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How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business: “Mention other influencers in your industry” With David Pagotto Founder and Managing Director of SIXGUN and Candice Georgiadis

In your Instagram posts, mention other influencers in your industry. Being mentioned, it is likely they will like and share your post, giving you more reach. I had the pleasure of interviewing David Pagotto. David Pagotto is the Founder and Managing Director of SIXGUN. He has been involved in digital marketing for over 10 years, helping […]


In your Instagram posts, mention other influencers in your industry. Being mentioned, it is likely they will like and share your post, giving you more reach.


I had the pleasure of interviewing David Pagotto. David Pagotto is the Founder and Managing Director of SIXGUN. He has been involved in digital marketing for over 10 years, helping organisations get more customers, more reach, and more impact.

SIXGUN focuses on scaling organisational growth and building sustainable results for the long-term, with a data-driven approach to developing strategy. As a Melbourne based digital marketing agency, SIXGUN focuses on Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Marketing, and Social Media Marketing.

David is passionate about seeing organisations grow while working on his mission to support meaningful causes.


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 began my entrepreneurial journey early in high school, selling things to my friends during lunch time. A few years later I was selling a wide range of outdoor adventure products on eBay and doing well. Straight after high school I set up a retail shop with a business partner.

However, after a few years I realised I loved the digital marketing aspect of the business more than the shop. I moved into digital marketing, working at different agencies in Melbourne to learn what to do — and what not to do. I realised that many agencies don’t have a win-win-win philosophy; where the clients, staff, and business all win. I was either seeing staff be burned out, or I was seeing client results slip. I decided that I would build an agency where clients, staff, and the business wins.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey opened my mind to the possibility of creating powerful win-win situation.

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

SIXGUN handles Social Media Marketing campaigns for some of Australia’s leading brands.

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

Hiring my first employee was nerve-wracking!

It’s always a big leap to go from a one-man band to having your first full time employee, and all the responsibility and risk that comes with it.

I knew I wanted to hire a senior team member, because I had watched other agencies hire more affordable talent who couldn’t deliver outstanding work. I realised that the best strategy for hiring well was to hire someone I already knew. That way there would be no surprises later as to their actual abilities. But who?

I thought long and hard about who I had worked with who had really impressed me, and one person came to mind. Initially, this person already had a position they were happy with, but over the course of numerous catch ups where I did everything I could to persuade them to come onboard the idea started to make sense to them.

They became SIXGUN’s first employee, and to this day they still do an outstanding job. I see myself very lucky to have them as a part of the team.

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 don’t know how funny it is, but I’m a risk-averse personality, which means I tend to move more slowly in business than others who throw caution to the wind. It means I’ve built my business on solid foundations, but it’s taken longer!

A typical example is I will read every line of every contract (no matter how dense!) before signing. This often happens late into the night when my girlfriend is laughing at me and telling me to relax and get some sleep!

The moral of the story here is that aiming for perfection can slow you down and you need to be well aware of that.

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?

Both Facebook and Instagram can be strong platforms to boost your business revenues.

Highly visual brands and products, such as fashion accessories, lend themselves better to Instagram. Products and services that are more general in nature, or B2B tend to fit better with the Facebook audience.

We have used both of these platform — often in tandem — to get strong results for our clients.

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.

Here are some core areas to leverage on Instagram to dramatically improve your business.

1. Influencer Marketing on Instagram

Influencer marketing is powerful because it helps you reach a captivated audience through someone who already has built trust with their followers.

For example, if you have a footwear label, utilising influential Instagram profiles is a great way to amplify your latest range.

2. Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are a great way to get attention for your brand or product in more creative, unique way. The genuine, spontaneous feel makes people connect with them more deeply than a post.

Continuing with the footwear label example, you could create an Instagram story of a model walking over a stunning, rocky outcrop wearing a pair of bright red shoes from the new range.

3. Instagram Shopping

Shopping on Instagram is a great feature to take customers straight to your product from a photo. You can tag the product in the photo, with a link that takes them to a product description page on Instagram, and then to your online store.

For example, as a footwear label, you could take a range of fun, vibrant, artistic photos of the new shoe range and tag in the name and price of each shoe in the photos. From there, users can click on the shoe they like and be taken to the product page, and then to your website to buy.

Shopping on Instagram remains a highly underutilized feature for brands.

4. Use Ego Bait

In your Instagram posts, mention other influencers in your industry. Being mentioned, it is likely they will like and share your post, giving you more reach.

For example, you could mention an influencer by saying you think they would look great in your latest shoe.

5. Don’t Forget General Marketing Principals

Having faces in your images will get more engagement. Using hashtags will help people find your posts. Balancing your posting frequently (and the time of your posts) will ensure you don’t harass your audience. Using the right colours and ensuring your messaging is on brand will help with consistency.

Don’t forget marketing basics, the things that have been around for decades and get constantly remolded into the latest “course” or blog post.

6. Focus on Building Brand Ambassadors — The Kind of People Who Do Your Advertising For You

Most companies on Instagram focus on growing the number of followers they have. Followers are good, but brand ambassadors are far better. Rather than focusing on numbers, focus on the quality of your followers. In Tim Ferris’ book Tools of Titans, Kevin Kelly talks about any only needing 1,000 true fans to be successful, with a true fan defined as “a fan who will buy anything you produce.”

For example, as a footwear label, focus on having your brand ambassadors follow you, and more importantly converting your general customers into raving fans. Often this can be achieved by providing above and beyond customer service.

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. 🙂

Creating a business philosophy of win-win that permeates through society.

As mentioned earlier the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People explains the power of win-win really well, and it’s a philosophy I live by, but I unfortunately come across others who don’t. If everyone in business valued win-win, it would create a more trusting environment between businesses and consumers, and would show the world that business can be good and do good.

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 have always looked up to Warren Buffet. I love his philosophy, his way of working, what he has achieved, and what he has given away.

He has always struck me as someone who moves slowly and makes calculated decisions. Value investing (one of his fundamental investing principles) is something that I apply to a number of areas in my life.

I would love nothing more than to sit down with him and discuss the fabric of life and business (by discuss I mean intently listen!).

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

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