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March 25, 2020

153: How to Create and Implement an Instagram Strategy to Grow Your Brand [Christy Laurence Interview]

153: How to Create and Implement an Instagram Strategy to Grow Your Brand [Christy Laurence Interview]

Instagram requires a very different strategy compared to other social networks in order to be successful. I had the pleasure of interviewing Christy Laurence, CEO and Founder of the leading Instagram scheduling app Plann, to discuss all things Instagram and how you can best create and implement an Instagram strategy to grow your brand. 

Some of the things we discussed include:

- Instagram content strategy
- the importance of the grid
- hashtags
- posting frequency
- the value of Instagram analytics
- and more!

Key Highlights

[01:59] Introduction of Podcast Guest, Christy Laurence

[04:14] How Plann Started

[09:18] What Is Plann?

[10:16] Color Palette Analysis

[11:49] Other Killer Features of Plann

[16:18] Best Time Of The Day To Post On Instagram

[18:16] Hashtag Functionality

[21:14] The Concept Of Grid

[25:26] Are Preset Filters Needed To Be Successful On Instagram?

[27:12] Long Caption VS Short Caption

[28:03] Swipe Up In Instagram Story Or Dm Me For Link?

[29:59] Where Should You Put Hashtags?

[32:51] Christy's Advice On Posting Consistency and Frequency

[34:34] Connect With Christy

Notable Quotes

  • I really understood the need of the platform. And that's why I developed something that I knew would really help people understanding why they're on the platform and the purpose and having being informed about why they're making decisions.
  • My whole purpose is to help more people be successful. And if I can show them what's not working and is working, then I can direct more people in the right way.
  • If you can, inside plan, you can learn when your audience is most online, and most engaged. So therefore, you can make better decisions about when to get in front of them, instead of having to post hundreds of content and just hoping that works.
  • Having that data and doing reporting and checking it out is super crucial to understanding how to optimize and get better.
  • But Instagram is not Snapchat. So if you're posting, you know, too much of your cat or too much of your food, then they go actually, this isn't for me anymore. So again, it's it's an extension of your brand extension of your story and extension on your business. So we have to be intentional.
  • For me, it comes down to knowing your audience.
  • And Instagrams, it's always changing. There's no reason you can't either, but it's about understanding your people reading your analytics and making really educated decisions.

Additional links:

Transcript

Neal Schaffer:

This is the maximize your social influence podcast with Neal Schaffer, where I help sales and marketing professionals, entrepreneurs, and small business owners, build, leverage and monetize their influence in digital and social media. Everybody, Neal Schaffer here, and welcome to episode 153 of the maximize your social influence podcast. We live in very uncertain times right now. And I'm sure that a lot of you, as have myself have been feeling sometimes a little bit uneasy or uncertain about our future, what is providing solace to me is knowing that we will get through this. And when we do get through this life, we'll get back to normal. And therefore we need to continue educating ourselves, and improving the chances that our business will not only survive today, but will thrive tomorrow. And that's why all of my own content creation and sharing my experiences, and my relationships with my clients really have not undergone any significant changes. And I am going to keep podcasting and blogging and doing everything I can through my communities, what have you to help you and your business. So today, we're going to be talking about a social network that has been a popular topic on this podcast looking at the analytics, as well as some reviews I've gotten on iTunes, that suggests that a lot of you are very, very interested in Instagram marketing. And Instagram really is a unique beast or a different type of social network compared to Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn simply because you can't simply drop a link there like you could on other social networks. Instagram also requires us to take a almost 100% visual approach. And not just photos, but also videos and then the unique stories format. So today, this podcast is going to be an interview with Christy Lawrence, I couldn't think of anyone better to talk to about creating and implementing an Instagram strategy than someone that's been there and done it not only for her own brand, but for hundreds, if not 1000s of brands. And this is because Christie is the CEO and founder of the leading Instagram scheduler app plan. We'll have a link to that in the show notes. But definitely check them out. And I hope you enjoy the interview. But before we get to the interview, just two little things. This podcast is being sponsored or this episode is being sponsored by the maximize your social influence community on Facebook. Yes, if you missed it last week, we now have our own community that you can join up, you can engage and network with other podcast listeners, as well as get all of your marketing questions answered. So if after hearing an episode, you want to make a comment, you want to ask a question that is the place to do it. The link will be in the show notes. But you can also go to Facebook and simply do a search in Facebook groups for maximize your social influence. Also, at the very end of this podcast, I'm going to have a special offer for those of you that have already gone out and purchased my latest book, The Age of influence, which just came out on March 17. You know, books are planned well in advance. And this is not the ideal time to actually be publishing a book as you can imagine. But you know, life does go on and business does go on. And our education, as I mentioned does go on as well. So for those of you that do buy or considering buying it, I hope you'll listen at the end of this podcast for a very special offer I have for you. So without further ado, here is this episode, and the interview with Christy Lawrence of plan. Today we're going to be talking about how to create and implement an Instagram strategy to grow your brand with plan. And if you have been on Instagram, you've probably known that there are a few apps out there that can help you plan your posts in advance and also schedule and post on your behalf. And plan is one of those apps. So without further ado, I am going to hand the mic over to Christy, our special guests and have her Introduce yourself.

Christy Laurence:

Hi, Neil. Thanks for having me, first of all, so yeah, so plan is obviously one of the best tools that exists on the market. And I started with a couple of years ago because I'm not gonna lie, something I wanted for myself. I was an artist and I was putting my artwork on Instagram. And it was when the platform was really taking off. And I started making more money doing that than my day job. And my friends were all asking me what, why don't like what are you doing here? And I felt like I was repeating myself all the time. And like every other founder in the world, I had that aha moment and decided to put my brain in an app so I could teach people that Instagram has beautiful storytelling technique where it's not about putting your work into the world and saying buy my stuff. It's about telling this great story being on brand and and taking people on the journey of what you're doing. And pretty much like everyone else in the world that has an F idea. I was like, Oh, I've got an F idea. And I decided to go for it. And next minute we're in 160 countries have helped over one and a half million people build out their Instagram. So yeah, I guess I've become an expert. No,

Neal Schaffer:

that's amazing. So would you say before you develop the app, and congrats on all your success, by the way, that's an amazing story. You know, a lot of entrepreneurs fail nine times before they're successful. 10 time sounds like you've done very well, obviously. So get back to before you created the app, you said you had success, which was, you know, making more money in Instagram compared to your day job. So was that as an influencer reselling product, what, you know, what exactly were you doing?

Christy Laurence:

Well, I was working in corporate advertising. So I was making TV commercials for an insurance company. So my brain had already been wired for marketing and creative execution. And I found that I have a rare skill set where I can be highly analytical, but also very highly creative. And so being able to put the two together was a unique skill set. So when I went on Instagram as an artist, and was selling my work, I understood the concept of branding myself, and having a niche audience and understanding that influence that wasn't about building my followers to these ridiculous amounts. It was about having people really talk to me and get me and want to work with me. So I only had a few 1000 followers, but I was making one to $2,000 a picture. And it kind of took off from there.

Neal Schaffer:

And this was sponsored content, working with brands.

Christy Laurence:

Oh, no, sorry, my own my own as an artist. So I was posting fashion illustration work. Gotcha. Okay. Yeah. Wow, I did what my dad told me not to do. He's like, you'll never make money being creative. Like, I'll show you, dad. And now well, my mom would say, don't make friends on the internet. But that's all I do these days. So

Neal Schaffer:

you were posting pictures of your illustration art that then people saw and then contacted you to purchase? And that represented though? So you were selling product? Basically?

Christy Laurence:

Sorry? Yeah. And then yeah, but I didn't, I only did it for a few months before it really started to take off. And I figured, well, this something in here. And then I had people contacting me from all over the world, like, how did you know what hashtags to use? Or how did you get your filters to look like that? And for me, it became really, it was really natural. And I really wanted to teach people and what I started to figure out, what's your sermon people like me in the world that were creative, and they wanted to subsidize your income, or they wanted to a whole new profession. And I thought, if I can make a tool that teaches people that you can drag and drop to visually organize your grid, or you can really strategize and plan out your Instagram in advance that you too can be really successful. And so I thought it was just a massive driver for me to build out because I could get not just the people that couldn't afford consulting, but I think get a product into the hands of millions of people. And next minute, here we are.

Neal Schaffer:

I agree making creative people systematic. And really, I think you'd agree that Instagram is sort of, of all the social networks out there. It's really unique in many ways. And it requires you to be very, very creative, which seems to go against having a system or a process in place. So

Christy Laurence:

it's not really natural for creatives to be and I think that's why I wanted the tool for myself, I found that I didn't like posting on the fly. And back then before, before I had planned, there was no option on the market where we could drag and drop your grid, or you could scheduled posts and make it visually. So I really understood the need of the platform. And that's why I developed something that I knew would really help people understanding why they're on the platform and the purpose and having being informed about why they're making decisions. So you're not in a suit. And I thought, Oh, I forgot to post this week, I'll just quickly do it now and coming up with a random caption, because when you put 1 billion people on the Instagram platform, you've got a lot of competition. And people do I mean, sure, they come with a beautiful imagery, but they're gonna stay for the captions. And if you're educating or inspiring or building a community, they're gonna stay a bit longer.

Neal Schaffer:

Right? Well, you've covered a lot of different things, followers, hashtags, visuals, grid, captions, are all obviously essential ingredients to that that Instagram strategy mix. But what I was gonna say was, you know, you've seen life for the average person that wants to become more influential, or the business that is on the small business or lately using the native Instagram app and all the challenges and so you built the app. So how would you best describe plan and I described

Christy Laurence:

plan is a full suite for Instagram. So you've got your analytics, you've got your scheduling, and you've also got your image editing tools. So if you're short of time, you can throw some content in and filter it and edit it and put text over the top, you can schedule stories, it's a full platform for how to get ahead and grow faster. So you can be just more insightful of what you're posting and more and on top of everything. And I think the beauty of the platform as well as that you can have team members so if you are a brand or you have assistants, it doesn't fall on just you to be to be growing and being successful on Instagram. And and I could be here all day with the features but my favorite one at the moment is discovering your best performance. Color Palettes, which is very unique to plan, because if you can understand who you're talking to, then you can talk directly to them. And Instagram being so well visual, if you can understand what visuals work for you, and what don't, then you can make more informed decisions.

Neal Schaffer:

Now, when you mentioned that, is that based on that color palette analysis, is that based on using? So this plan that have like preset filters that you use, and it's analyzing those? Or can I just, can I just post photos? And it's gonna say, okay, that photo has a lot of blue versus a lot of pink versus a lot of yellow. Which, which of the two? Is it? Or is it both?

Christy Laurence:

It's both. So we have our own, we have over 60 Professional filters, you can throw images up and add your own filters. So you can create your own color scheme and have that brand consistency. But the color palette analyzer is based on the actual photo itself. So it doesn't really matter what filters on it just going to pull out if you've got, you know, beautiful blues are some really washed out whites, you're going to learn which ones work.

Neal Schaffer:

So are you using some sort of visual recognition AI tool to help you?

Christy Laurence:

Yeah, we custom built one because I wanted to be honest, it was because people started posting, they weren't going out at night, and they were posting photos of the cocktails really late. And they're all these really dingy dark brownie kind of images that they just don't perform. So I'm like, okay, so how can I teach people that this doesn't work. So if I put a color palette analyzer, no one's going to have a best performing posts of blues, or like black and dark brown. So it's like, okay, so steer you back in the right direction, because my whole purpose is to help more people be successful. And if I can show them what's not working and is working, then I can direct more people in the right way.

Neal Schaffer:

So are there any other sort of killer unique functionalities or differentiating functionalities that you believe that plan has, versus other solutions that are out there?

Christy Laurence:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, these like, there's a couple. So if you don't have any of your own content, if you're a bit short, and you know, you need to post, we have three royalty free stock image libraries. So you can just jump in search for puppies or building or anything, and you can pull that straight into your grid to use in the future. We also do story scheduling, because they're getting a lot of eyeballs. And sometimes you you might have a story and you don't want to post it on the same day, and you want to schedule it out. So instead of having to save it in your in your phone and not knowing it was planned, you can just talk, you can have one sitting and have your whole week organized. And my personal favorite is because I'm a massive nerd is the scheduling tool as the sorry, the strategy tool. So when we spoke earlier about, you know, understanding your people and their needs and the themes, what I built inside plan was as a strategist. So we have highlighted the best performing themes that exist on Instagram. And then you can drag and drop and build from those themes, your own custom strategy. And as an example, it's, you know, a quote, or education or inspiring someone, and you can drag and drop to organize what that will look like, and then import that into a grid in the workspace, so that when you're when you're thinking, okay, so what do I post, you just go straight to your strategy and go, Okay, so today, I'm educating someone, and then you can sit and plan that out for weeks in advance anyway. So that's my personal favorite, there was a real there's a real challenge around, what do I post? And when should I post? And and why should I post? And is this relevant? So having that strategy laid out before you then create your grid? Is is a game changer for me?

Neal Schaffer:

So let me just confirm that. So are you saying that the strategy is basically saying, I assume that you first are creating a grid, but within that grid, you have content categories for life?

Christy Laurence:

So yeah, so you create your content pillars in a grid formation, and you can add your own custom ones. Like for me, personally, I love to roll escape. And it's part of my life. So I'll add rollerskating into my personal story. And if it was plan, I'm probably going to be doing 80% educational and a few inspirational, maybe some testimonials. So if I build up my grid around how I want to come across as social proof, or do I want to advertise a product or a sale or a discount, you can plan that out in advance. And I think one of the best use cases of that is a launch strategy. So you might have your exclusive first looks, here's the influencer using the new handbag, sign up to the email list. So you can just sit and plan that entire launch strategy across both stories and your grid, and then you import them into the grid gallery. So then you can create the visual aspect over the top.

Neal Schaffer:

Gotcha. So the grid also is also once you have the strategy created, and you have different weights for different categories, it's gonna say, Hey, you have a you have an opening tomorrow, you should be posting on education, because that's what you put in your strategy, basically.

Christy Laurence:

Exactly. So you can imagine that all that social media overwhelm is gone. There's no stress, if you have a team, they all know what you're doing. And it just, it's just a complete suite to make it easy because there's a lot of people that have social media overwhelm, and they have to be on all the time and and they just you just can't especially if you're running a busy business, if you're only a small team. Sometimes it's just unattainable to be online all the time. So We also built in a place where you can rely, you can respond to comments inside the dashboard. So you can keep those conversations flowing and nurture your audience without having to be scrolling on your phone all the time.

Neal Schaffer:

You have some sort of CRM functionality, then where if you want to go and see if that person, you can see the comments historically, of each person,

Christy Laurence:

you can click on a post, and you can see the entire history of the post comments and just respond to those as you go.

Neal Schaffer:

Right? But you can if I click on a person, can I see the common history with that person?

Christy Laurence:

Not quite, you have to click on the post. Yeah, I can put it on my request list. And then we can go into our BBSes and ask if they want it. And that's, that's how the product works. So we are completely it's very rare in tech to be completely customer funded. So in tech, most people get millions and millions of dollars in funding. But with plan, we are completely well bootstrapped. But I like to call it customer funding, because without our customers paying for the product, then we don't exist. So the entire obsession of what I do is okay, so what do you guys want now? What's your biggest problem? And then I just attacked those. And, yeah, we've won four international awards now. So

Neal Schaffer:

I think we went like really in the details. And I want to sort of get back, just, you know, just understanding how plan will help you with your Instagram marketing. So is there anything that helps you with time of day to post as well as advice on hashtags?

Christy Laurence:

Absolutely, yeah, having analytic Tandy is one of the best tools. So a lot of people come to me and they say, When should I post on Instagram? And I'm like, Well, that depends on who you're talking to. Because if you're talking to everyone, then you're not really talking to anyone at all. So once you if you Yeah, if you really understand who they are. So for example, an example I used the other day was a mum, if you assigned baby products, and they might be online at weird times of the day, they might be feeding in the middle of the night, and they're not in that conventional nine to five, online and their lunch break. So if you can, inside plan, you can learn when your audience is most online, and most engaged. So therefore, you can make better decisions about when to get in front of them, instead of having to post hundreds of content and just hoping that works. We also have things like, you know, your follower growth and your engagement rate. And with the likes disappearing lately, your engagement is really all that matters, because it's having that influence. And the fact that influence has kind of been a weird word lately, but influence has always been around, do you? Or can you convince people? Or do you have influence that people trust what you're saying? So it becomes a longer conversation. And so when you go into your comments, and have a look at what's working, we can pick out what engagement rate is working best. So then you can choose more of those types of topics to have a better engagement. Right? I hope that makes sense.

Neal Schaffer:

It does. So when you mentioned we can see the time when your followers are online, as well as the time of engagement. So these are two different data points,

Christy Laurence:

different data points, so you can have your best performing posts. So based on historical data, over 90 or 9030 or a week, we can learn when what time of day was your most engaged posts. But then we can also share with you the times of day that your followers actually online. Gotcha. Well, Instagram is like it's a marketing tool, right? So if you're not testing and optimizing, then it's not happening. So just want to just like really clarify that, you know, having that data and doing reporting and checking it out is super crucial to understanding how to optimize and get better.

Neal Schaffer:

Absolutely. So what about the question on hashtags? Is there any functionality that helps your users find the right hashtag or group hashtags? Or?

Christy Laurence:

Yeah, absolutely. So we have this tool that creates families of hashtags. And again, it's something I wanted for myself, because a lot of people are like, how do you choose? What's the right hashtag to use? And how do I get visibility on them. And for example, if you are using hashtags that have over a million mentions, then you kind of want to get lost on that hashtag stream, because someone's posting in that every few seconds. So if you search, no cats, you're going to get 10 million responses. So you're just going to get lost in that feed. But if you search something a little bit more niche, it's going to have more visibility. And that's up to you to choose what you'd like. So to make that easier when you search in a hashtag. So for example, jump into plan and you create a set called cats, and then you type in Cats of Instagram, we then come up with all of the mentions and how many times that hashtag has actually been used. So you can say, Okay, well, that one's been used 10 million times, probably not for me, but this one down here has been used 25,000 times. So it's probably going to stay in the hashtag thread for maybe a week. So you can make your own decisions on what you'd like in your hashtag group.

Neal Schaffer:

So you are doing that research inside plan. And then you are creating groups based on obviously, you know, category and post, you can immediately go back to that group that you've already defined and then easily like paste those hashtags.

Christy Laurence:

Yeah, and you can have unlimited hashtag sets. I think I personally have about 51 for rollerskating, one for business, one for work, and then plan has its own test going on. So like fashion influences and things if they just search if they just use the word fashion, then we'll show them okay, here are the other hashtags that we think are associated to fashion that you might like to put in State, and then show them the mentions to say, now you can make informed decisions of nail blogger might have 10 million, but dudes in Texas might have 150,000.

Neal Schaffer:

And are you? Are you basically using what Instagram gives you or you're adding any special sauce there?

Christy Laurence:

So Instagram have very limited things with the API, but we get as creative as possible and as helpful as possible. Yeah.

Neal Schaffer:

Okay, let's get back, I want to spend the rest of the time with those core components. And I think when we began this conversation before the podcast recording, of designing a grid, and planning out your images in advance, according to a grid, which is something very, very unique, I think that, you know, if you are publishing to other sites, you may look at the news of the day, or the holiday of the day. So it's a very, very different way of planning. It's not much in advance, there's no concept of a grid. And sometimes you want to post like the news that are happening on that day. So you actually want to be in real time. Instagram, obviously, very different. You don't need to be in real time. I mean, you have stories for that, obviously, can you explain to someone who's never thought of the grid, that's really the value of plan the app? why that's so important, the concept of a visual grid, and have scheduled in advance for Instagram.

Christy Laurence:

So when you're on Instagram, you're scrolling through accounts, and you're being and you're in discovery mode, and you've seen a post or you're seeing someone check one out, you're like, Okay, so what does this person about, so you click on their name, and you open up their Instagram grid. And now that person, though, might scroll through your feed, I'd say a maximum of three scrolls like they're not going, they're not going to use that for anything. And you have that split second to get their attention. And you've got your bio, and you have your grid to say, this is what I do. And this is why you need me, and it's completely visual, so you don't have complete control over that, then you're missing out this really important piece of the Instagram puzzle. So I wanted to make that completely accessible to anyone to have complete, control over what their brand looks and feels like. So you've got maximum chance of converting someone to sale.

Neal Schaffer:

So it really comes down to the and I've been thinking about this as well, when the closest analogy I have is a LinkedIn profile. So a LinkedIn profiles tax, but you do all these things to try to get people to your profile. And then you want to convert them by either them asking to connect or contact. So lately, anything with Instagram, it's the grid becomes a visual representation of you similar to your LinkedIn profile tags. And then you you're using hashtags because you want to become your profile, you know, they come your photo,

Christy Laurence:

come and visit. And then if you've been, yeah, been inconsistent, and you're posting shoes, and then capsule fitness, like okay, well, I don't know what I'm getting here. So if you are consistent posting, and then in your bio, your writing, he's had to contact me for more information on x, then you've got more of a chance of keeping them around, because you've got more targeted, people don't actually yeah, I do want that.

Neal Schaffer:

So it's a natural progression of a funnel, Pinterest, it's the idea that, you know, when you publish something, you have keywords in your description, you have keywords in your board and your PIN, it's a natural progression. It's a different type of that's like an SEO funnel, but for the marketer lately,

Christy Laurence:

you can talk to me about SEO all day, but it's definitely a funnel. And then when you get to the stories and posts that you're on call, you need to include the call to actions, because people need to be told that you're actually selling something, you're actually still a business. So if you're scheduling out, swipe up to get this or download this for free if you're including that in your strategy, but a higher chance of converting them,

Neal Schaffer:

right. So it all has to basically it all has to be in sync. So that's rare. And probably Christie, you could talk a lot about this. But I know myself, I think I have a podcast on this the transition from personal to business. And there's a lot of Instagram experts out there that will use the word you know, posting with intention, right? Yes, yes, that might have been a great meal you had last night. But part of your strategy, it's through Twitter, you know, I don't want I don't want to like what you ate for breakfast. It's almost

Christy Laurence:

like you're, you're touching on great things. Because some people I had seen that use stories and they business they're like, okay, but people want to see behind the scenes and they want to see me. And absolutely they do they want to see what's going on. But Instagram is not Snapchat. So if you're posting, you know, too much of your cat or too much of your food, then they go actually, this isn't for me anymore. So again, it's it's an extension of your brand extension of your story and extension on your business. So we have to be intentional.

Neal Schaffer:

Yeah. And I think that definitely there is a role for lifestyle content, there is more brand content in a certain way, with a certain strategic attachment or relationship, right. Like, I travel the world. I do a lot of business overseas. So for me business travel is just a natural extension of my brand. And it also leads to the branding that oh, he's doing a lot of speaking overseas, right?

Christy Laurence:

Oh, he's available to travel. I will book him, right.

Neal Schaffer:

So I have travel sites reach out to me. I mean, that's not the intention of my Instagram site. But yeah, so It's sort of a similar thing, if you want to do that lifestyle content, you need to find a connection to your strategy. And you need to do it in proportion in moderation, compared to

Christy Laurence:

like, I might go to the gym and workout, but it's not part of my story. So you're not gonna see me and workout gear on the treadmill.

Neal Schaffer:

Right? And if you really want to do it, that's what Instagram stories are for. Right? The behind the scenes now, how we're doing stories is another question. But okay, so with the remaining six minutes left, let me ask a few questions. Number one, do you have to have preset filters a preset look and feel for every image to be successful on Instagram

Christy Laurence:

to be successful? No, I mean, like I said, the images, get people in the door, but it's the captions that they really stay for? And do they relate to you? And can they feel what you do and then or if it's a product that you're selling, and they end the market for it. So they might have people change the grid every nine images, because like I said, you're only doing three scrolls. So you might appeal to one audience. And you might want to make such an appeal to a different audience slightly by changing up the color scheme. And it can't hurt to test it to see what works. I've seen some people change from really bright and colorful to just black and white and be way more successful. So again, for me it it comes down to knowing your audience. And I think one of the my favorite things about plan and the app is that you can search other people's accounts. So if I'm like, Okay, well, I have the same type of audience as Westown. What does Westown look like? So I jump into plan, search Westown, and then pull up their color palettes and see what type of things are posting to really get in the heads of their people? And then I replicate that, will that look and feel so you're not stuck to one thing? And you're definitely not locked in? And Instagrams definitely, you know, it's always changing. There's no reason you can't either, but it's about understanding your people reading your analytics and making really educated decisions.

Neal Schaffer:

I'm going to continue with these like real short questions, because a lot of marketers struggle with, and you have Instagram experts out there. Various things, right. And there's no one right answer. But okay.

Christy Laurence:

I mean, being consistent. I mean, it being consistent is it could be a palm tree, it could be a text, it's just about what brand cues does someone have when they jump in your feed? Or if they're scrolling through Instagram? What makes you identifiable? And and how do I visually recognize who you are? So that might not be a filter?

Neal Schaffer:

Gotcha. Interesting. Captions, long caption versus short caption?

Christy Laurence:

Well, this is a this is one we're actually testing internally at the moment. On out Yeah, so on our educational posts, what we like to do is, we have learned that you don't want to take people off platform. So you might have a new blog post out. But you might be like, okay, a new blog post upon this Lincoln bio, but no one's leaving the platform. Right? So how do I get engagement and keep them on the platform? So is short captions better? Or long captions better? And then how do I get them to engage like, Hey, did you read this? Or what did you learn? Or? And you're going to apply any of that? So it comes down to what is the post about? And is does it serve your people by being a long caption? Or is it serving you? So a lot of the time? That's the question, Are you serving your people? Are you serving yourself? And I think you'll soon work out what captions work for you and your audience.

Neal Schaffer:

All right, here's one for you a swipe up in an Instagram story or a DME for the link in an Instagram story.

Christy Laurence:

Oh, again, up to your audience. And then if you for example, we've tried one more that said, we'll we'll send you out one of these lead magnets DM me, DM me your email address, and we'll send it out. But, you know, it took a few hours for someone to sit there. And you know, put all the emails into the workflow for the email. And I was like, okay, but ROI on that, probably not worth it. Again, it's it's having that business mind of working out what works for you. But I have seen I think Justin Bieber actually did one the other day, or is just completely black screen with swipe up. And I was like, Ooh, okay. And

Neal Schaffer:

this concept of teaching your tribe, and I just don't know how many people are actually doing. Obviously, there's a lot of people that do do swipe up. But I still think there's a lot, a lot of people that don't, it's a new sort of action that people write. So

Christy Laurence:

I think it's also about keeping people on the platform, Instagram doesn't want you to take them off the platform, they want you to stay in there. And then if I'm on Instagram, it's like, well, now I'm on Instagram, I want to stay here. So how do you keep people in the platform and, and capture their attention? For the reason they're on Instagram. And that's why if you're posting on Facebook, and LinkedIn, and Twitter, it's not about just strong enough on all platforms, because everyone was on the platform for something different. Instagram sometimes escapism.

Neal Schaffer:

So what about hashtags? That are

Christy Laurence:

3030 100%? Why are you gonna if you're gonna post on Instagram, and not use 30? It's like, why not? So hashtags for those neon lights are like, Hey, I'm here, look at me, diffusing five. You could have.

Neal Schaffer:

So I wouldn't like spend too much time. Obviously, if you have a plan, then you would be able to create events and boom, I do think that the platform gives you a max of 30 You should take advantage of that just

Christy Laurence:

right. I agree. And if you're stuck, you just use fine hashtags that maybe have around 50,000 and just go with it. So

Neal Schaffer:

two more questions. Number One hashtags in post at the bottom or in the first comment, it doesn't

Christy Laurence:

matter, I get, like almost every single day. It just depends on the timing of the post. So, for me, personally, I prefer to keep my captions clean I posted in the first comment, and sorry, the first caption, no, no, that was right, I finished. And then it just depends on you. Because for example, with plan, we let you do either, so you can either copy and save them to your clipboard to paste them into the first comment. Or you can use the platform to write out your caption, and then click a button and add a group of hashtags that you've selected into the post will add a bunch of styles to hide it for you, and then your group of hashtags underneath, so you don't forget. So if you are in a team, it might be easier for you to keep them. So someone might have done the research and said, I want to use this set of hashtags for this post, I've already ended them for you. But if you kind of are on top of it, then you might be able to paste them yourself into the first comment, giving them

Neal Schaffer:

a comment. No, exactly. No, you're right. Yes, it depends

Christy Laurence:

on the workflow and what works for you. So with planning, we build both ways to make it easy for anyone to use it. But do you can

Neal Schaffer:

you automatically publish a first comment with those hashtags immediately after publishing the post or you don't manually,

Christy Laurence:

we have to manually do it because it's actually against Instagrams API rules to be able to do it. So there's a lot of rules that I have to I pretty much working in tech, with Facebook and Instagram, I'm going to jump through hoops that are on fire, to consistently be working. And if they change something, they email me maybe an hour before they change it. And I'm usually asleep because they're in Sydney. So there's not really much time. So if you're not abiding by what they do, like, for example, there are platforms that aren't partners. And I'm not going to drop in on anyone, I just want to educate that to be to be able to post automatically from from some form some platforms. One of the first rules of the API is that you are not allowed to collect their email and password. Like you're not allowed to collect Instagrams logins, for example. And so when I spot companies that I do that, I'm like, No, you risk people's accounts like that. So for me, it's like, my love is my people, and my love is helping them be successful. So I would never try and risk anyone's account.

Neal Schaffer:

Awesome. And there's a lot of rogue apps out there. That's okay.

Christy Laurence:

But we get asked this every day. So in our customer success, when we get tickets coming in, it's just, it's something that we see a lot. So we just love to educate people and help them understand why we asked you to post what we plan asked me to post for you for now.

Neal Schaffer:

Awesome. So just one last question, which is, we talked about the importance of consistency, and frequency. I mean, there's no one right answer here. My rule of thumb is if you can publish every day on Instagram, that's awesome. At least try to publish once a week, what would be your advice to the people listening that have that have not been frequent and consistent publishers on Instagram,

Christy Laurence:

I would say just make it a routine, especially with something like plan, it's really easy to just jump in and get involved. Instagram definitely rewards consistency. So if you are consistently posting, they do give you more reach, just like they do if you get higher engagement. And then the same with stories. I think that for me, personally, I like to recommend that people are on stories quite a lot now that if you're posting every 12 hours, then you'll always have something new in rotation when someone's either awake or scrolling at night. So for me personally, that's my my own advice that I give people, and then posting on the grid. Again, it is definitely quality over quantity right now. If you having a great engagement rate, then your reach and your impressions are going to be so much higher. So if you don't have the content, like don't Just don't post it, but if you can be consistent. I mean, we've tried. It's definitely not three times a day. And for me in my team, I just say every one to two days now. Gotcha. Okay. Yeah. It's always changing. So, I mean, it's hard to give it a rule.

Neal Schaffer:

Sure. But I think that the way that supply and demand of content on Instagram versus other networks, there's just not enough supply of content. So the algorithm really does work in your favor, although overtime, the engagement does go down,

Christy Laurence:

doesn't it? Good content. Really? Yes. And content? Yeah. Not for the sake of publishing agree. Correct.

Neal Schaffer:

So I think wow, in a very, very short time, I think we covered a heck of a lot.

Christy Laurence:

I know is that candolyn?

Neal Schaffer:

Is there anything else that we missed? I know that I am going to go and definitely take planned out for a test run and how to get the mindset of batch processing getting content, I have a strategy and really fine tune it with a great and what have you, but anything else that you wanted to educate the community on?

Christy Laurence:

Do you have questions about Instagram, we have a blog that is completely free and we publish three times a week, and it's visited by over a million people every month. And that whole aim is to educate you by professional marketers with what's new on Instagram and what's changing. So if you do want to sign up to our email list and be continued because it does get hard trying to keep up all the time so we can do it for you and we can teach you then we'd love to help you.

Neal Schaffer:

So make sure if you are listening And we'll put in the show notes as well. I know that a lot of you are listening via the podcast, plan that comm slash blog, and check out all the great information. Christy thank thank you so much in many ways, your your inspiration to many. It's an honor to share your story. And I hope that a lot of people listening, end up checking out the app, your blog, and maybe even you know, finding you somewhere on social media reaching out. Thank you

Christy Laurence:

the same plan that on Instagram as well. So you can come learn from us from there too.

Neal Schaffer:

And that's PLA n n th a T

Christy Laurence:

I'm an obsessed found us if you have feedback, please send it my way.

Neal Schaffer:

Awesome. All right, I hope you enjoyed that interview with Christy. She is an amazing individual. And I had a lot of really fast fire questions at the end there based on my own reading of various blog posts and listening to different podcasts of quote unquote, Instagram experts. And I really wanted to get a feel from a seasoned professional when it comes to Instagram marketing, what were the tactics that we should be looking to implement. So whether it was overarching strategy, or very, very niche and specific tactics, I think there are a lot of takeaways there. I hope you took notes. Maybe you can listen to the podcast again. But hopefully that serves you on your journey in Instagram marketing. So thank you again, for listening to the very end of this podcast. This is always where I have special requests and special bonuses. So this week for those of you that have either bought or will buy after listening to this, what I'm looking to do is I really want your help. And this is part of influencer marketing is inciting word of mouth marketing. Right. So I'm looking to you my podcast listener, I know there's a lot of you out there to go out there after reading the age of influence. And on your favorite online platform. Wherever you bought the book, whether it be Amazon or Barnes and Noble here in the United States. It might be chapters if you're in Canada might be virgin. I don't even know if they sell books. I know they sell CDs there in the UK. But wherever you are on that retail site where you bought the book, if you could leave a review for the book, hopefully you'll find it recommendable obviously, if not, then I would not expect you to leave a review. But if you can leave a review, send me a screenshot and you know a link and or a link to that review to Neil Neal Schaffer calm and I'll have that email address in the show notes as well. And I am going to book a absolutely free 15 minute consultation with you. And with your consent, that consultation may also end up being a podcast episode here on maximize your social influence. So not only are you going to get some great help from me, usually cost a lot of money as you can imagine. But you might also become a star and I won't say it's the famous but iTunes famous podcasts famous by appearing on this podcast. So I hope that you'll take me up on this offer because it's the least I can do to thank you for all of your support for me and this podcast. So I know that the end of these podcasts I usually say make it a great social day and we need to redefine social today in the age of social distancing with Coronavirus. But even if we are doing it virtually as social animals, we need to keep being social. So whether you're doing it in person, and if you're doing it in person, it should be in small trusted groups. But hopefully you're doing it virtually you're doing it online, and you continue to be social, so I'm still gonna say it. No matter how you're being social, wherever you are in the world. Make it a great social day. We'll be back at you next week. Everybody stay safe. Bye bye