Strategies for Staying Connected Through Social Media with Tyler J. McCall – Ep 68
Connecting with the people that matter the most to your business is essential. We talk with Tyler J. McCall about the best ways of staying connected with your community through social media.
About Tyler J McCall
Tyler J. McCall helps creative entrepreneurs use Instagram with the intention to grow their community online and grow their business. When he is not buying everything in Target’s Dollar Spot or binge-watching Real Housewives, he spends his days teaching entrepreneurs how to grow their business by turning their Instagram followers into raving fans. With nearly 10 years of marketing experience – for businesses and causes – he knows what it takes to build an audience online, get people excited about what you do, buy your products and book your services.
Get in touch with Tyler: Instagram @TylerJMcCall
Editor’s Note: Tyler J. McCall has grown a huge community over the past few years using Instagram. Many of his tips are universal, but if you are looking to use Instagram to grow your community, there are some great ideas in this interview.
Question: How did you get started with social media?
Answer: Back in college, I used Facebook as a student, but then began using it to connect with other people around the country. Before what I do now, I was in the nonprofit world doing political and community organizing. I spent time with the YMCA, working nationally and internationally connecting with students on Facebook. After college, I worked for the YMCA for 6 years and ran their social media. In 2011, I got involved in online political action and that is when I discovered Twitter as a magical place where I could connect with people all over the place, host Twitter chats around political issues, causes, and community issues. Then I made my way over to Instagram. In 2015, I started my own handmade business, selling at trunk shows, craft shows and on Instagram. In 2016, I started doing that full time.
Question: Why do you use Instagram as your one channel for building a community?
Answer: I’m pretty all in on Instagram. I do have a Facebook Group I use sometimes for promotional materials and ads. I’m on Twitter tweeting about politics and Real Housewives, two of my favorite things, but I don’t use it for business. Twitter is a carefree platform and I love that. Instagram always stood out because I love the community nature, that it’s really easy to connect with other people, easy to go out and find other people. Unlike Facebook, Pinterest or YouTube, it’s easy to look up shared interest or shared location on Instagram. I also love, from a business perspective, it’s one of the more engaging platforms so you can really see the engagement coming through on your content. That’s why I have really focused on it.
Question: What have been some of your results that you didn’t expect to happen?
Answer: There’s three in particular. The first is revenue generation in my business, which has been huge. I run an online community where we teach marketing strategy using Instagram and we even see that in the businesses of our students. The second thing is the ability to build mailing lists using Instagram. It’s just so simple. Many people aren’t fully using Instagram to do this, but with the introduction of Instagram Stories and the ability to use direct messaging, you can build your email list fast and effectively. Lastly, the opportunity for partnerships, and collaborations. Things like this, being interviewed on other people’s platforms, podcasts, and channels. All of that comes through Instagram, connecting with people, having real conversations, and all these opportunities are organically happening. I see a ton of value in that for Instagram.
Question: What are the best ways to engage with your community on Instagram?
Answer: Getting people to direct message you and responding to comments to continue building and nurturing those relationships. Think about how you are engaging outside of your own account. How are you going out into hashtags, other people’s accounts and engaging with new people to introduce them to your brand? Especially on Instagram, people complain about stagnant growth or a decline in followers, but they’re only posting content with hashtags and logging off. If you want to see the results on Instagram, you need to post great content, use hashtags, go find new people, bring them into your account and engage with them.
Question: How do you find the people you want to engage with?
Answer: It starts with complete clarity about who you want to attract to your community. The next thing to consider is using the hashtags that are longtail or niche hashtags and not using the ones with millions of posts. Engage in these more targeted hashtags and it can get you a lot further. User habits have changed and people are spending much more time watching stories on Instagram and less time scrolling the feed, but they’re still using hashtags. Even if people aren’t finding you through hashtags, you can find others through those hashtags. Another space on Instagram is locations. That’s a valuable place to look for content to engage with, especially for location dependent or brick and mortar businesses.
Question: How did you decide what you were going to sell online?
Answer: I was doing social media management, running Instagram accounts, creating content and then people started asking me to run their accounts. I realized I could teach what I knew, so I started doing coaching and consulting. I started talking to my clients and talking to my followers to see if they’d be interested in a membership option. I started collecting names on a waiting list, had a solid waiting list in place and then launched it to the world. The first launch, we had 80 people join and in a little over a year, we now have 600 members. Talking and having that conversation and getting their feedback first was important.
Question: Why did you choose a membership community as a vehicle?
Answer: Typically, I’m teaching about a platform that is rapidly changing and I wanted to make sure I could continue to support my students. I was looking for consistent revenue because the coaching was very feast or famine. The same is true for a course, especially when live launching. I love the community, connecting with people, having conversations with people. Our community is great — so engaged, so supportive and I’m so grateful every day. I’m still surprised every day that this community exists and people are cheering each other on. It’s called marketing, it works.
Question: How do you nurture people through email?
Answer: Our membership experience is high touch, so when someone joins they get the standard welcome emails. We also use Bonjoros and a postcard by snail mail and a welcome gift. Then we do an email welcome sequence for about 8 weeks. We are clear on ground rules, specify boundaries of what they can and can’t expect us to do, introduce them to content, give them a clear roadmap of what to do. We also do a weekly email to the members, feature member of the week, highlighted posts from the week, what you missed and what’s coming up. We also highlight our most engaged members publicly in the group and by using email. We do a lot to nurture that community. We get them on-boarded with a high-touch experience and then keep them connected.
Tools, apps, and links mentioned:
Tyler J. McCall has agreed to share with us his Instagram Roadmap with six steps to create your very own Instagram marketing strategy, the three big mistakes you’ve gotta avoid to make Instagram work for your business, and a four-part system that gets your follower buying what you are selling (with a lot less work). It is free to download on the link.
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