Instagram Expert Q&A: Sue B. Zimmerman

Posted by Dana Kilroy on 10 Jun 2015 / 0 Comment

As everyone in the social media marketing universe is aware, Instagram use among businesses is on the rise (we happen to love our new Instagram-campaign-building option!) but not everyone has figured out the recipe for Insta-success.

Sue B. Zimmerman has! That’s why today we are thrilled to have a Q&A with Sue, where she shares must-do Instagram tips, based on her own experience as a business owner.

That’s why today we are thrilled to have a Q&A with Sue, where she shares must-do Instagram tips, based on her own experience as a business owner.

Ready to learn about how to use IG for your business? Read on!

What are some challenges facing businesses that want to establish a presence on Instagram (especially if they’re not product-oriented, fashion, style, etc.)?

Having a cohesive branded look and feel on Instagram seems to be challenging for a lot of businesses. If you are going to play in the Instagram sandbox, It’s very important to share visual content that aligns with your product, business or services. If your images are confusing at first glance, it will be challenging to attract your ideal followers.   Using creative third-party apps or easy desktop applications like PicMonkey and Canva to create branded images is the solution.

Often business owners feel stuck when they try to think of the kinds of content to create.  Content simply needs to be exciting, educational, entertaining, or inspiring….. in other words touch an emotional cord and give VALUE.

What are some businesses you think are doing a great job using the platform for marketing purposes?

Here’s a look at a few that have caught my eye (these screenshots show the new IG desktop view, BTW):

• @thedrybar

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• @socialps

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• @canva

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• @beautifuldestinations

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• @social_studio

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• @celtics

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• @simplegreensmoothies

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• @onlyinsf

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• @ps.ny

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Can you share a few basic tips for businesses that are just getting set up? For example: What’s the most important information to get in your bio? How often should you change the logo image?

Logo image

Your profile picture will display as 110 x 110 pixels in the mobile app. However, the profile picture will appear slightly larger on web so it is suggested you upload an image that is 180 x 180 pixels to maintain a high quality image in both settings.

I think the logo image should match to your other social media platforms so people will recognize it and connect to it.  I actually don’t recommend changing out because people get use to your avatar every time you comment and engage.

Here are 3 of my #SueBTips (more on the hashtag later!):

1. If your logo is a photo of your, make sure you use a professional picture, not one that is poorly cropped.
2. Use bright solid backgrounds to stand out from the crowd.
3. Get creative with props that align with the brand to get extra attention

• For example, if you teach fitness hold a barbell like @nikkipebbles or if you teach visual content use 3D glasses like Donna Moritz @sociallysorted

People like to see a smilin’ face more than a logo on Instagram especially if you are the person behind the brand.


• Your user name should match up to your twitter handle or your business name or your name if you are the brand
• If you can’t get your first choice there are “workarounds”

Here are a few:

• Use an underscore @jenns_trends
• Use dots @suebdo.capecod
• Add the letters TV  @lifeonfiretv
• Add a dotcom @salfrancesdotcom
• Add I am @IamMichaelPort

Here are some examples:

• @theinstagramexpert – The Instagram Expert is Sue B.
• @JillaBoudreau – Luxury Property Specialist
• @Immersephotography – Cyrissa, your photographer
• @freshfitandfearless – Healthy Living
• @boldbrandfast – Rob Russo Designer Blogger
• @ps.ny – fluff | art | lifestyle

You have up to 150 characters you can use in your Bio – use keywords in your Bio that are the words your ideal customer would use to find you.

• Use Emojis to add flair,  color and punch and save on characters.

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• Separate the lines by formatting in notes on your iPhone to make it easier to read

Have a Call to Action (CTA)

For example:

• Click here
• Grab this
• Download Here
• New on YouTube
• Sign up Here

• Strategically use the Geotag.

• Create a mock geotag by turning off the privacy setting.
• This could be a stand out creative call to action

Go to Settings -> General-> Privacy -> Off

• Create a link instead of the standard URL so you can track your Instagram success
• Make the customized so it is more memorable

We all know the frustrations of having one link in the bio — have you found a great workaround for this?

Well….I’ve recently noticed companies using to make campaigns that link from the bio to a landing page that houses a variety of content (photos, video, PDFs, etc.). All you have to do is prepare the content you want your followers to see and using visibility settings set it to reveal when your Instagram posts go live. It’s really easy to update the landing page and you can leave the link in your bio alone.

Here’s an example.

Link in bio:

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And here’s what you see when you click through (bonus: each piece of content can have its own tracking link):

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You recommend developing a “hashtag strategy,” but can you give us a couple of details about what this means?

Use Hashtags that are keywords your ideal client would use to search and find you.  The hashtags are essentially how you will most often be discovered by accounts outside of your immediate community.

People look for keywords associated with what they need or want.  If you use those hashtags they will find YOU.

It’s important to use niche hashtags more than the popular ones that move quickly through a feed and disappear preventing easy discovery.

For example; one of our clients @juicekeys who has a brick and mortar store in North Carolina was struggling with a strategy that would help grow their account and also get more people in the door at their store.

Here are some of the hashtags Kelly uses that have helped her account grow to over 25K followers in 6 months!:

#organic #glutenfree #dairyfree #soy free are popular hashtags and move fast.

The next layer is to get more specific about the business which falls under Holistic Health.  So these hashtags worked better and created more sustainable visibility because they related to “let food be thy medicine”:

#foodshare #diyfood #eatfamous #healthyfoodie

And then they added hashtags SPECIFIC to @juiekeys

#juicekeys #juicekeysrecipes

And finally GEO TAGS

#shoplocalraleigh #raleighncc

What is the “right” ratio of photos and other images to video?

I don’t think there is a right or wrong amount…the best measure of success is how your followers respond and engage. So test it out and adjust based on those observations of what is working for YOUR account.  You can use Iconosqare to monitor and analyze your activity.

Personally, I like to do a video every 10-15 posts.

What are your favorite tools for making Instagram content better?

I love the following apps:

Rhonna Designs

I also like using the tools available right in the Instagram app….especially the brighten tool and the sharpen tool so my pictures are always bright and sharp

What is your “commenting strategy” for Instagram? How is it different from other social platforms?

I try to never leave a comment behind!

I know this is time-consuming, but Instagram is where we grow our community the fastest and we want to respond to every question and comment to make our followers feel connected and valued — even if that means simply acknowledging the comment.

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The same principles hold true for our company on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.  I think the best way to create authentic relationships is to engage in conversation.

Any other Instagram insider tips you care to share?

Value + Consistency (with a little personality) >> Builds Community

That’s it for now! Thanks for reading. If you have any tips you think I should know about, please leave a comment below!