This is the transcript of the podcast episode Everything Instagram with Lattes for Lunch. You can find the video version with closed captions at the end of this post or over on YouTube.

Alexis is in italics and Nicole is in normal text.

Hello, hello. I am here with the lovely Nicole. Do you want to introduce yourself? Tell us who you are. And what you do.

Hi. My name is Nicole and I am the CEO / Instagram coach behind the business Lattes for Lunch.

You are and you do amazing stuff on Instagram.

You’re gonna make me blush if you keep talking like that.

You are a Reels icon.

Instagram Reels.

I like it. I’ll accept that title. I’ll wear the crown. I don’t mind. It sounds good to me. Yeah, you know, I’m kind of really loving Reels at the moment. And I think the thing is when they burst on the scene, a lot of people were like, oh my gosh, I just, I don’t have time for another content outlet. I don’t have time to think about this. I’m just gonna put it off to the side until I find some time in my schedule or whatever but I kind of approached it from curiosity and just wanting to have fun with it. And I rolled with it in that direction and it really worked for me and it really worked for my audience. So, that’s my take on Reels. I don’t know, what’s your take?

I really like the idea of Reels. I like the concept for the same reason I like the concept of TikTok. The sort of the forced creativity of trying to get it into that short amount of time is really interesting to me. But yeah, the time thing is so frustrating to me. Because it takes me so long to go from like, oh, I have a great idea for this Reel to actually publish it as a Reel. And some of that for me, I think is honestly just perfectionism. And I was just like, but I can’t do it like that, I have to do it this way. And I want it to look exactly like this and I want it to work like this and have this.

It sounds exactly like perfectionism. Yeah, and it sounds exactly like perfectionism and it’s okay to take messy but inspired action with things like that. And it’s okay, I think to have also that level of transparency with your audience that you are messy but inspired because it connects you to them further. Like, hey, I’m trying this out too. It’s okay if we don’t understand it right away. It’s okay if we’re not immediately an expert on this platform but I’m trying it, I’m having fun. And I opened the door for you to come in and do the same thing.
Ditch the perfectionism, it’s gone. After we’re done talking it’s in trash. Virtual trash.

I posted a couple of Reels recently. I did do some when they first launched, but yeah, I think it’s just like, the Reels editor is a situation as well. I’m not gonna lie. The Reels editor puts me off. So whenever I do Reels, I always, I edit them InShot. I just can’t be doing with Reels editor. I can’t do it.

Yes. So I think the first thing for me, when Reels first launched, it was extremely glitchy. I will agree with you there. And still sometimes it can be glitchy with the text popping in and out. And the workaround that I found for that was minimising the amount of texts that I was using. And then as each text appear on the screen, letting it stay. So I only ever had to worry about it popping in and everything popped out at the same time. So I didn’t have to think about this pops in here and pops out there. This pops in here and pops out there. All I had to do was it pops in and it stays on for the rest of the Reel. And I think that was a great starting point for me too with trying out Reels, just letting it be. And it worked, it worked perfectly fine but it’s definitely glitchy.

I think Instagram really launched it, I would like to say out of nowhere, but at the same time, they launched Reels at a time when TikTok was potentially going to be taken away in the US. So they saw a need and they fulfilled it and they rushed to it a bit but it has progressively gotten better as far as length of time and the text and you know, all the other little features that come along in that nice carry case of Instagram marketing.

But, yeah. So that would be my advice. Don’t worry about it popping in and popping out. Just pop in, stays. End of story. Nice little workaround. – Yeah. It makes it a little bit easier for people who are new to Reels as well I think.

Because moving, that is one of the big questions people ask me is like, how do I do like the fancy poppy text? Like it’s so much like moving this and you’ve gotta move the slider and then you’ve gotta move the one and try and line them up. And it’s not just a lot of time, it’s a lot of like faffing on your little phone screen, isn’t it? So, yeah, that is a really good idea to just leave the text on the screen, it’s fine.


Just leave it be or use audio and transcribe the whole thing. If you can, if you have a tool for that. I’m not crazy about the inaccessibility on Instagram for audio. That’s a whole different conversation I’m getting into right now, but yeah.

Yeah, it’s not basic. I mean, they have brought now auto captions to IGTV, which are a start. They’re not amazing, I’m not gonna lie. They’re not the most accurate things I’ve ever seen. But I guess they are working in the right direction.

I think so Instagram launched when in 2010 or 2009? I don’t remember the exact year.

It’s 2010.

So 10 years later, we get auto captions. That is like a huge F you to people that need that access I think. And it is glitchy. It’s not perfect. You have to physically turn it on. So you don’t just have it on for every single account. You have to go in and find it in your settings and toggle it on and make sure that you have it ready for your account.

And then we still have the issue with audio in Stories where we’re either, if you’re like me, fiercely typing in everything so that each of your story slides is transcribed or using the workaround with threads or what have you but why can’t we have that? Why can’t we have that in Stories too?

We demand, built-in captions. Please and thank you. Where do I sign? Where do I sign on the dotted line for that? Really.

It’s very frustrating. And I will say like, Twitter is really putting the effort in for accessibility at the moment. Like they are really pushing accessibility and building in alt text. And building in audio captions to their rooms, not rooms, whatever they’re calling it their not clubhouse thing. But Facebook has, and therefore Instagram have really kind of lagged on the accessibility side of things.

Stories are everywhere!

I definitely agree. I’m not too much on Twitter. I more use it for personal reasons but I have seen them attempting to scramble and roll out things like rooms. And even with YouTube things that look like Instagram Stories where they have Stories on their platform now. And I think for me, it’s too much. I think each outlet serves its purpose and not every single social media outlet needs to have the same content output. So I don’t need Stories on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. I think if it works on one platform, fine. I don’t understand the rush for the other platforms to try and emulate everything else when it’s already being served perfectly well someplace else. That’s my take on it. I don’t know.

And I’ve noticed too, from a marketing standpoint on a platform like Facebook where you have Stories. They’re not as effective for either your audience, your followers, your friends, whoever you have on there. They’re not as effective as a connection tool as they are on Instagram. So they’re kind of just an option. And they’re not really being used as an option from my perspective again. I don’t know if you’ve seen differently with that as far as those types of content output on Facebook and YouTube using story-like features. I would love to hear from you.

I do agree. I’m not a big fan of Stories. I have said many times, but they’re not my favourite thing. And it really, it frustrated me on a personal level to see them just pop up literally everywhere. ‘Cause I was like, why?

Avoiding content overwhelm.

But yeah, from a marketing standpoint so many small business owners are just like, but what do I post on, I have the fear of like, not being visible on any specific thing. And so they’re pushing themselves to create unique content for every Stories platform, for every post standard platform that they’re on, for all the different things. And I’m just like, wow. How much time do these platforms think small business owners have? Serious.

Not that much, I guarantee you. It’s so weird that we feel that need to, and I know I’ve felt that same pull with, oh shoot. I’m not on Pinterest. Oh shoot, I didn’t story today. And my audience is used to seeing my face every day. Oh shoot, I haven’t posted to my feed in a week even though I’m really not feeling it. But I have plenty to market for my business. And feeling that constant pull to always be present in those different areas.

I can definitely relate to that myself. Even loving Instagram as much as I do and working with it as much as I do. Sometimes, we need a break and it’s okay if you’re not present on every single content outlet. There’s nothing wrong with that. You’ve gotta do what works for you and what works for your business and you have to find the balance.

Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. That was one of the main things that I say to people when I’m working with them, it’s like, you don’t have to be everywhere. It’s okay for you to pick one platform that you really enjoy and just use that one platform. Like that’s okay. If you hate Stories, you don’t have to use Stories. If you hate Reels, you don’t have to use Reels. You don’t have to do anything. Figure out a way that works for you. That’s what matters.

Right, I agree. 100%. Although I don’t know. I might fight you on the Stories a little bit if you’re talking to a service provider. That’s where I might go and push back a tiny bit because I think as a service provider. Myself being a coach and you being a social media manager, now a podcaster, I think the biggest thing with showing our face when we are selling our services is that people are buying into us. You’re buying into working with us side by side. They’re buying into our entire experience.

So I think in that sense, if I were working with a service provider and they were like, you know what? I don’t wanna be on Stories. I don’t wanna be present. I might push the envelope a tiny bit on that just to say, hey, you know what? You’ve gotta build your like your trust factor because you are selling you. You are selling to your clients, something that you are doing hands-on in their business and they have to feel that they know you before they hand over their hard-earned dollars. So just a little push (chuckles) to get out of the comfort zone.

Yeah, yeah. I don’t know whether, maybe that’s a difference between the people you’re working with and the people I’m working with. ‘Cause I tend to find that if I give people permission to not show up on Stories, that sort of break of like, oh, well, I haven’t got to do it. Kind of opens them up to be like, well, I’ll just hop on and try it. I’ll just sort of see whether I like it. I’ll just see if it works. And so I tend to find that that sort of taking the pressure off, I guess. Sort of gives them the brain space to be like, well, I’ll post a photo of my pet and just see what happens. I’ll just see. I’ll just do a little video on Stories and see what happens.

And then when they inevitably get some kind of response because it’s so authentic and natural, because they all literally just like, oh, I’ve got five minutes. I’ll give it a go. They get that response. That’s like, oh, what a cute dog. What a cute, whatever. Oh, I love seeing you. It’s so nice to see your face or hear your voice or whatever. It really sort of then fuels them on because they get that immediate sort of reaction. Oh yes, we love seeing you. Please show up more, kind of thing.

So yeah, it probably does, it depends I think on the personality type a lot. So people need that push in that like no, do it. ‘Cause with people, I think you will see that like, it’s okay. Take a breath. It’s fine, you don’t have to do anything. Just figure it out. It’ll be okay.

Right? I think I’m gonna try your approach the next time I get a little bit of push back and go, okay. We don’t need to do it and see what happens from there. A little bit of reverse psychology on Instagram Stories presence and see how well it’s received. That’s really interesting.

Yeah, I’m definitely a pusher. And I think people know that coming in the door because I’m always very clear about the way that I work within Instagram and for marketing. So they kind of have an idea. I’ve set the expectation for what is gonna happen once they get their foot in the door with me. So I’m definitely not no, that’s okay. I’m like, no, we need to do this. And this is why. And this is how it’s gonna help your business. So let’s do it. So maybe a little bit more cheerleadery.

It comes back to what you were saying about like you are showing up in Stories regularly and on Reels and in the feed and everywhere else. To put that out less so that people know what they’re gonna get. And if they want somebody who is gonna be like, hey, no. We’re doing this thing. That’s who, you know, they come to you because that’s what they’re gonna get.

Yes, for sure. That’s definitely more my personality. When it comes to work, that’s definitely more my personality. Like, no, let’s do this. If you wanna get to the next level with your business on Instagram, this is what it’s gonna take and where you’re gonna do it together. And I’m gonna show you how. For sure.

Which is definitely a very different approach to me. Which is very much like, it’s fine. We’ll just baby steps. It’ll be okay, just take a breath. It’s okay. Just, it’ll be fine.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. It serves a need for two different, totally.

Being professional on social media.

Exactly, exactly. Exactly. And again, that’s another thing about showing up on any social platform, but something so many people talk to me about is like, do I sound professional enough? Can you tell me how to make this caption seem more professional?

Oh, I’m so tired of bringing this up.

How I can frame my Stories so that I look professional? And I’m like, but if I edit it to sound professional and then they phone you or they come and see you, they’re not gonna meet the person who wrote that caption.

Correct, correct.

I really think that that caption, just everything you put out needs to be you. It needs to be the person who they’re actually gonna be working with or buying from. So yeah, that is something that comes up a lot.

For me, that conversation comes up as swearing and marketing. And I have that talk a lot. Is it professional to swear? Should you not? And as speaking for myself as a solopreneur, if you come to work with me if we get on a call, I’m probably more than likely gonna drop a four letter word and I’m not even going to realise that I do. It’s just part of my vernacular. It’s part of my personality. That’s just the way that I speak. I’m not doing it to be vulgar. It’s more like an exclamation point for me when I speak. So if I hold that part of me back as you were saying on social media, when they get their foot in the door with me, or if they get on a call with me and I’m suddenly saying F this and S that, and all the other wonderful exclamation point words, they’re gonna be shocked and they’re not going to want to continue working with me because they’re going to think that I have somehow duped them into getting in the door and they don’t know who I am and this is not what they signed up for and they’re not really sure. So that talk comes up a lot when it comes to marketing.

And I think, again, as a solopreneur, if that’s who you are, then that’s who you are on social media. You are that person on social media. You are that person when you’re working. You are that person when you’re not working. That’s who you have to show up as. That’s what authenticity is.

And there’s another word that gets thrown around a lot with social media authenticity. What is authentic? Authentic is a spectrum. What’s authentic for you might not be authentic for me and vice versa. So it’s important to just be yourself. Be yourself and don’t be afraid of it because that is going to attract repel, the right clientele.

Yeah. Which is something, another thing actually that I find a lot of people are scared of. They are scared of somehow excluding people, of pushing some people away.

It’s so difficult to kind of explain that to people and to get people to realise like you’re not for everybody. And it’s okay, because what you want is to attract the people who are for you. Who you can really help. Who are really gonna benefit from what you’ve got. Because you can’t help everybody.

No, you can’t and you shouldn’t have to and you shouldn’t want to. You serve a very specific purpose and you fit a very specific need and your marketing should reflect that by attracting in the person who it’s for and repealing the person who it’s not for. That’s exactly correct. I don’t need to be for anybody. Because then what happens if I hide a piece of myself like dropping the four-letter words on Instagram or on Stories. I’m suddenly sitting on a bunch of sales call with people that have decided not to work with me. And now I’ve wasted their time and my time because they’ve figured out later on in the journey of my experience, that my services are not for them when I could have easily marketed myself in a way to let them know that beforehand. That hey, I might not be for you. Give me your referral, but it might not be for you. I agree.

It’s okay if you’re not for everybody. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s sort of drills you down into finding the people that you are for.

Yeah, exactly. And there is this, there are so many people even when you sort of niche down, there are still a huge amount of people in that group that you are targeting. That you can really offer the best work for. And there is, I don’t know where it comes from but there is this deep belief in so many people that if, that I have to be for everybody, I have to welcome everybody. I have to put myself out there as somebody who can work with and will work with absolutely anybody. I can fix any problem about this thing. And it’s like, well, that’s great. But then also, when somebody who you really, really wanna work with, who’s really on your wave length appears and sees your content and it’s just so vague and general, they don’t know that you are the person for them. Which is something else that really frustrates me.

Yes, it can be frustrating. And I think back to the point you said where there’s so many people that you can work with that are on your wavelength. I think there’s been a boom. Actually, I know there’s been a boom in the last year with online businesses popping up and for me, that is, I’m a B2B business model and I work with other businesses. So if the amount of connections I’ve made in the last year, it’s been phenomenal. It blows my mind every day. Every day, there’s a new business popping up or a new VA or a new social media expert manager. Somebody in the digital space. And there’s plenty of people out there to collaborate with, to refer, to chat with, to share your struggles with, to hire. So you hire for them to hire you. It’s been, yeah. We’ve seen a huge season of growth in the digital community. It’s been amazing.

Pandemic vs social media!

Yeah, it has, it has. The usage of social media this past year has been so messy and wild but that has been like huge growth. And it has been really interesting try and sort of try and predict and figure out like, what is gonna work. ‘Cause I don’t know about you, but certainly the past year, stats for like clients have just been up and down and left and right. And sometimes this works and sometimes that works and there has been sort of no, in a lot of cases, no discernible anything to it. And I’m sure a lot of it has just been external factors with just the constant external factors. Which usually, you have an idea. We’re coming down to this season. So this stuff is gonna be happening. Things will change a little bit. But it has been really interesting to sort of be so, to have to be so tuned in every, not even just every day but every moment of every day, as things shift and change. How have you sort of seen that with the people you’re working with in your own content?

So I’ve seen a lot of the same stats as well. And honestly, I just feel like that’s the natural progression of social media marketing. I don’t think there is ever an upwardly trending growth for any singular business that just keeps going steady in the same direction until it breaks the glass ceiling so to speak. It’s normal to have ebbs and flows. As long as you are on the right path, as long as you are tracking the correct metrics, as long as you have a steady flow of clients. It might not necessarily matter that you lost 10 followers if you gained three clients. It’s a matter of looking at the right metrics and understanding that social media marketing is a constant ebb and flow and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. And like you said, just picking out the little intricacies to make sure that your output is on the right point, that you’re focusing on the right things. It’s totally natural. I think any marketer would tell you that. That what they’ve experienced, especially over the last year.

Yeah, yeah. It has been for me, it’s been very like, ’cause I try to gauge based on previous clients in the same industry and that same clients previous performance, like what is generally gonna do well for this audience. And it has changed so dramatically so regularly. The posts that would usually do really well are just like crickets and the constant sort of like, right, okay. Try to advise clients that like, we’re just, we are in a situation of, we’re gonna put stuff out, we’re gonna try new stuff. But there are no guarantees right now. We’re just, we’re figuring it out. We’ll figure it out. And it’s kind of, it’s reassuring to see that because everybody is dealing with it.

All the social media groups by like manager groups and stuff that I’ve been. Every so often, there’s just this string of threads, but it’s just like, oh my God, what is happening with X network’s stats? LinkedIn was my most recent situation. Stats were through the floor. Like no discernible reason. And then this month, all the way up again. Everything’s fine. Wonderful. I was just like, what happened?

The thing is too next year, when you’re comparing stats versus this year, it’s gonna be even barred, this thing. Figures have really, these weird trends to follow from last year versus this year.

Creating awesome content.

The thing with social media is we can’t grab attention every single time we’re present. And social media marketing is really a grab for attention when you think about it. We have to reel people in with our imagery. We have to reel people in with our texts, graphics, however you format your photos, whatever. And then you have to keep them there with your caption. And then you have to drive them to take the next step with your call to action. And you have to make sure they arrived on the proper hashtags and all these small intricacies. And it is a constant grab for attention. And you have something like two and a half seconds to grab the attention or your potential or ideal clients, blah, I’m tongue-tied.

And that can’t happen every single post. It can’t. I think even if you looked at big brands that you love or big influencers that you love, not every single one of their posts went viral. Not every single one of their posts was a hit with their audience. It’s, yeah. That’s what I have to say about that.

On that same sort of topic actually. Another thing that comes up a lot is people trying to get all of the information in every single post. This idea that there has to be every single possible piece of information. Everything you wanna say has to be in every single post rather than seeing it as this cohesive grand plan. Where there are bits of information here and bits of information there and people will pick up on little bits here and there and everywhere and it will gradually build in their own mind an image of you. So how do you sort of advise clients about that?

I think it depends on the business. So for my niche, which is Instagram marketing for digital and service providers and previously the wedding industry, I have to break everything out. I can’t create one post on how to make viral content. Because if I am teaching my audience how to create viral content, I am talking about their graphics, I am talking about their captions, their use of emojis, the way that they word their captions, their calls to action. Links and everything. You have to break it down step-by-step.

So in addition to your grab for attention in your social media marketing, you have to make sure that your message is easily consumed by the person on the other end. And you have to kind of reverse that and put yourself in their shoes. If you were seeing this information for the first time ever or you were seeing this information and it was something you were looking for, how easy is it to take that in? Or do you feel overwhelmed by looking at this? And then suddenly, you just lost your content to the scroll hole because that person couldn’t easily register what your speaking point was or couldn’t easily register the way that you were trying to serve them.

So for me, it’s gotta be broken out. And I will still, even with breaking out topics, max out on characters per post because I can just go on and on when it comes to writing. Writing for me is not the same as speaking. I get tongue tied when I speak. But when I write, I can edit it, I can look back at it, I can reread it and I can format it in a way that makes sense for others. That comes naturally to me. But I have to remember that the person on the other end, it needs to easily follow the story that I am telling about my brand at every single step. And that’s where it gets a little tricky because we do want people to come in and we wanna serve people through our business. So how do we do that with kind of like, keeping them in mind and not waving our hands in their face and going, hey, I’m here. Hey, hey, hey. Come work with me. I’m ready, let’s do this. So yeah, there is a little bit of, I think there’s a little bit of holding back editing and just really creating audience first mindset content.

Yeah. And I think that also comes down to knowing your audience does not have the same base level of knowledge that you have. Because if they did, they probably wouldn’t need you. So it might be that you wanna put out all this information because you think that it all makes sense to you, but actually, your audience need an intro to that topic initially before you start giving them the more in-depth and specific details.

It’s totally okay to have separate posts about different things and not just go all in on every post.

Yes, separate posts. And another thing too that I love doing right now is using carousel posts in a way that introduces the topic on the first slide. And then the next few slides introduce the sub topic. And then I expand on that in the caption.

So carousel posts are getting a lot of attention on Instagram. I know that you’ve talked about this on your own profile. And that is an easy way for somebody to come in and consume my message because they’re swiping through the carousel posts first. And going, okay, bullet one, two, three, four. And then they’re staying long enough to read the caption. And then I am crafting the caption in a way that is pulling them into the story. So breaking it down really step-by-step that way and making it digestible for them. And that has worked really well for me. So that’s why I’m sharing it right now. Somebody out there, whoever’s listening, you try it. Try it for your business, see what results it yields and then make that part of your strategy.

You do you.

And I think too, don’t be afraid of trying new things. If you don’t have a single carousel or text graphic on your feed, that’s okay. That is okay. You can always try it. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. But you know that you try to get this list and you know that you tried to serve your audience in that way.

Yeah, yeah. And it is a lot of trying stuff, isn’t it? Because every audience is different. And this is something that really frustrates me about sort of the traditional sort of social media experts that do the rounds, the post do the rounds quite regularly on social media.

I’m chuckling because I know what you’re talking about.

I’m not mentioning any names. But it really frustrates me because it’s this sort of cookie cutter approach to social media. And it just totally ignores the fact that every business is different. Every business owner is different. Every audience is different. And what works just because X amount of video content or this specific type of post works for this one business owner. And that’s enabled them to grow this huge successful business. It doesn’t mean it’s gonna make any difference to your business. It is about testing stuff and finding out from your audience, what actually is good for them.

Yes, and you just opened the door to a much bigger conversation because when we see those social media experts as we call them, show up and sort of spin their one-sided narrative without considering all the different aspects, what do they sell? They sell courses. So what happens when we buy those courses? We’re buying that social media expert’s narrative and we are trying to shoehorn it into our own business. And oftentimes, this is where the “course junkies” come from. They buy one course ’cause they were really curious. And I see this pop up a lot with Instagram. I don’t know if you see this for other platforms but people are mad about Instagram courses. They buy one course. It wasn’t quite what they looking for. They buy another course, still wasn’t quite what they were looking for and so on and so forth down the line because we are taking this one copy and paste strategy from this one social media expert. And we are trying to fit it into our business instead of the other way around. Instead of fitting our business into a model that works for us. We’re taking a model and trying to fit it into our business. And that’s where a lot of frustration comes from.

And I’m sure you’ve probably seen that with your clients as well. Being frustrated from the one size fits all and going, you know, nothing’s working, I’m stuck, I’m stuck, I’m stuck. That’s a big phrase I hear all the time. I’m stuck. I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. I’m stuck. I can’t get past this. I can’t book. I can’t expand my audience. I can’t connect. Nobody’s even liking my posts anymore. I’m stuck, I’m stuck, I’m stuck. And it’s like, okay, well, what are you doing? And then the more we drill into that, the more I find out exactly the situation that I just explained now. So I don’t know if you’ve seen that in the past as well with the courses and the experts, but that’s my take on it.

Yeah. For me, the sort of main issue that like the words that people are using with me is like this sort of self-blame thing. This like, I have tried what these experts suggest and it’s not working. So I must not be any good at social media. My business isn’t viable.

That literally breaks my heart to hear that.

I know and does me. And every time, I’m just like, no, it’s not. It’s not you. It’s ’cause you’re listening to this random person who has no idea about you or your business or your audience instead of listening to your audience. And I mean, something that I prattle on about all the time is like, check your stats. Pay attention to your own stats. Don’t compare them to other people or other businesses or standard what’s doing well at the minute. Like, just look. Like all your stats improving generally. What your audience generally responding to? What do they actually like? Ask your audience, put a poll up in Stories. Asking questions, slide into some DMs. Like actually communicate with your audience. Because they’re the people who are gonna tell you what is gonna work.

Exactly. And I think too, I hear, and I’ve given that same advice. Like take some, put some polls up in your Instagram Stories or use the question box or what’s the other one? The multiple choice selector. I couldn’t think of the word of that for some reason. And they’re like, oh, well, you know. I do that but my audience doesn’t respond. So then it’s like, okay. Have you ever done this before? Have you ever asked something of your audience before your big, what do you wanna see from me? Have you ever put in the time to communicate with them on a different level before you say, hey, give me your feedback on this. Have you incentivise the ask? A little gift card. I’m a big, huge fan of throwing out the gift cards anytime I need information from my audience.

You have to find the starting point with that. And then you have to not be afraid to ask. And that comes, that’s another recurring theme for me as well. Oh, well I asked and nobody answered. Okay, well then go back to your stats. Look at your last nine posts. What’s the one that performed the best? What’s the one that people were in your DMs about? What’s the one people were sharing or saving or whatever, and go from there. Just to start, even if you’re at ground level. Find your starting point and go from there.

Is Instagram engagement dead?

Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Another thing that is bugging me at the moment about things I’m seeing being preached about Instagram is engagement is dead. Engagement is pointless. Engagement is not how you grow on Instagram.

Who’s saying that?

Well. This is making me say four letter words.

Oh, we’re getting somewhere now.

So you spend all your time basically, on Instagram. What are your feelings about engagement? Generally. Outreach engagement, general engagement.

I would say the way that I view my Instagram marketing is 50% is content creation and 50% is engagement. You can’t have one without the other. I am constantly working to build relationships. I am constantly working to show up for my audience. I am constantly working to show up for the people that show up for me and tell them that I appreciate them and tell them thank you for sharing my posts or saving my posts or for referring me. That takes work.

You cannot post and run away and think that people are going to fall in love with you. And you’re going to be a social media influencer or this big guru or something like that. You have to put yourself out there. You have to put the work into lay the connections. And I think I learned that very early on because I did have the mentality that well this is great content and what do I need to comment on other people’s stuff? Or why do I need to DM people or whatever? And I was very me first kind of driven at that time. And then I realised, you know what? If I have to build this business brick by brick, person by person, DM by DM and follow for follow by follow for follow, then I will damn well do that. Because that allows me to serve others. Not allows them to serve me. It’s a two-way relationship. It has to be.

But engagement just for the purpose of engagement, you need that. You need to relationship build. You need to put yourself out there. You need to talk to people in the DMs. You don’t have to be in the DMs all day every day but you do need to get up in there and say, hey you know what? I was thinking about you. Hey, you know what? Thank you for sharing this. Hey, I love this piece of content. Hey, this made me laugh. Hey, I’m sorry to hear about this.

There is a human being on the other side. Period dot. There’s a human being on the other side of this piece of content. And it is okay to take the first step. Maybe they’re waiting for you to take the first step. Don’t be afraid to. Don’t be afraid to. So for me, Instagram is very much 50% content creation and 50% engagement.

Yeah, yeah. I am big on the engagement and it is like you say, like it is, Instagram ultimately, it’s like it’s humans. It’s people actually using the social platform. It’s not robots or AI or the algorithm. It’s individual people. And if you wanna connect with people, you have to go out there and talk to them. You have to actually say things to them and build connections like you say. Which is something that I am really passionate about. And it is.

I mean, connections brought us to this conversation today. We are here because of the connection that we built with one another on Instagram. So living proof right here.

But it is something that, and I do wonder if this comes back to the sort of social media expert advice, which is a lot about only the content that you put out, it’s about producing more content. It’s about producing specific types of content. That’s the whole discussion about it. And the actual sort of personal interaction side of social media is not even mentioned. It’s not even a side note. It’s just all that.

You know, that saddens me. One of my first digital products was an ebook that I called The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Engagement because I was so passionate about using engagement to build my business. And seeing the full value of what engagement did for my business and for other people’s businesses. And still even, I had two DMs yesterday asking for referrals and I was able to refer other businesses. And that’s an amazing feeling to know that I just formed that connection. Even if they didn’t work with somebody or hire somebody or whatever. But just to know that people felt comfortable enough to A, come for me. Come to me and ask me the question and B, for them to take my advice on potentially who to hire. And it’s almost always women-owned businesses. Sorry to say. That’s another story. But that all comes from engagement.

All it takes is commenting on somebody’s posts and then you move over to the DMs. And then suddenly, they’re asking you about your dog or your children, or a project that you’re working on. And you’ve got a new friend and that also works to position you. Hey, Nicole is an awesome Instagram coach. Why don’t you go check her out? Because I’m in the front of their mind all the time. For that reason, you can absolutely not overlook engagement and just straight up, plain old feed engagement is the place to start. You don’t have to go right to the DMs. I don’t usually feel comfortable going right to the DMS until I’ve had a rapport with somebody in feed comment section. That’s usually the last stopping point for me is the DM. Let me show up in this person’s DM and pitch myself and move them here or do this or do that. That takes time. That takes time. You can’t just jump right to that, that takes time. So yeah. Feed engagement, it all begins there. It really does.

Yeah, yeah. I have to say, no, I’m not a big fan of the, there are fewer, I will say at the moment, I have noticed fewer people who are using like auto DMs and stuff like that. Slide in DMs with their hi, thanks for following me. Do you wanna buy this thing? No. Who are you? What are you doing?Yeah, so actually, on the DM thing, there is Instagram are testing at the moment having Stories reactions register separately, not go into the DMs.

Oh, I had not heard that.

Of all of these sort of Instagram improvements that are happening.

You’re loving that one.

Sliding into the DMs.

That one I’m like, that is an improvement. Yes, please, make that happen. Because I do find that the reactions, it will, everybody’s reaction is a different DM. So then actual messages get so lost in the DMs section. And also, the reaction is kind of a door opener for me.

That is exactly how I view it.

Yeah, I see your content. This is cool. This is, here I am, looking at your stuff, enjoying it. It’s awesome. And the DM comes later. The actual chatting comes later and it really frustrates me that it’s just all in the one place. I will be glad if that actually, if that test becomes reality, and we see separations between the reactions and the actual DMs. Because that, oh, yes, please.

I am curious to see how that plays out, because as you say that the reactions are a door opener for me as well. Also, they are in the insights on the backend of your Instagram account as replies. So I wonder if that will change from our reply to a reaction or if it would be the same metric as far as the backend.

But the way that I view reactions much like you as like, hey, this, person’s watching my content. Maybe they’ve been around for a while but they just now feel comfortable enough to reply in some manner. I always, always reply to a reaction with text. Unless I am insanely busy and I don’t even know what time of day it is or what day it is like that. And it just has to be two words, three words. It doesn’t have to be a long drawn-out conversation. If I get a laugh emoji, I’ll be like, I know, right? And that’s it and it ends there because now I’m setting the expectation with my audience.

They see that I see them, they see that I’m comfortable replying to them and they see that I am not replying to them with a pitch. So I am approachable now. And they can come to me and it’s just friendly. And then we leave it at that. And then we move on.

Yes, but I would be really curious to see how they would format a different, so would it be a different inbox or what? I hadn’t heard about this until our conversation. It’s funny because I have Google news alerts set up for Instagram. And I have not received a single article about that at all.

Instagram tests and updates.

I did receive the news about them testing a new story layout. I know that look on your face! Where it would be similar to the way that Reels are formatted in the explore page where it’s kind of like you just swipe through. Yes, without really knowing what you’re clicking into. But I kind of like being able to see right now with Stories who’s there and whether or not I wanna skip over them for the moment or whether or not I do wanna catch up with that person. So it’d be interesting to see a swipe up format for Stories. I’m kind of hoping that one does not go through.

Yeah, there are quite a few of the sort of updates, they’re not updates yet, they are tests at the moment. Quite a few of them. I’m seeing. I’m just like, really? Is anybody actually asking for that? I mean, they’re not being able to share feed posts to Stories. I was just like, really? Really? That’s their claiming that a lot of people are annoyed that they’re seeing duplicated content in the feed and Stories. And I’m like really? Are they now?

Yeah, I don’t know about that. On that same note, I had seen going back to our Instagram experts. I had seen an Instagram expert touting not to reshare your shares. So when your content gains massive shares and it pops up in your DM and you put that same content back into your own Instagram Stories, this expert was saying, don’t do that. People don’t wanna click through five slides of the same thing, but the thing is they can exit. That’s the first thing. The second thing is they can click through it. And the third thing is if that’s working to position me as an Instagram coach and showing my audience that I am capable of creating the type of content that is worthy of five, 10, 15, I don’t care if it’s 100 shares. Then yes, I am going to reshare it.

So you can’t make a blanket statement like that and claim that nobody wants to see that. Well out of however many thousand followers, how do you know each and every single person does not want to see that? It’s forming a connection in their mind, at least for me, with this specific purpose so.

And from the sort of the feed posts being shared Stories has been so powerful. Especially this past year for sharing like in some cases, misinformation, but you know, but also, information and a lot, a lot of like activist style information. The things you need to know about racism. Here is how you can combat racism. Here are the things that you can do. Are you guilty of doing these things which are problematic? And those things have spread so fast on places like Instagram because of those shares. And for me, the ones I have seen, that has been a net positive.

It has shouted out a lot of small businesses as well. And smaller creators and stuff like that. So the sort of the not sharing to start. Like, I am just like, no, no. Don’t do it. For a million different reasons, don’t do it. Because I do, I’ve seen some of the conversations on Twitter about what would happen if that happened. Have been a lot about, well people will still share stuff. They’ll screenshot it. And I’m like, that would be a disaster because most people are not then gonna tag the original creator. They’re not gonna think to tag where it came from. So all of that act, the positive, like here’s this awesome small business that I found. Here’s this amazing information that I found is just gonna be lost. The original creator isn’t gonna get anything from it.

Right, it’s definitely an amplification tool. And it was very needed in June when the Black Lives Matter movement needed voices of white folks like us who were standing behind them. And we use that to amplify what they were doing behind the scenes. It’s also an amplification tool for businesses to get your information out there. And not everybody tags, even on the original share. However, their audience has the ability to tap through and go to that post whatever type of content it might be. So I am not hearing that anybody does not want that ability in Instagram anymore.

And I have heard it was something that they’re testing but unfortunately, they don’t have a lot of transparency when they do test things like that. So only time will tell. And I am sure that there will be some amazing person out there that potentially knows more than I do about Instagram that will find a workaround for it. So we can still use that amplification tool.

It just feels like a way to push ads basically. That maybe they’re gonna make it a paid option. You can promote your feed posts.

Oh, that’s interesting.

And I just think, do we have to do this? Really? Actually only the sort of Instagram updates thing. Some of my accounts still have the old version of Instagram. When they rolled out the new layout I had people not amused by it for various different reasons. What was the sort of feedback that you got on the new layout?

I don’t think anybody ever likes when there are changes within the Instagram app. Be it the layout or be it the new features. However, what we have to come to accept with Instagram is that they always approach it from a user first experience and that their platform has been ever evolving since day one. So that if you are working on having a presence on a platform like Instagram, that you have to just be ready to roll with the punches. You have to be ready to accept it. Even if it takes a little bit of time. And you have to be ready to find a way to make it work for you you can approach it from oh my gosh, I don’t know what I’m gonna do now. This is so frustrating. You just have to go, cool, new feature. This is going to be amazing for my business. And this is how I’m going to make it be amazing for my business. And that just has to be the approach.

Because we have to control our controllables and we don’t own Instagram. We’re not developers at Instagram. We just have to roll with the tide, with the punches, whatever the phrases are. We gotta roll with it.

That time hashtags vanished.

Something you did really well actually. When hashtags got removed in the States, you did really well at putting a positive spin on it on keeping people calm.

It took me a while to get there. It took me a while to get there. So one of my biggest selling digital product is The Ultimate Guide to Hashtags. That was my primary income at the time that hashtags. So you saying that just shows how well I handled it.

I had a freak out moment. I’m not going to lie. I had a freak out moment, but then I had to, once I let the freak out come and go, I sat in it for a bit. And then I went, how can I make this work for me? How can I still serve my audience with creating and being present and still being visible on Instagram? And how can I make it funny? How can I have a laugh about this? Because I can’t control that and I have to accept it. So lets everybody have laugh. And that’s where the Reel came from. I don’t know if that’s what you’re referring to but that’s where the Reel came from. I was just, let’s just have a good laugh. And then see what happens. If they come back, they come back. If not, my business is gonna move forward.

My business will move forward if they take away hashtags, captions, if I lose all of my followers. I will still keep moving forward. Because I believe in what I do and I believe in helping and serving others. And I gotta keep it going. I can’t stop for a second and wallow in it. Maybe for a second, just until then, just until that feeling passes, but I have to keep moving forward.

Yeah. And I think the way you dealt with a hashtag, honestly, it was testament to your attitude. I saw you on Stories talking about it as well. I mean, you were just, you came across so chill. And you were just like here are some solutions for you. I was like, wow.

Yeah, that took a couple of days. It took a couple of days to arrive there, I’m not going to lie. But I’ll have to keep it moving. I have to keep it moving. And I implore anybody to do that with their business regardless of what their niche is. If something changes, that is out of your control, keep it moving and find a different way. It might not be easy. You might not wanna keep moving. Give yourself time to process everything and then find a different way. You gotta keep going.

And especially as small businesses, solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, that has to be the root of what you do. Otherwise you would fold at every turn and then you’d have no business. So, yeah. I appreciate hearing that from you though. I really do. That means a lot to me.

Yeah ’cause people were asking me and I was like, I have still got hashtags at the moment. I don’t actually know how this is impacting you. So like, at the moment, that work. Nicole is talking about, she’s dealing with this. So just.

Keep it moving.

Like ask somebody who is over in the States. Because I am really not experienced this at the moment. Yeah. Well, it has been very, very lovely to talk to you about Instagram.

Yes, I really enjoyed our conversation today. I wish we could do this weekly, but like, you know, I don’t wanna be blowing up your time. But I had an awesome time talking to you. Yes.

Thank you so much for having me today. I appreciate it.

Do say, where can people find you? What do you offer? Why would they wanna follow you?

All about Nicole.

I’m the keep pushing forward girl. So that would be the first reason to follow me. But if you’re on Instagram, it’s @lattesforlunch. Same thing with my website, And I don’t really have a presence on Facebook. It’s primarily my website and my Instagram.

So pop over there, find me on Instagram and send me a DM. Just a simple wave or a simple hi or hello. And I would love to connect with you.

Nicole working at a laptop, she has long, auburn hair.

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