How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business, With Anna Hochberger of Peerfit
Be transparent. Transparency for companies is no longer a “nice-to-have,” it’s a necessity — especially on Instagram. Show them who you are. Pull back the curtain. What is it like to work at your company? How do your employees engage with your own product or service? Feature your team members, who they are, where they come from, and how they fit into overall your brand story. At the end of the day, if your own employees aren’t using your product or giving your company rave reviews, why should your Instagram followers? Leveraging Instagram to highlight your team will instantly make your brand feel more relatable and make it easier for your followers to see themselves as potential customers, or even employees. We actually welcomed a hire in August who had initially heard of us on Instagram and sent us a message inquiring about open positions back in April. You never know!
I had the pleasure of interviewing Anna Hochberger. Anna is the the Content Marketing Strategist for Peerfit, a digital fitness platform that gives employers, their employees, and Medicare Advantage members access to a variety of fitness studios, gyms, and digitally streamed workouts, making wellness more accessible and enjoyable.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was a Gender Studies major in college at the University of Florida (Go Gators!). During my sophomore year, my final project for the fall semester was to buy a “Women’s Magazine” and analyze the advertising inside. It was just before Thanksgiving, and I distinctly remember counting 32 ads for 32 different companies, 23 of which included a woman smiling down at a perfectly brown turkey, and only one of the women was a woman of color. It was a great testament to the need for diversity and representation in marketing, and I decided to focus on social media.
Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?
When I started at Peerfit in February 2018, we had 7,441 followers on social media, total — that included our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Today, we have 25,054, with 11k of those exclusive to Instagram, and we’ve successfully converted our Social Media into a lead generation tool in the process. This year alone, we’ve seen a 500% increase in leads, proving a clear ROI on our efforts there.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
Since I manage all of our social media channels, I’m also the person who answers our direct messages and responds to comments. We recently ran a giveaway on our Instagram and the winner was one of our users, and when I notified them that they won, they told me they had recently moved to a new city and didn’t really know anyone there. We’re huge proponents of using group fitness as a way to build community and, coincidentally, we have an employee based in the city where our winner moved. I was able to connect them and they went to a workout together and co-worked at a coffee shop. It was a unique opportunity to bring our mission to life and make those in-person connections for someone from behind-the-scenes.
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?
If you follow Peerfit on Facebook, you know we’re quite fond of GIFs and frequently use them to respond to people when they comment on our posts or mention us. About two months into my role, a (high ranking) member of our team posted about us, and whilst searching for a clever GIF from The Office to post in response, my cursor, for lack of a better word, spazzed. A GIF of Michael Scott saying “I hate looking at your face. I want to smash it” then published on the post, and I fully considered moving out of the country. Luckily I was able to change it instantly and I don’t think a said member of our team even knows it happened, but now I pick GIFs from my phone just in case.
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?
Facebook! This year we leaned deep into Facebook, from ads to run-of-the-mill social posts and boosted posts and everything in between. As a result, over 70% of our leads from social media this year came directly from Facebook.
Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share 6 ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Be transparent.
Transparency for companies is no longer a “nice-to-have,” it’s a necessity — especially on Instagram. Show them who you are. Pull back the curtain. What is it like to work at your company? How do your employees engage with your own product or service? Feature your team members, who they are, where they come from, and how they fit into overall your brand story. At the end of the day, if your own employees aren’t using your product or giving your company rave reviews, why should your Instagram followers? Leveraging Instagram to highlight your team will instantly make your brand feel more relatable and make it easier for your followers to see themselves as potential customers, or even employees. We actually welcomed a hire in August who had initially heard of us on Instagram and sent us a message inquiring about open positions back in April. You never know!
2. Consistency is key.
This seems obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. If you’re a Social Media Strategist, you’re already constantly fighting algorithms to make sure your followers even see your content, why make it harder by posting sporadically? Look at the data. When are your followers online? When do they typically like your posts? Pick a time, and post at the same one every day. This way, your followers know when to expect your content, no algorithms necessary. We’re quite fond of the 5 pm time slot.
3. Quality over quantity.
When I first started at Peerfit, we posted on Instagram three times a day — not Stories, the Feed. It was a little much. Over time, we learned that when it comes to Instagram, quality beats quantity every time. So, we looked at what kind of posts were performing best, adjusted, and narrowed our posts down to once a day to highlight what we knew our audience wanted to see. A couple of months ago, we noticed that Instagram posts featuring members of our team consistently outperformed other posts, so we pivoted our entire Instagram strategy to focus on that. Since doing so, we’ve seen a 15% increase in engagement, and one of our top-performing Instagram posts for the entire year is actually a photo of a few of our team members participating in a charity bike ride together.
4. Plug it elsewhere.
You put a lot of work into your Instagram, show it off elsewhere! By plugging your Instagram in alternative mediums like newsletters or email campaigns, you leverage an additional audience to not only grow your Instagram following but also increase engagement with your existing client or user base. In September, we included a giveaway we were hosting on Instagram in our monthly newsletter to our users. We subsequently saw a 116% increase in entries compared to the giveaway prior and a 4% increase in followers that month.
5. Give people something to “share”
We have four pillars of “Shareable Content” at Peerfit: Utility, Entertainment, Identity, and Emotion, and they inform all of our content creation decisions. Think about the social media posts you share with family and friends. Do they make you laugh? Are they something you relate to? Does it evoke a certain emotion? Keeping this in mind will not only do wonders for growing your following and engagement, but it will also make you memorable and help you stand out from the crowd. We recently dived into the Instagram Story Sticker space, and our second best performing Sticker is a medal that says, “I made it to my workout.” It’s something super simple, but super relatable, and it’s racked up 94,000 views in just under a month.
6. Your brand has a personality, your Instagram should too.
Brands are like people — they all have a personality. Your Instagram should reflect that. Are you sarcastic? Funny? Good at tugging the good ole heartstrings? No one likes talking to a brick wall — make your Instagram look and sound like an actual person.
7. Social media is all about connecting, and leveraging Instagram to showcase your personality and identity will make you that much more likable and approachable to customers.
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. :-)
Mental health and burnout are obviously huge points of conversation right now, as they should be. Social media is often accused of being a “highlight reel”, and to some extent, it definitely is — but what if we changed that? What if, instead of posting pictures of ourselves or our morning coffee, we just posted a simple “1–10” for how we were feeling any given day? It’d allow us to check in with each other and open up conversations for those who need to have them. Let’s bring some “real life” back to a world of carefully curated content.
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 :-)
Alexandra Weiss, the SVP at Glossier. The way they incorporate their customers into their social media is genius!
Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!