“How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business”, With Barbara Bogar Head Digital Strategist at Reicura

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

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Show personality. We all know there is a human face behind every one of our favourite IG accounts. No one wants to follow a brand or interact with one that comes across boring, robotic and with a lack of emotion. When it comes to community management for our clients, we really emphasize this and we have definitely seen the wonders a little bit of fun can do for a brand when it’s appropriate for the target audience.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Barbara Bogar, Head Digital Strategist from Reicura’s Toronto office. Barbara leads the social media team for various clients in different industries including fast food chains, retail brands, financial services, and more. She is the true definition of a crazy cat lady, and considers herself somewhat of an internet explorer. On her days off (social media never sleeps, what are those?) you can find her with a glass of red wine, look at memes and catching up on the latest social media news and trends.

Thank you so much for doing this with us, Barbara! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I have always enjoyed using social media, from constantly changing my MySpace layout, to applying the ‘Lark’ filter on all of my photos when Instagram launched. It’s been fun to have my hobby grow into my career! While I was in school and working as a server at a restaurant, I offered to help with promoting the company on social media since I was an avid user and understood the importance of a brand having an online presence. I started with helping out one location and after a year and a half, I was managing the social media content for all 7 locations. I went to school for fashion but realized that digital media was what I wanted to stick to, and the rest is history!

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

To me a Social Media Marketing authority is someone who is constantly up to date with online trends since these change all the time. It’s also someone that constantly keeps an eye on brands and influencers’ activities & content to see what followers respond to and engage with the most. As someone working in this field its also important to be creative and realistic, to be able to see the big picture and have a clear idea of what campaigns looks like from idea to execution. Social media is a powerful tool and if used strategically it can do wonders for a brand — including growing sales.

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

I was working on location at a music festival in Europe for one of our music app clients and we had this cool experiential event planned. The merchandise for the event was being shipped and was running into every imaginable customs issue and delay. We didn’t receive the merch in time for the planned activation so we had to ditch our original and planned activation and quickly come up with a new one. There are times when no matter how organized and planned out something might be, things that are outside your control will happen. It’s really important to have a positive and optimistic attitude during these times. Do your best to adjust your plan and move on, don’t spend your energy on something you can’t change.

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 was working on a campaign that involved influencers. There was this influencer who had 2 different accounts under different names. I couldn’t figure out why this was the case, maybe something shady was up, I thought. Later I found out that the 2 accounts belonged to 2 separate people. They were twins who had the same exact style and aesthetic. Lesson: do your research and communicate, don’t be afraid to ask questions if you aren’t sure of something, or if it doesn’t make sense in your head. ☺

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?

It depends on the brand and the target audience. I love working with brands that generally target millennials in which case Instagram has always proved to be the most effective to increase brand awareness and revenues. We recently did a huge launch for the first Canadian vegan fast-food chain and social ended up being the most significant avenue for reaching new customers. Our numbers were just insane — both online and offline!

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.

  1. Show personality. We all know there is a human face behind every one of our favourite IG accounts. No one wants to follow a brand or interact with one that comes across boring, robotic and with a lack of emotion. When it comes to community management for our clients, we really emphasize this and we have definitely seen the wonders a little bit of fun can do for a brand when it’s appropriate for the target audience.
  2. Use influencers intelligently. Nowadays there are influencers for essentially any and every market. Make sure to do your research and determine which influencer would be best for your brand. Look at numbers and make sure the terms of the collaboration are clear before you work together. Don’t think that only mega influencers will bring your brand exposure, as micro influencers actually tend to have a more loyal and engaged following hence them being smaller and feeling like your BFF rather than a celebrity.
  3. Include UGC in your content marketing strategy. User generated content I think is so important for a brand’s success. By sharing your customer’s content, not only are you highlighting them as your true and trustworthy brand advocates, but others seeing the content will connect with your brand in a more personal and authentic way. There is much more value in content that seeks to engage with and is relatable by similar users.
  4. Plan your feed. Instagram is the most visual social platform and some of the most popular brands on IG have an extremely aesthetically pleasing feed. Having a thought-out feed allows your brand to instantly showcase your branding and the visual experience you want your potential followers to have. Each post you put up should work on its on and as part of your entire feed. I think @mariecher has done a beautiful job with how she’s branded herself through her IG feed.
  5. Stories! The story feature on Instagram has become increasingly popular with 400 million monthly active users. Since stories allow for real time, and temporary content to be shared it doesn’t come across as pushy or aggressive as opposed to if you were posting multiple posts a day. The stories feature is meant to be used for storytelling (shocking, right?) which is actually a really important part of marketing for a brand. Be creative and be real!
  6. Know when to post. There are many tools available that will track your audience’s activity and determine when they are the most active. Knowing your best posting times will allow your content to be shown to your followers when they are scrolling through the feed and you guessed it, this will also result in higher engagement.

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 do think it’s important to be passionate about promoting a cause you personally care about whether that be climate change, mental health, pay equity and so on. I think when people who share the same passion come together collectively and support, demand a change that they believe in, is when a movement happens.

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 🙂

Definitely Sandra Sandor, founder of Hungarian fashion label @nanushka. I have been a huge fan of the brand for over 6 years and it’s been so exciting to see a small Hungarian label grow up and take on the world. Its really inspiring to see a female founded brand from my home country become so strong and successful.

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

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