I think Instagram is a really good time, and we’ll get started by covering some fundamental basics that I want you to make sure you have in place, then we’re going to talk about three specific ways I really love using Instagrams, either posting features or connection features to get better results.
I am excited to talk about this because the inspiration for this episode was really that I’m spending a lot of time here in Q1 looking at how I’m using Instagram. I really didn’t use Instagram in Q4 of last year because it just wasn’t a priority and it still remains a way I drive traffic and a way I drive sales but it’s not a primary channel for me. It’s not something that is a make or break in my business but it is something I really enjoy and when I put the appropriate effort into it, I can get results.
I want to talk about the places that I really like spending time, the places where we have clients who are seeing really good results to extend the impact of their podcast, to extend the impact of their conversations. It’s good. I’m excited. Let’s dig into it.
First, I want to start with a couple of basics before we dig into the three ways I want to talk about and that is I want you to make sure you have some Instagram 101 already set up.
Profile picture, make it the picture of your host.
If you are the host of your show, make it your face, not your podcast cover art because that’s real, real small and makes zero impact when on Instagram. However, a face and a human, which we are listening to on car rides, workouts, dog walks, and in the shower, I want to see your face.
Make sure that’s there, a well thought out bio, and a name.
Remember that those are searchable on Instagram. Instagram wants to deliver what they’re searching for, so you need to make sure that you look like what they’re searching for. Be sure you’re using things like keywords and you are using things that are engaging and interesting to people who you want to be spending time with you on Instagram.
This means not copying and pasting someone else’s bio because it looks super interesting, and they’re your coach. That’s not a tactic to build your Instagram Bio. Instead, think about it in the same way you’re planning out your content.
Remember we’re talking about those big questions, “What are we talking about? Who are we talking to? What do we want them to do next?” These are the questions we use when we build a marketing plan. They’re also the questions we use when we build an Instagram bio. Make all of that clear in as concise and interesting a way as possible.
Finally, use your website for your link.
I know that there are a ton of tools that make it super easy to put a little link in there that will collect links for you but that’s absolutely really easy to build yourself. You can do things like track when they show up and have it utilizing your same Google Analytics information, so you’re seeing that data, you’re seeing where they’re going, they’re seeing how they’re engaging, and you have complete control of the branded experience and oh, by the by, it’s a lot less expensive because it already exists on your website, a tool you’re already paying for.
If you want to check out the link in my bio, you can either go to @thestaceyharris or @uncommonlymore on Instagram, and you will see the same thing. It is uncommonlymore.com/clickhere. That is our Instagram bio and that’s my Instagram. We use the same one on both channels because we want to be driving people from both places to the same place, this place, the website, the podcast, all of that. You’ll notice, that’s completely branded. It’s broken up into a couple of sections which makes it really easy for whoever to get there to navigate to what’s next.
Make sure that you have those things in place. Make sure that link in your bio is regularly updated. You’ll notice if you check in on it every Tuesday, that every Tuesday, the most recent podcast episode as a direct link is right there. I see one big mistake is when people point it to a podcast player and never update it, it makes it really hard to actually point people where you want them. Don’t put them in a position where you get them somewhere, then you make them look for what’s next. Make it really easy for them to go find what’s next and get there.
The first way that podcasters can be using Instagram right now is to take your guest conversations further.
If you are somebody who features a guest on your show, invite them to do things like a takeover. Maybe they come on and do some stories for a little bit or they record a video, and you upload them to your stories, or you upload them to your Grid or whatever. Maybe you take a section of your conversation that is a couple of minutes long and it’s an Instagram exclusive, and you want to hear the rest of this conversation and it’s happening over at such and such, like you would with an audiogram but take it a step further. Give them a reason for there to be a place for them to be both places.
The other thing I really love to do is make sure we are doing things like putting the tools in our guests hands to promote the show. We’re actually going to be talking about this as we kick off March. We’re going to have a two-part series about both being a better guest and being a better host on a podcast so that you can be utilizing these tools really effectively. We’re going to talk about this more, but make sure that you are setting your guest up to be sharing, then make sure you’re having conversations. When they do share, go comment. I’m just talking about things like, “Thanks for being on the show.” Really comment. Participate in the conversation. Highlight a part of the conversation that you thought was really important. Share why you had them on the show. Make it meaningful but take those guest conversations a bit further.
Quite frankly, you can do this with solo shows too, following up a solo episode on IG Live where you talk a bit more about the conversation and invite feedback. That can be a great way to do that when it’s just you without a takeover. When you have a guest, make sure you’re utilizing that guest in the best way possible. Again, we’re going to talk more about this next month but be setting them up for success because generally speaking, for the kinds of shows that we run, those guests are there for a reason. They’re not just there because they want to have fun and talk to you. They’re looking for some visibility, which generally means if you set them up with the tools to expand that visibility, they’ll take advantage of them.
The number two thing I want to talk about when we talk about ways podcasters can be using Instagram right now is to be using it to talk to your community.
I get DMs all the time from folks that listen to the show or people that listen to The Podcast Newsroom, and I love it. Guess what, I respond to them. Generally, I ask a question, depending on what they DM’d me but I will keep the conversation going. This is also true of things like comments but definitely in your DMs, be using those. Talk to people. Extend the conversation. It’s interesting. I think oftentimes, we want to streamline the conversation right out of our sales process and right out of our business, and a podcast is one of the ways. Sometimes, I hear people doing that. They’re like, “Oh well, I’m looking to build sales assets that I can use to guide people through a sales process so that I don’t have to do sales calls.”
Here’s the deal. I use this podcast as a way to drive traffic to sales calls because when I get on those sales calls, I have a buyer who’s educated, who is invested mentally and emotionally already because they’re equipped to make a good solid decision. That doesn’t mean I want to take the conversation out of it. I just want to equip them to be ready for the conversation when we have it.
That’s as true on sales calls as it is on DMs. I want to equip you with something to come say to me so that we can talk to each other. I’m entirely, entirely over this idea that we are automating humanity out of our business and that’s what it means to be an online business owner because it’s not true. It’s crap. The reason I have this podcast and the reason I sit here on days where I don’t want to sit here, and talk to myself and quite honestly, today is one of those days is because I know on the other side of this is a DM waiting for me with your thoughts. There’s a message. There’s the other side of the conversation, but so many podcasters are avoiding, absolutely avoiding talking to their listeners, talking to their audience, actually building a community of people.
Use your DMs. Have conversations. Encourage them to keep going. There are people who I know listen to the show who I make sure I follow on Instagram so that I can respond to their stories and I can move the conversation forward, even when they’re not in my DMs talking to me about my stuff. You know why? Because relationships have two people. A community does not mean that I sit here as the host superior to anyone who listens. It means that this is just how we met; to be using those tools to connect and really have conversations with people.
I will say this doesn’t mean you have to accept every random message. I, like every other female podcast host, have gotten the unwanted Instagram DM, either trying to sell me something super dumb, like 10,000 followers or wildly uninvited photos or advances or whatever other gross thing that people think is okay on the internet. You don’t have to be nice to everybody. I’m a big fan of the block button personally but when people show up to have a conversation, have a conversation with them. Talk to them.
This third one is use your Stories to get information. Use your DMs to get information.
My friend and client, we produce her show, Tara Newman, over at The Bold Money Revolution, does this incredibly well. If you follow her on Instagram, she’s @thetaranewman, but she uses her Instagram Stories as a way to get data that she then presents and uses in her podcast. She is taking information directly from them and sharing it back with them because she understands who her audience is, and it’s an incredibly powerful way to collect data. She’ll do polls. She’ll put in question boxes. She’ll use the quiz to give people options, but she does a really, really, good job of doing this. I encourage you to do the same.
I love getting to poll the audience and get excited about things. Actually, I’ve got an episode planned for April right now that we’re going to be polling the audience on Instagram for because I want to hear some terrible podcast advice that you’ve heard, so if you have some, get ahead of the rest of the crowd and DM it to me but we’ll be asking on Instagram in February, like tell me, tell me the terrible advice that you got because we’re going to build the whole show in April about undoing bad advice podcasters get. I love being able to do this because it’s a really fun way to connect from an algorithmic science standpoint, engagement in your stories helps deliver your great content, which if you don’t want to do Reels is going to be incredibly important because that’s what Instagram wants to deliver.
I want you to make sure that you’re finding ways to get feedback from them. You’ll notice that a lot of this, a lot of this was about creating conversation, was about hearing back from your listenership. That’s where actual sales stuff is going to happen. Don’t skip that part. Don’t avoid that part.
I did want to touch on, because I titled this episode in a way and I presented the three ways podcasters can be using Instagram right now, all while very actively avoiding Reels.
It’s not because I inherently think Reels are bad. If you check out our Instagram, I think there are one or two Reels up so far. We will probably do more throughout this year in a way that feels good for me. You will not see me pointing and dancing, mostly because I immediately skip past those Reels when I am on Instagram. They drive me insane. But Reels are an incredibly powerful way to get seen. Make sure the content that you have in there is valuable enough to take advantage of that visibility. That’s what I want to say about Reels. Because reach is a really, really, really enticing distraction, especially for the hosts we work with.
Generally speaking, the hosts we work with run service and coaching based businesses. Even the ones that are selling programs are not looking to put tens of thousands of people through a program, so the idea that I could get 30,000 views on a Reel is super fun except I don’t need 30,000 clients. Oftentimes, when we reach for that reach number, that’s where I did it on purpose, when we reach for that reach number, what happens is we get stuck in a pool of nobody who really cares what we’re talking about. It leads to feeling like you are yelling into the abyss, like you are screaming into Instagram and hoping something good comes out. That’s why we focused on the three things we focused on today and not Reels because none of the three things we talked about today were about you getting more reach. They were about you getting better engagement, they were about you getting better traction, and they were about you getting more sales.
Extending and deepening the relationship, and connection you have with your listenership and your leads so that you can take somebody who’s listening to your podcast, like you’re listening to this one right now, who I don’t know necessarily every person that listens to the show. They’re not a lead. They’re just an audience. However, when you show up in my DMs or you’re commenting on things, you become a real person, somebody I can actually see and talk to—and not feel because of COVID—but see and talk to. I want you to be focusing on those places. Where can we take this ethereal number, this enigma of an idea and turn them into a real person? That’s conversation. That’s not reach. That’s engagement. That’s not reach. Ready to do more with your show? Let’s talk about how Uncommonly More can support your show (and you as a host).