Engage With Your Audience on Instagram

You might think the last thing you need is another Social Media Platform to spend time on. I was in that place, until I spoke to my Expert Interview guest Devani Freeman of Devani Digital. Devani suggested to me that you can engage with your audience on Instagram 51% better than on other platforms. That raised my curiosity.

Devani Freeman

Devani Freeman

Devani Freeman helps heart-centred women entrepreneurs to build their buzz online and get known as the go-to expert in their field. She does this by showing them, step-by-step, how to effectively grow an online following and turn those followers into paying clients. With her proven strategies, you can create a wait list of clients and a business you love!

Devani convinced me that Instagram is certainly worth another look and consideration. Check into this recording to find out who Instagram is best for and how to stand out and position yourself on Instagram. Devani loves this Social Media Platform particularly as it provides 51% more engagement than other platforms.

And we also discussed the path to convert followers into paying clients.

I invite you to listen carefully and to join Devani on her 10-day-Instagram Challenge!

Listen here for more details:

10-day-Instagram Challenge

10-day-Instagram Challenge

As mentioned in the interview and above, Devani offers a free 10-day-Instagram Challenge. This is a fun and effective way to get you started on this platform. Who knows you might give another platform the boot afterwards!

As usual I would love to get your comments. Please enter your feedback about this interview and your experience with Instagram into the Facebook Comment box below the Transcript at the bottom of the post.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Interview Transcript

Petra: Hello to today’s expert interview. My name is Petra Mayer, Petra Mayer Consulting; Online Strategy Made Easy. My guest today is Devani Freeman. Devani helps heart-centered women entrepreneurs to build their buzz online and to get known as the go-to expert in their field.

She does this by showing them step by step how to effectively grow an online following and turn those followers into paying clients. With her proven strategies, you can create a wait list of clients – and wouldn’t we all love to have that – and a business that you love.

In addition, Devani is a CEO of Devani Digital, a boutique social media marketing management agency and she offers done-for-you services for busy business owners. Devani welcome to my blog expert interviews.

Devani: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me here, I really appreciate it.
Petra: Well, we today have a topic of a social media platform that I personally know very little about. I’m not on Instagram, I have decided for the time being that that is one of the platforms I haven’t explored. So I’m really curious to learn about Instagram and you are a specialist in Instagram. Let me first ask you this, why do you specialize on Instagram?
Devani: Yeah, definitely great question. I would say I specialize in Instagram because I see Instagram as being a really crucial social media platform as we continue to move further into this year and into 2016. There is already a stronger percentage of engagement.

There’s actually 51% more engagement on Instagram than any other social platform.

So what that means is more people are interacting and you want not to necessarily be looking at the reach of what you are getting, which is a lot of people click like when it comes to Facebook. But how many people are interacting with you and how many relationships are you building?

That’s what I love with Instagram and also the ability to really be authentic and just have an image-based platform. People are really, really liking that. The trends in social media are going more towards visual so you see Facebook jumping on the bandwagon of doing Facebook ads with video.

So it’s getting to be this shift where we are getting less text. I see Twitter dwindling down a little bit and getting more towards this vision of image and video which is really, really hot.

Petra: So who is on Instagram? If you could share with us a bit of socio demographics like who are the typical Instagram followers and fans and people who hang out there.
Devani: With any social platform the first one to adapt and use is always the younger generation. So you are going to have the 18s to 25 year olds that really get into it first. And now you are really seeing the trend of the ages growing so you’ve got anywhere from 18 to I would say 45 and a lot of bigger brands getting on there. So it’s really a range.

I would definitely say the percentage is a little bit more with women than with men. And so with those demographics if someone is worried about is my ideal client on there, I would say absolutely. A lot of niches that are doing really well with Instagram are ones that are able to tell their story visually.

Health and wellness industry, you see a lot of people in the yoga industry getting really large followings, also fashion works really well and also food, nutrition.

So anything you can think of how you can take your branding and your messaging and deliver it in a way that’s creative with this visual aspect is going to really help. And then also people that are in business coaching and success, anything that’s in the inspirational area is really, really getting great traction with Instagram.

Petra: If we wanted to differentiate Instagram from Pinterest which is also very image-based, how do you differentiate those two?
Devani: With Pinterest you have the ability to click on images and go to links and pages. Pinterest is a lot more driven on shopping and being able to make that purchase where Instagram there are no links allowed on Instagram which is a totally different concept.
Petra: That is interesting!
Devani: I know. The only link you are allowed is the one link that is in your profile. So what I’ve seen is company use it that are selling retail products what they’ll do is they’ll post their image, they’ll post their caption and then you are driving traffic and getting views with what hashtags you are using, which we can talk a little bit more about.

In order for them to go to your website for that you would say click on the link in my bio, that one link. So that’s a really key difference is it’s more about serving value and less about getting people off of the social platform and driving them to your website. It’s more of making that engagement on the site. But yet you can still be strategic by using that one link that you’ve got in your bio.

Petra: So in Pinterest we can set up separate boards. Is that something similar in Instagram where you could then perhaps have—I call it a board just because I don’t know the terminology on Instagram—that specifically links to let’s say a landing page versus another one that might link to another landing page or do you basically have to link to your home page or to your landing page for everything.
Devani: You have just one profile and all your images sit on there. So you don’t have different boards, it’s just all your images live in one home. You only have the ability to put it one link which is on your bio and you can use that link to go to a landing page.

For example, I switch mine out depending on what it is that I’m promoting at the time. If I’m doing a free webinar or a training challenge or something like that I am switching up the link in my profile depending on where that is.

Or if you are promoting a certain product, if you are a product-based business you want to be switching out that bio that you have right there so with everything that you are posting you are saying if you want to have more information click the link on my bio.

Petra: That’s very interesting. I’ve already learned a lot. Now, how do you actually attract your ideal audience from Instagram so that you can then drive them onto an opt-in page?
Devani: That’s where your hashtag strategy comes into play. Hashtags, if you are not familiar with what those are, is the ability for you to put the pound sign in front of any word or words that you have together to be able to attract your ideal client or ideal followers.

For example, I’m in the health and wellness industry, maybe I’m a nutritionist and I want to find other people that have a love for green smoothies. I would do #greensmoothies on my post which will attract other people doing green smoothies.

And also I can use this hashtag in the search area which is when you click on the magnifying glass and I could type in green smoothies and then it’s going to bring up all these images from all these different users from Instagram that are also using the same hashtag. So it’s a way for you to weed through the crap for you to find people to follow and for people to follow you.

So people are finding content on Instagram every day through using hashtags so you want to identify which hashtags are what your ideal audience is using. For me being a marketing and social media coach I’m using #womeninbusiness, #socialmediamarketing.

I also work a lot with coaches so doing #lifecoach, #fitnesscoach things like that, which I feel my target audience could be using. And that’s how people will find you and how you are also able to find other people to start following, people to grow your channel.

Petra: What’s with following, obviously we know that from following others on Twitter and liking Facebook pages etc. So what does the following on Instagram do and are there limitations similar to Twitter where you can only follow that many people and if you are not followed back they block it. Is there something we should be aware of with Instagram?
Devani: Yes. With Instagram you don’t want to follow more than 150 people a day. If you go over 150 you will have a flag in their system thinking it’s spam or automated system. It’s kind of a big number so you don’t have to worry too much about that.

But you want to follow people because social media is a give and take platform. You want to be reaching out and following and commenting and encouraging and supporting other people in turn to grow your platform. So it’s important to follow other people as much as you are allowing other people to follow you.

That’s going to help you to get more exposure and connect with people, be able to use these platforms for networking and growing your business and you never know who that one key person could be, that one person that could be that next client or that one person that could connect with you and then invite you to speak on something and give you exposure to thousands of people. You just never know and that’s what I love about the power of social media, being able to build up your connections and your network.

Petra: Right at the beginning you mentioned why you like Instagram so much is because of the high engagement. What does engagement look like on Instagram?
Devani: Engagement looks like when people click the hot button which is the Love or Like button and when also people comment on your post. For example, let’s just talk about Facebook for instance because most people are on Facebook and familiar with that.

So on Facebook there’s no denial that the reach of Facebook pages has dramatically decreased and only about 2 to 6% of your fans will actually see your posts on Facebook unless you are paying for ads. So you can see and probably feel this decrease of reach which means a decrease of engagement, people commenting and posting. And every time somebody comments or shares your post that gets spread to other people’s news feeds.

The same thing happens in Instagram where every time someone comments or clicks Like, people can see that in the area of Instagram which is the engagement area where you can see what’s going on. It’s a little circle that has a heart in it and you can see the actions that other people are taking and that allows you to get more exposure.

But also engagement is what’s going to help you building a relationship with your followers as well. So engagement is really important and with a decrease of seeing that engagement on Facebook and you are not getting very much engagement on Pinterest besides just re-pins, this is the best site to be able to get that engagement which is basically that conversation going.

Petra: From that conversation then ultimately you will still try I’m assuming—correct me if I’m wrong here—you will try to get people to come to click on that link on your bio and ideally that is the link where you are capturing the email addresses so that you start owning that contact directly within your own capabilities and you start communicating with them directly as well via email. Would that be a correct way to continue that strategy?
Devani: Yes, absolutely. What I always teach and preach is that you don’t own social media platforms and you never want to build your business on something that you don’t own. So let’s say you had 10000 followers on Instagram and sales were pouring in by a single post that you put out.

And your account suddenly got shut down because you don’t have any control over that and that would greatly affect your business. So you don’t want to rely on that and it’s very important as you mentioned in getting people out of social media and onto your email list.

There are two goals that I say when it comes to social media; creating that relationship and engagement, staying on top of mind. And then number two is using it as the powerful platform that it is for driving traffic into your landing page with your call to action or to your website that’s got a call to action to get people to get on your email list.

Petra: Yeah, very important, I totally agree with you. What I find very interesting about what I’m learning on Instagram is that you really in some ways have to have like a campaign strategy behind it.

So let’s say you have a freebie, it could be a downloadable report or it could be what you mentioned, a free teleseminar that you really then do prior to that, a post of images that are relevant for that and ask for clicking on the link which then takes them to an opt-in page which then takes them into your funnel.

So that you can bring them into the information flow that you use your email for to download the gift to come to your webinar and to potentially also be able to give them, to offer them a service that would be a paid for service.

Devani: Correct, exactly. So a great email funnel, you just mapped that right out.
Petra: Perfect. So what type of content should I be posting let’s say most of my listeners would be falling in the categories of coaches, life coaches, business coaches, therapists, counselors, healers. So what type of content, you mentioned a little bit already that in the beauty and in the health industry with images? But let’s say a business coach, what would a business coach be posting?
Devani: The easiest way to come up with content is to break it down into three categories. First I always recommend to do a brain dump so to think about all of the types of things that you teach your clients. If you are a business coach it could be increasing profits or creating systems in your business, different things and just kind of do a full brain dump.

And then you will see kind of a pattern like a few underlying categories and so then take all of those ideas and see what kind of three overview categories that you can come up with. For example, one could be business marketing another one could be systems and effective tips for having more time freedom.

A third one could be perhaps tips for running a team, whatever that may be. For me, my three main categories are social media, the success mindset component and then my third one is online marketing in general. So people know when they come in my channel they can expect to get posts that are motivational, inspirational, teaching them always how to up level their mindset and think like a successful CEO.

And then they also know they are going to get social media tips and things of that nature. So you want to think of three main categories you want to teach about and look at what kind of stuff you are posting on your blog too and then how can you create that information in a way that is an engaged image.

A lot of these times it could be creating custom quotes or it could be taking some of the behind the scenes photos and sharing what you are working on. But doing it in a way where you are keeping your three categories in the back of your mind with everything that you are posting is really helpful.

And then always thinking, what I’m about to post is this going to be helpful, is this going to be relevant and is this going to add value. So always keeping those three in mind so when it comes to okay should I post this selfie or this behind the scenes image, connection is currency so the more you can share you and be you is great. But yet are you doing it in a way that’s helping to add value to your audience.

Petra: And just a clarification, is all the posts photo-based or is it also video-based? Could you put it in a 15-second video?
Devani: Yes, so a 15-second video or a photo.
Petra: Okay. So I hit the magic number without knowing it, that’s funny. And it’s only a photo, can it have a caption, can it have a short description?
Devani: The caption I believe is around 200 character max so you can put in quite a bit of a caption.
Petra: It’s better than a Twitter post.
Devani: Yes, much better. So you want to do a caption for sure and then add in your hashtags. And for the number of hashtags usually the sweet spot is around 10. You can put in a maximum of 30 but 30 is a little much so I’d say 10, 15 max is a good number.
Petra: Just to reiterate what we said earlier and what you’ve just described, so if you have three main business areas that you are teaching in and that you are providing the value, I’m assuming now that you might spend two weeks on just one those, putting your post out on that particular topic and then lead to a link that is more relevant to that. Then after two weeks – it might be four weeks – you switch to another topic and then you change your link accordingly.
Devani: Yes. You could do it that way or you could just keep it all mixed together so you keep it fresh and different and then have your call-to-action link switched out or have it more general, something that your ideal audience would like to have no matter what kind of content you are creating that call-to-action is in alignment with that.
Petra: That’s great. What is the best way to stand out? I can imagine if there are so many posts and they all have images and videos and so on, what’s the best way for you to stand out and to build kind of your brand on Instagram?
Devani: The best way to stand out is through creating quality custom images. One of my favorite ways to do that is if you have an iPhone there’s this incredible app called Word Swag. It’s a premium app so I believe it’s a one-time $2.99 or $3.99 purchase and you can create really awesome custom images in under five minutes right from your phone.

What this does is this really sets you apart because you can brand those images to you. You can put your logo in the corner, for me I put www.DevaniFreeman.com and then I’m consistently using the same fonts, the same color.

So you want to think of this as visually a whole so when somebody comes across your channel and they are scrolling through all your photos and deciding if they want to follow you do you have consistency in the color and consistency in the style? Having that where you really put a lot of thought into what you are posting is going to make you stand out for sure.

Petra: Fabulous. That’s a great tip, thank you so much. I will definitely look into that app. Even if it’s $2.99 I might be able to afford it.
Devani: It’s well worth it.
Petra: I’m assuming that right out of that app you can post into Instagram, you might even be able to post into let’s say Twitter or some of your other social media networks?
Devani: Yes, absolutely. I use that app to create images for my Facebook page and Twitter, absolutely.
Petra: Perfect. Now the big question of course is, how do you convert your followers into profits from Instagram?
Devani: Yes, great question. We’ve covered a little bit on this but it’s all going to come down to your call-to-action so your freebie. You want to have about 90% of your post to be a value-based post and then about 10% of them can be a straight promotion post.

But doing it in a way where you are not being very sales-y. again you are coming from the mindset of educating so when you are putting together a lead-gen call-to-action you, you are driving people to the landing page, you want to make sure that it’s something juicy and something that people really want that’s going to help them solve their problem.

So for example, I put together a 10-day challenge, 10-day challenges or any type of challenge works really well, people like challenges. This is a 10-day Instagram

challenge because I saw the need for my target audience to really learn Instagram, learn how powerful it is. And so I put together a free challenge that gives them step by step guidance in little bite-sized steps on how to grow their Instagram, grow a following.

I use this as a lead-gen and so I promote this throughout Instagram and usually images where I’ll make them fun. So I’ll take one of me, typical selfie but then I’ll run it through my custom coat system the Word Swag and then I’ll create a call-to-action on that.

Or I’ll ask a question; are you making Instagram marketing a priority? And then I’ll put in a few reasons why Instagram is so beneficial and then directions for them on how to sign up for this. People always need to be told what to do so I say click the link in my bio and then I actually tag my own name so they can easily click on that, go on my bio and then driving them to the landing page.

And then from there, they automatically go through this 10-day challenge and now they have gotten a taste of what it’s like to work with me. I don’t hold back with this challenge, I give everything.

So when you think about creating a gift, your freebie or your 10-day challenge think about giving it all, don’t hold back because people are really going to appreciate that and you want people to actually learn and be able to take your knowledge and put it into action.

Then from there you have the opportunity to introduce your products, your services because you are giving them value first so it doesn’t feel like you are trying to just get, get, get. You want to give before you are asking for the sale and that’s when you can get them enrolled into a course or buying your products or services and that’s how you are going to be able to make profits from Instagram.

Petra: It’s all very strategic the way you lay it out and makes a lot of sense to me. I find even in this interview you’ve given a lot of value, you’ve given a lot of great tips. So you are speaking about this 10-day challenge, would that be something you would offer to the listeners?
Devani: Absolutely!
Petra: You seemed so hesitant. You probably thought what a stupid question that is!
Devani: Yes. It’s super fun and so many people are getting great results from it and so I highly encourage every listener, if you want to learn how to use Instagram, it’s the perfect free program to take advantage of.
Petra: Great. Well I will do it and I invite everyone who is listening, I will do it. I will post the link on the page of this video so that you can find that very easily. I really want to say Devani thank you so much but before we close I shouldn’t forget because you also have your social media marketing management agency and you offer done-for-you.

Just a short, introduction, what services do you have in your toolbox that listeners could consider coming to you for and getting quotes on. What are the social media platforms that you are servicing your clients with, etc?

Devani: Yes, great question. So with my social media management company, basically my team and I offer to be able to take social media off of your hands. So if you are a business owner where you are too busy and you are overwhelmed when it comes to creating your social media strategy for figuring out what type of content you should post, what platforms you should be on.

Then creating the image and creating your voice, that’s something we help with, we are taking that off your hands. And then also creating social media content so creating these custom images and then getting them to be consistently posted on social.

We also run Facebook ad funnel so if you want to generate leads from Facebook, you want to set up your funnels for converting off social, building your email list then turning that into profits those are things that we can take off your hands.

It’s definitely a high level premium service and it’s for business owners that are really ready to invest in their marketing and have it done for them. It’s fun to be able to offer that service and that’s basically how that works.

Petra: Perfect, great. Well thank you so much, as I said I will post the link to the Instagram challenge and I hope many will take you up on that. I think it’s a great way to get your feet wet and check it out and perhaps decide that Instagram might be a priority already over one of the other platforms you are presently using that perhaps isn’t necessarily converting.

I will also of course have Devani’s link on the website so that you can get in touch with Devani if you feel that a done-for-you service would be a way to de-stress your life to make things easier for you so that you can actually focus on your in-person networking, your email follow up and your customer service.

And providing the service to your client which is really the one thing that you really need to do and perhaps social media is a thing that you might not need to do yourself. I hope you got a lot of value out of this interview, I certainly did and Devani I really appreciate your time and being available and for sharing all your knowledge about Instagram. I think that was awesome.

Devani: Thank you so much, pleasure to be here and being part of your interviews and being part of your audience. Thank you so much.
Petra: Thanks so much, bye bye.
Devani: Bye bye.