#124 - In this week's episode of Subscription Box Basics, you will meet Mandy Emerson, an Instagram Coach and Strategist and also the founder of The Fierce Social Society.
Mandy will help us understand how Instagram Reels can help you be known and grow your business. So grab your pen and paper now and list down all her tips and strategies.
LINKS AND RESOURCES
So you wanna launch a subscription box and don't know where to start. Girl, you are in the right place. I'm Julie Ball, a subscription box coach, and your host here at subscription box basics, a podcast for new and aspiring subscription box entrepreneurs that want to avoid overwhelm. So grab a coffee, some pen and paper, and let's have some fun. Hey everybody. Welcome back to subscription box basics. Today, we are talking about Instagram. Reels, love them or hate them. They are here to stay and they play a big role in your marketing. And so this is definitely not my zone of genius. So I brought my friend, Mandy Emerson onto the podcast. She is an Instagram coach and strategist. She helps female entrepreneurs grow their business, using Instagram and get this. You guys. She grew her audience to more than 90,000 followers collectively just using reels. And she is going to give us the scoop today. Welcome Mandy.
Yay. Thank you so much for having me. I'm super excited to be on your podcast. So thank you so much.
Yes. And guys, if you haven't heard of her podcast, I was just on her podcast as well. So we did a little podcast swap. If the story of how we met, you need to go check out her podcast. Where can we find that one?
The fear social podcast on all podcasts, listening to all the players? Yes. All, all the places it's everywhere.
Awesome. Okay. So many of my listeners won't um, know, you don't know you already, so let's start there. Do a quick introduction of yourself. Yeah.
Yes. Perfect. Okay. So like Julie said, my name is Mandy Emerson. I'm an Instagram coach and strategist. I actually have a background in theater performing. I used to, um, be in musical theater. I grew up a singer. I was also on cruise ships before I moved to the Midwest. I met my husband on a cruise ship. That's like a whole another love. Love that for another day. I know it's so it's so fun. Um, I'm gonna pitch it to hallmark someday. Hopefully we'll pick it up, but, um, which ultimately brought me to the Midwest. I kind of really condensed version. I kind of lost my identity a little bit because I had been a performer in singer for so long. And then I wasn't doing that. Um, I did find another love within cosmetics and makeup. I've always loved that. I actually discovered that while I was on cruise ships, um, started working in the cosmetic industry.
Then I started learning more and more about social media and I was always again, always into social media. So that was always in the background with content creation. Um, very specifically YouTube. I did like makeup tutorials on YouTube Uhhuh. Um, which a lot of people actually don't know that about me. Um, I just dove right into it. I don't, I was the most unqualified, but here I was like, this is how you contour. I've never done this day in my life. It was an absolute joke, but it was so fun. I, I love doing it. Um, but that really was the start of my love for video content. Um, so when the pandemic happened, um, I unfortunately lost my position with the cosmetic company that I was with, but it was just this, uh, silver lining of, okay, we're gonna do the social media thing.
We're gonna just go for it. And I just like threw spaghetti at the wall to see what might stick. I was talking about makeup and beauty. I was talking about some Instagram things, cuz I was very much, uh, in, in market research and educating myself on how I could use this platform to grow an income. Um, so I was learning all of this myself to use for myself, sharing it. I was also sharing, um, newly we advice again, like I don't know who I think I am trying to give advice on things that I don't have that much experience in. I was just trying to speak from things that I knew. Those are the things that I was currently experiencing. I was a newly wed, um, October, 2019, which is crazy to think that like I got my wedding in before the craziness of 2020 before it right before.
It's crazy. Um, divine timing, I tell you. But my love for video content creation really played a factor when reels came in the game and it was just like, it was already in my wheelhouse. So I was one of the early adopters of that new feature, even though TikTok had been around, I knew that Instagram was gonna come in the play in, into the playing field. So I was like, I'm not gonna try and go learn another platform.I don't blame you. Wait, I'm gonna wait until Instagram comes out with it. Cause I know they're going to, they did. I was an early adopter, my reach, my exposure like skyrocketed. And so did my business of being an Instagram coach. I quickly found out people need help growing a following an audience, an influence. And I found my little, um, niche within female entrepreneurs.
I found a love for growing a business. I have a couple businesses myself. So now I feel like I'm a serial business owner. I just love it. It's so stink. Welcome to the club. It's just so stinking fun. Um, so really that's my background is quite like a, a windy road, but honestly I wouldn't have it any other way, but uh, reals has been quite the contributing factor to my growth big time for sure. Nice. And then you have a membership based around that, right? Yes. Yes. So I launched a membership in, um, January of this year really is my everything framework. I call it my FSS framework, which is the fear of social society. Um, that is my framework for using Instagram to grow your business. These are like the, the absolute bare basics that I think a lot of people skim over because they're so enamored with virality and having the next like viral real and you know, doing what all these big wigs are doing and what needs to happen is the actual basics of marketing and business strategy not what's the next viral trend or what sound can I hop on or what like dance challenge can I do? That's not a strategy. right. And I that's that's and I'm trying to help contribute to let's just get these bare bones down. Yeah. And then you'll be good to go. And then you got this solid foundation. So that's really what the membership is, um, centered around, um, having those basics, that really strong foundation so that you can use Instagram with confidence when building your business.
Okay. So let's dive deeper in that. Like I know that some people listening are gonna have their arms crossed saying, well, why should I use reels for business? I'm not a performer. You know? So let's talk about like, why, why should we even use reels?
I love that. You said too, I'm not a performer because I do get that question. And the first thing I wanna say is like, there are a lot of people that aren't performers that are just like killing it on real. So no, you do not have to be like this. Perfect, whatever on reals, people want real and authentic. And they just
There's your permission slip, right?
Humans. Yes. Yes, yes, yes. And the reason that you wanna be using reels or any type of video content, any type, I mean, I hope Instagram's not listening to me because I love you so much Instagram, but any kind of video content, whether it's on tic TAC or YouTube or Pinterest with pin ideas, video marketing content is the way of the future. Whether you like it or not. And I really want you to like it because it's really fun when you get in it. But the exposure is just like exponential. Um, it, it just is the way we're, we're headed doesn't mean that you can't grow without it. There's plenty of businesses that are not doing it. Um, but hot dang, is it really fun to do? First of all, but the exposure you're getting, the organic exposure you're getting is like far none to what we used to have to do with those static photos. And you know, all the other things that we were doing on the side now with video content, you're, you're not only reaching more people, but like you're, you're getting even more business than you were before.
So the algorithm is rewarding. You when you play with video, right?
Yes, yes. The, the algorithm or I, I almost like, I always like to equate it back to cosmetics cuz I, I, again, I love makeup in, in that industry, but you think about when a cosmetic company comes out with a brand new product, they wanna feature people wearing that product. They're not going to go they're, you know, from time to time, they're gonna say, oh, we got this hidden gem and don't forget about her, but check out this brand new lipstick. We just came out with the colors, this, the features, this they wanna feature because they want it to be successful so any new feature that comes out with Instagram, I highly encourage that. You just hop on it, don't ask any questions, make it really messy because Instagram's gonna push you out further than everybody else.
Yeah. And it doesn't have to be perfect. I know the first few reels, like I've got a bunch of reels, not like anything that went viral, but like some you could tell at the beginning, I'm just testing it out and I got better and better. I'm not saying I'm great at reels by any means. Right. But I just, like I've said this before on my podcast, like I lowered my bar and I'm just like, you know what done this better than perfect. Let's just go for it. So yeah. Don't be scared. And um, if, and, but I, I have to say though, too, like as a marketer, you have to go where your customers are.
Yes. Meet, meet them where they're at. Exactly.
So when you were talking about just like video marketing in general, maybe it's not Instagram, maybe it's Pinterest or maybe it's YouTube. So you need you guys when you're listening to this, make that decision. But think about it from a video perspective
Too. Right. But
I know Instagram's your jam. So let's talk more about that and tell us like what type of reels are doing well right now as we're recording this, this is yes. Um, the end of April, 2022.
Uh, okay. I'm so glad you asked this question because I'm so excited about my answer for it. Good. Cause things there's been such a strong shift in what's working on the app and it's great news for everybody. Oh good. You are not a fan of like the pointing reels, you know, pointing at things on your screen, you feel like a goof. Um, I like 'em I think they're kind of funny cause you're like, yeah, you it's almost like a music video, right? Like I get into that stuff, but I understand that's not everybody's jam. It's fine. Right? Dancing challenges. Um, crazy transitions, even lip syncing. If those just are so aggravating for you, I have the best news for you. The content that is doing the best on this platform right now is speaking, is you talking to the camera and storytelling or educating. It's just you talking it's original content that is what's being pushed out even further and even more, uh, more solid. Uh, what am I trying to say? How I can solidify this is Adam messai came out with a video recently and said they are going to be prioritizing and ranking original content over everything else does not mean to stop making, you know, the, the lips sync ones or the transition ones. If you enjoy making those, I, I still encourage you to do that because you can still add value with those types of
Reels and connect you. Exactly.
Mm-hmm <affirmative> absolutely. And you can make people laugh with some of those reels. Mm-hmm <affirmative> like, I love to make people laugh with lip syncing ones. Um, but the original content where, what it comes down to is Instagram wants to make sure that they're prioritizing their creators, which I'm all for it. I mean, if you guys are busting your butts to work your business, make content, all the things you should be getting the credit you deserve. And it comes down to just that original content mm-hmm <affirmative> and you just talking to your phone, talking to the camera mm-hmm <affirmative> so if you don't like all the other things, great news. Now all you gotta do is say, Hey, wanna learn how to do this. I got three tips for you. Boom, boom, boom. Those three tips, check the caption for details or check the link for my newest, whatever. That's it. That's what's getting pushed out to people that even more right. Isn't that so exciting.
Let's shoot from the hip here real quick. So everyone listening is going to be a new or aspiring subscription box business owner. So we could have a video of an open box and say my favorite item from the may 20, 22 box is this. And here's how I use it. And then show that. And that would be an example of original content for a subscription box. Right.
Oh, brilliant. Love that.
Yes. Okay. And so real quick, are there, is there like a sweet spot in timing? Like should it be 15 seconds, 30 seconds? Like, is there a sweet spot or is it just vary?
I would actually say that that varies. That's such a good question because it depends on changes you're yeah, it does. And it depends on what your content is. If you're educating or if you're showing a tutorial, the, the length isn't necessarily as, um, important, uh, it could be the full 60 seconds. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I do have a few that I'm talking to the camera, I'm just talking and educating on something and they usually take up the full 60 and those do really well. And then I just released another one that I'm actually testing to see how well this does, but it's my own sound bite. So for other people, it's going to be a lip sync Uhhuh, but it's my original audio still. So it, it does benefit me the, the majority of it. Um, so this is a tactic that other people can do, but it is like five seconds, if not less, cuz it's just me reacting to tree cutters.
I had outside my window, I was, I was filming something. Okay. And then, you know, these landscapers came outta nowhere and I'm like, do we have to do this now? Do we, can we wait? No. Okay. So it was in this video and I thought it was just so stink and funny and I might just think I'm more funny than I <laugh> actually am, but I grabbed that little piece and it's like four seconds long and I'll, I'll see how it does. Yeah. Um, they say that the shorter, the real, the better, because attention spans are so tiny but it, again, it de it depends on the content that you're doing. So if it's educational, if it's a tutorial or if you're saying like what you said with the box, like my favorite item in the may box or it, it all depends on the, the hook of it, but yeah, if you're it just, yeah, I guess it just really depends. So if it's short and sweet, it's great. If you're educating and you can capture their attention, I think you should still be good there too.
Yeah. So like the, the hook, but also like the value and it's about not just rambling on like actually giving them something like meaty, you know? Yes,
Yes. Have that hook right at the beginning. So when somebody's scrolling by, it makes them stop. It's you have to see this item that I got in my box this this month, like, wow. Oh yeah. Yeah. Okay. I wanna see it. Yes we did. Can you believe this came in my box or can you believe that this is like out there you need this tech item in your life. Like if you're making it really exciting or it's like, you have to have this or stop your scroller, you're not gonna believe this Uhhuh. You have to get them to stop. What would make you stop? Think about that. And then there you go. There's your hook.
So one time we did a, um, real for a, with a spoiler alert and it was just plain at the beginning, like just plain, um, probably a pink background. And it had text that said, keep watching for a sneak peek or keep watching for a spoiler. And I think at like second, like 10 or 15, we had an image of the book that was gonna be in the next month's box. And so that's another example of totally, you know, a really easy real, we didn't, I didn't have to do any video work, like face like face to face video work. Yeah. It was, you know, just text on the screen. It had music and then at the end it had a photo.
Yeah. Wait for it. You won't believe this. Yeah. Yeah. I love that. That's so wait, wait
For it. <laugh>
Wait for it. Those always get me and mom always like I'm waiting,
And then if nothing happens, I am so bitter. I'm like, you just took seven seconds out of my life. I'll never get that back. And I loathe you
Have you seen those videos on Facebook that are meant to do that? They're like watch to the end to see this amazing birthday cake I made. And I, I watched one the whole way to the end and it was a disaster and it was, I was so angry because it was a trick like at the end, the cake
Felt for that one. Yeah,
You did too. Okay.
I was like, when does this get better? Does it get better? Yes. It's not getting better. I'm getting to the end of the video. What's happening. Are you joking?
And then I'd like fast forward through it. And I'm like, come on. I don't know what is going on with that trend. Like people trying to trick you, you
Click it's click based. It's I mean, people do it. People still do it to this day. I mean, you see these like crazy headlines in, not even in the news, but like these gossip columns and these, you know yeah. It's click bait. Yeah. They do it on YouTube with their thumbnails so they're like, can you believe we did this? And it's like, they literally went into target with slippers. Like it's not anything profound. You're like, are you
I know. Okay. I digress. Let's get back to
Here. Okay. So yes, a lot of people listening they're they're gonna wanna try this out. So let's talk about, um, you mentioned to me previously that you wanna share the three biggest mistakes to avoid when doing reels. So let's dive into that and then give us some like first steps.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. So the three mistakes are more, so three things that you just wanna make sure you have ready to go. So, so this is a part of the tips to just maximize and make your real work for you at the best it can be. Um, so definitely always wanna add captions if you, especially if you're talking always, always wasn't at always wanna add captions because over 75% of the users on Instagram are listening without the sound. Um, and you also wanna be inclusive of those that are hearing impaired and that's really important too. Okay. Um, but just make sure that you have captions because people also are iPatient, it just will maximize your visibility and the watch time. Um, so make sure you have those captions, whether you type them out or the auto captions. Um, I see this happen and I, and I'm not sure if it's on purpose or I, or if people are trying to do something like cool with the border, but sometimes you can, um, pinch the video so that it creates that, um, weird border that's around it. Okay. You don't wanna do that. You want your video to take up the whole entire screen, so you don't wanna create weird borders or, you know, create a wonky, something or other some what you do in stories to make it, you know, fun or you know, different you don't wanna do that in reals. You want it to take up the whole screen. Okay. So
You'd wanna then record vertically on your phone if you're recording it on your phone.
Yeah. You, so if you are taking something that's horizontal, so maybe you were doing something for YouTube or another platform, you wanna make sure that the crop, if you are going to repurpose that content, which is super smart, by the way, you wanna make sure that that vertical crop is going to still make sense. It's not gonna be like crazy blurry. It's not gonna be like crazy up close of your face. You wanna still, you don't want cut or
Things cut out that are important,
Right? Yes, exactly. No cutting off heads. That's we don't want that here. So make sure that that crop still makes sense. Um, and then I would say that the third portion, if you're doing, um, if you're doing the talking reels, like you're coming on to say, you're not gonna believe what was in my box when you film those, take them in clips when you're doing it on the reels app, or if you're filming in the actual Instagram app itself, take them in clips. So it's not one long video. Right? So take it in clips. Know what you're gonna say ahead of time, either practice that or have it written down in your notes so that, you know, the one sentence, keep it to one sentence or maybe two at a time, but they need to go right after the other. So you don't want it to be like, you are not gonna believe, um, what was in my box.
no, one's gonna, first of all, are you even excited about what's in YourCause if you don't sound excited, your viewer not gonna sound excited, you don't have to get like crazy, like you're all hyped up, but you just wanna make sure that that sentence is connected together and you wanna create tight edits. And what I mean by that is when you take them in clips, you wanna erase any dead space so you'll notice that between your clips, there's kind of a pause at the beginning. When you start recording, like press record, cuz Instagram's um, filming system still has that little bitty glitch that when you start recording, if you start talking right away, it'll cut off the first like millisecond. So press record for a second and then start talking. When you go back in to edit those clips, edit the beginning of the clip, right?
To when you start opening your mouth to say the word, not it being a pause, you want each clip to go from one word to the next. So it kind of looks like you're not breathing but it, the, what this creates is a, I can't look away. I don't wanna miss anything FOMO effect and that will increase your watch time. Um, but create it like they're gonna wanna watch it again, cuz they might have missed something like holy crap. She just did that so fast. That was so interesting. I need to watch that again. Um, okay. So I would say that those are like my best three things that basics of what you wanna do when you're doing, um, talking reels like that. Um, and one little extra tidbit that I'm testing out to, and I would love for you guys to test out with me is when you're doing original audio, you actually have the ability to rename the audio.
So instead of it just saying original audio, you could either name it to be what that video is about. So when people search for it, they're gonna find your video. I'm also testing out my niche. So I'm an Instagram business coach. Uh, so I've been putting in that field IG business coach. So it'll say, you know, Mandy Emerson, Instagram business coach. So when they go to that audio page, they're gonna see that at the top um, so play around with the test it, but definitely change it from original audio to something catchy that somebody would maybe search for. Yeah. Um, or maybe your niche and yeah. See what happens.
Ooh, that's interesting. You'll have to keep us posted on that. Yeah. So I have a confession to make, I'm not savvy in the Instagram app, but I usually record, um, right on my phone. And then I use an app called video leap.
Video leap allows me to do like quick edits on the fly. Yeah. And um, one of the things I had to learn the hard way and you probably, if you go to either of my Instagram for sparkle hustle grow or subscription box boot camp, you'll probably see one or two of the reels are blurry because I have them in the wrong aspect ratio. Oh, you know what I'm talking about? Like it was, it, it was, I don't know, did I, I do like four to three or something like that, which one of the standard settings in video league. So it's really easy for me now when I go in there and I go to edit a video, I just click that. Um, but yeah, video leap for me is where my comfort zone is. And then I can just save it from video leap and then add it into, um, into the Instagram app. It's sometimes challenging if there's that lip sync function, but I don't do a ton of that type of work anyhow. Sure. But um, yeah, video leap, if you guys are nervous about actually recording in the Instagram app, because you're afraid something's accidentally gonna go alive or you're gonna lose it or whatever, like lose the actual footage or whatever, um, try video leap, you can just play around with it. It's it's been my favorite app for it.
Yeah. I'm so glad you said that. Cause there's a couple perks to filming outside of the Instagram app because God forbid your app crashes and then all of your work disappears. That is probably the worst thing in all the land. And that has totally happened to me before. But you can, if you're filming outside the app, you film in your camera, you can take that long video and then take it into something like video leap. I love to use, um, an app called splice, but you can take out those, um, spaces and you can just cut them out and, and delete them. Um, but the other thing about it is when you edit outside the app, um, you can repurpose it so much easier to because you're not worried about watermarks. The only thing that I would encourage if you are repurposing is make sure that you're not adding text from those that video leap or splice use the features that are native to the app that you're using. So with Instagram, use their text with TikTok, use their right. So, okay. I love being able to, to film. I think that's a great tip too. Um, so that you do always have that extra file, cuz again, God forbid you like lose all your work and you're like, seriously, I just lost half a day of my content batching, which is like, oh, it's the worst. But then you can repurpose, uh, really easily. And now you're, you know, working smarter, not harder.
That's right. That's right. Awesome. Well, I hope you guys have taken some good, um, notes here and gotten some nuggets of information. Yeah. Um, I am super excited to see any reals that our listeners do. So feel free to tag us at subscription box bootcamp. Yes. I wanna go
See 'em I wanna go see 'em all and give you all the love support
Mandy. There was one other thing I wanted to ask you, and this was kind of off the cuff. You had talked to me about col like, is it called collaboration or partnership or something like that? Yeah. Um, cause I'm imagining, um, our box, like our listeners that own boxes partnering, um, reels with their vendors. So say yeah, I put in a planner of someone else's and then I it's more than just tagging them. Right. It's it's it's deeper than that.
Ugh. It's the collaboration feature. So I'm so glad you brought this up. This is such a fun feature to use with your vendors or uh, you know, however giveaways with um, yeah. Giveaways or if you're, uh, using an influencer or brand ambassador type program this is also great to, um, when you are getting ready to post your real, your you've added your caption you've um, you know, put in your location or whatever you wanna do. There is an option to tag people. You wanna tap that feature and it's gonna open either tag or collaboration. You wanna choose collaboration if you want the real to show up on two different accounts. I do this all the time with my two accounts, the fear of social society, which is for my membership and then my personal, which is the Mandy Emerson. Um, I actually just did that today. I posted something on the FSS account, collaborated with myself, the Mandy Emerson so it will show up on both of our profiles, giving you that much more exposure. You're getting double exposure versus just tagging someone just says, Hey, you're tagged in this reel. Just like you would tag somebody in a post. Um, but this is great. Love it for more exposure. Um, and then both of you have the real on both of your accounts. Mm-hmm
yeah. And I'm imagining right now, like with sparkle hustle grow, we have a book in every single box. And if I just reached out to the author of each book and said, we're posting this real, um, do they get a notification then that says they're trying to tag, okay. How does that work? So how do we communicate that with the other person?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So you just wanna make sure that you have a time set up that you, that you know, that it's gonna go live, um, so that the other person can approve the request. So if you were to do a collaboration, um, with me you posted it on your account. So you were the sole owner of that. Um, and then I will get a DM. It comes in the DMS right now for, you know, the time of when we record this episode, it's it's coming through your DM. So I will get a DM from sparkle hustle grow and it will be, you know, they have requested that you are a collaborator on this reel. I will click review and then I'll click accept or I can click to decline. I don't think I would decline, but click accept. And then it'll show up on my profile.
And both of you at the same time, both of us at the same time can be commenting and answering people if I were to ever wanna take the, um, because you know, you can take reals off your main grid, just so they're on your real feed if you were the collaborator with somebody, if, if you were posting the reel and you were collaborating with me, if I were to take it off my feed, unfortunately there's not a function where it just goes to my Reel's grid. It will take it off my grid completely. So just keep that in mind, if you want to, if you don't necessarily wanna keep that reel on your feed for the long term, um, that it will take it off completely for you having that, um, real you have the ability to have it on your main grid and your Reel's grid, if that makes sense. Yeah.
Yeah. That sounds so cool. And that's definitely a feature that we are going to try out. So, yeah. Right. So if someone's interested in learning more about reels, where can they follow and find you?
Yes, Instagram is the name of the game. That is where I live, eat, breathe, sleep nap, all the things I everything's on Instagram, uh, the Mandy Emerson is my personal account. Um, and then the fear of social society is, uh, form a membership and that's really geared towards highlighting the other members in, um, the fear society of membership. So,
Ugh, I love it. Thank you so much for sharing all of this. And I just wanna encourage everyone that's listening to not put your, not put pressure on yourself when it comes to try to have fun with it. Um, yes. Think back, listen, back to this episode, if you need a refresher on some of these tactics we've been talking about and just, just give it a try.
I agree. Yes. If I can say really quickly, what I would love to see from a subscription box is I wanna see behind the scenes, everybody wants to see behind the scenes. So like do a SP up video of, of getting the box put together the fun stuffings. Maybe you blur out some of the things that are going then there. I mean that might get a little techy, but show us the behind the scenes of what, what thoughts go into creating these boxes? Cause if you, if you don't necessarily wanna be on camera, you don't have to be. I have plenty of one-on-one clients that don't show their face at all. They're just showing like the behind the scenes of how their products are made. Love it. And they are booming. So you guys can do the exact same thing, but show them behind the scenes and then even get some of your influencers or open boxes. That's super fun. Everybody loves to open boxes. Come on. So description boxes like they're, everybody's love language. I don't care. Happy meal. Everybody loves to get happy meal. Yes.
Awesome. Okay. Well, we'll make sure to put all those links in the show notes. So if you guys wanna connect with Mandy, um, you will have that information. Thank you again for spending time with me and spill in the beans on all things Instagram. You bet. Thanks for having me. All right, everybody. Thank you for tuning in today and I'll see you in the next episode.