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How active are you on Instagram? Are you posting the appropriate content for your audience base? Are you keen to find out how you can use Instagram to grow your business?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Viv Conway and Tash Meys about how they started their Instagram journey and they share tips for improving your own Instagram engagement.
TherapyNotes facilitates the workflow of mental health professionals through robust, secure, and streamlined software, accessible wherever and whenever you need it. With fully-integrated scheduling, notes, billing, electronic claims, and more, you’ll have more time for what matters most: your patients.
To get 2 free months of TherapyNotes click on www.therapynotes.com and enter the promo code: Joe
Meet Viv Conway and Tash Meys
These two millennials are on a mission to help everyone reap the infinite benefits
of nailing Instagram. Viv Conway and Tash Meys (maze) are the founders of Ace The Gram. They have over 200k net followers on their personal Instagrams and have worked with clients from 70 followers to 1.9 million followers across Australia, the USA, and New Zealand.
Find out more about Viv on her LinkedIn and Instagram and Tash on her LinkedIn and Instagram. You can also check out their Facebook and listen to their podcast.
Viv and Tash’s Story
Tash was at University studying Food Science and she got into Instagram so that she could help her degree by creating a portfolio to show her art in food photography. By the time she graduated, her Instagram was getting her more opportunities than her degree. She then delved further into it and started getting some Instagram clients.
Viv was also studying with Tash, and at the time she started a small sportswear brand. She was paying for Facebook ads and they were doing okay but she didn’t understand them as much as she understood Instagram. She found that she ended up making most of her sales on Instagram.
In This Podcast
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Viv Conway and Tash Meys about how they are winning at Instagram and how you can too!
Best Practices for Instagram
- Identify what your intention is for Instagram
- How can you provide value to your audience
- Make sure that you are optimizing your profile by using location tags, using relevant local and industry-specific hashtags
- Post hashtags (you can use 30 per post) as a comment after posting your photo
- Engage by commenting and liking posts
What to Not Post
If we can provide enough value and steer our audience in the right way, whether that be giving away free resources – that’s when we’re going to see people start to take action.
Dependent on what your intention is for your account, you have to really tailor your content to ensure that you are providing value to your audience. You shouldn’t constantly just be promoting your business.
Starting out on Instagram
- What resources do you have to create content
- Identify 3-4 different types of content to engage the audience
- Before sharing the account, post 6-9 different images with really informative captions (this will give people a really good understanding of why you’re on Instagram and what you’re about right from the start)
- Make sure your bio gives people an instant snapshot of what you’re about
- Think of your Instagram handle as SEO for the platform
- Share your Instagram handle everywhere
Posts vs Stories vs IG TV
People find you based on a photo but they follow you based on a feed!
- Posts are the images on the grid – this is how you want your brand to be portrayed. Take some time to post really beautiful content and well thought out captions.
- Stories – this is a raw uncurated way of connecting with your audience. You should strive to post 3-5 stories per day.
- IG TV – this is more of long-form content. If you’ve already got the video content created then you can use this option.
Click here for some free resources from Ace The Gram to help you master Instagram today!
- Dr. Kelly Flanagan Thinks You Are Loveable: Embracing What Is Truest about You, So You Can Truly Embrace Your Life | PoP 359
- Killin’It Camp
- Free Downloadable Resources
- Register to attend Webinars
- Next Level Practice
- Apply for the Big Ideas Mastermind
- Apply for Consulting or Mastermind groups
- Free Masterclass: How to Kill it in Private Practice
- Slow Down School
Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
Thanks For Listening!
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This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 360.
Well, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I’m Joe Sanok, your host and I am so glad that you are here today. We’re here live in the Radio Center II building in beautiful downtown Traverse City. And you know, I just got off a call with someone who, she just wrapped up one of our mastermind groups and we were just reflecting back on where she was at when she first started. And when she first started working in the mastermind group, she was bringing in $2,600 a month and last month she had her first 14 grand a month. And that’s in just about a year of working together. It was so exciting to just see that kind of change and she’s adding clinicians and just, as soon as I have permission to give her a shout out and to tell people her money publicly, I definitely will. It’s just, you know, so often we think that, I don’t know, it’s like in Grad school we were told, you know, we’re not in it for the money and the nonprofit world often makes you feel bad if you go into private practice.
Like you’re somehow stealing from people that need help. And I’m here to say, I want to challenge that. I want to stand up against that and say, you do not have to live in poverty in order to make a difference in the world. Now, if you feel called to that, or you feel like that’s what you want to do, then more power to you. But I don’t think it’s a prerequisite for being good in private practice to be underpaid. You know what I mean? I just got this quote from our plumber. We need to have a garbage disposal fixed. We also, what else do we need? Our water heater. He’s like, you’re on borrowed time. This thing could just like, the bottom could bust any moment. Oh, and adding a humidifier to our furnace. And he came back and he said, “You know, it’s going to be $1,900.”
And I didn’t ask him for a line-by-line itemized thing because I know that he’s an honest guy. I know that he’s doing good work. I know that he’s going to do it right and those things need to be done. Now, how much more important is, you know, the work you do in your private practice. And oftentimes we just get, so, I don’t know, down on ourselves over that. And we frequently talk at Practice of the Practice that there’s four i’s that we focus on. Income, innovation, influence, and impact. And for each of us there’s different phases of life, different personalities where those are more important or less important based on different phases of life. You know, I think about when we were first, like bought our house and we were trying to pay down debt and student loan debt and car debt and we wanted to really be debt free except for the house.
And so, income was a pretty big deal. So, you know, working that full-time job and then hustling on the weekends and in the evenings, that was important. Whereas now for me, I’d say the innovation and impact side is really where like I get the most satisfaction, you know, financially we’re in a place where, you know, things are good, you know. We can get most of what we need to get and what we want. And we’re able to do the income side, but the innovation side and impact on the field of counseling, that’s more important for me right now. And those shifts, and that’s okay. And so, we cover all this stuff. If you’re new to the podcast, welcome. We’re glad you’re here. Today we’re going to be talking all about Instagram and it’s going to be a really like, almost like a masterclass where we go really in depth with Tash and Viv who are talking all about Instagram.
They’re their own, I mean, their level of Instagram success has been amazing. And, so, we’re going to talk all about that. We’re going to dive into some strategies that I didn’t know about that are really, we’ve changed and shifted what we’re doing on Instagram with Practice of the Practice and it’s made a difference. So, we’re going to be covering that as well. So, there’s also a couple of things coming up that I want to make sure that you know about. So, next week, at the time of this recording, it’s not next week, but in mid-March we are doing another launch of Next Level Practice and Next Level Practice is our membership community where we support you. And every single one of our cohorts has between 40 and 60 people or so that come into the cohort and we assign them to small groups.
We’re now doing small group leader trainings. We also give you free logos and paperwork and we now have over 40 hours of trainings to walk you through exactly what to do when you’re starting your practice and growing your practice. So, if you’re under $60,000, this is for you. And we’re actually going to be limiting the amount that we do each year. We’re only going to be doing four cohorts and we’re only letting people in when we’re doing the cohorts. Just because you know, these cohorts, they bond with each other, they connect, they support and if you miss that, you’re just not as invested. And so, if you are ready to start, grow and not scale, (scale wouldn’t be for the next level practice), starting to grow your practice, this is probably for you, so you can read more over practiceofthepractice.com/invite.
This cohorts right around the corner, next Monday is when that one launches. And then also we have something coming up in April. We have a masterclass that’s going to be all about how to kill it in private practice. And already we have some killer giveaways that I just want to tell you about. So, we have a year of Brighter Vision, totally for free. That’s the website company. And if you’re a Brighter Vision customer, you’re going to potentially win that for a year. We’ve also got a year of Therapy Notes for free. Gordon Brewer is giving away his G-Suite course. We also have Cecilia, she’s giving away her course on Immigration Assessments and we’re going to be giving away a bunch of Practice of the Practice stuff.
So far, we have about $3,000 in giveaways for that masterclass. So, you’re definitely going to want to check that out. It’s going to be on the 23rd of April in 2019 and you can sign up over practiceofthepractice.com/live. I’m going to be there live telling you how do you kill it in private practice. So, if you really want a free masterclass all about killing it in private practice, would love for you to join us there. So, without any further ado, let’s dive into all this Instagram stuff.
Well, today on the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have Vivien Conway and Tash Meys. These are two millennials that are on a mission to help everyone reap the infinite benefits of nailing Instagram. It’s amazing what they’re doing on Instagram and I’m so excited to have you ladies on the podcast. Welcome.
[TASH]: Thanks. We’re excited to be here.
[VIV]: Thanks so much for having asked Joe.
[JOE]: Yes. Third time reading your bio. I finally nailed that. Sorry for screwing it up, but that’s just for your ears only. Well, welcome. You know, I was checking out your Instagram and Instagram, I just love Instagram. It’s so visual and I feel like I’ve kind of this artist’s heart and I just love it. How did you guys get into Instagram?
[TASH]: Well, I think we both came to it in different ways. We were both studying at university. So, we’re more similar to you then the tropical situation that we have right now. And I, I’m Tash. I was studying Instagram so that I could help my degree, which was food science that I was studying. And it was just a portfolio to show like my art and food photography and recipes. It’s like an asset to my degree. And then when I was graduating, my Instagram was taking off and getting me more opportunities than my degree. So, I sort of doubled down on that side of things. And then I started getting some Instagram clients.
[VIV]: For me, the way that I sort of came into Instagram was not only like a personal level as everyone uses Instagram, but also at the time I’d started a small sportswear brand. And with that I was obviously at Uni with Tash and I was paying for Facebook ads and they were doing okay, but I didn’t really understand them as much as I did Instagram. And what I found was that Instagram only took my time. I had the time and I ended up making sales, most of my sales and directing most of my web traffic from Instagram to my sportswear business. So, it gives us the sort of ideal space where one of us can almost view things from a brand standpoint and one of us can almost view things from an influencer standpoint. And I think that’s why we get along so well with our audience and are able to provide so much value.
[JOE]: Yeah. So, when you say that kind of both of you that your Instagram profiles we’re taking off, what kind of indicators did you have? Were there certain measures or like, when did it really feel like it was starting to topple? And like really improve.
[TASH]: Yeah. I think Viv was, the sports brand, was about 10k and I was like, wow. And mine was getting to about 5,000 followers and I was starting to get brands messaging me being like, “Hey, I love what you’re doing. We’d love to like see you this,” A few wanted to create some content around that and I think just the attention from the brands that I had been desperately trying to get in touch with, to like for jobs after uni and they were then contacting me and finding me through that sort of global portfolio.
[VIV]: Yeah, and I think when like running a sportswear brand success can be measured in so many ways, right? So, whether that is showing your audience a new design and you get that feedback instantly, I would definitely call that success because where else have we been able to get that touch point with our audience? Not only that, but seeing web starts go up as your followers increase, engagement go up in terms of likes and comments and actually having this audience that’s already excited about your product, it’s just second to none. Also, the power of using influencers. So, when I would like use a really powerful influencer, who would wear some sportswear of mine, tag the brand and then I’d get like these massive spikes in web traffic, I would definitely say that that was when you could sort of see it starting to take off and become successful.
[JOE]: Yeah. So, when did you guys make the transition from your own individual things you were working on to starting Ace the Gram?
[TASH]: I think that was when I was living in the States two years ago. And we both got our own clients because people had been asking us individually to help them grow their Instagram’s because we’d grown ours. And then we were always talking to each other and helping each other out. And then we were like, “Why don’t we just merge and make this a thing? Because clearly there’s a need for it.” So, I think it was about almost two years ago and we just decided to go all in and start this business and then we quit our full-time jobs. And here we are.
[JOE]: You know, it’s interesting because there’s kind of two sides of my questions that I’m going to have. One is going to be for people that have a private practice and how to use Instagram specifically for private practices, but then there’s also a large section of my audience that they’re going after big ideas. So, they have podcasts, e-courses books, keynotes, so things that are definitely outside of their practice. So, I’m interested in when you were launching kind of the big idea of Ace the Gram, what were things that you thought, “Okay, we’re going to test this out. We’re going to see how it goes.” Did you give yourselves, “Okay, within two months we want to be at this level and if we’re not, then maybe this really isn’t worth our time.” Or, like what were those first maybe experiments that you did to see if this was really going to be worth putting more time into?
[VIV]: I think what we did is we played it quite safe. So, like Tash mentioned, she’d just moved to the states. She was also working in the states at the time and I was working here in New Zealand. So, we, although we had these clients on the side and we were sort of freelancing before we merged the business together, even when we did so, we still had those full-time jobs. So, we built up that client base while we were still working. And then it got to a stage where, “Hey, actually I can’t afford to take any more time off to have meetings. If feel I need more time to run these accounts and so on.” So, we did play it very safe in the beginning.
[TASH]: Yeah. And a thing that we did was actually sort of an advice of some, well definitely an advice of some mentors we had. And at the time Facebook groups were really powerful. They still are, but they were sort of at the stage where they were newer and people would get notified when you posted in them. So, they were the sort of the best way to reach an audience. And we sort of committed most of our time and energy into growing out Instagram growth and engagement Facebook group. And that’s where we got the majority of like our audience for Instagram and that’s where we could share tips and tricks and sort of get to talk to this audience that wanted all these tips and tricks daily. So, that was a main focus for us at the beginning because we know how infinitely easier it is to have a business and a product when you have an audience. And I think that was our first like protocol.
[JOE]: Yeah, I’m glad you say the idea of having an audience first. I was actually just on a consulting call probably an hour ago or so and someone had this great book idea, but he has no audience. All he has is his private practice. And he was considering putting a bunch of money into a ghost writer. And I was like, “I would much rather see you do Facebook lives or be really active on Instagram or just blog or, in whatever way you want to engage an audience to get people, whether it’s on an email list or on something so that you have a built-in audience before you spend this time and money in writing a whole book. Now a book definitely can be content to get people into your funnel. But he was starting from scratch and the idea of shelling out, you know, 30, $40,000 to have someone help you write a book was like, I don’t know if that’s where I would start.
[VIV]: Yeah. And you do, like it does take time, but it is worth it. And it’s not to say that the individual couldn’t actually put some of that money he was going to put into a ghost writer and to promoting things like live trainings or Facebook lives and so on that he was doing to actually grow that audience and you know, pay for those leads.
[TASH]: Yeah. I couldn’t agree more with your advice to him. And I think that’s what we’re noticing as trends and, the kind of future of how online business and even traditional businesses is going. It’s just the power of having an audience and just how it’s probably the most powerful asset now for anyone’s brand. So, to kind of focus on that is not just a time and resource suck. Like it really does pay off.
[JOE]: Yeah. Well, let’s go through some of the best practices for Instagram. So, what are the things that you teach people if they want to grow their brand? So, maybe their counseling practice or they may have a podcast or an e-course. What are the things that they should be posting on Instagram that’s going to actually lead to paying customers? Because we know we can get lots of likes or comments, but if it doesn’t actually lead to paying customers, then it’s more of a hobby. So, what are some of those best practices?
[VIV]: I think the very first practice we need to think about is actually what are your intentions on Instagram? So, is it that you are building that audience or is it that you want people through the door tomorrow of your, you know, like as a massage therapist? So, it’s all about, actually like where am I going with this? What is my intention? And then how can I give value to my audience? Is it that you’re going to provide like standing content because you’re a photographer? Or is it that you’re going to provide really informational based learning for your audience so that they feel connected to you and are actually getting value and then want to pay you down the track. So, we always want to talk about standing with it and teaching and how we can give value to our audience.
[TASH]: Yeah. And I think after that comes sort of profile optimization. So, just making sure that you are doing all the things that you can on the platform to boost your discoverability. So, that’s like using location tags for like when you post a photo, just making sure that you’ve tagged whatever location you’re in, which is really important for, like local businesses. So, if you want to send traffic to your massage place, also using hashtags. So, having really relevant local hashtags and also having like industry specific ones and we recommend using all the ones that Instagram gives you access to. So, let’s say you can use 30 hashtags a post and after you post the photo then you just post the list of hashtags immediately in the first comment. So, we recommend, yeah doing that, having great content for whatever your intention is because that comes first and then being super engaged in your niche.
So, say your niches local because you’re targeting a local audience. Then it’s being really involved in like putting time aside to go in commenting and liking. Be part of that local community. So, going to say local pages that are relevant to your audience and commenting and sort of being a part of that and that will boost you and the algorithms of Instagram will show you to the people that you are wanting to be shown to.
[VIV]: And actually, she got a really good example of how you can be engaging with the local audience as well. I was speaking to someone that I know the other day, he’s a car salesperson and he’s just started using Instagram as a bit of a platform to further build relationships with potential clients and also get the word out there more about what he’s doing. And so, what he’s been doing, not only going and engaging in terms of liking and commenting on anything that he finds relevant, it’s also about when he goes to his local cafe, he’ll put a story up.
And he’ll take the local cafe and he would get shouted out on their story and so on and so on. So, when you’re out and about and whether it is because he’s local, he’ll also post about upcoming events in the area and so on. So, he’s still giving value to that local audience, which is what is going to stay here apart a lot from everybody else in his playing field.
[TASH]: Yeah. And last point on that is just how often these, like private practices and things, you don’t actually need a massive audience to be, have a super effective Instagram account. So, our friend who owns a brow clinic, she has about 2000 followers and she is booked out for six months in advance because all she does is just post before and after’s of the brows before and then the brows afterwards. And people just go basically shopping on there and think, “Oh my gosh, my brows could look like that.” I mean, she goes like “If I get somethings on her Instagram and she’s booked out because of Instagram.
[JOE]: Yeah. I think counselors in particular thinking about kind of what are all the things that surround therapy. So, if someone say, does counseling for people with depression, you know, people want a better life, they want to be happier. It doesn’t have to all be about depression. So, to think about what are those topics that just make people happier. So, it could be a picture of, you know, coffee or you know, a story when you’re walking on the beach or things like that. So often I see therapists that, they’ll post so much promotion about what they do rather than just kind of being authentic to just the culture of Instagram. What are other things that you see that people do wrong on Instagram when they’re trying to build their business through it?
[VIV]: I think you probably hit the nail on the head there with the too much promotion part. I think we forget that the whole added value and so on, your product or service should just be the next sort of logical thing that, like that should be the action that they want to take. So, if we can provide enough value and steer our audience in the right way and whether that’d be giving away free resources and so on, then that’s when we’re going to start seeing people wanting to take action and actually pay for that.
[JOE]: Yeah. Now, I mean, how much of it should be just like your everyday life? Like when I look at some of your Instagram posts, I mean, there’s a lot around life and about just like, “Oh, I want to be there with them. That looks fun.” And versus, you know, people that have quotes on it or they have, you know, inspirational things. Is there kind of a rule of thumb or is it really based on just, I don’t know, like what your particular goals are for Instagram?
[TASH]: Yeah, definitely based on your goals. So, for example, Viv and I have different Instagram accounts. So, we have say Ace the Gram podcast Instagram account. And on that we know that our audience is more just interested in our case, like a tiny bit about us, but what they’re going to get from listening to the podcast. So, we post mainly like thumbnails of our different guests and like what that episode is about. I mean, like @tastefullytash, which is my main profile. It’s more of a personal brand and creative portfolio.
So, there’s a lot of like photography and photos of me because it’s mostly like personal branded. But then say if you had a private practice, like say Kayla from Bay Brows. Her main value to her audience is, they just want to see what results. So, they’ll get, so she does post those before and after’s, but then say if you, wanting to sort of provide value to your audience and be a little bit more, just have it as another asset to your business, then you can also do things like, you know, inspirational quotes and that kind of thing. So, it’s just, yeah, figuring out what your intention is and then what kind of content best reflects that intention.
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Yeah. And it seems like you guys are really interviewing a lot of influencers. Just seeing some of the people you’ve interviewed for your podcast. Any tips on how to connect with influencers on Instagram?
[TASH]: Yeah. So, what we recommend doing is sort of warming them up before you approach them to work with your brand. So, that’s meaning making sure that they are a right fit for you and then sort of commenting and liking and then replying to stories and things for a little bit and then DMing them and saying, “Hey, I really love what you’re doing.” And make it a little bit less generic. Then, “Hi, (insert name) and we would love to work with you. Thanks.” Maybe add a little bit about why you like them so that they feel like you’re taking individual interest in them and then from there you can ask them for their email address and then, emails are often the best way to then figure out the collaboration to a more like detailed extent. But, yeah, Dm is probably the best way to initially get their attention and sort of indicate your interest of working with them.
[JOE]: Yeah. One thing I did when I had Pat Flynn on the podcast, he was someone that I thought, “Oh man, I’m never going to be able to have him on the podcast.” Because I noticed that he was on Instagram doing a lot of more kind of personal things and less business things. So, I actually did a short video on Instagram and then tagged him directly asking him to be on the podcast and that, he actually responded. I noticed that he had just posted something and had commented on something. So, I knew he was on Instagram at that time and I thought, well, it’s kind of stocker, but that, it worked.
[TASH]: Yeah, that is so clever. And it’s reminds me of like the power of replying to influencers’ stories to get their attention. Because often if you DM and say they have 200,000 followers, they have a lot of requests for people to talk to them. So, they don’t necessarily give the requests the same attention as they would a story reply that they’ve opened the conversation up and they’re looking for a reply because that’s currently relevant to them. So, story, replying to big influencers’ stories are often the best way to get their attention.
[JOE]: Yeah. I want to go through like a case study. So, imagine that there’s a therapist and maybe their Facebook’s going pretty well. They’ve got a good-looking website, they’re blogging regularly to their audience. They have a good idea of who their ideal client is, but they haven’t joined Instagram or really kind of done, haven’t really put time into it. Maybe they’ve done it personally, so they understand the platform, but they haven’t done it for business. What would be some of the first steps that you would recommend for them in regards to making sure the, like your individual platform or profile is optimized. Where would you want them to spend their time? What kind of questions should they ask themselves? And then how can they make the content look like it’s good for Instagram? Because I think, you know, really ugly pictures obviously are not good on Instagram. So, walk us through what you would do if they were your consulting client.
[VIV]: Awesome. So, I think aside from obviously we’ve gone, I think we’ve gone over the idea of intention, probably enough. So, we’d sit down and figure out the intention. So, clearly if this counselor wants to get more clients through the door, they want to help more people and spread their value a little bit further. What we then do is say, “Okay, well what resources do we have to create content? So, where do we start, like what content are we going to create? Let’s have a brainstorm about what we are going to talk about and identify three or four different types of content that we can provide to this counselor’s followers in order to keep people interested and kind of spark the interest of those who possibly didn’t realize that they were interested.
And then from there, if before we even share the account, we post six to nine of these images with really informative captions. Or, I say informative just because that’s what I would believe the way that, like, that’s where I would see the value being given. But then again, if it doesn’t need an informative caption, then that’s fine. The main thing there is just how we’re going to provide value for the first six to nine pieces of content. That’s just so that when we do share it to our wider audiences, we’ve already got things there. It’s not like you share your Instagram account, “I’m on Instagram and then you haven’t posted anything yet.”
[JOE]: “And here’s one picture.”
[VIV]: Yeah. And we want people to be given like a really good understanding of why you’re on Instagram and what you’re about from the get go. So, if we can post six to nine images that are providing heaps of value, then we’re going to look at your bio so that, that’s the written section underneath your, like just next to your profile picture at the top of your profile there. And we want to make that nice and succinct. We want to make it clear. Again, we want to give people like an instant snapshot of what you’re about. And so, they can take some time, or might look at some other accounts, see how other people have represented themselves and sort of presented their information. What would you say from that Tash?
[TASH]: Yeah, I think the bio thing is quite good to know and that’s your handle as well. So, your handle is whatever your name is on Instagram. So, we like to think of it as like SEO for Instagram because that’s what, if people are searching, that’s what will come up. So, if you’re saying, I keep coming into, massage, but if you saying, okay, if you’re a counselor, oh yeah, that’s right. The case study. So, if you’re a counselor and, I don’t know, Santa Monica, you could do your name and then counselor just, and then in your bio making sure in the bold section, which is where you normally write your name, then that says Santa Monica counselor because people are more likely to be searching Santa Monica counselor. Then they are, your name at the stage on Instagram. So, we often say, yeah, to use those tools for optimization for discoverability.
And then once you pass through that, then people always underestimate their current reach of their current audience. So, even if you’re just a normal person with absolutely no audience, if you post on your personal Facebook, then you already actually have an audience of family and friends who can share it and all these people and all these shareable places at your fingertips. So, it’s sort of like putting it in your email signature for your Instagram handle, putting it, doing like, letting your email list know that you have an Instagram now and then posting on Facebook, posting on LinkedIn, posting and sharing it on every outlet that you have.
And then having it in a very obvious place at your counselor’s practice. So, having like your Instagram handle on your business card and having it in a really obvious place like in the lobby. So, we just, it’s just kind of getting the message out and putting that as the first port of call for people to contact you and get to know more about what messages you have.
[JOE]: And how important is it for someone to have maybe a personal, like a brand? So, we have Practice of the Practice, but right now, I just pulled up my Instagram. So, we have Practice of the Practice, but it’s like my picture and my name versus having it be a brand. I had heard from people that people want to do business with people. So, it’s better to have kind of a person’s face rather than kind of a brand be your picture. Should I also have a personal one too, in addition to kind of the brand?
[TASH]: I think we met still linked with the personal brands. So, because Practice of the Practice is so closely linked with you, then it makes sense to be the face of that brand and to bring that human element in. It’s only if you’re a brand that you want to remove yourself from because yeah, it’s just figuring out how comfortable you are with being the face of the brand and whether you’re happy for the pros and cons of that. So, the pros are that obviously people connect with people and that you can show more; the personal journey behind it and connect with people in a more sort of raw and authentic way. But the cons are that you become so closely linked to it that you become the brand and it’s hard to separate that.
[JOE]: Sure, sure. So, what about the differences between when you should post versus when you should have a story versus, now there’s Instagram TV, IG TV. What are your thoughts on those three things and kind of when you should use each in growing your Instagram?
[TASH]: Yeah. So, all three of those are really different and they have different uses. So, your posts are the ones that are always up on your grid and those we say are you finished portfolio and sort of the finished polished version of how you want your brand or personal brand to be portrayed. So, that’s when you put time and energy into really beautiful content and really thought-out the captions, and just content that you’d be really proud to post. And then for your stories, that’s totally different. That’s this raw uncurated way of connection with your audience. So, that can just be a snap and go. So, we say quantity over quality for that because the most important thing about stories is consistency in stories. So, optimum stories per day is probably about three to five, and they can be like face to camera, giving information.
For example, a person that we know that does stories really well is called Kayla and she has a skincare business called Tribes Skincare. And she’ll often jump on with Q and A’s and just talk about like skin health and give extra value in her stories, and ask people to ask her any questions they have. And that goes really well for her. And that means that when she does say launch new lines and products, she can go on there with the promotional stuff and say, “Hey, we’re launching in 24 hours. Swipe up for the link to preorder yours,” kind of thing. Because she is always providing value. Like it’s not just the one time she shows up she’s selling.
And then the final thing is Instagram TV. And that’s a more long form content. And in Instagram TV we found hasn’t taken off to the extent that Instagram probably wanted. So, we gave it time because Instagram stories, we thought it might follow the same pattern on when Instagram stories first came out, people didn’t love them and used them heaps and that was the same as Instagram TV. And we thought maybe people would start to adopt Instagram TV and use it really rigidly. But we’re finding that people aren’t necessarily doing that. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no value in Instagram TV.
So, if you have a business that suits Instagram TV, but with more, think of it as say, if you’re a filmmaker or, you’re making short clips and things and you’re already making that content, then that’s probably when you can put it on Instagram TV. But putting heaps of time and resources into suddenly starting creating video for Instagram TV probably isn’t the best way to spend your time and energy. But, yeah, those are the three main ways that we recommend using.
[JOE]: So, like we have a YouTube channel that we’re releasing weekly videos about starting, growing, and scaling a private practice. Would it be worth it to also then have those be on Instagram TV?
[TASH]: Yes, definitely. Because you’ve created that content. We just don’t recommend, yeah, if you’d never done that and then just suddenly —
[VIV]: Going out of your way.
[JOE]: I wonder if it’s going to be like Snap Chat where for a long-time business just weren’t on it and then all of a sudden, it’s like every business seems to be on Snap Chat. If Instagram TV, the early adopters might, it might be that or it might just kind of fade out.
[TASH]: Yeah. It’ll be really interesting to watch it. We also will be intrigued.
[JOE]: Right. Well, I would love, you know, it’s rare for me to have two expert consultants about Instagram in my presence. I wonder if I can selfishly have you go over to our Instagram profile and give me feedback and tell me what we’re screwing up and what we need to improve on. What do you think about doing that?
[VIV]: Yeah, I just was actually looking at it and I would say the first thing I would suggest is the way that you are posting. I think actually the balance of value and pictures of yourself, epic! Like even when you still post pictures about yourself, it’s not like you’re doing something random. It’s always quite relevant to the intention and like about the podcast. With that being said, I would say that the way that you post the hashtags. Instead of putting them in the caption, copy and paste those. Hide those in your notes, and when you post the photo with the caption then copy and paste those hashtags into the first comment. And the reason that I suggest that is because we don’t want to take away the focus from your caption. Like the caption is really underrated in terms of how much value we can be providing.
So, if you have all these hashtags in the caption, it can actually take away from that and detract from that value. And when you do post them in the first comment, it’s just important to post them as soon as possible. So, Instagram will start tracking the engagement on that photo in order to determine whether or not you make the top posts in hashtags when you post those hashtags. So, if you went back and posted hashtags a week later on a photo, then it wouldn’t have much effect at all. But if you can post a photo and the caption and then copy and paste those hashtags and straight away, then it’s not really going to disadvantage you. You’re still getting the Hashtag benefits and it’s not going to detract from your caption.
[JOE]: So, do you want it, you only want the hashtags in the first comment or you want them in both places?
[VIV]: Well, if there’s a few relevant ones, you could hashtag those within your caption. But I would say all the rest of them, put them in the first comment.
[JOE]: Okay, cool. What else should we change?
[TASH]: I think your story highlights are really good and I would just bring in, I see that you’ve got that kind of aesthetic with the kind of Turquoise green and, I mean that color has bought in throughout the profile. I would just bring a little bit more, I stay at consistency with that fade grid. So, I noticed that a few of the quotes are, all the downloads are like designed the same. So, when I would put in different quotes and things, I would just make sure that they are consistent with the aesthetic that you’ve chosen. So, for each video, say you could do a thumbnail and I noticed that in a moment all your thumbnails are black, but you could just slide along so that when you do the thumb now it’s of the, it could be either the thumbnail of the Practice of the Practice show, like the graphic or it could be you speaking just so that people are more likely to click on those thumbnails for those different videos.
And just as the aesthetic acquires, I would bring in more of that color and to the different quote posts and just to bring through that like because people kind of find your best on the photo but follow you based on a fade and if they see a post on the Instagram as they’re scrolling, then you want them to immediately know that you guys posted it before they see who posted it just from its style and look. So, yeah, I would say the actual content is right, but just framing it in a more, a lot like what’s it a good cohesive aesthetic way.
[JOE]: Sure, sure. Okay.
[VIV]: Then and I love that you’ve used a link tree because all of your, like the way that you’re directing traffic is basically to listen to the podcast right there or a free resource. So, I really love that you have just given them a whole platter of options of where they can like engage with you either by listening to the podcast, go to the YouTube channel or check out those free downloadables. I think that’s really good. And if anyone else you know, is in a similar situation, then link tree is a really good way to kind of make the most of that bio link.
[JOE]: Yeah. So, for those of you that don’t know, a link tree is in the header of your profile. You get one link and then it takes you to kind of do a page where you can then have multiple options for someone to click on. So, for people listening, you might have, if someone wants to read your blog, if someone wants to schedule your first counseling appointment, you know, “Click here to see my schedule,” things like that rather than just have it go to one single landing page. And I got to give new Sam credit for that. She found that.
So, we have Sam and knew Sam. They both do most of our Instagram. They actually live in the same building in Cape Town. And so, the Sams are going to have to listen through this for sure and implement it. Now what about in regards to the followers? Anything in regards to if we want it to go from right now we’re at 1,414 followers. If we wanted to double or triple that, any tips that you haven’t given us that you think would be really helpful in getting more followers to the Instagram page?
[TASH]: I think the fastest way to get followers is, well organically, is to either do giveaways or work with influencers, and it’s just the best way to get out there to a different audience. So, we found giveaways can be really effective for, especially say if you are counseling or you are a, like beauty treatment place or something, you can just give away something that’s really relevant to your audience. And I think a thing with giveaways is that people think they always have to just give away their product. But you can actually give away anything that’s relevant to your audience. And that kind of makes it more enticing. So, like your product along with this and along with that, and then when you post that giveaway, just make it look as big as possible.
So, if you have like boxes and things like unboxing those, putting them all in layers, making it look really visually impactful, so then its thumb stopping, I mean the best way to distribute a giveaway is to get an influencer in your niche and use their audience for your giveaway. So, it’s kind of no point of having a smaller audience and putting all this time and money into a giveaway and only posting it to your audience. So, instead you could get an influencer who’s big in your niche and get them to post the giveaway and say, just go into over on so and so’s page.
And the kind of successful giveaway is, yeah, make it look big but also make the barrier to entry super low so a lot of people are like, “You know, to enter this giveaway, for like five people we’ll do this. Like take a photo of your cat on Instagram and post it with this hashtag. So, instead just say, “To enter, just tag a friend in the comments and follow us.” I mean, yeah, so, just keep it super simple and that’s probably, yeah, the best way to grow or just using influencers to come in and post about their experience using your service or your products.
[VIV]: There and I think with Practice of the Practice, you are literally in the best position because you have all these guests that even if they just story about the podcast and mention your account, it’s just another way of getting that exposure for you and often those people will already be influencers or have a really dedicated following that will be really interested in that.
[JOE]: I love that idea. We should definitely reach out to all these people that we’ve already connected with. If only we had some Instagram experts that would do a story about Practice of the Practice.
[VIV]: When you let us know when the podcast is out we can absolutely story that for you.
[VIV]: No worries at all.
[JOE]: No, I think that for me personally, it’s such a good takeaway because knowing the influence of the people that we’ve been interviewing with the podcast, to just ask them, “Hey, would you mind doing a quick story about this? About the experience that your podcast went live? That would be so awesome.” Great idea there. Well, if every private practice owner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[VIV]: Oh, I think what I’ve been speaking to a few people about in the recent weeks is that we are in such a unique time right now that if you haven’t sat on Instagram, I think the biggest question we get asked is, “Am I too late? You know, I should have started two years ago,” and so on. And like the best time to plant a tree was 10 years ago, right? So, where we are with Instagram right now, is it’s still free? Essentially all you’re using is your time. It’s not paid to play like Facebook and we don’t know if it’s going to go that way. And if it does go that way, then by all means now will be the best time that you can, like the best time you can ever start. And with it, it can seem like you’re not getting any traction and so on, but if you just start and start making progress, then you’ll just reap the benefits later down the track.
[JOE]: Oh, that’s such good advice.
[TASH]: Yeah, I know. I was going to say something along those words [crosstalk. Great minds think alike.
[JOE]: Good thing you guys are working together and not competitors.
Yeah, exactly. So, probably we’re yet to get there and just that we do live in this probably the best age at the moment to carry out whatever you want to carry out because there is so many resources and things at your fingertips of like, you know, YouTube University of just figuring out how to do absolutely anything. So, I think just making the most of the opportunities that we do have in this digital age and not being scared to kind of jump into that realm because that is future facing for your business. So, if you have been scared, yeah, to jump into the digital side of things and the more online side of things then not seeing it as a huge obstacle, but just starting things like start an Instagram account and starting to chip away at those things that will set you up for the future of your business instead of the brick and mortar style of just like staying exactly where you are, which might be working for you, but just know that what’s the power of technology and all these things happening. It is good to get started now.
[JOE]: Such good advice. Well your podcast is called Ace the Gram. Should people just search for that or is there a better place for them to find that podcast if they want to learn more from you?
[TASH]: Yeah, it’s Ace the Gram. It’s on Spotify and iTunes and Stitcher, all the podcast places. So, yeah, literally just searching Ace the Gram podcast.
[JOE]: Awesome. And, Ace the Gram, that’s the website. Viv and Tash, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast. We will have links to your Instagram accounts and all of that in the show notes. Thanks so much for being here.
[VIV]: Awesome. Thanks so much for having us job.
[TASH]: Thanks Joe.
[JOE]: So, my biggest takeaway from this was really to just start in the comments after I post something, put the hashtags there. That’s one of the biggest switches and then also we’ve started reaching out to our guests and past guests to just see if they’ll tag us on their Instagram post promoting the podcast. So, hopefully that helps us get going. I’m interested in what you’re going to do. Will you let us know what you’re working on? Will you tag us when you’re on social media? We would love to hear what you’re doing to rock out private practice.
Also, if you want to head on over to Therapy Notes, head to therapynotes.com and use promo code ‘Joe’. That’s going to help you get two months free over at Therapy Notes. They are an amazing electronic medical records, a huge supporter of the podcast and it’s really honestly how we’re able to do so many podcasts when we have sponsors like Therapy Notes. Thanks so much for all you’re doing. If you need extra support, reach out to us. We have over 30 resources over practiceofthepractice.com/resources. They’re all totally free. We keep creating content so that you can know exactly what to do next. Thanks for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an awesome,
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