Candice Coppola: “Don’t Follow Fads”

Don’t Follow Fads: It’s tempting to follow what other people do on Instagram. You might get a pang of jealousy when someone you follow launches a great ad campaign or posts a series of slick graphics. Instagram has become a place of “sameness,” where everyone posts the same style graphics or latches on to a […]

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Don’t Follow Fads: It’s tempting to follow what other people do on Instagram. You might get a pang of jealousy when someone you follow launches a great ad campaign or posts a series of slick graphics. Instagram has become a place of “sameness,” where everyone posts the same style graphics or latches on to a color palette.

As a part of our series about How To Leverage Instagram To Grow Your Business, I had the pleasure of interviewing Candice Coppola.

Candice Coppola is an author, podcast host, business coach, and entrepreneur who believes that if you want to have your dream business — you have to become the owner your dream business needs. As a successful entrepreneur who grew a business from the spare bedroom of her home into a multi-country, multi-six figure company — it’s safe to say she’s navigated the bumpy road of entrepreneurship.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I got my first whiff of entrepreneurship while I was snuggled up on the couch, recovering from having my appendix removed. I was an unlikely entrepreneur. At 26, I had an unfinished college degree in Art History and a horrible corporate job to match. But just like every budding business owner, I also had big dreams for my life and the determination to make those dreams a reality.

Flipping through the TV (as one does when they’ve called out sick from work!), I came across a show on TLC called “Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?” I was instantly hooked, and that was the day I found my purpose in life. I started my wedding planning and design business in 2007, which led me on an incredible journey.

Fast forward to 12 years later, and I had planned and designed hundreds of luxury weddings all over the world. I grew this little business from the spare room of my home into a multi-country, multi-six-figure company. I had written two books, launched a speaking career–all while my team and I had the unique opportunity of helping families celebrate moments that mattered in their lives with some incredible parties.

In 2019, I decided that things needed to change. As much as I loved the work, there was something new calling me. I found a passion for helping entrepreneurs have the same level of success I was fortunate enough to have. I decided to sell my business and launch my successful business coaching career.

Purpose changed my life — I know first hand how powerful it is. I’m on a mission to help women discover their gifts, build businesses around their talents, and live each day on purpose.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

I have so many wonderful stories to share during the course of my career, but one of my favorite moments was flying to Milan as a guest of designers to attend their runway shows. Don’t ask me how I made those connections (or snagged the invite), but it was a surreal experience to watch fashion coming down the runway in Italy. A sweet moment I’ll cherish and tell my grandchildren about.

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?

I’ve made so many mistakes in my career–it’s part of being human! One of the best was deleting my entire hard drive by accident and not having any kind of back-up saved. I love a good purge every now and then, but that was a little over-the-top! Now I have the mack daddy of file storage and back-ups so it’ll never happen again.

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?

My entire marketing strategy is focused on leveraging social media to connect with my ideal clients. Over the years, I’ve learned how to harness the power of social media with tools like Instagram to connect with new people. Unlike many entrepreneurs in the coaching and service industry, I don’t use advertising to attract customers. Instead, I use good ole social media marketing and networking to sell out my services and book out my calendar! In the past twelve months, I’ve doubled my business revenue with Instagram marketing.

But I have to tell you… it takes a lot of practice!

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?

Instagram is hands down my favorite social media marketing tool, and it’s the only one I use for my business. Two years ago I made a decision to let go of every other social media marketing platform and focus only on Instagram–and it’s been such a success!

For many years, I tried to use every social media app for marketing my business… and failed. I found that I stretched myself too thin and felt overwhelmed at the prospect of showing up daily in half a dozen places. Instead, I focused my energy in one place and built a highly engaged audience on Instagram!

It has everything a service-based business needs to connect with customers and sell out their services. I’ve used it to exclusively launch new products, maintain a connection with my audience, and drive traffic to my brand.

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.

Use DM Videos & Voice Notes To Connect: Instagram is a community building tool–and DM’s are where community and conversations happen! As you use Instagram to grow and market your business, get in the habit of responding to DM’s with voice notes or videos. I started leveraging this feature when Instagram introduced it and the results were instant. My audience LOVED hearing my voice and responded with how flattered they were that I took the time to record a video or voice note.

The human element can get lost when we type back and forth. It also gets lost behind thousands of fast scrolling squares. But when you can show up with your voice, you add a layer of intimacy and personalization to the conversation. And truth be told, it takes less time to respond to messages when you hit “record!” I encourage you to try it during your next conversation and watch the results!

Ditch The Curation: I read a quote the other day that stopped me in my tracks, “We are a sad generation with a bunch of happy pictures.” Instagram became overly curated, which is not only bad for our collective mental health, but it’s also time-consuming (and often downright impossible) to stay “on brand” all the time. I decided to free myself of showing up perfectly in every post or story and, instead, I now post content I find interesting and relatable. The results were an increase in engagement, followers, and most importantly, sales. Your followers are OK with seeing the real parts of your life and prefer to get a glimpse into what life is like for you. Here are a few quick ways to ditch the curation and to show up more like yourself:

  1. Post That iPhone Photo: Don’t rely on professional photographs for every post. You’ve got a powerful camera in your hands–use it. Your followers won’t care if the lighting isn’t perfect or the composition isn’t noteworthy.
  2. Share Your Hobbies: Quarantine turned me into a plant mom, and now my followers get to follow along on that journey. I share pictures of my house plants, the latest find at my local nursery, and how I decorate my home. Share your hobbies with your followers–it’s easy to do and you never know what new friends you might make with similar interests.
  3. Forget The Grid: For the longest time, marketers trained all of us to pay attention to our overall Instagram grid and make it cohesive. That quickly became exhausting and unnecessary. If you’re focused on making your “grid” the perfect balance of color, texture, and content–do yourself a favor and ditch that strategy. No one cares, and you’ve probably missed many opportunities to post something in real-time in favor of a scheduled, curated post.

Don’t Follow Fads: It’s tempting to follow what other people do on Instagram. You might get a pang of jealousy when someone you follow launches a great ad campaign or posts a series of slick graphics. Instagram has become a place of “sameness,” where everyone posts the same style graphics or latches on to a color palette.

Want to instantly stand out amongst the crowd? Resist the temptation to follow the latest marketing fad and stay loyal to your voice and brand. Remember, trends come… and then they go. Stand out in a sea of sameness by being yourself.

Keep It Controversial: If you want another way to stand out amongst the crowd, be loud, bold, and straightforward. We all have controversial opinions or ideas, and I encourage you to share what you think in an unfiltered way. Don’t sugar coat your ideas. No one, and I mean no one, remembers vanilla. Bold statements and actions get noticed.

I use Instagram to speak my mind on silly issues and more serious ones. Every time I take a stand and speak clearly and unequivocally, especially when it’s not a popular opinion, I attract new followers and deepen my connection with older ones.

You are a thought leader in your industry, and your audience is waiting for you to show up and say something. Share your perspective– don’t sugar coat your ideas. Controversial and unpopular opinions get noticed, and they’ll help you attract people who share your values and repel the ones who don’t.

70/30 Rule: You can quickly burn out from Instagram if you spend all your time there selling. Instead of every Instagram post or story being a sales pitch, adapt my 70/30 rule: 70% of your content should be entertainment, with 30% of your content a commercial. It’s the same formula you watch every night on television–70% of the story you tuned in for 30% advertisements.

This rule frees you from being in sales mode all the time and invites you to create content that helps accelerate the know/like/trust factor in marketing. People love tuning into their favorite reality shows for an escape–and they do that, too, as they scroll through their IG story feed.

Start showing up in ways that have nothing to do with business and sell during the commercial breaks.

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. 🙂

Body positivity is meaningful and personal to me! I think we could all use an extra dose of love for ourselves and others.

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 🙂

Sara Blakley! Mostly so we can throwback a cocktail and share some laughs. She’s someone I admire and look up to, not just for her success but also for what she stands for!

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!

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