EPISODE 014: HOW AUTHENTIC INSTAGRAM ENGAGEMENT CAN HELP GROW YOUR FOOD BLOG WITH SOPHIA DESANTIS
Blog Title: Veggies Don’t Bite
About Sophia: I'm Sophia the food magician behind Veggies Don’t Bite. My super power is using whole food ingredients to create plant-based recipes that will change the way your entire family views healthy food. With comfort food classics to veggie filled meals, plus the occasional sweet indulgence, I create a place where all types of eaters unite. When I'm not creating magic in my kitchen, I'm helping real life busy people organize their meals without tearing their hair out!
Notes from Episode #014: How to authentically engage on Instagram and how that can help you grow your business.
Fun fact about Sophia! She’s obsessed with hot sauce - she has a high spice tolerance and has a shelf dedicated to it in her fridge.
Sophia talks about what Instagram wants
Creating authentic engagement and how that looks
Understanding how Instagram can grow your business
You need to step away from perfection
Instagram is a business and you run a business. People have shared they feel like they are being punished because there content isn’t shown as much as another. Sophia shares that they are rewarding the people who are using their platform with the tools they’ve created for it.
Instagram should be run by the actual blogger vs your VA.
Sophia said Instagram’s product/platform is set up so that the more you engage people, the more your business and your brand will be rewarded.
2-4% is the norm for engagement on Instagram.
Growing engagement on Instagram is like a snowball. Step 1 starts with beginning to know your audience, because if you don’t know your audience, you can’t engage with them.
Sophia uses a call to action on her Instagram stories instead of “swype up”. It can be more work but it’s more personable and builds a stronger audience connection.
Sophia posts 2-3x a week on Instagram.
When you post something in the feed on Instagram, place a call to action, then let things go. IG will notice if people respond and engage. If you post several times a week, and only one post engages people, then you weaken what IG and the algorithm sees as true engagement and they won’t show all your posts as often and you’re dividing the engagement you had going for you.
Sophia doesn’t recommend that you focus on numbers - likes, followers, etc. She focuses on the people she has in her audience. When she started doing that, her business grew. If you force yourself to forget about the numbers, and start engaging with your audience and creating content about what they want, you’ll get to know your audience and connect with them better.
IG stories are different than posts - Sophia is making stories everyday, posting every 1-3 hours, a 2 hour average. If you have a lot of dots at the top of the screen, it gets overwhelming to your listeners. Keep it short and only put up 2-3.
Many people who follow Instagram stories flip through with the volume off. 62% of her audience said they do stories muted. So if you don’t use words and make it so they want to listen, you’ve made it about you, not them.
Sophia uses just a few external tools for Instagram. She feels its important to keep it simple and use what Instagram offers for the account because that is what they built-in for you. Instagram likes that behavior.
Use polls to get feedback on what to do with your account. Listen to your audience when they respond.
Sophia discourages using Instagram pods. They are only good if you actually like the people and their account, but picking some random accounts to help build likes/shares is counter productive. You can support people you love and authentically enjoy, a pod isn’t necessary for that.
The algorithm connects people that have similar interests. So if you have a follower that is constantly connecting with you, Instagram is going to show that follower accounts that are similar to yours. If you are working with a pod of bloggers, you’re going to throw off the algorithm. You could be hurting yourself, not helping yourself. It’s not real people, it’s other bloggers you’re using, trying to show engagement and using to build traffic.
Instagram is currently running a test in the Canadian market. The business/person can still see their numbers but you as a follower of that account can’t see it any longer. They are trying to get away from emotional issues, competition between people, and bullying issues.
Sophia has started working with a business coach and had good success. She works with Jenny Melrose.
“My audience is different than your audience so that’s the thing, these are all the things you do, don’t do the end result of what I do, just do the gathering of the information and you have to take that and make it your own.”
Instagram stories connects real life people with you.
“Once I realized that my brand, if I want to make this a business, it’s not about me, it’s about them and once I realized that and took it to heart and started making all my business decisions based on that, that’s when my business grew and that’s when I connected with people. “
People love watching people’s lives.
Different social media platforms are good for different things. They serve different purposes. Pinterest is good for traffic. SEO/google search is for traffic. But Instagram is a different mind set. This isn’t a traffic building platform. What Instagram does is help build a relationship with your audience, create connections. But these numbers are different, not easily measured directly.
Instead of a link on her profile within Instagram, Sophia offers a free opt-in to her email list because that is something she owns and is hers. She wants to create products for her audience on Instagram. You’ll also be building word of mouth growth.
It’s not about you, it’s about them. This is your audience. If not, why are they there?
Helpful references from the episode: