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Danielle Hu of The Wanderlover: Five Ways To Leverage Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business

Collaborate with other accounts and cross pollinate audiences — Collaborating with other brands and people in your niche exposes your account to hundreds of thousands of other people, simply by going live with someone.

As a part of our series about How To Leverage Instagram To Grow Your Business, I had the pleasure of interviewing Danielle Hu.

Danielle Hu is a travel influencer, online business mentor, podcast host, and Founder of The Wanderlover. Her mission is to enable travel and freedom through entrepreneurship, providing resources and tactical strategies for others to build profitable online businesses. Since quitting her corporate finance job, she has been traveling living abroad in the tropics full-time for the past 3.5 years, from Bali to Hawai’i, balancing work with post-surf coconuts.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Thank you for having me! So I grew up in a traditional Asian-American household, where I believed that a stable career path would make me happy. It wasn’t until I entered corporate America when I realized that wasn’t the case! I felt like a cog in the wheel, creativity stifled, working all year for 15 vacation days, which was so limiting for my wanderlust. I knew there had to be something more, so I quit my job in 2017 to start The Wanderlover, pursue online entrepreneurship, create content, and work from wherever there is wi-fi. I’ve been traveling full-time ever since and teach others to do the same.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

Being able to meet, work with, and impact the lives of so many ambitious individuals around the world! I’ve gone on press trips with countries’ Ministries of Tourism alongside many successful content creators, some with millions of followers, and am also able to inspire and coach international clients from Hong Kong to Mauritius. On one of my press trips, I met a Korean Youtuber who spent six hours a day recording her vlogs (this is before editing), and it really opened my eyes to how much work people put into the creative entrepreneurship industry.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I was first starting The Wanderlover, I had no business plan and relied solely on Instagram for exposure. I would spend hours writing a blog post and not even think about promoting it evergreen afterwards. It wasn’t until I finally hired a mentor who saw my blind spots, when I expanded to other platforms, came up with a business plan where I could predict my quarterly income, and saw my business grow exponentially. Through this, I learned failing to plan is planning to fail. Also that there are no shortcuts in entrepreneurship, but it definitely helps when someone is showing you the way!

Ok. Let’s now move to the main focus of our discussion. For the benefit of our readers, can you explain why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?

As a travel influencer, I’ve built my entire brand on Social Media to a community of over 100K+ visionaries around the world, and I successfully coach my clients on building their social media presences. I’m also the author of The Travel Influencer Handbook and Instagram for Business: The Ultimate Branding + Client Attraction Guide, sharing strategies that have helped me build my online business and work with international brands. I still remember the day I quit my corporate job, and being able to guide my clients’ businesses to a point when they’re able to do the same, is so rewarding.

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

Instagram has been the most powerful social media platform to grow an audience, land collaborations, sell products, and connect with clients. A free feature is the shop feature, where followers can purchase from your photos with a click of a button. Instagram and Facebook Ads are also incredibly powerful for generating leads and sales — they have helped me grow my email list and increase book sales by thousands.

Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share five ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Have a call to action in your bio — When a new user lands on your account, you want them to hit follow AND become a warm lead. Make sure to have an opt-in incentive, a sales page, or a call to action in your bio where they can join your email list in your bio link and direct them to it!
  2. Search optimize your name Instagram is a search engine, and when someone goes to search something for business, you want to make sure your name is optimized to show up. For example, my Instagram name is Danielle Hu — Business Mentor, so if someone is searching for a Business Mentor, the chances of me showing up are higher. Choose your keywords wisely so users know exactly what to expect on your page even before landing on it.
  3. Show up live — Connect with your audience live, as authenticity is so important on Instagram. When you go live, every single one of your followers gets a notification, which puts you in front of so many people at the same time. Give value in your live series which you can then save to IGTV, and feel free to pitch your products and services at the end.
  4. Shop feature — Instagram shop feature is great if you have products in your suite. On my Instagram, users can purchase The Travel Influencer Handbook and Instagram for Business with a click of a button.
  5. Collaborate with other accounts and cross pollinate audiences — Collaborating with other brands and people in your niche exposes your account to hundreds of thousands of other people, simply by going live with someone.

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

You cannot pour from an empty cup, so I hope to inspire others to share their stories, design, and live out their dream lives. If you’re not happy with your current reality, you have the power to change it. The Wanderlover mission is to enable travel and freedom through online entrepreneurship, and I hope to also empower other Asian-Americans to go against cultural norms and pursue creative ventures if it makes them happy!

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)

Gary Vaynerchuk was one of the voices when I was still working in corporate, who gave me the confidence and mindset shift to start over in a completely different industry. He inspired me to quit my job and I still refer back to his posts and advice to this day! His motivational videos about taking action, believing in yourself, and taking risks early on in life, spoke to me when no one else believed in me. Check him out if you need some pep talk, or feel free to DM me on Instagram at any time! You got this :)

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!

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