Natasha Samuel: How to Win When Marketing on Instagram
In this interview, I speak with Natasha Samuel, Marketing Strategist & Educator, and host of The Shine Online Podcast! Natasha helps business owners develop effective video marketing and Instagram strategies that are fun and fulfilling – without the overwhelm.
This conversation with Natasha focuses on:
⚡️How to Optimize your Instagram for First Impressions
⚡️The Duality of Nurturing & Growing your IG Community
⚡️Strategies to Standout on Instagram
Links & Resources
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Hello friends and welcome back to another episode of our deep business better series. I am so excited to be joined today by Natasha Samuel. Hi, Natasha.
Hello. Excited to be here.
Oh, I am so excited for you to be joining us. If you don’t know Natasha, Natasha is the host of the shine online podcast. She’s also a content marketing and Instagram strategist who support small businesses and entrepreneurs in shining online. I am so ecstatic to have Natasha here, because she is all about creating a video and content strategy that is both fun and fulfilling without any of the overwhelm which I don’t know about y’all. But that sounds like heaven. To me. That is the goal always when it comes to creating content, and marketing our services or digital products online. So today, we’re going to be talking about three commonly made mistakes that Natasha sees in her line of work with her clients and within her communities and small businesses at large. If we’re creating content, and sharing value online and connecting with our community and prospective buyers online. You know, it’s we are living in a time that is like no other in terms of the ability to connect directly with your audience and with potential buyers. And so I’m super pumped to have you here today. Natasha, thank you again for joining me, if you would please share a little bit about yourself and your work for those that have not yet had the pleasure of meeting you. Yeah, absolutely.
So when I first started my business fresh out of college, I really started doing social media management for different small business owners, physical digital products, service providers, personal brands. And that was really what led me to fall in love with Instagram and all the different services that it has to offer, and all the ways that you can really build that community. And also leverage video content, which I think is one of the most powerful storytelling tools. And so I really took all the systems and frameworks and strategies that I found work for my social media management clients, and I now teach my clients and my community how to do the exact same thing, how to leverage video in a way that you can share your personality and your expertise, how to essentially see an ROI and make sales and grow your business on Instagram, while still making an impact and serving your communities deeper. So that’s what I’m all about now. Love Instagram Live video all the content on there. And that’s what I share on my tips on love it
love you love everything you’re about and let’s dive right in. So what is this first mistake where what are we trippin? What are we tripping upon?
Yes, the most common mistake I see is people not focusing on optimizing your profile on social media, but specifically on Instagram. And what I often see is that we’re focusing so much on growing and getting new eyeballs on our accounts. But we’re not really thinking about how does a person that’s completely new to our brand, how do they become a follower, then how do they become a super warm lead and possibly a customer or client. So I think it’s really important to think about that first impression when people land on your Instagram profile. So your bio is obviously the first place to start here. You want to clearly share what your brand is about who you serve, what you’re an expert at, and what type of content they can expect from following you. And it’s also really important to have a very clear call to action in that bio, whether it’s a freebie, it’s your availability for services or your calendar, booking a discovery call buying your templates or products or mugs, whatever it is, we want to clearly communicate what we want people to do and what we want people to know. And then there’s like the visual side of things, we have our profile image, which I say, almost always I try to lean in to make that a photo of the CEO, the founder, the personal brand behind the business, unless it’s a really big agency or there’s five or more people in your company and it’s more of a company rather than a personal brand behind it. We just want to make it clear, branded really clear. We don’t want it to be a blurry selfie, ideally, we don’t want that. And then we have our grid, which I feel like the grid on Instagram has shifted and changed so much. But there is still an element that needs to be curated and branded because it’s messy when it’s all over the place or maybe even too curated and people can’t connect with you. That’s when you’re losing out on people going through your content, binging it and following you back. So I typically tell people we want to have a few different colors, bonds or filters and we want to stick to that I think simplicity is really what’s going to make a really great grid And then we just need content ready to binge, right, we want to have great valuable content on your grid, we want to utilize our highlights and stories, I feel like stories and highlights are such a great way to really build that connection. Because I feel like stories are a little less curated, it’s a little easier to, you know, like use little stickers and the seat behind the seat. And so that’s really what I like to have. As I know, for me, when I’m new to someone’s profile, I like want to do a little tapping tap to their stories and highlights. So we want to make sure all of that is there for them to binge get to know you and to eventually become a follower.
Love it. Alright, so bio, what do we need to know about what should be included in your bio?
Yes, so we definitely want to have a very clear line that explains what you do and who you do it for this can be a really simple I help statement. But the clearer or more specific, we get better here. And then I always like to kind of have a place where people can have a starting point, whether it’s a call to action, I actually like to encourage people to start on my stories or to start on my highlights, I’m telling them where on Instagram, I want them to start. And then you can add anything that seems really necessary is it that you’re having a new launch coming up? Is it that you have a really great freebie, those are really the things that I like to include in your bio, and just overall in your Instagram, whether it’s your handle your name, your bio copy, ideally, we want to have a name there, especially if we’re leaning into more of a personal brand or CEO or founder behind that company, who will know who they’re actually interacting with. So that can be a welcome place to put in your bio copy.
Absolutely. All right, what about the link in bio? Drama, right? Because I know they both feel very strongly about this. Some people feel very strongly about having a URL that is directly to your website. Some people are okay with the bridge of the URL, like the link tree Lincoln bio style landing page, should it send them to directly one page? Should we have it a mult I know you can set up a link tree style on your app. So what is what is your approach? What’s your philosophy on this? I’m curious.
I love this question. So I always with a lot of things with social media and Instagram as I want people to lean into what feels the easiest and easiest to sustain long term. So for a lot of people, unless you’re familiar with web design, or you have a web designer handy, I know that DIY in your own landing page just isn’t realistic and isn’t really easy to maintain, right? Is that definitely one of the best options? Absolutely. You’re getting them right on your website. It’s branded, it’s easy to navigate. So I think if we can DIY it a mobile friendly URL on your website, go for it. But I also do think that a lot of the link tools that we have access to are not only either free or really affordable, but they have a lot of functionalities that make them perfect for being in a link and bio, where there’s embedding, there’s little icons, and there’s ways to schedule links, which is stuff you can’t do on a website, for example. Yeah, yeah. So link tree, for example. That’s one of my favorite features with Link tree is you can actually schedule links for open closed car, when things expire, stuff like that, which I personally just really love. The link tree is definitely one of my favorite tools. I also love Lincoln bio, which is with later, they have a really great feature where you can actually link to specific feed posts. So maybe if you have a product business, or you’re sharing a lot of different links, and maybe you’re a blog, and you’re sharing a bunch of different recipes, I think that Lincoln bio is a really great option. So people if they’re coming from a specific post, they know exactly where to go. And you don’t have like a laundry list of links and your link tree. And then I also really like milkshake. I love it because it almost is like a mini website. So if you don’t have a website, or you don’t really love your website, it’s a really great way to kind of create a basic website about have your services listed, and then have your most important links there. So those are my personal favorite tools. And when it comes to what we’re including on your link tree, or Lincoln bio, whatever you choose, we want it to be your most important calls to action. I like to recommend not just having a regular homepage because more likely than not, you’re giving people a specific call to action to book a call to download a freebie to purchase a product or offer and we want them to easily know where to go. So they actually go there because we all know if you’re like going somewhere and then you don’t see what you’re looking for. You’re like I forget and I’m gone.
Yeah, there’s so many other places I can be right now.
Totally. Yes. So I think it’s really important that we focus on the very specific calls to action. We want to have a freebie lead magnet. We want to have your most important offers products or services. And then anything else that feels important. Maybe your podcast, maybe your YouTube channel, I think those are the most important things to include in your Lincoln bio. And that’s that’s pretty much it also a place to contact you. We want to make sure we have that. That’s very important.
Absolutely. You know, and Natasha, what I really love that you shared in that response is the path of least resistance. I’m all about the path of least resistance. If you’re stuck between two options, and you know, both options will get the job done. It’s just a matter of which one do I go with? And how do I go about it? What is the path of least resistance? Stop making things more difficult for yourself?
Yeah. Yeah, I definitely don’t think there’s a one way or the highway, when it comes to a lot of things with social media and Instagram. I definitely see where the hard vote towards doing your own DIY website comes from landing page. I think it’s amazing. But I do think that a lot of the features and tools that are specifically for Link tools can often be easier, which is what we want, right? We want it to be easy for you to add, remove, optimize brand, your link tool, whatever you use. So I say whatever is easiest.
Absolutely, I’m right there with you. Alright, number two, what is the second mistake that we are out here making? Yes, so
this one is gonna ruffle some feathers. It is when people focus so much on growing, that they don’t focus enough on nurturing the people you already have. I think even with the removal of you have to have 10,000 followers to have swipe up. Now we all have that link sticker. I still think that there’s a lot of pressure to have 1000s, hundreds of 1000s followers to feel like you can actually make money on Instagram and reach the right people. But the truth is, if you have 100 followers, 500 followers, 1000 followers, whatever that number is, if we’re not currently converting those people, more followers is not going to fix the problem. So what I really suggest people focus on is yes, if you’re starting from zero, we might want to focus on growth, we want to focus on getting some people eyeballs over to your profile. But once we start to get some traction, and there’s even a handful of people on your profile, we want to serve them really well. And this comes down to identifying who is your ideal dreamy dream follower that you’re wanting to attract? What type of content do they like? What type of problems? Do they need help solving? What are their interests? What are they? What are their hobbies? What are they really curious about and essentially creating content around that. So it to really get specific on relatable content, problem solving valuable content. Also using things like stories to share fun things like my morning Macia or your office or your routine or behind the scenes of packaging orders. But essentially really focusing on nurturing the relationships with the people that are seeing your content is going to really help you not only grow by default, you’re going to start to attract those right people. But it’s going to help you essentially do what you’re on social media for is build a community and have all the right people go into the offers that are going to serve them really well. So I really think that shift of not thinking that you always need to grow, grow, grow, get more engagement, getting more followers, maybe you have everyone you need right there, they’re seeing your content, and you just need to show up for them.
I could not agree more with you. I have found because I think this is something that we all experience. It’s the nature of the human, it comes with the territory, right? We are human. Yes, absolutely. And also this platform that we’re on. There are that by design, it causes us to sometimes be inclined to hyper focus on the vanity metrics, and you know how it appears from the outside looking in, but the reality is and what I found in my work, one when you mentioned having 100 or 500 or even 1000 followers, on for example, Instagram, I have a client that has she is she provide services, she has a program. She has 1500 followers on Instagram, and she has been creating content for years. And she consistently does upwards of $500,000 in sales of her services and programs every year. Yeah, under 1500 followers, maybe she’s at or maybe right about now. But I mean, that just goes to show you that it’s really not you don’t need the 10,000 plus followers to make money online. Do you remember the influencer with like the 100,000 followers that couldn’t even sell a t shirt? Yeah, I feel like is that an urban legend? I think it’s true.
I mean, it happens all the time. Because you’re you’re focusing on growing, growing, growing. I think even with reels. It’s like, you see these really awesome high views. And you’re like, I got more views. How do I get more views? How do I get more engagement? And there’s, you know, we do want those to an extent, but I think that people often focus so much on and I think, especially right now on Instagram, I mean, admittedly, engagement is low, my engagement is low. But if I said only only 100, people are seeing my content at 40,000 people that follow me, right, I’m seeing only 100 people, like no one’s seeing my content. You’re not even thinking that there’s 100 eyeballs that are seeing your content. And chances are, if they’re seeing it, that means they’re the most engaged people anyway. And so I think we often like are kind of forgetting about our Ryder died, people, when we when we say that we’re not growing, we’re not getting engagement, when if we shifted that the energy and where we’re focusing, we realize we have everything we need, we just need to focus in on serving them
really well. Absolutely. Imagine having the opportunity to speak to 100 people in person. Oh, yeah, it’s incredible. Another thing I think about is, when you really do the numbers and look at how many people you really need to buy this month to hit your goal, is it it might be just 10 people, it might be less. Yeah, you know, so not worrying about the 10s of 1000s of people seeing your content, that might not really be what you need to happen. And what I was going to say a moment ago is, the way I look at it is I can have a relationship with 1000 people, and it’s a very shallow or 10,000 people, and it’s a very shallow relationship. Or I could have a relationship with 100 people and go really deep on those 100 people, you know, so I love that you touched on nurturing the community you already have, and the people that have already come into your sphere, and that have already opted in, they’ve let you know, by clicking follow or engaging with your content repeatedly, they’ve let you know, hey, I’m listening. And this is directly relevant to me. And I want to learn more from you.
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that when there’s like so many platforms to be on, I think I always think of like tick tock and YouTube, which I really think of like as discovery platforms, right? You can search something, you can be scrolling through your recommended for you page or through your recommended content, YouTube, and you can find new content instantly, which is a little bit different than Instagram, right? But I think if we kind of shift our expectations of like, What if every post, every story isn’t gonna get us 100 followers isn’t gonna get us hundreds of 1000s of views. What if everything is isn’t going to be a win, but it’s still working, it’s still, you know, you showing up consistently is still doing its job. So there’s a lot of power into like shifting how we think about social media, because it’s going to continue to evolve, there’s going to continue to be more not less people on social media. So I think when we can adapt that mindset shift, it can be really powerful for us and how we build our communities.
Love it. Thank you for that, Natasha. All right. Number three, what what do you got for
us? Yes, so number three is kind of related to that, right? In a day and age where I feel like real trends are really hot and meme culture and really leveraging pop culture. Let’s like maybe not always have to lean into that right? I think we should lean into more original content. And I feel like that is like the breath of fresh air a lot of our communities are needing on those platforms. And don’t get me wrong, I love a good trend on reels. They have their built in outlines built in formula of how to create it and just adding your own twist on it. And I think memes can be really great relatable, entertaining pieces of content. But I think those scratch the surface, right and like to your point of what you’re saying, we want to go deep with our communities, because that’s where we’re going to have the biggest impact, and essentially be the best when it comes to selling which is what we do as business owners. So I really recommend original content, which essentially means not relying on a trend or I mean, to share your point of view. Let’s use the resources we already have. And specifically with reels. A shift I want to encourage everyone to think about is how can I just use reels as short form videos? What if it doesn’t need to be a trend? What if it doesn’t need to be really short or snappy or have some fancy transitions?
I don’t need a dance. I don’t need a live thing.
We don’t need to do any of that. No, what if we just used it as video but it’s shorter? It’s a little bit shorter. We have 90 seconds now. And I like to call you show and tell reels because essentially you want to either be visually showing them something, a demonstration tutorial, maybe you’re documenting your day or sharing a vlog. So we want to visually show them something, or we want to tell them which essentially, it could be just how we talk on stories, talking to camera and talking in your reel, or possibly doing any of those other types of visuals. But maybe we’re doing a voiceover where we’re talking it through and explaining it and sharing our thoughts and narrating what they’re seeing. I find that this content, which kind of leads into our second point that I shared. Second mistake is, it’s not going to get you viral reach is not going to have your account blow up overnight, probably not your you still might get a lot of really great engagement. But what it’s going to help you do is serve your current audience and nurture them so much deeper, because you’re not just sharing some quick tips about how to do something, you’re explaining it, you’re bringing people through it, you’re visually showing them how to do it. And I feel like when we can lean into like kind of longer form short form video, like going up to a minute and a half a minute, which still is like not very long, right? We can still leverage the power of reels, which are still the highest reaching engagement, engaging content for most people, you go in your insights, you’ll see it, I see it myself. But we’re able to do it in a way where we can carve our own path, you don’t have to follow a trend, you don’t have to follow it doesn’t feel good. Just take the ideas and content that you’ve been creating over the past year as you’re already creating in your business. And just put it on short form video.
And that sounds like you can even grab past videos or lives that you’ve done, you can bring those together and just deliver them in a shorter format.
Absolutely, yeah, we do that for YouTube for our podcast is taking like really engaging clips and segments from it, where it can live as its own on reels. So it’s such a great way to repurpose what you’re already doing. I’ve seen so many like fashion influencers, for example is that they used to do a lot of carousels of their their outfits in different poses. But now they’re essentially, how can I share that same pose with that same outfit? But just with a video, right? So I think it’s just embracing this movement towards video, but not in a way that feels really resistant.
So I have a couple of questions for you. So are static images out?
Oh, I love this question. I don’t think so I think static images, I think it’s changing though I think that even as we record this, I mean, I hesitate to say anything because it might change tomorrow, right? They’ve definitely expressed that they’re moving towards making Instagram feel like there’s one surface write stories, real static photos, you’re going to be scrolling through all the same thing, which is something that we can’t really wrap our heads around yet, it’s something that’s going to take a little bit while to be adapted and tested. But I still love a great carousel photo, I still love graphics. And I think that they can be a really powerful way to serve your audience. But I will say that only relying on those vessels when we have now five surfaces on Instagram will definitely limit the way you can connect with your audience. Because with all I mentioning was Show and Tell reels. They’re like it’s becoming this really powerful storytelling vessel that a photo or a caption or a graphic just can’t do in the way of video can do. You can see me speaking you can see my mannerisms. You can hear how I talk, you can see me operating through my day, you can see how a product looks feels. So I feel like we can go so much deeper. So I think if we add it in with our static content, we are good to go.
So a healthy mix is what we’re going for here. Absolutely.
I’m here for it. I’m here for it. All right. And then what is your preferred approach for creating content for real? So short form video, do you like to batch do you create when inspiration strikes? How do you collect your ideas and move towards the creation process?
Yeah, I love this question. And I find that for myself, and a lot of my clients, we prefer a little bit of a hybrid methods. So batching content that is evergreen, right and a month and a few weeks, it’s not going out of style, it’s not going to be irrelevant. So I think when we can batch those when it comes to graphics, or reels, or those different types of content, let’s say let’s get that ahead. Let’s get that in the queue. Let’s put it in our scheduler and be as ahead as we can. But I will say that I’ve definitely been embracing more in the moment content, as I see and hear from my audience right or how as I’m inspired. Sometimes I like to just do content sandboxing social sandboxing where I’m just like playing with like, let me document my day and see what comes out when I edit it. Let’s see what happens pins, right? So just like playing more with my content I feel like can be really fun and inspirational brings that joy back into your content which your audience can feel. But I also really love the reels reply feature, for example. So if you’re getting a comment on one of your reels, you could totally write back comment. But what if we replied with a video, which you’re now able to do and link that comment on that actual video. And not only is that telling your audience, I see you, I hear you, here’s content for you. But it’s like little nuggets of inspiration, like instead of you have anything of ideas, what if we just use your audience in your community to inspire those ideas, or just anything that’s in your environment. So I like to do a healthy balance of both of like planning ahead, having content flowing, but also leaving room for play for new ideas and for inspiration as it happens.
I’m here for all of that. And I find a question where are you? Because I’m curious, are you on tick tock?
I am on tiktok. Yes.
Should we be if we’re creating the short form video, the pieces of content that are in the short form video format? Should we just be also sharing that on tick tock? Do you see any reason to not be publishing the same content on both platforms?
I think it’s really important to understand that tiktok is very different than Instagram. There are inside jokes, there is like its own unique culture. And I think as long as you take the time to like do a good scroll to really get used to see what people in your industry and the online business world are doing on tick tock, I think there’s definitely a time and place for repurposing your video content. I think whether it’s from real to tick tock or tick tock to reels, I always say that we want to make sure it looks as native to the platform as possible. So going the extra effort to add native text to add music natively. And make sure of course, we don’t have any watermarks, and we’re bringing it over to reels. I think that is an important first step. But I absolutely think that if you’re your audience is the same on tick tock, and you’re creating that show and tell content, right trending content, from real to tick tock might not work as well, because if you’re posting a real on tick tock probably means a little out of date, if it’s a trend, right, because it kind of takes a little while for it to comes over to Instagram. So the show and tell reels where you’re vlogging, we’re showing a demo, where you’re talking through something, even your stories, which are really casual, and you’re just sharing something, sharing your thoughts. If we add native elements to that and tick tock, it will perform just as well. And it comes down to experimenting and also for both platforms, right? We want to make sure we’re creating native exclusive content each platform too. So as a long winded way of saying I think you can do it very tastefully. But it takes time to just make sure you’re honoring both platforms. And this is when you’re repurposing anywhere, right? You want to make sure that the audience you’re reaching, whether they’re everywhere, or just in that one place that you’re honoring that platform and always adding a lot of value that’s relevant to them.
Absolutely. So intentionality strategy, don’t blindly do it. But it’s certainly an option available to you. I love you mentioned briefly. I love the idea of taking stories and posting them on the feed in the form of reels.
I mean, we have 10 minutes of video on tick tock so imagine if you’re talking through something and a few slides of stories, save them before they have text paste them together. I mean, that’s actually the field that tick tock has this is less curated, more conversational type of content. So I feel like what you’re creating on stories is actually probably perfect for Tik Tok.
Interesting, do you I know I said, that was my last question. But while you’re here, yes, I would love to hear about it. Alright, this I do believe this is my final question unless it spurs another one. But do you enjoy editing within the app do you like to edit outside? And what’s your approach
I am an outside editing person myself I love in shot. I’ve heard from pretty much almost anyone that it is one of the most robust but also simple editing tools android and iOS friendly. So I personally edit all my content and film it on my phone, edit it and in shot and that actually makes it easier to distribute it across whatever platforms you need, and add the final touches like text natively.
That makes total sense. Yeah, I find that the Instagram editing is a bit glitchy. It’s gotten
a lot better, like reliable. Yeah, but it is. Yeah, I don’t I don’t trust it at all.
Yeah, I’ve lost. I mean, that’s pretty much at this point in my life. I’m like okay, editing, editing, it crashes and then boom.
Why like saving it on a little library on your phone. Makes it easier to repose but also make sure that like, if something disappears, we at least got a backup.
Exactly. That’s I’m Oh, I’ve lost way too many word Word files to not know better. Yeah.
I feel that what I feel are those days? Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
Well, I so appreciate you Natasha, thank you so much for joining us and for bringing your brilliance and your energy. It’s always such a pleasure.
Thanks so much for having me. This is so fun.
Absolutely. So where are you hanging out most? Where should people connect with you give us give us the deets.
Yes, so I’m most active on Instagram @shinewithnatasha. We also you can follow me on Tik Tok on YouTube. I have a lot more long form tutorials type of lessons there. And then I do have a free resource all about my repurposing process for taking my old content and freshening it up on Instagram. So there’s a free video lesson that you can binge at https://shinewithnatasha.com/video
Yay. Thank you Natasha. And you still have your podcast right? Yes.
Oh, yes, of course. The shine online podcast. Your episode is either have aired or will be airing really soon, which I’m so excited for. So yeah, you can listen wherever you listen to podcasts.
Love it. Thank you again, Natasha. I so appreciate you. Thank you.
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