IMPROVE CUSTOMER SERVICE WITH QUICK REPLIES: If you have a business profile (vs. personal profile) Instagram now allows you to create the Instagram-equivalent of keyboard shortcuts, making it easier to provide friendly customer service and save time on sending common responses. To do this, go to your profile page, tap to expand the menu in the top right, and tap “Settings” at the bottom. Scroll down to “Business Settings” and tap “Quick Replies” to create your own shortcuts for common responses. For me, this includes shortcuts I can use to reply to common questions I get via DM. For example, if someone asks me for help coming up with brand story ideas, I can type the phrase “help1” and Instagram automatically inserts pre-written instructions for accessing the free downloadable Story Idea Guide on my website. For your business, you might create shortcuts for how to submit a help request to your customer service team, how to resolve a specific error, answers to common product questions, or something else that saves you time and helps your customers and followers get the information they need.
I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Melanie Deziel. Melanie is a brand storytelling keynote speaker and the Founder of StoryFuel, a firm that teaches marketers how they can think like journalists to tell better brand stories. Before founding StoryFuel, Melanie was the first editor of branded content at The New York Times, and helping build the sponsored content teams at The Huffington Post and Time Inc. She serves on the board of the Native Advertising Institute, served as a adjunct professor for Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications and developed the first course in Content Marketing for Fairleigh Dickinson University. Melanie has traveled the world as a keynote speaker, speaking to tens of thousands of marketers and gracing the stages of industry leading events including Content Marketing World, Social Media Marketing World, Inbound, Native Advertising Days, The Inbounder, SXSW and more.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Melanie! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I studied journalism in school, and always thought I’d end up in a newsroom telling hard-hitting stories about what was happening in the world. But when I was on the hunt for a job, I discovered that my skills as a reporter, interviewer and content creator were extremely helping in the marketing world, too. I learned that many marketers wanted to embrace content marketing and brand content, but weren’t quite sure how to come up with differentiated content ideas, create compelling content and distribute it strategically. I joined the Huffington Post in the early days of HuffPost Partner Studio, helping our ad partners tell stories that would appeal to our audience. I later moved to The New York Times, where I helped form T Brand Studio, and taught our advertisers how to create content that would appeal to an NYT audience. I also spent some time as the Director of Creative Strategy at Time Inc, laying the groundwork for a brand storytelling team that could serve ad partners for all 35 of our US magazines. I decided to take my mission of educating marketers about the power of brand storytelling global in 2016, launching the speaking and training company that is now StoryFuel.
Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?
I’ve worked on hundreds of branded content campaigns, each of which had strategic social distribution plans attached to ensure we engaged and reached the right audience. I’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on social promotion over the years, and been privileged to run social accounts for my brand partners that amassed tens of thousands of followers. While I now focus more on strategy for content, much of that content ultimately finds its home on social media. And in my own life, I leverage social media to connect with my speaking audience and potential clients each and every day.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
Last year, after I finished speaking at Social Media Marketing World, I was approached by D. P. Knudten. He’d been a longtime follower of mine on Instagram, and it was our first chance to meet in person. He gave me a copy of his book, “ROTOMA: The ROI of Social Media Top of Mind,”where I’m featured as a case study on how to build a personal brand on instagram. It was so cool to meet, so we could go from social media connections to real-life friends, and to take a photo together with the book! As a nice bonus, his book referred to me as “less-caffeinated GaryVee with a far better wardrobe.” Not too shabby!
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?
When I first started out speaking, I didn’t realize how much better my craft could become if I focused on a single presentation with some customization, versus trying to create brand new presentations for each and every event. The more times you give a presentation, and the more rehearsal you get with that content, the better it becomes and the more your audience will benefit!
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 my favorite platform, but perhaps for an unexpected reason. As a former journalist, writing is my first content language, as I call it. Instagram challenges me to think in a different way, and to use visuals to tell my story. This is an exciting creative challenge, and has made me more mindful of the unexpected beauty all around me, in both my frequented locations and in the wonderful cities I get to visit when I travel to speak. By sharing my adventures, I get to help my followers understand what it is that I do, and I’ve met so many new friends and connections this way. While folks aren’t always requesting keynotes in DMs or commenting to ask about consulting from StoryFuel, Instagram allows them to get to know me so we can form deeper connections that often lead to business relationships down the line.
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.
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. 🙂
In my own work, I’m hoping to inspire people to take an empathetic and audience-centric approach to the content the create and the marketing campaigns they deploy. If we can all focus on our audience, and the ways we can bring them value, then not only will we create better content, but we’ll also form deeper connections with our current and potential audience!
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 🙂
As a young journalist, I was mesmerized watching the Page One documentary about the New York Times. I was lucky to get to know David Carr when I worked at The Times, but never did get to connect with Brian Stelter, who was also featured in the film. Talking shop with a fellow lifelong student of media would certainly make for a great meeting.
Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!