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It's Time to Sell Podcast: Strategies for 21st Century Selling

Jul 19, 2017

“Insta stories has a unique proposition where you can put the ask out multiple times a day, but it disappears. It’s not as intrusive and it’s not as spammy as people think, because if they don’t want to see the message, they’ll just quickly tap on by.”

This is Part 2 in the Get Known Series. Last week, we had Get Known on YouTube with Brighton West.

Today my special guest is Samantha Phelan. Samantha has a great background on Instagram and social media in general, having worked as Director of Corporate Partnerships, Sales, and Digital Media at St. John's IceCaps.

In this episode we talk about Instagram as a storytelling platform, how to grow your following, strategies you can employ as an entrepreneur, how to leverage IG stories, the power of exclusivity, and a lot more.

Even if you’re already using Instagram in your content marketing strategy, you can still learn a thing or two in this episode, so click that play button and enjoy!

How to get started on Instagram

My approach when I’m speaking with clients is always identify the top 10 players. They don’t even have to be direct competitors with you, but just notice what it is that you like or what’s compelling about them that draws you to them.

Is it their personality? Is it their aesthetic? Is it their captions? Notice that and pick that stuff out.

From there, you can start to develop your own strategy. You know what elements you’d like to incorporate, but how do you make that “you”?

Then there’s more of the technical stuff. Once you do that, you need to make sure that you’re setting up the right sequences and pathways to draw people into a sale or a conversion to a website.

That’s where things like – you put this amazing caption talking about the experience of working in hockey, or the experience of coming down to the hockey game, and then at the bottom you say, “If you want to buy tickets, link in bio”.

You want to make sure that you’re putting in those call to actions, but 90% of the content that you’re putting out there needs to – or if people do the 80/20 rule, a majority of your content needs to be compelling, emotion-evoking content, and then put the ask out every now and again. But it’s subtle; it’s not ever the main thing.

Instagram Stories

Insta stories has a unique proposition where you can put the ask out multiple times a day, but it disappears. It’s not as intrusive and it’s not as spammy as people think, because if they don’t want to see the message, they’ll just quickly tap on by.

If you are in a business account, you’ll have the swipe up* functionality now. That just allows quite a lot of quite quick conversions.

The one thing that’s amazing about Insta stories is you know that those people who actually viewed story, it was a consumed view. This is what was amazing about Snapchat. It had an ephemeral nature that drove people to actually watch the content on a 24-hr rotation, because if not they are going to miss out on something.

If you train them that you’re providing some exclusive content through Insta stories, then they’ll continue to return so that even if you put the sales messages in between, they’re still going to come back and keep watching it every single day because you’re providing them with value otherwise.

How to gain quality followers on Instagram

It all comes back to content.

The hashtags are how you get discovered and how you get the eyeballs, and you’re going to have those people who are like trolls. They’ll come in and they’ll like a bunch of stuff, and what they hope is that you’re going to notice their content and you’re going to go follow them.

What they do is they make it personal and that they keep track of everybody that they’re going over and they’re liking and they’re following, and then when you don’t follow them back, they take it personally and they don’t like you anymore.

But what I think is the way to hack that system is if you have great content, when they find you through those hashtags, they’re not going to unfollow you.

If they’re unfollowing you, I mean, there are people who just in general don’t even pay attention to your content. They don’t give it a second thought and they’re just doing the like for like and follow for follow sort of philosophy, and that’s always going to happen.

You have to ignore those people and know that the hashtags are still a channel to get you discovered, and if you’re getting a significant amount of likes or hearts through hashtags but you’re not seeing a conversion to followers that come with that, then that means that you’re basically getting your photos liked by a serious number of people who like that moment, but they didn’t find your content compelling enough to want to follow you over the long term.

It’s a moment where you step back and say, “What is it about my content that wasn’t resonating?”

It could simply be maybe your hashtags are attracting the wrong audience. It might not have anything to do with your content; it might be my hashtags aren’t right. I’m putting hashtags out there and it’s for a creative community of people who really like the strong visuals, but my content really focuses on the captions, and I’m attracting an audience that doesn’t enjoy reading a microblog under each one.



Connect with Samantha on Instagram @moderndaymarco, Twitter and LinkedIn

Visit Samantha’s website at

Follow me on Instagram @chrisspurvey!

*Swipe up functionality on Instagram Stories are available only to business accounts with 10,000+ followers