired of Facebook, you’re tired of everything to do with Facebook. Instagram and LinkedIn are becoming the new places to be depending on what business you have. We have Instagram expert Paige Wiese who is the Founder and CEO of Tree Ring Digital. She is a digital expert marketer. Paige had started, grown and developed a top-ranked advertising agency in Denver, Colorado for nearly a decade. Tree Ring Digital has assisted hundreds of businesses, coaches and authors to thrive through successful website and marketing strategies. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in IT.
She has a concentration in website design and she graduated with honors. She’s used her education and intuition to develop her own unique vision of website design and digital marketing strategies. Paige leads a team of nearly a dozen specialized professionals who use their individual skillset to complete the entire picture for successful marketing campaigns. She’s created a business structured around understanding each unique project strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately creating a product and strategy that will yield the most successful results. In an effort to get back, she also donates time to the business community by teaching educational workshops and mentoring through speaking engagements and taking on leadership roles for various organizations. Paige also spends her personal time rock climbing. She’s in beautiful Colorado outdoors. She also gives back to the Outdoor Mindset, a nonprofit that supports those with neurological challenges getting outdoors. Paige, welcome.
Thank you so much for having me.
I’m intrigued about what you’re doing with people with your nonprofit. I did a mud run a while back and there were 30 blind people who are being helped through a 5k mud run. I was stunned. It was enough work for me.
I was scared to do it. I was like, “Not yet.” To see 30 that are blind going through it, that’s amazing.
How do you help those who are neurologically-challenged?
Outdoor Mindset is very focused around building a community of others that are going through neurological challenges, whether it be MS, epilepsy, whatever that looks like, brain trauma, tumors. My backstory is that I’ve had epilepsy probably for most of my life, but finally diagnosed after I had grand mal at about twenty. That’s where I got on my journey of like how do I work from home? How do I work in a situation where I don’t have to be dependent on driving because I can’t get to work for it? One of the first things that I was doing those, I moved out to Boulder. I was getting ready to do a triathlon and the doctor looks at me and they’re like, “No, you’re not. You’re not getting in a pool. You’re not getting in the water. You’re not running this thing. You’re not doing any of it.” I was like, “I’ve been training for it. That’s what I’m going to do.”
I went right up against that wall of the doctor saying don’t do it. I know that that’s what a lot of others hear when they first maybe get diagnosed or if they’ve got some of these challenges. Outdoor Mindset is about, “Let’s go ahead and build that community.” We get out there and encourage them that they can still stay active even with a challenge like that. They’re more all-encompassing. It’s not necessarily just specific to if you have epilepsy, but how do we stay involved in the outdoors? It’s therapeutic. It’s very good. My parents didn’t know anything about it. It was hard. Who do I go talk to that’s also going through similar struggles? That’s where I stand behind what they’re doing. I’m happy that Tree Ring Digital can donate five, ten hours a month of marketing to them and helping them gain more exposure, start to see more people in that community and get more exposure with it. It’s been a fun one for us to be a part of.
Let’s get into these questions because these people want to know about Instagram. I know Facebook marketing can be powerful. It’s lost a little of its power lately with all the controversy. What about Instagram? Why is it different? Why are people jumping off and going over there?
It sets us up for should you be on Instagram marketing? Instagram is definitely a great platform to get off of and get over there from Facebook. You’re going to have two different target markets when you’re trying to decide between Facebook or Instagram. A lot of times we’re using Facebook for brand awareness and if you’re using it for that platform, absolutely 100% you should be moving over to Instagram. That is what people are on there for. They are looking for new products, interesting things, cool things that they didn’t know existed. Whatever it is that is driving up that buzz and it’s also easier for them to find those things based off of the hashtags, the keywords, all of that. Where Facebook, you’re trying to say, “Here’s who I think my target demographic is. Here’s who they should fit into. Now I want to serve up my ads for that.” Whether it be an event, a new book, a new service, a product, whatever, but you have to start to define who that target audience is.People are looking for new products, interesting things, and cool things in Instagram that they didn't know existed. Click To Tweet
On the Facebook side, as you know the controversy you’re talking about, there’s just also been a lot of scams on Facebook of, “Can I trust this product? Am I going to get this product in the mail if I buy it?” You’re doing so much more work trying to build that reputation on Facebook. Where Instagram, you’re still going to have a little bit of that controversy, but it’s a great platform for a very low-cost marketing effort that’s going to get you that brand awareness and exposure. That’s where it’s best for. Building up your name, building up your business, building up your speaking or author pieces of it. That’s where you’re going to want to start focusing that. Now, you no longer have to define 100% who this target audience is. If they’re interested in the right stuff, then they’re going to start seeing and being served your ads.
That’s where Instagram is a good way to start shifting off of. A lot of our customers think that it’s the next Facebook when it comes to advertising. I’m not yet on board with that. I don’t think to shift your entire Facebook market over to Instagram. There are still benefits in Facebook and I tell clients, “You might sell a couple products, but keep in mind you have a nationwide reach on Instagram. You don’t get a hone it into small service areas or something like that like you do on Facebook.” No, you’re not going to get the result you’re looking for. You may not sell lots of product or services, whatever it is on Instagram because you’re hitting a different type of target. There’s just a lot of information right up front there on where you should be. I welcome whatever questions you have on the follow up on that.
I think if I understand you right, if you’re looking for that more targeted, like if I wanted the Salt Lake City area, I would be over on Facebook, not on Instagram.
If you’re an author and you’re trying to get your book up there, then by all means let’s build up your profile on Instagram. Get that exposure and hit that nationwide audience that is interested in your topic and what’s trending.
Hashtags, we all know what they are. I don’t use them mostly because I’m lazy or I want to make up my own. What’s the point? How should people go about using those?
Hashtags are an underestimated tool when it comes to, I would say little more seasoned business owners or those that haven’t necessarily grown up. I didn’t even know what hashtags were when I was growing up and I’ve only had to dive into it because of the whole marketing side of the business that I’m in. Otherwise I probably wouldn’t do a whole lot with it myself either. What is the benefit of the hashtag though? It’s keyword phrases and it’s about trending. Some of your readers might remember they had the TBT, Throwback Thursday. What’s everybody doing? #ThrowbackThursday for photos from several years ago where they’re showing memories and sharing stuff. That’s now a trending hashtag. If you hit it, you get to see everyone else’s comments or posts related to Throwback Thursdays and see how does that then though carry over to the business side of this? You start going into #Podcast. Here you have a podcast, you do #Podcast.
Anyone looking to find out new podcasts can hit the hashtag and find all of these other posts related to podcasting. Now you get more exposure than someone that may be interested in this podcast. How do I expand my reach? These are people going out and actively listening and looking for what you’re doing. I know when I cut my hair a little bit shorter, I was like, “Now what do I do? How do I handle this?” I started following a lot more on pixie cuts or hairstyles and the easiest way to do that is following #Pixie or that thing. Instagram starts to pull the user and let them control their experience based off of what they want to see. If I wanted to keep up on website trends, Instagram also allows you to start following hashtags, not just people, businesses, whatever. You can go in and focus on specific hashtags that you want to follow. I did a whole bunch of #WebDesign, #WebsiteMarketing user interface stuff. Now my feed fills up with all these things. That’s where you start to get that brand exposure and that brand awareness or building your own personal brand through speaking in books. Now you’re using the right hashtags to generate the trend of it.
Another side of it might be the ice bucket challenge was another big one that went around. If you’re going to #IceBucketChallenge, why were even businesses getting on board with this? The reason is exposure. It got their name in front of all the other exposure that was being populated from that movement. With that, you don’t have to know who I am as a business. If we did a Tree Ring Digital ice bucket challenge and hashtagged it properly, we just got more exposure in front of other people. Now we’re also showing some community involvement or personality in our brand. Being able to utilize the hashtags and knowing what’s trending can start to see drastic improvement and awareness and if your brand exists. That’s where hashtags can be very helpful as you’re growing.
Where do you usually get those keywords? Do they bring them to you or you go out and find them for them?
Typically, we’re going to do more or less keyword research when you’re starting a marketing effort just to know what are people searching in general. That falls more on Search Engine Optimization and paid advertising side of it. However, a bit of that is going to carry over into your hashtag and keyword trend on that side or there are several tools out there, resources you can go to and start to put in what are the services that you’re offering or what is it that you’re doing? They’ll populate and throw out and say, “Here’s a whole bunch of ones that are trending high. This one may only have 100.” How do you start to do that? The next question is how many hashtags should I be using? One or two? Should I hashtag the crap out of it? One quickie answer right there in the middle, maybe about ten, twenty. There are a lot of controversies on how many you should be using.
On Instagram, I say use them. That’s what they’re there for. That’s the whole concept of what Instagram has been built around is the hashtag piece. It’s then you start to pick and choose. This one has 10,000 and this one has two. Which one do you even want to spend your time if you’re maybe going to get in front of two people? Not so much. The ones that are very high and trending, I know they’ve got a lot of Instagram-specific ones that might be like Instaphoto, Instamemory, Insta-whatever. There’s even Instapodcasts, whatever that comes down to. You get some that are very specific to Instagram, so you’ll mix it up and then you get the other side that is more specific to what you’re doing in your product service business.The whole concept of what Instagram has been built around is the hashtag piece. Click To Tweet
Should they be using the Stories for their business profile?
Stories are new ones. For a long time, it was like Stories were something people would use on their personal Instagram profile. However, Instagram has definitely been changing the story side of Instagram and let’s take a couple of steps back. The Stories piece isn’t the images that you’re posting on a regular basis. That’s not the squares, the tiles or the 3x3s, the nine grid, whatever you want to call it. The Stories show up at the top and it will say is someone you’re following has a new story. What it is anything from a quick screenshot to a 30-second clip and you can keep recording and keep going. It can be longer than that even. It’s a quick little tidbit but it disappears after a while where the grid is going to stay for as long as you have your profile account or you delete it. The Story is helpful to have that there, like Facebook Live. It allows you to get in front of and be right there in front of your target audience to say, “Look at me. We have something new. Check this out. We’re right here,” as opposed to me having to scroll through Instagram until I find your recent post.
That’s one of the main benefits that you’re going to get out of the Story side of it from a business is what are we even wasting time on social media platforms for? Exposure to growing our business, to sell more products and services. Utilizing the Story can be very beneficial for you. I’ve also seen a lot of businesses use it as a place to market. Put up if you have an event coming up because you can put a little more detail in it than just the square photo. You can have a little more fun. You can engage them and ask questions because people can comment and have a dialogue back and forth in that story that you don’t necessarily get to have on the image side of it. That’s one reason that I would also say to be using your Stories. Putting promotion sales before, after photos, do a quick clip of a before, do a quick clip of an after and it’s a much cooler way to display those before and after. I know we struggle because we do website design before and after. You can tell it’s a before and after because one looked like crap and one looks a lot better, but how do you do that well? If that’s something that your business tries to spotlight and highlight, then sometimes going into the Story mode can be a bit better.
I’ve also seen businesses and Instagram just rolled out, it’s still a little bit beta so not everybody has it, but a section that says Story Highlight. I relate it to a sticky post on your Facebook profile or a sticky blog post on your blog that you want to stay there. Even as new stuff happens, that one stays at the top always. They’ve said about twenty that you can highlight. I’d recommend you keep it to four or five so that they don’t have to scroll through. People aren’t used to seeing it yet. What it’s doing is when I go to my Instagram profile, it will show four of my Stories that are now more or less sticky and staying very apparent at the top. I’ve seen businesses have so much fun with this. Let’s highlight one story and go through every team member.
When you click it, the title says team and it rotates through all the team members in a quick little thing about them. I’ve seen them do, “Here’s a recent project. Here is the next one.” They show some clips or a walkthrough of a recent project. You can finally start over like, “Here’s an award we won and this is a picture of them winning the award.” You got more exposure for the award. Stories are starting to allow businesses to maximize that Instagram profile. Where before it was like, “Give me a photo, give me a bio, everything else must go below and I want a like.” That’s it. It was very disengaging for business owners. They’re starting to step their game up and give you more options to get your user going in the right direction.
Here’s a big one. People want to know, “How do I get more followers?”
The first question I would ask the client would say, “Do you want authentic followers or are you just trying to bump your numbers up?” Because you see all these accounts up there, all the influencers that have thousands and thousands of followers, but are they your target audience? Are they going to be buying your product or service? We can go out and we can get more followers. We don’t even have to pay for them. There are companies out there that’ll tell you if you pay them X amount, they’ll get you X amount of followers. You don’t even have to do that. As we were getting ready to do this, even a little bit more than going back to hashtags, there’s this whole like for like hashtag, L for L hashtag. L the number for L hashtag because it’s all these follow for follow. It’s basically saying, “If you follow me, I’ll follow you back.” It doesn’t have to be a genuine follow though. That’s where I’m saying we can go through and start playing this game. As we’ve tried to boost up our account at one point, we had been in a couple of Facebook groups that if you go over to my Instagram profile and like it, here’s a link, I’ll go over to yours. It’s a way to boost it up. That one worked for us because it was other business owners.
For me to be in a group following other business owners gets their product and services in front of me a little more often and reminds them that this is what we’re doing or, “Here’s an event we have coming up. Come check it out,” whatever it might be. I say yes, the like for like in the following. If you go in and follow other people, they’re more than likely going to follow you back. It’s the fastest way to gain more followers. Be mindful though of is that the end goal or is the end goal getting in front of your target audience? Benefits of having more followers. Some people don’t care if you have 20,000 followers. You’re doing something right. People like you and so they’re then going to be a little more prone to buy from you. That might be 100 of those 20,000 followers that are buying from you. It doesn’t mean if you’ve got all these followers that you’re going to get all this business. Is it the best place to be using your time for that type of engagement? It worked for us because it was other business owners, those that needed to see the products and services, our past work, that stuff. I would say the like for like thing is a way to gain the most followers, commenting and engaging.
I know people get on Instagram, they start scrolling, hit the heart, keeps scrolling. If you see something you like or it’s relevant, then by all means, reach out to them and leave a comment and engage back. They will be more likely to continue that conversation or have a genuine connection with you. Use it more for, “How can we partner together? Let’s start following these businesses.” Maybe I can go to them later and say, “I saw we were following each other on Instagram. I’m sure by now you’ve seen quite a bit of my stuff, but do you want to maybe sit down sometime and have coffee and talk about a way we could partner together?” That is probably going to generate you more business than having the 20,000 likes. Does one thousand look better than three? Absolutely, so do some activity. You do want to bump that number up. It’s the know, like, and trust game but doesn’t feel like you have to hit the starters with one million for it. Have a good amount that people know they’re a reputable company and we can stand behind them.If you follow other people on Instagram, they're more likely going to follow you back. It's the fastest way to gain more followers. Click To Tweet
You brought up such a great point that I always talk about. Are you looking for social proof or pocketbook proof? We were raised on the social proof, but a lot of people realize that doesn’t necessarily convert to pocketbook proof. Is it better to have 1,000 people who are into you than 20,000 people who just don’t give a damn?
I like using it as social proof because there is still value to that. However, honestly, if a client comes to us and says, “I want more followers,” I’m like, “We’re not the company for you because that’s not going to get you the long-term results. You’re going to be paying out money and I can’t show you hardcore ROI on that. You’re just going to be frustrated. If you are looking for the social proof, then let’s have a conversation about investment and what that looks like or ways you can do that on your own without having to put all that investment into it.” Some of it with the authors or speakers too, you want to know the whole point of gaining that social proof. It is that when you go and release your next book or you have your next workshop coming up, that person you know that I have 1,000 people in my pocket that will go buy that book right off the bat. I don’t have to go and headhunt those thousand people. That is where it comes down to. It is good to have those followers and to build it, but is it the social proof or is it that when you release your next book, you know you’ve got 1,000 people that are chomping at the bit to go buy that book as soon as it’s released?
Especially if you are with a traditional publisher because they want to see that those people are real and where they’re buying. You have to get them into a funnel of some sort from social media in order to get that done. You have a free gift for us.
I do. We have an Instagram guide. I know that getting started with it, especially as business owners, they always come to us and they’re like, “I don’t even know what Instagram is. Why should I be on it?” We have an Instagram guide, it’s called 8 Simple Steps to Instagram Success. They’re simple steps to success. It’s going to go over and talk about the couple of helpful hints to get started, easing you into some things to make sure that you’ve optimized your profile properly and have it in the right areas. Spoiler alert, we have in there a couple of tips and tools that you can use that are helpful. How do you make your photos? What are tools that people are making quickly without having to hire out a graphic designer every time, engaging photos? How do we get a consistent theme?
I know we get clients all the time that are like, “I have to hire you every time I want to put an Instagram post up?” No, that’s where I’m very honest with clients of, “Let’s talk about how you can maintain that on your own because you don’t need Photoshop to make this happen.” A lot of times they’re scared and they feel like they need to. We put together some tools and a little tool kit that will also include where do you find some of these hashtags? How do we plan out a post? I had released a podcast as well and I’m stalling on my own side because I have to get in there and get something on Instagram. If I was smart about it, we’d have all this stuff posted and scheduled out. Instagram doesn’t make it quite as easy as Facebook. Where can we utilize the tools so that you have a successful Instagram platform and not just a little, “I posted once and now I don’t know what to do?”
Thank you so much for telling us a little bit more about Instagram.
My pleasure. I hope I was able to answer some of the questions for you and keep your followers growing.
- Tree Ring Digital
- Outdoor Mindset
- 8 Simple Steps to Instagram Success
About Paige Wiese
Paige Wiese, Founder & CEO of Tree Ring Digital – Digital Marketing Expert
Paige Wiese has started, grown, and developed a top-ranked advertising agency in Denver, CO. For nearly a decade, Tree Ring Digital has assisted hundreds of businesses, coaches, and authors to thrive through successful website and marketing strategies. She holds a Bachelor degree in IT, with a concentration in Website Design in which she graduated with honors. She has used her education and intuition to develop her own unique vision of website design and digital marketing strategies.
Paige leads a team of nearly a dozen specialized professionals, who use their individual skillset to complete the entire picture for successful marketing campaigns. She has created a business structured around understanding each unique project’s strengths and weaknesses, ultimately creating a product or strategy that will yield the most successful results.
In an effort to give back, she donates her time to the business community by teaching educational workshops and mentoring through speaking engagements and taking on leadership roles for various organizations. Paige spends her personal time rock climbing, hiking and enjoying the beautiful Colorado outdoors. She also gives back to Outdoor Mindset, a non-profit supporting those with neurological challenges getting outdoors.