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Authentic Online Marketing with Ruthie Gray
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Ep. 42: What we learned from 1 year of podcasting; Top 5 downloads

Today, we’re celebrating one year of the Instagram Insider Hacks podcast by revisiting our top 5 downloads of the year. Can you believe it?  To help me celebrate, I’ve invited my audio engineer and virtual assistant to join me today. We’re going to review the top five downloads of the podcast as they surprise me one by one, because I don’t know the results.  So, stay tuned to the end.

We will wrap up this episode with a big red bow for a special announcement. Oh, and the people I mentioned? They are my son and daughter, it’s a family celebration!

*This episode contains either affiliate links or links to my products. Should you choose to purchase, the show will go on! Woo hoo!

Click below for show notes

Top 5 Downloads of the Year

Like I said today, we are celebrating one year. A year flies by much faster than you realize. Before we get started, I just want to introduce my son and daughter to you. My son is my audio engineer and his name is Nolan. Nolan, why don’t you tell the folks what your business is and the name?

Sure. My business is called Indigo Sound.  I do audio engineering for musicians, as well as podcasters like you and sound design for film work, basically anything that needs any sort of sound engineering. I also edit this podcast that I’m talking on right now, which is going to be interesting listening back!

R: You do such a great job. People ask me all the time, “How do you edit your sound? Why does it sound so good?” Well, it’s because my son takes all of my gulps and the weed eaters in the background and just mouth noises and everything, and he makes them disappear.

My lovely assistant Hayley Carpenter is also with us today. Welcome Hayley! Why don’t you tell the folks what you do as well.

Hayley: So my position is basically a virtual assistant to Ruthie! I handle all of the visuals for the Facebook page and also some of the Instagram visuals, Pinterest graphics. I also help with the scheduling and just keeping you organized.

R: Yes. You also help me with my membership and just keeping everyone straight, telling them what days they have for feedback or Hotseats.

It’s more than one Facebook group, she runs several. There are any number of things in a day that Hayley will do for me. It’s just really up-leveled my business since having her on as well as Nolan with the podcast and everything. It’s just totally made a difference.

5. How do you use hashtags on Instagram?
Since we’re celebrating today, we’re going to start with Nolan and Hayley taking turns, starting with the lowest to the most downloaded podcast episode of 2021. Let’s go!

H: I’ll start with number five! The fifth top episode was Episode 8: How do you use hashtags on Instagram? You answered this question with some special guests like Pat Fenner, Dawn Klinge. You talked about narrowing your IG niche.

R: Wow. Probably the reason that’s number five is everybody is wondering what in the world to do with hashtags. It’s like this big mystery that the world wants to know.  I gave some super basic but important tips that still are relevant today at the time of this podcast taping, which is late May early June.

Niching down hashtags
N: So about the hashtag niching–I actually went back and listened to this episode like two weeks ago, just because I’ve been trying to get on my game with Indigo Sound and our Instagram, and basically I’ve just been like, okay, what are all the quick tips and how do I make these hashtags effective?

That was obviously the number one thing was that I wouldn’t do hashtags because it would have billions of views and no one would see. I would just get lost in a sea of hashtags at that point. So, I just niched them down and it’s already even doing like Knoxville music matters because that’s where I live is Knoxville, even that has connected me to other musicians in the area here.

We just met online now because of those Instagram hashtags. So that was a really cool episode.

R: That is awesome. And you know, I think that people are discouraged because hashtags are kind of all over the map, but they’re still working. I love hearing that. Thanks for sharing that.

Well, what are we looking at for number four then?

N: All right. So the number 4 of the top 5 downloads was episode five, actually another early one. That was a Q and A, it was Ep. 5:Tips for Optimal Instagram Post Prep. That one featured Michelle Bowman, Belinda Latchford and a few other ladies.

You shared three tips to cut your posting time in half.

4. Ep. 5: Tips for optimal post prep

R: Yeah, that was a super valuable one.  I shared some of my, you know, kind of  ninja tips that I use for posting and how to do that. That makes it easy because people need easy, you know? Those were some of my super simple tips that I use because people need easy when it comes to post prep. It’s really easy to get overwhelmed with all of the things. They’re thinking am I gonna do a Reel, IGTV, live or am I going to do a carousel or what should I do this week?

How do I decide what images to use and what hashtags and all of that. So I just kind of broke it down. Those people that you just named Nolan, they were early, early supporters of the podcast. They were some of my first supporters. And the people that Hayley mentioned are some of the people in my memberships.

It’s exciting. If you are interested in knowing what those three posting tips are that fourth most downloaded episode, go to episode five.

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Top 5 Downloads number 3 – The most effective way to build your IG following

Hayley: Number three is Episode 6: The most effective way to build your Instagram following. In this episode, you talked about why slow growth is good and necessary. Engaged followers are the best kind of followers. You just talked a lot about organic and slow growth.

R: Yes. And I still believe that I think it’s good to grow. You do need to grow and there are several targeted ways to do that. But, I also think that it’s important to make sure that we’re serving our current audience well. That takes time, and I think in that in that episode, I encouraged people to kind of veer off from the fast track, the loops and follow for follow and things like that.

That’s not authentic, and that’s not where we want to go. At least, it’s not for me. Most of my followers I find are really authentic. They want to establish authentic relationships. They’re not just on Instagram to sell, sell, sell. Although yes, we want to market our products, our books, and our podcasts.

We also want to deliver value because the majority of listeners are Christian business women who are at work. That’s not a surprise to me at all.

2. Ep. 33: Seven ways to grow followers in 2021

N: Ready for number two? The second episode in the top 5 downloads of Instagram Insider Hacks history is episode 33, which aired back in March.

That was Seven ways to grow followers in 2021. That was a very popular episode. You talked about how you don’t need to fill up your Instagram with fake followers. You shared about delivering value instead of adding to all of the noise as well as finding your voice and sharing it in the way that only you can share your message.

That’s what that episode was all about.

R: Yes, I remember we actually had a growth challenge where I opened up my authentic Instagram engagement Facebook group for people to join. And we had a huge, huge influx of people, which by the way, that Facebook group is free and anyone can join here, you just have to request to join.

People were really involved in that. I did a training in there and that certain episode was from that training. Again, it’s a lot like number three, a lot in the same vein as far as how to build. There are two main things people want to know is for Instagram.

Number one, how to grow your platform and number two, how to use hashtags so I can see why those are popular. But the twist, the difference between that and the number three downloaded podcast, one of them is that I did capitalize at the end on how important it is to put your own personality, spin on your platform. A reminder to not just do what everyone else is doing. Find your voice, do your thing, break out in song or whatever you do. You know, like I do on the podcast all the time. And I get comments all the time from followers and cohorts that say, I love that you just randomly break out in song.

Number 1: How changing my IG strategy delivered clients

Let’s go for number one.

H: Okay. Drum roll, please. The number one of the top 5 downloads is Episode four: How changing my Instagram strategy delivered clients without sales pressure.

R: Yay. That one has been super popular this whole time!  I believe my guest was Cathy Lawdanski. She is a Rodan & Fields representative. She has been with me for at least two years in and out of my memberships.

She’s in my current membership now. Cathy  listens to sound council and she tries whatever I tell her. She said, “whenever I’m in your memberships at work and I make sales”. The thing about it is too though, that Cathy is currently experiencing a pivot. A lot of times for me, at least it’s just really good to get sound advice and input when you try to rebrand yourself and you’re trying to launch a new product and things like that.

The whole mantra of that is how you make the sales on Instagram.

H: One of the things that you talked about in that episode too, which I thought was interesting was focusing on the individuals and not the numbers. That is when you will start to see the real breakthroughs in connection and sales.

R: It’s true. Because again, like I said, the number one thing that people want to do is grow their following. They want to grow their followers. And so they pay attention to those numbers. Something interesting that one of my recent podcast guests pointed out, Suzy Goodwin in Episode 38, is that she grew over 10,000 followers. I think now it’s 12 or 13K, but she said once she hit that 10,000 mark people had a different perception of her. People thought she didn’t see them anymore, she was all about the numbers but she’s not like that. If you’re an authentic person that is wanting to deliver value you’re never gonna get to that level.

Grow your IG by hosting challenges

H: It’s cool that the second most popular one just came out in March!

R: Yes, like I said, I did a challenge for that one. So, let this be a lesson to anyone out there trying to grow your Instagram, your podcast, or trying to grow your book. If you do a challenge on IG, it will help boost those numbers. Take from that and springboard– it’s great advice.

I have a little announcement going forward with the Instagram Insider Hacks podcast, going forward. We are changing a little bit. We’re doing a little bit of the pivot ourselves and broadening our message a little bit. It’s going to be geared more towards online marketing of all kinds. We’re talking newsletters, SEO, you know, the different ways of developing products, online products and things of that nature.

Thank you for reading and stay tuned because we will be using the same channel, but we’re going to rebrand and the name reveal will be coming up soon as well as a new cover and a new announcer, new song and everything! Also, something else that Nolan is doing now is our voiceovers. So if you need a voiceover specialist or anything like that, if you need a theme song, come see him, come look him up and follow indigo sound on Instagram!

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