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How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Many businesses forget that engagement is key and it goes both ways”, With Jonaed Iqbal & Candice Georgiadis

Many businesses forget that engagement is key and it goes both ways. If you see someone you can provide value to, write a helpful comment. I often comment with career advice to users who are asking for it. I also respond to DMs from people who need help with their job search. I had the pleasure […]


Many businesses forget that engagement is key and it goes both ways. If you see someone you can provide value to, write a helpful comment. I often comment with career advice to users who are asking for it. I also respond to DMs from people who need help with their job search.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Jonaed Iqbal. Jonaed Iqbal is the Foudner & CEO of NoDegree.com, a career resource to help those without college degrees. A native of Queens, NY, Jonaed learned social media analytics from founding his own startup company and being a consultant for web startups using his analytical and statistical background to optimize and scale their Facebook ad marketing campaigns. Jonaed has also worked for the NYC School Construction Authority as a Data analyst where he also acted as a liaison between the Community Education Councils, the Community Boards and the city. Jonaed is a graduate of Queens College in economics and applied math and also attended Columbia University for actuarial science.


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 was on Reddit and saw a question that asked “For those of you without a college degree who make over six figures, what do you do and how did you get into it?” A lot of the jobs that people answered with weren’t your traditional jobs. Many of the answers mentioned that they got the jobs through a connection of some sort (such as family or friends) or they just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I thought that it wasn’t fair and looked for some online resource that could help. There were specialized sites but nothing that was comprehensive. I entered trades.com. It was for sale but I figured they would ask for something that was too much. I typed NoDegree.com. I didn’t expect much but a few days later I got an email with a price that 3 college guys could afford. While I didn’t mind my corporate job, it wasn’t as fulfilling as I wanted it to be. I spent a lot of my free time learning about how to make NoDegree succeed. I was able to use a lot of skills that were useless for a traditional corporate job, but were extremely important for a startup. I also felt happy that I could make an actual impact on peoples live as I know just how hard finding a good job can be.

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

I was forced to learn the ins and outs of Social Media Marketing as it was the only way for a small company to grow without spending a lot of money. I learned about the platforms and the strengths and weaknesses of each. One way I was able to learn a lot was by actually running the Social Media accounts of several businesses. I still help out several companies with their Social Media accounts and strategies. I stay up to date on the algorithm changes as an algorithm can have a big impact on your social media strategy.

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

There was a time where we had an offer for funding. I was extremely happy. We were offered a decent amount for a small portion of equity. My partners and I prepared thoroughly to present our pitch deck. We had finally caught our big break. The day before we were supposed to present, we were told “You need more traction before we feel comfortable investing”. The investors knew where we were before they made the offer. I learned a valuable lesson. As an entrepreneur, you will always hear people who are interested in investing in your company or helping you out in some way. Until it materializes, don’t count on it. Don’t keep things on hold for a “potential” deal. It worked out better in the end, as it is easier to do things the way we wanted and stay true to our mission. Funding would definitely change that.

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?

Since I managed several social media accounts, I always have to switch between accounts. One time I posted a photo meant for a completely different account on my NoDegree Instagram. I realized my mistake right away and quickly deleted the post. Always make sure to triple check before sending things out publicly! That meme may not be appropriate for your company page.

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 find Facebook ads to be one of the best ways to advertise my website to users. The more users I get, the easier it is to pitch to people to post jobs on my website. I always kept myself within entrepreneurial circles and as a result I was able to learn the ins and outs of Facebook ads. It takes a decent amount of time and a lot of research to get really good at it, but once you do it is one of the easiest ways to market at the lowest cost.

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.

Instagram is great for branding purposes and getting the word out. Businesses should focus on providing value to their users and avoid being spammy. Businesses should always remember the social aspect. Here are the 6 ways

  1. Instagram is great for reaching out to people in your niche. For example, I will be launching a podcast soon so I used Instagram to approach people who would be interested in being a guest on my podcast. I also use it to reach out to authors of books I review so I can ask them to contribute to my website in some way.
  2. You learn a lot about what type of users interact with your page. Use that to your advantage and cater your content to that type of audience. You will get higher engagement as a result.
  3. Many businesses forget that engagement is key and it goes both ways. If you see someone you can provide value to, write a helpful comment. I often comment with career advice to users who are asking for it. I also respond to DMs from people who need help with their job search.
  4. Use Instagram to display content that your audience would find helpful. I use Instagram to let people know of the latest content on my website
  5. Use Instagram to learn about events in your area. I have learned a lot about events I would have never known about and used it to form partnerships with great businesses and people.
  6. Figure out what is successful on Instagram by looking at other people who are doing well. Break down why they are doing well and use it to apply it on your own business.

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. 🙂

My goal is to spread the NoDegree movement. Often times, people are told that college is the only path to success and that people who do not get college degrees are not as intelligent as those that do. There are intelligent people in all types of careers and their intelligence should be judged by their skills and abilities, not by whether or not they have a degree. Once society starts to look past the resume and look at the actual person, I will feel like I have made a difference.

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 would love to meet Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy. I am always inspired by people who leave traditional jobs to pursue a passion of theirs, as that is something I am doing. I love the fact that he is providing education to those around the world.

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

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