Shannon McKinstrie Shares the Secrets to Selling With Instagram

A woman selling with Instagram, wearing a blue shirt and gold hoop earrings.

Do you think of yourself as an influencer?

If not, you might want to think again.

Anyone who uses a social media platform publicly—especially as the face of their brand—is an influencer of a sort. For this conversation, let’s call ourselves micro-influencers.

Still feels awkward to think of yourself as a microinfluencer? Just trust me and stay with me for a moment. As a microinfluencer, what you share on social media has a great impact. It might have an impact on your business…but it also has an impact on the people who follow you.

So how can you show up in a way that feels good for you and good for your audience?

Today, Shannon McKinstrie joins us on the Talk Copy to Me podcast to talk about selling with Instagram by focusing on storytelling and connection.

Yes, selling.

Selling doesn’t have to be an icky, sleezy, gross, or uncomfortable thing. There are so many ways that you can show up for your audience in a way that feels like it’s aligned with your values and comfort level. And remember, when you consider the fact that you’re a microinfluencer of sorts, the idea of spreading a message, educating your followers, and providing quality content feels like a service.

And we all know that I think selling is a service…or at least can be a service if approached correctly.

So tune in now to listen to Shannon and I talk about how to show up authentically and easily so that selling with Instagram doesn’t feel so difficult.

Copy says: Listen in to this episode of the Talk Copy to Me podcast

Here is what Shannon and Erin want you to know about selling with Instagram

  • The evolution of Instagram from a personal social media app to one that can be used for business
  • Why it’s important to share personal content on your professional Instagram account (and how to do it)
  • The crash and burn of the major influencer and the steady growth of the microinfluencers — aka all of us “little people”
  • The ratio of storytelling to selling that works on Instagram
  • What feature on Instagram is going to help you grow your audience (and how to use it)
  • How strategy or a plan at approaching Instagram content will make posting and selling with Instagram second nature
  • Using timeless marketing strategies to guide your Instagram strategy instead of chasing trends
  • What type of post, reel, or story that gets the most engagement on Instagram
  • Shannon’s opinion on whether 9 or 12 grid works for selling with Instagram

Other podcast episodes and resources mentioned in this episode:

How to Twitter Chat and Join Twitter Communities with Michelle Garrett

My interview with Brittany and Crystal on the Simple and Smart SEO Show that dives into off-site SEO, particularly how we approach search on Instagram. Hint: It’s something you should really focus on if you’re currently or planning to keep selling with Instagram

Shannon would like to meet: Gwen Stefani. She decided as a teen at SNL that she decided she wanted to work in TV production…and Gwen was performing in the SNL show that Shannon attended.

Shannon’s prediction for Instagram in 2023

Less trends and more storytelling

She says, “I really see less trends, more storytelling. Not that trends are gonna die. That’s not gonna happen ever. But people will start doing more storytelling because they’re finding, they’re not sticking out in trends. Because to stick out in a trend, you still need a really good message behind it. Like, you can’t just do a trend audio and be like, oh, I’m gonna get all these followers.”

quotes from this episode of the Talk Copy to Me copywriting podcast

Quotes about selling with Instagram from Shannon and Erin

  • “You guys, wake up. We are done with the gimmicks, the tactics…show the human and I’ll buy it.” – Shannon McKinstrie

  • “What would you post today if you weren’t selling anything?” – Shannon McKinstrie

  • “I think the moment you take out selling something and go back to like, ‘Why are we on these platforms?’ We’re there to connect with humans, feel validated, feel seen, be entertained, maybe learn something, make our life easier.” – Shannon McKinstrie

  • “We, as the content creators, need to shift our perspective slightly to stop thinking of search as a glossary, like as in an encyclopedia.” – Erin Ollila

Make sure your username and the name field are not the same.

Shannon says, “The quickest thing is just optimize your bio, and update your name field to have keywords. But do double check it a million times because if there’s a typo, you’re stuck with it for 14 days. You can only update that name field every 14 days. Your bio—you could change it a million times a day if you wanted.”

This is especially important for individuals who have a business name that is different from their own. Or, for someone who has additional arms of their business, regardless of what their business name is, such as a Twitter Chat, podcast, or YouTube show.

Example here, just so that I don’t confuse you. My name (Erin Ollila) is also the name I currently use to operate my business. However, I’m also the host of the Talk Copy to Me podcast. So I can use the space between the username and name fields to include both Erin Ollila and the Talk Copy to Me podcast to widen my chances of being found easily on the ‘gram.

Meet this episodes guest expert on Talk Coy to Me

Shannon McKinstrie is a social media mentor, trainer, and speaker for business owners who want to make an impact and get big results through organic + proven social media strategies.

She’s also a wife, mom, Target junkie, oat milk latte fanatic, cheap wine connoisseur, & co-founder of The Social Squad Society.

Learn more about Shannon on her website and follow her on Instagram. If you’re feeling like you don’t know what to post about, sign up to receive 50 fresh content ideas that Shannon curated just for you!

Get to Know the Host of the Talk Copy to Me Podcast Erin Ollila

Learn more about your host, Erin Ollila

Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform – and even transform – its intended audience. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and went on to co-found Spry, an award-winning online literary journal.

When Erin’s not helping her clients understand their website data or improve their website copy, you can catch her hosting the Talk Copy to Me podcast and guesting on shows such as Profit is a Choice, The Driven Woman Entrepreneur, Go Pitch Yourself, and Counsel Cast.

Stay in touch with Erin Ollila, SEO website copywriter:

Here’s the transcript for episode 059 about selling with Instagram with guest Shannon McKinstrie

NOTE: This episode of Talk Copy to Me was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors. SPEAKERS Shannon McKinstrie, Erin Ollila Erin Ollila 00:00 hello friends today we are here and we are talking about Instagram with Shannon McKinstrie. You may know her as your social media expert who could tell you everything you need to know about Instagram. But what you may not know about her is that she actually met her husband in Las Vegas, but they grew up near each other in the DC area. So how did you guys figure out that you were actually like somewhat neighbors growing up? Shannon McKinstrie 00:27 Yeah, well, you know, it’s that typical Las Vegas love story. Erin Ollila 00:33 Don’t know any Las Vegas love stories that you’re in for the first time here. Shannon McKinstrie 00:39 We’ll start with two people who had quite a few cocktails at the pool. Perfect. So I was yes, I was there for bachelorette party with girlfriends. And he was there for March Madness. And we were very obnoxious. And they thought, oh, let’s let’s go buy these girls round of drinks. I was obviously bachelorette you could tell from the, you know, the get ups that we had on? And yeah, they bought us around the drinks, just like celebrate and ask where we’re from. And that’s where we were like, Oh my gosh, we’re all from DC how cool and we knew some the same people. Anyway, we all went our separate way. And then Ryan remembered my name and found me on Facebook. So oh my gosh, we got back to this. Erin Ollila 01:15 I love that I am actually also married to Orion did not meet him on at Las Vegas. But as a side note, I went to a friend’s comedy show, we had a mutual friend who was a comedian. We went to the comedy show we were sitting like directly like facing each other at two different tables. And I went to high school with him. But let me tell you, my husband was like a cute little stud football player in my high school and I didn’t go to a tiny high school either. And I was like, sweet little girl next door. He was like friends with everyone. Like, I was friends with the sports people. I played sports. I was in a theatre company. But we didn’t really like we weren’t the Crossing Paths basically is a point of like my husband’s climbing up. So we saw each other like I we just kept looking at each other in this comedy show. And I just remember being like, oh my gosh, she is still so cute. And then our relationship blossomed from friending on Facebook after that. So while we were in Vegas, which would have been so much cooler, we were in Rhode Island, which was funny, though, because technically our we went to school in Massachusetts. So I mean, we did traverse a different area to my crazy. Yeah, so to Ryan’s two wild love stories. This is a match made in heaven. I love it. So let’s jump into the actual practical stuff that we’re here to talk about. Unless anyone else has a husband named Ryan, please find social, we will start a Ryan husband club together. But let’s talk about Instagram. What is your Instagram story? How did you come to the platform? And why do you like to use it for your own business? Shannon McKinstrie 02:49 So I came to the platform because I had been in social media marketing at my nine to five, not really that I kind of fell into it, right? So it was like a sales marketing role. And then Facebook started going from fun to business. And they were like, I just offered I just told them I was like, I’ll manage the company Facebook page, I’ll be fun and they’re like, short, whatever. And I you know, I have a background in marketing. And I worked at CNN for a long time and the newsroom and I just love media and TV and copywriting and video. I love it all. So then when social media started going from personal to business, I was like wait, this is this is literally merges everything I’m obsessed with. But no one was paying anyone to do this. Like that was a joke, right? They’re like, Yeah, sure. You know, they it was something they threw at someone who wanted to do it. And they didn’t pay them extra for it. Then I had a traumatic birth of my daughter. And even though I loved my job at my nine to five, I was just like, I got I can’t, I can’t leave her. And it was crazy. Because for years for instance, I was the friend like people go to like, what should I caption this, you know, like having fun with it. And they’re like, Shannon, you should like, do this for people should write their Instagram and Facebook captions and like, okay, sure, yeah, right. But then in desperation after my daughter, I was like, I guess I’ll start a social media management business agency, I don’t know. And I just connected with some local people in the DC area and realtors, mainly because I knew real estate agents, they’re like, oh my gosh, we need your help. So I would help them and not charge a lot. But it was fun. You know, it was kind of a hobby then eventually turned a business. Well, at the time, I was only doing Facebook, LinkedIn. That was that. And then the realtors were like, We want to be on Instagram. I’m like, Oh God, like please, I can not try to learn another thing. I don’t know what to do to help you guys stand out in this thing. It’s like pictures of coffee. Like what do you want me to do? Because at the time it was pictures of your dog coffee kids. That’s it. And so I started growing them on Instagram just kind of treating it like people treat their personal Instagrams. I was like, let’s just share your love of everything in your local community, blah, blah, blah. And if they started growing and I started with search hashtags for them and just connected all the local businesses, people started following them back they start getting clients, followers and I was like, Okay, fine. I’m doing this for myself too. And then that’s, that’s first started, that was a long tangent, but that’s where that’s how it happened. It was because I was forced to learn it for our clients. And then I decided, wait a minute, I actually have a lot of fun on here as pretending to be my clients. I was like, Maybe I should just do it for me. And it just did very well. And then I started working with people outside of DC, which was crazy to me. Erin Ollila 05:20 Yeah, that’s so cool. I love the way that you brought that up. Because I think sometimes people forget, like the evolution of the platforms that we’re using, especially people who are late adopters, right? Like, yeah, come from that same time, as you were Instagram itself was truly a coffee, and tacos, and like, anyone’s food pictures of their children. And I actually remember when I made the decision myself to switch from personal use of Instagram into business. I was like, Well, what do I do with these pictures of my kids? Well, it’s only one kid at the time. But I was like, What do I do? Like, he’s so sweet and lovey, and I really don’t want to use him for my marketing in any way, shape, or form. Right? So how do I transition from the girl who takes a picture of her kid at a basketball game? To the girl who’s like posting a picture of her speaking on a stage? Yes, because it was a really weird time. But I think that it, there’s a lot to learn from that, like the evolution of how it changed and why it changed. Because, you know, one thing I’d love to talk with you today about is just how I think people hear platform changes, like, you know, Instagrams doing this now, or it’s reverting back to that. And there’s so much fear of like, how do I keep up when a lot of it is really just kind of not ignoring changes, but like understanding the basics of why you’re using a platform to get the most out of it, regardless of whatever changes are kind of thrown our way and how it evolves. After the whole change of like you adopting Instagram for yourself, you adopting it for your clients? Have you found that there’s any specific way that Instagram has kind of changed your business your clients like any way of using it that’s really stood out to you? Shannon McKinstrie 06:56 Yes, and I love it because everything you just said is the whole point of what I’ve been pushing a lot to people lately is I’m like, okay, it started as personal. Then it went to business and everyone got turned off. And now it’s back to personal I was like, Don’t share your personal life. I’m like, I’ve never said that in my life. I’m one of those social media people that for years has been like, stop with all the education. I love educational content, it is crucial. But if you’re not showing your face showing behind the scenes of your life, at least in stories, like I don’t care if you never share anything personal on your grid. Least in stories show who you are show you’re eating watching drinking. Of course if this is a corporation for 500 people that might be a little different but even then show the people talk about the receptionist’s talk about the founder I don’t know just show the people and it’s funny this is actually sitting here because I was gonna do a real on this later but this is a pet stain and odor remover that we bought from Target and the frickin owners faces on it. I just bought my daughter some slime from target the owners face the founders face is on it. Yes like you guys wake up like we are done with the gimmicks the tactics or whatever and it’s like just show the human and I will buy from it. So yeah, it’s really cool we’re in this we’re witnessing as almost go back to OG Instagram thank God Of course there’s a lot of people are like I never want to show my face and like that’s fine. I can help you grow too but tell stories in the caption. Use storytelling because guess what, I can buy a necklace anywhere. Why do I want to buy the necklace you’ve designed and there’s actually a jewelry speaking of necklaces, there’s a jewelry designer I just found Instagram I’m literally gonna buy all her stuff. She the face of her company she talks about her mission why she did it I’m like that’s way more fun. Yeah than anything else. And I think a main one of the big reasons Instagrams doing this and why it’s it’s almost like that that’s what happened with tick tock like tick tock was a refresher for people who missed old school Instagram, where people show their faces and told stories. So it’s very interesting. So the biggest Amazon deal right now is like go back. What would you posted if you weren’t selling anything? If you’re not sure what to post today do that. You can recap. Yeah, why you started your business. A recent story of a client like that’s it it’s that simple. Erin Ollila 09:05 Yeah, that’s so so important. And I think one of the most recent evolution of social media specifically you can see on Instagram too is the like the downfall of the major influencers and the increase of our of the micro influencer right and when I say micro influencer I mean you, me, our friends, right? Not not the people who are tiny influencers, the people who are literally living their normal lives that as a copywriter me and five other copywriters we’re different we have different life stories. You know, one of my copywriting friends loves Chick fil A because she like grew up working at Chick fil A and it always kind of comes up in her stories on and off. Yeah, I’m thinking of another web designer who loves like that. I follow that. I think she’s just awesome. The girl loves Dr. Pepper. One of my friends who coaches people to speak on stages loves bacon. These are all tiny weird things. I know I’m talking food a lot. It’s lunchtime Waller. According to the reason I say this, though, is because they’ve brought these teeny tiny elements of themselves into their business into their brand. Things that don’t feel heavy, emotional, dramatic to share about their life and tiny little facets that when used in story form, create like the brand, if you think about it, right? If we’re gonna look at branding that way, the story of the brand, and that’s the micro influencer. That’s the person who when they’re posting in stories, and I just did a conversation with one of the experts that I have on the show for Twitter. And we talked about how like, you know, she gets more communication and like engagement when she shares a picture of her cat doing something ridiculous, then she does talking about her PR journey. But like, that’s why she’s present on social for in engagement. Right. So awesome. I think we have to kind of one understand, here’s the new evolution, it’s as being our own micro influencers. That’s point 1.2 is, how can we what stories are we going to pull in? And why are we on the platform? Like, what’s the point of using it? And I think that will kind of help you determine how you approach the whole strategy of showing up? Shannon McKinstrie 11:12 Yes, no, it’s so funny. Say that. I’m like, Hey, if you ever need a boost in engagement, like go get engaged or get a puppy or have a baby, like, you don’t know what to tell you? I mean, we are falling people. Yeah, I don’t know. It’s just, it’s, I think the moment you take out on selling something, and go back to like, why are we on these platforms, we’re there to connect with humans feel validated, feel seen, be entertained, maybe learn something make our life easier not to follow businesses? That’s just Yeah, Erin Ollila 11:41 no, you’re right. So I, this is gonna be a tough question. And you can totally like jump out of this and say, it depends, because those are my favorite words. But do you think that there is actually like a percentage of how much you should be sharing for conversions? And how much you should be sharing for like, communicating or like connection? Yes. Shannon McKinstrie 12:01 I mean, it’s funny say conversion, because the way I do it, and I would love to hear other people do it, right. Because I think for a while, especially before COVID, I just COVID changed everything. We all were just like we’re at capacity, stop selling me, I’m tired. You know, it was it was a rough time. And I think that’s when everyone stopped kind of pushing sales down everyone’s throat. Not everyone, but the ones who weren’t doing that we’re seeing sales. So what I do when I’m selling, I’ll kind of weave it as a PS, like if I’m sharing a tip of like, by the way, there’s, I go over this in depth in my blink blink DME, or I’ll say, comment, the word, comment, a word below that I give them, or I’ll say, DME guide, if you want the guide or DME audit, if you want the audit. That’s how I use Instagram itself. Because again, Instagram does not want people leaving the app number one. And number two, as users, we don’t want to leave the posts or the reel that we’re watching. We want to like stay engaged. So when you are selling, instead of making a caption was like a sale page. Give it give the value, give the story, almost like you wouldn’t email marketing, right? It’s like, we don’t open an email. It’s just like, hey, buy this, buy this, here’s why you should buy this. We open it because of the story. We become attached to it whenever they mentioned. And then we click the links. So that’s what I suggest is just weaving it into content. That’s valuable, entertaining, empathetic, and then scope. By the way, there’s you know, it doesn’t have to be a long drawn out sales page with the bells and whistles. Obviously, if you’re in a heavy launch, definitely make one of those heavy, you got to talk about that stuff. You got to answer the FAQs. But just know those won’t get the most engagement. They just won’t and that’s fine. But like, make sure just as you’re launching and an email sequence that has a lot of storytelling and empathy, that you’re including that in your Instagram too. Erin Ollila 13:48 Yeah, that’s helpful. And I actually think it kind of brings up another question for me, same type of question. Again, feel free to it depends on this. But when it comes to showing up on social and we talk about like launching versus literally just being there and being your own little micro influencer, do you think that there should be like a percentage of your overall time where you are avoiding sales so that you’re not just selling and you know, like throughout the whole year? Shannon McKinstrie 14:15 Yeah, I mean, I think the 8020 rolls pretty safe across the board. But just like in an email, like, I’ll put PS, you know, like, here’s my thing, because I’ve given them all this stuff in the email. So if you’re in a hardcore launch, I mean, talk about it all the time, obviously. But yeah, I try not to sprinkle sales into my copy on my post that much at all, honestly, because honestly, I sell in stories. Stories are where sales go down. I mean, they really do. And so I spend more time talking about my offerings, telling clients stories and stories. And then maybe once every eight posts or so all like push something whether the course like whatever it is that at the tip I’m sharing if it is They can get even more advice in something I’m selling. I’ll weave it in to that copy. But I think the 8020 rule is safe. I mean, again, I don’t get on right away and start selling Top of the morning every Saturday on stories. But um, I do make sure within the first few stories of my day that I do something. So have one of the four, I’m typically selling or trying to get them on my email list like something to get them in that sales funnel. So yeah, I think every one and four or but again, I don’t do it that often because I find stories to be more effective for me. But it can be different for other people. Erin Ollila 15:31 No, I hear that for the most part of like, I have at least my clients that talk to me about this, you know, from their approach to social, or even the other experts that have come on, it’s, you know, the key really is it’s that connection, it’s not so much the conversions, you have to have them right without conversion without reminding people what you do. They’re not the connections only gonna go so far. But the key is like, if you’re forcing the conversion, you’re never going to build that connection aspect. Do you think that Instagram as a platform right now, for the people who are using it for their business? Is it a tool to only nurture your current audience? Or are there opportunities for growing your audience? Shannon McKinstrie 16:12 Definitely for growing, especially with reals, reals, I mean, it took me years to hit 10k. And I hit 10k. Right? Before reals came out. And as soon as I realized, I mean, it went bananas. So I know the potential for reals. And that’s the beauty of Rails is what I love most about them. And why I’m obsessed with them is because back in the day with Instagram, if you have a post, typically you can only kind of hit one thing. It’s like you’re educating, or you’re telling a story, or you’re empathizing, whatever, right? But with reels, you can literally make a whole reel, it’s super educational. And then in the caption, empathize or telephony start, like you can hit that way, you know, the different buyer personas, like maybe I’m someone who wants to laugh at a real I want to watch real laugh. But then in the caption, you’ve hit me with the good stuff. And like, Okay, done. Like, it’s almost like to, it could be hit by two values. And one, if that makes sense. And that’s why I think my account, I’ve seen so much growth, because when I’m educating in a real or entertaining in the actual video, in the caption, I’m taking a different route. And I’m going to further so if the person watching it actually didn’t find it funny. Maybe they’ll find the story in the caption, heartfelt you know what I mean? Like, that’s something that I focus on big time with myself and my clients so that that way, we’re hitting two to three buyer personas at once. Yeah, I think Erin Ollila 17:29 something that people like I hear all the time. And I actually even feel this myself, the tough thing is deciding how much time to spend in these different facets of Instagram, right? So like, I know, you had said something about like four stories a day that you’re personally doing. And obviously, every business is going to take a different approach. So I know there’s not like a hard answer here. But for the people who are sitting and listening to this episode, and they’re like, Okay, I’m comfortable with making a real I’ll do it. It’s new to me, but I’ll do it. I already have my posting down. I already show up in stories like out how much of myself am I supposed to give to all three of these areas? Do you have any advice on either where to focus or how to set a plan to be present in all of those places? Shannon McKinstrie 18:12 Yeah, I think it’s it really is a plan, like you said, and I hate picking the fun out of it and be like you need to play you need a strategy, but eventually just becomes habit. So like, for instance, when I’m it’s so funny, because I did a real on the first three stories you need to share every day a while ago, and it went bananas and like, everyone’s like, Oh, wow, it’s such a smart strategy. I’m like, I just didn’t, I was just doing it not knowing and I realized I was like, Oh yeah, I prioritize what I need my people to see in the morning. But I also know when I this is what this is what I do. I look at what I like absorbing in the morning, in the afternoon in the evening, I love when I look at some of the stories I’m like, Oh, I get a little peek of their life. If they right away, like by my program like by like at Udemy said hello to me. Right? So I kind of I’ve always adjusted my strategies or like almost done them not even knowing but then when I look back and analyze what I’m doing I’m like oh, she didn’t you did have a strategy here. I’m really I’m really crazy about creating strategies for my clients but not so much for myself I kind of do whatever I’m feeling like I literally am about to record a real after this because I thought of it today. So but I know a lot of people don’t work that way because they’re not social media marketers like this how my brain works so free Yeah, for everyone else I think it’s just good to at least know Okay, every day I’m gonna at least share I’m gonna go this route and have these first three things show you know greet him good morning Tom about what I’m doing today show something I’m offering if you’re trying to launch or whatever it is your big goal and business it should be one of those first three and then show a little behind the scenes or show some social proof right and then as far as content goes, like, you know, know what your capacity is know if you can do three to four posts a week that’s all I do. I typically post Monday through Thursday by Friday, I’m ready to just I’m out like because the reels keep going so like why am I not gonna hit post thing I want to have time with my kids. And so that’s kind of what I do I do about. I do way more than four stories a day, but I just make sure in the morning, I’m sharing stuff that I know. Like, right now we’re, you know, we’ve got a couple more spots left in our retreat. Like that’s all I’m talking about in stories, I’m not going to talk about the five other things I offer. So that’s kind of how I how I do it just so it’s not stressful. It’s like you wake up, you make a part of your morning routine, if your standard making coffee, watching it, take a picture of it every morning. I don’t care if it’s the same thing every morning. We like familiarity. We like repetition. It’s comfortable to us. Erin Ollila 20:31 And that’s one of those little instances of like, people remember you for specific things, right? Like if every morning you take a picture of your coffee pot, or a new mug that you’re using, people are gonna be like, oh, there’s Aaron again with her corny asthma, right? Like you don’t even like but they will, like, we will kind of thing to it. Right? Right. Exactly. And no one’s gonna hire me because I have like, literally, I have corny mugs. No one is going to be like, Oh, that’s the girl with the silly sayings. But they’re going to remember me. And then when they are like using social, they’re going to be like, Oh, I wonder what mcgahren did, right? Or like, they’ll see a new mug that I get and be like, look at you with your new mug girl. It just builds that connection that people start to care about who they’re following when it comes to social. One thing that we talked about in the beginning of this conversation that I’d love to kind of make sure we cover before the end of it is kind of how there are timeless marketing strategies, right? Because we if we look at the evolutions, even just the two of evolutions we talked about for Instagram, personal professional influencer and a micro influencer VR, a lot of people focus on these major things, like even reels when they came out, like transitioning, only video on Instagram. And those are really tactics and trends. So do you have any advice about how to kind of like maintain your own timeless marketing strategy? So you’re not only chasing trends? Shannon McKinstrie 21:51 I love that. Yeah. Because again, we get caught up, like you said earlier, the updates the new features, and I’m like, y’all, it’s a storytelling gap period. And some of the most powerful and big time creators we see on Instagram right now are the ones that just get hop on and go, Oh, my gosh, you guys won’t ever believe what happened. Bah, bah, bah, bah, bah. And then they segue it into whatever they’re selling or doing. And it’s it’s not. It’s not rocket science. But it is there is an art and you have to you just really, I just tell everyone, I’m like learn how to write strong hooks. Learn how to have conversations online, I oftentimes tell people to start their realtor doing a talk to cameras. So instead of chasing a trending audio all the time, which I love the trending audios they make me laugh, I love them. But I do a lot of talking to the camera. And what I tell people is, if you’re struggling with what to do, actually, someone just asked you a question and answer it. And then what you can do is if it needs context, you just put what the question is over your head and text like it doesn’t. So that’s one way to stop chasing the trends. Think of FAQs, write down all those FAQs you get keep them tupid bite size. I hate to say that but like we are at capacity. I remember I used to have like long carousel posts that gave like an entire masterclass on how to Instagram, how to grow on Instagram, like people would see that right now and throw their phone out the window. So like, I cannot just tell me the one little thing, right? Like that’s what we we want to know, What product are you using as an XYZ? What is your schedule as XYZ, like we want to know, you and what you’re doing. So with that said, instead of chasing all the trends with reels just like, think about the things people are asking. And it could be anything it could be like, maybe someone in your sphere asked like, oh, how do you? What’s your hack for? Getting a zoom call real quick? I don’t know, right? Like, it could be the dumbest thing and we’re going to attach to it love it. Because we have issues with Zoom or we whatever it is, like use the word I always tell the like the beauty influencers I’ve worked with in the past, I’m like, or just you know, they sell makeup. I’m like, Well, if you’re talking about the product, I know you’re selling it. And I’m not gonna like that. What I’m gonna like is if you tell me the makeup makeup case you just got from Target that you can’t live without. And then you talk about what’s in your makeup case, and then I’m sold to buy the products. You know what I mean? I mean, that’s, that’s off topic, but just talk to the camera. Like you don’t have to do the trending audience all the time, but know how to do a good book and just have a conversation. Like you’re talking to someone who just asked you that question. The other thing is carousel posts still get the most engagement on your on Instagram period, they still have the highest engagement. So carousel posts are so incredibly powerful. So don’t feel like you have to be on camera all the time or chase trends. And that even goes for carousel posts with photos. It doesn’t just meet I know a lot of people think carousel posts they think Canva and ours in Canva. I’m talking even just like, here’s my camera roll from the weekend and have them swipe. You know, I always find it helpful when you do some sort of carousel post to be like, Oh, don’t miss the fifth picture. Hahaha right, like get them to swipe like encourage them to see what they want like are the realtors I work with. If it’s like a new listing, I’m like tell them say Don’t miss the pool at the end. Right? So they’re intrigued. They’re curious and they swipe to the end and make sure it’s you know, worth the hype, but With that said timeless marketing strategies, get people involved. Talk to them about things they care about. So again, if you’re getting all these questions, create a video on it. And talk to the camera. You don’t always have to do the trend, a dance a lip sync. While they’re fun, and I love them like you do not ever have to do that. You don’t have to point it bubbles that don’t exist. You just talk to the camera. That’s it? Erin Ollila 25:25 Yeah. So speaking of a trend, I actually don’t think we’ve even covered in this series yet. What are what’s your take on the like nine or 12? Grid Instagram post? I hate and yeah, why? Shannon McKinstrie 25:38 It’s this at the point of Instagram, you’re not a sales page. I’m sorry. I really despise it. And I’m sure was someone listening going. Thank you, Shannon. But I just, I you know what, though, I think it’s brilliant for the person who literally doesn’t have time. And just, this is not their happy place. If Instagram was not your happy place, and you’re actually killing it on Tiktok word, do it, you’re not going to go that way. We’re not going to connect to it, we’re gonna see it a sales page, and it’s gonna feel gimmicky to me. We are there to I want to scroll back to yours if I want to, like, I don’t have time to do it. But I know people do it with mine. Like they have fun. They go down. They’re like, Oh my god, like, and I don’t care if it’s the same content, you’re repurposing over and over. I am not on Instagram to follow a website. And that’s what looks like it looks like a website. To me. I hate this concept. But I think it’s brilliant. For people who literally like not feeling Instagram anymore. And there’s a lot of people out there. But if you if you’re like, I’m out Instagram, I just need someone to find me. If they’re Googling me, and my Instagram pops up I need so I placement there, do it. But if you’re trying to build a brand, do not do it. Yeah, on Instagram. Yeah, Erin Ollila 26:38 the whole reason I’m doing this series with multiple people for each platform is really the idea of building the decision making for the listeners of like, where they want to spend their time. And you don’t need to be everywhere you don’t at all. But the trick here is, I remember when I was hiring contractors for my house, like looking at their account, like Facebook, Instagram, wherever and being like, are you even alive? Right? Like, are you in business anymore? Because and contractors are the worst I love to pick on home contractors. But the truth of the matter is, there was a great number of companies I didn’t even bother calling because I had no clue if they were even like present in in their business. So part of I think what works really good for a nine or 12 grid is those people who they might like exactly what you said, they’re not really using Instagram, they want the basics to be out there. That way, if someone finds them, maybe there’s even one of the posts that say like, yes, we’re open, you know, like, we usually work this same hours. Yeah, we’ll make sure you know, like our like, office manager will call you within two days of leaving any messages, whatever. I think that there is a potential for using Instagram. If you use the Pap, me, excuse me using the ninth grade or 12th grade or whatever. If you use the platform in a more personal way, and you have a business. So again, maybe they’re using LinkedIn, maybe they’re using Tiktok for their marketing Shannon McKinstrie 27:54 note that yes, and I love that idea. You’re gonna do it, make sure you’ve pin something that says Hi, we’re open. And this is where we’re more active and send them there. Yeah, Erin Ollila 28:03 one more quick question for you. Before we move on with all of our like completion things, as you know, I think that there is not a one size fits all strategy. But I get a lot of questions from my clients of like, how do I create highlights? What do I put in my highlights? What do I put in my bio? And I know that kind of opening like a can of worms here. But do you have any advice for how people set up the overall look of their like, main section of their Instagram page? Shannon McKinstrie 28:29 Yeah, well, the bio is extremely, I mean, we could do a whole hour chat or a whole day. It’s important, oh my gosh, your bio needs to be it needs to talk right to your person. Like and I think the biggest thing again, with a lot of people that struggle on social media, they don’t know their target market. And or they just haven’t really dug deep enough. Like I always joke like, I always use makeup as an example because I see so many network marketers that come to me they’re like, I can’t get anyone I’m like, well, because everyone’s selling your stuff and like look at tick tock. It’s everyone’s selling makeup. I was like, they’re not talking about the actual pain point. We all want make it why do we want makeup? Why do we want a five minute makeup routine? Pull that out? Because you’re busy mom and he’s really you don’t recognize yourself? Like pull it out? Like what are they struggling with like that is that’s where you need. So again, your bio isn’t just makeup or it’s not just copywriting or it’s not just social media management. What are you actually doing? Why are they actually spending money on you? They’re not buying it. Typically people that invest in me, they’re not just buying, they want to grow on Instagram, they’re buying time they’re buying wine to look polished, right? It’s like there’s so much more than that. Anyway, with that said your bio is incredibly important. And that’s like the first thing most people look at to decide they’re gonna follow you then they typically had your highlights. I know people think oh, I don’t have a lot of people that are like I’ve never looked at anyone’s highlights. Like trust me, we’re looking at the highlights. You want to make sure you every single person needs to have at least one that’s testimonials I call mine client love and every time I get a DM or anything an email I screenshot that bad boy throw it up on story Just throw it in client love, make sure you just those first five are goals of your business. Right. So one goal of mine is do more speaking. So you best believe I’ve got a speaking one there client love I got tips. So basically in like a behind the scenes so every business owner, I tell them like some sort of social proof testimonials, whatever it is tutorials if your product tips if you’re a service provider, and then the third some sort of behind the scenes of your life. And then of course, the fourth would be a big goal you have in business, like for me speaking and have something there. And then as far as your grid, I mean, gone are the days of the perfect grid, but I also work with interior designers and they need a perfect read. Like, because they’re selling aesthetics. So but don’t get hung up on it. Biggest thing to know is that when people go to your Instagram, you want them to find what they want to find fast. So if you’re doing rails, make sure that hook that copy is right in the center of that nine by 16 video, because that gets shrunk to a square and the grid. Be mindful that because while it doesn’t need to look perfect, you want them to be able to go and grab like, Nothing drives me more crazy. And I’m guilty. It’s happened to me, when I go to something and I’m like I can’t it’s the words are cut off. So that’s something else, I think the bio, a clear picture view, a strong bio that says more than just what you sell. It sells what they’re buying, like their actual heart is buying. Erin Ollila 31:22 Okay, so people have been listening, we’ve thrown a lot at them. What is one teeny tiny homework assignment that someone could end this episode with and go out to do to kind of like improve their Instagram for their business? Shannon McKinstrie 31:36 I think one of the easiest things they can do. And always, it’s always the easiest takeaways that you can do it right now is make sure that your username and your name field are not the same. SEO on Instagram is getting a lot better. Like if I hang up right now. And I’m like, if someone goes, Oh, what’s the name of the podcasts? Like, I can look up your first and last name. But I can also like say your username is your first last name. But the Name field can be the name of the podcast. Right? So like you want them if they’re going to remember you by your name or they can’t remember your name. How else are they searching you by that goes in your name field. So or vice versa, maybe your username is the business name, that name field went from like 20 or something characters to 60 and now you it’s amazing. So my real estate clients especially like they’ll be like you know Susan real estate right? In the name that might be their username in the Name field. Um, like put your city put your state put realtor put everything you possibly can in there that people are looking for. So yeah, that’s my biggest, that’s my biggest like right away to immediately increase discoverability. Because we’re on Instagram, we’re treating it like Google we’re treating tick tock like Google all of it. Because we know the real sucks on Instagram and Tiktok we can reach someone we can direct message to them. So that’s the quickest thing is just optimize your bio, update your name fields have key words that do know, double check it a million times, because if there’s a typo, you’re stuck with it for 14 days, you can only update that name field every 14 days, your bio, you could change it a million times a day if you want it. But that’s the quickest thing you can do today to help. I love Erin Ollila 33:04 that you just brought up SEO, I actually just recorded an episode with Brittany and Crystal from the simple and smart SEO show all about nice site SEO and how to think about things like Instagrams, like claim that they’re changing the platform to be SEO focused versus hashtag focused. And I think there’s a lot that we as consumers are going to benefit from we as consumers are going to understand how to use the social just like you said, we’re using Google and Instagram in the same way these days, that we as the content creators need to shift our perspective slightly stop thinking of like a search as a glossary, like in an encyclopedia, you know, we go on the previous way of Instagram as a content creator was thinking hashtags. So okay, hold up the you open the encyclopedia, go to the glossary, and you find a couple of terms. But now we really have to think of it as search but mostly a search intent. So I really think that that transition to my next question, great and don’t feel like you need to talk about SEO at all for this right? But because I just kind of did but feel free to what are your predictions for 2023 when it comes to Instagram, Shannon McKinstrie 34:09 I really see less trends, more storytelling, and not not that trends are gonna die. That’s not going to happen ever. But that people will start doing more storytelling because they’re finding they’re not sticking out in trends. Because to stick out in a trend, you still need a really good message behind it. Like you can’t just do a trendy audio and be like, Oh, I’m gonna get all these followers so increase in storytelling, but also by that like bold statements with people I can’t tell you how many times I’ve like share relatives. someone’s like, oh, I don’t want to sound snarky. I’m like, you don’t do it. And you got to do it. Well, yeah, we are. You’ve got to stand for something you got to be bold. You got to say stop doing this. Avoid this if you want this like your biggest mistakes you’ve been told wrong like it’s okay to say this up if it’s true, and as long as it’s not like clickbait but like, I mean, we are bombarded with content where We’re hearing so much noise so much stuff that isn’t true, probably, totally. So you got to be bold, and you got to do more storytelling. And because I tell so many stories that back up, why I’m saying things, I don’t just go, you need to do this. It’s like, it’s because my friend Sally just set it up because of this, or I did it right. It’s like, yeah, tell stories behind your trips. That’s what I see trending more and more. Erin Ollila 35:21 And I think, you know, we, we, we think about these social platforms. And we think to ourselves, regardless, we’ll platform like, Oh, this isn’t working this this effort. Usually a tactic isn’t working for me, you know, like, I’m not seeing the traction that I hope will a lot of the reason comes back to exactly what you just said, people are too afraid to plant their feet, right. So that’s, that’s part of like, why we’re talking about all these platforms. If it’s as simple for you as the listener, and not that this is like the cut and dry advice for everyone. But it is as simple as choosing one platform, you’re planting your feet in that platform, whichever platform it is, and like sticking a claim, do it, you’ll start to see the traction, right? It’s just the fact of like, you know, putting your toe in like dipping your toe in the water, you’ll never know what it’s like to swim if you’re only going to like dip that like big toe in. So I think that that is a really great kind of a prediction to say and like advice. Stake Your Claim here and this platform like wherever you’re gonna be. Shannon McKinstrie 36:16 I love it. I’ve only recently branched to Tik Tok and other platforms. I mean, Instagram was my golden. I love it so much. I’ll always love it. And now that I have more time, and I just repurpose so but like you, I was nowhere but Instagram for a long time. And that’s okay. Erin Ollila 36:33 Yeah, totally. All right, absolutely. Final question. If you can meet anyone at all right now, who would it be and why? Shannon McKinstrie 36:40 I could meet anyone. This is gonna age me, but what’s the funny? Yay, okay, silly. I, I was born in the 80s i 82. And it’s just funny. Like, I I was a no doubt, like, crazy person. And it was actually because no doubt was at SNL that I went to SNL. My mom news wouldn’t be seen. Because I wasn’t allowed. I was too young. And it was at SNL that I decided I wanted to do TV production, which then led to that and it’s like, I always say like, if I wasn’t such a hardcore, no doubt fan. I don’t know what I’d be doing. Because like, yeah, in that moment, SNL watching all the cameras and the chaos and I was like, I want to do this. And then I just went hard and studying TV production went to CNN, fell in love with marketing social media and landed here so that probably gonna stick with her. I just Yeah, her so much. Erin Ollila 37:31 That is awesome. All right, perfect. So Gwen, obviously you’re listening to me podcast, and you now have a new best friend and Shannon. Thanks for listening, Glenn. Thanks for listening. Everyone else. Shannon, thank you so much for being here and all of your advice. Everyone do not forget I will have the links to how you can get in touch with Shannon in the show notes and she has a great lead magnet for us too. So make sure you grab that before you go and do anything else. Shannon. Thank you. I appreciate your time here today. So much fun. Thanks. Alright everyone. We’ll see you again next week. Yeah,

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