Skip to main content

Hype Your Brand on Instagram

Lesson 18 of 20

Leverage Engagement Opportunities


Hype Your Brand on Instagram

Lesson 18 of 20

Leverage Engagement Opportunities


Lesson Info

Leverage Engagement Opportunities

The engagement, in my opinion, validates everything that you're doing, real, authentic engagement, real comments, real community-building, you know. People tagging each other within what you're sharing is how you know what you're doing is right or working. And so what can you do to drive engagement within your stories so that your viewers continue to click through and watch and you keep the retention? So you wanna make sure that you're giving clear, concise call to actions, CTA. You wanna make sure that they understand the action that you want them to take. So let's go back to Kelly at shopdiystudio. She was just in Mexico on vacation with her husband. Can you tell that I follow her stories? Know all the details. And she found these pom poms that she was seriously thinking of selling to attach to her clutch. And she was asking her audience, are you interested, because I they have to do a minimum run. If you sell products, you need to find out how many should you produce. The worst thin...

g about owning physical products is having too much inventory. So you wanna produce the right amount for the demand. So Kelly was asking people, would you preorder this? So, getting your orders before selling it. I did this in my store on the Cape. I would post an anchor bracelet on Pinterest to see how many people would repin or comment on it before I purchased the inventory, and if it blew up, I knew it was gonna be a good item to sell in my store. So this is kind of similar. She's like, trying to do a little market research. And then her poll, even though it's yes and no here, is perfect. It won't be here for a couple of months, but you'd still get your clutch with the cactus on it right away. Do you want it? Do you wanna preorder it? It's sold out. We wanna know, because they wanna place a reorder. So, this is how you find out before spending money in the stories, and this is Kelly, like, on video asking. So this is the video piece where she's really trying to get a response, okay? Here's an example from digitalmarketer, from Ryan and Marcus, who were here yesterday. Amanda is their, she's in charge of their SEO, and she did a great job with video. I love how her earrings match their logo. I noticed that right away. And she asked, you know, she was talking about, like, she was giving a tip to include your keyword in your title tag, and she gave three tips. So, she was on video at the beginning, and then there were three graphic tips. I love that their logo is in it, so I was feeling like, I'm with digitalmarketer. They're brilliant. I wanna learn, I wanna learn, I wanna learn. What's the tip, Amanda? Swipe up to learn more. So she gave a little tease of what it was, and then you needed to swipe up to go to the blog to learn more. So that was really well done, too. Digitalmarketer on Instagram, make sure you check 'em out. Let's talk about now how you can drive engagement with your story viewers. So you wanna vary the content, your photos, your videos, your graphics, and your animation, because animation, you can do with the super boom, with the boomerang, with the video features, or you can even use third-party apps and do animation and download it to your camera roll and upload it to Instagram. So, for those of you that are videographers, that really understand that you can create these really high-graphic videos, you can use apps. I use a paid version called Continual to upload a video if I want it to be a continuous video. So say it's a minute. I've never done a minute. Say it's 30 seconds, so two clips, and I don't want there to be any line breaks. Like, when I did Marie Forleo's Q&A and she was answering them, and she was over 15 seconds, I wanted you to feel like the conversation didn't stop. So I uploaded, I used this app called Continual, and I uploaded the videos there, and then it saved to my camera roll, and I was able to bring it into stories as if it was one video clip. Does that all make sense to you guys? Has anyone done this in the audience, like where it's just continually going? So it's really, apparently, there's some free versions. I paid 7.99 for this app, and it works beautifully, and there's no glitches. But that's something that you guys can vary, is that video content, graphic, and animation. You also wanna make sure that you infuse real video into the moment. Personally, I think that this is the magic. I think that when you go on camera and you don't look perfect all the time, people relate to you so much more. And so, even if it takes you five clips to get the Instagram story clip the way you want it, no one knows that. (Sue laughs) You have to talk really fast sometimes to get it in 15 seconds, but they wanna feel that energy. So, so movement in your videos and taking them with you is really good. Also, you wanna use the features like we talked about, the type styles, the boomerang, super zoom to shake things up. So, I'm sorry, what's your first name? Sheila asked me, are we gonna talk about boomerang, like, how to use boomerang? Quickly, I'm gonna tell you guys that there's a way to do a boomerang that really works well, and it's doing it slow, it's slow motion. It's just a couple of seconds. So if you're going really fast, it's really jerky. So the best, it's just one quick little movement, whether it's glasses on or off or you're kicking your leg up or you're just doing like a little dance or something. It's just, everything loves boomerangs, like, personally when they do them. They're like, oh my God, this is so funny, this is so good, and then, but you don't wanna be doing one boomerang after another after another. You just wanna put that in your clip when it makes sense. So that just infuses a little bit of that humor piece, if you wanna do that. And then the super boom, some people don't know this, but there's three different super booms that Instagram alternates depending on when you've used it. So there's the one with the music. There's the one that goes right in, and then there's the purple stars, so, you know, so know that in the super boom feature, there's three different styles of super boom. So experience with all of this, you guys. Shake things up. When doing video, change the angles, like we talked about earlier, the high to low, the low to high, walk with me, jump in, jump out of the frame. You know, you can even come up. You can go down. It's all part of the bringing people with you, making them feel like they're literally experiencing what you're experiencing. Okay, so this is the Q&A that I talked about. So I got the inspiration from doing it with Marie. So I looked at my data. I got a lot of views. I liked the Q&A. I'm like, I'm gonna do this for my audience now. So, I asked people in my community, #asksueb, that's a hashtag I use, branded hashtag. I asked people to send me 15-second questions, and here's the criteria for me, 'cause I'm kind of bossypants about this. It has to be in good lighting. There can't be any kids or dogs in the background. No noise. So, a couple people send me videos, but it was too distracting with the background noise, and because my standards are really high with what I wanna share, I made sure that people, I would either say do it again or do it when you can in better lighting. So I got questions from Jen and question from Randy, and I wanted you guys to know who they are, so notice, Q&A is a highlight reel that I have that you all can go watch these. I shook it up with my hashtag sign, asksueb. I said, send me a 15-second video for a chance to be features. So anyone that has a question that they wanna ask me, send me a 15-second video, and I just might feature you. Randy is not the name of his account. It's beauty, beautyespetspa, so I put his name on his shirt, because I wanted you guys to know that was Randy. So, that's, those are the details. Like, if you're doing things, like, this is Randy. Meet Randy. He has a question. And then I came in after that question, and I answered the question in a video format. So, Q&As are great. You can get them from anyone that you do business with. Ask, like, the frequently asked questions. Here's another example of engagement in the Instagram DM. So after I spoke at Social Media Marketing World, I took the party outside, did all these Q&As, and bbanker1, I forget her first name, sorry, should have put that on there somewhere, she learned that I like to swear a lot. (Sue laughs) And she said, that's a sign of intelligence, and it's all about the skirt. Love the skirt. Good luck to your daughter. You know, like, all the details about my personality she's mentioning. Like, that's what she remembered, right? But then she said, thank you so much for getting this mom off her Instagram ass and the inspiration to dive in and commit. And that's what I love, you know. It's like, just do it. Like, just try it. No one's, if you're an entrepreneur, no one's going to fire you. You just have to try it. It's your business. I always say this. Just do it, just do it, just do it. And they're like, oh my God, I'm so glad I did it. Thank you, Sue. So, sometimes people just need a little push. So I like to do these Q&As outside. I like for people to feel part of the community. I'm bringing them in. So, I want you guys to think about what kind of hype can you do to keep, in your stories, to keep people coming back? And turn, you know, when you've got that hype and you've got that engagement and you look at your stats and you see the eyes on your clips, and it's like, wow, that clip got so many views, turn the best of your stories into your highlight. So now we're gonna segue into highlights. Super excited about highlights. Does anyone in the room have highlights? Not yet. You all will by the time I'm done talking about 'em. Okay, so each highlight is an opportunity to literally segment your content from your stories and have it live on in your profile. And you can creatively use highlights to create a unique experience about the stages of your launch, from pre-, mid-, to post-launch, like, the whole process, within your stories. You can keep them there after that 24 hours. You can add news, or you can update your highlights, which I do frequently with the ones that I've chosen to have, and you can introduce yourself and your business. So I actually thought of this idea on The Instagram Expert. Like, I just showed you Randy and his name isn't in his username. If you are the person behind the business or brand, in the highlight, it's a really good way to say, hey, I'm Sue B, and this is what I do, and this is why I'm here. And people feel like, again, that real, raw, authentic, like, how to connect with you if you are in charge of the community or the account, right? So, let's talk about how to set up your highlights. So you can post images from your story that you wanna share in your highlights, and once they're uploaded in your story, you can click the little heart at the bottom and add it to your highlight. Now, I'm gonna go over this. I want you guys to know, in two weeks, we're talking March 2018, on my blog, there is going to be a detailed how-to step by step on how to do Instagram highlights. So for those of you that aren't getting the visual or haven't seen it yet, just know that I have you covered, okay? You can also add highlights by clicking on the plus of the new highlight in your profile, and this is gonna show you a list of your, so, you have your stories, and then when you tap on that, you have your archived stories. So, archived stories are stories that you can bring back into your story if you want to, and I'm gonna show you guys how to do that too. So now let's go into the visual. So this will help you guys if you haven't set up your stories yet. I'm gonna take you over to the screen here. So, the little heart I talked about, this is a story clip. If you wanna add it to your highlight, you tap on the heart, and then you choose the highlight you wanna add it to. You can also do this from your profile, from the plus button, the New. So there's two places that you can create your highlights. In the new, that is where you get access to your archived stories. So, it takes you right back, if you're saving your stories to your camera roll, so you have to turn that on in the backend of Instagram, save stories, if you do, you can add any of those clips into your highlight. You can turn this off. You can not add it. But I think it's super handy if you wanna go back and add a highlight to your stories from a few days ago. So I would recommend keeping that on. The reason why, you guys, is because highlights are front and center. This is the best real estate on Instagram. It's below your bio, it's above your feed, and it literally is the best real estate. Let's go back here. So we talked about highlights a little bit. Here are, what I want you to know is that you just see four, and even though I have more than four, the four in the front are the ones that I want people to see right now. So I have a highlight reel for CreativeLive and all the shenanigans going on about getting here on stage and just sharing, like, getting people to swipe up to, to subscribe and to be here in the room, whether it's with me or it's gonna be with Billy or it's gonna be with Sunny. That is right there, saved from my stories to my highlights. Here's the Q&A that I talked about earlier. Then remember I said to say hello, so that's my Sue B, and that's my video, my photo. It's the only one where I'm like faced forward there. Everything else is branded. Then I have my Instagram news, for people that want the Instagram news, and these are gonna live on in my highlights. And here's what you need to know, is that they live on forever in the highlights unless you decide to delete them. So you get so many more views over time from your stories when they live on in your highlights, and if you have the option to swipe up, you can keep driving traffic where you want to do business, where you wanna, you know, take people from your launch, and you wanna direct them somewhere. You can get them to do that if you have the swipe up feature. So, just make sure that the four that are in the front are the ones that you want to be there in the front, and again, as I said, I'm gonna be doing a blog post so that you guys will get all the details about how to set up the highlights, how to do the graphic cover photos, name the photos, but it's just so much information to go over it all in detail. I wanted to give you guys the basics right here. Let's move into engagement in the Instagram direct message, because this is where all the intimate connections really happen, and many of you have approached me and said that I've commented, I've had a conversation with you in the Instagram direct message. I try to have as many conversations as possible with people, because I believe that conversations lead to opportunities that lead to building a community that eventually can help your business grow. And so the power of one becomes the power of many, because if you give your attention to one person, and they have a great experience, they're gonna talk about you. And that's what you want. Like, the power of one can turn into the power of many very quickly. And there's so many conversations that start in the Instagram direct message, especially if you're doing stories. Now, if you're not doing stories, you're not gonna show up in the explore tab as someone who could potentially be recommended as a story to follow, so, committing to doing stories not only helps get conversations started in the direct message, but it also helps you get discovered in that explore tab that we talked about earlier. So, I think that just simply, when someone says something to me really nice or something that they learned, just saying thank you, or, for me, it's often just giving an emoji smile in the direct message, like, I see it, I acknowledged it, and if they ask me a question, that's a different response. It's not an emoji back; I'm usually answering it. But I try to answer every single question as best as I can, and so I wanna bring your attention to the fact that when you have Instagram stories and there's a conversation in the story, it shows up as a notification in your Instagram direct message. And those conversations, in my opinion, are golden and opportunistic. You can send a video, this is kind of my ninja tip that I do, because often, it's easier for me to just do a video back than to write or type or talk to Siri. So I'll do a 15-second video answering a question, and you can watch that on the replay twice, and then it goes away. So that's like a private video to someone that you've answered their question. Sometimes people say, oh, I missed the video, and I'm like, okay, then I'll write it out, I'll write the answer out. But it's, the video goes back to the real, raw, authentic opportunity to connect with someone. Also, in the Instagram direct message, you can inquire about sponsorships and partnerships. Many of the accounts that I had sign off for sharing here in this presentation, I first reached out in the Instagram direct message. I said, I'm speaking on stage at CreativeLive, and I at-mentioned CreativeLive, 'cause it's a hyperlink in the direct message when you at-mention an account, and I would love to feature your business or your brand. Some people answered right away, yes, please do, and some people said, you need to email this person. So, I was able to connect with people, businesses and brands that I never would have been able to connect to, just simply by asking in the Instagram direct message. So if you have questions for businesses and brands, remember, they get a notification when you post in the Instagram direct message. You wanna make it about them before you start making it about yourself. So what I mean by this is before you drop a link to the, the item, the product, whatever it is you're launching, find out what they want first, and maybe sending them a blog post link to support their question before sending them a link to buy what you're selling is the best next step in keeping the conversation, like, with what they are requesting as opposed to what your agenda is. So just pay attention to that, because a lot of people feel like Instagram direct messages can be spammy from marketers when they're just simply posting links and having them shop versus building the relationship. And that's what I want you guys to do more of, is like, build the relationships. So build on conversations from your stories. Opportunities to get feedback from one person who took the time to engage. You can ask your followers who are super fans to send you user-generated content that you might wanna be posting in your feed like I did with Michael Hyatt. How many of you guys know Michael Hyatt? Okay, so, Michael is totally worth following. He's the author of Your Best Year Ever. This is his post. I bought 12 of these books, because when you bought, he was in pre-launch. He teased this book launch, and he finally, when he started selling it, he had a promotion that if you bought 12, you could have access to his online course, and it was valued at 397, so I bought 12, and I gave these away on my Instagram Live to people that showed up, and I mailed 12 books to people. It is a great book. I then used that book as a product placement when I was announcing The Social Sip so I could tag Michael, let people know I align with him and his business and his brand, and that blue works well with my branding. I'm like, thank you, Michael, for having my brand color as your photo for your book. And then I'm like, wait, I'll send you some pictures with Mr. Cody in it. I've got all my book stack. And I said, you can use any of these photos as user-generated content if you want to. So, the one on the left is the Instagram direct message. The two here, this is Michael's account, my account, and then me sending that to Michael. I was very conscious of the angle. I put the emoji pillow. I'm like, Cody, just look cute like you always do. (audience laughs) And then I was able to get that picture. And I gave him permission to use it, if he wanted to. I haven't seen it in his feed yet, but you never know. He might show it later, okay. The next clip is something I did in the Instagram direct message after being on Live with Kim, who is in charge of social. I came up with this great idea. This is a video. I'm gonna let you guys hear it. Okay, I said, oh, can we, is it? Oh, you can't hear it. I'm so glad that CreativeLive took my suggestion and put together this group, this DM group for all of us to support each other for next week. So, I suggested to Kim, wouldn't it be great to have an Instagram direct message group? So you can have 15 people, up to 15 people in a group. So find out who your buzz agents are that you could create a group and stay connected within the group, and sometimes, I have, so, first I'm gonna talk about this. So, I want you guys to write down all the names of the accounts. Now, the names of the account are gray. Marcusamurphy, Marcus Murphy is in his bio. CreativeLive is the same. TomBreeze is his account name, but he's smart. He put the hashtag viewability. That's probably his hashtag that he uses over and over again. And Sunny, #beyourownboss. But if you guys wanna take pictures of this, these are all the speakers that are here. And if you write down their names, you can, you know, we wanted to stay connected as speakers, and we've been having little conversations within the Instagram direct message with each other, and this was Kim's way of staying in touch with the speakers. So you can strategically use Instagram direct messages to put together groups and create your own group. Now, I also do this for my VIP group. They're called #suebsquads. I have like 10 of them, and there's 15 people in a squad. They're people in my Facebook community that are a little intimidated with how many people are in the Facebook group and they'd much rather be in a micro-group, so there's 15 people, and if they're asking, they're supporting each other in the group and asking questions, and I see it, but it's a micro-community from my community, and it's self, you know, they support each other. They don't need my attention. I'm in there, and if I see a question that they're not answering it, I'll get in, I'll respond, and sometimes, I'll send them exclusive videos when I'm gonna be teaching. So, the conversations are in the direct message, and they're golden. Here is Kim. Oh, no, that's not Kim. Here is another example of me sending that to Kim, and this is her responding. So, I like to do videos, and that works really well to get a response. Here is a back and forth. When you do an Instagram direct message, you see, it starts with her response. Then I responded to her, and she responded to me. So, it builds and builds and builds back and forth. And so, she went ahead and said, thanks so much. I'll definitely do that. And so we had this conversation, and she took the time to send it back. So let's recap the engagement. You can use Instagram direct messages to build relationships beyond your feed. You can alternate photos, graphics, and videos within the Instagram direct message, and then you can send thank you Instagram direct videos to those who are really actively engaged with your content.

Class Description

Think Instagram is just for beach vacation selfies and shots of your quinoa-kale bowls? Think again. With more than 1 billion active monthly users, Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social marketing platforms for business. But while you might recognize the power of Instagram and its millions of enthusiastic devotees, leveraging that power is a whole other story.

Sue Zimmerman is a highly sought-after social media marketing educator, speaker and business coach who specializes in teaching entrepreneurs, executives and marketing professionals how to use Instagram to boost their brand and drive their business forward.

Sue will explore every aspect of the Instagram universe—from how to use Instagram Stories and Highlights to how to master the site’s elusive algorithm—so you’re ready and able to grow your presence, build and engage your audience, and rack up sales.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Work with, not against, the Instagram algorithm.
  • Create effective and appropriate content for your feed and Instagram Stories.
  • Use Instagram Stories and bio links creatively.
  • Organize your content.
  • Craft an eye-catching and consistent look and feel.
  • Get your followers to take action.
  • Conduct hashtag research.
  • Figure out the end game for each of your posts.
  • Develop a posting schedule.


Cat in the Moon Photo

Can I just say, "I LOVE Sue"! I took her three day course on CreativeLive back in January when I had finally decided that I didn't want to be the only photographer NOT on Instagram. I took that class knowing absolutely NOTHING about the platform and by the end of it, I was up and running. When I heard that she was doing a new class, I knew I had to see it. By the end of the day my head was exploding with information. There are so many new things on IG that I am already WAY behind the times and have so much work to do. Sue delivered the course in true Sue form - highly entertaining and energized. The examples of successful businesses that she uses are so inspirational and make you feel like, "Yes! It IS possible!!" I am sooooo glad I own the course, because there is no way I could get the full benefit from just watching it once. I will be going back to this class MANY times as I develop as an Instagrammer!

a Creativelive Student

I love Sue's energy and her passion for her work is contagious. She is animated and articulate, making learning about Instagram not only fun, but inspiring. I found her tips to be very intuitive and easy to implement if you have the desire and drive to take your Instagram to the next level. I'm at a point where I've grown my Instagram to a respectable amount (13K), but I want to take it to the next level, so I'm doing a one-on-one consultation with her. I really appreciate all the work she's done into creating a program to uplevel your Instagram game.

Nick Davis

Amazing class, super helpful for understanding how to make your Instagram work for your business. And Sue B is engaging and fun to listen to. But make sure you have a pen and paper ready, because there's so much important information you're going to want to write it down! I'm about to start again from the beginning and this time take notes!