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#135: How to Be Successful on Pinterest and Instagram Today

If you want to learn how to be successful on Pinterest and Instagram today, my guest today, Jeff Sieh, from Manly Pinterest Tips, will show you how.

Jeff is a visual marketer, and he has his finger on the pulse of what’s working on these platforms (and yes, we even touch on TikTok too).

One of the questions is how do you create images and video that get you noticed, if you are not a designer.

Jeff shares his favorite design tools. He also shares his favorite strategies. And he shares other platforms he’s having success on, including his new texting platform.

If social media is important to your business, this is a must-listen-to episode.

How to Be Successful on Pinterest and Instagram Today | The Blogger Genius Podcast

Show Notes:

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Intro 0:04
Welcome to the Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.

Jillian Leslie 0:11
Hello friends. Welcome back to the Blogger Genius Podcast. Today I am interviewing Jeff Sieh from Manly Pinterest Tips, and Jeff Sieh is a visual marketer who teaches marketing for non-designers.

We’re going to get into all of his tips, and how he thinks about creating images and video.

Before we do that if Pinterest and Instagram which is really where we focus in this episode, if those platforms are important to you, please pause the episode right now head to milotree.com and sign up for the MiloTree pop-up app to add to your website.

It is the best and easiest way to grow your followers on Pinterest and Instagram. Plus, you can your first 30 days free. What’s great about MiloTree is it grows authentic followers, people who’ve been to your site, seen your content, liked what they’ve seen, and then go on to follow you.

Even if you’re not a designer, he goes through his whole list of favorite tools and his favorite strategies. So without further delay, here is my interview with Jeff Sieh. Jeff, welcome to the show.

Jeff Sieh 1:53
Thank you so much for having me here. I’m so excited to be here.

Jillian Leslie 1:55
I have been following you for a while and I most recently had been seeing you on tailwind on their Facebook Lives. And I noticed you, of course, because they felt like you were one of the first men on Pinterest.

Jeff Sieh 2:11
Well, I’m blushing through my beard. But yeah, I don’t know if I was the first in fact one of my friends Vincent Ng, I think was.

Jillian Leslie 2:17
I remember him.

Jeff Sieh 2:18
Yes. So he was he was there as well. So yeah, I got back. I can tell you how I got started if you want me to.

Jillian Leslie 2:26
Please. Yes. I don’t know your origin story. So I would love to hear it.

How Jeff Sieh Got Started in Visual Marketing

Jeff Sieh 2:31
So I had a digital marketing agency here in Longview, Texas, where I’ve been here for about 25 years. And I started with video and I was doing corporate video for clients. And then the social media thing started kicking off, but I was like telling my clients, they need to have a blog and all this stuff.

And I thought, well, I better start doing what I’m telling my clients to do. And so I started a blog and I wrote some articles.

Jillian Leslie 2:52
What year was this?

Jeff Sieh 2:54
This was like 2000 was it. When did I start out? It’s been at least six years, seven years, maybe 10. Its blur all together. But anyway, so I started this blog, and I was driving home from somewhere and I was listening to it was actually the Michael Stelzner Social Media Marketing Podcast.

And he had this lady on name Cynthia Sanchez.

Jillian Leslie 3:15
I remember her.

Jeff Sieh 3:16
And she was talking all about Pinterest and how it drove traffic and all this stuff. And I’m like, oh, my gosh, let me try it. I have a new blog. I might as well try it. And so I started doing that. And I started getting traffic to this brand new blog. And it was really cool.

This was how old it was. It was back when Google Plus was a big thing. So, I started getting on Google Plus. So, I wrote this blog article called Mainly Pinterest Tips, number one. And it was about how I shared this secret word with my daughter.

And it was this cool thing and you know, and it did really, really well. And somebody saw it on Google Plus, and this was when all these shows, we talked about Facebook Live and all this stuff now. But Google Plus was like the pioneer of this back in the day.

It was the wild west we were having these live shows and somebody said, “Hey, you need to start a show.” And I said, “Okay.” And so, we started a show called Mainly Pinterest Tips. And I had four other guys who had way bigger followings on that I friended over there. And they were on the show with me.

And we got to interview people like Guy Kawasaki, who was the Chief Evangelist for Apple back in the day, and also like the producer of Pretty Woman. And so it opened up all these doors. And so, I was like, okay, that’s cool. So we did that for a while.

Then I launched it as a podcast, where I was hosting a show. And then that led me getting to be invited to run Pinterest for Social Media Examiner. So they had me do that. And then that led to me being a contract with them and then running more live shows.

And then being asked to speak at their digital summit. And then speaking for the last I believe it’s four or five years at Social Media Marketing World, one of the biggest online digital marketing things out there. And so it all started with that little blog post on Pinterest. So that’s kind of my origin story.

Jillian Leslie 4:57
I love it. Isn’t that so wonderful about the internet which is you don’t necessarily know how things are going to grow. And then you find the way it’s growing and you lean into that. And then all of a sudden, boom, you’ve got a whole business that you probably could not have even imagined nor define.

Jeff Sieh 5:15
Never would have imagined is where I am now. And the funny thing is actually Cynthia Sanchez, who I heard on Social Media Marketing World Podcast. She and I actually partnered later on; we did a course together called Pinterest Boot Camp. That was so much fun.

And then I ended up for that podcast I was listening to, I still do a lot of work for Social Media Examiner and speak at their conferences, but who knew back in the day it would lead all to this.

Jillian Leslie 5:40
Oh, that is terrific. That is so cool. And so now, we were just talking before I press record that you are like a visual. Your expertise is not necessarily just Pinterest or just Instagram or YouTube, but that you really think visually.

Jeff Sieh 5:58
That’s what I have in mind. Even inside of that is like, what I’ve been speaking at for the last three or four years would be visual marketing for non designers. Because a lot of people feel like I just can’t do this, it’s too hard. I can’t do Photoshop or whatever.

And to be honest, I have not had any formal training in any sort of visual marketing. I learned video editing back in the day by just doing it. I worked at a design firm, when multimedia was first getting started. I built flash websites. That’s how old it was if you remember flash.

Jillian Leslie 6:32
I do.

Jeff Sieh 6:33
I had a really good designer friend who taught me a lot just like I was just watching over his shoulder and stuff and learn some of the basics. But now with visual marketing with the tools we have with the Internet, where we can learn from and templates and all sorts of things.

It’s easier than ever, and there’s no reason for people to be intimidated. And so I like to help people, move on the path to designing some things themselves. Sometimes you just need a designer. I have hired designers before for projects and sometimes that’s the best way.

But people who are first starting or bootstrapping and wanting to get a digital business going or do stuff at their small business and like, I don’t want to hire designer, what can I do? I like to teach them how to do that.

And so that’s where I’ve kind of fit in. And Pinterest is still a big part of that. I still love Pinterest and still teach a lot about that as well.

Online Design Tools for Non-Designers

Jillian Leslie 7:21
So okay, off the top of your head, what would you say are the three top tools you recommend people use if they are not designers, but they want to foothold. They need to create pins, they need to create posts on Instagram.

There is just so much I think. They need to make stuff for their blogs. Where do you recommend people go?

Jeff Sieh 7:47
I’ll give you the three tools. One of my favorite ones is a company called Easil. It’s out of Australia. It’s E-A-S-I-L. They’re great. So, that’s the first one. The second one is Canva and these are both similar. A lot of people know of Canva it’s a great tool.

They have a ton of resources, even their blog, if you’re struggling with design, they have some ideas on even like how to pair fonts. It’s a really great resource. So make sure you check out Canva. Easil is one that’s kind of like Canva, but it’s a little less known.

I really like it because they have so many designs they put out there with using professional designers. They’re really great. The customer service is awesome. They do it a little bit different. They let you have layers, you can do some drop shadows, and some things you can’t do on Canva.

So, those are my two big tools that I really push people towards. And Easil has a ton of great Instagram story templates, which a lot of people seem to need and they’re really, really cool and they have a bunch of them. So, make sure you check that out.

Canva has some great stuff as well. So they’re both really powerful tools.

Jillian Leslie 8:52
I was going to say I was at a conference years ago and Guy Kawasaki was there and he had just discovered Canva. And was he was preaching.

Jeff Sieh 9:01
He’s an evangelist now.

Jillian Leslie 9:02
Yeah, yeah. Okay, so your third tool.

Jeff Sieh 9:06
Great. Yeah, third tool. So, I’m going to go and say because a lot of people like apps for their phone, so I’m going to give you an app. There’s a company out of, I believe it’s Israel called Lightricks. I got to meet them actually at Social Media Marketing World one year.

They have one on there called, now I can’t think of it. It’s Enlight, no it’s Photofox is what it is. They’ve changed the name from Enlight to Photofox. And it’s like Photoshop on your phone and it does so much.

They have templates. Pretty much anything I do on Instagram is run through that app before I post it. There are some filters and stuff like that. So, Enlight is really great and they’ve got tons of tools.

I have a whole workshop where I talk about just the tools that they have on your phone for creating video pins. That’s a little secret hack for you guys because video pins are kind of new, but any app that you find that can make Instagram stories will probably make you a video pin. So, just keep that in mind.

Jillian Leslie 10:01
Sure. Okay. I feel like that is a perfect segue. I feel like we’re jumping all over the place.

Jeff Sieh 10:06

Jillian Leslie 10:06
But you opened the door there.

Jeff Sieh 10:08
I did.

What You Need to Know About Video Pins on Pinterest

Jillian Leslie 10:08
I know that Pinterest is really leaning in to video and video pins. And in fact, I was just watching an online summit, where Enid from Pinterest was talking about their interest in video pins.

And she was saying that around what was it like 30 seconds to a minute with no sound I mean; I could add sound but people are listening and you want to be adding text overlays. And then I had Kate Ahl back on my show.

And the reason why I reached out to you is because she mentioned that you were doing interesting things with video pins, and I thought I need to reach out to him to talk to me about that. So tell me about what you think of video pins? What your strategy is what you see working?

Jeff Sieh 11:03
So this is a little hint whenever a company says we really like something that’s a good idea to get on board and least test it out. Because what they usually do somehow with the algorithm, they like highlight that or give it a boost. Facebook does the same thing when they rolled out live video.

And when Pinterest says, Hey, this is really cool. We’re really seeing a lot. That’s your hint to maybe try that and get on board and try to beat the wave. Because it’ll probably go back down just like they did with Facebook Live do the same thing. It’s not as boosted by the algorithm as much.

So it’s still really early with video pins, but they were saying it’s like 230% more reach is going on over there with video pins. I call them Harry Potter pins. Because if you remember in Harry Potter, when you’d open the newspaper and you’d see movement.

And that would catch your eye from the wizarding world newspaper or whatever. And it’s like that on Pinterest. When you see those in the feed, they really catch your eye because everyone still thinks of Pinterest as static images.

So, when you see that movement, wow, that can really stop people and stop the scroll or my friend, Kim Garst calls it thumb stopping content. That’s what you want. Because there’s so much content out there, you want to stand out.

And so I think video pins are, one because I come from a video background. I love them, because it lets me be really, really creative. But also, all the platforms are moving that way. And if something makes you stand out in the feed.

If you can tell a story with it and get people to stop, then I think it’s really, really important to try and there’s some tools now. In fact, I was on Kate’s one of her Live. So she was asking about we went over some tools for the video pins.

And I talked about that a little bit. But something that you can tell a story even Canva now has an animate feature where you can click a button on the pro level account and it will actually animate for you.

And so even I would experiment with those because I think things that stand out and make people stop is worth experimenting. And so far Pinterest is limiting to how much that move, there are only going to put one video pin.

When you’re scrolling, you’re not going to see a bunch of video pins moving at the same time because they want it to be a really nice experience for you. So, I would definitely experiment them. I’m really bullish on video pins just because of what Pinterest has said so far.

At least an eye on the Tailwind podcast, the broadcast we just did. We reviewed some video pins that users had sent in and people are really taking advantage of it. I saw a lot from Teachers Pay Teachers. They were doing a lot where there were some doing some really cool things and catching the eye.

They were putting together some stuff and they were speeding it up. And so it was like one of those stop motion time lapse kind of things. Those work really well. So if you’re telling a story and get people to stop, I think definitely give video pins a try.

How to Get Traffic from Video Pins

Jillian Leslie 13:54
Here’s my question. I hear video pins get very good engagement in terms of being on the platform, because you’re so right, like all you need to do, I think everybody should do this experiment, go to Pinterest.

I have a big desktop and I go to Pinterest and I go into my feed and all of a sudden, you’re absolutely right. The video pin catches my eye and you will see it yourself. If you do the experiment, you will notice something is animating and boom, you’re drawn to it.

Now the question though is, are people clicking on video pins? I feel like you have to work a little bit harder to get people to think to themselves. This isn’t just in and of itself a piece of content, but there’s more content behind this, and therefore I should click on it. So what is your thought about that?

Jeff Sieh 14:48
The key. So, you don’t want to show the entire thing you want to use the video to drive them to your landing page or your blog article or whatever. I’ve had a couple of them that I’ve done. There’s a desktop program called promo that I really like.

That lets you make videos really easily and have great sound and so I’ve used those to drive traffic to blog posts as a video pin. E.g. one of my ads and I ran this around Halloween. It was like a skeleton in a swing and there was something like, is Pinterest engagement dead or something?

But that drove traffic because it caught people’s eye that got the dead and Pinterest, what is it about and so they would click over to read the article. Another pin that did really really well for me was a video pin.

And it’s a little mini course that I taught on how to create this special graphic where it looks like I’m coming out of the graphic and pointing on to click here now and people wanted to know how to make that. And so I just showed that pin and it actually got people to click on that.

I want to know more about how you did this, create this graphic. So that one did really really well for me. It did so well I actually did a promoted pin campaign on it and it did even better. So, you want to tell a story. You don’t want to tell the entire story.

But the one example that Elise and I thought was really, really well done was a Teachers Pay Teachers’ one. And they were showing with these cut-outs that you could buy or the plans you could buy.

And they were doing a really fast set-up, how it looked like on the bulletin board. And that told the story and got people to click over to that. Pinterest users’ example of a lady doing a watercolor one of those sped up watercolors and like how to do this painting kind of thing.

So a lot of DIY stuff, I think works really well where you can speed it up really quick and see the finished product and see the processes just in those few seconds that you’re going.

So make sure you tell a story and make sure the story moves you to take action and you can even say that with a text overlay.

Like, find out how to do this or create this recipe or are you struggling with this? Those kinds of things that get people to tell the story to move over to find the answer to what you just show.

How to Be Successful on Pinterest and Instagram Today | MiloTree.com

Add a Call to Action in Your Pin Text Overlay

Jillian Leslie 16:56
I think that that is so true. And in fact, the thing that I am really focused on even in my static pins is writing the word on the pin, like click now, click to learn. Try it now. And one thing that I did on Canva is they have little bits of animation that you can just copy and paste into your pins.

And I wrote something like, try now and I had us animated like circle. Circle those words, so that it wasn’t just we’re done it was and by the way, try it or click now or whatever and get people tell them what to do.

So I feel like in video pins, you want to be even more clear that it’s not over like the story’s not over. This is just the teaser.

Jeff Sieh 17:48
Right. And we saw some great examples too where they would use a Canva thing and they would put video inside of where the image would usually be like if you’re thinking of a pin, you have the title, the top and then a picture and then like Call to Action at the bottom.

Well, that center section they were using for video. And one of the things that we talked about is that, remember, it’s on a phone. And so some people were doing like a slow pan in, and then they would change to another picture and they pan out a little bit. And that needs to happen a lot faster.

People Come to Pinterest on Their Phones

Because remember, it’s going to be on your most like, I think it’s 85, 90% of people are using Pinterest on their cell phone. And remember, what looks great on your desktop may not look as good on your phone. So you’ll always want to test that.

And remember, people are shooting through that feed really, really fast scrolling really fast, and you want something that will catch their eye. So if you have animation, make sure you do that at the top of like when it starts and don’t wait for it to happen because they may have already scrolled by.

So you want to make sure that animation happens quickly in the beginning, and you don’t want to do some jarring or whatever. I’m still I’m still experimenting on the correct time and everything because these are so new, that people are still experimenting with them. Some people really really like them.

Some people what they’ll do is they’ll tap on it, and it’ll blow up big on screen, but they won’t do the click through. And so it’s getting them to click through to your content to your recipe to your blog, post, whatever it may be.

Jillian Leslie 19:11
I like that I really do. And again, sometimes too if you can leave something out in the video, we want closure and completion. It’s like this human quality. And so if you can leave a mystery that gets people to go I have to see the after.

It’s why like before after work, click to see how my messy garage, how I was able to clean it up. It’s like, well, I got to go check that out. So it’s like thinking in terms of like cliffhangers.

Jeff Sieh 19:46
Right. Yeah, I think that’s perfect.

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Jillian Leslie 21:59
So, we have our site Catch My Party. And Pinterest is huge for us. It put us on the map and we have something like 1.4 million followers on Pinterest.

Jeff Sieh 22:11
That’s awesome.

Pinterest is Prioritizing Video So Try It

Jillian Leslie 22:11
So you better believe that when Pinterest talks we listen. That is definitely our MO as well. And I think you’re absolutely right. When Pinterest says, try video, you might want to at least try it.

Now. I will say though, to play devil’s advocate, I do sometimes think Pinterest put something out there, kind of test the waters and when it doesn’t work, it can kind of die like communities, for example.

Jeff Sieh 22:37
Yes. That’s a good example.

Jillian Leslie 22:39
So you want to I would say, make sure it’s working for you. Test it.

Jeff Sieh 22:45
Yes. Some people are like, how do I make… and so with Canva, where you can click a button and animate things, test that’s not very hard to do. You could do a split AB test on that really, really easily. So yeah, I always say test things.

Because different people’s products, different audiences, you have to test what works. I’m pretty bullish on pins, because they’ve had video pins. They did that. They threw it out there like seeing if it’s stuck, but they put a lot of resources on it.

So, I don’t think it’s going to be a community. I hope not. But I don’t think it’ll be a community thing because that was a big kind of Pinterest fail.

Jillian Leslie 23:21

Jeff Sieh 23:22
You’re right.

Jillian Leslie 23:22
They did a couple things like that or they’ve done a lot of up in backs as well, in terms of like, yes, hashtags. No, hashtags, yes, hashtags. All of that. Now, here’s the question. They’ve come out with story pins.

Jeff Sieh 23:37

What Are Pinterest’s New Story Pins?

Jillian Leslie 23:38
And that’s one where I’m like, is this going to stick? Is it not going to stick? I think it’s their play to get people to stay on the platform.

Jeff Sieh 23:46
Right. It’s interesting. I just got access to it. So I haven’t done a ton of thing. Once again, it all comes down to storytelling, and I think if you can do it right, they can be effective. It’s just our people. The one I saw that was really good. And it was something from Austin.

And it was like different bars in Austin and you would go through and it was like an article and then pictures and it was very interactive. And so it’s almost like canvas that used to be over on Facebook. I don’t even know if that’s still there anymore.

But if you can tell a story with it and do it right, but you’re right, I don’t know if it’s going to catch on for everyone. Because one; it’s a lot of work. Two; are people going to stick around to slide through. It’s all going to come down to storytelling.

And I don’t know if people have the bandwidth to create really good story pins. It’s hard enough to create one compelling image or one compelling video. Doing story pins, it seems like a lot of work and you’re going to have to get a lot of benefit out of it.

I think for people to really use those and go to the trouble to create them. That’s just my opinion.

Jillian Leslie 24:54
I agree. And especially I think right now in North America, you can’t put a link in it. So it’s just living on Pinterest. Which is an interest. Again, I think that Pinterest is saying, hey, let’s keep you on our platform. Let’s give you compelling content that just lives here.

But it’ll be again, another thing like you might want to experiment with it. But I would also then see like, how is this building your business? Like, how is this helping you?

Jeff Sieh 25:21
So the thing with Pinterest is they’ve got to walk a fine line. They have to have new content come into the platform, which is what us as creators need to do. But they also have to have the platform to what the people want.

And so there’s all this balance between what marketers want and what the end user wants. For a marketer, I always want to click. There are even ad campaigns where you can get engagement. I don’t want that. I want clicks back to my content, or my product or my site.

That’s why I’m using Pinterest. That’s why I’m creating images. So that whole thing with the story pin not having a link is like they’ve got to fix that or people aren’t going to use it. Because engagement. What does that mean?

Unless you’re a big brand or a Macy’s or whatever, something like that where you need engagement, or a new movie coming out or something like that.

For most of the creators on Pinterest, I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal unless they can get a link back because that’s why we use Pinterest is because of the long-term traffic that we get from it.

Jillian Leslie 26:22
Absolutely. Now, could we switch directions and talk about Instagram right now and what you are seeing? What do you think is really working on Instagram right now?

Jeff Sieh 26:35
So I’ve had some really interesting conversations with some of the big influencers in on Instagram and I produced a show for Kim and she was interviewing Charlene Johnson, who is huge on Pinterest.

Jillian Leslie 26:47
On Instagram.

Authenticity, Not Polish, Is What’s Working on Instagram Now

Jeff Sieh 26:47
So yeah, she’s on Instagram. So the cool thing about that is she was saying that she is finding that all the polished and all the filters and all this stuff that was so popular on Instagram is really going away.

She says the stuff that’s doing the best for her is the raw behind the scenes no-filter kind of stuff that’s, on Pinterest, I mean on Instagram that’s working really well.

And so that, to me is very encouraging because a lot of times we felt like oh my gosh, it was fake or it’s like, I didn’t go to all this trouble to create content that would work on Instagram. And so she’s saying she’s just one of many that I’ve heard this stuff is that really polished in high Influence feed.

All the colors are the same all the way down in the feed, that’s kind of going away and the raw stuff is doing better. And then stories are huge. That stories are is what is driving engagement and content and direct messaging. That’s where you’re connecting with your clients or your potential customers.

And so stories are where it’s at, people are going to be like post one time a day, then it was like three times a week and now people They’re like, well, I’ll do it once a week, but I’m doing stories every day.

Because that’s where I’m getting my engagement and where I can tell and connect with people and being able to interact. And so that’s what I’ve been seeing is stories is the is the thing that everybody is on.

Jillian Leslie 28:14
Again, I do think in a world where we are isolating.

Jeff Sieh 28:19

Jillian Leslie 28:19
There is something too real people showing up and being authentic. And by the way, like, look at my roots. I haven’t gotten my hair done in like four months.

Meaning, it’s like there’s an authenticity to this time and if you can show up and be authentic and speak to where people are, I think you have an advantage.

Jeff Sieh 28:46
Yeah, Charlene was even saying that she quit for her Instagram stories. She was actually producing in Photoshop and then uploading them to stories or whatever. Now, she just uses the tools that are built into Instagram.

Because it looks more real, and like in platform and so she thinks that makes a lot of difference on all her content that she’s creating. So she’ll just use the graphics she can type out on Instagram for her like titles and even on HGTV.

So yeah, so I think it’s the raw thing like you were just saying, it’s funny that you said that because I have the COVID hair too. Slicked back right now but it’s just crazy because I hadn’t had haircuts since Social Media Marketing World in March beginning of March and so it’s nuts.

But I took a picture of it like in the morning when I first got up and that thing got more engagement and likes than anything I’ve done in the past and so people are really wanting to see that. They don’t care about the influencer anymore in front of the yacht, that may or not be real.

Share Behind the Scenes on Instagram

They want to see what behind the scenes stuff. And the same thing with companies. I’ve worked with companies where, like, there’s a candy maker that I’ve worked with and showing behind the scenes, the factory, that stuff coming off the line, all the chocolate being poured out into the slab.

Stuff that would be like in an industrial film, but really performs well on Instagram because they want to see the product how it’s made. And if they want to know, oh, how they make that certain brand of chocolate or whatever and so that kind of stuff and that was the stuff.

Back in the day in marketing that was the stuff you didn’t show that was behind the doors and that was like, we don’t want to show them how stuffs done and you because they may have questions and it’s totally been flipped down.

I think the more you can show that and be real and like man we had to throw this whole thing out because we screwed up but we have high quality standards. And we’re not going to ship that to you.

And when people see that. Oh my gosh, that’s so much better than anything else that you could really polished magazine quality photo.

Jillian Leslie 30:48
Absolutely. I think about my daughter who is 13, and how to her that influencer girl who’s let’s say 18 sitting on her bed, talking to my daughter, by the way, matters as much if not more than a celebrity because a celebrity feels a little less relatable.

And therefore it’s so fascinating to see the world through my daughter’s eyes because she doesn’t care in the same way like we did growing up about celebrities. Because that influencer, who’s explaining why this mascara is the best mascara ever. My daughter is so engaged and feels like she knows her.

So there’s that level of intimacy that I think you can do in a story and it’s weird because it almost feels like who’d care about this part of my life or it’s so raw or oh, I just woke up and I look kind of crappy.

But there is something really human. I think right now, especially where we can’t even hug our friends. You know, we want that human touch.

Jeff Sieh 31:57
And if you got if any of your listeners are struggling with their Instagram and don’t worry about numbers because I don’t think that’s a fair thing to say because you can buy followers or whatever, but worry about engagement and talking to people.

Work on Engagement on Instagram

So, if you want to boost your Instagram, start sending people or clients, direct messages and use video. What I’ve done in the past is like, on Facebook, people have that birthday thing, and I’ll know that somebody is following me who’s on that has a birthday.

So I’ll get on direct message and go, “Hey.” and do a video “Hey, I’d notice your birthday. Just want to let you know, I’m just thinking about you today.” And it didn’t have to be long. But oh my gosh, that makes them a fan for life. And you’re not trying to be scammy or anything like that.

But you’re connecting on a real level and I can’t remember who said it, but it’s something that doesn’t scale. It doesn’t scale and but they know that and that makes a big difference to people. So I’ve been really trying to think of ways, especially because you mentioned.

Everybody’s like they’re creating human contact. I did it the other day to somebody, I just got back in like from mowing or a Jeep ride or something. And I was all and I was like, “Hey, I just got back.

But I though it was, you said this and I just want to say,” Hey, thank you so much. I appreciate you. Have a great day.” That’s all. I mean, that kind of stuff is amazing. And it will change your followers and the people that you’re trying to reach on Instagram or any other platform for that matter.

What’s Working On TikTok Today?

Jillian Leslie 33:25
I love that. Tell me I hadn’t asked you this previously, but what are your thoughts on TikTok?

Jeff Sieh 33:33
I like TikTok. For your listeners, I have a huge, wild haggard beard. And they said, oh, you’d be famous on TikTok. It’s one of those things that it’s not really my market. But if it’s your demographic.

Jillian Leslie 33:50
Yes. yes.

Jeff Sieh 33:50
Yes. but it’s huge for a lot of people and so I just don’t have time to dive into it right now. It’s on the radar. I watch it. My daughter, like you had mentioned your 13-year-old daughter, I have a 19-year-old daughter.

She loves it and my son who is 20, he and his girlfriend are on it and like she had one that went viral. And so it’s a lot of fun, monetizing it or actually even using it for engagement. It’s still for my brand. I’m still trying to figure it out.

Rachel Peterson, we’ve had her on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. She’s amazing. She considers herself an older person on the platform, but she does some really great stuff on TikTok. And so she’s the one who I watch and following and get advice from. so. It’s a cool platform. It’s just like one more thing.

Jillian Leslie 34:40
I know it. I totally know. But I am trying to start being on it, watching it. And what I would say my daughter described it this way, which is, Instagram is about how you present yourself more so and TikTok is more about having fun.

TikTok Is More About Entertainment

Jeff Sieh 34:59
Yeah, it’s entertainment. It’s more entertainment. Yeah, exactly.

Jillian Leslie 35:02
And so I thought that was an interesting way and again, like she’s horrified that moms are even thinking about it and yeah, like she won’t let me follow her TikTok account because God forbid anybody sees that I’m following her.

But she has helped me do a couple dances. So I am exploring the platform that way. You had mentioned something before we pressed record about community.

Jeff Sieh 35:29

Jillian Leslie 35:30
And I want to unpack that. What is it? How does it work?

Jeff Sieh 35:35
Yes. So, let me tell you this. The reason why. One of my favorite podcasters in Live video is a guy named Lou Mongello. And he does WDW Radio and he’s an old school podcaster has been around forever. But his whole thing is Walt Disney World.

He teaches people he takes things. He’s huge. He’s actually a lawyer who actually quit his job and moved to Orlando and now does this full time. Amazing story. But he has this group of people, like right now they can’t go to the parks. His business model would be shut down.

But these people are flocked around him. He still does Lives every night not every night every night. But every Wednesday, he talks about him. His podcast has, I think millions of listeners and he’s an amazing guy, just nice guy to ever meet. But all this stuff is built around community.

Make Your Content About Your Audience, Not You

He’s all about bringing people together talking about something they’re passionate about. And he does it really well. And it’s all about them. It’s not about him, but he gets the benefit of it. Because when he has a product or he’s having like a mastermind or something, people buy because they love Lou.

Lou is amazing. And I’m like, I want that. I’m like, I really want to do because I like people I like talking with them on social media, all that stuff. And so I’m thinking how can I do that? Well, there’s this new app and Gary Vee, a lot of celebrities use it.

It’s actually been funded by Ashton Kutcher. But it’s called community. And there’s a huge waitlist for it. And I didn’t know how I got on it, but I made it through, they actually call you and interview you. And it’s an app. But it’s almost like an email subscription service. And so they give you a number.

And so whenever I go out and do podcasts, or blog posts, or even in all my bios on Instagram, I’m saying, hey, texts me here, because they’ll go and they’ll fill out something. And then after that, it’s one on one with me.

Connecting to Your Audience Via Text

And I can blast it to certain people, I can blast it to everybody, I can blast it to certain age groups, I can blast it to certain cities. Like if I’m in Seattle, and I want to say, “Hey, I’m going to be speaking here. I’d love to meet you guys afterwards. Even if you’re not at the conference, I want to talk to you guys.”

And I could text all those people in Seattle. And so it’s a real one on one conversation I can go to you and we can have a conversation or I can go to a bunch of people.

Jillian Leslie 37:55
So, it can be a one to one or one to many?

Jeff Sieh 37:58
Yes. And it’s really, really cool. The breakdowns and it’s a real text number. But it’s managed through this community app. And it’s really, really powerful. And they actually schedule things.

Jillian Leslie 38:10
Can people then text you back and have a conversation?

Jeff Sieh 38:14
Yes. It’s back and forth. It can be one to many or many to one. And a lot of times if I can’t say, hey, I can’t get back to everybody. But I’ll try to get back to you if I can. So, a lot of the stars use it to connect with their people, but I’m using it for community building.

And the cool thing is it does the birthdays, too. You can say like, Oh, it’s, Dylan’s birthday, I’m going to say, hey, happy birthday, and I can do it in the app. I can do video, I can do text. So it’s a way for me to get around the algorithms.

Because I’ve been frustrated with offering somebody who mentioned me somewhere and I didn’t see it, and I see it like three days later, and all this stuff and I want to build community on Pinterest or wherever.

I want to have that community with people and Lou inspired me and this is the tool that I thought really answered the need that I wanted to try to do. I started during COVID. The whole lockdown thing I’ve been doing wood carving for years.

And so, I started doing live wood carving every Monday, Wednesday, Friday on my channel.

Jillian Leslie 39:19
Wait, wait. On your YouTube channel on your Facebook page?

Jeff Sieh 39:22
Everywhere. So it actually is simulcasts to these places. And I just did it just for experiment to complete. It just soothing for people. It wasn’t any business related thing. I was just like, hey, let’s chat. Because what it is, people will chat with me during it and I’ll just be carving and they’ll say, “Hey, Julian said this.”

And so I have a question that I usually ask them beforehand. And it was just a way to build community and connect and it’s really taken off. And now I’ve started to put that number at the beginning of it and say “Hey, tell me you’re from, you watch me on the Whiskered Woodcarver.’

And, and so I can put them in a community. And so whenever I go Live, or I want to talk to them, I can use this app to do it with. That’s just one way you can use this community app is you can put it on your live videos you can put on your podcast, wherever and it’s just a great way to connect with people.

Jillian Leslie 40:08
I think that is fascinating. After we get off this call, I’m going to go Google it and see if I get on their waitlist.

Jeff Sieh 40:14
Yeah, let me know. Because now I could say like, “Hey, you need to bump her up.” So let me know if you get in there.

Jillian Leslie 40:22
Absolutely. Okay, so you have to then share your number.

Jeff Sieh 40:27

Jillian Leslie 40:27
If you want to please because it’s funny, you had said to me, can I share my number?

Jeff Sieh 40:32
So, it’s so different from what people are used to. They use it on a website like mainly Pinterest tips or whatever, but this is a number I’d love to connect with. You tell me that you’re listening on the Blogger Genius Podcast.

So put, like, BGP or just Blogger Genius Podcast when you sign up, so I’ll know where you’re from. But it’s at 903-287-9088.

Jillian Leslie 41:00

So you just become somebody in my phone.

Jeff Sieh 41:05
Yeah, it’s a contact, and then you can text me. When people actually try to call that number, there’ll be an answer from me. And I’ll be like, “Hey, I just don’t have a voicemail on this one. Feel free to text me. And I will guarantee to answer you.” So it’s really, really cool. I really like the way it works.

I think more and more is we’ve got to do these things, that we mentioned before that can’t scale, but is really impactful for people and to build that community, the person with their name. But really, to build that community together this is one of the tools that can do that.

And I don’t get affiliates or anything with it. I just really love the way it works. And I want to make those connections. Like, if we were at a hallway at a conference, we could sit there hey, let’s have a little chat. And you can do this now directly with this service.

Jillian Leslie 41:53
That is so cool. Okay, and if people want to watch your wood work. How should they find it?

Jeff Sieh 41:58
It’s at Jeff Sieh on Facebook probably Live that’s probably the best way to get to me. There’s also a YouTube channel called Whiskered Woodcarver, but just go to Jeff and last name spelled S as in Sam, I-E-H.

And I’m there usually Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays, carving and chatting at about 5:00 pm Central Standard Time.

Jillian Leslie 42:21
I love that. I just feel like when you said it, it made my blood pressure drop the idea that you’re out there wood carving,

Jeff Sieh 42:30
And I was like, because I was like, “This is silly. It doesn’t do anything for my business. It has nothing to do with it.” But people love it because it’s just chatting and carving. And I have a timer. So, I go for 30 minutes and I have that timer.

Everybody asked me, “Why is that timer there?” And I’m like, “Because I want to show you how much you can get done. If you do something consistently for 30 minutes.” I can see at the end.

And so it’s just been a great way for people and then it’s a great way to build community and people do buy my services. from it, but that’s not the reason for it. It’s mostly just to chat and get to know people.

Jillian Leslie 43:05
And especially in this time, I feel like this is such an unusual, uneasy time that anything that brings us back to the outdoors or just the fundamentals. Whether it be like breadmaking I feel like it’s something or knitting or woodworking or just things that ground us.

Jeff Sieh 43:30

Jillian Leslie 43:30
So I feel like I’m going to text you. You’ve given me a list of things. I’m going to text you on the community app, I’m going to go look at the community app, see if I can get on the waitlist. And then I’m going to come watch you carve.

Jeff Sieh 43:45
Oh, I love that. And it’s a conversation. Like last week, on Monday, the question was, “If you had an extra day, what would you use that for?” And that’s how we start the conversation and it goes every which way.

But it’s just a relaxing 30 minutes at the end of my day, what it does, it makes me carve and I started it when we first went to lockdown, just to calm people down. But then as it went on people just like, “Hey, will you keep doing it? Because it’s a lot of fun to watch.”

Jillian Leslie 44:13
Can people show up in video or they just texting or just chat?

Jeff Sieh 44:18
It’s just chat. Yeah, it’s just chat. Because I can’t really bring sharp objects. And so I’m like carving, but I have the software I use actually can pull comments from everywhere. And so it comes up on screen and gives me a little ding in my ear. Because I wear these headphones like I’m wearing now.

And I go, “Oh, there are still in. Hey, how are you doing? What would you do if you had an extra day?” And so I’m trying to do the conversation and get people chatting. And it’s been a lot of fun. And there’s a little community that’s actually grown up around it so it’s fun.

Jillian Leslie 44:47
What software is it that pulls everything?

Jeff Sieh 44:49
So what I’m using like right now like I’m actually using inside of Zoom. I’m actually using Ecamm their virtual camera because I can actually pull up, this is what I use as my number that people can text when I’m doing my chat.

Jillian Leslie 45:04
Okay. I just have to say because people won’t be able to see it. But yes, we’re on a Zoom call right now and you just pulled it up. That was very cool. Okay.

Jeff Sieh 45:14
So, that’s Ecamm, which I’m using for that. But then from Ecamm I go out using what’s a software service called Restream.io, which lets me go to YouTube, Facebook, Periscope, LinkedIn if I wanted to, and actually pulls the comments in where I can see them inside of Ecamm.

So, it’s really really powerful and it’s really cool. And I can actually bring comments to people on screen so that’s even cooler.

Jillian Leslie 45:40
That is. Okay, well, I will be there.

Jeff Sieh 45:43

Jillian Leslie 45:45
Seriously, I feel like my blood pressure just dropped.

Jeff Sieh 45:47
Oh, good.

Jillian Leslie 45:48
I have to say I have learned so much from you. And you were so great. Like so gracious. You didn’t necessarily know me and I reached out. I’m like, “Hey can you come on the show?” And you’re like, “Yeah.” I so appreciate that.

Jeff Sieh 46:05
Yeah, that’s great. Well, I appreciate you watching all the shows, and then coming to the Whiskered Woodcarver and I’m a big fan of podcasts. I just love it, love podcasts and have for a long time and so more power to you. Thank you for continuing to be consistent with this.

Jillian’s Takeaways

Jillian Leslie 46:19
Oh, thank you for coming. I got two major takeaways from this interview. The first is that as a non- designer, it is possible to quickly and easily create pins and videos and images that look pretty good. So, if you’ve not played around with these tools, I recommend you try it.

And the second takeaway is that just showing up and showing up as yourself is what is most important, being authentic and sharing with your audience and you don’t need it to be perfect and you don’t need to be an actor or a model, just be yourself. I love that.

Also, Pinterest is really starting to lean in to keeping people on the platform on their platform. And therefore, followers on Pinterest are mattering even more. If you listen to my friend Kate Ahl’s podcast, the Simple Pin Podcast.

I was just recently interviewed, and we were talking about the importance of Pinterest followers. Therefore, if you have not installed the MiloTree app on your blog, you might want to give it a try.

It will grow your Pinterest followers on autopilot and not just any kind of followers, real authentic engaged followers. So head to MiloTree and sign up.

If you have any questions reach out to me at Jillian@milotree.com. I love hearing from you guys and I’ll see you here again next week.

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