Instagram Growth: Building a Base through your Brand

Sep 24, 2020

Brad Weimert and Michael Roddy discuss growing your personal brand, content distribution and developing passive income using Instagram

Last Updated: 2020-09-23

Our CEO Brad Weimert sits down with Instagram expert, Michael Roddy to discuss how Instagram can be used to do a wide variety of things such as building a brand, content distribution, networking and developing passive income. They go over proven techniques that you can use to increase your business’ value using Instagram and other social media tactics. Don’t miss out! If you like what you hear, follow Mike on Instagram @mikee_roddy.

*Transcribed by a robot*

Brad Weimert
Mr. Roddy, I appreciate you taking some time to tell us about social right now.

Michael Roddy
Awesome, man, thanks for having me. It’s an honor.

Brad Weimert
Cool. Well, I wanted to introduce you to these Easy Pay Direct audience. And really, there are a lot of people that feel like they need to have a social presence, and many that kind of dive into it headfirst, but don’t really have a clear action plan, or others that kind of know that they need to do it, and just don’t even know where to start. And so it’s sort of on pause for them, we get this wide variety of people that know it’s important, but are all over the place in the execution. So true to form. We see so many business owners come through our pipeline, and ask about things. And one of those things is social, we’ve had lots of different people purport to be very good at social. What I know about you is that we’ve watched you build personal brands from, you know, a couple thousand followers to a couple hundred thousand followers over the course of many months, years, etc. So, I wanted to introduce you to the group and kind of dig in a little bit. But before we do, why don’t you? Why don’t you give me a little background? So Empire social group is your company, and you build out personal brands for people? How’d you get into it? And where are you at right now?

Michael Roddy
Yeah, it’s funny, man. So, you know, I have a good mentor of mine, you know, my buddy, you know, Los Silva. And, you know, I started working with him as a content creator, right, just doing some video work, doing graphic design, it’s kind of like where my background was, which is funny, because, like, you know, I started as a content creator, um, and mean, him got pretty close, but, you know, he got his Instagram stolen, basically, someone hacked his page, deleted, it completely gone, could not get it back. And at the time, it wasn’t a driving force for you know, you know, his business or our business or, you know, etc, was just a, you know, something that he really wanted to start kind of building out so that, you know, you want to you can leverage it for just about anything that you want to do. Um, so he was like, you know, man, I want you to learn Instagram, and I was kind of a, you know, little take him back, because I was like, I don’t know anything about Instagram, I just want to make content, I don’t even know where to start. And that was all I got was just, hey, man started an Instagram page. So, you know, I tried diving into it, um, and I, you know, just was not good at it, you know, we weren’t getting engagement, there wasn’t any visibility. And this was back in like, 2015, when, like, you know, visibility of content was, like, seen by like, more than half your audience. Whereas, like, now, it’s like, 10% 15%, unless you just start having traffic since the page, which we’ll get into later. But, um, you know, it was, it was hard. And I tried for a long time, and I, but then I took a course, from a good friend of mine, who I’m actually working with now, which is funny. And I took it like, three times. And every time I took the course, I learned something new. Um, but I always thought that there was some sort of trick that I wasn’t, you know, that I didn’t know of, so I always hit him up. And I’m like, Hey, man, like, what’s going on? What’s the secret here? And he’s like, it’s, are you have you done any market research, and I was like, man, I kind of use like, every day about content, I was like, kind of. So really, the foundations that started giving us momentum was market research, content, and content distribution, there are no secrets, those are the three pillars of Instagram in itself, in, you know, in social media in general, that will really help amplify your brand and visibility of your content. So you know, market research is everything, because you don’t want to go and try to just like innovate something on social media, because at the end of the day, like, you might get lucky and have something that creates, you know, virality, but you just want to find what’s working in this space in your niche in your industry, replicate it, and make it your own congruent to your branding your messaging, and leverage that because if you do that, it’s guaranteed to work because it’s what’s working in the space. And then after the market research is the content, which you then replicate. And then contract distribution is on content is that a lot of form moves to all platforms in leveraging those content pieces on pages that are specific to your niche, which essentially, you’d leverage for traffic sources going to your page to create more engagement, visibility, a larger audience, and more importantly, a targeted audience that you can monetize and actually leverage for growing businesses, etc. Rather than having something as a credibility Stand back, you know, backer, right. So those are the kind of the three pillars that started getting us massive success. And my background in content creation and graphic artists and stuff was what got me into the space. But after I started getting good at it, I became obsessed with it right? as entrepreneurs, when we see a little bit of, you know, progression, we get obsessed with it, we want to just do more. So it kind of became an obsession of mine. And that’s kind of how I got into this point.

Brad Weimert
I love it.

Michael Roddy
I’ve done it for multiple people.

Brad Weimert
I love it. So that was like the sink five minute, this is everything you need to know. And this is how I do it. I want to unpack some of that, because the first question really is, and people have different answers for this. But why? Like, why is it worth building out a personal brand? What’s the point? Because there are people that I think a lot of people just feel social pressure to do it. And they feel this sense of functionally, it’s, it’s FOMO, right? It’s like this idea of, well, oh, my God, my buddy over here has got 100,000 people or a million people or 10 million people following him, you know, I need to do that. Why don’t I have that. But one of the things that I know about you is you have a very functional approach to doing it. And you said monetization? Why should somebody build out? Why does it make sense to build out a personal brand? And who does it make sense for?

Michael Roddy
No, that’s a that’s a great question. And honestly, that’s a question that I get from a lot of people who are interested in what I do, and they, you know, inquire and I get on call with them is. So I mean, look at the world around us, and how much it’s changing right now. Right? Every one is going digital, and all these big brands, and these big people that you saw that were not digital, are being forced to go there. Because that’s just the way the world is moving. And, you know, think of Instagram is like your business card, you know, back in the day, you’d go meet with clients have lunch, you’d fly to go see them, you give them a business card, right? Like, Instagram is more than just this tool, it’s your new personal brand is your new online business card. And a personal brand is timeless, it’s never going to go away. And that’s why a lot of people come to me who have who are entrepreneurs, and they want to grow like they want to grow all their brand pages, right. And that’s great. But in my opinion, you should start with your personal brand. Because as an entrepreneur, we’re always starting new things, we’re always we’re always starting new businesses, right. So you, instead of spending all this time and effort into growing 10 different brand pages, if you have a personal brand, where you can speak to an audience on an emotional level that inspires them, they’re going to buy all of your brands or all your products or services because they’re so loyal to you. And if they’re following you, it’s because they want to be a part of your journey, whether that’s, you know, a makeup brand, a clothing line, etc, you are the face of that business. And now instead of having to spend it allocate money to all these different things, you’re just leveraging yourself now, right? Like, you’re not, you’re not only just the entrepreneur, but you’re the influence of your own brand. So now where everything’s going digital, you know, you growing a substantial personal brand, it’s it’s imperative, like you have to do it. Because if you don’t, you’re going to be left behind and you’re going to lose just like these businesses that were billions of worth billions are now worth nothing, or they’re selling for eight figures because they’re just going out of business, which is funny enough, because they’re being bought by digital marketers who have huge personal brands.

Brad Weimert
You’ve you illustrated some of the FOMO points. You’re gonna miss out if you don’t do it, bring it to monetization. So let’s say you know, let’s say you have an ecommerce company that sells you know, a supplements or a widget right? You’re selling some physical good and you’re building a personal brand where is the… if you’re spending time energy and money to build out the personal brand, how do you monetize it?

Michael Roddy
Right so you know we can use a you know, clothing line for example, right like somebody who’s an A great example of that is a you know, like Randall Pitch owns live it right. And I listened to him in a podcast before too and it was just funny because like obviously I resonate with it and you know, he’s got a an eight figure clothing line and you know a few more as well that are doing great. And no matter what he went, I’m going to what happens all these other influencers that he has underneath his brand that he can leverage to help get more sales and more eyes and visibility on his brand. No one has ever been able to create more sales from their social media page, then he himself and it’s because it’s his business and he’s the one who started it right so yeah, sure there’s these fitness influencers underneath of the brand that helped create more visibility, but he has grown that business himself he started it right and obviously the the influencer Medium has amplified that. But because of the way he positioned himself in, he adds value. And he talks about his products, right? Like, if you have the clothing or the supplements, you know, it’s hard for you to people to go to a page with just content, or maybe even just pictures of supplements to get the value in the trust factor. But if you have the personal brand, where you can talk about the ingredients, or talk about the materials, why they’re so good, you know, what makes it different from this brand? Why? Why should you be buying my brands and this brand is going to help kind of create the value, right? Because people are always going to think no matter what, what’s in it for me. So the only way that you’re going to be able to kind of position yourself in a way where you can educate them and add value is by leveraging yourself because no one knows your product more than you. So if you’re the one designing it and creating the you know, creating that product, you are going to be the best person to educate those people and add value in a way to where they feel that they need these products or services, or offers, right? So that looks the way you monetize it is because now that you’ve added so much value, these people feel the need to reach out to you and inquire about them.

Brad Weimert
Yeah, so Okay, great. So let’s, let’s talk about kind of the division there. Because on the one hand, you have, you know, the the product or the in the product brand, like the company brand and the other you have your personal brand. What does what does content creation look like in terms of the amount of time and energy you spend talking about the product of the company that you have versus your personal brand? and other messaging? Like what is it? You know, 50% of the time you’re talking product 50 personal brand is at 90% of the time you’re talking about your lifestyle? who you are? What does that mix look like? How often do you make an offer? Or how often do you talk about something else? So that’s what’s the context of distribution?

Michael Roddy
It’s funny, you say that because, um, it’s, it’s really not a percentage factor or breaking it down, right? It’s about, you can, you can almost create in a sales factor or a sales message in every single post, right? But it’s not about pushing the sales to people, it’s about pulling them in with your lifestyle or your value, right. Like, if you’re an entrepreneur that sells, you know, coaching, you know, or an entrepreneur that sells products, like, you know, they know that you own that brand. But you can you can talk about how you just went on a month long vacation with your family to Cancun. And the reason why you’re doing that is because you’ve built such a big brand. So the value in that post is, is the emotional factor of I wish I had the time, or the money to go in the freedom to go and do those things with my family. But I can’t because I don’t have that business, right. So that’s another way of pulling people in, right and pushing them in, to essentially inquire about your services or your products, because they want to live the same lifestyle you live. And then when it comes to like a very more kind of sales intended content piece, the value is not, you know, this is why you guys should buy this, this is why you should buy this or you know, pushing them into your DMZ or you know, push them to a link it’s talking about the value of in the time that you’ve spent putting into the product, right, because a lot of products sometimes suck because you could tell there’s just no time or there’s no effort, the formulations or or the materials are just not there. And you’re really you’re buying a product because of a brand that positions himself as a high ticket offer product, as opposed to you talking about the value of it in the in the time that you spend putting into this. So you can do like there’s no percentages really per se of like this many posts to this many posts, it’s really just about like creating a creating a lifestyle around like your business that you’ve created, right? So no matter if it’s a picture of you and your family. Or if it’s a video of you talking about your product, you’re just pulling people in, you know, if you’re a high level entrepreneur, you want to pull people in by telling people like this is what happened when I did do this rather than this is why you should come and buy my stuff you know, you want to pull people in rather than push. And that’s kind of how I always position with people is because people tend to be too pushy on their you know social media channels. And you can tell that people are turned off by it because their engagement and their visibility is very low and then they’re doing all this work on the outreach. That people that do the best on social media channels and monetizing create the most amount amount of money from their pages are not being pushy at all. They’re they’re just being genuine and they’re being and they’re adding value about a specific product or they’re adding value through emotional based content through their through the lifestyle they live with their family or the freedom that they have or the hardships that they’ve been Through. So that’s kind of like on a monetizing level. And talking about like percentages. It’s not about percentages, it’s just about using content to bring people in and create incentive to reach out to you based off of some sort of emotional based factor or value based factor on why they should you know, what would happen if they didn’t reach out to you? Right.

Brad Weimert
Got it. So let’s, let’s talk about some monetization strategies specifically, and let’s like, first, just get really clear on this. So the message there is you want to create content that’s engaging, and it sounds like to you engagement is more important than, hey, like, my image. Right? a fair statement?

Michael Roddy
Yeah. And like, and then like I said, you can you can sit, you can use CTAs, to create engagement, right. And, and something like, it’s an emotional based content piece, where, you know, someone’s talking about, they’re, like I said, family, you’re on a vacation, like, yeah, and at the very end, or the beginning, you can just say, you know, like, draw to, you know, drop to 100 emojis, if you guys if this resonates with you guys, right? So it’s not really you’re not telling people, it’s just like I said, like my stuff, it’s right here, you’re asking people, if this resonates with you, and in return, you’re getting more visibility, because now you’re incentivizing them to, you know, engage based off of an emotional based content piece, which in return gives you more visibility, and gives you more opportunity to monetize your page, whether that’s in you know, a swipe up, or like a bar or a conversation that dmws where you can create a more intimate experience with people that can lead to an application call.

Brad Weimert
Love it. Okay, so you’re creating engaging content. And the call to action could be the CTA could be, hey, engage with this post, which is, you know, drop a thumbs up or a pound or whatever in the comments, or tell me about your story, or whatever, perpetuated me engaged.

Michael Roddy
Yeah, exactly. Or if this, or if this content piece resonates with you, and you guys want to live a life of freedom, you know, DM me the word freedom, and we can chat, you know

Brad Weimert
So let’s talk about that. So maybe you’ve got, let’s say, you’re creating content and engagement that gets people drawn in. And from there, you’re at some point, you have to make an offer, right? If you’re trying to monetize. So you mentioned two different paths there. One is a link. The other is, are you mentioned, swipe up. The other is dm, what are those two paths to creating content? Can you walk people through that a little bit and what you mean, ultimately, and how it works?

Michael Roddy
Right. So for me, I always go for the DMS, right. And it does take a little bit more work. But I usually have like, dm setters in there that…

Brad Weimert
Meaning direct messages.

Michael Roddy
Yeah, exactly. dm centers, you have direct messages, basically people who are very aligned with my clients messaging, and they know how to speak as my clients, I like to put the conversations into the DMS because if you have someone Swipe up to your landing page or your website, you know, like, the conversions might be lower, as opposed to somebody going into your DMS and you or your team creating having a little bit more work. But that conversation is more intimate than them landing onto a page and watching a video sales letter and, and hoping that it converts, um, you know, you know, like, because everyone’s gonna feel something different. But it’s just like sales, right? Like, when you get down to a phone call with people, you’re just listening, you’re listening to their problems, you’re listening to their pain points to same thing in the DMZ only, it’s, you know, via message. So I like to bring the conversations to the dms, because people want to talk to you, if they’re following you, and they’re engaging with you. The the driving force to creating more sales for your business is always going to be amplified more by having that intimate experience in your dams. Because now people are not only getting to know more about your products, but they’re getting to know more about you. And it’s more genuine, right? So that’s kind of where I like to have. That’s where I see way more success is just by spending a little bit more time and effort and creating that relationship with people because it also builds your network, and your network is everything in life. Social media.

Brad Weimert
I love that. Yeah, that’s a really good point. You can dry it. So the idea here is that you’re creating engaging content that’s driving people to engage with the post meaning comment on the post, or in this case, instead of comment on the post. Hey, send me a message. Yes, this resonates with you. And then that opens an actual conversation in your direct messages and Instagram. You’ve got a team that is following up with those messages. If you’re smaller, you might personally be following up with your bigger you can have a sales team have some sort of follow up.

Michael Roddy
And you can leverage the stories the same way to right because you’re most engaged followers are watching your stories because those are people that are engaging with your content. But those are people that are even more interested in what you’re doing day to day hourly. So you can even leverage the CTA to dm you from your stories as well. Um, you know, if there’s something that, you know, if it’s something that you know, you don’t have the time to do, and you’re down to which I suggest you try to find the time, you can have them swipe up, but I even leverage the stories to entice people to create conversations there, because like I said, stories are more genuine, it’s a more intimate experience. And now you can carry that intimate experience into a conversation, that can lead to a very high ticket, or even low ticket qualified lead, which can turn into a client.

Brad Weimert
Love it, and you brought up something that I think is really valuable for entrepreneurs at any level. But specifically, when you’re younger, in your business life cycle, the notion of prioritizing the relationship over the conversion is a really, really, really valuable thing. And by driving people into the conversation, you have an opportunity to build the relationship, not just drive them to a landing page where they might buy, they might not you have automated emails that might convert, etc, etc.

Michael Roddy
Absolutely. I mean, my whole business is like I’ve built my business on on adding value, massive value in relationships, right? Like, um, you know, when I was in I, when I was just doing video content, I was just the video guy, right. Um, and I was speaking and meeting a lot of high level entrepreneurs. But that relationship, whether I was, you know, no matter what my expertise was, eventually it was, I wasn’t the camera guy anymore. It was, hey, Ronnie, what’s going on? Right. And because of the value I added in the amount of time in, you know, that I’ve put into that relationship. You know, I have, you know, even though I’m not where some of those guys are, they were they respect me, because there’s a connection there. And there’s a relationship, and whether it’s me giving them value just at a at a, you know, at a marketing conference, or an event, or mediums like, they respect that, you know, because I’ve built my entire business and my, my mindset has always been, you know, what can I do for this person that, can I help them right, like, most people is, are saying what’s in it for me? But if you can change your mindset and rewire itself to say, How can I help this person? So you’re you’re lit, you’re learning limits are endless, like you can you can reach to whatever you want, right? Because people love that, you know, like, my best employees are the one that worked for me for free for a month until I was like, honestly, like, I need to pay you because you’re doing a great job, and you deserve it better than just, you know, continuously squeezing the wet rag until they just feel resentment, or like this guy just doesn’t care. You know?

Brad Weimert
Well, that’s so I know that we’ve got a hard stop here in a little bit. Let me ask you some tactical questions around making this happen. So this is how that’s a path to monetize. And that’s a reason that you might want to create a personal brand. How do you go about, give us a couple tactics for going about actually building out your personal brand, building out an Instagram following, right and getting more visibility?

Michael Roddy
Yeah, so you know, like, when I started growing pages, there was a bunch of different ways that I tried. And the reason why people tend to fail at growing their Instagram pages is because they try to take shortcuts, whether that’s giveaways, or they try to do you know, third party tools with automations. Both of those things are like dopamine heads, you’re going to get a quick hit, it’s going to look good for a minute, but then it’s not going to be something that you can monetize. So the effort is, can you

Brad Weimert
Sorry, can you explain what those two things are? Just really briefly.

Michael Roddy
Right? So giveaway win is basically an influencer. That is saying, you know, like, if you guys want to win $5,000 and a couple iPhones, go follow these people on all these people in comments, something on their posts, right, that’s a giveaway kind of tactic. And then the software side is kind of like the follow unfollow kind of, um, you know, method where bots are attached to your account. And they’re doing actions for you 24/7 around the clock, which obviously tells Instagram that you’re using some sort of automation tool, which is against their terms of policy. Um, and the best way to grow pages that I’ve never left and it’s always added value and kept my client retention forever was using pages in the same space that they are very niche specific viral based entrepreneurial pages, fitness pages, etc. taking their content and putting their content on those pages at scale. So, you know, like five or 10 pages at a time depending on what their growth budget is, and adding value on those pages with the CTA to go follow this specific person in that in that driving force, and those content pieces on those big pages are now going to your page and At that point, it’s the content on your page that is going to say, Okay, I’m going to follow this person or not, you know, so you want to make sure that you’re getting a bunch of those page visits are turning into followers, because if they don’t, that means your content is not a value to them. And in return, because you’re getting growth from a, from a source with inside of Instagram, and a very organic way, Instagram is giving you more visibility. So now you’re getting more explorer page impressions, you’re getting more hashtag impressions, you’re getting more engagement, and now you’re now 10% of your audience is going to, you know, 40, or 50% of your audience is seeing your content. So that is the best way to grow pages, because you’re using targeted and specific pages that are pushing traffic to your page in a way that helps you create a audience that is going to be nurtured through your content, which will eventually buy your products offers or services.

Brad Weimert
Love it. So the recap there basically is functionally it’s like native advertising, and leveraging third party credibility to do that, right. So you’re finding people that are similar to you that have a similar audience to you. And either asking them, or incentivizing them, paying them or some other exchange them to push your content out to their audience.

Michael Roddy
It’s basically very targeted shout outs at scale. And with enough, we can go back to one thing, and that’s the reason why I say building your network is the most important thing you can do. Because if you go out and you pay these pages for shoutouts, you don’t really know unless you’ve had enough conversations with them to know that if they have an authentic audience, so you don’t want to go drop $300 on a shout out on a page that has a fake that has fake audiences or an audience that can’t afford your services. So like that relationship, and that network that I have, is very, is you know, it’s very high level, because I know what their audiences I know how real their pages are, I know that their pages are growing because they have value based content. And I know that the followers that I’m getting to my clients pages from those are going to help my clients not only grow a personal brand, but they will be they will be able to monetize it, because that relationship, I’ve built them and then network, I know their back end, I know what everything looks like, because we’ve built enough conversations to where I’ve asked them and they’ve been able to give me screenshots of their of their back end. And I can tell and obviously the results of my clients growth isn’t is obviously a testing and knowledge for me to realize that it’s real.

Brad Weimert
Yeah, I love it. Cool, man. Well, I appreciate i think that i appreciate the tips. And I think that that’s super helpful, especially for people that are trying to navigate those waters. Where can people find out more info about you? I know, you’ve got obviously you take on a handful of clients and actually do the page building for them, and build out personal brands for them. And that’s kind of your higher level service. But I know that you also have something for people. Well, you tell me what are the options for people if they want to work with you,

Michael Roddy
I would say just to reach out to me on Instagram, that’s kind of where I’m I’m most active. That’s where I kind of like to add, you know, how to start my conversations with people. So you know, I would say to go follow me on Instagram or shoot me a message. Um, and my handle is Mike with two E’s underscore Roddy, which is spelled RODDY. m. So follow me there, shoot me a message, I can help you guys. I’ll add value wherever I can. And, um, yeah, and if they want to, you know, work with me, obviously, they we can talk them as well.

Brad Weimert
Cool. I love it, man. Well, I appreciate you carving out some time super helpful. And I’m sure that you’ll get have some good communication with people from our ecommerce world. And that hits in a lot of different segments. But social is certainly something that we’ve watched drive traffic for people. So these are a couple good first steps for a tactical way to do that.

Michael Roddy
Absolutely, man. And like I said, I’d say i think that you know, if they take it serious, they will realize that it’s more than a FOMO experience. It’s more it’s it’s something that will really help and benefit them create multiple brands across you know, their personal brand.

Brad Weimert
Cool. I love it. Well, thanks again for the time, man. We’ll talk more soon.

Michael Roddy
Yeah, appreciate you having me, man. It’s my pleasure.

Brad Weimert
Absolutely.

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