Using Bots to Grow your Instagram Audience

Overview: This week on digital conversations our guest is Jeff MacPherson of Direct Heroes. Jeff and Billy discuss using chatbots with keywords and hashtags on Instagram to build a list and encourage opt ins.

Guest: Jeff MacPherson– I have had the privilege to work with some of the biggest brands and influencers across the globe, giving us the ability to develop a ground breaking tool called Direct Heroes. Direct Heroes is the first conversation funnel and social CRM for Instagram. Analyze, engage, communicate and monetize your Instagram account like never before. I continue to strive to create a better social by connecting brands & business to their consumers on a more personal level.

Listening Platforms:

Billy: Alright everyone, welcome to the show; today, we are lucky to have Jeff McPherson, CEO and co-founder of direct heroes Jeff, thanks for joining us today.

Jeff: Thank you for having me.

Billy: Yeah, I’m really excited to have you on, to talk a little bit about direct heroes and what you guys are doing with Instagram engagement; now, before we get into that though, just tell us a little bit about yourself and about direct heroes?

Jeff: Well I’ve been working for myself for six years now, started in my online marketing career, I guess in e-commerce; funny enough I didn’t know about drop shipping at the time, so I actually got manufacturers overseas to build smart phone cases, for us that I brought in started scaling through influencer marketing, that’s kind of how I got myself tied up into the Instagram world, with smartphones we all know that phones change fast and they’re releasing them all the time, so kind of keeping up with the demand, was kind of crazy, especially by myself, ended up selling that company off to another business.

And then started really learning the marketing digital products, all that stuff and really how to scale businesses in two different ways, got into some digital products, affiliate marketing, I think every
body at some point of their career gets into affiliate marketing; and then, I was always a real big tech guy, got into a couple software’s and like this is something that I really love, this is something I’m interested in, I want to create something that’s going to help my downline; from there we kind of got into again tying.

What I was experienced with influencer marketing on Instagram, on scaling businesses on Instagram and then, adding a piece of like a tool to it to help scale it in a different way, from there we started seeing really, really big trends on messenger marketing, conversational marketing, through different platforms; Facebook, WhatsApp, telegram, slack, a lot of all these channels; and again, we just tied in a product that was in demand somewhere else and started implementing on a platform that we were really experienced in and then two years, later we are we are where we are now, working with some of the biggest brands and brands agency, record labels from across the globe and we’re having really good success in creating, some; yeah, really good success behind the brands that were working with.

Billy: Awesome man and we’ll dig into a little bit more of what you can do with direct heroes, but before we get into that I asked everybody this question, so I’m going to put it to you, if I’m going to look you up on social, your Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter and try to figure out you know; who is Jeff, what is one thing I probably wouldn’t figure out?

Jeff: That you wouldn’t figure out, so through social, again I keep all my social business related, I’m really behind the scenes type person, that’s kind of where I like it to be, because again it’s just like we’re building a product you want to help build other people’s brands and along those lines; so if you google me, this will come up, but through social not so much, I had a fairly, fairly successful hockey career, I talk to career being from Canada very typical ,but I was fortunate enough to play junior hockey in grade school, moved away when I was 16, which I think kind of gave me that business entrepreneurship mindset of having to move away and be in that world at such a young age, being kind of being responsible for yourself, in somebody else’s home and really proving yourself to kind of get on that ice every single day.

Four years of junior hockey and then I ended up going away and playing varsity college hockey, up here in Canada as well. Again, had a really good career, really set me up for success and then I think that happens a lot for entrepreneurs, where they ended up leaving school and kind of pursuing that dream and that’s something that I ended up doing, is that I left after a year of school, it wasn’t for me and my love for the game kind of started distancing and that’s when I jumped online and started my first e-commerce brand.

So, in terms of social, you probably won’t find that, you could do some digging through Google and website like that, that’s we pop up, but yeah that’s kind of the social behind me.

Billy: Yeah, awesome, so what position did you play?

Jeff: Oh, the only position I didn’t play was goalie, which I would have done as well, so half of my career I played forward, it was really dependent on the coach, so like I was a rover, I guess I played happening career on defense, depending on the time of the game, different like power plays, totally kills, it would really, it would just depend; I was fortunate enough that I could play both positions, play forward, score goals, get points, play defense and keep the puck out of our own net.

I also played like I was an extra foot taller, I’m just shy of 6 feet, but I guess I played like I was 6.5, running around the ice, making people known that I was I was on the ice right behind them and that’s kind of the mentality that I continued to, again bring into the Entrepreneurship world; of this is Who I am and I’m going to make myself known, but make myself known for really good.

Jeff: Good man, well that’s awesome, so we find a lot of entrepreneurs actually come from playing a lot of sports and in a pretty high level, so let’s get into direct heroes, so when we first got on the call and I was like okay, tell me what is direct heroes, you just said hey; we’re the many chat of Instagram, can just expound on that and just break it down for those of us, for those of us that aren’t used to using BOTs and automation on Instagram.

Billy: So and for people who don’t know the company many chat is, it’s a conversational marketing tool where businesses brands, influencers, whatever that may be, put up call to actions throughout their social; in our case Instagram and how many people opt into this offer, once they opt into that offer, there’s a series of questions or automations that say that go back and forth through their screen people for consulting calls or figure out an e-commerce, let’s say for an example, on what size t-shirt you could be a like a product you want; for fitness, it could be what type of fitness program, it may be back and forth conversation and then, from there we start building that customer relationship side of it, starting to understand what type of demographic you have underneath your account, we start segmenting these people through, start analyzing and start tailoring messages specifically to these people.

So, essentially, what you’re doing is, you’re creating a conversational marketing tool, but more on an email marketing side, where you’re building a list of subscribers natively on Instagram, that you can then reach out to at a later time, like an email blast or broadcast, but again natively on Instagram direct messaging, where we’re getting ninety six, ninety seven percent open rate, with like upwards of 97% email opt-in rate.

We had a client that we ran a campaign for we took their email open rate from 8 percent to 80 percent in four days.

Billy: Wow, that’s amazing, I love it.

Jeff: It the matter of building really highly engaged, I guess conversations with people, again people are aware of automation now, but it’s just a matter of content distribution, people don’t want to be sold all the time, so they’re highly engaged campaigns, we highly focus on the creative strategy behind it; like there’s tools out there that work really well and help businesses scale, but if the internal teams, the internal structure of a business doesn’t have the creative strategy or the campaign strategy behind it, that’s when we see a lot of drop-off, thankfully enough, like again we’re a tool that no matter the size if you’re following on Instagram, isn’t that kind of product good and you’ve got those strategies there, you have the ability to jump on the platform and have really good success with it.

Billy: Awesome, so if I you know if I was going to sign up, if I’m a BB marketer, I have and I have a company Instagram and we’re fairly active posting on it, well what would be a play where I could use leverage direct heroes to help build my list on Instagram?

Jeff: So, when people when people join, they get in, they get connected and you’re starting to figure out okay, what’s that strategy that we want to run for an account to build that list, everything that we built through; is they were taking time out of people’s days, how can we incentivize them to opt into something, that’s number one.

Billy: Yeah, the offer.

Jeff: Is your product, is your business been or to take time out of people’s day, majority of people we wouldn’t be in business, we wouldn’t be like on conversations like this, if we didn’t have a good product; okay. So, now what is that creative to; because again, there’s a lot of noise out there on social and let’s say for example, people can opt-in via Instagram stories, which is people scrolling through their day-to-day actions, been post there up every 24hours, but people go through and they speed through them really fast, so how do we stop that in all the noise and then create that funnel of; creative to them, warm them up to them, have them opt into what that offer is.

Once we get them opted in, we’ve already created a micro commitment into our funnel, through so BB, let’s say for a consultant or an agency, you can ask a series of questions, that are then qualifying them into your business and then from there you can book a call or have that book a call with, when your sales managers, there one of you like one of your assistants, whatever that may be; my special remember with his marketing agency, they do a policy campaign for running Facebook ads and how to keep yourself from getting shut down running Facebook ads and how to stay away from breaking those policies and then, at the end of the campaign, it’s like okay, we’ve given you all these tips and tips and tricks, how can we help you scale that next level.

Then they book a call with their team and that’s how they’re starting to bring on more clients to their platform, because it’s just like, that just it can become overwhelming for some people; so, it’s the job, job, job, right hook guarantee mentality.

Billy: Yeah, so are you booking calls like right in, Instagram you direct heroes or we moving them over to another medium?

Jeff: You were saying you would take them, then, you can send them like fire them your calendar length?

Billy: Yeah, okay.

Jeff: And they book it in there

Billy: Awesome, okay man, so what are you seeing is like the best strategies for engaging people on Instagram, is it following hashtags, keyword triggers, like whether, if I’m getting on and I’m like okay I’m going to start leveraging Instagram, using some automation chat BOT, if you want to think about it that way, where were you guys seeing success and where do you suggest people start?

Jeff: So, the lowest hanging through is keyword opt-ins, we have two types of opt-ins or people subscribing, these users do not need to be following you either, so it’s really good so again you can build those relationships, you can start learning ads to these offers as well, so the way it would work is direct message me keyword, whatever that keyword is to receive Xbox, that’s the object.

So, then I trying to get people’s minds and it’s like funnels or click funnels who are please familiar with the company click funnels Russell Brunson, it’s a same thing, it’s just like okay; you’ve got a landing page, we’re just like sending your email and I’ll give you this offer, that’s essentially what you’re doing natively on Instagram, where people don’t even have to leave it, with a simple keyword. So, you’re replacing a landing page funnel to an extent, I’m not saying we’re completely replacing them, I think over time we’re going to, you’re going to see less and less landing pages funnels and more just direct offer, checking out, so that’s kind of low hanging through high scalability is keyword to offer.

The other reason that’s really good is as people do this with fitness programs and post purchase, even brick and mortars, you have the ability to use story mentions plus a hashtag, so if even that event so in terms of BB marketing events, you’ve ran campaigns where, if there’s a speaker up on stage, you can have their Instagram accounting behind head and then a hashtag, we’re saying people are actually doing this all the time at events; if you look at it, people are sharing the speakers on their Instagram stories.

So, we needed to be took that Instagram story mentioned and turn it into an option, it’s just like, thanks for the share head over to this booth to receive this offer from us and they’ve again, if you’re an event and you’re B2B, let’s say you could get them to your table and then, she’ll present this to the person at the desk and we’ll give you a t-shirt; again you’re just kind of building that relationship that customer cycle and then, that’s when you get into the conversations in person.

So, with the keywords and the story mentions, it’s just kind of outside of the box, thinking work done, where I’m doing and then implementing it into your customer journey and that’s where we’ve always came in and really helped people and businesses scale it in ways that a lot of people just don’t know about right now, which is which is fantastic, there’s just a lot of open water out there that people have, there’s just a lot of things missing for people’s businesses sometimes.

Billy: Yea, know we there’s so many ways we can be engaging people as marketers and half the time, we just don’t even know what’s available to us, so what do you think is the future of using chat BOTS on Instagram, like where is it going, where do you think?

Jeff: It’s like the trends where there is like WhatsApp, messenger, like they’re coming through all these like all these direct messaging or messaging channels, it’s kind of it’s becoming super powerful for businesses; again I think that it may have blown up a little too quick, which is again it’s okay it’s a matter of adjusting. Automation again is super important for businesses scalability, but there still needs to be human interaction at some point in the business, chat BOTS or conversational marketing, whatever is, I think it’s going to change; and change a lot, like there’s already changes on messenger, let’s say about the broadcasting the plus one and when you can actually communicate with these people and that’s why we instead of having focusing on that point of the business, is really understanding as how which these people actually need with you and how much they want to be a part of your business and then tailoring messages to that engagement on your profile, instead of just assuming that everybody just takes in content and in the exact same way, because that’s completely false and that’s also my chat box.

So, there’s a lot of area for improvement, but again automation conversational marketing is super-important for our businesses, doesn’t matter which one brick-and-mortar, digital products, whatever it may be, but people still need to realize that it’s not at the point of completely replacing it and you just can’t think that way that there still needs to be a human touch and that’s where there’s a lot of disconnect, because there’s still a relationship building side of it.

Billy: Yeah, I agree with you man, like we’ve been using BOTS and most of what we work on, is on a company’s website, so they’re already on the site and  the best customers that we see, that get amazing results from a leveraging conversational marketing, they view the chat BOT just as a tool to engage people and then connect them to somebody as soon as possible and that’s where you really get the return on it, but the BOTS is great, for just like that initial interaction, tailor, submit, tailor it and then connect them to the right person, you know.

Jeff: Exactly, like you up an offer  on social, on Instagram, in this safe, it’s like people don’t want to wait four or five days to get the offer, it’s like if that shiny syndrome, it’s like people are out there especially right now with what’s going on with the coronavirus, people are searching social and like digital businesses, input-box, its all-time high, there’s going to be a new offer within a short period of time, right funnel that’s going to excite them, so it’s just like the here and now take it give them that offer and then start adding that relationship building on top of that.

Billy: Totally, totally, you got to personalize those offers, that are the only way anyone pays attention, if it’s personalized to you at this point so. Well, awesome Jeff, before I let you go, is there something I should have asked you that I haven’t, that you want to tell everybody?

Jeff: Like what, like we said before, before we jumped on here, it’s like we can sit here and talk about it all day, if people need any information, there’s lots of been on our website, shoot us an email as well, we’re happy to help, yeah it’s just the possibilities are endless, got a outside-the-box thinking and yeah, we’re having a lot of success with and we’ve worked with every single niche, Under the Sun and that’s how we’ve continued to build the platform, because we don’t want to limit the platform to people who only have large followings or people who only have digital products, we want we wanted to build something that no matter of your business, no matter the following size, you do have the ability to come in, follow strategies, follow what we’re doing and what we teach and have success with the platform.

Billy: Okay man, yeah, its and then if somebody wants to continue the conversation with you, what’s the best way for them to reach out?

Jeff: Well, on our, like if people are looking for a like a live consumer demo, they can head over to our Instagram page; direct.heroes and you’ll see there’s a call action and in the bio there, but it’s just directmessage.hero, you’ll go through a series, you’ll see it firsthand; if not, reach out or head to the website and there’s more information there and yeah that’s probably the easiest way.

Billy: Okay, thanks Jeff, we’ll chat later.

Jeff: I appreciate it.