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How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business, With Taylor Moran and Candice Georgiadis

I truly believe that social media and online communities can connect and inspire groups of people more than any other medium. If I could inspire any movement, it would be to create safe spaces within the social sphere that encourage users to genuinely connect and share with one another. For me, that’s specifically a community […]


I truly believe that social media and online communities can connect and inspire groups of people more than any other medium. If I could inspire any movement, it would be to create safe spaces within the social sphere that encourage users to genuinely connect and share with one another. For me, that’s specifically a community that allows young women and girls to share in their creative endeavors. We have made great strides, but women are still highly underrepresented in the arts and this is partly because young men and boys are often less criticized for their artistic work and therefore less afraid to share it. By establishing communities for women to encourage and mentor each other, we could build confidence and increase the presence of women in art spaces.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Taylor Moran, social media strategist at The Penny Hoarder. Taylor lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and loves the water and sunshine. She’s been working in digital marketing for five years and specifically in social media strategy for nearly four years. When Taylor isn’t working she enjoys reading, going to the dog park and cheering on the Florida Gators!


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’ve always loved storytelling and actually got my B.A. in English and Film Studies from the University of Florida. Throughout college, I spent a lot of time writing both fiction and non-fiction pieces and exploring careers in the film industry. It wasn’t until I spent a semester helping to organize and promote our school’s film festival that I began to think about marketing. That summer I took a digital marketing internship with a small organization where I wrote web and email copy and set up and created content for their social media accounts. I was hooked!

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

I have spent the last five years working in digital and social media marketing both full-time and as a freelancer for various organizations. I’ve also completed a Continuing Studies Digital Media & Marketing Certificate program from Duke University during this time. Now I work full time for The Penny Hoarder, leading our organic social media strategy. I also teach social media marketing classes to writers and bloggers through a local nonprofit, Keep St. Pete Lit.

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

I don’t know if this is necessarily a story, but the most interesting thing has been the impact you can have on people’s success as a marketer. In the last two to three years, I have become especially interested in offering digital marketing consulting to people who are at the beginning of their career. This applies to consultants looking for clients, artists trying to gain a following, and small businesses hoping to establish a consistent brand. A strong presence on social media, a weekly newsletter and an intuitive and well-built website can make a significant difference in someone’s success.

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?

Early in my career, I was absolutely terrified of having a PR crisis via social media. The organization I was working for was very niche and only well-known within its sector. However, I still spent a lot of time worrying about and preparing for the possibility that something I’d post would anger the social masses and go viral. One fateful day my fear came true. I posted a video regarding a new product on LinkedIn and several of our followers immediately started complaining it was misleading. My boss called me panicked and something amazing happened: I became incredibly calm and quickly suggested we ask our chief marketing officer for a quick quote to clarify and rectify the situation. Sure enough, our followers felt satisfied with the explanation and the whole debacle was over as quickly as it began. So, I guess the funny/silly part of all of it was worrying so much about how the members of the social sphere may react to any given thing. Social media is a vast and diverse space and if you spend too much time trying to anticipate how people will receive what you post, you’ll miss a lot of opportunities to be authentic and build deeper connections.

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’ve worked in several sectors and I’ve seen different results for each, but I would have to say that when working in B2B I’ve found LinkedIn — both organically and with paid advertising — to be the most effective for increasing business.

In a B2C atmosphere, I’d have to go with Instagram (and not just because that’s the subject of this interview!) In my experience, Instagram offers the most opportunity to get in front of new eyes in an authentic way. The algorithm punishes those using hashtags that aren’t relevant to their content, which encourages people to be cautious and thoughtful about the hashtags they’re using (read: minimal growth hacking). I also have noticed that the emphasis on images produces a stronger emotional tie and establishes trust quickly and effectively — when done well, of course.

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. Use hashtags. Studies consistently show that Instagram accounts that use seven to 10 hashtags have more followers and get higher engagement rates than other accounts. When I began working with bloggers just starting out, I noticed how many never included any hashtags. What they didn’t realize is that without hashtags your post appears only in the feeds of your followers. Hashtags are key to gaining valuable new followers by tapping into feeds of those interested in topics similar to what you post about.
  2. Post in stories consistently. Instagram Stories now has over 400 million daily users. Stories are featured at the very top of the Instagram feed and are cut off after 10 seconds — meaning they are the first thing users see and require a minimal time investment (on your end and the viewer’s). This is a quick and easy way to post new content for your followers every single day.
  3. Engage with others in your niche. Whether it’s other businesses or individual influencers, commenting on another account’s post shows the Instagram algorithm that you are looking to build meaningful relationships on the platform, which results in the algorithm amplifying your account’s reach. Not to mention, if your comment on a popular account attracts a lot of comments or likes, that’s increased exposure for you!
  4. Put a link in your bio. Posting day-in-day-out is great for community building and reach, but without a link in your bio section you have no way of driving conversions. If you think of your Instagram account in terms of a marketing funnel, posting branded and helpful content regularly is a top-of-funnel action.It allows you to acquire followers and move the followers you have down the funnel, i.e. closer to becoming a client/customer. To move them all the way to the bottom of the funnel and convert them to a customer, it is essential you provide an obvious place for them to go to take that action. This means including a link to your website or a using a service like Link Tree in your bio and instructing followers to go to that link in every caption.
  5. Respond to comments. This tip goes back to the Instagram algorithm. Since Instagram wants to promote genuine and meaningful connection, it prioritizes accounts that actually engage with the comments their followers leave on their posts. In fact, the word on the street is that responding to comments on your posts within an hour of the comment being left is an especially significant action and signals to Instagram that your account’s reach should be further amplified.
  6. Create a unique and consistent branded presence. As we all know, Instagram is a visual platform, and this emphasis on visuals has left a number of brands and users scratching their heads about the best approach. While Instagram may have started as a place to share photos, many accounts are now turning to graphics and text-heavy visuals to better communicate their mission or inspire their followers. Here at The Penny Hoarder, we are fortunate to have amazing designers who can create quote cards that offer financial tips and inspiring quotes in a visually appealing way. However, if you don’t have a team of designers at your disposal, look to online tools like Canva to create visuals that stick to a consistent color scheme, font and stylized look.

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 truly believe that social media and online communities can connect and inspire groups of people more than any other medium. If I could inspire any movement, it would be to create safe spaces within the social sphere that encourage users to genuinely connect and share with one another. For me, that’s specifically a community that allows young women and girls to share in their creative endeavors. We have made great strides, but women are still highly underrepresented in the arts and this is partly because young men and boys are often less criticized for their artistic work and therefore less afraid to share it. By establishing communities for women to encourage and mentor each other, we could build confidence and increase the presence of women in art spaces.

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 🙂

Elizabeth Gilbert, hands down. Eat, Pray, Love changed my life when I was 17. So much so that on my 18th birthday I got a tattoo with a quote from the book, “live harmoniously amid extremes.” Years later, when I was feeling as though I was in a creative rut, I read Big Magic and once again her words changed my life. Her commitment to being authentic and creative, grounded yet ambitious, and supportive and empowering embodies everything I hope to someday be.

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

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