Embed links into your stories with Swipe Up Feature. If your account has the swipe up feature, USE it! I use mine sporadically a few times each day for different things. Affiliate links and blog post links are the two key things that I link to mostly, which results in lots of sales and ad revenue. Never discount the power of the instant swipe up. You are providing a short cut for your follower, which saves them time and money. You can always look at it as a service you are providing for them.
As a part of our series about How To Leverage Instagram To Grow Your Business, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brooke Riley.
Brooke is a fun and creative 37-year-old wife, mother of two, DIY/Decorating/Lifestyle Blogger and Online Women’s Boutique whose work has been featured in the online publications of House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping, Pioneer Woman, Huffington Post and Country Living Magazine, as well as NBC’s Talk of the Town, where she has a monthly television segment. Her social media influence spans millions of followers, and her blog averages 1.5 million visitors per month. Connect with her on Facebook @refabbedbybrooke.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
To be honest, I have gotten to this point in my career through a series of unfortunate circumstances. Being told I was “too short” for a position I applied for, infertility and miscarriage, and a bad health scare that left me being life flighted to a neuro ICU, all paved the way for my business. Through these experiences, my eyes were opened to realize that life is short, and I needed to truly LIVE my purpose and my passion. I need to stop going through the motions that I had always thought I was supposed to.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
One of the most interesting things to me, and the thing that made me realize even more that Re-Fabbed was truly reaching the world, happened in the New Orleans airport a couple of years ago. I was just walking through the airport by myself and I heard “BROOKE RILEY!” really loud! I looked around and this man was hollering my name, and I was thinking, “WHAT THE HECK?!”
I said hi to him and asked him how he knew who I was. He said, “My co-worker watches you on Facebook and loves you!” She happened to be standing beside him, but I guess was too nervous to say anything. They were from Miami, and I’m from Kentucky, so it was just so funny to be making this connection in a random airport. And it was all because they knew me from Re-Fabbed.
Honestly, up until that moment, even though I saw the big numbers, the page views and all of the things, I still wasn’t fully recognizing the difference I was making all across the world.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
There have been some funny things that I have done through the years, FOR SURE. One funny mistake I made was when I was first started with the travel section of my blog. I was trying to work out a collaboration deal with a hotel. I was talking back and forth with the social media marketing manager about how we could work together, and she mentioned the ideas of me “remaking” their signature bedding for a blog post.
In my mind, I was freaking out and I wrote her back letting her know that I was sorry, but that I couldn’t sew! I thought she wanted me to literally MAKE the bedding for my blog. What a rookie!!! She was so kind, and she laughed at me and said, “I would never make you do THAT much work!”
I learned a lesson there that we are all just humans, interacting with each other. We thrive on genuine authenticity, not perfection. I ended up getting the hotel gig, and I made a friend who I know I can work with many times in the future!
Ok. Let’s now move to the main focus of our discussion. For the benefit of our readers, can you explain why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?
Honestly, I live and breathe social media marketing. My entire business is here and thriving because of it. I started at zero, like everyone. I had ZERO training or knowledge 6 years ago when I began. I just started and learned as I went. I was up for trying new things. When I researched and figured out the best way to grow and get my business in front of people was through social media, I went with it.
In 6 years, I have grown my Facebook following to close to 800K followers, and my Instagram (which I started a year or two later) is at 106K followers. My Pinterest averages 8 million monthly impressions, and my blog averages 1.5 million page views per month. But numbers don’t matter if you can’t convert them to money. The fact that I was able to use this to grow not just one, but two multi-7 figure businesses, speaks volumes. Social media has literally changed my business, and in turn, has changed my life.
Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?
Each social media platform offers different ways to connect to your audience and create revenue streams, but I have found Facebook to be my biggest and most successful platform to date.
The power of Facebook lives, and the power to create TRUE relationships with those followers on Facebook has been the biggest key to my growth in revenue over the years. When you can connect on a personal level the way I have, despite the number of followers, and you can create that authentic relationship? The sales come easily. They know me. They like me. They trust me. When I share something with them, they know it is authentic, and they know I am always doing things for the betterment of my community and not myself. Because of that, they buy. And they buy a lot! I always say that “people buy from people”. I believe that. The relationship aspect of social media is the key component to making more money in the end.
Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share five ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.
1) Utilize STORIES. Some of the biggest growth I have seen on Instagram is when I started utilizing stories. This is where I share tons of fun behind the scenes stuff that is so random! People LOVE it. I share totally real-life antics, business, my travel, food (lots and lots of food) DIY process video and pictures and so much more. Truly ANYTHING is game for stories! This is one major way to connect with your followers in a real way and easily sell to them in a very authentic, non-pushy, way.
2) Create Engagement Opportunities on your Posts/Stories. Always, always give a call-to-action (CTA). People want to respond, and they are happy to do it if they know what you want from them. But you have to tell them! Write your post in such a way that they can’t help but talk to you. Engage their feelings. By the end of the post when you tell them, “let me know your thoughts or which do you prefer and why” or whatever it is you ask them, they will literally JUMP at the chance to tell you! And guess what? They will give you a VALUABLE comment, that in return, ups your algorithm. Win win!
3) Do Fun REELS! When Instagram comes out with new features, USE IT. Instagram will prioritize what they have most recently pushed out because they WANT people to use that feature, so they make sure it is being seen. That, in return, gives you more exposure on the platform, and more exposure to the RIGHT audience will result in more sales, long term!
4) Use IGTV for longer video content. IGTV is a fantastic way to connect to your audience through longer video. It keeps people on their platform longer, and it helps them know you even better, which creates that “relationship” that is so key to growth and higher revenue. It also promotes commenting, as they are on longer and want to talk back to you.
5) Embed links into your stories with Swipe Up Feature. If your account has the swipe up feature, USE it! I use mine sporadically a few times each day for different things. Affiliate links and blog post links are the two key things that I link to mostly, which results in lots of sales and ad revenue. Never discount the power of the instant swipe up. You are providing a short cut for your follower, which saves them time and money. You can always look at it as a service you are providing for them.
Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
One of my biggest desires through my platform is to help women see that they can do whatever they set their heart and mind to, no matter the obstacles in their way. I want to inspire a movement that focuses on building each other up, instead of tearing each other down. I want women to see and understand that we are better together! We are a community, not competitors. If I could inspire that in women and help them understand and live this out each day, then I have most certainly made a mark that I am proud of.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
There are so many people who have inspired me along the way. Two of my biggest inspirations have been Steve Harvey and Joanna Gaines. Both of them have inspired me in different ways.
With Steve, I adore his witty personality and sense of humor. Yet, I equally adore his “tell it like it is” business talks and motivational speaking. His story of rising above his circumstances is such a true testament of never giving up and always pursuing what God has laid before you. I truly admire him.
With Joanna, I admire her story. I admire her work ethic and the fact that her faith has always guided her in all aspects of her life. That is very much how I am, and I find so many similarities in our stories. I admire that even though she has many accolades to her name, she has remained true to herself and who she is. That’s not easy to do these days and it speaks volumes about her as an individual. I also love her style and the way she seamlessly puts her mark on everything she touches, as though it is as easy as breathing. She is a true inspiration to women everywhere, especially me.
Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!