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Instagram Ideas & Strategies for Modern Marketing



Instagram Ideas & Strategies for Modern Marketing

Instagram, it’s kind of a big deal. All brands have a lot to gain from having an Instagram account worth following. The platform is all about being aesthetically pleasing and visually dynamic, so shouldn’t you get uniquely positioned to share content worth drooling over? Of course! But that doesn’t mean you do. You can succeed on Instagram regardless of whether you’ve got a product or service-based business. (Have you seen @thmodernmarketer?!)

For Product-Based Businesses….

You’re probably thinking, “I got this. All I need to do is post pictures of my products. We’re good, right?” Wrong. While you may have the most stunning products in the world, the same thing with different angles and different lighting is going to get really, really old. Fast.

That’s not going to help you build a following on Instagram, and you certainly won’t be able to make sales without a solid following. The truth is that you can do better, and here’s how.

1. Show your product in motion

That white background you used at the photography studio was awesome for product listings and company videos, but it’s going to get boring as the only backdrop your Instagram followers ever see. In fact, does your product even have a real-world application? Of course it does! Be sure to show people that.

bluesmart luggage instagram

Whether you sell luggage or a water bottle, take stunning images that show people using it. Take shots of each step required for using it properly, and take some shots in different places where it can be used. Humans as a group tend to really like a stellar backdrop, so get out for a day and get some product shots done outside in the world. These pics will be much more interesting for your audience than the ones you had professionally done.

2. Add a little artwork

Ever heard on If you haven’t used it yet, you should. You don’t need to be a professional designer to add some digital flair to your images. Upload your blah images, add fancy fonts, inspirational quotes, and other elements to to fancy them up. It’s easy, it’s free, and it can make the difference between sharing a boring image and sharing an engaging one.

Canva is now mobile as well, so you don’t even need a computer to make those images stand out.

The Modern Marketer does this really well….

The Modern Marketer Instagram

3. Branch out into your niche

While it’s good to use your Instagram account to share stellar images of your products, the best accounts are the ones that are visually stimulating and varied. If you sell something that appeals to travelers, start sharing images that will appeal to travelers. If you sell something that appeals to business owners, start sharing images that appeal to business owners. Not every shot needs to have your product in it.

Swell Bottle Instagram

There’s a lot you can do with that in mind. Landscapes, airport shots, food, your toes in the sand. Give your followers (and potential clients) the visual experience they want. There’s so much opportunity here, you’ll never be stumped about what to post next.

For service-based businesses….

Services can be hard to capture with a smartphone, so here are some tips for creating content that will grow your Instagram following if you sell services instead of products.

1. If you’ve got it, flaunt it

Action shots can be just as appealing as a really stunning plate of food, so get on it. If you take people out on tours, challenge yourself to capture 20 great shots from each experience. If you run a boutique hotel, take shots of your bathroom soap, your bedspreads, artwork in the hallways. If you are a travel planner, take photos when you are on the road and get to posting. If you are a florist, show those flowers in motion!

flowers Instagram account

The right lighting or filter can make the simplest of images come alive, and that small moment of a mother smiling at her son on your tour or a funky angle of your hotel’s lobby can really inspire some travel lust. Now that Instagram is rocking as a video platform as well, you can share videos of your service as well!

Don’t worry about doing what everyone else does on Instagram. Start snapping photos of everything you see around you. There’s a good chance that you might surprise yourself with the wealth of subjects you have at your fingertips.

2. Own your destination

Businesses that offer a service typically have a brick and mortar location. Again, use what you’ve got! Out to dinner on a Saturday night? Going hiking after work? Visiting a famous landmark with family? Start snapping!

lorna jane instagram

Every destination has something special about it, local flavor that keeps tourists coming back for more. Use this love to your advantage and give the people what they want! If you’re coming up short on ideas for your Instagram account, filling in the gaps with destination shots is a great way to prevent your account from going dark before the spark of creativity ignites once more.

3. Share some office shots

The fun thing about social media is that it doesn’t have to be super perfect and streamlined—in fact, it shouldn’t be. While there will always be a place for professional-grade images touting inspirational travel quotes, nothing makes a brand more appealing than being personable on their social media platforms.

You can share images of staff members at their computers, in their ugly Christmas sweaters, or even petting the team mascot. Not impressed that it’s Monday? Share an image that shows your disdain for the first day of the work week! Other Instagram users will appreciate your genuine images.

Good advice for everyone: Research hashtags

Hashtags are super trendy, but that’s not why you should be using them on Instagram. For this social platform, hashtags are like a light in the dark: they are searchable and help people discover the kinds of content that’s relevant to them. Using Instagram without hashtags is like going to McDonald’s after the gym—you put in the work, but immediately made it completely irrelevant.

Don’t just go in and start throwing hashtags around blindly, however. When you type in something like #smallbusiness, for example, Instagram will generate similar/related options. Spend some time typing in the hashtags you think will be the most effective and write down all the ones you think you should be using.

Only use relevant hashtags. Pay attention to what your competition is using. Do some research on what’s popular or trending. If you do it right, they will come. If you do it really well, they will buy.

If you do it really well, they will buy.

Good advice for everyone: Engage for real

The biggest fail that social media marketers make on ANY platform is failing to engage. Show genuine concern for your audience’s wants and needs. A nurtured audience is a happy audience, and the more you focus on engaging on any platform, the more you can expect from your followers.

A picture is worth 1,000 words. Instagram is such a simple concept, yet as a social platform, it holds quite a bit of sway. You can match your content to context by posting effectively on Instagram. A strong profile can be a starting point to launch your brand.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Bin Hashim

    January 18, 2017 at 6:32 am

    Great Article

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Content Marketing

Marketing Debates 001 – Email Marketing, Websites, SEO and Social



Do you need a website in 2018

Disclaimer: This article is not edited, pre-prepared, or embellished.

This series of posts and articles is called Marketing debates and are meant to be raw, off the cuff conversations about marketing topics.

It’s quite simple.

I post questions as polls on social media and the audience answers at scale.

Of course, I am assuming that most people would answer correctly based on the context of their life and business.

I am a firm believe that benchmark reports and most surveys and data are somewhat skewed.

What I love about this approach to gathering data around opinions, however, is that it is as close to real time as possible.

Most companies have to spend months, and some years, gathering answers, data, segmenting, analyzing etc., before they release reports.

This is asked, posted, answered and documented within 24 hours AND it’s left as a permanent post that people can continue to add to as they see fit.

ALL of that opening jargon to say, we are going to do this weekly so we as a community have a pulse on what’s in and what’s not.

When you see a marketing debate article (or the original questions on social media) you can trust that this community answers questions honestly and with the overall goal in mind that human 1-on-1 connection is how you grow a brand in a modern world.

We, at The Modern Marketer, will provide our $.02 on each topic to further the conversations.

Let’s go.

P.S. Most of these questions have hundreds of answers and as we continue to do this, those numbers will jump into the thousands really quick. (Just so you understand the growing sample size.)

Is Email Marketing still effective?

Audience answer:

email marketing still effective

Our take:

It’s not obsolete, yet.

Especially if you do it right.

Yes, of course it’s becoming more and more common that users primarily use social messaging and text messaging to communicate not only with friends and family, but with brands and organizations as well.

There are, however, plenty of aspects of marketing where email marketing is still more than relevant.

Here’s the catch…

We believe that if you’re doing email marketing in 2018 and beyond, it better be automation.

Automation will allow you to have nurturing touch points with the users coming into your brand so you can do a few things:

  1. Have context with your messaging—putting the right messages in front of the right people at the right time. This allows you to avoid the dread “EMAIL BLAAASSSST” which essentially tells your audience they aren’t important enough to know what personally makes them, well…them.
  2. Begin scoring leads—you need to segment your leads based on how they interact with your brand and ultimately determine who is a sales qualified lead and who is a marketing qualified lead.
  3. Save you time—let’s be real, if you don’t know what marketing automation is, that’s step one. And a big step at that. If you do know what it is, you understand that to do it right, it requires a TON of upfront work—though it will save you thousands of hours and endless amounts of resources in the long run.

The reality is that every business has steps, processes and communication touch points that need to happen when a customer purchases a product or service from them. Most of the time, when lacking automation, this is done manually. Random phone calls, emails, scratch notes, customer profiles, or a combination of several software solutions that don’t talk to each other.

Having automation in place allows you to automate those repetitive process so you can nurture and segment leads and customers that come into your brand.

Our official vote: Yes, it’s still effective.

Do you need a website in 2018 and beyond to sell stuff?

Audience answer:

do you need a website

Our take:

It really depends on the variables.

Notice the question specifically says “…to sell stuff.”

The idea was to get people thinking about how accessible it is to come up with a brand, get content online, and sell stuff without a website.

This was BY FAR the most debated and answered question. Everyone had a rebuttal, on both sides.

We believe that depending on the variables, you may need one. But in most cases you don’t…

…to sell stuff, that is.

Sure, if you want to show that you have a presence and you want to build domain authority and tap into organic traffic because you’re at that stage in your business, then you do need a website. I.e. Many of my startup clients, historically, that were $1m and up in revenue definitely needed website. They didn’t need them to make the first million though. 

My biggest frustration with those that vote yes, is that most of them are romantic about websites and SEO.

I think the need for a website is very subjective and often prioritized for the wrong reasons.

I look at it from the standpoint of human behavior.

From a product standpoint, more and more humans are buying most of their goods from 2 places:

  • social media
  • large marketplaces (Amazon)

From a services standpoint, more and more humans are also buying their services from 2 places:

  • social media
  • large market places (Air BnB, Uber, etc. Not to mention most service industries have listing sites and marketplaces that business owners sell most of their accounts from.) 

And what’s interesting is more and more platforms like Instagram and FB are allowing direct selling from the site…for all things.

So, whether your goal is to get someone in contact with you (on the phone), fill out a form, learn more about your business, download something, etc (traditinally goals of your website) you can actually now do all of those things on social media.

And more effectively.

It my not feel as natural to you (the business owner or executive) but it is the most natural process for most users.

Where I think websites are more traditionally needed is with larger priced items or older demographics. Larger priced items being things like appliances, equipment, technology, transportation, etc., and older demographics tailoring to things like healthcare, and so on.

But if you add those variables up, that hardly makes up the majority of people online.

In fact, that’s a very small percentage of people online considering the maturing generations joining the workforce and having more and more purchasing power.

Our official vote: No, you don’t need one. However, we are writing a HUGE follow up piece on this to make sure we are very clear on this message.

Is SEO dying in a social evolving world?

Audience answer:

Is seo dying

Our take:

Notice how we framed the question “…in a social evolving world.”

SEO isn’t dying.

How we think about SEO is dying.

SEO is just evolving.

Search engine optimization is just that—the optimizing of content within a search engine so it’s more discoverable to the right people.

By definition, it’s “the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.”

Well, guess what?

Social platforms ARE mini search engines, firstly. Secondly, with the advancement of voice activated search queries, SEO is simply evolving.

No longer are we attempting to land the top spot on the SERPs to drive massive traffic to a site.

Now we are simply aiming to distribute a high level of quality, original content within the new environments of social media and marketplaces. That way when people interact on social media or purchase things in a marketplace, our brands, organizations, products and services are a part of the buyer journey.


So we control the attention throughout the buyer journey of:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Decision

Humans spend most of their time in the awareness and consideration stages of the journey, yet businesses spend most of their time optimization for the decision stage. What are we left with?

…law of averages.

And that’s not what SEO was intended for.

Our official vote: No, SEO isn’t dead, it’s evolving.

In terms of social media posting, what’s more important for building community?

Audience answer:

quality vs quantityOur take:

There is clearly a misunderstanding here.

Building communities is something that The Modern Marketer’s foundation derives from.

It’s how I built my first business, my hundreds of client’s businesses, and the current endeavor of The Modern Marketer.

Quality should be a goal, incrementally.

But, without a shadow of a doubt, QUANTITY is the game.

This is where most brands are losing for 1 of 2 reasons:

  1. They use quality as an excuse as to why they aren’t on social every day, why they aren’t creating content every day and why their brand(s) have little to no awareness.
  2. People create for quality instead of impact. If they DO decide to create content, they try to make these immaculate pieces and then forget one MAJOR part. Distribution. If no one sees it, it doesn’t exist.

Don’t mistake quantity for the need to MAKE more. It’s the need to DISTRIBUTE what you have made, more.

That’s why we preach the concept of the Power 120. Creating a foundation of scrappy content that you distribute to your audience at scale.

More at bats, more wins, more conversations, more leads, customers, sales and advocates.

Quantity is the game.

The trick is that after you master quantity, you slowly increase the quality over time.


All of your favorite accounts and brands online are quantity of quality. Comedians, meme accounts, commentary, personalities, creatives, etc.

Some categories and industries naturally hold more quality than others (i.e. if a photographer posts a lot of content, it’s going to look quite a bit better than most because that’s also what they are selling.)

Not to mention almost EVERY VIRAL VIDEO you’ve ever seen on social media is not “quality.”

Our official vote: QUANTITY. Post more, create more, distribute more. Put in your 10,000 hours of creating and storytelling and eventually the quality will catch up.

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Social Media

8 Ways to Troubleshoot Your Social Strategy So You Don’t Make the Same Mistakes As Last Year



If you haven’t caught on by now, social media marketing is crucial when it comes to a successful inbound marketing strategy.

Let’s be honest. 

No one’s saying this is an easy task, myself included.

I understand…

It’s frustrating when you pour hours into your social efforts only to get little in the return.

If you’re having trouble getting results from your social media efforts, there could be several reasons why your return on investment isn’t up to par with your expectations.

Let’s run through some troubleshooting…

1) Did you actually make a strategy?

Let’s be real for a second.

You can’t just post to social media whenever and however you please and expect to get a positive result.

It’s just not going to work as a strategy.

It is absolutely crucial for businesses to have a social media marketing strategy in order to be successful.

Every social media network has its own unique culture and set of “rules” that dictate the social behavior. Not observing the etiquette of each individual platform makes it far more difficult for you to find success. 

There is, in fact, a culture to every platform that you choose to put your brand on. – I get that by nature we like to be disrupters. SCREW the system, am I right? If I am going on a social platform, I am doing it MY way with MY voice and MY content. – But it's not always about you. – And it's not always about your brand. – You have to respect the culture of the platform you are publishing to. This is a lesson that the majority of business owners and entrepreneurs never learn. And therefore become irrelevant on every platform that they join. – I am learning this myself even in a new way. – While we have a strong voice, great content and tens of thousands of people have gathered around that…we still have to respect the boundaries and limitations. – Sometimes you have to "sell them what they want but give them what they need."

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For example, Facebook users typically use the platform to connect with family and friends.

…and nowadays is not so much used source for sharing news anymore, considering the latest update to their algorithm. But that’s ok:

Twitter, on the other hand, is all about that short form, instantaneous content particularly good for headlines and snippets which is also a great source for news.

Side-note: I recently took a poll on Instagram asking if people still use Twitter or not. And out of the couple hundred people that answered, over 80% of them said they do not use Twitter at all. But the people that did, I asked them why. This was a response from one of my co-workers:

“I do actively use twitter. I don’t tweet every day, but I get a lot of real time breaking sports news from twitter. I also follow most bloggers involved in #CavsTwitter so I see a ton of Cavs stuff. And @dog_rates @dog_feelings are two of my favorite accounts.

I also love seeing all of the viral tweets on twitter before they’re screenshotted and turned into memes on instagram. – Connor Clay—Strategist at TKG

Now, between the two of these platforms, which do you think would be best for multiple promotions about a limited time coupon you’re offering?

…the platform that’s more about connecting with people you know or the platform that’s more impersonal and limits you to 140 characters?

Twitter for sure, right? Repetitive posts like that on Facebook will get you un-liked real quick. And now that “engagement-bait” is frowned upon by Facebook’s algorithm, it’s likely not going to reach anyone if you DO, in fact, post it. 

Your primary job here is to determine:

  1. which networks you need to be engaging on to reach your target audience,
  2. how often you post (relative to the platform)
  3. what kinds of content work best on each platform
  4. what the proper etiquette is for each one.

Create a detailed strategy using the best social practices.

2) Are you using social networks that fit well with your business?

Instagram is the visual marketing gem of the social media world.

What’s not to like about Instagram?

Why wouldn’t using Instagram be a key part of your social media marketing strategy?

Well, for starters, if your buyer persona doesn’t use Instagram, you’re likely not going to have much luck.


Secondly, if your product or service isn’t dependent on visuals for marketing (like content marketing, for example), you’re going to have to get seriously creative.

But, it’s not impossible. (See The Modern Marketer!)

The common consensus is every business should be on the big four: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.

The Modern Marketer consensus is every business should be on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn and highly consider emerging platforms that either amazing features or have massive “younger” attention—like Snapchat, Musically, Anchor, etc. 

And it’s not just about understanding WHICH social platforms to use, but also HOW to use them.

Our client Dash is a fitness guru (and totally looks like Thor) who had spent 8 months of creating videos on YouTube. He had about 1,000 educational fitness videos that just weren’t getting attention.

He began repurposing and upcycling content and also running Facebook ads on every video he dropped each week.

Every video since has gone viral.

He went from 400 fans on his Facebook Page to 100,000.

He was also putting out a ton of educational videos on YouTube but his subscribers weren’t growing.

But 90% of YouTube’s audience is Millennials who are there primarily for entertainment, not education.

So he started videos ranting about the top industry fitness dudes who claim to be “100% natural” but are so clearly juiced. His YouTube channel the first 10 months was at about 600 subscribers, and a few months after dropping those videos he’s at almost 5k subscribers. 

Now Dash’s educational videos on YouTube are getting attention because we supplemented them with these rant-y, trash-talking videos.

You’ve got to be distributing your valuable content where the attention already is. Put it in front of where people’s faces are.

3) Are you too focused on promo?

Ok, so it’s not a terrible thing to be promoting your stuff on social media, but far, far too many businesses do just self-promotion and nothing else. It comes off a bit stale. You can’t have a strategy for your social media without diverse content.

“Customers aren’t as interested in promotional content as they are in thought leadership.”

According to a 2015 study done by AMCF, after referrals, thought leadership is the most important source for finding consulting expertise. So, you should be really focusing on sharing content that will inspire—yes, even if it’s not yours!

thought leadership consultant

You might ask, “But isn’t it counterproductive to be sharing a competitor’s content?”

Nope. It’s actually considered good social media manners—and it keeps your content fresh.

However retweeting solid content isn’t the only means for avoiding the sharing of too much promo-y stuff on social…

  • Take a video
  • Snap a photo
  • Ask an engaging question
  • Talk about something funny that happened today

There are plenty of ways to engage with your people.

4) Are you rolling out fresh content?

I get it.

Keeping up with your social media accounts can be a daunting task.

The last thing you want to do is give off the impression an account has gone stale due to inactivity or repetitive content.

It may seem like a burden to maintain all your accounts by being both fresh and relevant, but it doesn’t have to be a time consuming task.

An immensely helpful tactic for social strategy is to plan a schedule for your posting.

There’s plenty of different software to help manage your posting, depending on the networks you’re using. Just a few mentionable examples…

  • Sprout Social is great for scheduling and monitoring engagement and activity on social. 
  • Iconosquare is a MASSIVE help to managing Instagram accounts, with scheduling and insane analytics available in the platform. Pictured here is JUST the dashboard of Iconosquare, let alone all of the sub-sections of usable data you can look at.

Iconosquare dashboard


Putting your social posting within a strategy and platform will not only serve as reassurance that you’re active and coming out with fresh stuff, but it frees up your time to engage with your customers.

Which leads me into the next question…

5) Are you being social on your social media?

Using all the aforementioned software to help you manage your social accounts is great and all (we do it too!)…

…but if everything you post is automated, your social media strategy will fail.

After all, the whole point of social media is to be social!

Yesterday on The Modern Marketer Live stream we talked about "true business development." The lesson was simple. – You're dealing with humans EVERYWHERE in business so start being intentional about those relationships. Go deeper than the "meeting objectives." Search deeper than your network connections, job roles, etc. – Business development is an art form. I shared a story about how I met with a packaging companies liaison for the east coast. – I could have just gone in, told her my needs, talked pricing and left. But we didn't even talk about the packaging for our coffee company for the first 20+ minutes. – We talked vision, business, life, etc. – By the end of the conversation she offered to sell our coffee to her entire book of business that she's built over the last 10-15 years. – Then someone on the livestream commented, "but what happens when people are reluctant to do business development with you?" And my answer was simple. – You respond accordingly. Just because you wake up one day and decide your going to work your network of connections doesn't mean everyone is going to be responsive. It's your job to vet people as your having conversations and engage where necessary. – A "no" is simply that. And you'll get it 80% of the time. But how you respond to your relationships determines how successful your biz dev will be.

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You can tweet every 20 minutes and post on Instagram once an hour (even add all the most relevant hashtags,) but if you don’t actually log into your account everyday and talk to your followers, then you’re not giving them much reason to follow you. 

To them, you might as well be a robot.

Being social doesn’t have to take all day. In fact, it shouldn’t.

It only takes a few minutes to log in, shout out some followers, engage with content others have shared, leave a few comments, and move on with your business day.

According to a study by the Social Media Examiner, at least 61% of those investing a minimum of six hours per week in social media marketing saw improvements in search engine rankings.

But if you’re engaging with your followers and keeping your content fresh yet still not seeing results, maybe you’re facing another problem.

Maybe, you’re having difficulty delighting people…

6) Does your brand have a personality on social media?

Some businesses run the risk of a social media presence that’s just sort of blah, particularly B2Bs. But even some B2Cs can sound kind of fake or, even worse, that they’re trying too hard.

It can be easy to forget amidst all this strategizing that the reason you’re making a strategy in the first place is to get the people going. People aren’t going to be interested in a business on social that’s devoid of any character.

I mean, you’re not going to be captivated by the guy at a social event who says nothing or does nothing memorable, so why would you wanna be that guy on social media?

While this isn’t “new” news, Wendy’s is a solid example of a great Twitter personality with its sassy attitude and ability to roast people:

Wendy's on Twitter!

Now that’s some memorable brand personality. People tweet at Wendy’s now just asking to be roasted—and people love it!

If your brand doesn’t let people shine through on social, it’s going to be ignored.

7) Are you building a tribe that cares about your posts?

Having a personality is important, but if you’re not posting about things that your audience cares about, you’re going to struggle to grow.

It’s just like that friend on Facebook who overshares or posts things so uninteresting that no one will even touch it with a Like button.

Kind of awkward and annoying, right?

Well, it’s the same for business. If you continuously push a product or service, people may very well not care.

Maybe what they really want is to just casually scroll through their feeds, look at cool pics, and like your posts. It’s important to understand what captivates your audience so that you can continue to engage them time after time.

Finding you rtribe

To crush your social strategy, you have to be growing a tribe that loves you and cares about what you’re posting.

“By the way, building this tribe takes time. Every successful social account started out with zero followers. It takes some experimentation, some patience, and lots of listening and engaging with other accounts to find that sweet spot. It’s a commitment. They didn’t build Rome in one day, your amazing following won’t be built that quickly either.”

8) Are you looking at your metrics, and are you looking at the right metrics?

Analytics across all networks are getting more comprehensive and detailed.

This presents big opportunity for marketers to have a more in-depth understanding of their ROI.

Granted, there is always some error of margin to consider.

But if you’re not actually looking at your analytics, your whole social strategy is for naught.

The whole point of strategizing is to see what, for who, when, where, how, and why your posts are successful or not?

You don't need a degree in data science or data analysis to understand what is working for your business. Take the next 24 hours to study the metrics and KPIs you need to be tracking for your inbound marketing efforts. – From there, start analyzing in small chunks to get used to the data and what it means. Do this for each area of your business: email, content, social, and ads. – Then, after you've completed the above and only then, compare your recent results to the benchmarks for your industry. – Does this data compare, is it greater or less in performance? Don't you see how simple data can be when you break it down into steps? We need to get practical with what we track in our business, how we interpret it and most importantly, HOW we take action. – Stop measuring the success of your online business by followers & traffic. That doesn't matter if you can't grow your bottom line.

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This data is crucial for justifying ROI. You need to be looking at it.

…but, you also need to be looking at the right data. Clutching at any old metric won’t work. You have to use the metrics that work best for you.

Likes, fans, and followers are great but who are these people? If you have a lot of followers but most seem distant and don’t care about engaging with your posts, you might not be reaching a quality audience.

And quality should always come before quantity in social media marketing, because ultimately all of this effort is to build relationships and generate solid leads.

Be sure to analyze engagement levels, and not just the quantity of likes and followers.

Conclusion: Make your social media strategy work for you

Now that you have a better understanding of why you’re having trouble with social, it’s time to fix it!

Develop a solid strategy strategy for your business that makes use of the right networks, has fresh and diversified content delivered with personality, and seeks to engage an audience in a way that captivates them.

And remember, my team and I are here to help with your social

A stellar and successful social media presence is absolutely crucial to your business’ growth and prosperity, so put in that time and effort to make it a priority.

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Content Marketing

If Your Business Can’t Create Advocates, You’ve Already Lost



If Your Business Can't Create Advocates, You've Already Lost

What is a brand advocate?

A brand advocate is someone who will work for your brand by sharing positive sentiments with their communities about your brand.

Brand advocates are the people that scale your business.

The truth is that you can’t scale your business off of one sale. You need sale 2, 3, 4, 5 and beyond. You need depth to scale a business— value that goes far and beyond your product or service.

Having someone who spreads the word and culture of your business is far more valuable to scaling your business than a sale because that credibility, that referral, speaks louder and stronger than any company-led business promotional efforts do.

So how do you get people who can spread the word and culture of your business?

Let’s break it down.

Looking at the Bottom of the ACE Method

If you’ve been a part of this community for more than a week lol, you’ve likely heard about the ACE Method.

Most of the time we just talk about creating conversions.

We stop at the third section of the funnel.

But you can’t scale a business off of just one sale.

So you have your leads, you have your customer base, you have your loyal customer base, and then you have your brand advocates. How do you get people to the bottom of that funnel?

ACE Method - TMM


You have to identify the messaging that matches each groups of those people in your sales funnel:

  1. Who are your qualified leads?
  2. Who are the people that you’re going to convert into customers?
  3. Out of those customers, who can I provide more value to and scale to create loyal customers?
  4. Then out of those loyal customers, what kind of ecosystem, code, environment or relationship can I create to make brand advocates?

By brand advocates, we’re talking people you don’t have to pay for their loyalty. It’s just like that Drake line: “They give me loyalty and I don’t gotta pay for it.”

But don’t get it twisted.

Not everyone in your sales funnel can be brand advocates.

Not everyone can be loyal for free.

You need leads


There’s a Difference between Customers and Brand Advocates

So what is the difference between a brand advocate and a regular customer? What’s the bottom line?

The bottom line is that customers get something they expect. They pay for that “something” and they get it. It’s just a transaction. But with brand advocates, it’s not a transaction— it’s a journey.

Brand advocates are the people who can journey with you and expand your voice bigger than yourself. If you can get other people in different walks of life to explain the same culture and the same message, the brand message becomes even stronger.

Here is what a brand advocate can offer you that a customer can’t:

  • Accountability to the integrity of your products and services
  • Attention that you wouldn’t normally be able to access
  • Personal check-ins with you and your business
  • Promotion of your business without asking anything in return
  • Skills that you don’t have yourself
  • Introductions to new places and new people
  • Community around your brand

You can make a sale with a customer but you can’t scale your business with that customer like you can with a brand advocate.

you goal is a happy customer


But what does it take to bring someone down your sales funnel from the loyal customer base to the brand advocate? Do you need to push your product or service extra hard with these people to get them to want to advocate?

No, no, no. You cannot push a product or service and expect to get brand advocates.

Here’s why…

The Force Behind your Brand

The mistake people all too often make in trying to create brand advocates is that they think they have to convince these people to be die-hard fans of the product or service you’re selling.

And that’s just not the case.

Even if someone is advocating for what you’re selling, it’s not really the product or service that they’re advocating for.

No, seriously.

It’s not.

It’s the culture.

The people.

The vision.

What brand advocates are actually buying into with your brand is something much bigger than the product or service, than you, and even bigger than the business itself.

It’s all about that driving force behind every brand.

I learned this from my own business mentor back in Ohio with this example: Smucker’s went from just selling jams to selling nearly every product in your kitchen.


Not from all the profits they made from selling jams. 

It’s because for so many years they have put an emphasis on their culture— a culture based on growth, clear communication and collaboration, and doing the right thing. Focusing on the core driver behind their products.

These are values that people can rally behind.

Jams are just the product, but their culture is their legacy.

That’s how Smucker’s has come to be recognized in FORTUNE Magazine’s annual listing of “100 Best Companies to Work for in the United States” for many years, even making #1 in 2004.

Smucker’s prioritizes its values over everything else to create brand advocates. Smucker’s puts value over everything.

Value over everything

If you ask me what I sell and I say: “I’m Derek Palizay and I sell marketing services,” I’m telling you the wrong thing. You have to think about what’s behind the product or service you’re selling.

Is it systems?

Is it selling people time?

Is it value based like Smucker’s?

Is it community?

Is it a methodology


What’s the bigger picture? What is the driving force behind your brand? Whatever it is, it affects your messaging, your brand voice, and your image.

I can’t tell you what your driving force is, I can just tell you if it exists. When you look at a brand that’s investing beyond just the immediate ROI needs of their company, you can see it. You know culture when you see it.

Once you identify your driving force, you have to center all your marketing efforts around it. And then you have to find the right people to run with…

Finding Good People to Work With

Brand advocates can’t just be anybody.

The relationships you form with your brand advocates have to go deeper than anyone else who may come into your funnel.

To create a true brand advocate, your brand have to be able to create culture and value that’s so inspiring to that person that it helps them hit the next level in their own journey.

I’ve said it already, but I’m going to say it again: Brand advocates do not care about your product or service.

They care about your culture, your loyalty, your character, your higher purpose, your integrity. They care about how you inspire them, how your impact on them is so deep that they can’t resist not being a part of your brand.

Once you know your culture, your brand voice, and what you can bring to the table, you have to supplement it.

That also means making sure you have some kind of vetting process that you bring into your ecosystem, because only the right people, the people who are aligned with your culture and values, are going to help you grow.

You don’t need to hire skill, you need to hire loyalty and you can train skill.

If you invest into storytelling and documenting the journey, you get the inverse effect of people flocking to you— and the right people.

When you’re investing in content and value, your brand grows as a whole. Going to Upwork to find the type of person you want for that just isn’t going to work.

That’s not brand advocacy, that’s outsourcing.

Incubating your Brand Advocates

I’m speaking from tried and true experience when I say that having just five brand advocates trumps 300 people that follow you publicly. Having 10 brand advocates trumps 10,000 people that you think will grow your bottom line business.

The power that has come out of The Modern Marketer Network is truly amazing.

These are people I will roll with for the duration of my career. These are people I will speak on stage with, co-brand with, and share my book and knowledge with. They challenge me, and I challenge them.

This Network is my incubator for my brand advocates.

In order for you to nurture your own brand advocates, you have to find a tactical way to incubate them.


Whether that’s a private community, private email list, or private mastermind sessions, you have to actually deliver on that value, that family vibe, that cohesiveness.

You have to come up with some code.

Like The Modern Marketer, for example: value over everything. (yes, that’s the hand sign in the picture above “VOE”.)

We’ve created this code inside of our Network that allows our culture to be easily replicated across upbringings, backgrounds, levels of businesses, and experience levels.

People are rolling with a story that is bigger than themselves.

Yet one of the biggest challenges people who follow The Modern Marketer face is that they just can’t get people to care. Here’s what you need to do: go find three people in the next 30 days who can help you grow your business.

Then I encourage you, plead with you, to slow down your roll in marketing and incubate some brand advocates.


Brand advocacy is not about auxiliary salespeople that are happy enough about your product or service that they will talk it up for free. It’s about forming deeper connections with people based on something bigger than your product or service. It’s about creating a driving force that brings people together behind a common purpose.

Brand advocates are the ones who want to be on the front lines with you promoting your culture and values. And if you nurture these people, if you genuinely add inspiring value to their lives that helps them in some significant way on their own journey, you will have a lifetime of scalability.

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