I had the pleasure of interviewing Morgan Scofes. Morgan is the Senior Digital Marketing Manager at DineAmic Group, a hospitality company in Chicago, with seven unique restaurant concepts. In addition to overseeing their nine social media accounts and paid social advertising, Morgan heads up the photography and content creation for the company. One of her most successful endeavors with the company was growing BomboBar’s Instagram account, which recently hit 50,000 followers. Her photos have been published on numerous online media outlets as well as some of Chicago’s largest print publications.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
It’s actually a funny story, I knew I wanted to work in marketing/advertising but wasn’t finding the right fit after I graduated college. I had started an anonymous funny twitter account, where I met one of the owners of our company. He was so curious how I had generated my Twitter account to 15K followers and asked me for some pointers — I guess I just had a knack for social media! A year later, the Social Media Manager position opened up, he asked me to interview, and the rest is history!
Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?
I have been working in social media and digital marketing at DineAmic for nearly five years now and successfully grown social pages from 0 followers to 50,000. I am constantly reading articles and looking at other leaders in my industry to stay up on the latest trends and watching for anything unique that catches my eye. Social Media is constantly changing and evolving, so it’s important to continue to learn constantly.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
The most interesting thing that has happened is taking over the photography. I’ve always had a creative eye and love taking photos, however, I have never taken a photography course in my life. A year into the job I was handed a camera and told to just run with it and since then, I’ve had numerous photos published on large media sites and print publications. It’s amazing to look back at photos I took when I first started to now and how much I’ve learned, it really shows through in the styling, photos, and editing. There have also been multiple times where people will recognize me from Instagram, which is always fun! A few weeks ago, I was working at an event and a woman looked at me and said, “Hey, aren’t you that Instagram girl? You kill it, keep doing what you’re doing!”
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?
Running nine accounts, mistakes are bound to happen. One thing I’ve learned is to slow down and check your work. There were times when I first started where I’d post a photo on the wrong page that didn’t make sense at all, such as posting a pizza on our steakhouse’s page! Luckily, I usually realized it right away and was able to fix it, but there was definitely a time or two where it stayed up for a couple hours or 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?
I would definitely say Instagram. With @BomboBar, it has been a crazy ride. After we launched our “Hotter Chocolates” three years ago, we blew up on social, but specifically Instagram. Managers that work on site have told me that people still come up to the window pointing at a photo on their phone saying, “I want this!” Which is cool and crazy at the same time… It can be hard to measure ROI in the food and beverage industry from social media, but this proves just how much it has impacted that specific concept. We also have run specialty items for one day only, with promotions living solely on social media and building up to it on Instagram stories a couple days in advance, which have sold super well.
Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share 6 ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.
Great Photos & Content — This is (obviously) a must, with Instagram being such a visual platform. You need to attract an audience and then keep them. When speaking on a panel last year, I was asked what I choose to post and why or who influences my work. While I follow a ton of great photographers, influencers, and foodie accounts, when it comes down to it I post what I find most visually appealing. Sometimes you get that one great shot that makes you feel something, whether it makes you drool or it just catches your eye because of the angle/lighting/beautiful set-up!
Create A Voice & Stick With It — Having nine different accounts ranging from a small doughnut shop to a high-end steakhouse, you have to make sure your posts are on brand for each one. I like to keep @BomboBar’s captions light-hearted, fun, and occasionally punny, whereas @PrimeProvisions is much more straightforward and business-minded with the occasional word play.
Instagram Stories — These have become huge over the last year and it’s amazing to see how many people take notice to these. They’re a great tool to use for short promotions and I love the more personal/impromptu feel to them. You can give followers a behind the scenes look at the workings of your business in addition to showing the real, human-side of your account. We recently started running a “5 p.m. Wine Pour” promotion at @SienaTavern which we have promoted solely on Instagram Stories. Every Wednesday, I visit the restaurant and chat with a server or bartender about the “wine pour of the week,” snap some photos of them with it, and post to our story with their reasons for liking the wine and a pairing to go with it. It has gone over super well, and both our audience and staff get excited about it each week.
User Generated Content — Use it! People love to be reposted and see their photos acknowledged. My team constantly screenshots photos people have posted and tagged at our venues and saves them in a folder. It’s great to have awesome content to mix in with our own and to also show some love to our fans and followers. I also find that sharing this content entices more people to post and tag us, which overall helps with brand recognition.
Engagement — This goes hand-in-hand with User Generated Content, but you need to engage with your followers. Whether it’s liking and commenting on their photos they posted and tagged our brands or responding to comments, questions, and messages. I like to take at least an hour each morning to engage with our audience and make sure I respond to messages. Even if you don’t have an answer at that particular moment, it’s great to know someone saw your question, so a quick response saying you’ll look into it goes a long way!
You Have To Give To Get — There are weeks where your engagement will dip and your page isn’t growing, and that’s okay! It’s normal to have plateaus, especially with Instagram’s ever-changing algorithm, but stay consistent with your posting and it will turn around. If you’re able to, try working with influencers (of any size account) or running a boosted post. If you don’t have a digital ad budget, get your audience involved and try running a contest, doing a giveaway, or simply having a call-to-action in your caption. We’ve run contests on Instagram where someone has to follow our account and tag a friend they’d share the experience with which puts our photo in front of a potential new customer and that’s always a good thing!
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. 🙂
There’s been a spotlight on social media recently and the perception of perfection most users strive for on the platform, giving off an unrealistic ideal to their followers. With the rate of cyber bullying and suicides growing, I think it’s imperative to make a change, however diminishing the importance of followers and likes will hurt so many in the social media industry and I don’t believe this is the answer. I love the recent focus on showing the imperfect side of yourself on social media and the “reality v. Instagram” trend, however, there’s still room for growth and I’d love to see different industries come together to continue to reduce and eventually eliminate it.
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 absolutely love Mindy Kaling. Ever since I read her first book and started watching her on The Office and The Mindy Project, I felt like we’d be kindred spirits. There were some random things she said on the show or in her book that I had thought or said which is crazy. I love her sense of humor and how she continues to be real in a world so consumed with social media and only showing the edited, filtered version of ourselves.
Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!