How do you get someone to buy a product when you can’t include a link in the post? That’s one of the fundamental questions and challenges when it comes to leveraging Instagram for a brand. And when your brand is all about selling lots of products—like all of us in retail are—that’s rough. And yet, Instagram somehow has over 1.7 billion active shoppers on the platform, customers who are actively buying products from you or your competitors.

How does it even work? How can retail social managers drive real business results using Instagram? Instagram tactics are exactly what Jenn Herman is going to talk to us about in this episode of Social Pulse Podcast: Retail Edition.

Jenn Herman is a social media consultant, speaker, and globally recognized Instagram expert. She’s a sought-after international speaker, providing tips, resources, and training for organizations of all sizes that need to structure their social media strategies. Jenn’s been featured in Inc, Fox News, BBC News, Entrepreneur HuffPost, and numerous other podcasts and publications. She’s the author of Instagram for Dummies, Instagram for Business for Dummies, and she’s one of my brilliant and amazing coauthors on The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing.

How Important Is Instagram to Retail Social Media Managers?

How effective would you say Instagram is for our retail audience compared to some of the other social networks? Should it really be a priority for retail social media managers?

Jenn: I’ll preface this with abso-freakin-lutely.

I have a couple of stats I want to reference, but Instagram became the place for retail, for ecommerce. Like you, most people in that industry can’t get away with not doing Instagram. You have to embrace it. Now that said, if you’re just getting started, if you have a new retail business, if this is something new to you, don’t feel like you’re behind the eight ball.

Don’t feel like you have to jump into the deep end. It’s something you want to do, absolutely. But, of course, there’s only so many hours in the day, so many things that you can do running a business. So don’t feel like you have to go in completely on Instagram, and it doesn’t mean that other things can’t work. It doesn’t mean that TikTok doesn’t work. It doesn’t mean that Facebook doesn’t work.

But Instagram is what we think of when we think of retail or B2C, when we think of ecommerce, when we think of that product, that thing that somebody’s going to pick up and buy: Instagram really is the place. 

And just for reference, just to highlight some of the additional stats in what you’re just sharing, 200 million users a day click on either shopping posts or business profiles. 200 million people a day, related to business and shopping. So if, again, you’re in retail, these are things you want to be able to take advantage of. 24.5% of all consumers have made retail purchases on Instagram. One quarter of all consumers are buying products on Instagram, and 83% of Instagram users discover new products on Instagram, whether that’s through advertising, things that people are sharing, or suggested posts.

It is a platform built for that kind of awareness, that kind of discovery, that opportunity to get in front of new people, and reach audiences like we never could ten, fifteen, twenty years ago. 

So, yes, you absolutely want to be embracing the world of Instagram for your retail business.

Mike: And it’s funny because I consider myself a typical guy when it comes to shopping, in that I don’t. I don’t do a lot of purchases. I don’t do window shopping. I don’t do spontaneous stuff.

Instagram was the first platform, and I’ve been on social media for a long time. Instagram was the first platform that I bought something impulse shopping. It was in a story ad. I’d never heard of this product before, but it popped up in my stories, and it was engaging and compelling enough. I tapped on buy. 

And I love the set you brought up about the sheer number of people who are purchasing, and they’re going to business profiles. Because we’re going to talk about link and profile in a little bit, I’m sure, because that stat should be telling us, “Maybe there really is value in doing something a little more interesting with that link and profile link.” 

We’ll talk about that in a second, but I want to talk to you about all the different posts and different kinds of things that we can do on Instagram. You can do posts with images, of course. That’s where Instagram started, but then you have Reels and you have story content that I mentioned.

What Converts Best on Instagram?

Jenn: I always say in general because I’m the exception to every rule. So when I say these things, I know my account does not adhere to these standardized rules. But, in general, stories are the highest converting traffic or the highest converting content, and Reels are the lowest converting content. 

And this tends to shock people because we always hear Reels, Reels, Reels. And Reels are amazing. They are great for the toppest of the top funnel. They’re great for awareness. They’re great for the shares and the suggested content. But when it comes to driving an actual conversion, stories are the highest converting content. 

And there’s a couple reasons.

One: People tend to spend a lot of time in Stories. There’s about five hundred million people a day in stories. It’s a huge number of people consuming stories every day. So you have a larger reach potential typically for, again, for most accounts.

But Stories tend to be the more casual content. Right? It’s not going to live on forever. So we tend to not care about the lighting, about the audio, about the color resolution, or whether our hair may be greasy. Maybe we don’t have makeup on. Maybe something falls in the background. You’re like, “Whatever. It’s gone in twenty four hours.”

But it is that realistic, authentic, casual, comfortable content that actually is what people connect with. 

So when we have these polished perfect videos in our Reels tab and we have all of our professional photos that live on on our grid and we have all these high quality things, they have a great long term representation of our brand. But when someone wants to connect with you, they want to see what your product looks like when you actually pick it up and you’re like, “Hey. Look at this thing. Look at me.”

That’s so much more casual and relatable than the perfectly posed photo and the perfect lighting and everything else that people are more likely to believe, trust, and go forward with purchases when it comes from stories or to reach out for a DM or to ask you more questions or to follow you because someone recommended your profile. They go look at your stories. They’re like, “Yeah. I like that. I’m going to follow them.” So Stories in general will tend to be your highest converting content.

Mike: Okay. So this is an audio podcast. So for those of you who are listening, you’ve then said the comment about greasy hair. I’m basically bald, so she was not talking about me. I just want to be clear about that. 

But you’re basically saying that with Stories, the content tends to be on average more authentic.

Jenn: Yes. And therefore, it’s converting better.

Should We Veer Completely Away from Polished Instagram Content?

Mike: Should we be changing everything else that we’re doing, and trying to steer clear towards that kind of content, or do you think there’s still a place for highly polished videos and studio shots?

Jenn: I think it has to be a mix.

I think it’s great to have those produced videos. Like, to do your Reels where you’ve got full makeup and wardrobe, and you’re showcasing the product or whatever it is that you’ve got in your retail business. And you’ve got the good lighting, and you’ve got those things, because you want people to come and see your product in the best possible light.

But there should also be an equal distribution of what looks more like that user generated content. What looks like it was shot on a smartphone? What looks like it was shot in your kitchen? What looks like it was shot while giving your kid the camera to hold so it’s held at a two foot height instead of a five foot height? 

Those things are real. Those things are what people go, “Oh, I can see that product in my house. Oh, I can see myself wearing that out to dinner. I can see myself using that in my day to day life because it looks relatable.”

So it’s a matter of finding the balance between the two. And I think that for a lot of brands, it’s hard to get away, especially depending on if you may be the marketer and you’ve got your C-suite above you or you’ve got your R&D team behind you, and you got all these people saying, “No. We can only use these photos, and we can only use these, and they want to use the best of the best.” And so, yes, by all means, use them, but try out the different options.

Mix up the casual and the professionally produced content

Try out doing the more casual, the more organic content, and the professionally produced content and see what performs. Long term, one may perform or outperform the other. Short term, it may be the other way around. Or you may target a certain demographic with the more organic and a different demographic with the more professional content.

So you can test it out and see what works and then strategically determine for yourself, ignoring what everybody including me tells you, and go, “You know what? For us, heavily produced videos and photos work great. We’re going to keep doing that.” Or you may turn around and be like, “Jenn, Stories don’t work for us. We tried it. It’s not working.” Okay. Then focus on Reels or carousels or whatever content you see in your data and you’re seeing as your conversion driving content as what you want to keep using.

Mike: That is a really important piece of advice. And I want to underline that because not only are we talking to you today, Jenn, about Instagram, but in this podcast in particular, I’m going to be talking to several fabulous experts on different platforms coming up.

You should always be experimenting on what can and cannot work with your brand.

And then to go back to something you said that I thought was really important, you talked about how brands are creating content that almost looks like UGC content.

I was interviewing one of TikTok’s head of marketing for our retail summit that we had recently. And she was making the exact same point. We were talking about a TikTok video that I’d seen where it was a gentleman selling a product. He was in his garage, and the door was down. His car was there. It was crap overhead lighting. He positioned the product with the back of his garage door as the background for the product. So this was not pretty, by any sense, but the product was really cool and his delivery was very polished. And for all intents and purposes, it was a brand video, but it felt like it could have been UGC. It could have been a user generated piece of content, and it’s skinned to the point where the brands who are being most successful with this, you can’t differentiate between the two. Maybe they work for the brand, maybe it’s an influencer they hire.

Who is in the context?

Jenn: Is it an employee? Is it the marketer who did this?

Mike: Will it blend? We don’t really know. 

But you talked about Reels. And I want to go back to that because I want us to really pick apart here whether or not retail brands in particular should be doing a lot of Reels.

How Should Retail Marketers Approach Reels?

Jenn: So, yes, in the grand scheme of things, you can’t not do Reels. That’s just the reality. 

Reels are a dominant part of the platform, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Of course, there’s the evolution of all things social media. And we went from the fifteen second reels to ninety second. Now they’re testing three minutes, and you can upload up to ten minutes, and it’s still considered a reel even though it wasn’t filmed in the Reels app. So any video on the platform that isn’t a story, any video is considered a reel regardless of length. 

But it’s the under ninety seconds that are kind of considered like the “real” Reels where you’re filming those in the app or uploading within the app, doing the editing, and those sorts of things within the app. And those are, for all intents and purposes, going to be a power player for you. As I mentioned, these are typically going to be top-of-funnel. And when I’m talking top-of-funnel, these are going to be your under thirty seconds. These are ideally fifteen to twenty second videos that are meant for suggested content. They’re meant for explore. They’re meant for sharing. These are not meant for conversions. These are just for brand awareness. And it could be a flash of someone using your product. It’s not going to be a heavy introduction. You’re not like, “Hi. I’m Jenn Herman, the product developer at ABC!” Like, no.  No one cares about that. They want to see the product. They want to see it in use. They want to see what it looks like on a person, someone using it, how it transforms the process that they’re doing, whatever it is, you want to be a part of that very short video to get their attention.

Then the longer Reels, those over thirty seconds, are meant to serve your existing audience, still more at top-of-funnel. So we have the awareness at the very, very top from the brand awareness, the short videos. The longer videos go slightly lower in the funnel, but still very much at the top. You’re typically not going to get high conversions off Reels. These are meant to be a bit more information about the product tips on how to use the product or style the product, maybe frequently asked questions, maybe creative ways that other people are integrating the product into their processes or their lives, that UGC type content. 

All those sorts of things that are meant to serve your existing audience still get shares more likely to be like, “Oh, hey, Mike. I saw this thing. I would totally think you could use this.” Or, hey, “This reminded me of you.” Or “So-and-so’s birthday’s coming up. We should look at getting them this.” It’s that kind of shareable content. It’s more of, again, “Do I want this? I want to think about this.” You’re still going to get conversions off of Reels, but comparably to all the other content, it’s typically when they’re in the Reels feed, when they’re going through for someone to leave there to go to your profile, and to go follow that link or to take that action to purchase is significantly large of an ask. 

Now if you have shoppable posts and those sorts of things turned on and it’s an easier transaction that changes the ballgame in that component. But for just the kind of the organic Reels in and of themselves, we want to keep those focused on the higher level brand awareness.

Mike: Fantastic tip. And I’m glad you mentioned shoppable posts because one of the other interviews I did for that retail summit was with one of the product managers at Feedonomics. And that’s a tool that will help you make sure that your product catalogs are synced to Instagram and Facebook and TikTok shops and all those kinds of things. So I’m actually going to push that interview to this podcast, folks, so you’ll get to hear that and learn more about Feedonomics coming up soon.

But, Jenn, I want to follow-up with a question about how as a social media manager, we’re creating a lot of content. We’re creating now thirty second snippets, maybe repurposing ads. It felt like an ad almost in terms of the content. Then we’re creating maybe how to videos.

How can we approach using that same video content on other platforms? And I feel like this has been an ongoing question. Can I use a TikTok on Instagram? Can I use an Instagram reel on TikTok? Do I have to only use the naked video? And now we’ve got Facebook reels and YouTube shorts. (Folks, I hope you’re paying attention. LinkedIn video, tall video is coming very, very soon.) So can I use this same piece of video if it’s less than ninety seconds across all these platforms?

Jenn: Again, it depends. Like, this is something you want to test.

And it’s knowing your target audience, and it’s knowing the intention of that video. That video is a brand awareness video and it is just meant to get people knowing what you’re talking about. Absolutely. Repurpose it. Use it everywhere.

If you have calls to action in that video that say things like “go to our link in bio” or
“tap the shop button,” you can’t repurpose that because it’s not the same interface on the other platforms. And then they know that you’ve basically been lazy, and you’re just repurposing content across platforms.

So depends on the type of video and what the components are within it. And then you also have the issue related to how and when you build the video. So you can build the video in Reels, right? You can do all your edits and put everything on there. And then you can hit the download save button, and you can download that video to your mobile device. But it strips all audio. So any music you had on there, all that kind of stuff is gone. You just have the plain video.

In those situations, if you plan on repurposing, I would recommend filming it outside of the app. Film it on your phone, film it in another tool or something that allows you to do your video editing the way you want it to do, so you have that raw file without metadata tagged with TikTok, LinkedIn, anybody else on there. And then take that raw video and then purpose that across all the platforms, editing each one accordingly. So, again, TikTok fonts look different than an Instagram font on the videos. So make it look native to TikTok with their fonts. Make it look native to Instagram with the Instagram text boxes. Put it up on on your YouTube shorts with, again, different font or no font on that one or whatever it is you want to do—but taking that original raw video that had all the major components and just doing minor edits to personalize it to each platform will take you further in terms of your platform success.

In the grand scheme, again, like I said at the top of the show, you are probably one person. You are probably doing five other business functions within your role unless you’re working for a major retailer where you have a team of people and your job is just the Instagram content. 

But if you are just that one person, even taking that one raw video, if it took you an hour to create, film, produce, and put together that one raw video, now you still have to upload it to four or five different places and do your edits and do your text boxes and do everything. You’ve just probably added two more hours to the one hour you just had.

And is it worth your time to put three hours into this video?

If the answer is yes, commit, do it, go nuts. 

If the answer is no, look at alternatives. Look at taking something where it is just the raw video and you don’t put all the additional text and things and you just upload it. Or upload it on Instagram and use it there. Download it if you need to, and put it up on TikTok later. You get to make that decision based on your bandwidth, your strategy, and where you’re seeing the highest results from your videos. Like, if your TikTok videos are amazing and your Reels are getting some traction but not a ton, go put the time into building it on TikTok, and throw up the more basic video on Instagram until you start to see the Instagram videos gain momentum.

Mike: Such great advice. And while I am not personally a retail screen manager, I can relate so much because I’m creating podcasts. I’m creating short form video content, and I don’t have time to edit each individual video on each individual platform. But I want to maintain the activity on those platforms. I want to see where certain pieces of content will resonate or not. So I use Agorapulse, and I push it all out there. I could send them to my mobile device if I wanted to, and I could choose a different platform. Like, if I only wanted to edit on Instagram but I just want to push it to Facebook, Reels, TikTok, or YouTube Shorts if it’s short enough, I absolutely can do that.

By the way, if you use Agorapulse, just so, because it doesn’t actually say that in the interface, if you want to publish a YouTube short, it just has to be fifty nine one out. I was like, “Boom. Done. YouTube shorts.”

To be honest, that’s how we figured it out. There was no API. There’s no toggle. We just  accidentally published some short vertical video to YouTube and found out we can publish the shorts. That’s good. Maybe we should tell some people. But I have to ask you, Jenn.

What’s the Deal with Hashtags?

Jenn: This is the topic that is currently the bane of my existence.

Hashtags have been the thing for ten years. I mean, its hashtags were the only way to search. You could search hashtags, location tags, or people’s usernames. That was it. We didn’t have anything beyond those search parameters.

Now they’ve expanded it where we have keyword search. So people tend to think hashtags don’t matter. And they’re like, “I’m just not going to worry about it because people aren’t looking for hashtags.” And you may look at your insights and see your post was found three hundred and eighty six times via hashtags. Now it may not be ranking for hashtag results. So people think they don’t need hashtags, but hashtags are one of the key indicators for keyword search. Keyword search is looking at your profile description, your captions of that post, and your post in general, and your hashtags. But it’s when the hashtags are in the caption.

If your hashtags are in the comment, they are not recognized for keyword search. So we want to make sure that if you’re that person who has been hiding your hashtags down in the first comment, we no longer want to be doing that. We want to keep our hashtags up in the caption.

And when they’re there, that’s one of the key indicators. So if you’re writing super short captions (which I totally don’t recommend in the first place), a lot of people don’t put big descriptive captions, especially on Reels. We tend to not do long descriptive captions on Reels because all the content is in the video. It is paramount that you’re using hashtags in those captions because that is what is helping you rank for those keyword search.

If someone comes in saying that they’re looking for bridal sandals and that’s the keyword that they search for, if none of your content is related to bridal shoes, sandals, that sort of stuff, you’re not showing up. But if you have those hashtags in there, even if it’s not in your caption description that you do—bridal footwear, bridal accessories, bridal shoes, and those sorts of things—the AI goes, “Oh, well, this is probably related to bridal sandals,” and you’re more likely to show up in that related search because you have the hashtags. 

So they are still super important. You can still use thirty hashtags. It’s not quite the “use it or lose it” that it used to be before keyword search because now, like, again, when you had hashtags, you’d put bridal shoes. And if you didn’t have the yes on it and someone was looking for bridal shoes and you have bridal shoe, you didn’t show up in the search. Like, it had to be the exact phrasing. But with keyword search, you don’t have to duplicate the plural and singular of all your hashtags.

We can be a little bit more conservative about how many hashtags we use. But, ultimately, we still want to be using fifteen to twenty hashtags minimum on every post. We want to give the AI, the back end, that opportunity to know what that content is about, the industry, the topic, the solution, the ideal customer. All these things should be in those hashtags.

Now I say all this with a caveat because Instagram keeps testing (i.e. glitching) on this whole hashtag thing and limiting us to five hashtags per post. It happened on a regular feed post for a while, and I was told by Meta employees that that was a glitch. They fixed it. Well, then last week, it was doing it on Reels. And after three days, they finally came back and said, “No, Jenn. That’s just a glitch. If it happens again, just rage, shake, and report it.” I’m like, “Uh-huh. Sure.” So, it’s clearly something they’re working towards to limit us to five hashtags, but that day is not here yet. So until that day happens, keep using your hashtags that have fifteen to twenty or more volume.

But keep in the back of your mind, what would you do if you could only use five hashtags? What five hashtags would you define as your branded hashtag and industry hashtag?

If you’re a geographically based retail location, maybe some geographical related hashtags like city, county, neighborhood type things, and then your specific product related hashtags.

So that if you were only allowed five, when the time comes, you already know what those five are that are going to be most relevant to your brand and to those key searches that you want people to find you for.

Mike: Fabulous advice. Friends, Jenn has an entire book about Instagram hashtags. No joke. We’ll have it in the show notes for you so you can check that out if you’re not really sure which hashtag you should be using and how to employ them as part of your Instagram strategy, she’s got the resource for you. 

Now we’ve been talking about the content that we’re pushing to Instagram. 

We haven’t really touched on how do we get people off of Instagram, onto our website? If we don’t have that shoppable, tags and shoppable products that are built in, we’ve got the link in bio, and we have direct messages. We can put links in direct messages.

How Do We Get People Off Instagram and to Your Site?

So how do you suggest that retail brands and our social media managers approach these tools?

Jenn: Let’s talk Instagram Stories first because that’s usually the easiest again, that highest converting content. It has a link sticker. You can send them anywhere you want them to go. That’s a huge advantage, right? And you can put a sticker in there that says use coupon code #April20 and you save twenty percent on your next order and then have the link where they can click through to purchase.

Stories give you a huge advantage in terms of being able to drive those immediate conversions where you can add coupon stickers. You can add details. You could do polls, quizzes, questions, or which color would you prefer: pink or purple?

And then once they pick it, they go to the next slide. “Grab yours here link, and they can go through and purchase.” Like, there’s ways that you can build them into that purchase path through a story sequence and take them directly to the link to purchase.

Instagram Stories, hugely valuable. Do not ignore them. And the best part about it is it appears after twenty four hours. So then you can just do it again. Repurpose the same content two or three times within that week. If I saw the post on Tuesday and then I didn’t do anything, I see it again on Thursday. I’m not mad that I saw the post again and have another chance to purchase. And if I didn’t see it on Tuesday, when I see it on Thursday, yay, I can purchase.

You can repurpose the exact same content or with slight tweaks over a period, whether it’s the week or a month, whatever the campaign period is, to be able to drive those conversions. So Instagram Stories, super powerful. Definitely make sure you’re taking advantage of those.

Then when we think about things like DMs—you’ve got your post, you’ve got that great Reel video, you’ve got a carousel, you’ve got a photo, whatever it is, and you want people to purchase. You have two options, link in bio or send me a DM. Those are going to be your primary calls to action.

If it’s something where it’s a bit more of an evergreen type thing, you probably want to push to link in bio. If this is a limited time purchase, if this is something where maybe you want them to go through some sort of additional process before the purchase, then DMs are very valuable because you could say something along the lines of, “If you want more details on our new release coming out next week, send us a DM and we’ll send you a video about the upcoming product,” or something related to if they have to, again, choose that pink vs. the purple. “If you want that purple one, send us a DM and we’ll get you the direct link to buy the purple one today. Do you want the matte or the shiny finish?” Like, these sorts of things. And so when they send you the DM, you can reply with the link. So you don’t have to worry about them going to link in bio and getting lost in the translation of options and getting to your website. You’re going to give them that direct link. It also allows you the opportunity to build in the customer service journey into that sales purchase using the d app. So it’s not just me saying, “I’d like the pink one, please,” and you go link, paste, send. 

That’s not personalized. That’s nothing to be like, “Hey, Jenn. So glad you’re interested. We’d love for you to check out the pink option. Here’s the link. Feel free to let us know if you have any questions.” 

And whether this is being monitored in something like Agorapulse, like we saw what Lovepop was doing, or if it’s being something monitored through a chatbot, you’re having an opportunity to build conversation and drive actual conversations with your customers using their name, personalizing the experience, ask answering their questions or asking them a question. How do you intend to use this when you purchase it?

Or are you planning on saving this for a special event or asking questions and building up those relationships which you can do only in DMs? 

A word about DMs

And side note, just for everybody’s reference, when you have relationship conversations in a DM, so a one-on-one where it’s gone back and forth, that actually gives you algorithmic preference in that person’s feed. 

So every time you have a DM with somebody, you’re boosting your performance and your ranking in their individual feed. So we want to push towards those DMs, not just for the conversations, but for algorithmic advantages.

And then the last, the longest standing link in bio solution, which is our default. “You want to buy it? Go to our link in bio. You want to know more? Go to our link in bio.” It still works. It’s still a very powerful tool, and it is still the preferred customer experience when we’re not talking Stories. A lot of customers, it’s a big ask to say, send us a DM. They’re not ready to send a DM. They’re like, “I don’t want to talk to somebody. I just want to check it out.”

But when you send me a DM and that’s their only option, they’re like, “Oh, maybe I’m not ready to buy.” But if you had said link in bio, they’re like, “I could go, sneak over there and no one’s going to know that I went over there and looked at it. It’s fine.” So link in bio is still typically the preferred method for most consumers, not for everybody, not all the time, but in general. So we don’t want to ignore the link in bio option.

Now from here, you have a couple options.

You can have one link in bio and just send it to something on your website.

You can use a tool like a Linktree or a Linkinbio solution, which is a third party tool that allows you to go to that link and they have a menu of options that then takes them to those various locations.

Or Instagram now allows you to have multiple links in the bio. So if you go look at somebody’s, it’ll say and others. And so if you click on that, you can see the other links that I would have populated there.

My best advice—and all three of these are perfectly viable—but when you have link and other, it can be a little confusing. People don’t know which link they have to choose. Like, do I choose your homepage? Do I choose a different one? It can be a little more confusing. I don’t personally like to recommend that for brands.

If you’re using something like Linktree or link in bio, totally valuable. A lot of advantages to them, but you are relying on a third party tool. You are giving all your traffic to a third party.

They’re not going to your website first. They’re going someplace else. You are giving away your traffic. And if they go to that link in bio solution, look at your menu options, and never choose one of them, and they never go to your website, you never actually see that traffic.

So my ultimate solution is to create a dedicated landing page on your website, talk to your web developer, or if you are your web developer, go build yourself in WordPress. We’ve got some small businesses listening. I get it.

But you want to build a dedicated landing page that is mobile optimized. So for that vertical format, we don’t want any pop-ups. We don’t want anything flashing across the screen. We don’t want to give any reasons for distractions, and we very simply want to have a short menu list of options that you would normally send people to. So not every single product, but let’s say you have forty two skews within your retail brand, but they’re kind of broken into four main categories. Maybe it’s by color, maybe it’s by feature, by function, by industry, by geographical region, whatever those categories are. So you would say category one, category two, category three. And so they would pick category one if they wanted glassware, and they go to glassware. And then from there, they go to your glassware product page. And from there, they can find out more details.

But we’re going to send them not to an entire product page as to what they land on. It’s this mini menu option. And why this works is it’s on your website. So now you own that traffic. Whether they stay, they bounce, they go to forty eight different pages or whatever, you can track all that in your Google Analytics. You can keep track of all that data. If you have your Facebook pixel on your website, you can retarget all of those people with ads even if they never go beyond the landing page. You can retarget them with ads because you’ve now got that traffic.

But it also keeps them on your website. So if they go to a page and they see that’s not really one, then they hit back, they’re just back on your landing page. Now they have another place to go, and they can go look at other things. You’re more likely to keep them within your website and all the other features, products, and offers that you have on your website when you use this solution.

Mike: Fantastic advice. That tip about the algorithmic advantage of getting people in the DMs, I’d never heard that before. That’s fantastic. A couple notes I want to share with you guys that are listening.

If you’re using Agorapulse, you can absolutely publish or schedule story content and have it sent to your mobile device so that you can add that link sticker before it’s published. If you’re using and sending people to your DMs, you can have saved replies inside of Agorapulse to make it really easy to create the kind of response that Jenn mentioned, which was high energy, super helpful, not technically personalized in any way. It was just, “Did you want this purple?” 

That’s great. Here it is. Thanks for that. It wasn’t personalized, so you could have that, and you could personalize it before you publish it. And for those of you who want to use a link in bio solution, maybe updating your own website is not practical for whatever reason, we’ve got that too. 

So with Agorapulse, you can create a link in bio page, and when you create an Instagram post, you can add it automatically to that link in bio page. And so all the links will be tracked, and you’ll be able to get some metrics on what you’re actually sending from Instagram to your ultimate website.

How Are You Measuring the Business Impact of. Your Social Media?

And, to that point, Jenn, I wanted to ask you, when it comes to measuring and tracking, how are you currently defining or measuring the impact that social media has? 

And you can answer this any way you want. This could be for you. This could be for clients.

It’s up to you. But that’s what we want to know is how are you measuring the impact?

Jenn: I look at a couple different things, and I always recommend my clients and members in my membership because we talk about these things a lot in the membership community as well in terms of metrics and conversions and value ROI, all these things. 

One of the biggest key indicators that I recommend looking at is your post reach. Go look at all your data. You can look at each individual post. You can look at your data for the most recent post for the last month or whatever category you want to choose, and you can search by reach and see what your top performing posts are by reach. Likes and comments and things like that, they’re great. But reach is a better indicator of overall performance of that post because that also factors in did that post show up and explore? Did that post end up getting suggested? Was that post getting shared?

Reach covers all of this beyond just your existing audience. So if you look at your general data, you look at your content across the board and you see, in general, we get a reach of two thousand. So when you have a post that reaches four thousand, that’s an outlier, and that’s an outlier in a very good way. What did that post do? How did that post reach twice as many people as normal? Was it the type of content? Was it the time of the week? Not that the time of day doesn’t matter so much, but what day of the week that you posted it? Was it related to a campaign? Was it seasonal?

Was it related to something going on in the industry, the news, something like that? What was it about that post that made it different from everything else, and how can we do more of that? And, likewise, if you have a post that underperforms or only got a reach of seven, eight hundred, you’re like, “Oh, well, that one didn’t do well. What did we do wrong? What didn’t happen?” Kind of the converse of everything we just said. Like, was it the time of the week or these sorts of things that made it not perform well? 

We want to make sure we’re reaching as many people as possible. That’s when someone has seen the post. They may have swiped through the carousel. They may have clicked the dot-dot-dot more, and they read that entire caption. They just didn’t like it. They didn’t share it. They didn’t necessarily take an action that we get data points on, but they consume that content. So reach is a better example of overall post performance, and that’s the first thing I look at.

The next thing is going to be more related to the type of content. You want to have content that is engagement based. It is just meant to get engagement. If I put up a photo of my daughter, I get more engagement. It’s just that simple. She is not selling anything for me. I’m not going to get people signing up for my membership property profile because there’s a photo of my daughter, but it keeps the engagement up so that when I do share something about the membership, now people are like, “Oh, that’s right. It’s Jenn. And I’m seeing her posts because they’ve been engaging with other content.”

So for that engagement content, I care about the likes, the comments, the shares, those sorts of things. I want to see those numbers go up versus if it’s a conversion piece of content where it’s related to the click the link in bio, send me a DM, comment below, whatever those types of things are that I want people to do to lead towards the actual conversion stage. That’s where we want to look at more related to traffic clicks, website clicks, profile clicks, follows. Those sorts of things are going to be our metric of performance within Instagram unrelated to our likes, comments, and that sort of thing.

Those don’t matter. You could have a high converting piece of content that gets twenty two likes. But if it drove two hundred clicks, I don’t care if it got twenty two likes or two thousand. I want those two hundred clicks.

That’s what matters. So first is reach, and then we go down depending on the piece of content, whether it’s the engagement metrics or the conversion metrics.

Mike: Now I’m going to add a big fat disclaimer that we could have put at the front of the show, which is that a lot of things that we’re talking about, we know they’re going to change. Like, that whole hashtag conversation, we see that they’re actually just happening now. We’re not sure if it’s permanent or a test, but these things happen. 

And for those of you who want to keep up with this kind of stuff on Instagram, follow Jenn on Instagram. She shares Instagram updates on a regular basis. If something has broken or or or there’s a crisis happening, she’ll be one of the first ones to share, and she’s got a fantastic newsletter that will have the links to all that in the show notes. But where else do you go, Jenn, when you want to keep up with Instagram or just all things social media?

What are some other resources you tap into?

So a couple of things that I do love about Instagram is in recent years, Adam Mosseri is the the head of Instagram, and he’s become much more the face of the platform, much more than what we see from the Facebook side, with the metaverse. But you’ve got Adam on Instagram every week. He does his AMA so you can submit questions, and he answers anywhere from six to ten of them every Friday. So he’ll do a single story sequence answering individual questions. So some of those can be really helpful insights. If they launch new features or new updates and things like that on Instagram, Adam Mosseri usually shares it and he’s just @mosseri, or the creator’s account on Instagram, which focuses more on the actual influencers, the creators, the content side of it, but they will share again updates in terms of the platform and things that are going on. So I always go to the source for a lot of those things.

But when I want the things that Instagram doesn’t tell us, Matt Navarra is the genius within our industry that has access to a lot of amazing people around the world. And so he’s got a private Facebook group that shares a ton of stuff, the Social Media Geek Out. So I’m always in there checking to see what’s going on. And Social Media Today is a great resource for all things social media. They are really good at staying on top of all news updates and publishing regularly whenever anything happens. So those would be my top level for definitely for the Instagram side, but even just social media in general that I’ll be like, “Oh, that’s interesting,” before I pop over and test it myself. 

And in all fairness—not to do a shameless plug over here—but I’m very lucky to have people around the world who have gotten to know me over the years. I get DMs weekly with someone being like, “Hey. I got beta access to this. Have you seen this?” I’m like, “No. Show me more.”  Or something breaks or when the whole five hashtag thing came up, people were posting in my Facebook group going, “Jenn, is this a thing?” And I was like, “Oh my gosh. It’s a thing of mine, too.” And then I reached out in my Meta Facebook group that I’m in and asked for clarification. 

Sometimes it really does just come to me from people out in the wild getting access to these things, and then that’s where we can break the news, so to speak, and get it out there and share it through posts or or whatever we need to do to help share the word with people.

Mike: It’s one of the odd things that have happened in social media marketing specifically. And it’s that these platforms tend to test and roll out new features in very specific geographic areas. 

I feel like Instagram treats Australia as their test for some reason. Why? We don’t know, but they do. A lot of the other platforms will release features to the United States first. Canada is seemingly last in the entire world. We don’t know why. A lot of it depends on where you are physically, and that’s why, Jenn, you mentioned people are sending you stuff from other corners of the world because there are things that you wouldn’t have been able to see yourself. And it’s great to be able to have that stature and that experience and that people look to you for that.

So thank you for sharing that. Thank you for sharing your time, then your expertise. This has been so much fun. I loved having you on. We’ll have to have you come back. 

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How to Use Instagram Tactics for Retail [Podcast & Recap]