How to Use Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business:”Always check in at a location” With Alexander Onaindia co-founder and CEO of Distinction Agency and VP of Communications for Revolving Mind Media and Candice Georgiadis

Always check in at a location! Your followers want to know where that awesome picture was taken and your image will show up on that locations Instagram page, giving your post and page extra exposure. I had the pleasure of interviewing Alexander Onaindia. Alexander Onaindia is the co-founder and CEO of Distinction Agency and VP […]

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Always check in at a location! Your followers want to know where that awesome picture was taken and your image will show up on that locations Instagram page, giving your post and page extra exposure.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Alexander Onaindia. Alexander Onaindia is the co-founder and CEO of Distinction Agency and VP of Communications for Revolving Mind Media. Based in Miami, Alexander has developed strong relationships with Fortune 500 companies and global start-ups, marquee media, professional athletes and teams, social media influencers and non-profit organizations through innovative marketing and communications campaigns. Alexander has had clients featured on national media outlets including ESPN, Forbes, Good Morning America, O, The Oprah Magazine, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, The Today Show and The Wall Street Journal.

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

As an athlete and sports fan growing up, my dream was to be a professional athlete. I learned early on that was not going to happen for me despite my best efforts, however my desire to join the big leagues never faded. I always found myself consumed by the business of sports and marketing at a young age. I knew I had to break into the industry when I found myself more interested in reading Darren Rovell’s sports business columns instead of game recaps from beat writers. During my time at Florida State University, I interned with a sports PR firm that worked with collegiate teams and businesses that were involved with athletes. After that experience, I knew that marketing and PR was the path that I wanted to take.

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

When I first started my career, I’d say I was far from an authority in social media marketing. I was largely focused on PR and communications campaigns early on. As time has gone on and I’ve started my own business, I’ve realized the importance and reach of social media for businesses of all sizes. As we’ve built the Distinction Agency, we’ve leveraged the power of social media and direct messages to generate thousands of dollars in business for the agency and our clients. The great thing about social media is that it’s ever evolving and what worked last year most likely won’t work this year. Every day I continue to stay plugged into the industry, between being informed through trade-specific articles and attending key industry events — it’s important that my team and I remain at the forefront of an always changing landscape. As a team, we know that the difference between “scoring” for our clients or coming up short is how engaged we remain with the times, there’s always something to learn in social media and marketing in general. Even in today’s digital era, it can be much easier to initially connect with a brand or individual through social media rather than a traditional cold call or email.

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

Celebrating a large win for one of my clients at a Las Vegas club during CES and seeing one of my biggest role models right next to us partying, the very well-known businessman and reality TV star, Mark Cuban. It was a memorable night. Then, the the next evening, who do I stand next to in line at The Venetian and laugh about the night before with? Mark Cuban.

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? 

When I first started my professional career, I was intimidated by older generations telling me social media was only a bad thing and to hide everything. That couldn’t be worse advice! Social media is the most powerful networking tool in the world if used effectively. Whether it’s setting up an interview for a client through Twitter or signing a new client through Instagram, I see the positive benefits of social media almost every single day. The lesson I learned is that business constantly evolves. The most successful businessmen from 40 or 50 years ago would not be successful today if they approached business the same way they did back then. While I probably could be a bit further along my path today had I trusted my gut early on, it was a valuable lesson in patience and believing in yourself. Now fast forward to today, some of these same people are calling me for help and advice on their social media strategy. Can’t help but smile when that happens!

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? 

Instagram. The person largely responsible for me commiting to Instagram as a way to generate new business for our agency is Gary Vaynerchuk. By listening to Gary’s podcasts, reading his books and following his content, it opened my eyes to the power of the platform. For us, our Instagram page (@distinctionagency) is a constantly updating billboard of what we do, what we believe in, what drives us, and the awesome influencers and brands we work with. It has also been a huge driver of why we’ve been able to secure meetings with some very cool people. We’ve had influencers and brands message us saying they love our page and that it’s right in line with who they are as a company too. It’s nice when your social media page can win half the battle for you!

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.

  • Direct Messages-If you are effective with how you reach out, you can reach ANYONE through a DM. The first few clients of Distinction Agency all came from DMs and the majority of our business still does!
  • Influencer Marketing-When I connect with someone on Instagram about an influencer partnership, I typically ask if they want to move the discussion over to email. One of the first brands to work with one of our influencers made a generous offer on the spot without an email or phone call.
  • Instagram Stories-Instagram Stories have made Snapchat almost irrelevant and has given the public an inside view into the daily lives of their favorite athlete, celebrity or entrepreneur. When I first started negotiating influencer marketing partnerships, all brands cared about was posts on the influencers page. Currently, many brands are seeing more ROI from the stories than from a post on the influencers page. It’s been a major shift for the platform.
  • Instagram Live-Have you noticed how you get a notification when someone goes live on Instagram? That notification is key in driving people to a person’s Instagram Live.
  • Checking In-Always check in at a location! Your followers want to know where that awesome picture was taken and your image will show up on that locations Instagram page, giving your post and page extra exposure.
  • Instagram Advertising — You gotta spend money to make money, right? You can’t depend on solely your followers to convert into clients or help generate greater business. Sometimes you just need to place yourself in front of the right people! Every time we promote a new influencer, we put them in front of their target audience. Immediately, engagement skyrockets and the post gets shared even more due to effective targeting.

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. 🙂

If I could inspire any movement, it would be to challenge anyone with influence to reach out to someone who is currently struggling and help them in any way you can. You never know what a simple phone call, text or meeting can mean to someone who is struggling physically or emotionally. There’s no better feeling than helping someone who needs your help and giving them the tools or motivation to succeed.

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 🙂

Tough question. I’d have to say LeBron James business partner, Maverick Carter. LeBron went against the grain when he was drafted in the NBA, trusting his childhood friends to run his brand and business. Man, has that paid off for him. What Maverick and his team have been able to do for LeBron and his brand over the years has been remarkable. I think they are still scratching the surface of what they can and will accomplish.

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

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