Why I Use Instagram Stories and More Listener Questions
Hey, hey Bold Leaders. Welcome to another episode of The Bold Leadership Revolution Podcast. And I know I say this every episode, I say, "Oh, I'm so excited to be here with you today," but I truly, truly am. And today I'm even more excited if that's possible, because we have listener Q and A today. And this is really exciting to me, because this podcast is here for you, right. And so I love when people reach out and ask me questions that I can answer on the show.
So today we have three listener questions, and we're going to get right into them, because they are juicy and fun and exciting. I solicited these questions over on Instagram, and if you're not following me, I'm @thetaranewman.
I do Instagram Stories almost every day, and I solicited these questions over there, and someone asked me…
"Why do you use Instagram Stories so much? Feels like a waste to me, creating content that is gone in 24 hours."
And this is probably one of my favorite questions because there's a very intentional reason why I'm on Instagram Stories. So I'm going to share those reasons with you here.
First, I absolutely love Stories. I've been doing Instagram Stories for, I don't know, probably like a year and a half, and once I got started doing them I realized how I just love it. I'm just there for the joy of being there. It's the easiest way for me to get my thoughts out, to share value, maybe entertain you now and again with my gym shenanigans. I feel 100% real and in the moment when I'm on Stories, which I haven't felt in the past on any other platform. I really struggled with Facebook Lives. So, yeah, I just found my space, I found my spot. So that's why I'm there. I'm there for just the joy of being there.
However, market research, not done on Instagram... So I did some market research, not through Instagram because that would be bias, has told me a few things. Busy executives and business owners love to flip open Instagram when they're waiting for their kids at soccer practice, or on the swim deck at swim lessons, or even for 15 minutes at the end of the day. My audience loves how curated they can make the user experience on Instagram, and they are completely over the chaos of Facebook. They're over memes, they're over videos in their feed, they're over the ads, they're over... They're just like, they're over the politics, they're like, they're over all of it on Facebook. Additionally, when asked if they watch Facebook Lives or videos, the answer was, "If they're short."
As a matter of fact, my testing shows that my audience prefers a longer series of 15 second clips on Instagram Stories, over an Instagram Live or IGTV. Maybe my audience will throw on a quick YouTube video, but it's usually a tutorial or when they're looking to learn more about their hobbies, and not necessarily for business education or leadership development. My audience is 100% fatigued from all of the decisions weighing on them, their responsibilities. They want their content short and sweet. But really what IG Stories is to me, is a way to connect deeper via seeing my face and hearing my voice, without having to make a large time commitment. And I guarantee there will be value in a short period of time.
Basically, when it comes to IG Stories, I'm not messing around. Anything I put on Stories stays around for way more than 24 hours, because we repurpose it to the Grid and emails and use them for future promotional needs. I don't do anything fancy or overstylized, because who the heck has time for that? It takes me about 10 minutes max per day to create a valuable Instagram Story. It's the easiest place for me to follow the advice of Gary Vaynerchuk, who, when I heard his quote or comment or him talk about this, it hit me like a ton of bricks, because I've been creating content in the online space since I had a blog in 2012. And Gary V says, "Document, don't create." And once I made that shift, it changed everything for me. It changed how I showed up, it changed the value in the content that I was producing, it changed the time investment needed in doing it.
So if I'm on social media, I'm documenting, I'm not creating for social media. The only thing that I really put any creation time into is this podcast, and again it's very much documenting. For example, listener Q and A, that's documenting the questions that I got asked, and I'm simply answering them. So I document things that people are interested in learning, I document things that I've spoken to my clients about. But really I do put some creation time into the podcast. My favorite thing to use Instagram Stories for is also to test all my half-baked ideas and concepts, which leads me to the next question.
The next listener question is…
“How do you go from fear of getting bad feedback, asking questions of your audience, to doing this regularly? What was the process, how long did it take? Give tips and tricks.”
Alright. I understand this question, seriously. If you know me and follow me, I'm always asking for input, suggestions, feedback. I want to hear from people. I'm there to spark conversation. I'm there to engage. I'm there to be of service. And I don't believe in one-size-fits-all anything. I don't do blueprints or formulas, because what works for one person won't always work for the other person. If I want my programs and products to truly serve the needs of leaders, I need to understand what those needs are. So I better be asking questions, be seeking clarity, be having conversations. And that is one of the keys to my success in business, is that I listen, and I understand, and I iterate from that feedback.
But I wasn't always like this. I was actually terrified to ask questions and seek the opinions of others. Growing up, my mom always told me I was terrible at taking feedback, and I think I innately knew that your feedback isn't my truth. It's your experience of me, and often not representative of the full picture. But nonetheless, I had a story about not accepting feedback well. Once I looked at that belief that was given to me, versus the belief I actually have, it helped me move through this.
A great trick is to ask yourself, "Whose voice is this?" Marcus Buckingham had a great article in Harvard Business Review last month on the feedback fallacy, and he is a staunch supporter of the premise that I am not a source of truth about you. And we were having this conversation in The BRAVE Society during one of my CEO Debriefs, and someone asked for clarification. So I am not a source of truth about you. So when you get feedback, if your fear is that it's going to be negative or bad, just remember that that person is not a source of truth about you. This is not about you, this is about how you can be of better service, how you can offer your audience the best products.
Now, what it means when he says, "I'm not a source of truth about you," is... it really home for me when my son was practicing... he's on the mock trial debate team, and they had a practice debate, and they had an independent judge come in to judge them and give them feedback. So when they go and present their case during the competition, they will be better than they were that day. And because of the timing of things, not all students could show up, and so unfortunately my son wound up not being able to... he's an attorney in the mock trial debate team... and he wasn't able to present his case, he had to present the case of one of his peers who was not there. So it didn't really matter what he said, how he said it. The feedback that he got was not relevant to him, because it wasn't on his examination. So [Alistair 00:09:42], my son, gives his presentation which he'd gotten that morning, so he wasn't well rehearsed, and meanwhile he's been rehearsing his part for probably four to five months already now.
And so when it came time for the judge to give Alistair feedback, he commented on things like he was reading from the page, and his questions weren't as detailed, or he didn't do a cross... whatever it was, his feedback was irrelevant, frankly, to my son, because the judge didn't know that Alistair just received this information that morning, he wasn't aware that that wasn't his part, that he was just standing in for somebody else. So that person, that judge, while he could give him feedback, he's not a source of truth about the situation, alright, so Alistair needs to temper that feedback with what he knows to be true. And so that is my best example of when Marcus says, "I'm not a source of truth about you."
But what really catapulted me through putting myself out there and asking questions and seeking feedback, is that I decided to put my mission first. If I shrink in fear, I can't be a lighthouse. If I make every single thing mean something, I'll never get out of my own way and impact the people I want to serve. If I don't stand up and speak truth, put my wisdom out there and utilize my strengths, then someone else will. And my fear is that someone else isn't the most qualified person. We see this happen all the time. Marketers with trumped-up credentials and shiny objects and subpar service. I don't want that.
I can't stop them, but I can put my work out there and be seen, and have the chance of being seen by the people who I want to work with, more so than they see these marketers. And I'm not going to go out there and be the integrity police, no matter how much I want to, but I will show up as my brightest self. I'll show up as the solution, not the problem. And sometimes you just need to get a little angry and use that as motivation.
Now the third and last question.
“How does your podcast bring in money? My suspicion is that podcast is for reach and visibility and to bring your people into your world, and then they are exposed to paid offerings. Please comment on this.”
Okay, this is a great question too. So, firstly, this podcast is not meant to generate revenue. That is not my intention here. I know, sounds weird, but when I sat down and went through my strategic process, I decided revenue wasn't a factor. What is most important about this podcast, is that it's free content to help all leaders improve their performance every day. This is the best way to pick my brain and access me. As you can see from this episode, I'm happy to answer any of your questions. So feel free, if you find me on the socials and drop me a question, if you have one.
This is about meeting new and interesting people, which is always my number one goal. Seriously. It is often unpopular sometimes among people because they don't believe that that is my only goal, but it is. And this is really me scaling intimacy and connection. When I record these podcasts, I visualize us actually having this conversation face-to-face. This is my voice in your ear, which I believe is very intimate, and I can reach a lot of people that way, more than I can having coffee chats. So this is really an opportunity for me to scale that intimacy and connection that's so important to me.
Now, do people find my podcasts and then want to join my programs or buy my products? 100%. Is there always a call to action on this podcast that is a promotion for one of my programs or an opt-in, or something? 100%. Because people want to know how they can work with me. People want to know what's the next step. And I'm happy to share that with them, I'm happy to lead them in that way. But this podcast is very intentionally designed to stand on its own financially.
Now, do I intentionally create podcast content as a way to warm up leads for my sales process? Yeah. Many times I send specific episodes to people who are interested in working with me, so they can get a better feel for my vibe before getting into a working relationship together. One of my most popular podcasts is where I take you behind the scenes of my sales process, and that doubles as educational content for you, but it also helps nurture prospective clients through the very real and often scary process of getting on a call with me. So that is really how I strategically see my podcast fitting into my business, and how it's designed in terms of making money. And it's not really designed to make money in that way. There's no sponsors or advertising or anything like that. There probably never will be. Never say never, but it's not my intention to go that route.
If you're interested in hearing more about the podcast, we do have an episode behind the scenes of my podcast process, which you can also check out.
Thank you for joining me here today as I answer listener questions. If this is something that you are interested in, and being able to ask questions and have robust dialogue on topics like this, these are some of the things that we're talking about in The BRAVE Society. Specifically, once a quarter... so we do CEO Debriefs twice a month... and then once a quarter I reserve a CEO Debrief to be a laser coaching call. So people can show up, they can ask their questions, they can get consulting from me or coaching from me, and it is a tremendous value. As a matter of fact, we recently did one on team, and building your team, and everybody came with their team questions and got them answered.
If you found this podcast valuable, help us develop more Bold Leaders in the world by sharing this episode with your friends, colleagues, and other Bold Leaders. Also, if you haven't done so already, please leave a review. I consider reviews like podcast currency, and it's the one thing you can do to help us out here at The Bold Leadership Revolution HQ. We would be so grateful for it. Special thanks goes to Stacey Harris from Uncommonly More, who is the producer and editor of this podcast. Go check them out for all your digital marketing and content creation needs.
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