Create a moment: Instagram is an incredible platform to inspire the “creator” in all of us. You don’t have to be an influencer to be looking for opportunities to create unique and fun content that your friends, followers and family will enjoy. Everyone wants that awesome pic. If you can create a moment that people will instinctively want to share (could be an experience, a fancy cocktail, a backdrop, prop, etc.), your brand can spread on social media in authentic ways you’d never be able to engineer.
As a part of our series about How To Leverage Instagram To Grow Your Business, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tricia Binder.
Tricia Binder is a co-founder of Muros, a startup that brings together local mural artists with brands and businesses to create unique and impactful spaces, environments and outdoor advertising campaigns. Binder has spent her career working for F500 companies ranging from SC Johnson, Nestle Purina and Nordstrom. There she served in operational and marketing roles, working closely with cross-functional departments and over 50 different agencies, vendors and partners for million dollar and billion-dollar brands. She also led the Midwest Region of Social Code, a leading media company and partner to platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Well, technically, if we’re talking about my path to being an entrepreneur, it was your classic startup story. My co-founders and I were at a brewery talking about life, work and possibilities over beers … not really happy with where we were working at the time and knowing there could be something better. There was also an underlying itch among all of us to create something that was ours. It was that day, on a trip to San Francisco, that sparked our crazy journey to create Muros.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
Depends how you define interesting! We joke all the time there should literally be a Netflix show about us because it’s always something. From artists getting stuck up in lifts to running out of gas on the way to a client meeting, our sanity has been tested.
In one case, very early on at Muros, we were doing one of our first big brand campaigns, and we had just wrapped the project and flew home. Two days later, we got a call from the client that their team had just arrived to do an in-person site visit and see their mural, and as they arrived, they were literally watching it be painted over in real time with a Porsche ad!
This was TWO DAYS INTO A 30-DAY FLIGHT! That was the first real big gut punch where we looked around the room and realized it was up to us, and us alone, to just breathe and figure it out. There was no “adult in the room” to tell us what to do; we had to fix it ourselves. That was the first of many jaw-dropping phone calls we’ve received with unexpected hiccups. We’re getting good at crazy.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Well, there was the infamous lettuce incident. We had just finished a mural in San Diego for a burger company, which we were not onsite for because we thought the job would be “simple.” Upon completion, we sent final photos of the mural to the client, and they let us know that the lettuce leaf was not done correctly and would need to be redone … it was actually a legal/trademark issue.
The artist had left the job site (and drove 2.5 hours home), and the wall would need to be repainted in an unknown base color so it could be changed and the project completion would be delayed a week — all to add another crinkle in the lettuce leaf. That leaf would cost us money, sanity and a not-so-great call to the artist after a not-so-great call from the client.
Biggest lesson: slow down and pay attention to details. We needed to be clearer in our expectations with the artist, either be onsite or do more real-time check-ins, and ensure the finished product was matching the approved concept. Had we done that, we could have caught the error sooner and provided a better experience for the artist and the client (and saved ourselves a big headache and lots of money).
Ok. Let’s now move to the main focus of our discussion. For the benefit of our readers, can you explain why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?
I’ve been doing social media marketing for best-in-class, million and billion-dollar brands since before Facebook offered ads (back in the day, we used to “like gate” Facebook pages, lol … it’s come a long way!). Because of the great companies I’ve had the privilege to work for, I had top-tier support from the platforms directly, which is a luxury smaller businesses don’t have.
I’ve participated in numerous alphas and betas and have been able to do primary research to understand that our efforts weren’t just hitting vanity metrics such as likes, but rather were helping us achieve our marketing goals, like brand affinity, awareness or sales. I’ve been able to leverage social media to boost revenue across industries, from companies like United Airlines, to Coca-Cola, Ziploc, Progressive Insurance and dozens more.
Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?
Historically, I’ve found the combination of Facebook and Instagram (when you bid across both) to be most effective. If you’re smart about targeting, testing your ad creative, and ensuring you have the right frequency for the task at hand, I’ve found they are hard to beat across all brand metrics. Their targeting in particular is really incredible.
When I was at Nestlé Purina, we were targeting new buyers for Fancy Feast Cat Food, and one of our goals was to make inroads with younger consumers because the existing customer base back then skewed older. So, we used social media to appeal to younger buyers, and our Facebook/Instagram campaign resulted in a 25+ point lift in ad recall, which was 2.5 times the consumer packaged goods (CPG) norm, and we also saw a +19% lift in brand awareness, which was six times the CPG norm.
Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share five ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.
- Create a moment: Instagram is an incredible platform to inspire the “creator” in all of us. You don’t have to be an influencer to be looking for opportunities to create unique and fun content that your friends, followers and family will enjoy. Everyone wants that awesome pic. If you can create a moment that people will instinctively want to share (could be an experience, a fancy cocktail, a backdrop, prop, etc.), your brand can spread on social media in authentic ways you’d never be able to engineer. At Muros, we do this through art. A mural provides a fun and colorful backdrop for photos. One of my favorite moments was when we did a mural in Atlanta for Square payments that said “Self Made in the ATL” with @queenandrea. As we were cleaning up the job site, a woman was lingering nearby, and we could tell she wanted a photo. My partner Dave offered to take it for her, and she was so excited! That was a moment and a message that resonated with that woman, to the point she didn’t want to leave without getting that photo and sharing it with her network.
- Lifestyle: Instagram can be a great complement to other channels by using highly captivating visuals or user generated content (UGC) to show how your brand or business is part of someone’s lifestyle. Where I’d be more inclined to be product-focused on Facebook, Instagram can be a great platform to showcase the role your brand plays in someone’s life. I like watching brands like Patagonia for this reason. When I see their content, I don’t think “jacket,” I think “adventure.” And when you can do that, you’ve just become far more important in someone’s life than a company that sells a functional piece of clothing. You’re part of that person’s DNA, their passions.
- UGC: Instagram can be a great place to tell and show user stories. Not only can it mean a lot to people to hear directly from a brand wanting to share their content, but it can allow you to showcase your brand more authentically to other (or future) customers. It’s also an awesome way to get great content! At Muros, we get tagged in a lot of photos of our murals, and it helps spread the word about what we do in a unique way. Our Insta stories are always filled with great content that we get tagged in, and it’s fun to see others’ perspectives on our work and our brand.
- Video Content Platform: From Instagram stories to IG TV, Instagram can be an amazing place to share longer video content. You don’t have to dilute your channel efforts by expanding to platforms like YouTube when you can grab your audience’s attention in the feed they’re already obsessed with. From behind-the-scenes videos to episodic content, there are tons of ideas to be inspired by. For example, Now This News has fundamentally changed my ability to stay abreast of all things happening across the country and the world. It offers news, feel-good stories, the latest in politics … just about everything. Their use of bold captions and compelling stories make it a must-follow.
- Sales: Last but not least, let’s not forget about sales. Instagram’s ad capabilities are incredible and can significantly drive your business. By testing different creative messaging and styles with various audiences, you can make great things happen. When working for one of the top retailers — testing a cocktail of audiences, creative, copy and buying types — we were able to increase our new member acquisition efforts by growing leads 74% while optimizing media levers that resulted in a 41% improvement in efficiency. That was money in our pocket from media savings, new customers and operational efficiencies.
Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Woof. That’s a heavy question. While it may not be the greatest impact to all people, I’d love to be part of a movement that helps heal our country. I’ve felt a growing level of disappointment in our country’s leadership, in the spread of misinformation and polarizing viewpoints. It’s all very overwhelming. When speaking with friends recently, everyone acknowledged feeling this way. I can see improvement coming in a variety of forms, including fact checking.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I’d definitely have to go with Sara Blakely. Her story and her company, especially for me as a female business owner, has been incredibly inspiring. I love reading her content on LinkedIn, particularly when she does throwback photos and stories of starting out in her career. There are a lot of hard days as an entrepreneur, and it’s refreshing and motivating when someone shares those scary, sometimes lonely times. When you see what’s possible — what’s on the other side of the grind — it keeps that fire burning bright inside.