Trying to figure out which social media platform is best to help in building your business brand is no easy task, with so many options to choose from. Have you felt a need to shy away from some platforms for various reasons?
Instagram is a fantastic way to allow your customers – and future customers – an opportunity to see your personality, build a relationship with you and your brand, and in the end help build your business.
John Kapos is the owner of Perfection Chocolates in Sydney, Australia. He has been successfully using Instagram to build his business, and is sharing some of the tips and strategies that he uses that have worked for him, and might work for your business as well.
Rich: John Kapos is Chocolate Johnny, President of Perfection Chocolates, an Australian-based chocolate company established by the Kapos family in 1939. Located in Sydney’s beautiful Rose Bay, they have served a client base that includes the rich and famous for years. John has recently been building his business through social media and especially Instagram. He’s come on the show today to share with us how he’s grown his business with the popular social media app Instagram. John, welcome to the show.
John: Hi Rich, how are ya mate? Thanks for having me on the show, I really appreciate it, buddy.
Rich: It’s great to have you on here, I’m really looking forward to asking you questions. I know that people out there are interested in your answers. Let’s just start out with some basics. What drew you to Instagram?
John: I’ve always been on Facebook I think when Facebook first started. I had my first post on Instagram back in 2010 or 2011. I’m on Twitter constantly, and now I’ve just picked up Snapchat. I love all social media and I think if you’re in business you’ve really got to use it. But Instagram is the good one, I love it. It’s great for photos and telling a story and behind the scenes, it’s just a really good app.
Rich: I definitely want to get to Instagram more, but what you just said definitely raised a question for me. I have to ask, a lot of guys “our age” are slow to adopt social media, especially Instagram. I guess they feel it’s for a different generation. What would you say to those people?
John: Rich, I’m glad you asked that question. I was recently on Creative Live, I was with Sue B. Zimmerman who’s the Instagram expert, you’ve had her on the show and she’s just an amazing woman. And I said on Creative Live that I’m 50 years old and I want to tell the people out there that are in businesses that it doesn’t matter if you’re 40, 50 or 60, pick it up and use it. It’s also a good way to connect with your kids, but businesses need Instagram.
Don’t be afraid to use it, it really, really works. There’s nothing to be afraid of, you’re going to make mistakes but after a while you get used to it and all of a sudden you’re engaging with people and building relationships. People start seeing your personality and whether you’re a cake baker or a cake cutter or a podcaster, it all works.
Rich: Yeah, and I would just say my dad is 73 years old and he is not super active on social media, but uses social media. He’s a presenter and an author and it took him a while to get started. I think it’s with your first Instagram post or your first Facebook post or your first tweet, you want it to be perfect, and I think it just takes a little bit of experience to realize that the goal is not perfection- unless you’re making chocolates. The goal is just to have a conversation and you’re so worried about making mistakes, just get out there and start using tools and you will learn as you go.
John: Well that’s what I found with Instagram, Rich. Once I started engaging with people, I started asking people questions and I started making comments, and all of a sudden these people are coming back to me. And then we build a relationship, and then we build trust, and I found Instagram to be a really fun place. The relationships I’ve created, I’ve got friends all over the world now, and that’s what I really love about it.
Rich: That’s great. Now I noticed when I was checking out your stuff that you have a brand for Chocolate Johnny on Instagram, and then you have another profile for Perfection Chocolates. Now what’s the purpose behind that?
John: What I did when I first started Instagram, I had Chocolate Johnny and I had Perfection Chocolates, because I just had that gut feeling that this was going to be good for business. And Sue B. confirmed for me that I need both. I have the personal one, Chocolate Johnny. If you go on Chocolate Johnny you’re going to see pictures of my daughter’s wedding and pictures of my kids and you’ll see chocolate as well. I want to become a mentor to businesses and so that’s the part where I’m getting personal.
When you go to Perfection Chocolates, that’s the hardcore business stuff, behind the scenes, what I’m doing, what we’re making, recipes, tips. clues, hints. I think if you’re in business, start your business Instagram account and just build on that. Keep it personal, but also link it so people can get behind that brand or image.
Rich: Now on the Instagram app itself there’s no easy way – like on Twitter – to switch between multiple accounts. So are you just logging in and out every single time?
John: Yeah. I’m logging in and out at the same time. I actually tend to stay in all day. So today is Chocolate Johnny day. In the factory at the moment we’re making salted, creamy caramels. So what I’ll do is ‘ll take photos and videos and document everything, but I’ll post that to the Instagram for Perfection Chocolates. For examples, I’ll post a photo and say, “Hey guys, here I am at the factory making some salted caramels. Talk to you tomorrow.” And the next day I’ll switch over. That’s how I do it. I do one day on one account, the next day on the other. So I find that’s working at the moment. I’ll see what happens as I get busier and more followers and interaction, but at the moment that works.
Rich: That seems to be manageable, ok. Now one of the things I noticed as I looked through your accounts is you use a mix of both photos and video. Have you found one to be more successful than the other?
John: I’ll tell you Rich, I love video. My kids tell me I’m embarrassing, but I love it. I’ve got to tell you what I’m doing a lot lately, do you know what “direct messaging” is on Instagram?
Rich: Yeah, although I have to admit I haven’t played around with it all that much. But Sue is the one that shared that with me.
John: Let me tell you what I did, I met some amazing people on Creative Live and I sent them a direct message. I put myself out there and said, “Hey guys, loved our time together, hope we talk soon. I’m here in Sydney paddling with the boys out in the water.” And the response was phenomenal, Rich. I’ve done that also with customers. I’ll send a message like, “Hey, just finished making a batch of coconut marshmallow chocolates and wanted to know if you were interested in buying some.” The response was amazing and they loved that I interacted with them human to human, not business to business, and they came back to me and said they loved it and placed their orders. It’s working. Direct messaging and videos is very important.
Rich: Alright, so we definitely want to start adding some more direct messaging into our Instagram marketing. Now it sounded like you were able to direct message more than one person at a time, did I hear that correctly?
John: Yeah, that’s the great thing about direct messaging. So today if I want to direct message you and a few other people, I just send a message and there’s a little plus sign and I just add your name. And when you look at it, I’ll see that you actually looked at it and engaged and messaged back. It’s a fantastic way to do it.
You can still do that with the video, I can take a video and post it and @ message you as well. And your little heart at the bottom will light up and you’ll say, “Whoa, Chocolate Johnny sent me a video message, awesome!”
Rich: Very good, I’ll have to check that out for sure. Now I notice that you had – and I forget which account I was looking at when I saw this – but you had a lot of followers, I forget the exact amount, but that’s something every business owner and entrepreneur is going to be interested in. How do I get more followers? So, what have some of your tactics been and what tactics can we use if we don’t happen to have chocolate and peanut butter brittle at our disposal?
John: For me I’ve found that when I interact with people at the beginning, I tucked in the hashtag #chocolate. I think at the moment there’s 24 million posts with #chocolate. So I looked at people who were liking chocolate or involved with chocolate.So if there’s anyone out there selling coconut water or sugar, just type in those keywords and hashtag, and all those posts come up. Start liking the ones you like, engage with them, “I really love your photo, I’d love to have a chat.” All of a sudden, they start liking what you like, they start following you, giving you advice and ideas, and you share the love of whatever you guys do. That’s how I found my followers started increasing on both accounts, Chocolate Johnny and Perfection Chocolates.
Rich: So really you’re just finding the thing that draws you altogether, in this case it’s chocolate but it really could be anything, and you’re building a community pretty organically.
John: Yeah, and that’s what you want to do, you really want to find the people. And Rich, there’s people out there like me. I’m just John Kapos and I come from a family that makes chocolates, and there are a lot of us out there. And these people need to get out there and just interact, and you’d be surprised what happens.
These people will then find other people that are in the same situation, and that’s what I want to do on Instagram is connect with others. Don’t be afraid to do it and you’ll be amazed what will happen, truly amazed.
Rich: Alright, excellent. So you mentioned you were following the chocolate hashtags – I notice that you use a lot of hashtags – a couple in the initial post and then you usually comment later on with basically a forest of hashtags. So what’s the technique or the strategy behind that?
John: So what I’ve done – and Sue’s taught me this as well – I’ve got 40+ hashtags that are specific to my business and also specific to my name. So I’ve got Chocolate Johnny quotes, the other day I put a quote saying, “Our chocolates and sweets are powered by love”, and that was #chocolatejohnnyquotes.
What I do is I post something and put the basic hashtags like #justmakingpeanutbrittle, but under the secondary, I copy and paste my #chocolatefrecklefriday, #perfectioncaramelkoala and a whole lot of other hashtags. I post that under the second comment, and then I can come back and refresh that next week. I can swipe it so I delete it and then add it again. And that refreshes people that are searching for chocolate.
Rich: Alright, so I just want ot make sure I understand this. I post a photo – and let’s say I’m a huge Spiderman fan and maybe that’s my business – so I take a photo of my Spiderman figurine, I post it up there with the hashtag #spiderman and then I throw in a whole bunch of “Rich specific” Spiderman hashtags. Maybe something like #webbyrich – whatever it is – and then in the secondary comments I put in a whole bunch of more narrowly branded hashtags. Then a few days or a week goes by and you said you “clear” – does that mean you delete that comment that I made with all those hashtags and put in a fresh comment?
John: Yes. Not the first comment – that stays – but your secondary comment which has all the hashtags, I swipe it and delete it and re-put in all those hashtags again. And then someone who’s looking for #spidermanfigurine might have missed it a week ago but now all of a sudden finds you. Do you see what I mean?
John: So that way you keep the attraction going. You can’t do it to everything and all of them, you’ll be spending hours and hours. But stuff that I really want people to notice – a perfect example is my white chocolate freckle koala – that’s got the most interaction and the most “likes” I’ve had in a long time. But I deleted a couple of times #whitechocolatefrecklekoala (note: ”freckle” in Australia is “sprinkle” in America) and I updated sprinkle with freckle and then I update again a week later.
Rich: So it sounds like you’re not doing this for every photo, but it sounds like you’re taking a lot of time. How much time everyday would you say you’re putting towards Instagram?
John: Oh my god, is my wife going to hear this? I wake up about half an hour earlier than I should every morning and I Instagram about, honestly, 45 minutes to an hour every day.
Rich: Alright, so you’re making a commitment to this.
John: You know what, Rich, I want my business to grow. I’ve seen people succeed and my financial input is not hundreds of thousands of dollars – yes, my time is expensive – but, if I wake up half an hour or an hour earlier and I go on a walk and stay fit and stop and do an Instagram, what’s that doing. That’s only going to enhance and build my business, So I think it’s worth it, it’s really worth it.
Rich: Well I also might argue the same way I am about Twitter. I love Twitter, that feels to me to be my natural medium. I spend more time on Twitter than probably the ROI would justify, but it’s also my way of expressing who I am and who flyte new media is and who The Marketing Agents is. So there is part of that as well, and sometimes I think business people and entrepreneurs are so worried about the bottom line to get that this is also a creative outlet. If you find your medium you should really go after that and enjoy it.
John: And that’s exactly what I’d like to reiterate, what you just said. Twitter is your thing – I actually love Twitter as well – but I’ve sort of grown to love Instagram more. And as far as people out there listening that are saying they can’t do it – you can – try them all, and then all of a sudden you’ll find one that that really works for you and hone in on it.
Find people that are using it, look for advice online that teaches people how to use these social media products for your business. And then all of a sudden you just know how it works and the efficiencies then take over. You might start off using it a few hours a day, then all of a sudden you’ve reduced it to a half an hour and it’s effective, that’s how I do it. That’s what you do, you love your Twitter, I follow you and I’ve learned a lot of stuff from what you’ve posted.
Rich: Well thank you, I appreciate that.
John: I was listening to Julie Anne Eason you had on about writing a book and I was in the car, I couldn’t stop listening, I’ve always wanted to write a book – especially a kid’s book – so I’m said, “I’m going to take a picture of this and send it and show Rich that I’m listening to his show. And it was great because you favorited it or retweeted it, and that’s just getting that interaction is brilliant – even just on Twitter – I mean, it’s just such a nice feeling.
Rich: Yeah. And the fact that we’re almost, like, 12 hours away so there’s a certain amount of immediacy and there’s also the fact that even if I happen to be sleeping when you share something, I’m going to see it after the fact.
Part of it is I think that we spend a lot of time as marketers figuring out our audiences, which is critically important in terms of choosing which channel you should focus on. But sometimes I think we forget what channel that we are naturally drawn to because we like to talk or interview, so we should be doing podcasts. Or we have a great eye for things, I know that you love photography, so maybe that’s why you’ll really good at Instagram. And I think I really like to be the funny guy in the room or have the perfect quip for an occasion, which is maybe why I’m drawn to Twitter where my best jokes get retweeted and there’s a bad joke quickly forgotten in the stream.
So I think marketers should take both those sides into consideration when figuring out where they want to be having their conversations.
So this has been really great, and I know that people are going to want to check out what you’re doing online, Instagram, and you’ve also got some other accounts, too. Where would you like people to go check you out online?
John: Ok, on Instagram I’m @chocolatejohnny, and I’d love for people to join me there and watch my journey. My business is @perfectionchocolates, hopefully we can get those taste buds going. I’ve also got a YouTube channel, and on Facebook I’ve got Perfection Chocolate. And of course my other favorite – which is your favorite – @chocolatejohnny on Twitter as well as. So I’ve got all of those.
And if you want to get on my website and have a look at what we do, I appreciate it, and I’m happy to answer any questions if anyone’s got anything out there it’s my pleasure to help you guys.
Rich: That’s awesome, and I really appreciate it. We’re going to have all of those links and more in the show notes this week, so be sure to check them out. And John, I just want to thank you once again for your time today.
John: Richard Brooks, honestly it’s been a pleasure and I really appreciate you taking the, I don’t know, the risk. I remember I sent you that first email and thought, “I hope he sees that I’m a good guest.” Bu no, Richard, I really do appreciate it, I want to help someone out there so I thank you once again.
Rich: Alright John, thanks again, have a great day.
John: Take care, mate. See you guys.
Head on over to the Perfection Chocolates website and see what Johnny and his chocolatiers are making today.
Interested in checking out the Creative Live episode where Johnny was a featured guest?