Tuesday, May 21, 2024

How to Drive More Measurable Results from Instagram

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Just because your Instagram channel is getting engagement doesn’t mean it’s driving business results. For that, you need more advanced strategies and tools because Instagram, by its very nature, doesn’t make that easy. What are those strategies and tools? How do we need to reframe how we’re approaching Instagram?

That’s exactly what Jeff Dwoskin is going to talk to us about in this episode of The MarTech show, hosted by Agorapulse’s head of Strategic Partnerships, Mike Allton. You can listen to the whole podcast below or read on for the transcript.

Mike: Believe it or not, Jeff was a standout comedian. But before he got into comedy, he founded his own web design agency. Years later, he returned to the tech world first by founding Hashtag Roundup that contributed to thousands of top USA trends on Twitter, and then most recently by founding Stampede Social, a company aimed at helping creators drive traffic to their content. Let’s start off by talking about Stampede Social.

Jeff: I’m a creator. A comedian. I’m a podcaster. So we developed Stampede Social. We like to say it’s built by creators for creators. It’s also for influencers, creators, podcasts, agencies.

Basically, we built a platform to unlock the power of Instagram to help you save time, increasing revenue, driving, listening, whatever it might be, and increasing your brand influence. So it takes some of the greatest hits of all these great things you need to do as a social media manager, puts them into one tool like AI automation, giveaways, AI comment analysis, competitor analysis, and puts it all into one amazing thing. And then under the covers, they all work together to give you amazing data that you can then use to action against.

Jeff: I think the problem, at its core, of what social media managers are missing is an easy way to execute all the campaigns and get the information from Instagram that they want. 

It’s easy to start a giveaway. It’s easy to put in motion an AI-user-generated content campaign. What’s not easy is to manage and measure it. So based on a lot of experiences that I had just as a comedian and working for a huge brand and their marketing team and working with the agencies, to do exactly these things where every time it was a stressful thing. We’re going to do a giveaway. “Oh, we gotta figure out this, this, vendor, this vendor, this one.”

So we created something that just makes it easy for a social media manager to do anything creatively they want to do. And the piece that is important is they can manage and measure it with ease, thus opening up the creative outlet to do things more often that perhaps you were to avoid in the past because it was just a pain to fully execute it.

Mike: I can relate to that so hard. We used to try to do giveaways. I mean, years and years and years ago, we honestly gave up because it was just too challenging, at least on the Instagram platform to do anything like that. We didn’t have a team of VAs that were there to count comments or do any other manual things that people would do to pull those off successfully.

I know we want to dig into that, but what data specifically can we get from some of these individual posts? Most of us are probably familiar with the insights tab in our Instagram app, and we can see views, engagement, that sort of thing.

Data about Instagram

Jeff: Basically, when you do anything with Stampede Social, the other rich data that you can get and what we focus on to base it, just to be clear, is the comments. We’re opening up all the comments that come in from posts and Reels and live events and making those actionable for you. And so that’s how we do some of the cool things that we do.

But what that means is that over time, you start to really understand how your top fans are engaging with you on Instagram at that level. I’ll know Mike has requested X pieces of great content or webinar registrations or commented this many times on my post. I’ll see Robin is doing this. She comments all the time. She’s always right there on top of everything. You can then use that information to really kinda dive in. But as you start to analyze stuff, you can get actual attribution back down for any links that are created, that are sent via DM. You can understand which posts are converting those content requests the most.

You can see which posts and call-to-actions are generating the most fervor.

And then you can track clicks as well and how many clicks are going to the content that you’re trying to get your folks to. So, I mean, of course, the table stakes are like the post statistics. But it’s combining all of these things. The idea is: If you know that you have access to all the comments that come in for a post or Reel, you can then start to shift the way you think about using Instagram to collect this information. A lot of people think, “I have a listening tool.” So that listening tool listens for things that happen to happen. 

But knowing that you can get to the actual data itself, then what you do is create conversations that you want to create. Create dialogue with your customers and your fans that you really want to learn more about. When you know these things, then you can start catering to your fan base more, creating content that resonates with them.

And that’s how you slowly grow your follower counts and all the great KPIs that we’re trying to grow because we’re able to hone and focus on what’s really important to the people we’re there to serve.

Robin: That is music to every social media’s person’s ears right now. I think that’s the thing about Stampede that is great, and we all love the fact that they can go in and start personalizing it. It’s that personalization. So each person feels like a VIP that they’re being talked to.

In the world of today, someone said membership first. I want to be a VIP. And if I go on there and I’m the first to like you, I want that brand to recognize that, and I want to see more content like that. And I’m not the only one out there, and that’s what CMP does. And then it resounds with people because now all of a sudden all those people are liking it too. They’re seeing more content and more like-minded people are coming to your client. That’s amazing.

Instagram Giveways: A Quick Dive

You talked about giveaways, and let’s go back to the heyday when giveaways were super easy and super-fun. And you put something out there and then all of a sudden you grow a thousand new followers. Gone are those days. Gone. So how does this help with giveaways? Like, how is Stampede helping with giveaways?

Jeff: Stampede simplifies the entire process. I think it’s important to understand there’s two types of giveaways that you can do on Instagram.

Two types of Instagram giveaways

There’s one where you’re driving folks to a registration form. And that part would involve using DM automation and getting them to fill out a registration form. That’s when your goal is getting a mailing list, emails, and maybe some other cool information you want to learn about your fans. So that’s one type of sweepstakes or giveaway that you can do on Instagram.

But the other one that is also popular is the post level giveaway.

We’ve all seen them. “Comment below this,” or “tag a friend,” and I’ll be honest. Most of them ask too much. Tag 50 friends and share this on your story, and then do a video of you dancing. They’re very, very useful, and they’re great tools because they increase engagement either way you go. It does help with audience growth because you can create a buzz and people share this naturally. They want everyone to be in on it. It helps and is a great way to partner with people where you can do that. If you have a product you can give away, it’s a great way to create a partner. And it’s great content. Right? It’s a great content creation idea, too, to have a giveaway. And so every couple weeks, we can do a giveaway. It fills in that blank for you.

But then it’s the data that you’re collecting underneath, whether it be the first-party or zero-party data from a registration form so you can build up your mailing list at the ever-popular email mailing list.

To answer your question where Stampede Social helps is with the automations to get that link to a registration form so you can get really frictionlessly and seamlessly to that registration form without going to link in bio. So this is bypassing link in bio, creating engagement at the post level, or during a live event or Reel and getting it right into their DM so that you create that intimate connection and the likelihood of click-throughs will go up because it’s in their DM. They know where it is. And then the post level side, because we’re collecting all the comments that come in, is effortlessly making it easy to later pick a winner because we have a winner selection tool built in also.

You can dedupe it. Someone can only enter twice even though they commented 10 times. Well, we’ll stop them there with just two. And then if we ask them to maybe use a fire emoji to enter or whatever it might be. And you can dedupe it, randomize it five times, and it gives you basically a top down winners list just like that. So it’s always working. 

The cool thing about Stampede Social from a social media manager point of view is all these things are just humming along. You just have to choose to create the post that taps into it because it’s always running. It’s always working for you. You don’t have to really do anything crazy to set it up. It’s just always there.

Mike: Some of our users might be going into Agorapulse and and scheduling the content out. And Stampede Social is going to be monitoring those posts for comments. 

Let’s say it’s a giveaway where the directions are to tag a friend, and so it’s watching for comments that tag somebody else, and then it sends them a direct message with the link to enter. 

Jeff: That’s a great point. We’re the other side of the coin. Agorapulse, absolutely, is the scheduler. We’re not a scheduler. God bless you for doing that. 

What we like to think of ourselves as is a way to be able to push the creativity level of what you’re scheduling through Agorapulse because you’re no longer limited by certain things that you might have been limited by before. Once that goes live and it’s live on Instagram, that’s where Stampede Social starts to add that value and help work for you.

Robin: I was just thinking about how this is taking all the weight off social media because you did say, “They asked for too many things.” And I think that business owners, the executives, clients, all are like, “Do all of these things that have the nineteen steps in between Agorapulse and Stampede.” I can’t go and look for every person who didn’t put an emoji on. I would be there for three days not working on my real job. So I love that it cuts it out. And that’s something that we really have to talk about saving time, but also helping us. With Agorapulse scheduling it, I’m not going in there and making sure it’s all up to go. It’s all set up for you.

Mike: All right, Jeff. I’ve got to ask. We’re talking about collecting what sounds like very individualized pieces of data.

So, in our normal social media reports, we see aggregate. We saw 10 people liked this post,20 people commented, 100 people saw it, whatever that is. It sounds like we’re talking about collecting who specifically.

What About Instagram’s Terms of Service?

Are we violating Instagram’s terms of service? I know it’s a sensitive question. Maybe you can’t answer that on air, but are we getting into privacy concerns at this point, or is all this above board?

Jeff: Of course, it’s above board. I wouldn’t have come on a national podcast and not be above board!

Stampede Social, just to put you at ease, is built on meta tech APIs. We just actually went through their entire data review. So I am passed, of course. And so everything is built under the scrutiny of Meta. There is not a loose system, by any means, to be able to do.

But I will also say, there are no data privacy concerns. The information that we give is pretty much what you can see publicly. Just the ad handle, the comment that was made, when it was made, what post it was made to. It’s just those pieces that are put together for you. With Cambridge Analytica and all that went down, even if nobody gets the information deeper than that, it just shouldn’t be allowed. And so there isn’t anything you get of the personal nature. I wouldn’t even know it was Robin, if her handle was supercoolperson@supercoolperson.

So no. It’s all above board. There’s nothing to worry about.

It’s all basically things you can see, but when you look at the app itself, it’s impossible, once there’s a lot of comments, to keep track. So, when it comes to the analysis and being able to dive into it, that’s the database we’re working off, and that’s how we know who your top fans are. We don’t collect likes. We very specifically say the engagement you should be going for is comments.

That’s the way to really that’s the level of engagement to really get people to engage. Likes are awesome. Don’t get me wrong. We all live for a like.

But, comments is where we want to go with. And that’s where, through call-to-actions and letting people know this is a dialogue, not a monologue, we want you to chime in.

Mike: I jokingly asked the question—little tongue in cheek there—but for good reason. Because as you mentioned Cambridge Analytica, people have been rightly concerned about privacy. And to your point, there’s nothing being recorded in Stampede Social that I couldn’t do myself with pen and paper if I wanted to take that time. But you’re saving me that valuable step, and helping me analyze it so much better.

Jeff: We always say, if you’ve got a good pad of paper and pen, you don’t need us.

Robin: But that’s exhausting. And that’s how we used to do it before you guys came around. We’re all laughing, but every social media person out there is, like, “I’m still doing it!” They’re watching this and still doing it that way. This is the solution for you out there. Because we’ve all been there, where we’re going to take an Excel sheet and drop things in here.

I love that you said it’s a dialogue, not a monologue. Because if you’re just talking at somebody in any relationship—not just through social—it’s just going to go nowhere fast. They’re not really engaged.

And so to hear, likes are easy. They’re just flying through it. People always say, like, “Oh, I leave tons of content.” I’m like, “Who’s reading that when they’re flying through it and not even engaging?”

Great points about that, Jeff. I think that’s my question: How can subject matter experts or agencies show their value by leveraging Stampede?

Jeff: I think they can show their value by rethinking their approach knowing that they can get to and easily analyze the data both at a fan level and what they’re saying. Because that’s really the piece that’s missing. And to have that right at your fingertips in real time and be able to analyze that and then convert that to think of it as live AB testing.

You can immediately know which posts are resonating and which posts aren’t. These conversations are triggering these things, or these posts are not triggering anything. And you can look for themes in the comments. There’s a lot of deepness that you can get to as a social media manager that you couldn’t otherwise do. So being able to dive a little deeper than just the KPIs that we’re all used to and that we look great in a report. But now we can go a little deeper because we can get to know our fans and our customers. And if we know that going in, we can build posts and go live and Reels that are going to capture that. And then we as a team, whatever that means for that particular team, can then use that in a very effective way to create real, actionable things against that. And that’s where they connect. It’s no longer about just getting the most likes. It’s about generating this many comments, or these many insights from that because we’re not waiting for them just to randomly talk about it.

There’s other things too. Sometimes bad things happen to brands. Social is where they go to comment. So to be able to have those immediately and have access to it is in itself not something I always talk about, but you just made me think of it. Like, from a PR point of view, a public relations person is able to see that and pull that out, then know how prevalent it is without waiting for another company or one of the other listening people to do it.

You can have a real pulse on it as it’s happening and being able to create responses to that much faster.

Mike: That’s really powerful, talking about being able to do things that are super creative and interesting and effective, maybe things that we couldn’t do before because you’re building in so much more efficiency into this entire process. It sounds like there needs to be a time-saving KPI added to the mix. Is that real? Is that a real thing?

Jeff: I think it is. We all feel it. You can’t prove the negative. You can’t prove something that didn’t happen or didn’t physically happen. But you can say, “We did send out a thousand DMs. How long would that have taken me?” That’s something tangible you can figure out. And that’s why you don’t do it, because the number would sync you and you’d quit. 

But there’s also the ability you have to have your own baselines. If you know in the past, it took me X time to coordinate with outside vendors to do this giveaway. Now you can just do it where it’s just there, and all I’m really doing is plugging in, posting via Agorapulse, the post with the call to action that this is a giveaway, telling them how to enter. And it just works. I don’t have to worry about it, or doing a user generated content campaign. 

I remember doing that. We did one of those during the pandemic where I was working at the time, and you could put it in motion. We never knew how many posts because when you click on a hashtag and someone else is using that hashtag, there’s just no way to get to it. And now this is how many unique people are engaged. This is how many people are engaged. I have a database of all the entries. I can now actually make that an effective giveaway and all these things. So I think most people after just using Stampede for a short period of time recognize that it’s adding an entire member to the team. It’s that additive.

Mike: I love this. Just literally this week, my CEO was talking to me about doing some kinda contest on social media where we invited people to sign up for an Agorapulse account, use it to prove their ROI, and share a screenshot of those reports to social, and tag us. And in the back of my mind, I’m thinking, “Oh, it’s a great idea. How am I actually going to execute that because of the complication with giveaways?” But now, obviously, I could do it on Instagram, the Stampede social, just like that.

Roadmap for Stampede Social

Robin: What is on your road map this next year? Like, what should we be excited about that’s coming out?

Jeff: You should be excited that our goal this year is really to further even keep pushing it to be like a virtual assistant of sorts, so pushing the reports.

We just created a really cool dashboard. We understand that the visuals and doing the analysis for you is helpful to a lot of people—not just the raw data. Some people love raw data that they can drop in one of those little cube things. I don’t know what that means. And it does all the analysis for you. But we’re working on stuff where it helps you understand on the fly. Here is an analysis of the comments that came in from the last post. And these are your top fans. Here are great ways to engage with them and list them out. Right now, we’re heavily focused on Instagram. 

I’ll be honest: We originally built it on Twitter. And because of the way the API has changed, when Elon took over, it just became cost prohibitive to do it on Twitter (now X). So we ended up moving to Instagram mostly because we saw the need. Like a light coming out, we saw Instagram as one of the top platforms that had these holes in it. The things that everyone loves to do on Instagram, there were so many little pieces that made those things difficult, and we’ve talked a lot about those today. And so that’s where we went all in on Instagram. And now that we’re all in on Instagram, we’re starting to explore other platforms as well. So, likely, YouTube would be the next one. All the features aren’t the same because every platform is different and unique in its own way. Like, YouTube doesn’t have a DM. 

But there’s different things that you can do where you can analyze and understand your fan base. So, that’ll likely be the common theme as we expand to other platforms.

Mike: Very cool. In fact, that was actually a question from Deb Mitchell, who’s our community manager watching in the live audience. She’s asking what other platforms can you use? 

Jeff: When you set up a campaign in Stampede like an automated campaign, we do give you a tracking link. And that link, you could then use on other platforms. And so you could put on Twitter, TikTok link in bio, or email, LinkedIn, wherever you want. That redirects through us.

Where it helps the social media manager is every time you create a post, every time you post via Agorapulse, it’s its own instance. Every tweet is its own stats. And so by putting the link that will redirect through us, you can go in and say, “We generated XYZ through automation and another thousand clicks via the different social media platforms or email or what have you.”

Thank you for listening to another episode of the MarTech Show hosted by Robin Dimond and Mike Allton, powered by Agorapulse, the number-one rated social media management solution. Sign up now for a free trial.

How to Drive More Measurable Results from Instagram | The MarTech Show, Ep. 7

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