As the CEO and Founder of Assistagram, a leading Instagram marketing firm, it’s no surprise that Zach Benson knows what it means to “do it for the ‘gram.” But in addition to the mechanics, he also believes that understanding the dynamics of social media is equally important. In a recent interview for Be Fulfilled Magazine, Zach dishes on the differences between social media networks and how each one can be used as a tool to build and leverage relationships.
Zach: There are a lot of social media networks out there, but I think Instagram is the most powerful, engaging platform in the world right now. Even though it’s nowhere close to being as big as Facebook, Instagram still has over one billion daily active users around the world. Over 600,000 people are using Stories every day. And now, they have IGTV, which is comparable to YouTube.
If you look at TikTok and Facebook, you’ll notice they are pretty powerful platforms, too. But something to keep in mind is that each platform has a different audience, which means different content strategies.
This is why it’s so important to find the social media platform that works for you, not just the one that’s the most popular. It should be a platform you enjoy engaging with—and one where your target audience lives. Mom bloggers aren’t likely to be on TikTok, for example. Instagram is geared toward a younger
demographic. The upcoming generation isn’t really on Facebook. There’s a lot to consider, and it’s easy to do some research to find out the platforms that reach your targets.
Personally, I love how visual and engaging Instagram is. It’s definitely for mobile since features are really limited on the desktop. Plus, it’s quick and easy to share things on mobile. You can capture people's attention in seconds, getting them to click, follow, share, and save your content.
Zach: When you have real connections with people, you reinforce that relationship every time you share content. This is a little different for brands, though. I think there are three parts to it:
First and foremost, you need to be creating engaging, high-value content that piques people’s interest and gets them excited to follow along. Usually, this is content that helps them learn something. You want to be a giver and allow people to take away something they might not have had before.
The second part is building trust. This is what creates raving fans and buyers. They endorse you, which encourages other people to buy from you. User-generated content is a huge piece of this strategy. You can tap into micro-influencers that have between 10,000 and 50,000 followers, macro-influencers that have 100,000 to 500,000 followers, or celebrity influencers with 500,000+ followers. The more people you have endorsing your products and services, the better you will look. I see too many pages where there are just product shots. There’s nothing about the lifestyle behind those products, the results, the testimonies—nothing. That’s not going to build trust.
The third thing is doing something with all the engagement you get. Comments and DMs can be overwhelming, but they can also help you grow even faster. Assign someone to manage this for you—someone who can give all their time to this task. This person can like other people’s posts, reply to comments and DMs, and leave comments and emojis for other people. This compounds into bigger and faster results for your brand and ultimately translates into more loyal customers.
Zach: Relationships can easily start on social media and immediately snowball into something greater. For example, I was tagged in a post that talked about being the best at Instagram marketing and monetization. Several people name-dropped me, and mutual friends between myself and influential people like Roland Frasier helped forge more connections. In fact, this particular instance led to a phone call between me and Roland, which connected me to Josh Felber, which connected me to Tony Grebmeier. A lot happened after that, which eventually led me to getting major new clients.
I think that what really got my foot in the door with the first people who were endorsing me on Instagram is that I was willing to give first and give freely. I was doing work for the top influencers for free and got them amazing results. And it really just takes that one person because then, other people start name-dropping you and endorsing you, too.
When you come through for one person, they open their whole community to you.
The biggest takeaway is recognizing that social media is an important piece of relationship building, but it’s not a perfect solution. If you connect on social media first, use this introduction to lead into phone calls and in-person connections at events. If you meet in person first, social media can help you stay in touch. It’s a process that’s greater than the sum of its parts: when you allow it to work together, you’re better able to build deeper and more meaningful relationships.