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An Interview With The Author:
Q. Why did you write this book?
A. At Liberty Jane Clothing we had a blast when Pinterest came out. The traffic coming to our site was awesome. That led to my work on the Pinterest Power book and the marketingonpinterest.com blog. So that whole time we sort of ignored Instagram. I remember talking to a small business owner about Pinterest and he said, "actually we're getting better results with Instagram" and I thought - "woah, hold on, I better not ignore Instagram anymore". So I asked him what he was doing and I was impressed. We jumped into Instagram and started documenting our marketing strategy. That work led to this book.
Q. Who is the ideal reader for this book?
A. I write all my books for small business marketers. I try to find examples that corporate marketers can relate to as well, but my focus is supporting entrepreneurs. In this book I feature some really great marketers doing fantastic stuff on Instagram - I interviewed them and included the interviews in the book - so there is truly something for everyone. I also enjoy writing for the non-profit sector and I try to include a non-profit example or two in all my books.
Q. Is there one main secret or tip from the book you want to share?
A. The guts of this book really focus on 10 direct marketing strategies available to any marketer. That's the surprising thing - that Instagram works very well for direct marketing - meaning marketing that has a clear and compelling call-to-action. So my hope is that out of the 10 strategies we cover, there will be one or two that really click with every reader.
Q. So what's an example of one of the 10 ways a marketer can use Instagram for direct marketing?
A. I love using the example of the "visual product launch". It's one of the 10 direct marketing strategies we dive into very deeply in the book. Most marketers will be familiar with the idea of a product launch sequence - where you begin communicating with your core audience about a new product or service - building up anticipation, intrigue, and desire. Traditionally that has been done with email campaigns, and Jeff Walker popularized the concept of the video product launch. Many companies are using Instagram to do a version of this tried and true marketing work.
Q. How does a Visual Product Launch on Instagram work?
A. Well, the short answer is - you begin taking pictures or video and releasing them on Instagram systematically at the various stages of product development. You can see how we do this on our Instagram profile at instagram.com/libertyjaneclothing. For our work we start with the activity happening in the design of a new product, then the assembly of it, then the shipping and build interest and anticipation toward the day the item is available. I've even seen BMW using this method on Instagram - lots of people are doing it. So in the book I do a really deep dive into exactly how to do it.
Q. Isn't Instagram just for people in the 18-24 demographic?
A. No. I'm a 40-something guy and lots of my friends from Facebook are signing up for Instagram all the time. The user statistics are skewed toward the younger demo, but that changes as it scales, and Instagram recently announced they were over 150 million monthly users. If you ask a teenager what they are doing on their phone, they'll usually say Instagram, Snapchat, or Pinterest - or maybe Candy Crush. Facebook is totally over for them - at least for the teens in our area in Seattle.
Q. What's the connection between Instagram and the whole shift toward more visual content?
A. My theory is that Social Media 1.0 (MySpace, Facebook, Twitter) were mostly about conversations - about finding people and typing something back and forth. I think people are tired of that type of interaction. It's exhausting. Pinterest and Instagram are both "conversation light" and I think that's part of the appeal. There is no expectation of speaking - so you don't have to worry about constantly checking to see if you've got a new message you need to deal with - you just share images. It's easier.
Q. What does that shift to visual content mean for marketers?
A. In some ways it means that what was old (Print Advertising) is somewhat new again. Instagram and Pinterest are both fantastic platforms for a 21st century version of print ads. These are ads that marry a beautiful or intriguing picture with short, compelling copy. There is a science and well-worn direct marketing history to it. There are lessons from the great masters of Print Advertising that need to be learned and applied to Instagram and Pinterest. Books on those topics include the work of Joe Sugarman (The Adweek Copywriting Handbook) and David Ogilvy (Ogilvy On Advertising).
Q. Okay, last question - what's your next book about?
A. Youtube Marketing Power comes out in January 2014 and is a deep dive into how to do direct marketing on that platform. It was fun to write because Youtube was the first social network we got into when we started Liberty Jane Clothing. It's the platform we feel like we know the best - and interestingly, it's the biggest/best platform that still perplexes lots of small business marketers, and even big corporate marketers. We aren't a very big deal in Youtube, but we have over 11,000 subscribers and 2 million video views - so we've had some proven results. And of course, I interview a whole collection of awesome people doing great things in Youtube - so it was fun to write.