Instagram Secrets to ATTRACT & ENGAGE with Kat Gaskin (Transcript) - Gillian Perkins

Instagram Secrets to ATTRACT & ENGAGE with Kat Gaskin (Transcript)

Engagement. It’s the name of the game.

The big question is… how do you get more of it??

Well, that’s where my friend Kat Gaskin comes in.

She’s known around the internet as “The Content Planner,” because that’s what she helps entrepreneurs do: plan their social media content.

This is a transcript of Work Less, Earn More, Episode 62. Listen to the episode here.

Kat Gaskin:

When you just opened your account and you’re brand new, you have to hit the ground running with beautiful, original creative content that is engaging just for two months. And at the end of those two months, you’re probably going to have a few thousand followers and that is a good base to build from.

Gillian Perkins:

We became entrepreneurs because more than anything, we want freedom. We want to be in control of our own schedule, income, and life. But unfortunately, that isn’t always the reality of being a business owner. I’m Gillian Perkins, and I’m on a mission to take back entrepreneurship for what it’s supposed to be. In every episode, I’ll share with you how to get the most out of every hour you work so that you can work less and earn more. Let’s get to it.

Gillian Perkins:

Hey there everyone, welcome back to another episode. Today, I am joined by Kat Gaskin, a graphic designer, content planning expert, and the creator of The Content Planner. Kat runs a six-figure e-commerce brand and recently celebrated a $140,000 launch. I’m really excited to have Kat here on the show today to talk about how we can more strategically post on social media to get more engagement on our posts and also to drive sales. So, hey there, Kat, welcome to the show.

Kat Gaskin:

Hi, Gillian, thanks so much for having me and I’m really looking forward to chatting today.

Gillian Perkins:

Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you so much for being here. So I just want to start out by actually talking a little bit about you and what you do because I think that you have a really cool story and you’ve accomplished a whole lot over the past few years. And you’ve used social media as such a big factor in the process. So could you just start out by telling us a little bit about your business?


The Start of a Personal Brand

Kat Gaskin:

Yeah, of course. So I have been working for myself since October 2012. So I just recently celebrated the eight year anniversary of my personal brand, which is Salty Pineapple. By trade, I am a graphic designer, web designer. And I worked full time, I did the 9:00 to 5:00 thing and I realized it just wasn’t for me. That was back in 2011 and 2010 when I first started to get that little voice in my head saying, “Hey Kat, what are you doing? This isn’t for you. Your creativity is being completely stifled.”

Kat Gaskin:

And it’s also important to remember that at that time in 2010 and 2011, the freelancer space, the entrepreneurial space, the small business owner space was deserted. There was nobody, let alone a woman, let alone a woman of color. So I’m very happy and I’m very optimistic to see that has completely changed 10 years later. It’s so great to have podcasts and in-person events when we used to have them and meetups and all of that.

Kat Gaskin:

So I quit my job in 2012 to do freelancing full-time because I convinced myself that, “Hey, if I become a freelancer, I can make more money and then I can just work less hours,” and naively thinking that I could do that. I mean, your days extend and it’s those late nights and then I worked to launch my personal brand as well. So that’s when I first started on Instagram and I said, “Hey, this is a really cool platform where I can simply share photos and share a little thought or a quote or a few of my words. I don’t have to be a blogger. I don’t have to be a writer.”

Kat Gaskin:

And it’s a platform that I really wanted to apply myself to because not only was it fun, I got to connect with people from around the world. I’m based in Toronto and my personal brand Salty Pineapple is so much about the tropics and sunshine and pineapples and follow your dreams and being happy and colors and sunsets. And so it definitely didn’t match the environment that I was building it from.

Kat Gaskin:

And so Instagram was like my little getaway. It’s my little escape to this world where I can talk to people in Hawaii, I can talk to people in Australia, in Bali and all of my favorite holiday destinations. So that’s when I first started on Instagram building up my own personal brand. And that’s when brands started to notice me and reach out to me and say, “Hey, we love your photos. Would you like to create content for us?”

Kat Gaskin:

And that for me was a huge turning point in my career because I didn’t have to do freelance graphic and web design anymore, I could now get paid to take photos of products and write blog posts and create content for other brands that were really in line with Salty Pineapple. And that’s when I became a content creator. So that opened up the door for me to travel whenever, wherever, however I wanted to, which was such a great time.

Kat Gaskin:

I definitely miss traveling now. And that led into me transitioning again into The Content Planner, because while I was writing these blog posts for big brands, while I was creating content and doing photo shoots, not only for other brands, but Salty Pineapple as well, I was just trying to use a daily planner to plan all this out and it just wasn’t cutting it for me.

Kat Gaskin:

It was filled with post-its, I would forget dates that I had to post about giveaways. And I was like, “Why isn’t there a planner for my content?” And so that also happened while I started to want to transition into more of a product based business because when you’re service-based, when you’re not working, you’re not making money.

Kat Gaskin:

And at that time I had worked with so many clients, they now had 24/7 access to me. They could email me at any time, I wasn’t good at creating boundaries and I was like, “I’m pretty much back at the same place I was working a desk job, only now I work more and people have more access to me.”

Gillian Perkins:

And you have even more bosses, right?

Diving into E-Commerce 

Kat Gaskin:

Yeah, I have even more bosses. And so enter The Content Planner and it was something that I created because it’s what I needed as a content creator, as someone who’s obsessed with writing my goals down and writing down my daily schedule. I went to Google, I couldn’t find anything and I was like, “You know what? I’m just going to create this planner and it’s going to be called The Content Planner.”

Kat Gaskin:

And that was in 2016 when I first dove into e-commerce, this is my very first product based business. I have zero training, I had zero experience, zero knowledge, but I knew that using social media would be my main platform for how I would promote the product, how I would get it into people’s hands and how I would sell it. And so fast forward to today, which is four years later, and it is now a multiple six-figure brand.

Kat Gaskin:

I just passed half a million dollars in sales for this one product and it’s my favorite thing in the whole wide world when it comes to planning your content, writing things down. And I also have some of the best customers in the world because they’re all like me, they’re all business owners who love writing their plans down and making their dreams come true.

Gillian Perkins:

Well, congratulations on what a success you’ve turned this thing to over these past four years.

Kat Gaskin:

Thank you.

Gillian Perkins:

So I’ve following you on Instagram for, I want to say probably about two years now. And something that I have noticed and one of the main things that made me want to reach out to you and talk to you today was I’ve noticed that you don’t just have an audience, you really have a raving fan base. And especially for a physical product company, that seems a little unusual to me and really impressive. So can you talk to me about how you’ve built this raving fan base and why they love you and your brand so much?

Kat Gaskin:

Yeah. I’m just getting goosebumps thinking about them because I just love them so much. They’re my people for sure. And it’s like that saying goes like, I have more friends on the internet than they do in real life, especially now during the pandemic. And I honestly would tell you it was not easy, there is no secret shortcut or hack.

Kat Gaskin:

There’s no overnight thing that you can just download and turn on to build a dedicated fan base of people who love and respect your products and your services. I started out from day one. The first Instagram post I ever shared, the first follower I ever gained with The Content Planner, in my head before I even went to Instagram and social media, I pictured who she was and she’s a woman and she is really successful in her business.

Kat Gaskin:

She loves what she does, she enjoys the nicer things in life. She really respects designer handbags and beautiful planners and investing in herself and she never takes no for an answer. And I gave her a name. So her name is Felicia and that’s who I always think about in my head whenever I share a piece of content, whenever I add a new feature to The Content Planner, whenever I think about what stickers would she like to use in her day-to-day planning.

Kat Gaskin:

And so before I ever had this community, because this did not happen overnight, I thought of her all the time and I pictured her in my brain, what she looked like, what perfume she wears, what her shoes look like, what kind of income she makes, where she lives, does she have kids, doesn’t she have kids? So I put myself in her position and from that day on, so for four plus years, I worked towards attracting people like her.

Kat Gaskin:

Because I know that if you’re like her, you’re going to feel right at home with a bunch of other Felicias. And it was so great because the first time I ever did an in-person workshop, which was last July, I was in a room full of Felicias. They were all those women that I had ever pictured before I had my first sale or my first 100 followers. I had this moment, I was like, “Holy crap. I’m looking around at my workshop attendees and these are all the women that I dreamed of and imagined in my head.”

Kat Gaskin:

So the first step to take is to decide who you want to serve. It’s not the other way around. It’s not deciding how you want to serve the people who are already there. You have to put out the vibe to attract the people back to you first and foremost, because they will always respect your product, they will never undervalue what you’re selling and they will actually fall in love with not only your products and your services, but you, the founder as well.

Kat Gaskin:

And the second piece of that is I’ve always read my Instagram account. I always answer my own DMs and you can catch me on stories once every few days or once every few weeks. I am the one running it, even though I’m the CEO and the founder of this company. It’s something that I’ll never let go of because it gives me such a close connection with my customers. And that’s the reason why I think The Content Planner is so successful because every single day, every single week, I’m constantly asking and engaging with my people.

Kat Gaskin:

I’m asking them, “Hey, what do you think about this feature? Should I add this to the planner? How’s your business going on? Oh, I’m celebrating your win with you.” And this is not for the lazy entrepreneur, obviously it takes a lot of work. I receive hundreds of DMs every day and I absolutely love it. So step one is you have to decide who your ideal person is that you want to serve.

Kat Gaskin:

And step two is whether it’s on social media or whether it’s… maybe it’s your own dedicated phone line and people can text you, but you have to give people access to you as the founder and as the owner of your company every so often, if you have capacity, because they’re going to not only, again, fall in love with your product and your brand, but they also want to fall in love with you and you want to relate back to them.

Gillian Perkins:

I mentioned when I was asking you the question that it’s especially unusual for you to have such a high level of engagement and attachment from your followers as a physical product, but it sounds like one of the main things that allows you to do that is that it’s not just a physical product brand, it’s a personal brand also.


Being the Face of the Brand

Kat Gaskin:

Yeah, and that wasn’t always the case. I think when I first started the company, I was like, “Oh, I kind of want to step away and I don’t want to be the face of the brand.” But then I realized that the more people saw me using my own product and the more people saw the successes that I was experiencing using my own product, the more that it sold and the more successful I became and the more that I grew and the more podcasts I got featured on and the more guest expert spots I got offered.

Kat Gaskin:

So that’s another piece to it too, is yes, I am very accessible on social media, but I also use my own product every day. So for example, if you’re the owner of a skincare company, I better see you every morning using your own products on your own face and you need to have glowing skin. That just makes sense to me and it’s a very natural and organic way to sell your products.

Gillian Perkins:

When you were originally dreaming up that ideal customer avatar, where did that person come from? Was she just a different version of you? Was she the person who you thought I would just love to work with that person, like that’s my dream client? Was it someone who you saw who was struggling and you wanted to help someone who is like that particular customer that you had?

Kat Gaskin:

That’s such a great question. I’ve never thought of that before. So this is the answer that I thought of right now and no one’s ever asked me that before. And so the idea of Felicia came to me because it’s not me and it’s not anyone that I’ve ever met, but she is my ideal definition of success in a woman. And so if I can help my people and my customers and my community get to a place where they are a Felicia, then I’ve succeeded.

Kat Gaskin:

That’s the goal with The Content Planner. Yes, I have this product and yes, it helps other business owners, but at the end of the day, my bigger purpose is to simply help other women be successful and make more money in their businesses so they have more purpose, they have more time to do the things that they love. We all know that having a plan increases your productivity too.

Kat Gaskin:

So if I can create this planner that’s a catalyst for that, then that’s what I’m going to do. So Felicia initially was my vision and how I imagined a successful, strong, powerful, assertive, confident woman to be how she operates, how she upholds herself with class, with confidence and she truly believes in her business and herself. And so when I think about her and I think about the level that she’s on, I was like, “Man, I want to be on her level. I want to bring my customers to that level.”

Gillian Perkins:

A lot of the time when working on marketing messaging, you’ll have an idea of a version of your customer with the problem that they currently have and then your product will create some sort of transformation in their life and then they’re a new version of themselves that is now free of that problem and more successful. Would you say that your customer avatar Felicia is the before or the after of having your product?

Kat Gaskin:

She’s definitely the after. She’s absolutely the after. She’s organized, she’s on top of her game, she plans ahead. She thinks really big, but she also thinks really deep about what she’s doing and how she’s making an impact. So the problems and the struggles and the challenges are of course there because I experienced them on the daily, whether it’s craving more organization, craving more productivity, trying to decrease my overwhelm while also balancing multiple social platforms.

Kat Gaskin:

So those will always be there and I’m very conscious of them all the time and I of course want to solve that problem for my customers. But if I’m going to think about who I want to serve, I want to serve the best version of my customers, if that makes sense.

Gillian Perkins:

That really seems like a unique answer to me actually because when a lot of people are thinking about their customer avatar, they’re thinking of, I think the problem oriented person, the person who they need to solve the problem for. But you were focused on attracting the person who you wanted to help your customers become, which is really interesting.

Kat Gaskin:

I just had that revelation right now, so thanks for giving me that.


Having an Engaged Fan Base

Gillian Perkins:

Well, maybe that is your secret to attracting this amazingly engaged fan base. One of the toughest parts about being an entrepreneur is that your income can fluctuate a lot from one month to the next. This can make it tough to plan and budget, and it can also cause a lot of stress. But what if you could accurately predict how much your business would bring in each month or even for the next year, how much easier would that make things for you?

Gillian Perkins:

Well, I want to teach you exactly how to do just that, how to predict your profits for the next year. Just head to gillianperkins.com/predict-your-profit to sign up now for the free workshop. It’s just 20 minutes long, but it will teach you a valuable lesson about how to thrive as you continue to grow your business. Again, that’s gillianperkins.com/predict-your-profit, or simply click the link in the show notes to sign up now.

Gillian Perkins:

So let’s move on to talk about a problem that I see a lot of people facing with their social media and something that a lot of people ask me, which is, how do you have enough content to post? What do I post every day? How do I keep coming up with ideas and how do they not just be filler content? Sure, I could vlog my day every day on Instagram stories, but that’s probably not going to very strategically attract my target clients. So what should I post and how can I keep coming up with content ideas?

Kat Gaskin:

And that is a huge problem that people struggle with whether they’ve just started a business or whether they’re like me and they’ve been in the Instagram game for eight years, now running an e-commerce business, doing their own social media, people who are listening to this podcast. Just know that that is completely normal and that everyone experiences that problem on almost a daily basis.

Kat Gaskin:

So for me, I have systems and frameworks in place so that I feel supported with my content ideas because I’m of the school where I just have so many ideas all the time, but then sometimes your creativity, it’s the ebb and the flow, it comes in and it just overflows but then sometimes it’s dry as a desert. You can’t just turn it on like a tap, your creativity is very spontaneous.

Kat Gaskin:

And so I prefer to have systems in place that I can just look at or reference and say, “Okay, great. Here are content types that I can reference,” or, “Here are the four pillars are recurring content that I use,” which is something that I teach all of my students in The Content Planner Virtual Workshop. So essentially the four recurring pillars are pillars that you can reference for your content. And they’re very free, they’re not very restrictive.

Kat Gaskin:

Because I don’t like when people give you ideas and they’re just so specific, I like when people give you points of reference and then you can take it and go with it however you please. So for example, the first one is introduce yourself. You’re always going to be having new people coming to your account, people who forget who you are or people who just simply want to get to know you more as a business owner and someone on Instagram.

Kat Gaskin:

So remember that you need to introduce yourself and tell your story just like you were meeting someone for the first time. And with these pillars of recurring content, I suggest you can share them once a week or twice a week, or once a month, wherever you have gaps in your content plan, these are go-to types of content that you can just piece in so that you don’t have any more gaps.

Kat Gaskin:

The second one is talk about how you stand out, whether it’s your products or your services or your manufacturing processes, maybe it’s your 20 years of industry experience. You have to remind your people what makes your business unique. What makes you different? What makes you stand out? What do you do that nobody else does? For example, with The Content Planner, not only is it a very unique system as a whole, but how I designed it, it’s a landscape planner which you don’t normally see on the market.

Kat Gaskin:

It’s also the first and only one of its kind. It has custom planner stickers and it’s designed by someone who is actually a successful content creator and now e-commerce business owner. So I’m always cognizant of sharing yes, this is a planner, yes, there are other content planners now in the market, but this is what makes my planner different from everyone else’s.

Kat Gaskin:

So we have introduced, we have how you stand out, the third one is how will your people benefit from working with you? So what are the benefits of either buying your products or opting into your online course or signing up for your services? How will they benefit, how will you create transformation in their life by someone buying from you? And it’s as simple as answering the questions, what problems do you solve?

Kat Gaskin:

Now going back to the planner, the problems that the planner solves is no more overwhelms from social media, you’re less stressed, you have more time, you have a framework, you have structure, these are all benefits of using my planner and I always try to share that in my content. And then the last recurring pillar of content is your offer. So talking about what you sell.

Kat Gaskin:

If you don’t talk about what you sell, how are you expecting to actually sell something? And I know it sounds very, very simple, but sometimes all it takes is a product image with a Shopify tag saying, “Hey, this is my product and you can go buy it.” When it comes to these types of content, people often forget to talk about what they’re selling or how you can buy from them. So this is my reminder to you that you have to lay out exactly how to opt in, to purchase, to sign up on a regular basis.

Gillian Perkins:

So do you share both on Instagram stories and on the feed with each of those four different content pillars?


Content Pillars

Kat Gaskin:

Yeah. I don’t have a strict, “Okay, do this and do that,” because I prefer to lead business owners in the direction but let them figure it out on their own so they feel more empowered by their content plan saying like, “Okay, wow, I actually figured this out.” What I can suggest is taking these four pieces of content and sharing them both on your feed and stories at the same time.

Kat Gaskin:

So for example, if you want to talk about your story and introduce yourself, you can share a photo in your feed of yourself and say, “Hi, my name is Kat Gaskin. I’m the founder of The Content Planner, here’s a little bit of backstory around me.” And then in your stories, because it’s video, you can share some selfie videos of you expanding on that story, and that’s how you can kind of layer your content to create more impact.

Gillian Perkins:

So sometimes I feel like I kind of struggle to give things like that context. So I know it’s important to introduce myself on a regular basis because I definitely am getting more new followers every week and a lot of them don’t really know who I am. But well, I guess on the feed, it seems kind of obvious. I can just be like Friday introductions or something like that, there are a lot of new people here. Can you do just the same thing on stories or is there some way that you can fit it into the context of just that content platform better?

Kat Gaskin:

Yeah. You can share whatever you want on your stories. You don’t always have to intro or warm up people or give them an introduction to what you’re going to share on stories. Because if it’s you, if it’s related to your business, if it’s related to your brand, just dive into it. And you also have to think from a technical aspect, you only have not even 15 seconds, I would say you have three seconds to get people’s attention as they’re swiping through all of their stories.

Kat Gaskin:

So if you spend those first three seconds saying, “Hi everyone, I hope you’re having a great day, I’m doing well. And I just wanted to hop on here really quickly and talk to you about…” that’s already 10 seconds gone. Just get to it and introduce yourself and don’t feel, because I think this is more of a feeling mindset thing, don’t feel like you always have to say, “Hey, it’s me. I’m just hopping on here to say, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” No, this is your brand, this is your business, this is your account. People are here to listen to you and you need to own that.

Gillian Perkins:

Great advice, I love that. So I think that there are two main ways that people use Instagram, one is to attract new leads to their business and then the other is to develop those leads and work on converting those followers into customers. Do you tend to use Instagram more in one way or the other or is it completely a mix?

Kat Gaskin:

It’s definitely a mix. For me Instagram because that for me is what I’m most comfortable with. This could apply to any platform, whatever you’re comfortable with using, whatever you enjoy using, whatever you like using, go with that platform because I often get questions asking, “Hey Kat, should I be on all five social media platforms?” And I’m like, “No.”

Kat Gaskin:

My rule of thumb is to pick two so I like to have a primary platform, which is Instagram and then a secondary platform, which is either my email list, or I don’t really use Facebook or Pinterest, but my email list, my website, and also guest podcasting and guest interviews and doing guest expert pieces for online courses. But Instagram is my main platform of choice. I use it for community building, engagement, I use it even for color voting week.

Kat Gaskin:

So every year the community gets to vote in the colors of the next planner. And I do that all on Instagram. Because it can get confusing trying to direct all your followers to, “Okay, subscribe to my YouTube, follow me on Twitter, follow me on Instagram, go watch my Instagram stories, join my Facebook group.” I’m already overwhelmed thinking about that. But if you just own one platform really, really well and you put all your effort into that, you can sell with it.

Kat Gaskin:

You can build your community, you can build trust, you can engage with your followers, you can answer customer service inquiries. And especially now with Instagram and them investing a lot in the shopping feature, if you have a product based business, highly recommend that you get on Instagram ASAP.

Gillian Perkins:

So just to clarify, all your secondary platforms, they’re all pointing back at Instagram, is that right?

Kat Gaskin:

I would say all my secondary platforms except for my email list, they don’t necessarily point back to Instagram, they support Instagram. So if, for example, Instagram broke or I lost my account or I got hacked, cross my fingers that never happens, but you don’t want to have all your eggs in one basket. That’s why it’s important to have either some sort of mailing list or a Facebook group or some other platform that when one breaks you’d have something to lean back on.

Gillian Perkins:

That is so important. When you’re thinking about building a business and you want it to exist for the long term, it would be just the worst to be building a business for years and lose everything just because one account broke or something like that. So I think that’s really important for anyone who’s building an online business especially. So, because you do a lot of, it sounds like, especially your customer development on Instagram, obviously you have to somehow get the followers there so that you can connect with them. So what are some of your favorite ways to attract new followers to your Instagram account?

Hashtag Strategy

Kat Gaskin:

The first one that I always use, especially when I first started The Content Planner, and this is my recommendation for anyone who is starting from zero and has no idea where to find your people is your hashtag strategy. And I share my three part hashtag strategy on my Instagram account for free so if you want to go check it out, feel free to do that.

Kat Gaskin:

And hashtag strategy is the most underrated Instagram feature that people just don’t use. They overlook it or they half-ass it and then they realize why aren’t my hashtags performing the way they do? And I love hashtags because I define them as opportunities to get in front of one singular community. So if you have 30 opportunities, because you’re allowed 30 hashtags per post, wouldn’t you rather get in front of 30 communities than one? And once you really figure it out, it starts to get fun because you’re like, “Oh, well, I can do…”

Kat Gaskin:

Like this is how I think about it, I can do a post for food bloggers and I can just use food blogger hashtags. And then I can do a post for travel bloggers that can just do travel blogger hashtags, or I could do one just for entrepreneurs or e-commerce business owners or Shopify store owners and create a targeted hash group for those people. Now, there’s a few factors that make your hashtag group successful, obviously the photo has to match with the actual hashtag.

Kat Gaskin:

So don’t feel like you can put your summer hashtag group and post a photo of a wintry mountain landscape, it’s not going to work that way. But when your brand is aligned with the hashtags, and I also teach this in my strategy as well, and it matches with who your customers are and you get kind of in the mix with other brands and products and people that are aligned with your customer and who are your Felicia, maybe it’s like brands that Felicia uses or products that she believes in or services that she’s subscribed to, and this is where that customer avatar comes in again, you’ll just naturally attract those people.

Kat Gaskin:

And I love hashtag strategy because it’s free and you don’t have to pay for anything and it will still get your content in front of new eyes consistently, constantly, the more work that you put into it. So that’s step one for me, I always start with my hashtag strategy when it comes to attracting new followers and getting new eyes on my actual content from a technical aspect. And another great way that I found helped build The Content Planner to where it is now is encouraging people to talk about your products and your brand.

Kat Gaskin:

This is where I see a lot of people failing, especially product-based businesses, is their unboxing process. The process that I put together for The Content Planner, it’s so meticulous and detail oriented, down to the tissue paper, down to where the sticker is placed, what it says on the sticker, because I want people to feel like when they invest in my product and they receive it, not only are they excited, but they want to open it and they feel like they’ve gifted themselves something.

Kat Gaskin:

And if it’s pretty and beautiful and thought out and clean lines and it’s all on brand and color coded to the planner that they bought, what do you think they’re going to do? They’re going to grab their phone and they’re going to say, “Oh my gosh, look at this beautiful planner that I just unboxed and I’m so excited to start planning my content, tag at The Content Planner.”

Kat Gaskin:

So from the beginning of my Instagram journey when I had zero followers, every time someone mentioned my business, I would repost them and I tried to encourage that behavior more and more and more. So fast forward four years, because it took four years, four plus years, now people talk about The Content Planner almost every day.

Kat Gaskin:

They’re mentioning me, they’re talking about my product in rooms that I’m not in and I don’t have to ever ask them to post about The Content Planner, they do it naturally. So yes, at the beginning, it might not be as common or popular. You won’t wake up to 10 to 20 mentions every day, but if you put the work in at the beginning and you get one a week or two a week and then all of a sudden you start to get a few every day, and then that becomes more consistent.

Kat Gaskin:

Over time, after years of doing the same thing, that’s encouraging your people and congratulating them and thanking them, you’re going to have a very solid foundation of your own army of fans that will naturally talk about your products, and that’s word of mouth marketing. It works. There is no trend, there is no secret hack, it’s all about, still using those traditional forms of marketing, just adapting them for Instagram and social media.

Gillian Perkins:

I love that and I also love how practical you made that, just how much you brought that down. So thank you. I have a couple of quick questions about your hashtag strategy because I think this is something that a lot of people have a lot of misconceptions about, and it seems a little mysterious, they’re not quite sure how it works or just myths about what is or is not true about hashtags. Do you use the same group of hashtags over and over again or do you need to change them for every post?

Kat Gaskin:

I do not use the same group of hashtags depending on the image. So for example, if I take a photo and I’m in Maui planning my content on a beautiful balcony and there’s an ocean of background with palm trees, I use my travel blogger hashtag group because I know that a photo of me on vacation working, creating content or planning is going to relate very much to the travel blogger content creator community.

Kat Gaskin:

But if I’m just going to share a photo of the planner on a beautiful flat lay with some pens and some stationary, then I’m going to use my planner hashtag group where it talks about the stationary community, pens, like the mildliners community, people who love highlighters. So you have to cater your hashtags to the actual photo. And this is where I see a lot of people fail at that because they just recycle the same old hashtags and they don’t realize that you can have fun with it.

Kat Gaskin:

And it’s like picking out your outfit. Like, okay, it’s snowing outside, so I’m going to put on my winter boots and my winter coat. So if I’m going to share a photo of a beach vacation, I’m going to use my beach vacation hashtags. That’s how I think about it.

Gillian Perkins:

So it’s kind of like dress appropriately for the weather, use the appropriate hashtags for what you’re talking about. And so you said you use 30 hashtags in every post, is that right?

Kat Gaskin:

Yeah.

Gillian Perkins:

And do you put them in the caption or in the comments?

Kat Gaskin:

I found that there’s no right or wrong answer for that sometimes. And this is why I always like to also say, disclaimer, hashtag strategy is not an exact science. So what works for me might not work for you all the time, you constantly have to be changing it up. And so for example, sometimes I’ll put my hashtags in my caption and it’ll perform and I track them just through Instagram insights and I’m like, “Okay, great. My hashtags are performing well.”

Kat Gaskin:

And sometimes they completely bomb and I’m like, “Okay, I didn’t do anything different. I didn’t change one thing and now they’re not performing.” So whenever that happens, I switch it up and I take them out in my caption and I put them in the comments and it usually works. And then if it doesn’t work, I move on with my life because I realize at the end of the day it’s just hashtags and it’s only one piece of your content strategy.

Kat Gaskin:

Because believe me, people sometimes just make themselves go crazy because one little thing didn’t work with Instagram. But you have to remember that there is no science, they’re always changing things and you can’t take it personally. It’s not you, it’s Instagram. And at the end of the day, as long as you post something consistently and you’re engaging with your community, that’s all that matters.

Gillian Perkins:

So one more quick question about something that I’m sure also is not an exact answer for posting frequency. What would be the recommended posting frequency on Instagram, especially on the feed? I think everyone has figured out at this point that the more often we post on stories, the better. But when it comes to posting on the feed, what would you recommend?

Kat Gaskin:

I would recommend that, not that there’s a number, but I would recommend to post as consistently as possible the number of times that you can stick to over a long period of time. But if you just started your account and you’re at zero followers, I recommend posting two to three times every day for two months. Because when you just start your Instagram account, Instagram wants to show you and prove to you that it works and that you’re going to get followers and that you’re going to get engagement, so your content gets pushed to the top of people’s feeds.

Kat Gaskin:

And obviously you’re just starting out so you want to gain followers and gain traction and attract your ideal people. So this is a mistake I see a lot of people make, is they start their Instagram account and it’s like crickets for months and months and months. But when you first start, it’s almost like when you’re building a fire, most of the work is done gathering your kindling and trying to rub those two sticks together, getting that spark to hit.

Kat Gaskin:

And it’s just like that with your Instagram account, when you just open your account and you’re brand new, you have to hit the ground running with beautiful, original, creative content that is engaging just for two months. And at the end of those two months, you’re probably going to have a few thousand followers and that is a good base to build from. There’s no shortcut again, and there’s no exact number to post consistently, but after you’ve gained your first few thousand, you’re going to have other things that require your attention in your business.

Kat Gaskin:

So I would much rather you post consistently for a year or two than for it to be once every few months and then all of a sudden, for two weeks you post every day. That doesn’t make sense to me. I would much rather you show up once a week with an engaging, original value-filled, knowledge driving, action creating piece of content than sharing fluff seven days a week that you don’t really like.

Kat Gaskin:

And I think that’s what a lot of people forget, is that at the end of the day, we’re in it for the long run. We’re not trying to build our Instagram accounts to become famous in 15 minutes and then deactivate it. You have to put the work in now because it will start to pay off once you grow and you stay consistent with your plans over a long period of time. But it’s not a sexy answer, so people don’t really do it. They want the shortcuts, they want the secrets.

Kat Gaskin:

Of course, some of those exist, but that’s just not how I operate, that’s not how I work as a business owner. I’m more of the school where it’s, as Robin Sharma says, it’s like small daily actions lead to big achievements over time. And I’ve been doing this for eight years and I still don’t feel like I’ve reached the level of success that I’m capable of so I’m constantly working and thinking about my business. So when it comes to your Instagram content, there is no set number, but I would much rather you be consistent over a long period of time.

Gillian Perkins:

Well, thank you Kat so much for everything that you’ve shared with us today. This has been fantastic. I’ve definitely got a bit of an education myself. Before we wrap this up, you mentioned earlier on that you have some hashtag training of some sort that people could get their hands on, where could they go to do that?

Kat Gaskin:

So all you have to do is go to our Instagram at thecontentplanner and go to our IGTV, it’s my 18 minute hashtag strategy all in one video, just for you. It’s completely free and it’s something that I share with you because I want you to get great with your hashtags. It’s part of a good content strategy and it’s something that I’ve been working on since I started on Instagram around 2013. So feel free to go check it out on our Instagram account. And if you like training around content planning and you want to learn how to plan your content using the planner, then I also recommend you check out our Instagram as well.

Gillian Perkins:

Perfect. And you said that’s at thecontentplanner, is that right?

Kat Gaskin:

Correct.

Gillian Perkins:

Okay, awesome. Well, thank you so much Kat for taking your time to be here on the show with us today and for everything that you’ve shared about how to post on social media to attract followers and get more engagement.

Kat Gaskin:

Thanks so much.

Gillian Perkins:

All right. Well, that is everything for today. Thank you so much for joining me for today’s episode. If you found this episode helpful and you would like to participate live in future recording sessions, then be sure to visit startupsociety.com/podcast to learn more about all the benefits of membership and apply to join. And finally, it would be a big help if you left Work Less, Earn More a review on Apple Podcasts.

Gillian Perkins:

Not only will this help us reach more people, but it’s also going to give you the chance to potentially win a 12 month membership to Startup Society. All you need to do to enter is post your review on Apple Podcasts, then email a screenshot to contact@gillianperkins.com. Thanks again so much for listening, now let’s wrap this up. I’m Gillian Perkins, and until next week, stay focused and take action.

Sean McMullin