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Instagram has become a major player in the social media landscape. It's easy to see why: Instagram has billion monthly active users; it's easy to use and share; it's visual and fun.
But how can you best use Instagram for your business?
Check out this episode with Ruthie Gray, an Instagram expert, for a full breakdown of all the ways Instagram can be an asset for your business. She has some of the best tips for growing your page—from creating truly engaging content to building a solid community around your brand.
Ruthie teaches Christian writers, speakers, and entrepreneurs online marketing strategies. Ruthie is also the host of Authentic Online Marketing Podcast.
If you want a deeper dive into Instagram and how to use it most effectively for your business, you're going to want to listen in!
Specifically, this episode highlights the following themes:
Links from this episode:
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Ruthie Gray 0:00
Live video is still very much something that is encouraged on Instagram. But something that they've done that I really actually appreciate about the platform is that you can even practice live video now without going live and practice it with whoever you're going live with. And then you can go live. So there are ways to grow and polish your Instagram. But the first thing to do is just to start and that's what we encourage people to do. Don't wait till you're perfect because you're not going to be.
Travis Albritton 0:34
Welcome back to the Honest Marketing Podcast where you learn proven strategies to grow your business without selling your soul. I'm your host, Travis Albritton. And today is all things about Instagram. My guest, Ruthie Gray, teaches Instagram strategy and growth for entrepreneurs and business owners. And so in this episode, you're going to hear everything you need to know to use Instagram for your business. We're gonna talk about the growth strategies that are currently working. We're going to debunk some common myths when it comes to Instagram and what kinds of content to lean into and is there anything to avoid, and what are hashtags doing and everything that you need to be able to capitalize on Instagram moving forward. Now be sure that you stick around to the very end of the episode, where I'll give you my number one takeaway from the interview that I had with Ruthie, but here it is, let's dive in. Let's talk about Instagram, the social platform that I think is most synonymous with kind of like hip relevance, at least in the millennial generation, and from a business perspective, but with TikTok, everything is shifting in the social media landscape. So I'd love to get your take on how its Instagram adapting to kind of the TikTok suffocation, vertical video suggesting algorithm world that it seems like all these platforms are starting to adapt.
Ruthie Gray 1:51
Yes, well, Instagram is scrambling, and has been for the last year and a half to get on the TikTok bandwagon. Basically, they want to, they want to be like them, and they want to surpass that platform. And so that's why you see a lot of trending sounds and dances and what have you transitioning over to Instagram from TikTok. Because, yeah, they're just trying to keep up. And honestly, Instagram has been shaking it up and shaking all of its users up, trying to, they're trying to keep up with whatever, you know, Instagram decides to throw at us next.
Travis Albritton 2:42
Yeah, it's a tough pickle to be in when you when you see, like so much time on app shifting over to TikTok, especially younger generations. So you want to ride the wave. But the reason that people go to Instagram is because it's not TikTok, at least at this point in time, so you kind of have to, like, sacrifice your present in order to try and preserve your future, which is a tough balance to strike, though this is something they've done in the past. So Instagram stories, was a very famous rip off of Snapchat and saying, hey, Snapchat is gaining traction. With this disappearing content, let's create our version of that. You know, it used to be a very image heavy platform. And then it started incorporating more videos, because Facebook was doing well with that and focusing on live. Instagram Live was there for a hot second Instagram TV. And so it seems like Instagram is always trying to pull in features from other apps that are working elsewhere to try and make a kind of the social app for kind of younger generations, I guess time will tell if they're successful. So it remains to be seen. But irregardless of how we got here. Instagram is still an important platform, even if its influence maybe waning in the eyes of some, you know, when you have more than a billion monthly active users. It's, it's important. It's still an important platform, and it's still something to pay attention to. So with more of a focus on reels, which is really their answer to TikTok, what impact has that had on posting images, carousels, square videos, have those kinds of content really seen a dramatic decrease in impressions? Is it really all about reels and everything else is secondary? Or how are all these different kinds of content playing together right now on Instagram?
Ruthie Gray 4:32
Yes, that is how they wanted us to play the game. Instagram shifted to reels as if you really want to get your content seen if you want to reach a new audience. If you want to get those views and impressions, then you must play the game and do the reels. And so it just escalated and and more and more people were jumping on and doing it even daily. Sometimes twice a day, and some people were really going viral in and that was great for them. While the rest of us were like, well, we still want to be authentic. How do we, how do we adapt this to our own platform, so trying to figure all of that out. But they did prioritize it, the reels over everything else. So that's what they shifted to. And yet, so that some people were doing great. And then all of a sudden, in August of 2022, everyone saw a dip in their reels. And then it was just like, Instagram just kept changing what they wanted to do with different things. And everybody wants, like, now, what are we supposed to do now that my reels aren't reaching? I read about this one lady who she used to get, like 85k views on her cat videos, and she was down to 1000. So if cat videos are gonna drop, you know, what are you supposed to do? So there was that huge drop in then everybody went nuts. And I think it was one of the Kardashians said, let's just make Instagram, Instagram, again, what happened to the beautiful images and the pictures and all of that? Why can't we do that? So there was a big, huge push back. And the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, made a statement that said, we're going to start prioritizing images, again, the carousels and the graphics. And we hear you and we're going to do this. So over the last month or so, and at the time of this taping, it is early November, they have sort of done that. I polled my audience and said, have you seen a difference? And some people have in images, getting more of a reach. And yet, I don't really know if that if they're really going to do that. You know, are they going to do what they say? Because it just seems like they're throwing stuff at us right and left.
Travis Albritton 7:24
You know, and sure they can come out and say we hear you we're gonna prioritize images. But then one of their key performance metrics is like, oh, well, we went from 37%, average daily usage to 30 or 37 minutes to 34 minutes. So we're going back to reels. Because we've got to get the those advertising dollars back. So the incentives are certainly there to kind of follow the trend. And it's, again, a sticky place to be, I am encouraged to hear that, at least at some point. They're talking about images, kind of being the DNA of Instagram, because that's really what you go to Instagram for. And, you know, Instagram being built on the social graph, technical term for like, you see things from people that you follow, or, versus the algorithm telling you what you want to see at least getting better into a mix of that where you're still seeing content from creators that you follow. How do you value an impression from a real versus an impression or reach from an image or a carousel post? Because, because that's also a question like whenever you're talking about podcasting, it's like, well, how many downloads is good? Well, what a download is someone listening to you for 35 minutes, that's, that's pretty powerful. And so if you're comparing that to like a Facebook video, where three seconds is really good, you know, I'll take 100 podcast downloads of our 100,000 Facebook views every day. So, so what, would you how do you kind of think about the value of reach with reels versus the value of reach for a more standard Instagram post as far as building a connection, gaining someone's trust, having them want to come back and consume more content from you? How do you think about that?
Ruthie Gray 9:07
Well, the value of reels is to broaden your audience and get in front of new people. That's really what reels does for you. So it will bring new people and you may go viral. But the thing about viral is, it's sort of like that as those are like your new people, but they don't really know you. And the difference between that and just static images in your feed post the carousels and in the photos, is that yes, it's a it's less of a reach. But those are more your people. That's more like your community building aspect. Or neighborhood if you want to call it that. And also, even and going even deeper than that, in stories is the true. Those are your salt of the earth. Those are the people. The people who constantly watch your stories are the people who are on your email list. And they are the people that will buy your product. They are the people that you market to. You don't hear a lot about stories anymore. But we just went through, I just led my followers through a 30 day story challenge. That's all we did. And they grew followers, you can grow followers through stories. And they realized what a valuable, important tool it is. So there's basically three tiers. And that's the reels, the reach, you get new people. Out of those new people, even if you go viral, only a few of them are going to transition to your really good feed posts, people, your people that want your content. And out of those people, the salt of the earth people, your people, your ideal audience member is going to transition into your story watcher and your email list.
Travis Albritton 11:21
So I love that you've laid that. I love that you laid that out. Because I think the tendency is always to look at the shiny object and say, we're just gonna go all in on this at the expense of everything else. But then you either have unhealthy growth, where it's like, okay, we went all in on reels, we got all this reach we all these new followers. You know, we got 100,000 followers and 18 people like our post, it's like, okay, that's not a healthy Instagram account. You just tapped into something, and got lucky once. But that doesn't mean that now you actually have an Instagram account is going to work for you. And so seeing each of those different kinds of content, that serving people in different ways, I think is really valuable. And everyone wants to know about like, how frequently should I post? Is it every day? Is it multiple times a day? You know, do I need to vlog my entire life and stories. And now we're starting to get into like the content itself. And most of this audience is going to be business owners, but most people have an Instagram account. And they're usually posting to it personally as well. So, so how do you coach your clients and your students when they're thinking about how to create content, deciding what kind of content to create, what voice they want to have, how they want to position themselves. And, you know, the million dollar word, how to be authentic on Instagram, which historically has been one of the least authentic platforms as far as putting a filter on everything. And just having a reputation of this is the, you know, the silver screen movie version of my life, versus the real nitty gritty, day to day. So how do you kind of process creating content for Instagram and the right approach for thinking about what to say and how to say it?
Ruthie Gray 13:02
Well, you have to figure out what your priorities are with your content. And what you're going to share and what you're not going to share. As a business owner, you want to logically share about your business. But there are different facets of your business. So you want to share, yes, about the product. But you also want to share about testimonies about the product, and how people use the product and the behind the scenes of creating the product. The team, you know, and why you do, what you do. So those are some different all different topics that you could share and rotate. And that's what I advise is that you rotate your topics and repurpose, rotate and repurpose. So if you create a reel about your service, then do that reel and you're going to reach new people, but then go deeper and make a carousel about it and break it down into say, you know, different kinds of steps and graphics, so that they can swipe through and read more, and then break that down into stories and behind the scenes and how we did this one specific step. So there are many different aspects and ways to use it. And as a business owner, you don't want to go off brand because you want to keep your business of course uppermost. But you probably have an email list too. And there's another aspect that you're going to need to share and yet authentically showing the behind the scenes really, that shows the human side of it. And if you can build that in a personal aspect and your brand like, for instance with me, my business I share behind the scenes of podcasting and of my mentorship group zoom calls and how they create reels creation, and how they arrived at how they do it. And so you want to share those things. But I also as a business owner share my, my own personal life because I am an entrepreneur in midlife, who was a caregiver. And an empty nester and a GG, but I fit it all in. And I encourage women my age to do the same. So if you can get that personal aspect in there, you're developing that know like and trust factor, and transition it over into those stories. The people that watch her stories are going to get to know you and say, hey, I can relate to this person. She's a caregiver, I'm a caregiver, she's building business, I'm building a business, I'm gonna listen to her, I'm going to follow her I'm going to invest in her product. So you're building that trust.
Travis Albritton 16:20
Yeah, I love that you broke that down. Because as businesses, with business Instagram accounts, it's easy to think everything has to be a commercial. Everything has to be like this perfect professional graphic from our graphics team. And every video has to be like, really well edited and have these like flashy graphics, and, you know, animations and things like that. And because it really does represent the brand, but you're not creating a superbowl commercial, right, you're creating content for a social media platform. And social as part of it, right connecting as people. And before we started recording, you mentioned that there was actually this noticed shift in 2020, away from the more kind of polished professionally edited content towards the more organic, user generated content, kind of style. Talk about that shift, and what you've seen as far as businesses that are leaning into that, and seeing success with Instagram. So I'm also curious if there are any accounts or businesses that you follow that you feel are really doing a good job of highlighting the human elements of what they do, whether it's featuring their customers, their clients, or to sharing from the team themselves and what they're doing.
Ruthie Gray 17:34
Yeah, that's one thing that we do at authentic online marketing is we what we do is we just encourage the business owner or the entrepreneur, to just start where they're at, because you aren't shooting a super, superbowl, commercial or whatever. So just use what you have, if you, you know, don't have the greatest technology on hand or camera or whatever. It can't be perfect, you have to start somewhere. So we have seen a shift. As far as the big major influencers, they're, they're becoming more approachable, and it's easier for the smaller people, the smaller business owners to also be influencers as well. And the approach is, so now that they are starting to respond to their clients and their followers individually. And that whole authentic push, it did come out of COVID because everybody was stuck at home and, and they were like, well, may as well start in reels, then start doing live video and all that stuff since we're here. And it was great because we were able to start practicing, you know, and that's something that Instagram does provide too. By the way, live video is still very much something that is encouraged on Instagram, and it all transitions in to reels. But something that they've done that I really actually appreciate about the platform is that you can even practice live video now without going live. You can practice it with a whoever you're going live with. And then you can go live so there are ways to grow and polish your Instagram. But the first thing to do is just to start, you know that and that's what we encourage people to do is just don't wait till you're perfect because you're not going to be. It's just like podcasting. Right? You have to start somewhere. You have to talk.
Travis Albritton 20:03
Yes. And that eventually you get used to listening to your own voice in your ears. That's always the hardest thing when you start a podcast is, is that really what I sound like? Because I don't sound like that to me. And it's especially unnerving if you're like listening to yourself with headphones. And it's in real time, like, who is this? Who's this other person that's talking with my face?
Ruthie Gray 20:23
Travis Albritton 20:25
So, a couple other things I want to talk about, because when it comes to Instagram, the first question is, how do I grow my Instagram account? Right? If I can choose the number of followers, I would have, I would choose more than I have currently. Because then that would mean it's worth continuing to invest in. And while we've already talked about how growth isn't the only thing that you should care about the quality of those followers matters. There are a lot of strategies that in the past have been kind of like best practices, and I just want to kind of walk through them to see how maybe some of those strategies have shifted, if some of them are still really valuable, if others really don't matter as much anymore. Just so anyone who's listening to this, who's done some Instagram training in the past or done some research would kind of get an understanding of what's working right now. So they can pivot if they need to. And the first question I have is about hashtags. Because hashtags used to be the main way that people would discover content, they type in a keyword or, you know, hashtag mountain vacation. And if you happen to go on a mountain vacation, you put that hashtag in your post, and maybe you'll be in that top nine, and you'll get a bunch of people to find it. What's going on with hashtags nowadays?
Ruthie Gray 21:32
The $64 question or 64,000, however, whatever that show used to be. Yeah. So hashtags are still relevant, but mostly in reels. So that is where you see them, the used the most is, if you shoot a reel, and you use relevant hashtags, you have a really good chance of being seen at the top of that reel. So you have to do your hashtag research. And you have to make sure that the hashtags that you use, match the text in your reel, they match the, the, like the visual aspect of your reel, and also your captions. What are you talking about? So hashtags are still relevant, with reels, not so much with images. But we are seeing also a shift into branded hashtags now, hashtag authentic online marketing, you know, things of that nature. So it is good whatever your businesses, whatever the name of it is, is to start using branded hashtags with that, because that is another personal authentic aspect that we're seeing there. Three to five hashtags, you really don't need to use all 30. But you can experiment, sometimes I use more, but I don't spend a lot of time on hashtags, especially with the images, because they, you can look in your insights and your analytics and see, they're not going very far with the static images. So that is, the other thing is SEO is more important. It's more valued than hashtags now. And there are categories. Like if you go to the Explore tab, the Search bar, you're going to see categories now. So what you want to do is make sure that you're using SEO in your bio, in your captions, in your real texts, in your carousels, in the alt text, even. So, it's a it's a combination now, of SEO, because they want to be the big search engine that like Google and YouTube, is they're not there. They are not there, but they want to be there. And so that's why there's sort of a shift now towards SEO.
Travis Albritton 24:24
Yeah, that's interesting that you say that. I would not have thought that because my whole understanding of this point is like, you're just kind of at the whim of the Instagram algorithm, and whether they deem you worthy at any point in time. Yeah, and a follow up on hashtags. Is it still best to put it in the caption itself? Because there was certainly a trend of like, put your hashtags in the first pinned comment or the first comment to the post to either save character space or, you know, to make it seem to Instagram like you're not trying to stuff it with hashtags. But when you find those like three to five really good ones, is it best to put it in the cap especially for a reel?
Ruthie Gray 25:02
You know, there's so many differing opinions on that. I say put it in the caption. From what I see, it's best to put it there, I don't think there is any really need to put it in the first comment, if you don't like how it looks, you can certainly space down or put some emojis or something like that. But my advice is put it, I always do, put it with the caption.
Travis Albritton 25:35
And then when we're talking about the captions. Is less better more better? You writing a blog post, a couple paragraphs, a single emoji. That's the other piece that people want to know, like how how much of a blog post do I need to write, in order for this to get some reach?
Ruthie Gray 25:54
Well, you really need to test it, you need to test it with your people. And the way you test it is to try short, see how that goes, try long form, see how that goes. And then do in the middle. But you have to, you have to always keep testing, the bigger thing to remember is to start out with a hook. And then you know, some something worthy that you're talking about to pull the AI along. And then a call to action. Most people forget that call to action. And so those are the three main things that you've got to keep in mind with a, with that caption. But over time, like I've, I've had clients that are like, our people love long form content, they love it. So some people, sometimes they'll just do a whole caption and then they'll put more in the first comment. And people will read that. And the nice thing about long captions is, the more people stay on that host, reading that caption, the more than it signals the algorithm that, hey, people like this, we're going to show this to more people. And so that's what that's the merit and the value in longer captions. But don't be writing longer captions, just the like stuff words in there and think people are going to read it because that's not going to work either.
Travis Albritton 27:31
Right. Whatever I think about writing for the sake of writing, I think about recipe posts on the internet. It's like, I just want to know how to make homemade mac and cheese. I don't need to, I don't need to read about the dog you have an ear for like it just, it's not relevant for what I need right now.
Ruthie Gray 27:46
I know that's so annoying.
Travis Albritton 27:46
What I think about, it's like, let's let's just put words in here, just to put words in. Because, you know, the strategy says so. Well, good. So so that clarifies a little bit on captions, hashtags. What about going on other people's accounts, and commenting on posts, and showing up as a contributor in other communities? And hopefully, if you're doing this with integrity, it's not, you know, the follow for follow hacks that people have used in the past where you say, oh, I'll follow you if you follow me. And then a month later, I'm gonna unfollow you, but you didn't know about it. So now I got all these followers and, you know, people are always trying to get our system.
Ruthie Gray 28:27
Talking about in authentic.
Travis Albritton 28:29
Right. Is that still working like going engaging with other people's communities? Do people still follow back to original accounts when they see a comment that's, that's worthwhile or has a lot of value in it? What are you seeing working there?
Ruthie Gray 28:44
That is still very much relevant. And something that I have always advocated and still do. If you are providing value on the app, and being social, on social media, and net, it's really like a giant networking event on Instagram. So if you're going over and supporting others, and saying, you know, valid, valuable comments that don't like, shut, make it shine, the light on you, but it's really affirming them, then that's where you're going to get your really your value followers. And I'm not talking about leave a bunch of this is great. Heart, heart, heart, heart.
Travis Albritton 29:39
Copy paste, copy paste.
Ruthie Gray 29:41
Yeah, it's that those are the kinds of things that people get people who go viral. Those are the kind of comments they get. Because that's what people are trying to do is just get follows when they do those kinds of things, so yes, the value comments. This is something that we teach in our communities in in our trainings. And we foster that well, in our Facebook groups and in our, in our communities is that you need to support others. It's a giant networking event. And really, this is how it works in real life. This is how it works online is that. And this is like what you and I are doing right now, Travis, we are sharing audiences. And we are trying to help each other's audiences. And that's how you grow. And, and my advice is that you spend more time engaging than you do posting on the app. Don't post and ghost. Get in there and get to know people.
Travis Albritton 30:51
Yeah, posting ghost referring to post something and then log off and don't interact with people. Yeah, don't reply to comments.
Ruthie Gray 30:57
Yeah, that's, that's showing people that you don't really care, like, you just want your content out there. But also, it's hurting you because the algorithm sees that you're doing that. And it sees that you're all about yourself, and you're not engaging, and so they're not going to push your content.
Travis Albritton 31:21
So something else that used to be a really popular piece of advice was figuring out what's the best day to post? What's the best time of day to post? What's the best window? So like a magical one hour window where everyone's on the app. And that was back when Instagram was more chronological than it is now. And the sense that I've gotten from a lot of Instagram creators, is that when you post isn't as important anymore, because it's really just more about the quality of the content. And it may even just take a couple days for Instagram to pick up that this is really valuable and start showing it to people. But are there any best practices for when to post things on Instagram?
Ruthie Gray 32:02
You should post on Instagram, when you can be active on the app and answer your comments and go and engage with others. That's when you need to post, when you have the time to devote to it whatever day that is. And whatever time of day that is, then that's when you do it. Now there are ways to test. Maybe you have time in the morning. And so you want to try that. And maybe you also have time in the evening. So you want to try that. For me, mornings are when my people are online. That's when they, my ideal client, my audience, that's when they are there. They're not there in the evening. So you also have to test and see when are your people online. When are they the most opt to respond? They do show you in Instagram in your insights when your audiences online the most. But that is a false hope. It really doesn't work. So what you have to do is figure it out for yourself. This is a lot largely trial and error. But once you figure it out, then it's good to keep that same kind of schedule, because your people will be expecting you to be there.
Travis Albritton 33:29
And then the last strategy that I've seen in the past that I wanted to, I was curious if it's still a thing, account takeovers, where you basically give access to your account to another person for 24 hours or 48 hours as a way of basically introducing your audience to someone you think is worthwhile. And then typically vice versa, like you trade and you become the account manager for them for a day. Is that still an effective strategy if you can find the right person to partner?
Ruthie Gray 33:55
No, I don't see that much at all anymore. It used to really be a huge thing. But I think with passwords and things like that, I think it's really a giant hesitancy now and for my biggest hang up is if you're going to be authentic. You want to, you want to be protective of your crowd, and of your platform. And so for me personally, I have toyed with the idea but I don't really see the value of it as much as I do. Really what it's transitioned into now is collaborations, and that's much easier. So you can do a reel, reels collaboration with another person or, or a group of people and the same with posts or you can go live with people. So really, that is more authentic these days than the takeovers. Although there are people who still do it, I don't know them.
Travis Albritton 35:00
Sure. And then, are there any accounts or influencers that you follow that you really respect and admire that if someone wanted to get a sense of like, not just in the theory, but the execution of how to do Instagram really well, with all the things we've been talking about? Are there any accounts that come to mind that would be really worthwhile just to see, you know, people that are really using the platform well?
Ruthie Gray 35:26
There are a few, there are a handful, I mean, all you have to do is research, you know, Instagram influencers or Instagram experts. I think the one that I like and respect the most is Jasmine Star. She, she teaches, she gives a lot of value. Now she is sort of geared towards a younger crowd, she's faster. But she does give a lot of value. And she teaches things the right way. But my advice for following, you know, people that teach Instagram is just follow one. Because they're all going to have differing opinions on what you should do. Like with my people, I obviously don't know everything about Instagram, I can't cover all of everything, but I do make it my business to know most of it, I study it. And I want to do it authentically. So I try to teach them, you know, you can't be on the app all day. You still have a life, I know you don't want to do this, I don't want to do this. So follow someone who really basically has the same values as you and is more closer to your age. So that you don't feel like you have to dance and do all the stuff you don't really want to do.
Travis Albritton 37:01
Which is music to the ears of every business owner that's like, I got enough things to worry about. I don't need to be learning choreography as well to stay on top of those trends.
Ruthie Gray 37:11
Because that is something that we've tried to do, too, with our businesses, release products that are affordable that you can't like. We have a reels mini course. Actually people can sign up for, for free for that. And it's a Reels Personality Mini Course based on your personality in the Enneagram. And how we researched several of our members and said, how do you go about reels creation that is authentic to you? And they gave us all kinds of information. And it's it's valuable to know that kind of stuff. Because I always say you're either an entertainer and educator or an encourager. Like we have a reels personality quiz. And so based on one of those things, here's what you should do. Don't feel like you have to dance. There are many, many, many other ways to use reels.
Travis Albritton 38:15
Yeah, and I'll make sure to leave a link to that mini course in the shownotes. If you wanna go and check that out, see what your reels personality is. I think it's fantastic. You know, because anytime you can get clarity on like, a path forward, that's awesome. Because, again, there's so much information, you just be overwhelming, trying to figure out what to do what not to do. I just analysis paralysis your way to death.
Ruthie Gray 38:39
Travis Albritton 38:41
Yeah, Instagram, it's a great platform. But at the end of the day, it doesn't belong to you. Like when you gain followers, they're not really yours, you're kind of renting space on the platform. And so something that both of us, I know are big proponents of is converting that audience that you're renting, which a shift in the algorithm, and they all disappear to an audience that you have a more direct connection with. So talk to me about how you teach your students or your clients to shift your and convert your Instagram followers into email subscribers. Like what does that process look like? How do you help them make that jump? And then how do you engage them once through there? So they're signing up to an email list. What do you provide there that they don't necessarily get on Instagram to keep them coming back and opening and reading your emails?
Ruthie Gray 39:32
Yeah, that's something that many Instagramers don't realize when they start building a platform is it's so important to have an email list because that is your own space. Instagram is rented for sure. And the way that I teach my students to do this is, first of all, just have something quick and consumable, a checklist something that really is needful that they and get a quick win for right off the bat in exchange for their email. And you talk about it, you talk about it in stories you share about it in your posts, you do a reel about it, you cross-promote, whatever, but you don't stop talking about it. That's a, that's an obvious no-brainer that a lot of people just overlook, because they have a product or a book or something else that they want to, you know, promote, but they forget, I should talk about my email list. So you want to make sure you have a clear LinkedIn bio, and you talk about it in your bio, get your freebie here, get your reels personality quiz here, or whatever, whatever it is, and have it there in your bio. And then once they get on your list, then we teach our people create a welcome series, you're nurturing, you're not throwing, like your product at him right off the bat. You are, you may be depending on your, you know, tactics or whatever. But really, you're you're trying to earn trust. And yet say, you know, I do have this product, or whatever you're trying to lead them along, but you're trying to do it in a way that provides value for them, you're not barraging them. And then you need to just settle into once they're through that welcome series. And you tell them at the end, you're going to hear from me regularly now, once a month, every other week, weekly, I'm going to share this, this and this. Set expectations, and then follow through, have that value email every time you say you're going to and just get in the habit. It takes a while, you know with anything, it takes a while to be consistent. But it is so worth it to build that list. Because those are the people who will purchase your product, not all of them of course, we know that's not true. But you never know, when that one person that's been following you for two or three years, will finally say now is the time. And they're going to be the ones that are on your email list.
Travis Albritton 42:23
Absolutely. So before we wrap up, I would love for you to share about your podcast, which you know. I guess the names of our podcasts are what made that mutual connection happen. You know, so this is the Honest Marketing Podcast and you host the Authentic Online Marketing Podcast. So talk about the content you do over there and then also what you do at your website and the kinds of things that you offer to your students and to your clients to help them be successful with their online marketing.
Ruthie Gray 42:56
Well, Authentic Online Marketing with Ruthie Gray is my podcast. And there, we really, our mantra is to teach you how to use Instagram and integrate it with email, and other you know, outer fringes of online marketing things. So that you can market your product or your entrepreneurship, your book, your speaking platform in your own authentic voice. And it's doable. You can do this, I will walk you through how. So we just make our our podcast episodes are anywhere from seven minutes to 15 minutes, usually, unless it's a guest interview. And then it's usually 20 to 25 minutes. We produce weekly content. And we share about it on Instagram every week and in our email. And so we're just providing Instagram, largely Instagram and email marketing and mindset because business owners get all stuck in their own heads. So that's the podcasts and then our website is Authentic Online Marketing. And there we provide some low-level courses, beginner Instagram courses and reels courses. We just released a workshop that's the stories to market workshop where you can convert your stories into reels and beyond five different kinds of content and get a, get a, get on a schedule that you can live with, with your content. So there's that and then we have a high-level course authentic online marketing goal that we launch twice a year. And that's getting ready to launch on Black Friday and it will open the class will start in January 2023. It's an eight week class, combining Instagram and email marketing. And so we first, we focus on the first, the four main things that never change on Instagram, which there are four that never change. One is you need a good bio. One is you need good content. One is you need followers. And then one is you need a killer LinkedIn bio to transition over to your email list. And then the next four weeks we teach email marketing, we critique, these are group community lead classes, you submit your work, we go over your emails, and you leave with a welcome series and a newsletter template that you can live with. And then our other thing we have is an insider mentorship, which is more for graduates of our Authentic Online Marketing School or people who have vetted, who have a really good grasp on both of those things, email marketing and Instagram.
Travis Albritton 46:20
Ruthie Gray 46:20
Travis Albritton 46:21
Well, Ruthie, thank you so much for all the things that you shared on this podcast. And for anyone who's listening that wants to take Instagram to the next level. Now they know how to do it. And look forward to hopping over on your podcast right after we wrap up this recording. And yes, there.
Ruthie Gray 46:35
So thank you so much.
Travis Albritton 46:36
So my number one takeaway from that fantastic Instagram masterclass from Ruthie is don't neglect the styles of content that Instagram uses to reach your audience at different levels. It's so easy to get distracted with Instagram reels and think, okay, that's all that you need to do to grow your Instagram account. And that is an important piece of it. You do want exposure beyond your audience that you have currently. But you still want to develop that connection with regular feed content. That's the normal static images and carousel posts and things that people see on your feed. And with stories where you're really engaging one on one with the people that really follow you really trust you and ultimately become clients and customers. So don't neglect the things that aren't as sexy in the moment or aren't as hyped up right now. Because those are still valuable pieces of your Instagram strategy. Now, if you want to sign up for her free Instagram reels personality quiz, I think is a fantastic idea. You can find a link to that in the show notes and be sure to go and check out Ruth's podcast, Authentic Online Marketing. I think you'll get a lot out of it. And I'm actually doing an episode myself where I go in and talk about YouTube strategy. So if you're interested in that, make sure you go and subscribe to that podcast wherever you listen. Well, thanks for listening as always, be honest.