Every month Darrell Stern, the CEO of Stern Inbound Marketing appears on the Experience Pros Radio Show to teach America how to bring ROI to Digital Marketing.

For November, 2016, Mr. Stern talked about how to #GetStern with your Instagram Marketing.

Angel:  Well, I’ll tell you what, when it comes to social media I think we all have maybe one that we’re kind of familiar with. But most of the time there are so many new platforms coming on board we can’t keep up.

Don’t you wish you had an expert on-hand where you could ask him anything about Snapchat, about Instagram, all of the different ROI or marketing tools, online platforms that there are. And he actually is an expert.

He’s using them. And today, his expertise, we’re gonna focus on Instagram. You can follow him at Instagram.com/SternDMB. Darrell, welcome.

Darrell: Welcome, hi, thanks for having me again.

Angel: Right? I’m looking at this Instagram page of yours. And I’m blown away when you say that Instagram is actually more — What did you say? It’s more connected?

Darrell: It’s the most engaging, has the highest engagement rate, in other words per follower.

Eric: Really, more than Facebook?

Darrell:  More than Facebook, which is hard, which is difficult to believe. But it actually is. And I think it has more, a lot to do with the fact that it’s a visual platform. It’s very visually engaging, and especially on your phone.

It’s very easy to like, you know, to, to click something, like something, comment on something. And if it’s done right the messaging that you’re putting out there is visually powerful. A picture says a thousand words.

Eric: So Darrell, the reason that it’s so engaging is that because there’s only a couple things you can do? You can, you can like it by clicking the heart, right?

Darrell: Mhm.

Eric: And you can comment on it. That’s about all you can do with it, right?

Darrell: Well, there’s a few new things coming out now.

Eric: Okay.

Darrell:  First you can actually record a video and post a video up to Instagram. You can actually pre-record and do an entire post-production on a video and get it right up on to Instagram. And now Instagram to take on Snapchat has created stories, which are kinda similar to Snapchat.

They’re a little bit different. They have some of the same features where you can record, again, your clips that then turn into a longer story, a video story of you that then again disappears in 24 hours. So there’s actually a lot —

Eric: It disappears.

Darrell:  Yes.

Eric: Why would you create something that disappears?

Darrell:  Well, it creates urgency. In other words if you’re following someone and you want to keep up on what they’re doing you have to check in with them once a day or else they, you know, or else what they’re doing disappears.

Angel:  Okay, alright, so Instagram, right?

Darrell: Yes.

Angel: We’re gonna focus on Instagram today. There’s lots. And he is truly the expert at all of these online platforms, using it, getting people to follow, engaging with — And I think that this is —

Darrell, we only think — Okay, I’m just using it to get my name out there, just some brand recognition. You’re actually getting some real engagement from using Instagram.

Darrell: Well, I don’t like the word just engagement. I like to use the word “ROI” because if you carry engagement through to a real conversation with someone that then becomes an ally or a client or a potential, you know, vendor partner then you’re actually getting ROI out of using the social media platform.

And any business isn’t going to invest in something too long if there isn’t, you know, some sort of return on their investment. So a couple of things, one is create your own original content. In other words a lot of people are putting out memes of famous quotes.

Let’s just say of other people, of other inspiring things that they’ve seen and all of that. Well, you have a brand. You have a story to tell. You have a message that’s unique to you. So tell your own story.

I mean, yes, it’s good to associate yourself with other things. You know, they’re popular things. But it’s good to tell your own story and have your own quotes about what you think about your industry or your business or your product.

Angel: How easy is it to make all of these? I’m looking at some of your, your pictures, your memes. They are so timely. They are exactly your brand, exactly your messaging. And yet you’ve tied it in to trends that are going on right now.

How easy is it to create these?

Darrell: Well, we sit down, me and my staff, and we sit down and we brainstorm up what our next campaign will be. So we did one for Halloween for Snapchat, which was don’t be afraid of the ghost. You know, don’t think that the people out there are zombies.

You can actually bring people in and, and attract generations.

Angel: Yes, scare your competition with a killer Snapchat marketing strategy…

Eric: Yeah, they’re very creative.

Angel: Yeah, very creative. Don’t be an alien to your customers.

Darrell: Yeah, so we write out the idea first. And then we have talented graphic artists, uh, one in particular on staff who’s doing this, who’s creating these things. So then — here’s the trick of it.

Okay, great, so you’re putting out these pictures. A lot of people then — you have to do hashtag research. Now hold on. Now hashtag research is, is searching in Instagram and figuring out which hashtags are popular and which hashtags people are using.

But what we want to do beyond that is actually tell a story. So I love writing dramatic scripts and poetry and these types of things. So we actually write out a whole narrative to go with the picture that is in plain English, you know, is readable and then actually has these particular words hashtagging throughout it.

Eric: Darrell, how does this turn into return on investment for somebody?

Darrell: Couple of things. So you can’t put a link, like a URL, into an Instagram post, right? And a lot of people do that and their links don’t work. Their links don’t work at all. But you can change periodically the link in your profile of your Instagram whole, you know, setup, of your Instagram account.

So let’s say —

Eric: Yeah, I did that today.

Darrell: So let’s say you’re running a particular event coming up or you’re announcing a new product, you know, if you have a whole different product line. In one week you want to showcase this one product where you can change the link to that particular product.

Let’s say you’re running an e-commerce store or you’re having an event or something new’s going on in your business or you’re launching a new blog, you want to do a whole set of memes.

And then in the Instagram post you literally just put “Link in profile.” So when they see that and they go “Oh, well where is it?” They can go there and click on the link in the profile which is just a few, you know, thumb clicks away, you know, on your phone and all that.

So you can change up — like right now we’re doing our thing about Instagram. And we’re combining the election, you know, that’s coming up tomorrow with our Instagram. And we’re doing a whole campaign on Vote ROI.

And then it doesn’t matter what’s going to happen with this election. Your business is still the most important thing. And you need to keep growing it and keep working on it and keep looking for ways to generate, you know, more business for you.

So right now our link in our profile is going right to our Instagram strategy page.

Eric: On your website.

Darrell: On my website, right, to hopefully have people then sign up with us to help them with Instagram and other platforms. Before that we had a whole campaign about, um, on Halloween about Snapchat and about not being —

Eric:  Right.

Darrell: So then we changed our link to that.

Eric: Which coincidentally Snapchat has a ghost kind of a logo.

Darrell: Exactly. So we had a lot of fun with “Hey, don’t be afraid of the ghost,” you know, the Snapchat ghost and all that kind of thing.

Eric: Alright.

Darrell: So right now, so then also we love to combine pop culture with what we do with our brand. So I like this thing called Star Wars a little bit

Angel:  Just a little bit of a Star Wars fan.

Darrell:  A little bit. So we do, we do — So I love to combine the ethics of Star Wars with my brand. So we had one with two lightsabers crossed together and we put, you know, “Do or do not. There is no try.

Eric:  Famous quote from Yoda.

Darrell: From Yoda, yes. Do or do not. Yes, there is no try.

Eric:  There he was.

Darrell:   So that’s part of the ethics of our business is that we’re not just gonna try, you know, to help you with, you know, generate ROI, you know, through media marketing. We’re actually going to do it and set our goal to do it and get it done.

So with that though we’re then able to bring in hashtags and mentions too, which are important. Just like on Twitter we actually put @StarWars instead of just #StarWars to bring more people, you know, to us and paying attention to us.

Eric: Because you use, when you use those mentions the @StarWars or the #StarWars or what not, then you are appealing to a much larger base —

Darrell:  You are appealing to a larger base, right. So if your product is similar to something else or goes along the branding of something else that’s out there, people will see that. I mean if you like Star Wars and you’re selling something that has to do in that sci-fi area —

You invented a new laser for your B to B manufacturing business and it looks like the lightsaber or something like that, you can combine the two. And grab, get even more attention for yourself. Then you go on. When you get these comments again you reply to them.

You can follow back the people to —

Angel: You reply to the comments. How’s that for a strategy?

Darrell:  Right. Well, you can, well then you can actually follow back the people. And then you can message them. It has a messenger just like a Facebook Messenger where then you can actually tell them “Hey, you know, I’m glad you like that.

If you would like to schedule a call with us or, you know, we would love to work with you on this. You know, let’s continue the conversation.”

Angel:  This is one of the most valuable pieces of working with Darrell. It’s the, it’s every step of the way. So it’s not just “What are we gonna post? We’re gonna do two posts today. And it’s gonna kinda look like this.”

But then what happens? And what do we do? And how do we interact? And how do we engage with people and continue that conversation and put a little oomph?” And so it’s very attractive. It’s engaging and interesting.

It’s not just facts and figures, right? It’s very interesting information that people are looking for that they’re attracted to on social media sites. And then actually turning that into taking them through your sales process, which is where most people miss out.

Eric: Darrell, quickly, your contact information please.

Darrell: Sure, you can go to SternDMB.com or call us at 303-353-4354.

Angel: SternDMB.com. No matter where you are in the country people are online looking for you. We’re going to post his Instagram strategy on our Facebook page.

Eric: We’ll be back with more positive business talk right after these messages.