Knowing the rules — and knowing how to break them — on Instagram can help you fire up a huge following for your brand. In this podcast, “The” Betty Rocker shows you how you can rock your Instagram account.
00:50 – Introducing “The” Betty Rocker
01:30 – James bakes vegetarian cupcakes
02:17 – How Betty started her brand
03:00 – The U.S. food scene
03:52 – Betty vs. bad food
04:58 – Is Instagram your primary platform?
05:54 – Betty’s stats on Instagram and Facebook
07:32 – An awesome way to leverage Instagram followers to Facebook
08:40 – Monetizing your Instagram account
09:59 – What if you lose your Instagram account?
10:49 – Can you make money? Oh yeah.
12:20 – Target your market with what they want to see
13:28 – Use Instagram to motivate and inspire people
14:40 – Getting into Pinterest marketing
15:28 – Using Instagram content across different platforms
17:05 – Have an Instagram targeted account
18:05 – How do you get analytics on Instagram?
19:07 – Top apps to use on Instagram
22:34 – Should you use videos or pictures on Instagram?
24:30 – Engineering captions to engage people
25:01 – How old is Betty Rocker?
27:02 – Using filters to make pics more interesting
27:55 – Is it OK to get controversial on Instagram?
29:12 – Rules on creating captions
31:00 – What’s great about hashtags?
35:37 – Action steps and cool tricks
Is Instagram the Neverland? [Click To Tweet].
Leverage your Instagram followers. [Click To Tweet].
Create the right Instagram account. [Click To Tweet].
Get your stats on Instagram. [Click To Tweet].
How to use hashtags. [Click To Tweet].
James: James Schramko here, welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. In this interview series, I’ve been talking to experts about what they are specializing in, and in very different subjects to some that I’m familiar with. In this case, it’s a topic that I have almost no understanding of and that’s why I’ve brought on my friend, Bree, to talk about Instagram. Welcome to the call, Bree.
Bree: Hey James, hey everybody.
What’s behind “The” Betty Rocker
James: Now, most people call you as The Betty Rocker. I’m really interested in this stage name thing and if that has been an obstacle for you or is it a positive for you when you go out there in the social media platform?
Bree: Actually, I find it to be incredibly useful. I wanted to have a name for the brand that people could sort of rally behind and imagine themselves as.
James: Was it sourced from Betty Crocker?
Bree: I guess, kind of. I mean, I have been kind of an adrenaline junkie for life and I also like to bake and cook so people were calling me punk rock Betty Crocker since I was a kid so I kind of morphed into Betty Rocker.
James: I did some baking yesterday. I actually made some vegetarian cupcakes for some guests. We had some people coming and they don’t eat meat and it was a whole new world so I had to stretch a little bit. I was quite proud of the output. Just had one before, actually.
Bree: What do you normally make a cupcake out of James, do you put bacon in your cupcakes?
James: You know I was really worried about things like eggs and stuff. Because I know, some, maybe vegans, don’t like eggs, for example.
James: So, I think these might have even been vegan cupcakes. It’s like… and then I’m wondering how you know, they have this thing where they can’t have certain things, you know. Like some people really have restrictive diets but I don’t. I’ll eat just about anything. And so I guess putting in constraints adds to the degree of difficulty.
Bree: Yes. Absolutely. That’s actually one of the ways I started, like building the brand was I actually liked to create solutions for people who had different restrictions on their diets. When I first got my start with Betty Rocker, I started teaching classes and whole foods which were alternative diets, cooking classes and that kind of helped me get to see what, that people just have so many needs when it comes to eating.
James: Well, I actually stayed right next to the Whole Foods in San Francisco where you are now. It sounds like it’s raining over there.
Bree: Yeah. Sorry about the noise. It’s some kind of skylight and it’s just banging on the ceiling.
James: What can you do? It’s summer and I can’t at all relate to it but it will be fine. Now, I liked the Whole Foods set up in the United States. It seems to be one of the places you can actually eat because I find, as a tourist, it can be a bit of a struggle to find something that isn’t completely toxic.
Bree: Oh it’s terrible.
James: I don’t know how it gotten about. It’s not the same in Australia and I imagine it’s not the same in other places. You know, for example, when I went to Italy, I noticed that all the roadside Petrol stations had healthy food options. You know, they had fresh tomato, and salads and things. You won’t find a lot of fast food.
I noticed that in the United States, you must have a big audience of people who really want to find out how they can look after themselves.
Bree: Yeah. Definitely, James. And you know, sort of selfishly, I moved to the San Francisco bay area recently just because of, like, the abundance of clean and healthy food that’s here and I mean that I can go to the farmer’s market every day of the week. But, you know, I really want to create and provide solutions for people, so coming up with healthy recipes that almost anyone could make out of, you know, the foods that they can find and really just bringing an emphasis back to eating whole foods is really what I am about these days.
It’s terrible how hard it is, you know, for people to kind of figure out what to eat. There are so much bad information out there and just so many competing brands that are telling you they are healthy and they just really aren’t. It feels like, I guess, in this country more so than almost anywhere else, there’s just so much bad food. Just look at the obesity in this country and it’s spreading unfortunately.
So, I really think, you know, this brand that I have and the other, a lot of my colleagues and friends all over the place that are doing this stuff with healthy food and healthy eating is just so needed, so yeah.
Instagram as traffic driver
James: So, would it be fair to say that Instagram is your primarily platform for sharing your message?
Bree: Absolutely. Well, it is my primary traffic driver. My platform is more like my blog, but Instagram…
James: Good. You’re touching my sweet spot there. I am always talking about earning your own platform so I’m glad made that distinction. So, you’re using Instagram to drive people back to your blog?
Bree: The blog. To get the content actually and that’s really key because of course, Instagram, will only, the content that I post on their platform. You know, that’s cool because I’m just using that as a place to get eyeballs on my content and so it’s just an amazing marketplace of people all over the world who were able to access my content and information. So I absolutely love it.
James: All right. So let’s put some depth into this Instagram discussion. I hope it’s okay if I could share some of your stats with listeners because I want to get a feel of what you’re doing on Instagram.
Bree: Absolutely. Absolutely.
James: Really? You have around 85,000 followers?
Bree: Yeah and it’s kind of fun because today I’ll go over 86,000 and I’m just laughing because I know I sent you that and I just went up to a thousand followers in the last couple of days.
James: Now, you’re just showing off.
Bree: Well, I did it. I don’t lie, that’s normal for me. I did it specifically because I wanted to share with you with I did so I could share that with your listeners.
James: You know I have a similar thing when I did my screenshots for Traffic and Conversions where I talked about podcasting. I was just about to crack a million downloads for my podcast and then when I went to have look at it for my Noah Kagan post, it was like 1 million and a hundred thousand something. It really shoots up. And it’s fun to find a little hypergrowth market where you can strut your stuff.
I like the podcasting medium. I don’t know anything about Instagram. I know my kids are on it, I know that you’re on it. And I would love to be on your journey of discovery.
It also ties in with Facebook and I know that Facebook bought Instagram. I guess I know something about it. You have a fanpage with around 23,000 fans as well.
Bree: I do. And I, it really wasn’t until I came up with a strategy just last year to translate some of my following on Instagram to Facebook. It was really, all those fans that I have on Facebook are straight off of Instagram but it was so cool because, of course you know Instagram doesn’t really have live links, right? That’s one of the issues with it. You got one live link in your profile but not in your captions. And of course, nothing is really clickable on Instagram except for the hashtags.
So, my goal was to leverage that Instagram following to Facebook, as much as possible. And I did that through a series of, sort of a big 30-day fitness challenge promotions which I…. You know, that was just an awesome way to use Instagram which I kind of just organically came up with.
Building an e-mail subscriber list from Instagram
James: So, in simple terms, you use your one link to drive people to the challenge?
Bree: I use my one link to drive them to a squeezepage, basically, which gave them a very compelling thing that they all wanted. And then I used Instagram as a platform for building the community during the challenge and reminding people. I actually used it to train them to open emails and you know, my open rates are through the roof just because they’re engaging with the content on Instagram daily.
And I can say, a little quick note, anybody who can find their email, if you have Gmail, look in promotions tab. If you have this, look in this area. Like, so, it was really awesome because I was able to train my people to open their emails and engage with my stuff. It’s so cool.
James: Well, it does beg the question. You have been able to build an email subscriber list from your Instagram/Facebook efforts?
Bree: Yes. It’s interesting, you know James, I’ve been asked to talk about my Instagram and how I’ve been monetizing it several times and this is actually the first time I’ve talked about it because I remember a while ago is that Instagram has really some interesting rules on how you’re supposed to use it. One of them is you’re not supposed to sell stuff on Instagram. But, I got a little bit worried that they might shut me down because they do arbitrarily shut accounts down right and left, all the time.
It’s totally weird. And no one really knows why. so every once in a while, there will be like a whole bunch of posts, there will be a trend on Instagram where everyone will freak out that they will close their accounts down and they’ll go create these backup accounts and you do see some people who get shut down. But, I stopped worrying about that a while ago because I think it’s really for people who are spammers, that they’re really targeting but…
James: Well, not only that. If you’ve managed to get them to your email list, you’re back in control of that record.
Bree: Yeah. Exactly.
James: I actually have survived with losing my Google advertising account, I’ve lost my Facebook advertising account in the past. I think I might have it back somehow. I’m not quite sure. I’m still trying to establish that. That’s partly why I built a system that relies on building my platform.
If you did lose your Instagram account, would you be able to use some of things that you’ve learned from running successful Instagram campaigns on other platforms?
Bree: Yes and I will not give up. I would actually, I would actually start a new Instagram account, which will be a feature account which I think is an awesome strategy for building an Instagram list very quickly. And I guess, just to backup to address the question you were asking me before about, like how did I build a list using Instagram which is just that simple – driving people to the squeeze page for something that they wanted.
And then, you know, maintaining the engagement with them through the consistent daily Instagram post. And yes, everything that you do on Instagram, it’s almost like, you’re constantly split-testing your content. It’s so easy to immediately tell what people are engaged with and what they won’t because it’s a popularity contest. I mean, they are just, they are looking for stuff that is entertaining and engaging and useful, period.
And if it’s not, they won’t like it, they won’t click on it and they definitely won’t follow you.
Making money through Instagram
James: OK. So, here’s the really important one. Can you make money from this list that you’ve built in this market?
Bree: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Yes, you can.
James: That’s cool. So, in short, well, basically, you got this big Instagram front-end to your business that’s driving traffic and running through Facebook and to squeeze pages to your email list and then you’re somehow offering them products and services. What about, if they’re not in the same market you’re on? What if you’re not in the food or the, I don’t know what you call it, forgive me if I use the wrong word, but what if you’re not hot? What if you’re not in the sexy body market?
Bree: No, that’s a good question. You’re right. You’re right.
James: My first interaction with your social media was I, you gave me camera and asked me to take a picture of you which I did, and you happened to be doing a handstand and when I went back to the hotel and I was checking my emails, I logged on to Facebook and I saw the picture and said, “Oh there’s that picture I took” and then, there was like, 1800 likes. I’m like, “Hang on a minute, there’s something seriously going on here.”
Because when I put a picture, if I did the handstand, I’d be lucky to get 40 likes. You know, and probably, if there was a dislike button they would surely click that. Are there different rules for you because of your market and the way you…
Bree: No. No. Honestly, I have 85,000 followers so if I don’t get at least a thousand likes on a picture, I’m doing something wrong. I know I’m going after my market targeting them with exactly what they want to see. They want to see me, and they want to see me motivating them somehow. So, I know exactly what my market wants, I know who they are and I know what kind of content to post.
Now, I have some specific ideas for people who are not in the health, well, health and fitness on Instagram is huge because it’s very easy to take a very motivating picture of a fit body. It’s very easy to take a picture of healthy food and post the recipe. These are great things for Instagramming. I mean, it’s a medium that runs itself very well to photographs, obviously.
Twitter, you got to be clever and I say something in, how many characters or less? I don’t even know because I suck at Twitter. I’m way better with photos. But you can easily find accounts on Instagram and leverage them if you’re an advertiser or a brand. Look for people like me who might be a good fit for your market or brand and ask us if we’d like to do paid advertising for you.
I am personally not doing that but I get approached by brands all the time who would like me to do that. I see other accounts who are doing it.
And, there’s another way. I mean, it’s not just food and fitness on Instagram. Fashion is very hot right now in Instagram and so is quotes and motivation. Anytime you can find a way to use Instagram to inspire people, that’s the way to go. I’ve seen brands on Instagram who are selling something that’s completely not health and fitness related.
However, they have a health and fitness account which motivates and inspires and they, maybe they’re just posting daily videos and that gets people to their squeeze page, gets them into their funnel, gets them doing stuff and it’s very easy to utilize some of the smart, motivated people on Instagram that are already there and then get them to promote your stuff.
About Pinterest marketing
James: OK. So. I got a few questions that you’ve just raised for me there. Firstly, it’s very timely because I was just interviewing Justin Brooke about native advertising and you just mentioned that it’s possible for people to appear in that native environment whether they approach you privately with a secret handshake, behind closed doors or if they’re going, you know, Trojan horsing into the market with the health and fitness account even if they’re in a different industry – that is very interesting thing to me and topical.
But you also said that it lends itself to things that have pictures and very visual. I interviewed Michelle Macphearson about Pinterest marketing and I think from my discussion you said you haven’t been really been into the Pinterest movement yet.
Bree: No. I just don’t have… I need to clone myself. I think that would be the ideal way to get into the Pinterest market because I just don’t have time to do that plus build my lead pages, plus build my website and make content everyday plus train my new assistant. You know, I just don’t have that many… that much time.
James: Yeah. OK. Well, I want to just talk about that for a second because the way that I approach it, maybe it’s wrong because I have my blog and when I do a post, I have the little sharing widgets underneath the post and I go on click on Facebook and then on Twitter and then Pinterest and then Google+. Now, I’m not doing anything with Instagram that all but I found that it’s not that too big of a deal for me to syndicate my core content across different platforms with a different message for each for the audience. Are you saying that it might not work on the Instagram platform?
Bree: No. No. No. No. I’m not, I’m not saying that at all. I actually do the same thing. I will take my content from Instagram and repost it on Twitter with a shorter caption, maybe ask a question. I’ll repost it on Facebook with something different engaging and etc., but I just haven’t got into Pinterest yet and it may just be that I’m resistant to it because it just feels like a lot of work and pinning and just time wasting.
I mean I get a ton, a ton of backlinks to the blog from Pinterest to my site. It’s just… you know, I just have to take a cue from you there, James and start making a priority. I just really haven’t yet got into it because I actually just really enjoyed Instagram personally, it’s fun for me. I think that’s a big part of why I got so good at it from the beginning.
I’m just having fun doing it and then, you know, I started developing some really specific strategies contesting things that, that worked and then worked but yeah, I definitely do use my content on Instagram across my other social media platforms, just happens to not be on Pinterest.
James: Right. But I think there’s a lot of stuff happening on Pinterest. It sounds to me like you’ve got such a following that people are pinning for you. I think you got a pretty good visual person as a highly female demographic from memory.
You’ve actually worked well for e-commerce as well. What I’m trying to do is to associate, would things that work well on Pinterest be right for the picking for Instagram?
Bree: Most likely, yes. Absolutely. The key is to really have a very specific Instagram account – a real targeted account that people know what to expect when they are looking at your posts. I don’t know if anybody out there is looking at my account. It’s @thebettyrocker. You can see how I’m branding my videos for example.
I want to do things with my account that really let people know that that’s one of my posts without having to put, like, my name on it. So you know, really making it very specific. I think that would work perfectly with Pinterest stuff. Except with Pinterest it seems like you can take any content you want, post it anywhere, you know it doesn’t have to be yours.
There’s no ownership, it’s all everywhere except for things that are backlinking into your blog or, I don’t know… specific picture.
James: Well, think of, I think of it like a Snakes and Ladders game. It’s like, literally people putting little portals back to your site from Pinterest.
James: With a picture doorway.
Bree: It’s probably way quicker, and way more effective. I don’t know. I really would have to check it out. Like I said, I’m just…
James: I wonder, do you get a sort of analytics with Instagram to see…
Bree: There’s a thing you want to download. It’s actually just a website. You can sign up for a free account. It’s called STATIGRAM and that will give you daily stats for your Instagram platform.
It will tell you when people are engaging with your posts the most. It will give you statistics about how much engagement you’re getting, how many comments you’re getting. What’s the most… the best time of day is to post. And you don’t want to use Instagram as a camera app ever.
You know, I think, when I saw you last weekend, I was sort of, I get really engaged with the picture we had taken because I would be running it through like three different apps before I posted it. That’s just to maximize the effectiveness of the picture. You know, I wouldn’t just take a picture raw and post it just as it is without using one of their little filters.
James: Well, I think that’s how most people think of Instagram. It’s where you put your picture.
Bree: Yes. The exact opposite of what you want to do with it, if you’re using it as a marketing tool.
Tools, tips and tricks
James: OK. So, I can’t let you off the hook this easily. My listeners love tools, tips and tricks. You’ve already given one – how to get stats. What are the tools and applications do you use to run the Betty Rocker?
Bree: To run my Betty Rocker Instagram account? I would love to tell your listeners exactly what I use. I got a few that are really cool. First of all, the one thing we haven’t talked about much is how to use feature accounts to get your name out there, how to actually leverage the other people that are on Instagram like the accounts with like half a million followers, with 250,000 followers, how to make those people post your stuff so you could skyrocket your followers and grow your Instagram account and the app that you want to use to communicate with people…
It wasn’t made for Instagram but it has been adapted by the Instagram community. It’s called Kik. It’s a messaging app, it’s international, and what you’ll see, this is how you find out who these people are that you’re gonna be doing paid features that you can utilize for your business.
Anytime you read a profile that says, KiK or Kik is this, or hashtag this for possible feature, that lets you know that person is probably running a paid feature account and they’re a good person to Kik and ask them what their feature policy is or what their pricing sheet is for features. You can get… There’s a lot of organic shout out for shout out for Instagram where you don’t have to pay for feature but Kik is a messaging app that you want to use.
To make your images look cool, there’s some other apps that I highly recommend and one is SnapSeed which when it first came out, it was a $4.99 app. It was a little mini photoshop. It’s very easy to use and it was bought by Google and it’s now free so that’s definitely one you want to get.
The second one is called InstaCollage. This is a pretty basic one and whenever you have the option, always get the pro option of this app because they’re like 0.99 cents and they give you so much more fonts and options that are way cool.
This is an app that I’ve been using for captions which is so cool and no one else uses it. It’s called Mystic. And it comes with all these really cool, like pre-made captions that even if you’re not gonna use one of their captions, it might give you some inspiration for doing a cool caption of your own. TitleFx is another one.
And whatever caption app you go with maybe, pick one that has fonts that you really like because you want to brand your images with a specific font or a specific color scheme because that will let people know that every time they see that image or an image of that in your feed, that’s you. They associate that with you. I’ve been really consistent with that kind of stuff.
If you are trying to take pictures of yourself or yourself doing something, there’s an app called Self Timer. It’s a self-timer app – really simple when you may not think of, it’s very useful for Instagram. PicArt is another one that has great fonts – that has really, some of those really good, really modern handwriting fonts that are really hot right now on Instagram. Those are great. That’s on PicArt.
And then when it comes to making my videos on Instagram, I really just have two that I’m kind of consistent right now. The first one is the iMovie – they have the best app ever for making little quick videos and then PicPlayPost. That app is money and when you first get it, you cannot, it will give you a little tutorial of how to use it.
So, you can edit a video in iMovie and drop it into PicPlayPost and add a caption. You can make four videos that play at the same time. You can time them to play one after another. It’s basically like a video collage app – very, very effective. Awesome.
So, those are my, those my, I guess, those are the top ones that I’m using right now.
James: Very cool. And what’s the difference between videos and pictures, what are you using mostly?
Most ‘like’-catching posts
Bree: I’ve been testing out what they respond to the most as far as that goes and what I found in my demographic anyway, is that it’s really specifically like a picture of food is going to perform way better for me than a video of how to make the food. They’re going to want to go on YouTube or on my blog to watch a full video of how to make a dish but there are other accounts that are just crashing it with food. So, maybe, I don’t know.
I think that’s because my audience really wants workouts. So like I just posted a little mini circuit on my Instagram just now today and I gave them three moves in 15 seconds and told them that the full 5-move circuit is on my blog and that they can get there for the full thing. That’s… And it’s already, like it’s over a thousand likes within an hour which is really good.
So, they’re definitely responding to workout videos so it’s like a useful piece of content that gives them something they can use right away in the moment.
They also respond really, really well to quotes – just straight up text on the screen. Because remember, what’s really special about Instagram is that you can only use it on your phone, in your life devices. I’d like to call it that because you got it with you, all the time, you freak out when you lose it. It really just allows you to establish this rapport with your audience because they’re interacting with you in what they feel like is real time.
You comment, they like, you comment back, it shows up on their phone right away. They really are super engaged and they will tell you right away if they like it or not because you’ll see how many people like it, immediately. It’s just, it’s just such a simple, easy thing to do.
Sorry, I’m going off on a tangent. What was it that we’re talking about?
Long versus short captions
James: No, you’re not at all, actually. It’s a… You’re talking about the font before that, you’re talking about captions and that’s the beauty of Instagram. Now, let’s talk about captions a little more… long versus short?
Bree: Yes. Long versus short.
James: I’ve seen you engineered these things. I’ve seen you take a picture. And then the next thing I see this amazing work of art with words, story… this seems to be the skill that you have that engages people. I really want to find out more about that.
Motivating and inspiring your audience
Bree: Well, thank you for that. I got two things to say. I like to really motivate people and be very real with them. So, sometimes, I just straight up take a beautiful photograph of myself. And by the way, I’m 37.
And I really like to celebrate like, being physically fit and healthy. And that’s what I’m selling my people. It’s nice when they’re like, oh you’re a babe, or you’re beautiful but, it’s really about empowering them through food and fitness to be their best self. So if I can stand up in front of them and say, I feel great when I show it to you.
And then I can actually intelligently talk about the strategies that I use in my own mind, to be this person that I am right now. And hopefully that inspires and motivates them.
Like, I did a post when we were at the convention the other day. I woke up and I just thought great, like I looked great, I felt great. I took a quick picture and I gave a little checklist of the things that were in my mind about how I sort of stay motivated. And I based it around, we all get the same 24 hours, and now here’s my checklist of what I do to make the most of that time, and please use it, if it’s useful for you.
And of course I went and made a blog post out of that, and made a little PDF so they can print out that checklist and people really like that.
When to use short and long captions
But, I kind of go back and forth. Sometimes, I’ll do a very short caption that’s really funny or quick, and just give someone a useful little thing that goes with the picture and ask them a question. Because I always like to engage people with my content. And sometimes I write something long and motivational.
I mean it’s really, really various. The picture that you took, the one with the New Orleans caption on it, with the handstand, all I did was write, “Love this city! ♥♥” That was it. And it got almost 2,000 likes.
James: It really did surprise me.
Bree: Well you know, it’s probably because you took the picture. I mean that’s why it got so many likes. They secretly knew that.
James: That’s partly what surprised me because generally my pictures don’t get that much a review, but let’s hear it from you, there wasn’t anything super tricky about it. It’s just that you hook it up to this huge audience to…
The magic of filters
Bree: I did, there’s a little bit more to it than that. That actually, this picture specifically is a good example of some of the things you asked me about before. Now I took this picture and I ran it through three different apps. I ran it through SnapSeed first and used the HDR scape filter which gave it a really cool kind of polished, almost a cartoon-like look, which really fits with my brand.
Second, I ran it through one of the apps that has text, and added the New Orleans caption, which I slanted sideways to go with the building. So it looks cool.
And then I put it in an InstaCollage, and made it a square. And then, that was it. But that wasn’t just it. I mean if I just posted that picture you took of me, I think it would have gotten over 1,300 likes, but because we added these filters that made it really cool, it made it much more appealing to the audience.
I mean it’s very cool. And it got, that post got a ton of comments where people were very upset with me for putting my hands on the ground. And that was fun ‘cause it’s a lot of engagement, like when they have something to say.
See how Betty enhances images:
James: So it’s OK when there’s something controversial?
Getting controversial on Instagram
Bree: Yeah it’s okay, and I actually, pretty, specifically focused on positivity, because you know, the bigger you get, the more crap people want to say. But I have commanded a certain respect with my Instagram following where they, it’s very rare that someone posts something negative in my feed. And this one, I don’t feel that they’re being negative even when they were being sort of irate that I was getting my hands dirty. They were just worried.
James: So it’s no YouTube comments system then.
Bree: Oh my God, I hate YouTube for that reason. Just, I can’t stand how negative people are. I just don’t like it.
James: It’s quite bizarre. So, this leads me to another question. What do you do, I imagine people take some of your pictures and use them themselves. Do you find this happens?
Bree: Yup, totally happens. You know James, if I have one thing to say about that, its abundance mentality. I’m never going to run out of ideas or pictures, so if you want to steal my pictures, that’s on you. Like, I don’t care.
James: So I was going to ask for permission to see if we could put that picture on this post on SuperFastBusiness.
Bree: You can use any picture of mine that you want, you always have my permission.
James: Well I think that’s just, it’s good because we’re talking about it, people can see what we’re dealing here with here. The kind of thing that gets a couple of thousand likes. When you are formatting, are there any little rules?
Rules on creating captions
Bree: For formatting a caption?
Bree: Yeah, totally. One is, use emoji. Emoji is the keyboard. You go on your settings in your iPhone and you enable the emoji keyboard. That’s how easy that is, if you don’t know where it is or you don’t know what to do with that. Use emoji. People need to feel your emotions.
I mean I don’t care. I have an audience that is, I have a ton of women in their 50’s that are on Instagram. You think it’s all kids but it’s so not. There’s so many people of all different ages and they love the emoji. I mean it’s just, it’s a great way to give a feeling.
Even just using the fun little symbols, like planes, or a muscle arm, or whatever it is. Whenever I have the opportunity to use an emoji, I totally do.
Second, you know long versus short, like I was talking to you about before, really doesn’t matter. It’s just really make your content useful, be real, this is like rules 101 of blogging basically. You know, just like, be cool and let your personality shine through. I mean it’s just such an opportunity especially if you are a business, or something that most people wouldn’t normally associate with something personal, this is just a great opportunity to get personal with your followers and your fans, and give them something cool.
Another thing is, we don’t really talk about this but, captions, when you format your captions, you don’t want it to be, the editor in the Instagram doesn’t let you do much as far as putting enter and space, and like making your captions layout sort of look really nice. So what I do is I always right my caption, especially if it’s going to be a longer one, in the note app in my phone, so that I can format it, put spaces in between things. And then I just copy and paste it into Instagram.
And don’t forget to put your hashtags in there. I go back and forth, sometimes if I have a lot of hashtags I want to use, I don’t put it right in the caption. But there is a reason to put hash tags in the caption. I don’t know, can I shift and talk a little bit about hashtags here?
James: Yeah let’s go to hashtags.
How hashtags work
Bree: OK. Hashtags are the one live link that you get in your caption. So what I mean by live link is that, hashtags create their own feed within Instagram that anyone who has that hashtag on their picture can go and look at. You can’t add your own hashtag to someone else’s picture. You have to add it to your own picture.
That’s the only way it will work. Like you’ll see pictures, people will come and make a comment on one of my posts, and they’ll say something like, you know, #sexy, or #thisisawesome. But that won’t make my picture show up on this is awesome hashtag feed unless I add it myself, so just keep that in mind.
You have to add your own hashtags. You can go back and add them later, doesn’t matter, just as long as you add them yourself.
What’s really cool about the hashtag is that, it allows you to get found much more easily when you’re first starting out with Instagram. You want to use Statigram, that website I told you about before, to see what the most popular hashtags on Instagram are. It’s great. It will give you a really good information about that. And then, you kind of want to leverage that in the beginning, to sort of like get found, but also create your own unique hashtag so that people can find you.
And you create almost like, I like to call it the campfire for my tribe to sit around. Like when they see me posting, like I always add the Betty Rocker hashtag to the bottom of a caption so that they can see it. Because now I have this huge Betty Rocker hashtag feed, that’s basically like a webpage inside of Instagram, that’s just people who views the Betty Rocker hashtag.
It gives me this awesome opportunity to go in and interact with them, like their pictures, comment on their pictures, and build more brand engagement. They use Body Fuel System which is my clean eating guide. They use that hashtag all the time.
So I can go in and see how they’re doing with their recipes and their food, and so can other people. So it’s a great for me to sell more of my books, or sell more of my products because people can see what other people are doing, how useful they think it is, and I get real honest comments and real honest feedback. It’s so nice to go into a Body Fuel System hashtag feed and see picture of a recipe that I invented in my little tiny kitchen back in Denver like 6 years ago. And someone from some other country is commenting on how much they like that recipe and that they give it to their kids, and their kids loved it.
It’s just awesome for me as a content provider to feel that engagement and feel that community. So it really, I feel like the hashtags are really a special way to build and create a community within Instagram, so you should definitely utilize that.
James: Yeah, and I made it by thinking that there must be ways you can use hashtags to create rules, if this-then that, and to syndicate them, bookmark them, and store them in Evernote, and all sorts of cool stuff. Because it’s just a trackable codec.
James: You know, I think that’s sort of how Twitter works a little bit too, isn’t it?
Making Instagram rules work for you
Bree: Yes definitely. But in Instagram, it’s weird because you can’t use a live.. OK you can’t, when you go online right now, you can go and type in, Instagram.com/thebettyrocker. And you could click on any of my pictures, but you wouldn’t actually be able to see all the comments. You wouldn’t actually be able to click on the hashtags online. It’s not creating… you can only click on the user name. They’re really like keeping it within the app.
So, there are a lot more rules to it and that may be sort of a turn off for some people, but for other people, it’s going to be a turn on, because there’s just so many things you can do with it that other people aren’t doing. So you’ve got a really unique marketplace that just has a lot of opportunity. I would say that if internet marketing is the Wild West, Instagram is f**** Neverland. Sorry pardon my French but seriously, that’s like, I mean the rules, I say there’s rules but they are also like, kind of no rules.
Like you can do a lot of things and people are very, very open to what you’re posting on Instagram, which is awesome, especially if you have a really good heart, and you have something really great to share. You know, there’s a lot of slimy jokes out there too, but you don’t have to follow them. People have complete control over who they follow on Instagram.
It gives you this amazing social proof, like I’ve got 85,000 followers, but I’m following 260 people. People see that and they’re immediately like, “Wow, who’s this? I need to follow this person.” You know, it’s a great way to kind of, let people know you’re a badass.
Action Step guide
James: Fantastic. OK. So, let’s sort of wrap up to a close in terms of an action step guide. You’ve covered a lot of the most important things. Why is Instagram important, what is Instagram – it’s more than just a little camera app where you can push pictures to Facebook. How do we do it?
You gave us a lot of cool stuff, especially tips and tricks and apps we can use. So, we’ve listened to this, we’re on board, how does someone like me, or a typical listener, start? What would be, you know if we have a little post-it note and a pen, what would be our action steps?
Bree: Awesome. So glad you asked. Number one, set up more than one account. Set up two accounts. This is the way over the future right now with Instagram that nobody is doing and you need to do this. You want to set up two accounts, one for your brand, your personal brand, whatever it is. And the second one is a feature account.
I want you to think about using Instagram as a way to leverage other people’s content so you want to curate other people’s content in this feature account because that allows you to get noticed by the people that you feature and they may want to feature you back. I told you guys earlier about using Kik to talk to these feature accounts but you want to have your own feature account because you can drive traffic to your own site as well as using it to build a huge following.
And you can outsource this to someone on freelance to run it for you. There’s all kinds of examples for people who are doing that. It’s very easy.
Starting out on Instagram
But as far as getting started, start out by buying some followers. You don’t want to come out, like, asking someone to do a shout out for shout out with you if you have like, 20 followers – it’s pathetic. Get on there and do this stupid thing which is buy 5,000 followers and you can do this on Fiverr.com, or you know, one of the other sites. But I would recommend when you’re getting started, definitely have, make it look like you have some followers.
And then immediately start doing shout out for shout out using the feature accounts to get you some real followers. And make sure you have at least 10 to 15 good posts in your feed so that when a new person comes and sees your page, they’ve got content there that they want to follow.
Don’t post pictures of your kids, and your family and your dog and waking up in the morning unless any of those specific things are what your brand is about or what you’re trying to sell. You want to be very consistent with what your message is in the beginning. Especially when you’re huge, you can post some lifestyle stuff but in the beginning, keep it really clean.
Think about the user experience 100 percent. Like, what do they want to see? When they’re scrolling through their phone, what about your post is going is going to make them stop and like, like it and then want to read your caption and go to your profile and click your link or whatever it is.
And honestly, like, participate in contests. Find contests on Instagram that are happening within your market and play your game, be on the hashtag feed. Use the hashtags on your captions as much as you can in the beginning so that you can… don’t write stupid sentences like “#this, #this” while you’re typing a post. Save the hashtags for the end of your caption.
You don’t want to look like a needy desperate jerk who’s just like looking for followers because of course, we’re all just looking for followers on Instagram but you also want to make it all about the users. It’s all about them and their experience with your feed.
So, yeah, start your own feed, start a feature account and put up a few really relevant good posts and buy some followers to start with so you get a little kick start, a little boost. And then, get rid of those followers as soon as possible. They won’t really engage with you or at least, I don’t think so.
I’ve heard mixed reviews about those things. But, definitely try it. What else?
James: So, we will be guinea pigs. We can come back and click and comment.
Bree: Yeah. Definitely. Hey, that worked. Yes, definitely. Oh, last thing, very important – your profile. Maximize the use of your profile, OK? Your profile, type it up in your note app like I was suggesting before and make sure your first row of pictures shows above the fold. Basically, you guys know what I’m talking about.
Don’t write your profiles so that there’s so much in it that you can’t even see the pictures when you go to your profile. And also, use your name. This is a cool trick that I did. Use your name as a sub-headline for your brand. Instead of, where it says name in your profile when you’re supposed to enter your name, it doesn’t say Betty Rocker.
My account’s already @TheBettyRocker.They don’t need me to say Betty Rocker again. Instead, have that saved sort of a tagline of my brand which is “Rocking health and fitness.” So, use that area because that shows up and it kind of like gets people thinking and when you write your profile, make sure that you use Emoji to really personalize and make it fun.
And then consider using your number. You can change your link in your profile anytime you want so I’ll constantly mix it up depending on what promotion I’m running. And that’s just a really great way to do it because you can tell in your caption and say “Hey, go to the link in my profile for this awesome cheat sheet that I just created for you guys.”
And boom, they’re on my squeeze page and they’re getting that content and I got my list bumped up with another 10,000 people so…
Getting on the popular page
James: Yeah, this is the thing. I saw you hit the homepage or something and suddenly it was on, it was like, getting the mile along the line.
Bree: Are you talking about the, the popular page?
James: Yeah. You posted something and it hit the first page and then it was like swoosh, like a feeding frenzy.
Bree: Right. Yeah. Sometimes, I get featured on the popular page and that’s, that happens when you get a lot of engagement with the post really quickly, really early on and that’s definitely one way to really grow your following because a bazillion people will see that on the popular page. The popular page is the little star icon on your Instagram, that’s the road that it is.
So if you’ll click that right now, you’ll see the most popular, the most trending posts on Instagram so when you get on that page, it’s pretty badass because, a bazillion people will see you.
James: Well, I’m like a little badass in the making. I’ve got my 9 posts and 423 followers. Look out!
Bree: James, I’m going to check back up on you.
James: Well, now I have to do something since, only few thousand people will listen to this and they’ll probably wonder what I’m up to.
Bree: Well, I’m really curious actually to hear from your listeners. And I hope that you guys will post some questions for me because I’m really curious to see on how creative you can be in coming up with ways to utilize Instagram for brands outside of the health and fitness space. I hope I’ve given you some good ideas to think about and I really hope you all kind of, go off on a tangent and cover something awesome.
James: I might start with my cupcakes.
Bree: I think you should.
James: Alright, Bree. Thank you so much for sharing these. I know that you don’t reveal this information very often and I appreciate all the effort you went through to show me what you’re up to and explain how it works and you put a bit of preparation into thinking about this from a first-timer’s perspective. So, I really admire your willingness to share and help others.
Hopefully, you’ll stick around and answer a few comments right under this podcast. I’m sure there would be some questions because it’s a topic I don’t think I’ve ever covered before in my whole six or seven years of putting out information. Thank you for being generous with us.
Bree: It’s so my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me. And I’m more than happy to answer anyone’s questions to the best of my ability.
James: Thank you so much. So, check out The Betty Rocker. It’s a Facebook page, it’s on Instagram. It’s a movement.
Bree: It’s a blog. It’s everything.
James: See yah.
Bree: See yah.
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