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How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Have a deep strategy that goes beyond simply posting product images” With Joe Gagliese & Candice Georgiadis


Have a deep strategy that goes beyond simply posting product images. Be sure that a good portion of that content is high quality video — video is far more engaging and people are more likely to like, comment or share it. It also allows for the opportunity to speak to people and relay your message.


I had the pleasure to interview Joe Gagliese. Joe is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Viral Nation, one of North America’s fastest growing digital agencies specializing in influencer marketing. He created the social-first agency to help brands tell engaging social media stories through an amazingly eclectic network of influencers. Through his passion and determination he has developed deals with numerous Fortune 500 brands and more than 300 social influencers from the worlds of sports, gaming, and lifestyle. A 30 Under 30 winner for Marketing Magazine, Gagliese is frequently quoted in the press for his take on influencer marketing and social strategies.


Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I remember like it was yesterday walking up to my business partner Mat (the other founder of Viral Nation) and saying to him, “I really think that companies would pay to sponsor influencers posts on social because they are getting millions of organic views.” At that time, influencer marketing wasn’t a thing and we were in a completely different business. About 6–8 months after the initial idea, we began to seriously look into it. We started with a simple idea and attacked it head-on. It was a feeling in my gut that there was something there and we went for it. We stopped the business that was thriving in hopes we could trump it. Thinking back on it, it was a crazy decision but we are glad we made it.

Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority on Social Media Marketing?

Viral Nation was a first mover and over the past 5 years our campaigns through social have surpassed billions of views. Being the first movers gave us an opportunity to work with some of the largest brands in globally and bring a new era of marketing to life. I have worked on almost every industry with social and have developed deep knowledge from the top social personalities in the world. Campaigns have had every KPI imaginable and my company has executed and over delivered on all of them thus far in our history.

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

Prior to Viral Nation, I had little experience and knowledge in marketing, so for me it was about proving I could make a difference and drive real results for brands. I think the most amazing story would be a Crayola campaign that we ran early on in my agency. It was a holiday campaign focused on driving to E-com and the posts were about to go live. I remember being so incredibly nervous that something would go wrong and on such a big account. The posts went live and within a few hours, we got an email saying the site had crashed from the traffic. I remember thinking first “how do we get the site back up quickly” and second was the realization that we were really on to something special. I was working so hard to earn my spot as a thought leader in the space and prove that what we were doing was groundbreaking and disruptive.

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?

This is an embarrassing one! About a month or two before we launched the business I was on a call with a marketing professional to get advice on what I was about to embark on. During the call she used the term KPI and I didn’t have the slightest clue what it meant. I came to find out that KPI (key performance indicator) is the most used acronym in marketing. To say the least, I was a little embarrassed but I now get to tell people and brands I work with this story which is always a comical experience.

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 truly believe that over time YouTube is the platform that drives the most value. Instagram is extremely close, however. Youtube has a different type of consumer behaviour at its advantage. When consumers are on Youtube they are not only generally locked in at home on a desktop but they are committing more attention and time. This is because Youtube is long form content. Therefore advertisers can tap into long form content ads that will be consumed by a consumer that is in a different state.

I have seen brands, big and small, capitalize on the power of Youtube. If you look at Carpool Karaoke that was the single most impactful marketing move for CBS and its growth overall.

Can you share 6 ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

1. Grow your community

● Growing your community is one of the most important things you can do;

● Invest in the time it takes to build a strategy and weekly/monthly plans

● Ensure you are posting high quality content

● Engage with your audience

● Implement paid into your plan to reach new audiences

2. Post Call to Action Content

● Whether its instagram story, link in bio ensure that you are providing incentive and a seamless path to convert you’re tuned in audience, the content needs to speak to people and show them why they need to act now and how to do it.

3. Create a personality that represents your brand

● Whether your the owner or simply a passionate employee, having a face for your marketing initiative on social helps to create a deeper connection your audience. It then becomes more than just a brand and people become interested and invested. Providing value beyond your product or service can help differentiate your brand and have audiences coming back for more!

4. Be consistent

● Although this is touted repeatedly, the message still remains pivotal — be consistent with your posting schedule. Have a plan and ensure the right steps are taken to make this happen.

5. Have a deep strategy that goes beyond simply posting product images

● Be sure that a good portion of that content is high quality video — video is far more engaging and people are more likely to like, comment or share it. It also allows for the opportunity to speak to people and relay your message.

6. Activate influencers

● Source influencers that align with your brand and create amazing content. The power of social (whether organic or paid) is undeniable and having people speak authentically about your brand is a great way to improve your potential customer base.

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.

I have thought about this a lot in the past six months. I see how powerful social and the influencers are to everyone in the world. I think it would be world changing if somehow we could get every influencer in the world to come together and spread something globally in a meaningful way. Imagine millions of influencers with billions of followers all coming together and posting about a single initiative.

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?

I have two! One for a brand and one for an athlete.

My first choice would be Mark Parker, the CEO of Nike. It has been a dream of mine to do the social and influencer marketing for Nike since the start. I believe that if I could walk through all that we do and how we do it that he would be as excited about the opportunity as me.

My second choice would be Tiger Woods. If given the opportunity to work with him I could show him how to make social his retirement plan.