I had the pleasure of interviewing Adria D. Hookes, a Certified Business Coach, Speaker and Social Media Strategist who maintains a portfolio of businesses, including the Divine Success Sister Network, The Business Bae™, Powerful Men In Style™, and Co-Founder of The Business Besties Society. Adria was the recipient of the 2015 Global Award Winner of the SheRo Award, the 2016 Unstoppable Woman “Female Entrepreneur of the Year” Award Nominee, 2017 Woman Who Soar Award Honoree and 2018 Exceptional Women Award.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I started my journey in women’s empowerment — yes, I said journey — I had no clue how much hard work it was going to take to Empower! Seriously. I first started my journey 15 years ago. I was the Vice Chair of the Metro — Atlanta Chapter of the National Congress of Black Women (NCBW). That role fell into my lap. I was simply this 22-year-old young woman that was trying to change her street life and figure out my purpose.
From that point, after many more moons, I started my first association called the National Association of Professional Black Women. It was so scary taking that leap to start my women’s association. I had experience with the NCBW chapter, but I was little afraid that I didn’t have enough experience or even education to start my own association. You see, back then, that was a big deal. Also, the association market wasn’t so saturated as it is now.
However, my thinking was: Someone started one, so why can’t I. So I studied and researched and researched some more and meditated on my vision. In fact, my vision was to create a network of women around the world to come together and not only assist each other in becoming successful but give back to the community as well. The vision was bigger than me.
A little scary, to say the least. But I wanted to do it, and so I did. Years later it evolved into a global movement called Powerful Women in Business, and now recently renamed to The Divine Success Sister Network with over 10,000 women. Which led me into the Business Coaching Industry in which I was able to create a 6 figure brand.
Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?
I became an authority after being able to grow a women entrepreneur tribe to 20,000 in less than two weeks a few years ago. Back then, that was unheard of. Not as mainstream to grow large Facebook groups as it is today. It was definitely a huge feat! Every since then, I’ve been able to not only make 6 figures from social media working from home but help other business women become profitable online as well.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
I believe everyone most glorious moment is when they get their first favorite celebrity or influencer like, comment or follow. There’s a book that I love titled “Don’t Settle For Safe” by Sarah Jakes Roberts @sarahjakesroberts. I follow this woman religiously! I made a post about how this book was such a great read while traveling. Guess what? she commented and liked the post! I dropped my phone and cracked the screen. That one acknowledgement from her made the new finger scroll cuts I had so worth it!
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’ve made a slew of mistakes getting adjusted to social media. There is one that stands out the most among others. When I first started on Instagram. I thought that when I joined, I could just take all of my Facebook pictures and just upload them back to back on my Instagram to make sure that my IG matched my Facebook personal page. OH Boy! Was I wrong! I ended up annoying my FB friends because every time I posted a pic on my Instagram, which I was posting back to back for like 30 minutes now… I didn’t realize that somehow they were posting to Twitter which was auto posting to my personal page on FB. Yeah, I lost a lot of FB friends that day! One lesson I learned was to turn off auto-post from Twitter to FB personal page in IFFFT! I believe it’s not very beneficial to use through and was hurting my audience more than helping them. YIKES!
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?
In 2017, Facebook was the most profitable for me. My experience with Facebook was all about relationship building. Connecting with the people that were aligned with my business goals as well as people of my direct target audience. I shifted my friends list from a bunch of random people that I have absolutely have nothing In common with and replaced them with people that had similar interest and could be a potential client. Once I shifted my friends list, that would look for the content I posted and focused on relationship building. My bank account changed drastically.
As of 2018, I moved over to Instagram and the strategy is a little different but now I’m averaging 5,000 followers a month. I’ve been able to sell out of digital products and increase my attendee rate to my local events.
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.
Staying consistent with engaging and posting on IG is one of the main strategies that’s helped my business on Instagram. Once I decided to focus on my Instagram 100%, I made it a priority to post at least 1–2 times a day and engage with other Instagram users every day. I use tools such as Planoly and schedule my post ahead of time to make sure I’m posting every day. I also love this too because it allows me to preplan all the post but I can move my images around before I post to make sure my Instagram Aesthetic is nice and on brand.
Speaking of engagement, just posting on Instagram and walking away isn’t going to cut it. You must spend time engaging with your followers and other IG’ers!
· Responding to comments on your post in a timely manner.
· Liking and commenting your IG following post when scrolling your news feed.
· Searching through your target audience hashtags and liking and commenting on post of your potential clients and customers.
· Engaging with Influencers by liking and following their comments. Eventually you’ll get notice!
· Reposting content from major influencers or brands
Another great engagement idea that works well is creating engaging content. As you can see in the image above that I created a post that allows my followers to comment with their business information. This allowed me to learn more about what type of followers I have and to help me understand who they are better. My engagement on this post was through the roof. The more you understand your followers, the better engaging content you have on your page.
Instagram posts with at least one hashtag have 12.6 percent more engagement than those without…according to “Why its time to update your hashtags” (Smith, 2018). Using the right hashtags can place your content in front the right people that use the same keywords to find businesses like yours. How do you know which hashtags to use?
Great question. I find it easier to write out a list of keywords that represent the industry your business is in, that describes my target audience demographic, what they’re searching for online to find businesses like yours and even what they’re hobbies are interest are. For example:
As you can see, I’m a business coach that helps women entrepreneurs. So a lot of the different hashtags I use are keywords that my target audience will search for in Instagram to find post that can motivate, educate and engage them. I recommend not using the same block of hashtags on every post. Try different blocks of hashtags of different post you make.
Want to make a great first impression? Have a strong bio. I love the personality that I have on mine.
A strong bio includes these features:
· A great profile picture
· Branded highlight buttons
· Describe who you are and what you do.
· Your branded hashtag
· City or State for Business profiles
· Call to action
Know Your Instagram Insights
Instagram Insightsis a native analytics tool that provides data on follower demographics and actions, as well as your content. This information makes it easy to compare content, measure campaigns, and see how individual posts are performing
Staying on top of your numbers is the best way to know well your business profile on IG is doing. You can tell if the content you’re creating is driving traffic to your website. You can also see which content is doing better than others and what type of audience is engaging with your content every day. If you use your insights to create great content, the more adjustments you make according to your numbers, the more traffic you’ll drive to your website.
Which leads into my favorite subject! Content. Have you ever heard that Content is king? It rules social media. Without great engaging content, your success on social media will be hard to obtain. So, here’s some ways you can create great content on Instagram that can increase your engagement, your followers and drive more traffic to your website. Here are my top 3 content tips:
1. Come up with a social media content strategy. What is your overall goals for Instagram? Is it to sell your products and services? Are you looking to become instafamous! Whatever it is you need some type of plan. Outline what your goals on what you’re wanting to achieve with Instagram and create a social media content calendar that match your goals.
2. Change up your content. Yes, we understand this is a business account but your followers love an account that brings great energy and aesthetic. Instead of promoting the same product every day. Share content related to your products, share client testimonials, behind the scenes photos, etc. Show more than your 10% sale that you’ve been pushing for a year now!
3. Use your content insights to see which post are working and which aren’t. As mentioned above, staying on top of your insights will help your business Instagram success! Go to insights and click on the content section and see which post your audience engages with the most. These are the type of posts you should use more often. The goal is “Stop The Scroll” So maybe your dull picture of your feet isn’t getting any likes but the post you made of your dog wearing the hats your selling is a winner! Makes you think? Posting your dog in your hat products for most of your post really isn’t a bad idea. Check out the image below:
As you can see for my content a lot of my followers love the inspirational post that I make. So making sure I have inspiration on my page all the time keeps my followers engaged with my profile every day! Makes them want to come back.
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. 🙂
Great Question. I’m starting a movement next year that I can’t make public yet but it will help more women and girl entrepreneurs become more tech savvy! We can’t wait to release it. I believe that as of 2018 going into 2019. It’s important to have basic tech skills to save cost in your business but to keep up with everything around us! My new company will provide that support and educate women on how to support themselves in such a techy world!
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 🙂
Oprah Winfrey. I have to meet her. It’s on my bucket list. Her story is so inspiring and watching her grow into the billionaire she is, assures me that I can become a billionaire to.
Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!