Author Sophie Bowman: Five Ways To Leverage Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business
An Interview With Candice Georgiadis
Influencer Marketing is not Dead — Despite the pre-pandemic rumors, influencer marketing exploded during COVID. Collaborating with carefully selected influencers can promote your products or services to their large following of your target audience. For example, Boxy Charm gift a fleet of beauty influencers a box of goodies every month. The result? The brand is tapping into the join following of hot leads already interested in all things beauty. If you don’t have the budget to pay influencers with 100K+ followers, use influencers with 50K followers in return for free gifts.
As a part of our series about How To Leverage Instagram To Grow Your Business, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sophie Bowman.
Sophie is a Forbes and Entrepreneur.com published contributing social media expert, best-selling author and multi-award-winning digital marketing entrepreneur who launched her first creative agency online nearly a decade ago so that she could travel the world and work from anywhere without pants.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Turning thirty made me question my life and think about all the things I was yet to achieve. I craved freedom, and knew I was destined to be my own boss rather than work on someone else’s dream. I sold marketing, social media and PR strategies in addition to content writing and social media management as a side hustle while working as a teacher in London. I turned this side hustle into a business, got a few clients on retainer, and relocated to Morocco for two years. Running an online business gave me the freedom I craved to travel and work from anywhere in the world.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
I lived in a five-floored riad (house) in Marrakech, Morocco for two years while getting my agency off the ground. I paid less than $450 a month for rent and bills, which was a huge help while building a startup and allowed me to travel frequently. During the two years, I lived in Australia for a while, and was able to work from Paris, Milan, Monaco, London, and Barcelona. Since relocating to Miami five years ago, I have continued to travel and have worked from Chicago, St. Louis, Tulum, La paz Mexico, Fort Myers, Cancun, Mexico City, Grand Cayman Islands and many more cities. And so, the adventure continues…
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?
While working on a contract to staff Notting Hill Carnival in London, I hit a button in Excel by accident when trying to organize the contents in alphabetical order, and completely jumbled the contents that had taken weeks to build and hours of interviews. I was not on my teams’ good side for my faux pas, but I did learn to always make a working copy of all master documents that day.
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?
In addition to being a published contributing social media expert to Forbes and Entrepreneur.com, I have won multiple awards and built my own Instagram to over 64,500 followers, allowing me to monetize my account and beta test innovative strategies on my account before refining the process for clients. I was also a member of the small team who handled the social media campaign alongside SONY for DJ Khaled’s last album launch, Father of Asahd, and for Fat Joe’s Puerto Rico hurricane relief efforts.
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?
If you’re not targeting the social platform where your target audience hangs out, your social media efforts are futile. I personally find Instagram the best platform for brand awareness and conversions. LinkedIn is great for B2B. Pinterest is great for bloggers, bridal brands, and interior designers as you can link mood board imagery to your blog/website to increase web traffic. I don’t find Facebook ads as effective anymore unless you have a bottomless pit budget to throw at ads every month.
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.
- Product imagery is boring — If you’re selling products on Instagram, make sure there’s a model or something interesting in the image. Photos of products alone are boring and don’t engage users meaning less likes and comments. Post product imagery with text overlay announcing a sale or giveaway, however, and you’re adding value to the post. When I used such imagery for a giveaway with BALMAIN, I used text overlay ‘WIN’ and added entry instructions to the caption. The results were phenomenal and attracted a record-breaking 5,785 likes and hundreds of comments.
- Video is King — Video content still rules the social media realm. When I posted one of my Instagram fun videos on TikTok it amassed 143,600 views within 48 hours. Sharing another video on YouTube gained over 10,000 views. Cross-platform marketing linked back to my Instagram, helping my following grow significantly.
- Host Giveaways — Although followers will drop off after the contest is over, major giveaways are still a strong pull to build brand awareness and your Instagram following.
- Web Traffic Control — Think of yourself as a ‘web traffic control’. The aim of the traffic game is to direct your Instagram followers to your website, where visitors can browse and buy your products or services.
- Influencer Marketing is not Dead — Despite the pre-pandemic rumors, influencer marketing exploded during COVID. Collaborating with carefully selected influencers can promote your products or services to their large following of your target audience. For example, Boxy Charm gift a fleet of beauty influencers a box of goodies every month. The result? The brand is tapping into the join following of hot leads already interested in all things beauty. If you don’t have the budget to pay influencers with 100K+ followers, use influencers with 50K followers in return for free gifts.
Note: ongoing collaborations are far more beneficial than a one-off post. Users need time to get to know your brand. The more they see influencers regularly posting about your products or services, the more likely they are to buy from you. Just be sure to choose influencers who specialize in your niche and ensure the post stats match up with the following. For example, if an influencer has 100K beauty followers yet averages 100 likes and 5 comments per post, you can almost bet that their following is fake, and you may as well flush your money (or products) down the toilet.
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. :-)
I’m about to start a movement that will enable even the biggest tech-phobes to convert their Instagram followers to customers, therefore boosting web traffic and sales. My latest brainchild, convertyourfollowers.com, was conceived during the pandemic to help businesses thrive rather than merely survive lock down. Marketing ‘experts’ count on business owners not understanding digital marketing, allowing them to charge thousands of dollars a month to handle it for them. My book ‘How to Convert Your Followers to Customers’ will launch soon, giving every type of Instagram user a step-by-step guide on how to convert their Instagram followers to customers via my proven process that they can easily implement themselves. I’ll be giving away marketing trade secrets for less than $50. Expect global industry outcry and public slandering of my name from the marketing community.
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 :-)
Kevin Harrington, the original shark from the Shark Tank TV Show. Although I’ve already appeared on a TV show with Kevin, I would love a one-to-one sit down with Kevin as gives phenomenal business advice.
Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!