Social Leadership Masterclass, With Taylor Loren From Later.com
Instagram expert Taylor Loren is the head of content marketing at Later, the #1 Instagram marketing platform. She’s passionate about helping entrepreneurs grow their business through the power of Instagram marketing, which she does through the popular Later blog and free online Instagram courses. Taylor was named a LinkedIn Top Voice of social media marketing and awarded Best Startup Marketing in Canada!
Which social platforms are you using most and why?
I am on Instagram a lot for both my job and my enjoyment, but lately I have been OBSESSED with TikTok! TikTok is so interesting because it’s basically the opposite of Instagram: aesthetic doesn’t matter at all, there is basically no e-commerce on the platform at all, but the craziest thing is that thanks to their algorithm, you can literally have 10 followers and get a million views on a video. I had a little viral TikTok moment about a month ago which was crazy to experience, which resulted in a video getting 3 million views and I gained about 6,000 followers overnight. So I’m just addicted now!
When did you start using social media? Do you remember your first update?
I started using social media back in high school during the MySpace days, but honestly probably the first social network I ever used was Neopets as a kid. We didn’t have a word for “social media” then, but it was an online platform that we used to connect with our friends and fellow “pets.” I have no idea what my first post on any platform was, but I do know that my Facebook is full of extremely cringey status updates from being a teenager on social media.
How did your social media expertise contribute to the success of your travel blog Local Wanderer? Are there any tricks that were especially effective?
Since I’ve been working in social media for over a decade, I am proud to say that I’ve been successful at transferring my skill set to different platforms as they become popular, like pivoting from Twitter to Instagram, and now to TikTok a bit. When we started Local Wanderer, it was 6 years ago and Instagram was a completely different place: people were mostly sharing photos of latte art, and were just using the in-app filters. So when we started Local Wanderer, we were using the platform in a whole new way, which was to connect people to unique places in their community or new cities they’re travelling to. I think the only “trick” we used was that we were young and so genuine about our approach to creating share-able content, so all of our content came from a really authentic place, and all the people we met along the way have become life-long friends because of that.
Can you share your favourite IG post that you're especially proud of? What makes this special?
This was the first post I posted where I talked about my mental health and the depression I had been struggling with lately. I’ve been a lot more open about it on Instagram since, mainly thanks to the positive response of this initial post, but at the time it was so scary and I felt so vulnerable posting about it. Sharing my mental health struggles on Instagram has become an important part of my social identity, because I believe it’s really powerful to show that you can be “successful” in your career and use your social presence for work without having to pretend like you’re okay all the time.
In your work at Later, and just in general, are you seeing more business influencers and leaders adopting Instagram as a key channel? If so, who stands out to you as somebody doing it right/well?
That’s a great question, because I think people are either all-in on Instagram, or not using it all as a business platform. I think a lot of people see Instagram as their personal platform and are afraid to bring any business element into it, or think they need a separate account. When really, I think the blending of personal & professional is what is most successful on Instagram. People want your advice, yes, but they also want YOU as a person. A few people that I like to follow who are doing a good job of this are Jenna Kutcher, Christina Galbato, Emily Schuman, and Jillian Harris.
Do you think it’s important for business leaders to be active on social media, particularly Instagram? If so, why?
Definitely! In terms of our pop culture, Instagram is the most important social platform, I don’t think that people want to miss out on that huge opportunity to connect with people and show up for them every single day. These days, more and more people are turning to Instagram instead of Google to search for something, so you want to be there, and you want to value your Instagram profile as much as your homepage.
What’s your top tip for succeeding as a business leader / business influencer on social media?
Be yourself! Don’t try and have a “personal brand” that isn’t authentically you - people are so quick to see through that nowadays. I also think it’s very important to make your Instagram profile targeted to what you want to attract. This comes down to what you choose to include in your bio, the link(s) you’re using, and what you have as the highlights on your profile. For example, a month ago I made some changes to my bio because I wanted to attract more speaking opportunities. So my top highlights showcase my speaking engagements, podcast interviews, and life at Later, and I added my TikTok views to my bio as well to give me more authority. Since I did that, I’ve already received 3 requests for speaking, because when people see my profile, it’s loud and clear to them that I am an Instagram speaker.
What are your thoughts on CEO activism (leaders taking a public stance on social issues, etc) and do you think there will be more of it as social media continues to become increasingly popular?
I think it’s amazing and there should be more of it. Millennials and Gen Z care deeply about the mission behind the brands they support, and are choosing to put their dollars behind brands who share the same values as them. Some great examples of brands doing a great job with activism would be Patagonia and Everlane.
Do you have any guilty pleasure follows? (Whose IG posts do you secretly - or not so secretly- love?)
I follow sooo many Bravo cast members, and not only that but the Best of Bravo fan accounts… I also follow a lot of the popular teen TikTok creators on Instagram, so I can try and stay relevant for how the kids are using Instagram these days.
In your view, what is the next big thing for social media?
Likes going away on Instagram. We are all used to this in Canada now, but I am excited for this to be rolled out globally, it evens the playing field and I think will result in a totally different approach to using the platform. Besides that, 2020 is going to be the year of TikTok, so if you aren’t on it yet, now’s the time to start watching! You can check out my top Instagram trends of 2020 post here for more!
If you could get a mention from anyone on social media, who would it be? (Or have you already got it?!)
I was retweeted by Kim Kardashian once - I don’t think I could ever top that!
Follow Taylor Loren on Instagram: @taylor.loren.
Are you a business leader doing exceptional things on social media? Then you might be a perfect candidate for the 2020 CSuite Awards! Winners are recognized in national media and receive amazing Hootsuite prizes! To apply, visit www.csuiteawards.com!