With so many social platforms to choose from, how do you know which ones work best for your business? And once you find those two or three that let you really engage with your audience, what kind of content do you need to put out there to keep them interested and engaged?
The key is to find your audience where they hang out, get them to trust you and find value in what you have to offer, and then keep them entertained so they’ll come back time and time again. Knowing early on that different platforms afford us different opportunities to amplify your brand, your voice and your content is what will translate to business success in the long run.
Sue B. Zimmerman has a true passion for Instagram, and through her success there, has created proven tactics and strategies for business growth on other social channels as well.
Rich: So I’m very excited to have back on the show Sue B. Zimmerman. Sue has already been on the show, which makes her a very select group of people who have been on the show more than once. In fact, as I’m thinking about it right now – interestingly enough – the only two other people who have been on the show more than once – not including myself – have been Chris Brogan and John Lee Dumas, who are also appearing at the Agents Of Change 2016. So it’s a good group because when we made up our posters, basically the poster featured 4 people on it, myself – because I paid for the posters – Chris Brogan, John Lee Dumas and Sue B. Zimmerman. So Sue, I’m really glad you’re on the show today.
Sue: Hey, I’m going to be amongst three of my favorite handsome guys online, I’m psyched.
Rich: And all New England people, it’s pretty cool.
Sue: Yeah, represent.
Rich: Sue and I have been friends for a while because a couple years ago I reached out and I asked my audience who should I talk to about Instagram because I wanted to learn more, and the voices were raised for Sue B. Zimmerman. I had her on the show, it was awesome. I knew that I wanted to have her present at Agents Of Change, that year unfortunately it was too close I had already filled up all the spots, but sue came the next year and she killed and she’s back again this year to teach new and exciting stuff and I’m just really glad to have you back. She’s actually going to do a pre-con with me, but we’ll talk about that towards the end of the interview.
So Sue, I know that you are all about the cross pollination these days. What does that term mean to you?
Sue: Well you know it’s kind of fun because I’m Sue B, I’m the busy bee that just keeps on pollinating, as I say. I have to say it’s been really fun that the B (bee) is part of my name, part of my brand, and I’m so busy flying around from conference to conference and meeting people in person and doing my thing, and I’ve decided that it is perfect for people who are trying to understand how to cross pollinate, crossover from one social platform to the other, and bring your followers and fans and those you’re meant to serve with you because they really want to consume your content on the different platforms that you exist. I don’t want people listening to think that you have to be on all these platforms that I have a presence on because you and I both know that the goal is always to use social media to promote, broadcast and amplify what you do to bring people to your website, which is the homebase, which is the flower. I’m the bee and we pollinate and hopefully get people to your website. How does that sound?
Rich: That sounds good, I like that. And we’re going to come back to that because like you said, I’m all about bringing people back to the website. So when we’re cross pollinating, is the goal here to get people who are already liking us say on Instagram to follow us to Twitter and Snapchat or whatever, or is it more about just taking our message and bringing it to other platforms to attract a new audience? What’s the goal here?
Sue: So there’s a couple of goals. So we are in a very noisy digital world and you never know what app or tab someone has open on their computer, is it Twitter, is it Facebook, are they looking at Instagram, are they on Snapchat. So you don’t know when you’re going to get someone’s attention and where they are, and it’s important for you as a business to actually know where your people hang out. And I have a good sense of where that is for my audience, knowing obviously that Instagram is #1, but I also know that I can use Instagram to broadcast and amplify and let people know for example that I am going to be Periscoping at 5PM talking about one of my blog posts, come join me to hear more about this.
So I use it as a tool to bring people with me to share content in a completely different way and experience on that platform where I’m taking them, so they get more value other than what was just in that Instagram post, which is obviously stagnant or maybe it might be a 60 second video, but for the most part it’s a photo. So to get more information of me via video – which we all know is so very incredibly powerful all over social – is what my goal is because people typically go where I lead them because they trust me and they know that I’m going to deliver value or more value than what they got from what they just looked at. So I’m using it to amplify my message, sometimes in a fun, entertaining, engaging way.
Rich: So this sounds great for somebody like you who’s got this bubbly personality and a lot of energy, is this just not the right fit for somebody who is kind of like a wallflower? And any of us who have done social media for any time know that we’re sometimes surprised to find that some of our favorite social media gurus in real life are actually fairly introverted people. So how can you work that if you’re not necessarily the most outgoing person to start with?
Sue: I love this question and I totally hear you and understand that not everybody is comfortable pressing “broadcast”, being on Snapchat, doing Facebook Live. So I do understand that. I’m simply here to say that the more you can meet your audience where they hang out and amplify your message, the more success that you could potentially have in your business. And I’ve been doing this actively with data for a good year now, and I’ve chosen the platforms that A) I enjoy, and B) I know people are consuming that. Because everything that we do Rich – and I know you do the same – is all about the stats and the numbers and the conversions.
So we have custom bit.ly links on each social site that I make sure people know to click into or check out if they’re consuimg me on that site. Even on Snapchat I have a special bit.ly link when I have provate conversations with people that are asking me about Instagram, it leads people to our opt in and I send that to them in a text in the backend if they want it and they’re asking for more. So we’re very conscious of tracking where our opt ins are coming from as I take people with me.
But to answer your question directly, I think it’s really important to – I always say three – to choose three that you like to be on. So maybe it’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and it’s not a video where you put yourself out there, but I think some of these techniques can be utilized for people that are listening.
Rich: Ok. So as you’re talking I’m getting interested and I have not done the live video. I mean, I’ve done it once or twice, but it’s not stuck with me. I’ve got a Snapchat account, I’ve tried Periscope and all these sort of things, but nothing stuck. In the back of my mind I’m listening to you and saying, Rich, if you just did a 30 day experiment where you got on every day for 30 days and did Periscope or Snapchat and just started creating content. But then I’m like, what exactly am I going to say? If I started today – this weekend we’ve got a bunch of family coming up – do I Snapchat or Periscope what’s going on there, or do I have to stay on message? What exactly should I be talking about if I decide to do this 30 day experiment?
Sue: Ok, for starters what’s really important to keep in mind is that everything is on point with your personality and your brand. Everything I do is really in the spirit of teaching Instagram marketing, so on Snapchat these are micro bits of tips that people can easily consume in a very entertaining way because I’m taking you with me all over the Cape or whenever I travel, you’re with my dog, you’re seeing me, but I’m always throwing in an Instagram tip at the end of the day. That is part of my strategy there.
On Instagram when I announce that I’m going to be on Periscope and I bring people on Periscope, I teach a longer Instagram tip that people can actually take notes from, and I do something really interesting typically once a week which is called an “Insta Audit”. So I do this live on Periscope, I have an opt in for people that want the audit – they’ve got to go to suebzimmerman.com/audit to opt in – so we grow our email list, adn I have a Google doc that automatically comes into my inbox through Ontraport, and I look at that list and you have to be on Periscope Live to raise your hand and say I’m here adn filled out the form, adn then I pick people to audit live. And I do 1-3 each time I do that, so again I’m serving my audience that wants to understand how to use Instagram to market and grow their business. And, I’m engaging people so that they can learn from other people’s accounts that I’m talking about.
So Rich, let me just throw some information at you about Periscope. I’ve been on Periscope for a little over a year, and I was with Vincenzo Landino and Amy Schmittauer – both who I know you know well – and I’m watching them and I also learned a month earlier about Meerkat and I started getting on, but I really got on when they were with me and I started to see the value right away. And since being on Periscope a year ago I have over 21,000 followers, I have grown this platform faster than any other platform. I have made over $40,000 – if not close to $50,000 – and I don’t like talking about money but I’m just putting it into perspective to you.
Rich: I won’t tell anybody. It’s just between you and me.
Sue: Ok, good. Well I’m saying this number because it’s a serious number, we’re not talking $10, we’re talking thousands of dollars, and this could be a game changer for people that are looking to increase their revenue. And I do it by not getting on and selling and pitching things, I do it by getting on and sharing. And people want more and ask if I have a course and need more and want to consult with me. So when they get to know, like and trust you – and let’s face it, Rich, you’ve got a great personality – and you I am sure would not have a problem at all entertaining because you’ve been doing this podcast for a while and you’ve got a great following here, it’s just a matter of having the discipline.
But the discipline for me – I want the listeners to know this – I fit it in when it works in my day. I don’t have every Tuesday at 2PM I’m going to be Periscoping, that doesn’t work for me. It needs to fit in to what’s going on in our content calendar, what’s going on with Instagram, is there some news I need to announce. And then I lead people there through my Snap stories or through an Instagram post so that when I do broadcast there’s people listening and watching and sharing and commenting. Does that make sense?
Rich: It makes a lot of sense, absolutely. Your big three seem to be Periscope, Snapchat and Instagram. Would you agree?
Sue: Those are three, but our biggest one is Facebook. Hands down.
Rich: Always coming back to Facebook.
Sue: Always. And I know you can appreciate this. I teach Instagram, Instagram marketing is my jam, but if we look at our data, the opt ins are coming in specifically from Facebook, we do Facebook ads and Facebook is just so important to have as part of your social.
Rich: Yeah, if you’re doing social media marketing there’s just no avoiding Facebook platform.
Sue: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Rich: But let’s talk about those three, because you’re right, Facebook is almost like the universal, but you’re teaching or active on three that not everybody’s using. I mean, obviously there’s a huge user group for Periscope, Snapchat and Instagram, no doubt about that. But it’s a little bit more rarified, it’s a little bit more unique and a lot of people – especially people of a certain age – aren’t native to those apps. They haven’t spent enough time on it so that’s where your expertise comes in handy.
If you had to describe how you use each one of those three – and I know you’ve talked about it a little bit – but how do you kind of decide what content you’re going to share on which platform, or are there certain things that you think would be better on Periscope and you just have to talk about it in this way?
Sue: Yeah, I love this question. So with Periscope it’s typically I notice something that happened on Instagram that day or Instagram announced something and I just have to broadcast it. I really look at Periscope as my own broadcasting channel and I can turn it on whenever I want to announce something or share something of value. I’ve experimented with it without announcing it on Snapchat or Twitter or Facebook before I go live and I still get people in the room.
I also use it for lifecasting a little bit. LIke when you and I were together at a conference in Chicago, I want people to know who I’m with – and specifically Viveka von Rosen, the LinkedIn expert – and I wanted people to meet Viveka and introduce her to my channel and get to know, like and trust her because she’s one of my closest friends and she’s amazing. And so I use it when I’m traveling differently then when I use it strategically for my business, which is back to me sharing Instagram tips, tools and strategies to help you grow your business and make more money doing what you love.
So because it can be that broadcasting tool and because it’s owned by Twitter and you can have a great title using relevant hashtags and people share, you can increase your Twitter followers. I mean, let’s start with that as one added benefit from Periscope. And the other is honestly, Rich, Periscope, if I drop my phone or the dog comes in and barks, it’s all real and raw and authentic and I really believe that that’s what people enjoy the most is not the gurus, experts and influencers be so perfect in everything that they do, because we are all human. And I think that little intimacy – I want to use the word “intimacy” – is really what I believe connects people to you that much more on Periscope. So that’s Periscope, any questions about that?
Rich: No. That’s a pretty good summary right there.
Sue: Snapchat, I’ve got a couple little themes going on in my Snap story, so pretty much consistently every day when I start my day I’ll say “good morning” in some way, that’s usually with my dog Cody because everyone loves him, he’s my sidekick and everyone can’t get enough of him. So I will announce morning or I’ll say “happy #wcw” – which is “women crush wednesday”, in case you didn’t know that – or I’ll say “happy #tbt – “throwback thursday” – so I’m using hashtags as my language inside of Snapchat because those are relevant on Instagram. And then I start my story based on what I’m doing throughout the day. So Rich, before you messaged me on Skype to ask if I was ready, I said yes but first I’m going to Snapchat because I wanted to Snap and let people know that I’m getting on this interview with you, I showed your face, I showed the page of the conference, and I want people to know who you are because I always want to bring people into my Snap story.
So the interesting thing about Snapchat for me, Sue B, is that I have three golden rules that I say consistently. Golden rule #1 is to follow who Sue B says to follow, because I only follow awesome people. So whenever I give a shout out to anybody in any way, people typically take a screen grab of that person or that podcast or that conference, because they know that I’m connected to awesome people. So that’s golden rule #1.
Sue B golden rule #2 is to hydrate. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate all day. I often show pictures of me withe lemon water or green juices, and I say that often you’re not hungry you’re just thirsty, so drink more. Because I have a degree in nutrition so that plays into kind of who I am and just my personal value, so you get a sense of me telling you a health tip.
And #3 is actually my favorite, can you guess what it is?
Rich: I’m going to guess cross pollinate, I don’t know if that’s going to be right, though.
Sue: No, #3 is move your ass. So #3 is get up, get off your chair, you’re an entrepreneur and you’re sitting all day, you’ve got to get up and move. I’m not talking about hardcore sweat, Rich, I know that you’re disciplined and you get out and exercise, but a lot of people get lazy because there’s so much to do and they forget to take care of themselves. So I am really big into self care, and in fact right before this interview I got a massage, I know that taking care of Sue B and my health is the most important thing. Period.
So I preach those three golden rules and people get a chuckle out of them. In fact, people Snap me back and say, “I’m moving my ass”, or they show me their workout or they show me their drink. I know that it’s having a positive effect on people and they’re doing what I say because I’m doing it and they see me living a healthy lifestyle.
So those are my three golden rules on Snapchat. Obviously those don’t have to do with Instagram, but they have to do with my personality. Let’s go back to video and real raw footage, and on Snapchat is where I am most entertaining, I have a potty mouth sometimes which I can share there and I never share anywhere else. I can share my excursions throughout the day and food that I’m making, which I don’t share on Instagram. It’s like I take people with me and it’s honestly a document of my day, it is how I journal. I love Snapchat because of the geofilters in Snapchat, the ability to do text, the ability to color and write and be super creative. I’m very creative and I don’t pick up pens and pencils and markers anymore, I do Snapchat.
So at the end of the day I can download and save to memory that Snap story, and if I choose to, I could share it on Facebook and someday my kids might just be showing the grandchildren my Snap stories.
Rich: Wait, so you’re saving your Snap stories?
Sue: Yeah. You can save individual Snaps – so, photos and 10-second videos – or you can save your whole day. So at the end of my day I always say “goodnight”, so I know the beginning of my Snap story and the end of my Snap story, and all my viewers know that this is a new day and this is the end. Because let’s face it, Rich, you and I have friends from London, Australia and all over the world, so what’s morning for us is night time for them and so I want them to know that this is the beginning of the day and the end of the day. And that’s exactly what you would do when you journal in some way, right?
Rich: Right, So, quick question on Snapchat before we move on to Instagram. How many Snaps on average do you share in a day?
Sue: Well, my team members – Morgan and Rachael – tell me I Snap way too much, but my fans and followers love it and engage with me all day long. So I’m getting great engagement and people watching it, so depending on my day and my stories I could be snapping 10, 20, sometimes 30 times. Because often I’ll teach an Instagram tip and you get 10 seconds per snap, so you learn to talk really fast and you learn to get your message across in micro content. You don’t want to drag on a lesson on Snapchat, that’s not what’s organic to the platform.
Rich: Right, so quick, little bites. But again, you’re doing 10-20, sometimes as many as 30.
Sue: Yeah. And a snap just might be Cody doing something so funny, people love watching my dog and they like being at the beach, so a couple other consistent things that I do that are on point with my branding is whenever I see beautiful flowers like hydrangeas – obviously they’re in bloom on the Cape right now – I take a picture of the flowers and I write the word “pause” across it. Because I think it’s so important for every one of us to just pause and appreciate the natural beauty around you, and that’s also consistent with how I feel about Instagram. And, I often take nautical photos of buoys, the ocean, and the marina where I live, so that nautical vibe and branding is consistently threaded through my Snap stories.
If you’re first touchpoint with Sue B is on Snapchat or on Periscope or on Instagram, there is a common thread and a common vibe and a common brand – and it’s not literally just my logo and my colors – it’s the feeling that you get when you land on any of these platforms.
Rich: Alright, makes a lot of sense. Let’s shift to Instagram because that really was your first true love when it comes to platforms. I know that you’ve said in the past that you really only try and post something to Instagram to a specific account once a day, is that still how you do it?
Sue: Once, sometimes two, or if I’m at a conference I will occasionally do three. But as of late, because I’ve got a lot going on – and I have two accounts that I manage and my team manages the third – and I have good engagement on Instagram. Engagement for me is comments and opt ins, it’s not necessarily “likes” because you can buy “likes” and pay people in India to like your photos, so I don’t believe everything I see on Instagram all the time.
Sue: I care more about my opt ins and growing my email list – as I know you do – so my success on Instagram is pretty impressive, I get usually 100 new followers on @SueBZimmerman and on the Instagram expert account everyday, I grow my email list 250 a week.
Rich: Wow, nice.
Sue: So that’s just from Instagram, so I’m very happy with those results.
Rich: Absolutely. So it seems like Instagram is kind of like, if anything, really your platform on some level. Periscope is more like your broadcast, and I guess Snapchat would be the behind the scenes that would be on E! Television.
Sue: Yeah, that’s a really good way to say it. I think to go back to the buzz – and let’s do the metaphor with Sue B – it’s like the amplification opportunities are there. I’m extremely productive in my day, it’s not like I’m on social media all day. It might appear that way to people that follow me, but there’s a lot that I’m getting done throughout the day and I take the time to share what I’m doing because I know what is organic to each platform and what people enjoy consuming on those platforms. And I think that’s what’s really important.
I think so many people check social media off their lists to do, like they have a “to do” list to post things on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, And I really think much more deeply about is this content worth sharing, does it make sense, is it all part of my overall strategy of our content calendar for the week/month/year, so that I’m always on point with – let’s go back to the core message – how to grow your business using Instagram marketing.
Rich: Awesome. Alright, now this has been good. Let’s shift gears a little bit because you are – as we mentioned earlier – coming and presenting at the Agents Of Change Digital Marketing Conference here in Portland, Maine – streamed everywhere, probably with a few more streams as I’m sure people will be Periscoping it and Snapping it- but you and I are also doing a pre-con workshop. Tell me a little bit more about your part of the pre-con.
Sue: I’m super excited to be doing this with you because, Rich, you and I have been trying to do something together asd the “east coast represents”, right?
Sue: And I’m thrilled that you’re making the time to do it before your event because I’ve been at your event three times now and I know it’s a lot of work on your part. So the fact that you’re committed to doing this awesome workshop with me is exciting.
Basically everything that we’re talking about here today on this interview I’m going to really do a deep dove and teach tactics for Instagram, Snapchat and Periscope, specifically. And I’ll probably touch on Facebook Live because I do Facebook live video as well. But I want to talk about and teach from the actual tool, so I think we’re going to reflect onto a screen and people are going to learn and be able to take notes and really have tactics behind each one.
Rich: Absolutely. And I’m going to be talking and sharing with people how to develop a digital marketing plan based on what I call the “B.A.R.E. Essentials”, which is build, attract, retain and evaluate. And I’ll be going through that, so anybody that comes to this pre-con workshop, not only are they going to learn some real specifics around Periscope and Snapchat and Instagram from you, but I’ll be talking about how to take that and develop a full on digital marketing strategy that works for any size business or nonprofit. We’re going to put in about 4 hours of unbelievable content. We’ve got some light apps and coffee being served as well.
This is the pre-con, so people need to come in the day before, this is very limited. You are going to be in a small group with just me and Sue and there will be a lot of time for Q&A and some one-on-one attention. The tickets for the pre-con are on sale at our website, agentsofchangecon.com, and we’ve got some great pricing on them. And also, if you’re also planning on going to the conference, too, some amazing bundles. So you definitely want to head over to agentsofchangecon,com and you’ll see the pre-con information there, go check it out. And hopefully, Sue and I will see you on Thursday, September 22nd at our pre-con workshop.
Sue: Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it, I think it’s going to be a ton of fun.
Rich: It’s going to be a busy day for me and Sue, we’ve got to get up early and go to this pre-con, deliver 4 hours of insane content, then we’re going to jump onto the Brew Bus with almost all the other speakers – they’ve almost all committed to going on this with our good friends from the Maine Brew Bus – then we’ve got to go to the roof of flyte new media, have a cocktail on the roof and then we’re going to go out for a lobster dinner. That is going to be a hell of a day.
Sue: Oh yeah. And I’ll be Snapping that whole story for your viewers and we’ll be taking tons of Instagram pics, too.
Rich: Sounds awesome. So I hope you can join us in Portland, Maine. But Sue, always a pleasure, thanks so much for coming on the show. Where can we check you out online?
Sue: Everything at @SueBZimmerman, and on my website for the listeners that love Instagram and need to learn how to get started, we’ve got a strategy guide that you can grab right on our website, suebzimmerman.com. And can I give your listeners a little “to do”?
Rich: Absolutely not, no. I’m just kidding, please go ahead.
Sue: A little action.
Rich: I love homework. Give me homework.
Sue: You’re going to like this one. So I’ve got a unique hashtag on Instagram, #suebmademedoit. So the challenge is to take a picture – a selfie or a deskie – and post it on Instagram and use the hashtag #suebmademedoit, and join the 700+ other people who have taken the challenge. It’s interesting, people say to me, “Oh my gosh, Sue, the picture you had me post of my selfie has more likes and engagement than anything else I’ve ever done.” And I’m like, that’s because people want to do business with the person behind the brand. And a lot of people are just not comfortable or are afraid or just don’t think that people are interested in them, so if you can tell a story around your business with a selfie, it’s a good thing.
Rich: Alright, you heard it here, #suebmademedoit.
Rich: Alright. Sue, thank you so much for stopping by today.
Sue: You betcha!
- For more awesome content on the likes of Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope and many other social platforms, and how they can pump new life into your business, check out Sue’s website.
- Don’t forget to follow Sue on pretty much ALL social channels, especially Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and Facebook. (And don’t forget to take the #suebmademedoit challenge!)
- Hurry up & grab your highly sought after tickets to the upcoming Agents Of Change Digital Marketing Conference now! (Can’t make it in person? There are both Live and Virtual tickets available.)
- Be one of the lucky few to get one-on-one (or two-on-one) with Rich and Sue B. at their pre-con workshop the day before the conference. You won’t want to miss out on this 4-hour, very informative, intimate learning opportunity with two of the top minds discussing social media platforms and how to develop a digital marketing strategy to help you grow your business.