How to Turn Your Business into a Personal Brand on Instagram with Chris Taylor
Could you tell us a bit about your trajectory, and how you got to where you are today?
I started an Airbnb business in February 2018 and we grew that to 65 units in just over a year. I was the marketing person within that, so I was bringing in all the finance for our deals, leveraging relationships with investors. I built up and documented everything on Instagram from start to finish – the good, the bad, the ugly. I started to just put my story out there for no other reason than I thought it would be quite cool to look at where I started. My following was around 400 followers at the time, and it started to grow. I was quite well known in communities on Facebook – I was always commenting and helping people and letting them know the mistakes I was making, and within 2 months I was at 10k followers. Ever since, we kept documenting and we got to the end of 2018 and I left work. Because of the success we had, we had other people asking how we could help them. So I created a product, sold it to my Instagram audience (basically a step-by-step guide to Instagram) and we sold 65k worth of products in a few weeks.
Because of the success of this, I just started coaching other people on Instagram. Now I run an Instagram marketing agency – we focus on content mainly, so the hashtag strategy that Flick helps with, comes in massively. Finding the right hashtags with the right Media Count and the right number of likes, get the trending bits of content out there to help hit the explore page.
We manage corporate accounts and personal accounts just to help them become a little bit famous. We’re looking for the people who have expertise but aren’t online right now and we help them not just build their Instagram profile but also utilize our product launch formula. We handle all the funnel pages, the lead pages, the copy, the sales scripts.
So you help them build up a personal brand on Instagram to help their business?
Exactly. I’m almost building my business into a personal brand on Instagram myself, known as the entrepreneur’s director. We help leverage what people are doing internally to help create and deliver a story that people buy into online.
Could you share an example of someone you’ve worked with recently?
Sure, Jamie York. He recently launched a property training course and is well known in the industry, but if you take him out of there, no one knows who he is. So, we started trying to work on the brand message – so that anybody that looks at wealth creation in general will now start to know of who he is/what he does. We use the brand that he had in his existing community – started to put content out in multiple different locations (not just Instagram), but Instagram focused and Instagram-centric. We then built a relationship with his followers – where he wasn’t talking to them before, we now really introduce him and start sending messages and engaging in content.
We then run a product launch sequence – a soft sale at the front end, so once he’s got the loyalty, we build up the email list. Then, we hit the email list with the soft call to action to introduce a free training he’s going to run, a deep dive into the course and how it works – he’s generated just over £200k in the last week just in product sales on that course – so its been 2 months of a launch sequence in the making, and he’s done so well.
When you speak about content strategy, what does that look like for you?
I think a lot of people are confused about the concept of ‘documentation’ – people who hear the idea of documentation will go and do something – lets take this call for instance – they might do this call and post “I’ve had an amazing call with Sam from Flick” etc, and then leave it at that. Whereas my documentation is that my camera is currently recording, and this call will be my content. So it goes from the aspect of having to set time to create content to just living with the camera permanently on the record. People start to see who you are, not what you want to show off you are.
People say the biggest tip to being yourself online or doing well on social media is being authentic – that’s not a tip, that’s just being yourself. What I’m really trying to get with the people I work with is the people I work with work hard. I’m looking for people who are in the trenches, doing it day in and day out and maybe don’t have time to sit and create content – and when they do, they might get really disheartened and really discouraged, and then they stop doing it, so then no one hears their story.
If we can get to a way, whether it’s a videographer or they just do the simple stuff and have their phone sitting against their Macbook recording what they do – content no longer becomes an issue. The biggest obstacle people have when making their business a personal brand on Instagram is time, and when you take time out of the element it’s just so easy to do, and it really portrays and creates the connection with the person watching.
Once you’re past having the camera there, it becomes a lot more natural. In our interview with Finn Mckenty, we talked about the different sections of the sales and marketing funnel, and how you can convert an impression into a follower. Could you talk about how that works for you in the content you create?
100%, I do the same sort of thing. I have motivational and inspirational content that seems to just travel and travel, and it is so easy to get them to go viral. We have a rule that every bit of content will have our face on it in some shape or form so if it goes viral we want people to know that it’s ours. People connect to faces, so it’s an easier way to get someone’s attention. It’s something we call the locking eye factor so if your face is on it, you can lock eyes with someone even if it’s a static image. It is a lot more connected and drawn in than just the motivational quote that you swipe past. And there’s lots of things like that that just make a key difference on social. It also helps just in branding your content, when you’re trying to make that shift and turn your business into a personal brand on Instagram.
Jumping back into your hashtag strategy, could you give us more insight on that?
The one thing I love about Flick is the Media Count functionality within it. So thinking about the hashtag ‘entrepreneur’ for example – the issue is that it’s a popular hashtag that most people use. The top post in ‘entrepreneur’ could be there for a few seconds and then it’s just gone. So unless you’re getting media traction on your posts there’s no way you’re going to hit the top 9 posts in that hashtag. You need to earn loyalty points to trend in that hashtag. So we use a staircase system. On average we use 20-25 hashtags per post normally – we pick three or four keywords that we want or that our post is about and specific to, – so if its about Instagram, its Instagram marketing and social media marketing, online business and entrepreneurship.
And then from there we look at the Media Count in Flick. 50% of the total hashtags we use, need to have more than 50k posts and less than 250k posts. The people using them will have enough engagement to start to trend slightly in the smaller hashtags. Then you build the momentum so the more likes, saves, comments or shares you get, your engagement score increases, giving you the respect from the platform to move into the next stage. You use the engagement in the smaller hashtags to start the trend in the medium sized ones. The next group is around 251k-1m, so there is a bigger range gap in there, but that’s where we have the bigger hasthtags like #instagramtipsandtricks or #instagramsecrets – and that’s 25% of the total volume range. Then the next 25% are 1m plus. When you build your loyalty score and your engagement score up, you’ve got enough engagement to start the trend in the larger ones, which then triggers and sends you to the explore page and you can go viral.
It’s very much a phased system that enables us to use the Media Count in Flick which I haven’t seen anywhere else – the reason I use it is for that function. It gives us the ability to work the algorithm in a way that benefits us. A lot of people have a negative thought pattern about the algorithm – whereas we use it to our advantage.
Could you talk about the differentiation you make between story and feed content, how should people be structuring their content for success?
In terms of Stories, I’ll just document my day to day. People often ask me the question “When should I do stories?” For me, it’s as much as you possibly can. Every-time I change my environment I will do a new bit of story content. I work heavily in the education space, and always have some sort of knowledge that I can give. I have it in my bio and in my head permanently – if someone comes to my profile, what are they going to get? What value am I going to give them? What’s the reason I’m giving them to follow me? For me its daily industry tips.
Whatever industry or niche you’re in, have that one content that’s your go-to.
So when I go out on my walk, and I can’t think of anything, I might talk about account growth. It’s not pointless stuff, its stuff people are going to be interested in, and the only way to find this out is by testing it. I have fun with it, it’s not a work thing, I do it because I love doing it. And I love watching it back at the end of the day. My feed content is slightly different.
Everything I record can be turned into content. If you’ve not done anything, normally it means you’re not doing what it is that your Instagram is telling people that you are doing.
Do you set targets and goals for your clients and customers in that respect?
We do. With the majority of my clients, it’s not just people that work with me, we are starting to really grow now, so we will run live interviews like this – we won’t use just the footage from Zoom. I just have my phone – set it up and that just sits on record – and I ask them to do the same thing. I’ll ask them questions and they’ll talk back and this is all being captured/recorded. Then they might give me advice and then I have that recorded. That then goes out and gets edited. If anyone is looking to create content, you don’t need an agency partner to do that, you just need a friend – you can feed them questions about what’s hot in the industry or what’s going on, and then just get them to ask the questions, with the camera, strip it out and put it online. I just have a conversation and that is proven the most effective way for me to create my content and my clients’ content as well especially when it comes to turning your business into a personal brand on Instagram.
How many pieces of content do you put out per day?
For me, Story content is where I go for volume – 10-20 bits. And then I look to do just one bit of high value documentary content on my feed per day. Sometimes I’ll do two, I’ve tested 10, I’ve tested 5. You reach more people the more times you post, but ultimately for me, I’m just trying to get one bit of core content out that gets my story across, and that drives my pipeline full of leads.
I always tell my clients when they first start, to go for once every other day as a starting point. Once you get into it, then once a day, and then you’re there. Consistency is the most important thing. As soon as you drop and stop posting, you lose the loyalty support you have built up. Not just on Instagram, but everywhere you go.
I treat them like an index in the back of an old encyclopedia that we used to read. So they’re just the way for the platform to organise content. But they give you the ability to be seen by people who don’t know who you are. That’s what I love about them, to grow, if you’re not using hashtags you’re missing out on a massive opportunity.
Without Flick I wouldn’t be able to trend as well as I do. Same with my clients. The thing with hashtags is that you have to be specific, so honing in on that thing that people love about your content. I think the most important thing is understanding how impressions and reach work – impressions are when someone scrolls through your photos and reach is actually spending time looking at it. When we look at it on average, every time I post, we gain anything from 50-150 followers.
Clients are at maybe 10-30 followers each time – some even get 100 and that could be an account with just 400 followers so that’s massive to them. And it’s just about understanding the way that they work, and how to use a software like Flick to get the best out of them.
My latest was the podcast that went to number one – 91% weren’t following, the overall reach was 23,000, and from hashtags was 19,000.
In terms of overall reach – my motivational and inspirational content trends so well, so there my range is usually 20,000 to 35,000 depending on the post.
Where can people find you?
Christaylor.ig on Instagram, is the easiest place – I respond to every message, I spend my time in my DMs hour a day communicating. I also send out a daily email Monday-Friday about what I’m doing in the agency, what works and what doesn’t – sign up here. We hope you enjoyed this instalment of #FlickTalks with Chris Taylor, on how to turn your business into a personal brand on Instagram. If you would like to explore more of our articles like this, head to our blog, here.