Skip to main content

Hype Your Brand on Instagram

Lesson 14 of 20

Optimize your Process


Hype Your Brand on Instagram

Lesson 14 of 20

Optimize your Process


Lesson Info

Optimize your Process

So now let's optimize your whole process. You know, the tools that you need to understand what's gonna work and help you be more efficient. So you want to be sharing impactful content. That takes time, like I just said, but there's also tools that can make it much easier. Okay, so my go-to tool for this is Planoly. Does anyone in the room use Planoly? Okay, we have three hands up right now. So I am busy doing a lot of things, and right now I'm here at CreativeLive, and I want to schedule posts, and I make sure that I always have my grid planned out from my content calendar, and I want my grid to look and feel like my business, my brand, my personality, where I live, the things that are important to me, Instagram news, right? So when you have, when you use a tool like Planoly, and there's others that are similar, this is just my go-to tool that works well for me, some other people might be using Buffer or HootSuite, but this is what I like the best because I really love the interface fr...

om the mobile to the desktop, and all of this up here, it's just so intuitive for my brain and how I think visually, like this is where you can add new media from Google Drive, or from Dropbox, you just tap it and you add it right in. These are my scheduled posts, but my unscheduled posts, I probably have 200 photos here that I've uploaded so I can rearrange the grid and see what it's gonna look like, and you can also schedule your stories here. And you can keep your hashtags all intact in one place. People's mouths are opening over here, you guys, okay? (audience laughs) And then you schedule the post, and then you, you know, for me I actually open up my phone and it gets announced that the post is going to be scheduled and I post it to Instagram and I can ad the geotag. You guys are all excited. This is a time saver, and this is how you can get your grid to look the way that you want. Again, intention, time, if you're going all in, this is a great tool. So here are some time-saving hacks for you guys. You want to batch your photos, like I just talked about the photo shoot, all of my photos are batched, they are in folders that are named so I know where to find them when I'm uploading them to Planoly. But remember what I said, I also go into VSCOcam and I edit some of the photos to have that same filter. So for me sometimes it's a two step process if the photo's not the right filter, so I'm spending time in third party apps. Also, scheduling my posts using Planoly, and I really spend time planning the grid, and when I say planning the grid, I don't usually have a picture of me, then a picture of me, then a picture of me. It's a picture of me, and then it's like a mug, or it's a body part, an arm (chuckling), or it's Boston, or it's the Cape, it's alternating the content, 'cause here's the thing you guys, the way I also look at Instagram is it's your digital magazine. And so instead of turning a page, you're scrolling, and the feeling in your feed, you want to have the same, you know, the promise that you made in your bio. So whatever you're saying who you are and what you do and who you're trying to attract, that should be represented in your feed consistently. And so if anyone's scrolling back, and I have people that scroll back to thousands of photos and all of a sudden I get likes on old photos, people are like scrolling and checking me out because if people like what they're looking at, they're gonna keep scrolling and scrolling and it's really fun to see how people have really transcended their Instagram account to like what they used to do to what they're doing, like if you go back in time on my account, you'll be like, "Ah!" But that, everyone starts somewhere. You change, and you morph, and you respond to your audience and the engagement. And so planning your grid, for me, it just helps me stay like in the space that we're in now that matches up to the launch and the content that we're sharing. So, you also want to block time on your calendar to engage, like I said, I suggest 15 minutes twice a day if you can do that, if you can't, then just do it once a day. But remember, that engagement really should be happening soon after you post. Put your hashtags in your notes so that you can quickly copy and paste them because the hashtags go live as soon as they show up, meaning you show up in the hashtag hub as soon as the most recent post, as soon as you post it. So if you're taking a long time to get your hashtags together, and you're putting them in your comments, you're missing out, and as far as I know, it does not matter if they're in your description or if they're in the first comment. It's all a matter of what you prefer. I use spacers so that you don't see the hashtags so the description is more clean. You see a lot of people doing that. You know, there's all these, I've read a lot of articles, and at the end of the day, it really is all about the timing of the hashtags being posted, okay? And then, spend time picking your favorite filter meaning the look and feel, is it the filter in Instagram, or is it gonna be a third party app filter? And you want to, we're gonna recap here, planning the feed, so this is where people really often have a hard time with staying consistent. Like they've gone all in, they've got Planoly, but you've got to keep feeding the feed and uploading those photos and thinking about what's next. So this has to be on your calendar. It's all part of being intentional, and when you do plan your feed, it can, it really helps you organize your content and it really helps you make sure that your launch photos are perfectly timed, and you're spacing them out in between like the engagement driving post, and the traffic driving post, and what was the time of the launch, and what were your launch goals, and what are you trying to accomplish? Like all of this comes together as you're planning, and you know, like I said, you can use tools like Planoly so that you can ensure that you don't miss a post and you'll get that reminder of when you're gonna be posting and the best tip is really batching. Batching, batching, batching. Anyone that's in business, like the batching piece, whether it's doing YouTube videos all in one day, or batching your photos, or batching your hashtags, like when you batch, your brain stays in one spot and you really are more productive with your time. So, are you guys ready to take the next step in your launch? (audience cheering) Yeah? Okay, so I have some goodies for you guys that I mentioned, this is where you should all write this down: this is where you guys can get some more. I know, like I said, after teaching four classes, you guys want more content, more information, and when you get on my website, you'll have a couple of free resources there for you, waiting for you, and for those of you that like to connect on all of the socials, this is where you can find me, The Instagram Expert, I'm Sue B. Zimmerman on Twitter and Sue B. Zimmerman on Instagram. I also have a company account with my team, SBZ Team that I didn't mention yet, if you want to write that down if you run a team or an agency, might want to check that out, and my Facebook page where you guys can all come over and like and check out the Social Sip where I go live there, you'll want to see those, arms spanks in action, for sure. (audience laughs) I met you on CreativeLive first, and then I've joined your Facebook groups, and, yeah, so I've learned a lot from you. I've only been on Instagram for about three months. I'm a portrait photographer in the Seattle area. And I find that, as a portrait photographer, people don't really want to follow a portrait photographer because they're seeing pictures of other people's families. Mm-hmm. And so I've been posting a lot of my beautiful landscape pictures, which get a lot of interaction, but it's not the target audience that I want, it's not people that will be clients, but I find that if I don't have a lot of followers, people aren't gonna want to hire me, because-- Mm, that's the conundrum of a lot of people in business, is they feel like if they don't have the follower count that they're not really in business yet, is that what you're saying? Yeah, or that I don't have any, you know, like people don't want to hire a photographer who doesn't have followers. (laughs) Okay, so I have a couple of ideas for you. So, you could do the similar thing that I shared earlier where you could have that beautiful nature photo as the cover, and you can tell people to swipe to see the photos that you took in that location. So you could take a great photo of the location where you did the photo shoot, and that could be the first photo, and you could do a carousel post, right? Or, you can ask the person that you did the photos for if they would be willing to do a testimonial or share, or maybe, like when you're doing that photo shoot, you're not doing straight on photos but you're having them do a personality shot. Maybe they're doing a cartwheel, or maybe they're just looking off to the side and it's more Instagrammable and there's something going on in the photo that's interesting and intriguing. Maybe it's a sunset or a sunrise, or a great building or a historical building. Okay. Or something outside of that person, 'cause you're right, in fact, you know, I get interviewed on podcasts all the time and they often put a Instagram post of me and them as a podcast interview. Like, no one wants to see that. Like, you know, it's like there's nothing there, but if it was a photo of them on the mic and me on the mic behind the scenes, that's cool. So think about behind the scenes, think about the locations that you're taking those photos, are they interesting, are they intriguing? Can you create a carousel post, can you possibly do a video? Could you bring someone with you to capture you doing the photo shoot? That's really interesting. Okay. 'Cause there's so much gear, when you do photo shoots, right? Yeah. Is this helping? Oh, very much. Okay. And you were also saying about like people scrolling back and seeing where you started. Do you think, like my-- Yeah, you can archive. So, does everyone know about the archive button? No. Okay, so in your feed, you can archive anything, and so if you have posts, like I like, I have a few photos from back in the day, like because I want everyone to know that we all start somewhere. So, I have archived photos, and I'll tell you what they are in a second, but for you, if you're seeing things that aren't working and you want to get them off your feed, but you want to keep them because you know, it's kind of your scrapbook. You guys, I used to teach scrapbooking on QVC. (audience laughs) Did you know that? QVC, scrapbooking. That was one of my businesses, yeah. So it's like your digital scrapbook, so I don't say delete it, but just archive it. Okay, and so I, once I've done a very heavy launch, like I just recently came off of being a partner from Marie Forleo's B-School Anyone in the room know Marie Forleo? Yes, everyone's nodding, awesome. So a lot of those posts were very text heavy, call-to-action around the launch, and they didn't go, after the launch, after it was done, it didn't fit with my feed, and it was over, you couldn't buy B-School anymore, so I archived like three of the very promotional posts in the feed because it affects the integrity of the feed. So you can archive them. And I still have the memory, I still have the description, I still have the likes and the comments and if I need to go back, I can. So you can archive. That's great, thank you. You didn't know that? No, I didn't. There's so much I don't know. Thank you. In the back, yes? Hi. Hi. My name's Erin. Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you too, and I'm a juggler. I saw, I went to your account this morning! Awesome, great. So you curate one of the biggest jugglers accounts from user-generated content. International, yeah. Yeah, I saw that. The IJA Jugglers, yeah, and then I am also the owner of Tricky Chicks, which focuses on female jugglers and circus artists and the circus scene. That's so, oh, I like that one better. Yeah, me too, it's awesome, and so that's kind of like my pet baby, but the IJA is what I've started from the ground up and it's become huge, and it's become really popular and it's helping ignite and inspire juggling around the world in a really cool way. That's so great. I know Juggling Josh, do you know Juggling Josh? Yeah, that's my homie. Okay, cool. (audience laughs) We go back. Yeah, so I guess my question is trying to figure out what my personal identity is within, because a lot of people see me as the leader of these organizations. Yeah. And the person who's launched these big social media platforms, and so like what is my role in my personal social? And so I've kind of been leaning towards like the behind the scenes type things of organizing these juggling competitions around the world and traveling to do so to all these different countries and kind of the work that goes in and also like accenting my feels about these companies. It's so cool, I love your niche, like I love this niche, it's so good. So I really want to encourage you to follow Sara Blakely and follow Ellie Webb who are the owners, so they each have their own personal account, and they have these businesses, and they show up in both as leaders, right, and then you see their personal life as moms, and so I love the real, raw, authentic life, the no makeup, like sweaty hot mess, the kids are running around, there's pancakes everywhere, and then she's here, over here as the most successful female business owner. The real person. So for you, if you are the person that created that account, that needs to come out, that needs to be seen. Everything I looked at was all videos. Right, all my juggling. There's no human aspect to that account. So that, in my mind, those were interesting to look at, like I was entertained by the jugglers, and that's kind of like a YouTube thing, like go here and watch juggling, and how they do it, but there's no like, whose account is this? Do you mean the IJ or mine? That's the one I looked at today, the IJ, I didn't look at yours. Okay, yeah yeah. So I can't give you advice on that one right now. Gotcha, yeah. But I would infuse who you are maybe every 10 or 12 posts, and why you do what you do. Like what is the reason that you are growing this community of jugglers in the world? You know, and you're giving kudos to each and every one of them, you're building your account because you're featuring them. Yeah. This is a featured account, essentially, and so that's strategic, but I would love to have known, I looked for you there. Right. So I looked for you and I couldn't find you. Yeah, and so that's one thing we've been talking a lot about this year because it's a organization for a long time I've been hesitant, and it's 71 years old. It's so cool. I've been hesitant to be the face of this organization, right? But now essentially I'm known as the face everywhere in the world. Then own it, rock it, you got it! So starting to own it, and also bringing in the other volunteers and the other workers, and the other people and giving more character and personality. People love that. So, people love the behind the scenes, they love, like my team account I just mentioned, people love to know, like I wouldn't be standing here if it wasn't for my team. For Sam, for Katie, for Rachel, for Morgan, like I am all about giving love and kudos to the team that makes your business successful, and so that, if you can celebrate the people around you, like Starbucks does a great job at showing the baristas, and, like do that, that humanizes the whole business. Yeah. And that is relatable and people like that. Awesome. So you've got a lot of great things to work with for sure. Cool, thank you.

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!