When Sue B. Zimmerman walks into a room, she commands the room with her audacious personality. She certainly understands firsthand the power of making memorable connections. She shakes your hand and looks you in the eye. Without even saying a word, she’s already made you feel welcomed. She does this perfectly in person, as well as on Instagram, and 45 thousand+ followers can vouch for it.
We had the privilege to listen to one of her powerful Instagram training, at an event produced by Amy Robinette from Women Helping Women 2 Network here in Houston, TX. More than 50 women entrepreneurs left the room with multiple connections online and offline, learning new Instagram tricks, but best of all having the feeling that Sue B. was now a new friend, ready when needed, to continue to help them grow their brand.
We took notice of how she brilliantly and passionately conducted the training. She left an impression with the audience in front of her, while also sharing and inviting online followers with images and videos, so they too can experience this event. She made it a point to also take photos with everyone in the room, so they too can share on Instagram.
The reason she does this so well is because she has a good understanding of her brand. We’re not talking about the color of a logo or a beautiful, well-designed website. We are talking about the perception that goes beyond what people see. Branding is about how you make people feel. Are you helping them solve their problem(s)? Is your product doing what is claims it will do? More importantly, does your audience know you and trust you? Every single marketing touch-point adds to the perception of that brand. However, we believe what sets the strongest perception of any brand are the people behind it. At the end of the day, people build relationships with people.
Brands often miss this key element when they sponsor an event. They show up with glamorous banners, backdrops, astonishing technologies, but often with the wrong individuals. Individuals who sit behind the booth looking at their phone instead of inviting people with a smile. It’s like Seth Godin says…
“Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go.”
When you look at a large company, like Walt Disney for example, not only do they go above and beyond when it comes to creating an experience but the service their attendees receive while visiting their parks is what keeps people coming back year after year. Everything in their park comes to life, and each employee understands the mission of the company, to be magical, and so the service follows.
Building this type of strong connection doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t just do it once and expect a huge return. In this case, when we say return, we are not talking about Return on Investment (ROI). We are talking about Return on Relationship (ROR). Ted Rubin, coined this term back in March 2009, and started publicly using and evangelizing it. He states, “…simply put the value that is accrued by a person or brand due to nurturing a relationship. ROI is simple $’s and cents. ROR is the value (both perceived and real) that will accrue over time through loyalty, recommendations, and sharing.
Sue B. has built her brand with this very same concept in mind. She’s authentic, helpful, insightful, and she follows through. She then takes all of which makes her who she is and tells her story on social media. One of the very first statements she’ll make when she gets on stage is “social media is NOT “sell your sh*t media.” Stunned? You should be. How could you possibly build a relationship with someone that immediately after connecting with you quickly TELLS you what you must buy? If you try that with her, be prepared to be called out, and for good reason.
Here are 5 top things Sue B. recommends you do instead if you want to leave a lasting impression on Instagram:
CONNECT: She often sends a brief introductory video, greeting, never selling.
NURTURE: Listen to their needs and provide an offering accordingly.
GET ON THE PHONE: She offers 15min 1-1 feedback session to help solve one major pain. Noticed, not pitch me your product session.
ENGAGE: Keep people engaged, even after they have purchased from you. She sends them something unexpectantly. Usually a recent photo she posted on IG or may even mention others in her posts.
INVITE: She offers other platforms where people can connect with others. She has a Facebook closed group called Instagram Results for Business to continue providing Instagram insights and inspiration.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to use Instagram for business reach, click here to receive your very own Instagram Strategic Guide from Sue B. Zimmerman.
To conclude, we decided to follow Sue’s lead and will provide our own 15min session. Let us know how we can help!
Project Z is an event marketing and branding strategy agency based in Houston, TX. Our mission is to maximize our clients’ sponsorship dollars and provide all the resources available to help them execute effective event campaigns. Our strategic solutions elevate brand awareness and deliver results that provide memorable interactive experiences. For more information about our services, to list your event, or for event invites please email firstname.lastname@example.org.