Brian is back in the studio on our third episode of the Dogwood Media Solutions podcast. He will be talking to Sara Kate Taylor, one of Dogwood's marketing strategists, about tips she can share that will help you to grow your Instagram audience.
How did Sara Kate learn these tips? They are things she uses on a daily basis to help Dogwood's clients!
Learn more about Dogwood at DogwoodMediaSolutions.com. At our site, you can learn more about our staff, and the services we offer. Don't forget to check out our blog full of information while you are there. You'll also find links where you can follow us on social media and become an insider to really see what it's like at Dogwood.
Hi everyone, this is Brian. I'm today's host for the Dogwood Media Solutions Podcast. We're gonna be talking about how to grow an Instagram audience, and I've got our guest with us today, one of our own, our marketing strategists, Sara Kate Taylor. Hi, and welcome. Today's issue of the Dogwood Media Solutions Podcast. I'm your host, Brian Harris. And today for our guest we have Sara Kate Taylor.
Sara Kate (00:25):
Thanks for joining us, Sara Kate. And it is Sara Kate. Cause Okay. I was just gonna tell a story real quick. Um, the first time I met Sara Kate, uh, it was on an interview and the first thing I asked you was, is it Sara or Sara Kate. And it's a hundred percent Sara Kate every time. Yeah. So anyone who calls you Sara that you just know they don't know you. Yes.
Sara Kate (00:44):
People ask me that all the time.
And then you have a nickname also too. Yeah,
Sara Kate (00:48):
People call me
Sk Sk and then also her skate. Yes. Because Sara been s and Kate Skate. Yep. So you got all kinds of little fun stories and stuff. Yeah. So, yeah. <laugh>. All right. Well, um, today, uh, Sara Kate's gonna be on here talking about how to grow an Instagram audience and how she knows this is because of her job. Her job is one of our marketing, uh, strategists here at Dogwood. And she works with a lot of our clients, including the one we're gonna be talking about today. In particular, we're talking about, we're using this one as a reference basically, but the, these things applied to all kinds of things. We're talking about Alabama Smile Acts, which is a company that sells
Sara Kate (01:22):
Twigs. Yeah. <laugh>.
They're weeds, they're technically weed, uh, but they, they sell it. And it's being, it's used at all kinds of, uh, weddings and special events. It's that vine that you can see like decorating and hanging off different things. It could be off of a cake or off of the, the trellis that's around a wedding or anything like that. Someone has to grow this stuff. And this company is here in Alabama. Um, the owner of it lives in Pi Road, Alabama, where our office is located at, where we're recording, by the way, this is episode three, recording our podcast today. And so th they're based out of this area. And so one of the things we do is we help them market the Smilax, uh, so that people can go out and purchase it and they buy it in so many different ways. But Instagram has been one of those big ways that we've done that. Um, and so is there anything else about your position that you do that kind of goes beyond this that you wanna tell anyone about or,
Sara Kate (02:09):
Um, let, let me think.
<laugh>, I'm putting you on the spot cause I know we didn't mention that part, but you do, um, basically like you're working with one client generally, not just one, but Right. Many clients, but you are their main contact. Yes. And so if they have a website changed, they call Yes. Sara Kate, if they do ads, um, they call you and you might have someone else helps you do that, but, or if there's a graphic design project, you're the one coordinating it. Um, we have one of your clients you do a lot of PR work with mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, so they can be calling on news stations to have them show up to take pictures or sending up press releases. And, uh, so there's a bunch of different marketing aspects that your job covers. Yeah. Um, I, I'm not, I'm just kind of putting this word in your mouth.
Sara Kate (02:48):
No, it's true.
<laugh>, but, okay. Well, let's talk about more about Instagram and tips to grow that. And so, uh, one of the first things you have on here is, uh, doing research research. So what does, what does that mean when you're, when you're doing the research for growing an Instagram
Sara Kate (03:03):
Audience? Um, so specifically for Alabama Smilax, when I first like got to know the client and everything, I was like, well, okay, I didn't even know what Smilax was. So I kind of had to do my own research in that aspect of kind of finding out, okay, what is this? How is it used? Who would be someone that uses it? Who is there? Um, who would be a main audience on Instagram? So kind of doing your research and like, okay, who is someone that's interested in and would wanna follow and is kind of relevant to this? Um, and so once I realized, okay, this is something that's gonna be in like the floral industry, um, you can kind of do your research and kind of find out, okay, who is, um, someone that you can follow in the floral industry. And then from there, there are connections that you can make from the floral industry to other florists and to other people that do weddings. And kind of, that's the main thing about Smilax is it's floral in weddings. And so you can kind of start there and branch out from there. But definitely, yeah, just kind of see who would be relevant for you to follow and just kind of start there and see like, okay, who would want to like look at this product on their feed? And kind of see from there.
You, you mentioned following or, or finding out who the industry adjacent people are. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> is, that's what you mean, but when you're like a florist Yes. Or or a wedding coordinator Yes. Or something like that. Wedding
Sara Kate (04:26):
Planners. So I mean, how would you find those? You just, you just look at keywords and guess what those were and try to find them or just doing Instagram searches
Sara Kate (04:34):
Or, yeah. You can do Instagram searches. I started by finding other, like that had, uh, a large following and look at who they were following and kind of just relevant people. Um, and they would be following like really cool, I mean, just kind of really looking at Instagram, looking at pictures. Okay, that looks good. I wanna follow them. And then kind of see who they follow in.
So a lot of times when you'd follow them, would they follow you back immediately or is it just
Sara Kate (05:02):
Kind of No, it would take some time, but that's kind of part of the processes. Okay. That's okay.
<laugh>, did you go back and unfollow some of them? Yes. If they didn't follow you back?
Sara Kate (05:10):
Okay. Yeah, some that was also something I had to learn because in the beginning I was like, okay, I'm just gonna see who follows me back. And then it kind of, the ratio can get kind off, which we'll talk about later, but paying attention to that ratio can be important. And just how you're, um, how you're perceived and like, okay, is this actually a credible account or do they just kind of follow everyone and you know, I don't know. That always looks bad to me. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, so I didn't want that to look bad, um, on But
You wanna protect your account also too. Exactly. Because you didn't want it to have like 500 followers and 10 followers.
Sara Kate (05:46):
Exactly. So that was,
Cause then it just looks like you're trying to game the system, which ultimately you are kind gaming the system, but you
Sara Kate (05:52):
Just in a more strategic way. <laugh>. Yes.
And that's, that's the key part is that this is a, a part of this is a strategy. Exactly. You can't just go in to start haphazardly following 1500 people cause then you're gonna look like a spammer. Exactly. And we want to follow that, that close tight line of yes, spamming people, but also trying to find people are relevant too. Yes. And not just following any random person either too. That's literally goes right into our next subject was follow relevant people.
Sara Kate (06:16):
Yeah. <laugh>. So yeah, kind of like I talked about, just really spending time looking at, okay, who do I follow then look, go and look at who they're following. Go through that list and go and click on each profile and say, okay, is this someone that looks like someone that would be relevant to my industry that would be interested in, you know, Smilax, um, is this someone that would follow me back? So yeah, just going through and kind of, not like a whole list of people, but like, you know, follow 10 people and see out of those 10 who follow you back and then just kind of go back and forth and do
That. You mentioned also too, about once you follow them, even engaging with their content. Yes. And w w like not just liking it, but you, were you going into commenting on their content? Yes.
Sara Kate (07:00):
Okay. Yeah. So that it, this all kind of takes time and I mean this started way back July, 2021, so it's a long process, but yeah, just little by little, once you follow those people, like their content and as they post content, like their content, um, comment on it and yeah. Cuz they'll start to notice that and then they'll com comment on your stuff and so yeah, it's important and it takes time. But yeah, definitely, uh, engage with their content and do that consistently and do it over time. Cuz if you do it just all at once, then like that's spamming and Right. <laugh>, you know, they can see past that. But yeah, like consistently take time each day to like go through your feed like things, comment on things and yeah, you'll definitely see return from that.
Okay. Well you're on your third tip. You literally said above all else, be kind. Yeah.
Sara Kate (07:54):
<laugh> and that's easy, like with smile and with a product like it, it's really easy. Most everyone I've interacted with on Instagram in this kind of floral and wedding industry is super, super nice. And if you comment on theirs, they'll comment on yours and it's just, it's pretty easy, especially as time goes on. Um, but yeah, the main thing, um, is yeah, just to be nice and you know, if you see something pretty <laugh> tell them, tell them that, you know, wow, that's really pretty, you know, tell them and yeah. They'll
How much time are are you spending on this one right now? Um, or say at the beginning? I know it's probably more busy at the beginning. Yes.
Sara Kate (08:36):
But yes, in the beginning, definitely every single day I would go in and still even out every single day I go in and I'm not gonna like every single thing on mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but like, if I genuinely like it, if I think, you know, it's relevant, um, then I'll like it. Um, but definitely in the beginning, a couple hours a week. Okay. Yeah.
Um, do you know how many Instagram followers it's built up to? Because it was at zero when you first started.
Sara Kate (09:02):
Yeah, it's at over 700 now.
That's the say cause we wrote this article, which by the way, you can find all of our email@example.com. You click on blog at the top of the page, you'll see this article and a bunch of other ones that we've written, uh, with relevant information about different things we do at Dogwood. But this article is there, it's under the title, the same title as today's podcast of how to grow an Instagram audience. Um, but that was one of the things this, this account started at zero mm-hmm <affirmative> And are, are you pulling it up right now to see or It's around 7, 7 0 7. 7 0 7. So 707 people in about a year's time with a very niche audience. Yes. Uh, and it's been the people that are following are in that industry mm-hmm. <affirmative> and it's helping to amplify that content. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's resulted in sales for our client. Yeah.
Yeah. Because I know we, we had a meeting with this client, uh, very recently and we were looking at sales numbers, uh, from two years ago versus mm-hmm. <affirmative> this past year and the year before that. And he saw a tremendous increase mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I, I don't wanna go in specifics about the dollar amount, but it was Yeah, it was, he was very happy. Yes. Um, and which was always our goal. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we're working with a client, we got a happy client because he's making more money mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which we'll never guarantee that. That's one thing I wanna make sure we understand, that we don't go in and go, we guarantee X amount of results. Yes. We go in and apply the same principles, the same technology that we have for this client, we apply it to other clients, um, and always looking for how is this result gonna work? And, but it takes work. I mean Oh yeah. I mean definitely going in every day, that's not something that every person has time to go and do that. Yes. But when it's your job that you come in and you go, well I need to go check on Instagram. Yeah. Yep, yep, yep. And that's part of investment of, of getting someone like Dogwood Yeah. To take that on for you. Yeah. So any other tips you have for Instagram folks or they're trying to grow that
Sara Kate (10:39):
Audience? Um, yeah, I was gonna say now it's gotten to the point where it really grows on its own. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I'll go in, like I said each day and like things and like now I'm very like specific about who I follow and I can be a little more choosy. Um, but now it's gotten to the point where it grows on its own and I just kinda watch it and it's really cool to get to that point after, you know, being so intentional about who I follow and who I comment and stuff. So it's been cool to watch it grow on its own and now even people will, um, like tag us and it's like people that I know and I like recognize user names and so that's been cool. And that's all just part of like being in that community and just kinda interacting with content. And they'll come back and interact with us and they'll be like, look what I made with Alabama Smilax. And so it's been That's
Cool. Yeah. Because that's when you get into the u gc the user generated content. Exactly. Ha Have you been able to re-share some of those things? Yes. That's
Sara Kate (11:33):
Awesome. Yep, yep, yep. A lot of the content that's now posted is a lot of user,
Just cuz people are used to it, they're seeing the handle, they're going in and going, that's amazing. I mean, that's literally a year and a half in a product that has zero social media presence has, I wanna say, almost doubled in sales Yeah. And getting user generated content. Yeah. And I mean, we're not talking about major ad spend that they've done on this. Right. I mean, it's a good amount Yeah. Of ad spend they've done, but it's been an appropriate amount for what they've definitely gotten a, a good return on that amount of money they've spent for sure. Sure. Um, so that's really cool to see all that. Yeah. Well, any other thing else you wanna add in about Instagram?
Sara Kate (12:08):
Um, I think kind of, I've already said this, but yeah, this all takes time. Yeah. It's been like a year, year and a half. Um, but
Yeah, allow, allowing Instagram to be able to do some of this on your desktop, has that helped a little bit
Sara Kate (12:21):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Okay. Yes. I do it on my desktop and on my phone, so just kind of, but yeah, it's been, it's
Been that for a long time You could only do it on your phone and like, yes. Uhhuh <affirmative>. And that was having, that changed like in the past year, wasn't it? I think so because you originally, I forgot about that because you had to only could have five accounts logged in at one point. Uhhuh <affirmative> and right now Sara, Kate, you're, you're managing more than five accounts. Yes. <laugh>. Um, and so, and answering our phone sometimes too, <laugh>, well that's been a recent addition. We, I kind of could go more in depth with that. Dogwood, we have multiple people who have answered our phone, but Sara Kate ends up being, most of the time you're the first person that grabs it, <laugh>, which is great because you've gotten really good at it and being able to talk to people and answer their questions and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, sometimes if you don't know the answer, just be able to say, I don't know the answer to that, but I can find the person who does and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that's all we've ever asked for. So you ever called Dogwood? You might talk to Sara Kay. It's
Sara Kate (13:07):
Probably gonna be me, <laugh>.
You probably got I'd say a 75 to 80% chance that is probably gonna be you, it's probably, or you're a lunch. And so if you're not answering <laugh>, that's why. Yep. Well, all right. Well thanks for joining me here today, Sara, Kate, and talking to us about Instagram. It's always a fun subject to talk about. It's something that people find very interesting because it's something they use on a daily basis. And being able to convert that from being a personal platform to being something your business can use and grow and, uh, and find new ways to make money. If you're business, it's roughly that's or not. If you're not a business that's making money, it could be just amplifying your platform, right. To get your message out there. If, if you're a church or a non-profit, those are definitely ways that it can be used. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>,
I mean, we've had several non-profits have used Instagram and, and been able to find success with that also too. So, uh, this was episode three on basically how to grow your Instagram audience or How to Grow an Instagram audience. I'm Brian Harrison. Sara Kate, it's been our guest here today. Sara Kate's one of our marketing strategists and, uh, definitely wanna thank you Sara Kate, for joining us here today. Wanna remind everyone if you go to dogwood media solutions.com, that is our website. On there, you'll find links to our social media, go in and follow our social media and kind of get a, a really better idea of who we are at Dogwood. You'll see a lot of information about our services, our people, uh, we mentioned this all the time, we like to eat. And so like if you water all our storage, you'll probably see pictures of us eating.
Uh, we haven't done that very much lately. No, ever since we got in the new office, we've been kinda so busy with moving in and starting a podcast, you know, doing different things like that, that we haven't had the same amount of time. We did have a cool party, like we've had a couple of those this past year, we've put post on that. So anyway, if you wanna kind of get to know the inside the link of, uh, what it's like here at Dogwood, the social media is a great way to do that. Uh, also, if you haven't already subscribed to our podcast, take a moment, do that right now. Whatever platform you're, um, wanting to subscribe to his own, there's a lot of different platform platform choices you can pick from, uh, that you can go in and hit subscribe. You'll get notifications every time we put on a new podcast. So definitely do those different things. And, uh, we just wanna thank you for joining us here for the Dogwood Media Solutions Podcast and we'll see you next week. Oh,