Instagram with Intention … Constant Conversation = Conversion • Sharing Tips for Social Media

Aug 17 2015

by Cheri Leavy

My husband Vance and I operate Bulldawg Illustrated and guide2athens,  online and print publishing businesses and I work with co-founder Whitney Long on the Southern Coterie and its live events – the Southern C Summits.  Each of these communities, publications, websites and events gives entrepreneurs a platform to share about their brands.

One of the main messages at The Southern C Summit, our annual educational and inspirational event for creative entrepreneurs, is to not only work in your business but work on it.  Take a step back from time to time and get out of the day to day and evaluate and make tweaks.  I like to take webinars and even attend other conferences besides our own to continue learning and finding new ways to approach my business endeavors.

This summer I took time to step back and evaluate our social media platforms at both companies and how we were approaching them.  At our last Summit, I was particularly inspired by our social media strategy session with Mandy Kellogg Rye of Waiting on Martha where her mantra is constant conversation equals conversion.

I knew we needed to improve our social media efforts and my favorite medium is instagram so I started there.  I decided to take Hillary Rushford’s Dean Street Society’s Instagram with Intention class and learned to look at instagram feeds as micro blogging.  A smart and savvy business mentor, Hillary is transparent in how much she shares about her successful approach to instagram which equates to profitability.

Hillary Rushford of Dean Street Society is known for her dance offs.  Her enthusiasm is contagious in her webinars and on her instagram.
Hillary Rushford of Dean Street Society is known for her dance offs. Her enthusiasm is contagious in her webinars and on her instagram.

My next step was to hire someone I admire in the marketing arena in Athens, Dominique Paye, to help set up systems for work flow and content planning so the instagram (and other social) feeds would support the missions for both companies and become aesthetically more attractive and consistent.  We started with guide2athens and now Whitney and I have hired her for The Southern C.

The Southern C (TSC) feeds should always tie into our pillars: connect, collaborate and create as well as show off our Coterie members and Summit attendees. Guide2Athens (G2A) should show off the culture of Athens as well our 114 clients in the guidebook.  All feeds should direct you to dig in deeper with us and visit our blog posts and our clients/members sites too.


I am happy to report TSC grew by over 1000 since June and our posts are more focused on supporting our brand.  G2A doubled in followers and the feed has a good mix of content and continues to have better photography.  Engagement is everything and ours is growing.  It is taking time and teamwork.  It will get easier as we continue to plan better.



Here are some of our methods we have implemented:

1. We use a shared google calendar and map out posts in advance.  We are posting three times a day.  This lets us have a blog post promotion daily and mix up news about our clients/members, promotions of brands we love, some fun inspirational quotes and a good dose of fun.

2. Create a Dropbox to align with the google calendar and have photos for the scheduled posts handy in folders.  You can access the google cal and the drop box on your phone so you can do it on the run but it is not nearly as stressful as making it up as you go.  We do live share from events and Waiting on Martha photographer Kathryn McCrary suggested to me to have the basics (who, what, when, where) in my notes app on my phone and cut and paste and then a tiny tweak when you post it.  Then you are present and enjoying the actual event instead of glued to your phone.

3. We use links to track click thrus and to create easy custom named links folks can remember.  We put them in our profile on instagram to make clickable.

4.  We use iconosquare to track results of posts to glean which posts are working and what times are working.  Southern C contributor Monica Lavin of Lavin Label explained the app well on a post on TSC recently.

5.  Strong photography is mandatory.  Hillary at Dean Street suggests taking several shots to get the best vantage point – sometimes simply take three steps back or forward.  Vary the white space.  Rule of thirds – don’t center the subject and work on your framing of the shot.  Know where your lighting source is coming from and hopefully it is natural light and not bright sunshine.

I use on my phone to spruce up and edit photos and Mandy, Hillary and Monica do too.  It is fast and easy to use with a high quality outcome.

6.  Our social media strategist Dominique installed an app IFTTT that Monica also uses that posts our instagram on twitter and facebook but formats them so the instagram photos show attractively on the other mediums.

7.  When I attended ALT Summit, Erica Domesek of PS. I Made This suggests when posting to any social media that you should consider color, composition, typography, recognition and nostalgia.

8. At that same conference, Dwell Studio Founder and Creative Director Christiane Lemieux reminded us in business branding including your social media to figure out who you are and stick to it 100%.

9. Waiting on Martha Mandy encourages everyone that having constant conversation to equal conversion then you must do it every day, all day and all five – facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest and snapchat.

Each platform requires different messaging and the players are not created equal.

Tell a story on facebook.

Share conversation snippets on twitter.

Share photos on instagram (good ones that tell the story)!

Share beautiful images on pinterest from your blog content.

Share behind the scenes on snapchat.

So we will be upping our game on all.  Not only are we making the time but we have hired someone bright to help us.

10.  As Jamie Meares of Furbish Studio has stated in both of her presentations at past Southern C Summits, “Know what you know, know what you don’t know then hire.”  If this all sounds too daunting then hire someone.  Social media strategist is a viable profession now.  You can add your voice and ideas in the planning because noone knows your brand better but bring in help for strategy and execution.

Hopefully you have noticed the improvement on instagram that is still such a work in progress.  But now the time it takes feels like time well spent to reach our objectives.  We are enjoying learning and testing out new tips and tricks so please share some of yours.

And please visit @thesouthernc and @guide2athens on social media.










Cheri Leavy View More Blog Posts from this Author

Cheri Leavy is a connector, cheerleader and marketing consultant for fellow entrepreneurs.
Building rapport and strengthening a sense of community:
• A community of female entrepreneurs through the The Southern Coterie and The Southern C Summit
• The faces and places of Athens that make our city so vibrant through guide2athens
• A community of devoted football fans through Bulldawg Illustrated
- Contributing editor to Coastal Illustrated, Executive Board Member of the UGA Alumni Association

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4 responses on “Instagram with Intention … Constant Conversation = Conversion • Sharing Tips for Social Media

  1. Jenny Leigh Hodgins

    Thank you for this blog! I learned a lot more from this than I did from some known influencers’ freebies! I’m doing my own social media marketing since I am decent at the visual aspects and I am a storyteller. Reading your blog is nice confirmation that I am doing some of the right things! I started out hiring someone to be my social media marketing person but I discovered quickly that I am better at the authenticity of my brand and since I have natural visual talent it makes more sense to tell my own story. I have noticed there are a lot of cookie-cutter images used for branding companies and I do not want to be one of those! One thing I need to do better is tell the story on my Facebook page and profile. Mainly I have been posting content as a curator and from my own blogs there. But I think it’s important to go behind the scenes to tell the story of my entrepreneurial journey. Thank you for this reminder that storytelling on Facebook is also important.

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