166. Stop Doing What Everyone Else is Doing on Social Media [ft. Instagram Expert, Mya Nichol]

Stop Doing What Everyone Else is Doing on Social Media

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Ever felt overwhelmed by the ever-changing landscape of Instagram? You’re not alone. In this episode, I dive deep with Mya Nichol, an Instagram marketing maven, to explore the nuances of Instagram growth, content creation, and the daunting world of online trolls. But it’s not just about the challenges – Mya brings to the table actionable insights that are both refreshing and invaluable.

In this episode, you’ll hear… 

  • Exploring the nuances of Instagram growth and content creation
  • The importance of genuine connections over mere numbers
  • Navigating the challenges of online trolls on Instagram
  • Strategies for crafting content that resonates with the audience
  • The significance of understanding and serving your audience on social platforms

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Listen to episode 166, follow along so you never miss an episode, and leave a review to help introduce the show to more online business owners just like you!

The Essence of Genuine Growth on Instagram

Instagram isn’t just about numbers; it’s about genuine connections. Mya Nichol emphasizes the importance of understanding your audience and serving them with content that resonates. It’s not about chasing virality but about building a community that values what you bring to the table.

Navigating the World of Online Trolls

The digital realm has its share of shadows, and trolls are a part of this landscape. Mya shares her personal experiences, especially when her content went viral. But instead of being disheartened, she emphasizes the power of compassion and understanding. After all, trolls form just a tiny fraction compared to the genuine followers who value your content.

Crafting Content that Resonates

In the vast sea of content, how do you ensure yours stands out? Mya delves into the art of content creation from a unique vantage point. It’s not about mimicking trends but about understanding what your audience truly seeks. From insights on Instagram ads to the intricacies of engagement, Mya offers a fresh perspective on creating content that truly resonates.

Navigating the digital realm, especially platforms like Instagram, can seem daunting. But with the right insights and a dash of compassion, it’s a journey worth embarking on. Whether you’re a seasoned content creator or just starting out, remember: it’s about genuine connections, compassion, and content that truly serves your audience.

Episode Transcript

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Sam Vander Wielen:
Hey, and welcome back to On Your Terms. I’m your host, Sam Vander Wielen. And today I have Mya Nichol, Instagram Expert, on the show to talk all things Instagram, social media, growth, comparison.

I feel like we talked about social media very differently than you might have heard on other podcasts or even on the episodes I’ve had before about social media. It wasn’t so much. I mean, there were several times Mya shared these really good very bingeable like you better get your notebook out, you’re going to want to take notes kind of thing tips because she’s like, These are five things I want to see in this or three things you should always do. I love that, and I think that’s so helpful. And she also just shared a lot of great insights about things like comparison, for example. I think talking about how we produce content, how we approach content more from a place of how is this best to be served.

But you’re going to hear all about it. I don’t want to take up all your time. I hate when people spend, like, 20 minutes at the beginning of a podcast episode telling you all the things you’re going to hear and you’re like, "Just go listen to it." I’m telling you, this is going to be good. You want to listen all the way through.

The other reason you want to listen all the way through is because, at the end, I’m going to share my top three takeaways with you, my reflections on what Mya shared, the stuff that was so impactful for me and that I really think you should take away as well. But I’m just really excited to have Mya on the show.

So, without further ado, Mya Nichol is a highly sought after Instagram marketing expert and business coach who has taught over 5,000 students worldwide. She works with the service-based businesses to attract their ideal follower, grow their Instagram presence, and create a sustainable content and business strategy. Please welcome Mya to the show and I’ll see you on the other side.

Hey, Mya. Welcome to On Your Terms.

Mya Nichol:
Hello. I’m so happy to be here.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Again.

Mya Nichol:
Again.

Sam Vander Wielen:
I feel like we have to tell the story. So, no, you’re not hallucinating. Mya has not been on the show yet, but to me, she has, because we recorded this entire episode, like, two weeks ago.

Mya Nichol:
We chatted for about an hour and technology just wasn’t our friend that day.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Technology was not our friend. And it happens to the best of us. But we had such a good conversation. And then, afterwards, my whole team felt so bad because they were like, "I just want to let you know that the audio from Mya’s episode didn’t –" and I was like, "No." Because I know that you’re really busy, and so we were just so grateful, but also we had a good conversation. And I had so many questions planned out for you, but then you were just offering such great stuff that I just went with it. And then, I was like, "Are we going to be able to do this again?" So, today, we are recreating that conversation.

Mya Nichol:
I love it. I love it. I was just talking to someone on Sam’s team before Sam hopped on, and we were just doing an audio check to make sure everything was going to work. And I was like, "Technology is so great until it’s not great, until it’s not working. Then, it’s like, wait, what do we do here?" So, hopefully, crossing our fingers and toes that technology is on our side today.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Yeah. And, also, I feel like this whole situation was a really good business example of something I talk a lot about, even from the legal perspective, I always talk about when something goes wrong, somebody doesn’t pay you, they do a chargeback threat, we update our documents, we make them better. And our process got better because now Michelle, on my team, hops on with guests before I get on to make sure everything’s good with audio. So, the process is better now, right?

Mya Nichol:
Yeah. I love that. And I was also telling Sam, too, with my podcast, I’ve had technology issues and it was just nice to know that I’m not the only one. Because I feel like when we were going through that, and I’ve had issues, too, with Zoom, I’ve had issues with really, truly any tool that I’ve ever used, and in the moment you’re like, "Oh, my gosh," especially when it doesn’t just affect you and it affects other people and you’re like, "What are they thinking about me? Are they thinking that I’m not a professional? What are they thinking?" And then, to see that happen to other people, I’m like, "Oh." And to me, being on the other side of it, I’m just so chill about it. And so, I don’t know, it was just so nice to see that I’m not alone and every business owner has their own tech struggles.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Oh, yeah. We all go through it, that’s for sure. Speaking of stuff we all go through, I have to tell you about something that happened yesterday because I’m so curious about your feedback. This doesn’t happen often, but you know when you run Facebook ads, you get a very interesting mix of people, because we get people who they don’t know what the heck we’re doing so they think you’re some weirdo that’s selling stuff online. They don’t get it. It’s fine. But every once in a while that leads to a really mean comment on ads or on different posts or whatever.

So, yesterday I got this comment on one of my ads from somebody, her name is Stacia, and she said something like, "Why would I ever buy something from somebody who looks so tired?" And it was like, "Oh. Okay, Stacia."

Mya Nichol:
Tell me how you really feel.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Yeah. I have so many things to say about this. One, I am tired. Two, good luck to you, I guess, building something and never being tired. What a crazy life. I know that you’ve gone through this as well, and so I was just wondering if you would share what happens for you now when you see that kind of stuff, what do you tend to do, not do, that kind of thing?

Mya Nichol:
Yeah. Good question. I will say you’re definitely not alone in that. Anytime I see an ad, especially ones that pop up on my feed on Instagram, I’m just so curious I’ll go check out the comment section. Without fail there are always at least one, if not many, trolls who were in the comment section there.

But in my personal experience with the trolls, I mean, if you’re on Instagram or any social media platform and you haven’t experienced it yet, buckle up. It’s coming for you.

Sam Vander Wielen:
It’s coming.

Mya Nichol:
It’s inevitable. And I think a lot of times people will talk to me and they’ll say, "Well, I don’t want to share my opinion or I don’t want to share about certain X, Y, Z topics, because what if people, think different than me, and then that’s going to bring in the trolls." And I’m like, no matter how safe you try to play it, if you put out a topic that is not controversial whatsoever, it’s a fact, there’s still going to be people out there who are going to have a different opinion. And so, I’m like, you just got to speak your truth and you just got to put out there what it is that you value, what it is that you believe, and not worry about other people coming in.

But that being said, when I very first started getting trolls, which happened pretty early on in my Instagram growth journey when I had a Reel that went viral, it honestly set me off my rocker. When I very first got those messages, I was out of it for, like, a week, a-week-and-a-half where I did not want to show up. I was totally in my head about it. I basically wanted to burn my business down based off of a few things that a few people on the internet that I don’t even know said, which probably just came from their own insecurities.

Now, in my business – I should say, what did I do about it then, I would reply back. And I just realized that that’s just not the best way to go about things. Even if it was something so nice, I wouldn’t reply back trying to fight with them. I’d just be like, "Thanks." And then, even if I said thank you with a heart emoji to their message, they’re still going to come back and say something. And so, I’ve just realized over time it’s just not worth my time and energy.

And I also think, too, just thinking about what place would I have to be in, in my life, to leave that type of comment on someone’s post that I don’t even know. And, obviously, it’s so much easier said than done, like putting myself in their place, but that’s really, really helped me to have a little bit more compassion. And is it wrong what they’re doing? 110 percent. And so, I’m not saying that that suddenly makes things right, but that’s really helped me to come from the more compassionate perspective of I can’t even imagine what I would have to be going through to be in that place, leaving these troll comments on other people’s content.

So, that’s kind of where I’m at right now. And I also live by the rule of if it’s not going to matter in five years from now, then don’t spend more than five minutes worrying about it. And, again, so simple and so easy to say, but to actually do that, it’s taken me a lot of practice. And I’ve had a lot of trolls, so I’ve gotten a lot of practice. But I just think ultimately, though, when you look at the percentage of people who are trolls on your content versus the amount of people who support you, it’s such a small percentage. But in our heads, we’re like, "Everyone hates me. The world’s going to end. I should shut down my business." But if we really look at it from the bigger perspective of things, it’s actually a really small percentage. So, that’s my take on it.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Yeah. I think that’s a great perspective, too, I think, to help people understand that no matter what you share, someone’s going to have an issue with it. I know that when I’ve talked about this in the past, when I’ve shared some of the worst ones that I’ve gotten – and to Mya’s point, by the way, I was not saying anything even remotely controversial in this ad. I was literally teaching you how to start a business, so I wasn’t saying anything – people also usually come after me assuming that I don’t know what I’m talking about, that I’m not a lawyer, so there’s always that, they poke at me. And I’ll be like, "Hello? Actually I’m a lawyer." So, yeah, there’s that whole thing.

I also think the cheap shots are always about how you look. That just seems so stupid to me. It’s like, "Cool." Or how your house looks or something in the back, whatever, that’s all just cheap shots when you’re providing value.

Mya Nichol:
I would love, if you don’t mind, to need to say something here. I feel like that comes from what their idea and version of success looks like.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Do you remember the person who commented on your thing about if you had made more money, your house would be fancier, and I was so mad when they wrote that about you.

Mya Nichol:
Yes. Yeah. Yeah. They told me that if I was making the amount of money that I claimed to be making, that I wouldn’t have popcorn ceilings, and that I would be able to decorate my office, and that I should be able to purchase more plants. And, again, it was one of those things in the moment where I was like, "Oh. Hmm." But, again, I was like, "Okay. Is this going to matter in five years from now? No."

And it just made me laugh because everyone’s – I shouldn’t say everyone’s version of success looks the same, but society has kind of created what people’s version of success is, which is the jet airplanes and the five star hotels and driving Lamborghinis. And, to me, that’s not what success looks like. And even if I could afford those things, I still wouldn’t, because that’s not what success looks like to me and that’s not what my lifestyle is.

And so, I think that that’s also part of where the trolls are coming from, is they’re looking at what you look like, and they’re like, "That’s not what in my head success looks like." But that’s totally fine because you are living your version of success. And I think that that’s so important to take a step back and ask yourself what does success look like to me, because it’s going to look different for every single person.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Yeah, exactly. I was just thinking about this the other day, I was talking about content of going to Trader Joe’s because my grocery bill has gotten so high that I’m like, "If I go to Trader Joe’s, I spend, like, less than half of the amount than if I go somewhere else." And one of my friends was like, "Why do you care how much your grocery bill is?" And it’s kind of funny, to your point, this idea that once you’re "successful," you either don’t have popcorn ceilings or don’t care about saving money or not spending as much on groceries. It’s like, that’s part of what’s made my business really healthy is that I’m concerned about money and I’m cautious of what I spend on. And I don’t need to blow out the ceiling in order to just make myself look better on Instagram.

Mya Nichol:
Yeah, for sure. And I think also, too, it’s just like having – I think the word, I guess, would be confidence in what your version of success looks like, because there are going to be people who try to tear you down. And so, I think just having so much confidence in the direction that you’re going, in the life that you’re living where it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. And, again, it’s so much easier said than done and it comes through practice.

And I think that when people say like, "Oh, yeah. I’ve done the mindset work." And I’m like, "You’ve done it as if it’s like a past thing." I’m like, "I don’t know about you, but it’s like brushing my teeth, like I got to do that every single day, if not multiple times per day." And I think that that’s also a huge conversation around this, because I think with the trolls, I mean, it is a mindset thing.

And I think really a lot of business. Obviously, there’s the strategy. Don’t get me wrong, strategy is so important. When your Instagram isn’t growing, how hard is that to show up and continue being consistent? And when the trolls are there and when you’re not making sales or you’re having your lowest income month, it’s like, how are you going to navigate those things? It’s by having a strong mindset.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Yeah, absolutely. You’re so right. I mean, talk about reps. It’s like you just have to keep working on mindset over and over and over again. And I feel like sometimes these troll comments actually show you some of the mindset issues that society has, and maybe that’s why they’re not an entrepreneur, or maybe that’s why they’re not as successful as you or something – I don’t know. Who knows? – or they’re unhappy about something.

But I do often approach them with curiosity to be like, "That’s so interesting." Like, when I saw about what that person posted on your Reel, it was like, that’s interesting that you associate that if you make a lot of money, everything has to look this way or something like that, or that that makes you not successful if you don’t have it. That’s an interesting mindset to have.

Mya Nichol:
Yeah, for sure.

Sam Vander Wielen:
And how is that showing up. So, I would say, how do people work on this confidence of being themselves, being true to their version of success when maybe they feel like they haven’t gotten a lot of traction on social media? How do they tap into that?

Mya Nichol:
Yeah. Good question. I think two things kind of come up here for me. I think that the first part that comes up is really having tunnel vision on your own journey. I feel like a lot of where we start to get down on ourselves and where we feel like we aren’t where we should be, we’re feeling like we’re behind is when we’re looking at where other people are at and what the trajectory of their journey looks like now and what it looks like in the future versus just focusing on ourselves.

And so, I think that the comparison aspect of things, it’s so real, especially on social media, where you can – well, actually, to give a prime example of this, when I started my Instagram growth journey, there were two other people who started at a very similar time as me within, really, like, one or two month timeframe. So, basically, we were on this journey together in the same niche. And those two accounts now, there’s one of them that has double the amount of followers than me, and one of them that has triple, almost quadruple the amount of followers than me. And we started at the same time.

And it wasn’t just like, "Oh, now they have that amount." They were growing way faster than me, making way more money than me along the entire journey, and it would be so easy for me to look at that and say like, "Oh. Well, they’re doing it better than me, so what I’m doing isn’t enough." But it’s like I’m on my own journey, and my definition of success looks different, and my experiences are different, and how I want to live my life is different. And so, I think that that’s so important is taking it from that perspective of the comparison aspect.

But, also, too, when you’re showing up on social media and you’re not seeing the results, this is the second part of things, it’s not that you’re not seeing results, it’s just that you’re not seeing them right now. And I mean, anything in business, it’s a long game. And I think that in a society, especially with hustle culture, we’re so programmed to be fixated on the long term – or the short term gratification of things where we do see these people who are blowing up overnight. But if we look at things, again, from a bigger perspective statistically, that’s just such a small percentage of people. Where in reality, most of us, we have to be at it for a lot longer.

And so, when I go into teaching anything when it comes to Instagram growth, it’s like, yes, obviously you want followers, but what is the reasoning behind why you want followers? And then, what is the reasoning behind that? And it’s digging deeper into what is your why. Because, ultimately, if you’re just on social media for the likes, the views, the followers, the amount of sales that you’re going to make, eventually, whether that’s at the beginning of your journey or somewhere in the middle of your journey, you’re going to have failures, you’re going to have times that are slower. And it’s like, What’s going to hold you and sustain you through those hard times? It’s knowing your why and having something that’s a lot deeper there.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Yeah, absolutely. I want to dig into the comparison thing a little bit, and I appreciate you sharing your experience with it. And we talked about this in the last episode, the one that went to heaven. It’s gone forever. We don’t know where it went. But that episode, we talked about this and I thought this was really helpful, because I was sharing with you that my approach has been that I don’t follow people in my space because I don’t see the benefit to it and I don’t think that that actually supports them.

So, I don’t personally agree with this whole you have to support other people. It’s like, "How is it supporting them that I follow?" I don’t know. No one’s counting on my follow. And I don’t need to see their content. How do you navigate it, not only with these two people that you were mentioning, but even people who are maybe in, like, shoulder industries who bring up some of those not so awesome feelings?

Mya Nichol:
Good question. Really, truly, for a while, especially when it comes to Instagram growth, there are so many people out there who are telling you, you need to interact with your competitors and you need to comment on X amount of accounts and do all these different things. And for a while I was very caught up in that. And, honestly, it wasn’t until – I don’t know where you shared it, maybe it was a podcast episode or something, but I heard you talk about your perspective that you don’t follow other people. And I was like, "Oh, my gosh." It just gave me that permission. And, honestly, really just reiterated to myself the things that I was already thinking inside, which is how am I supporting them? I’m not ever going to buy something from them. It’s like, how is that supportive?

And it’s not to say that I can’t collaborate with them, right? I’ve done Reel collaborations. I’ve brought people on to my podcast. We’ve done exchanges inside of each other’s communities with doing trainings. I’ve collaborated and I think that there’s so much benefit to that. But it’s like me commenting on someone else’s Instagram account, what’s that going to do?

And so, I thank you because that gave me permission to go through. And I honestly did, I went through and I unfollowed all these different people. And it was just such a breath of fresh air for me because I honestly didn’t even realize the weight of comparison, honestly, that was on my shoulders. Not to say that I was scrolling on Instagram for hours and hours a day and consuming all of this content, but when you log into the Instagram app, even that first post that comes up, oftentimes, it would be these people who are my competitors and they are, like I was saying, growing more than me, growing faster than me, doing all these other things that were so different than me.

And I just felt so down, but I honestly didn’t even recognize it, though, until I unfollowed them. And I was like, "Oh, my gosh. Wait a second. I actually do have my own voice. Wait. Actually, I do have my own definitions of what success looks like, what I can do, and the community that I can build, and I can actually do something that’s so much different than other people."

And it’s not even to say that I was copying them necessarily. And I think that that’s another thing, too, and you talked about this, too, where sometimes you unintentionally will start copying people just by the content that you’re consuming. And so then, that brings up the conversation around authenticity and it’s like, "Well, how do you show up authentically when you’re consuming these people’s content?"

And, again, not with the intention of really ever copying. I don’t think the majority of our intentions are ever to copy other people. But we see these ideas and we take little bits and pieces of this, and suddenly, it’s into this thing that, technically, is our own, but really it’s just a watered down version of a few other people’s content and their topics and the things that they’re talking about versus coming up with something that’s so original and creative from our own unique perspectives. I don’t know if that answers your question.

Sam Vander Wielen:
It does. Yeah. No, it does. I think that’s really helpful. Like you said, I think it gives people permission. I would ask yourself, How is this helping me? If my goal is to grow my business or grow here on Instagram or whatever, how is it helping me to do any of this other stuff? And like Mya said, it might be hurting you more than you even realize.

But I’m also concerned a lot about something you touched on, and I’m writing a lot about in my book, actually, about how even beyond the copying, about how consuming so much content from other people is leading to so much homogeneity. And even by accident of just everybody being like, "This is how Reels have to look. This is how Reels have to be structured. This is how a post should look like." Everybody’s carousels look the same. They even buy from the same person to get the template. There’s a lot there.

And to me, the point of entrepreneurship is innovation. And so, we should be creating new things and trying things out. And somebody has to go first, but it’s hard to go first when you’re just spending all your time consuming everybody else’s stuff, right?

Mya Nichol:
Oh, yeah. For sure. And it’s hard to go first. When you are consuming other people’s stuff, in your head, you’re like, "Well, this is what’s working. This is what I have to do to be successful." But, actually, what you need to do to be successful is be innovative, is be authentic. And all the things that you’re doing, actually do the opposite of that.

And it makes me think of MRR, not monthly recurring revenue, but master resell rights, that’s a huge topic right now. And people ask me all the time, they’re like, "What’s your take on that?" And I’m like, "Saturation." Market saturation you’re not going to be successful. I think that that’s the exact same thing with our approach to social media, is, so many people doing the same exact thing. It’s like saturation. You’re not going to stand out amongst the crowd. That’s not going to lead to you being an industry leader.

I mean, to me, that’s ultimately the goal. I want someone to look at me and not just say, "Oh. There’s another Instagram expert or there’s the Reels girl." I want someone to look at me and be like, "Mya is so different than any other person in her space." Not better. I’m not saying I’m so much better than them, not the case whatsoever. Just different. And I don’t even want someone to look at my Instagram account and compare it to anyone else’s. I just want it to be so unique and so different than anyone else’s that I’m just in my own world.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Yeah, absolutely. I’ve heard actually both of us described by people that I know – we have a lot of mutual friends in common – who will be like, "No. No. They’re not that kind" or "No. No. She’s not that kind of Instagram post" or "No. No. She’s not that kind of lawyer." That’s what I want to be, is, I want people to refer to me as being like, "No. No," because you’re busting all those assumptions that everybody has about you.

The other thing that I thought of when you were talking about that example of seeing other people’s content making it look like theirs, was that you talked last time about how the types of content that work for one creator might not work for another, or there might be some type of content that does work really well for you, but you don’t know if you’re just doing the same stuff as other people. I would love if you talked about how you’re seeing on Instagram different types of content working for different people.

Mya Nichol:
Yeah, for sure. The perfect example of this, I just did a Q&A inside my membership, which is an Instagram Growth Membership, I think it was yesterday, and someone asked me the question of, "Okay. Well, if I’m going to show up three to four times a week on Instagram, how many carousel posts should I post? How many Reels should I post?" And I was like, "There’s no answer to that question." And I’m like, "That’s great that you have the goal of posting three or four times per week, but how you go about presenting the information, that’s going to look so different for you than it is for me."

Like for me, if I’m posting three or four times per week, I’m not even really asking myself how many reels versus how many carousels. I’m asking myself, what is the best way to present this information? Sometimes that is through a carousel post, sometimes that is through a Reel, and sometimes in the process of doing that, I might end up doing more of a 50 percent reels, 50 percent carousel posts. But that’s not my intention.

And I think that that’s just such a great example because when it comes to, not just the different content formats, but even just the different types, so if we’re talking about types of Reels, we’re talking talking reels, we’re talking voiceovers, we’re talking the B-roll type, there’s so many different types of Reels out there. And I have had clients of mine who do talking reels and they’re thriving, thriving, thriving, thriving. I try to do talking reels. Trash every time. I’m just not good at it. And it’s just not the way that I would be authentically presenting information.

And it’s not to say that I couldn’t learn how to do that, I definitely can. But I also think inherently, too, though, we have our own unique set of skills, but you can’t figure those out if you don’t try new things. And so, if you’re looking at my Instagram account, for example, and you’re like, "Oh. Well, Mya posts three times per week and she usually does two reels and one carousel, I’m going to do that same exact thing too." Now, we just have this copy and paste strategy, and the strategy works for me, but it’s not necessarily going to work for you at the end of the day. It might. It might work for you, but you have to try new things.

And I’ve just been on this continual journey of just experimenting and experimenting. And I’m actually in the process right now of, what I call, my one month experiment. So, every Monday, I’m doing a different experiment. Last week, I did an experiment where I posted two reels at the same time. I posted one reel that was an educational reel. And I shared the education in, basically, like a list format and then I shared the same education in a storytelling format, and I was just experimenting. And then, this week I posted the same content in a reel versus a carousel.

And I’m not necessarily doing that to be like, "Hi. Look at me. I’m experimenting." But it’s just so fun to see that so many things work differently for different people. And then, I also will have people in my community who are like, "Oh. I’m trying this now too." And some people are like, "This didn’t work for me." And some people are like, "This is actually working great. Thank you so much for sharing this."

And so, again, it’s just there’s no one size fits all when it comes to Instagram. And so, you copying and pasting someone else’s strategy is just not going to get you anywhere.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I guess with it changing so often, too, it’s like by the time you nail down a strategy, I feel like it changes the next month, and you’re like, "Forget it. Those are out. They’re not doing that anymore. It’s gone."

So, I really love this idea that you brought up about how you think about the content that you want to teach, or the idea, the topic. And then, from what I’m understanding from what you’re saying is that then you take that and you’re like, What format would that be best in? Like, don’t try to squeeze it into a carousel if it’s best for a video or vice versa, right?

Mya Nichol:
Yeah, exactly.

Sam Vander Wielen:
So, can you walk me through your process, like if you come up with an idea or a tip of something you want to teach, walk me through kind of your steps of how you would go from ideation to figuring out what kind of surface it would be to actually posting it.

Mya Nichol:
Yeah. Good question. So, let’s just say that I came up with the idea – I’m going to come up with something really basic just for the sake of this example – let’s just say that I was talking about the five best tips to reach non-followers with your Reels or something along those lines.

Now, the first thing that I’m going to ask myself is, is there a visual aspect to this idea. Because sometimes where I could do maybe a green screen and I could showcase something in the background, or maybe I could even have a screenshot that, again, visually shows what it is that I’m talking about, so that’s the first thing I’m going to ask myself. If there is some sort of visual aspect, then I’m going to ask myself is it best inside of a Reel where I might do a green screen or is it best maybe as a screenshot where I might share that in a carousel where people can kind of see it for a little bit longer, look over maybe the details of the picture.

If it doesn’t have any type of visual, then I’m going to move to the next step, which is, what are actually those five tips? Are these five tips something that I can just list very simply that people are going to get with clarity in, basically, one sentence or less? If the case is yes, then I’m probably going to put it inside of a Reel.

Because I don’t want to have a Reel that has, like, 500 characters inside of it. That’s just way too much. That’s way too much to read. People are going to be frustrated. And unless you include those same exact tips also in the caption, you’re probably going to get a few comments saying this was too fast or I couldn’t read it. Or you’re going to have a really, really long reel where those tips are on the screen for, like, five seconds each. In which case, that reel is probably not going to perform as well.

And so, that’s what I’m asking myself, is this a simple tip that I can share in one sentence or less that people are going to understand? And that’s really important, too, because I might throw something out where I’m like, "Make sure to check your non-follower reach inside of your Insights." And there are going to be people who are like, "How do I find that? What does that even look like?" And so, if there needs to be more depth, I can either add that in the caption. Or in that case, I can show a screenshot of what that looks like in the Insights and add that to a carousel post instead. So, that’s kind of my process there and then I would also say that’s more of if I’m sharing education in tip format.

If I’m sharing education in a storytelling format, I’m going to ask myself how long of a story it is that I need to tell. Because, again, I don’t want my Reel to be, like, 45, 60 seconds long, usually. It’s not to say that you can’t have a successful reel that’s that long. Just in terms of the way that I format my storytelling Reels, it’s best around, like, 15, 20, 25 seconds long. And so, I’m going to ask myself can I share this very simply with clarity inside of a Reel. If not, then I’m probably going to share it inside of a carousel post because I can add more text there. So, that’s kind of my process of going through things. Does that make sense?

Sam Vander Wielen:
Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s really helpful. I hope that tip is as impactful for everybody else as it is for me, because that’s how I try to think of content. And from a legal perspective, because I’m always trying to encourage everybody to come back to this idea that you’re really there to educate and to teach, and that’s a really good way to stay within your scope of practice, because when you’re teaching, you’re not giving individual advice, you’re teaching a general topic, I really like your approach of them being like, "Okay. I’m teaching this tip or these five steps or whatever. Now, what is the best format to do that?" So, it is kind of a good centering thing, too, I think, for Instagram.

Mya Nichol:
Yeah. And I think another thing, too, that I should mention that really helps me when I go about deciding the content format is asking myself what is the goal with this type of content. So, is the goal to have it be something that’s really saveable? If that’s the case, most people would prefer to save a carousel post with information just because it’s a lot easier to go back through.

Like if I’m looking at these five tips and I’m like, "Oh, I remember Mya said these five tips," I go back to the carousel that I saved. It’s a lot easier for me just to flip through the slides to find whatever it was that I was looking for versus watching the entire reel through, and maybe even multiple times, and then even trying to maybe screenshot really quickly as that tip shows up on the screen.

So, I have to ask myself, too, what is the goal behind this. And another goal could be maybe connection building and relationship building, or maybe even the emotion behind the storytelling. That’s often better done through video content. So, if I have text and a video in the background that fits the text, there’s probably going to be more emotion behind that, and also with the audio, too, of the reel, than if I just shared that through a carousel.

So, you also have to think about that, too, what is the goal of this? Is it to boost engagement, being likes, saves, comments, shares? Is it to drive traffic to the link in your bio or to your offer or something along those lines? Is it to drive traffic to your Instagram account? Is it to build connections and relationships? And then, what is the best way for me to go about presenting this information?

Sam Vander Wielen:
So, do you recommend that people have a couple of buckets of goals of building their Instagram or building up to the email list? And then, do you recommend that they spread that out over their posts?

Mya Nichol:
Yeah. And something I love about this is because what a lot of times people do when it comes to creating content is they’ll say, "Okay. Well, I’m just going to post this and I’m going to see how it performs." And what are we often looking at when we think that? Views, likes, things like that, which are all great. But, ultimately, there’s more depth to what we could be looking at in terms of how it’s impacting our business.

I see them in, really, four buckets. So, I see bucket number one being driving traffic to your links. And this could be a bunch of different things. It doesn’t just have to be your offers. It could be a link to a podcast. It could be a link to join your email list, download a freebie, things like that. The other one is driving traffic to your Instagram account. So, this is what most people would think of as their viral type of content. So, something that’s going to reach a lot of non-followers, bring new eyes, visibility to your business, which is really important because, obviously, if you don’t have eyes on your business, you’re not going to be able to grow.

The third bucket is the connection building, relationship building. So, oftentimes, this does come through more of the storytelling. You sharing more about your life or even just getting a little bit more vulnerable in terms of your thoughts, your opinions, things like that, that people can connect with. And then, the last bucket, the fourth bucket is engagement boosting. And engagement can be a lot of different things. Usually people think likes, comments, saves, and shares, which, yes, technically that is engagement on Instagram.

I specifically like to look at two of them, being saves and shares. Saves because that tells me that that content is really resonating, that people want to come back to that eventually at some point. Whether or not they do, that’s a different story. And then, shares, the importance of shares is that that’s basically free advertisement for your Instagram account, if we’re being honest. Whether that’s one individual share to a direct message, that’s still one extra person that you’re reaching with that content. Or whether that’s a share to a story, now you’re reaching a lot wider of a group. So, those are the four buckets that I recommend looking at.

And, yeah, I do recommend spreading them out in terms of goals, but also really looking not just about what is your goal on Instagram, but how can I match my content goals with my goals inside of my business. And so, you might be going through, let’s just say, a launch of a new offer, or maybe you just launched a new freebie, or maybe you’re just trying to grow your email list, what bucket are you probably going to focus the most on? Probably driving traffic to that link in your bio. Or maybe you’re just at the beginning of your Instagram growth journey and you recognize that community building is so important, so what are you probably going to focus a little bit more on? Probably more of the community building, relationship building type of content. So, matching your Instagram goals with your business goals.

Sam Vander Wielen:
That makes a lot of sense. And when you’re focusing on saves and shares, because I agree, too, with shares, that’s a double dip for getting the non-followers. It’s like reaching new people, hopefully. Yeah. Are you prompting them to save or share or are you just creating content that you hope is saveable and shareable?

Mya Nichol:
Yeah. Good question. My take on this is kind of even going back to what we were talking about earlier with saturation, we’re so used to seeing call to action statements that are like, "Follow me for more. Save this post. Comment down below." And I just think it’s just not effective anymore. It was effective in the past, for sure.

And it’s not to say that call to action statements aren’t effective. They 110 percent are, but we have to shift the way that we go about them now. So, instead of saying like, "Follow me for more," it’s like, in my opinion, if people were going to follow you, they’re going to follow you whether you say follow me for more or not, right? And it’s like, just because you said follow me doesn’t mean that someone who wasn’t going to follow you is suddenly now going to follow you. That’s just my opinion.

So, in terms of saves and shares, I’m personally not asking people to save or share this unless maybe it’s some sort of inspirational message in a Reel and I say, "Share this with a friend who might need to hear this today," that’s a little bit different. But just saying save this or like this, I just think those basic call to action statements, they’re just not effective. So, diving deeper into how can you create something that people are actually going to want to take action on.

Sam Vander Wielen:
It’s so valuable that they would have to save this or share it with a friend.

Mya Nichol:
Yeah, yeah. Exactly.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Okay. I’ll tell you though, my girl got me yesterday. I watched this Reel, she has this series of, I think it’s five-ingredient high protein Trader Joe’s meals she’s really niching down. And so, at the end of the video, she was like, "Follow me for a weekly recipe of the five-ingredient," and I was like, follow, and couldn’t wait because now that she told me if I follow her, I get a weekly thing, that made a lot of sense. So, I like when people pitch it that way. But I think what you’re saying is our old way of doing it, which was just like "Follow me" or "Follow me for legal tips" doesn’t really help.

Mya Nichol:
Yeah, exactly. And no, I love that. That’s honestly one of the only times where I do recommend using follow, is, if you have a series of some sort, where it’s like, "This was part one and we learned about X, Y, Z. Part two is coming next Monday, make sure you follow along." That’s a very effective one. And it’s also more in depth than just "Follow me for more." And I still see that all the time. "Follow me for more," and I want to direct message them and say, "Hi. Let’s use a more effective call to action here." Obviously, I don’t do that. But, yeah, there are definitely ones that are more effective.

But I think that that also goes back to having more depth, where it’s what is the purpose behind why you’re asking someone to follow you? What is the purpose behind why you’re asking someone to share this piece of content? Instead of just share this, it’s like share this with a friend who might need to hear about X, Y, Z today, or share this with a friend who’s also starting their business with you on the journey, or share this with a spouse who has been really supportive. Having a purpose behind why you’re asking people to do those things.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Yeah, okay. That makes a lot of sense. What are the things that make you want to send people – other than saying follow me – that make you want to – but we all know that Mya doesn’t do it because Mya is the nicest person ever – DM somebody and be like, "Please stop doing this." Like, if you had to name, I don’t know, three or five of them, what are they?

Mya Nichol:
Oh. The first one that came to my mind is when people post Reels where the cover photo isn’t cropped for their feed, so it’ll cut the text off and so I can see half of their face with part of a text box or something like that. That’s the first one where I’m like, "Oh. It’s so easy." Literally, there’s a button that you just have to crop it before you go about posting it. So, that’s the first one.

Sam Vander Wielen:
And now Instagram lets you edit covers after you post. Because they used to not do that, but now they do. So, if you mess up by accident, you go to edit and you can do that. Okay. Good. That’s a good one.

Mya Nichol:
The second one is pinned content. You almost can kind of curate more of what you want the experience on your Instagram to be about through that pinned content. And you have six pieces of content that you can pin between your Feed and your Reels tab. And I think a lot of people think with pinned content, pin the most popular piece of content that perform the best. I mean, you definitely can if you feel like that’s your best work and that’s really what’s going to create a conversation that you want people to have on your Instagram account.

But it can also be something so much deeper where when someone comes to your Instagram account, maybe you have a piece of pinned content that showcases more about who you are as a person, and now they have that immediate connection point to you and what your story is or what your background is, maybe even some hobbies that you have. And now they feel connected to you and so there’s almost that immediate relationship building happening. Whereas, of course, you might have posted that in the past, but someone who’s new coming to your Instagram account, most people are not going to binge through your entire Instagram account to find those things. So, pinned content, I would say, is the second one.

The third one is people not utilizing their Instagram Stories. And it’s not to say that you need to post five bajillion times a day on Instagram Stories, but so many people are just reposting their feed content to their Stories. So many people are not even using their Stories at all. So many people will just post just a random picture of their food and that’s the only thing that they post on Stories that day. And, of course, we all have those days, and I can even call myself out, I have those days too. But having a Stories strategy is so important. So, I’d say that those are my top three.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Yeah, those are good ones. I think that’s really good. What do you want to see on people’s Stories instead?

Mya Nichol:
Good question. So, the thing that I like to think about is how can you tell a story about your life from the lens of your business? That’s really what I want to see on your Stories. And a lot of people get so in their heads, they’re like, "Oh, my gosh. I do the same exact thing every single day." And I’m like, "Basically, me too." I mean, of course, we all have those days where we do something a little bit different or we go on vacation. But I mean, majority of my days are spent doing very similar things.

But that’s what people connect with, it’s like we’re not necessarily always looking for you to be going on vacation for us to want to watch your Stories. We want to be connected with you and see what you’re doing on a day-to-day basis. And so, I think that that’s how I really approach my Stories. And I would even say, a really great place to get started is really thinking about what are five main things that you do, either on a daily basis or at least on a weekly basis, that you can share without really even having to think about it on your Stories.

So, for example, for me, I go on a walk every single day. Pretty much every single day on my Stories, you’re going to see that I went on a walk and you don’t even see my face. It’s just a video of my feet. Sometimes I’ll share a thought that I have. Sometimes I’ll just say I’m going on a walk, and you’re probably like, "Yeah. I get it, you go on a walk every single day." But that’s something that I do every single day that’s so easy for me to share. Other things throughout my week, usually, I’m recording at least one podcast episode, so I could easily take a picture of my podcast setup, talk about maybe an upcoming episode.

So, really thinking about what are those things, and they don’t have to necessarily all be in your business, they can even be outside of your business because it’s important for people to recognize that you are a human being outside of your business, too. I mean, if you really want to go above and beyond, think of five things that you do in your day-to-day life that don’t apply to your business, that you can talk about on either daily, weekly basis, and then five things that you do inside of your business on a day-to-day or week to week basis that you can talk about. And that’s really what I want to see. And so, it’s just starting to, again, create more of that, the telling the story of your life from the lens of your business. That’s what I want to see on your Stories.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Yeah, absolutely. So, when you’re sharing the personal stuff, like your example, the walk, or I’ll share I started a gym journey this year so I’ll share about going to the gym, but do you feel like we have to tie that back to our business? Do I have to talk about how going to the gym helps make me a more centered business person or you just like sharing it?

Mya Nichol:
Yeah. Good question. It definitely can. And I think that that’s something that’s really cool too. When we talk about selling on Instagram Stories is that it can be tied back in. And so, I could talk about, "Hey, you’ve seen me go on walks every single day for the last, basically, year, here’s what I’ve learned about going on walks." And maybe I could even tie that into one of my offers.

To give an example of more of my life and tying that into a business or tying that into selling one of my offers, every single time I post something, whether that be a Instagram Story or whether that be a Reel or a picture, and people can see my belly and see that I’m pregnant, without fail, someone will always say, "Oh, my gosh. I had no idea that you were pregnant." And I’m like, "Guys, I’m literally 34 weeks pregnant."

Sam Vander Wielen:
Get with the program, everyone.

Mya Nichol:
Yeah. Exactly. But I use that as an example on my Stories just the other day to showcase how people don’t see all of your content. People don’t pay attention to everything that you’re doing, so don’t get in your head about it. But, also, that’s just such a great reminder to me of, "Okay. Well, if people don’t see that I’m pregnant -" and that is such an obvious thing "- then people probably don’t know that I have X, Y, Z amount of offers or that these offers are for them."

And so, how important it is to continue to sell? So, yes, you can definitely use your day-to-day life to lead into selling and that’s such an authentic and easy way to sell, that, in my opinion, doesn’t feel salesy at all where it’s just like, "Hey, let’s chat about this" or "Hey, I was thinking about this today." Or even hopping on this podcast episode, if I was, let’s just say, a podcast manager or something along those lines, I could take a picture of this and say, "Hey, I just hopped off a podcast episode, yada, yada, yada." I could use that and tie that into pitching my podcast management services.

There are definitely such easy ways, like the more that you think about it, to tie your day-to-day life into your offers, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. I would say 99 percent of the time when I go on a walk, it’s not tied to my business. It’s just I’m going on a walk.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Just sharing her walks. Yeah, exactly. I always say we’re the center of our world, but we’re not the center of everybody else’s world, so you have to take yourself out of it and stop assuming people know who you are, what you do. It drives me nuts when people use acronyms for their programs. And I’m like, "I don’t know what that FYPZ is. I’ve never heard of it before." That doesn’t make me want to join it. Who is it for? How is it helping me? What’s the goal? I don’t understand. So, yeah, we can’t ever take that for granted.

I feel like you’ve mentioned a number of times how one of the things that you think about is how to reach non-followers. And we talked about creating content that could be shareable, so that’s one easy way. But what are some of the ways that we do reach non-followers for those of us who feel like maybe we’re talking to the same people or half of our followers are related to us or something like that?

Mya Nichol:
Yeah. Good question. And my answer to this is the classic Instagram expert answer, which is that there’s not one set answer. Honestly, the the best thing that I can possibly give in terms of advice is to actually look back at your content. And what I recommend, if you go to your profile and you go to your Insights, so this is your general overview Insights, and you filter for Reels – and you can also do this for carousel posts too – I would look at them both – but let’s just say, for example, you’re going to filter for Reels and you’re going to filter for reach, which is actually usually the default when you are going into your Insights.

And you’re going to filter though for the last, like, six months to a year, you can do three months if you post a bunch of content, but I would say six months to a year. And I want you to look at those first, like, 10 to 12 posts that pop up in terms of what are the highest reach. And you can’t filter for non-follower reach specifically, but oftentimes the ones that reach the most also reach the most non-followers. And so, I want you to tap into those and I want you to look at how many non-followers they reach. Again, most of the time they’ve reached non-followers. It’s pretty rare that your top reaches haven’t reached non-followers.

So then, what I want you to do is I want you to look at the topics of those. What were you talking about? What was the way that that information was presented? Was it through storytelling? Was it through you doing a talking reel? Was it a podcast interview? There are so many different types of formats for Reels, look at those, take notes on those, and then I want you to look at what you’re currently creating.

Because, oftentimes, and this is just how we are as creators and just as business owners, we’re wearing a bunch of hats. We’re doing a bunch of different things. Sometimes we stray away from the main things that are working, not because we’re intentionally straying away from those things, but just because we’re just so in the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day and the creating, it just happens.

And so, I want you to really reflect back on the things that we’re working and then try those things. You can maybe repurpose those reels into carousel posts and see how that performs. Maybe you could just repost that reel itself. Maybe you could repurpose the idea and talk about it in a different way. Or maybe you just might recognize that these talking reels are actually the ones that performed really well for a non-follower reach. "I haven’t done any talking reels recently," so maybe you create some more talking reels. I think that that’s the best place to get started.

Now, generally, things that are working really well for non-follower reach. Obviously, hitting the explore page. Shares are obviously a really great one. Anytime that you can increase your watch time, so usually the higher of watch time that you have on your Reels, the more likely the algorithm is to push out your content to non-followers. So, really watching your watch time is really important.

Those are the big ones though. But I would say definitely looking at your own Instagram account because it’s going to be so different. For me to say like, "Well, this type of reel does really well for non-followers," it might not be that way for you.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Yeah. Okay. I’m assuming to increase our watch time, especially with Reels, that the shorter the better. Or I know with those reels that always have the little listicles of tips and you have to watch it two or three times to see them all, you know, that must be helping them.

Mya Nichol:
No. Yeah, for sure. And I’ve actually loved having the watch time Insight. And if you don’t have it yet and you’re listening to this, hang in there. It’s coming. Hopefully. We all know how Instagram is, it takes freaking forever for some of the features to be rolled out. I still don’t even have the Insight where I can see follows per Reel.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Me neither.

Mya Nichol:
I had it for, like, two days and then Instagram jokes on you.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Just kidding. Just kidding. I’m taking that back now.

Mya Nichol:
Yeah. But in terms of watch time, this is actually something I’ve been experimenting with a lot, and I have a theory. This is not fact based off of what Instagram has told us by any means. But I’ve tested this theory a few different times. I’ve actually had people in my community test this as well. And this is such an interesting concept when it comes to watch time, because, yes, you are 100 percent right that when it comes to a shorter reel, usually if there’s a hook that pops up and it says read the caption, well, as people are reading the caption, usually that reel is on repeat, which increases the watch time. Or if you have text that pops up really fast in this short reel, people have to watch it a few times, yes, that’s also going to help the watch time.

But what I’ve actually experimented with is having these longer reels that are more, like, 15, 20, 30 seconds long and being able to increase or have a really good watch time with these longer reels. And what I’ve recognized through my own testing and experimenting is, actually, that the longer reels that have a higher watch time outperform the shorter reels that have a high watch time, and high being about 80 percent. So, anything 80 percent or above is what I would consider a high watch time. That’s what you really want to shoot for. And so, that’s just something that’s super interesting.

And it’s not to say that, again, that short reels that you shouldn’t post them and that they don’t work. One hundred percent they can definitely help. And if you have a good watch time, most likely it is probably getting pushed out to non-followers. That being said, though, something that you could challenge yourself to do is create a longer reel. And not every single long reel is, obviously, going to have a great watch time.

When I very first started creating longer reels just to play around with things, my watch time was crap. My Reels were not getting any views. It’s a totally different technique and an approach. A short reel versus something that’s a lot longer, especially if you’re used to creating short reels like me, where I need to completely shift my brain in the way that I create content to be able to create a longer reel that actually performs well and captures attention. But if you can do that, again, for my experimenting and my theory is that it will actually outperform the shorter reels with a good watch time.

Sam Vander Wielen:
That’s super interesting. It’s kind of like business, where it’s like if you have higher prices, you don’t need to sell so many of something than if you sell a lot of cheap things. So, I’m thinking you need a lot of people to watch a seven second reel to get watch time. But if you have a 30 second reel, you don’t need nearly as many people. So, it’s interesting.

Mya Nichol:
And I think as well just because our attention spans are so short – and, again, this is just my total assumption – I would assume that the algorithm is like, "Well, if this girl can keep people on this Reel for 15 to 20 second that’s obviously a really great Reel." I’m just thinking in terms of the quality and engagement of the content itself, not to say that you can’t have a quality Reel that’s, like, two or three seconds long, but to be able to capture people’s attention for longer than seven seconds, which is what our average attention span is, you got to be pretty good at creating content. So, I’m assuming that that algorithm probably factors that in, maybe a dozen, and I’m just making things up, I don’t know.

Sam Vander Wielen:
No. That’s like Instagram Oscar worthy to me. It’s like an Instagram movie. It’s like, "Wow, they got people for 30 whole seconds." That’s what drives me nuts about TikTok, where I’m like, "I can’t fit a legal tip into seven seconds." It’s just not happening. It’s very hard. But that’s super interesting.

Is there some sort of structure that you follow for a reel, or like earlier, you talked about storytelling reels, is there some kind of format or structure that you follow?

Mya Nichol:
Yeah. This is a hard one. And I’ve actually been trying to think of ways that I can better teach storytelling reels just because they’re so hard, because everyone’s story that they’re going to tell is going to be so different. But the way that I like to think of things and what’s helped me the most is, number one, I guess prequel to this, is you just have to test it out. You’re going to get better the more that you do it. My first few times of trying to have longer reels with the storytelling format tanked. They did not work out. And I was like, Maybe this just isn’t for me. But I did figure it out. So, that’s my prequel tip.

But my biggest tip, though, in the way that I think about storytelling is kind of going back to, let’s just say, the five tips for reaching non-followers with your reels. Is there a story or is there a situation or experience that I’ve had where I’ve had a piece of content reach non-followers and there’s something that I’ve learned from that? And so, I’m really thinking about here’s the tip or here’s the hack or here’s the trick or here’s the education that I’m thinking of sharing with people. And then, it’s is there some sort of experience or story behind this that I can utilize to showcase whatever it is that I’m sharing versus just sharing it in a list of here are the five tips?

And oftentimes, for me as well, it usually will start out with the story. So, obviously, you’ll have a hook to the story, where, let’s just say, I had a reel reach 50,000 non-followers, here’s what I learned from it, or something along those lines, or storytelling. And then, sometimes I’ll even say in the caption "Let’s dive deeper into these tips." So, that’s kind of how it’s helped my brain to think about it, is taking it from the tip and then asking myself, do I have an experience around this? And there’s not all the time where I do have an experience.

So, it’s not to say that every single piece of your content needs to be storytelling, sometimes it doesn’t make sense for it to go in that aspect or in that format, but sometimes it does where you’re like, "Oh. Actually, I do have a story." Or you’ve had a client that has had a story that you can utilize, too, which is really great because it’s kind of like a case study, education, and storytelling all in one.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Yeah. Okay. That makes sense. And then, do you feel like for your other reels that are maybe more the tip trick oriented ones, not storytelling based, or maybe you can even tell people what you kind of recommend as the other types of reels other than storytelling, do you have formats or some sort of structure you like to follow for those?

Mya Nichol:
Yeah. Good question. So, again, not all of my content is storytelling. I mean, you can go look through my content right now and you can see which ones are storytelling versus not storytelling, it’s pretty obvious. But in terms of other approaches, it totally just depends.

Like for example, I just posted a Reel today. It was a, I want to say, six or seven second reel, and the text was on the screen the whole time and it didn’t say read the caption or anything. The text was just there and there was information in the caption, but it wasn’t additional information. If people just watched the Reel, then that was great. That’s all they needed. For example, the experiment that I did on Monday that was more in, I guess, a list format, bullet points of here are the tips. So, it kind of just depends.

Again, I guess depending on what is the best way for me to present the information inside of my content, going back to that conversation, that’s honestly what I’m thinking. It’s not necessarily this is working better than that, because I think, too, if I force myself to put something into storytelling that just doesn’t fit, or if I force myself to create a Reel where that content and the way that that information is presented, it just doesn’t work as well as it would in a carousel. It’s just not going to perform as well.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Yeah. Okay. I like hearing your approach to that. That’s helpful. I think you’re really driving home the point that we focus more on what’s the best way to teach this content. And then, probably because you’re teaching it in a better way, more people are going to watch it, consume it, whatever. Anyway, it’s like who cares really? Instead of forcing yourself to hit these rigid goals of the types of reels or something like that.

I heard somebody the other day say something about hooks. So, for anybody who doesn’t know hook, it is the top line of any post, whether it’s a sentence, a phrase, a prompt, whatever, the first few words that you can actually see. Can you share with everybody what your thoughts are on hooks? Because like the other day, somebody was like, hooks don’t matter anymore or something like this. I was like, "I want to know what Mya thinks about this."

Mya Nichol:
Yeah. I feel like that might have been my piece of content actually that you saw.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Maybe. Yeah.

Mya Nichol:
That was something that I posted last week in one of my experiments. Actually, that was the storytelling content versus the listing it out. And I was talking about hooks and what I said is, you know, hooks are not working like they used to. And it’s not to say that they don’t work. I think hooks are always going to have a place, not just in content on Instagram, but just in general, like the header of a blog post or if we’re talking about advertisement and a billboard, there’s hooks on there. Hooks are everywhere and they’re always going to have importance.

But this kind of comes back again to the conversation, like what we’re talking about, call to action statements being saturated. Same exact thing with hook, we’re so used to seeing the five tips or how to do X, Y, Z. And, again, it’s not to say you can’t create that, and it’s not to say that you won’t see content that performs well using those hooks, but we’re just so used to seeing it where it’s not necessarily doing what a hook should do, which is hook people in and stop them from scrolling.

And so, you have to approach it in a different aspect. And so, there’s a few different ways that I like to think of things – three, actually, different ways that I like to think of approaching hooks. The first way is through telling it through a pain point. So, instead of it just being like five tips to reach non-followers with your reels, it’s like, but what is the pain point behind that? Oftentimes, it’s because they’re not growing. It’s oftentimes because they want visibility to make more sales in their business. And so, restructuring the hook to hit more on the pain point versus just being like five tips for X, Y, Z.

The second one is storytelling. So, again, it’s like do I have a story to tell behind this? Maybe something that I could say is like, one time I reached 50,000 non-followers with my reels. That’s a really great hook. It connects people to me, but it also is going to be something that’s educational.

And then, the third way is positioning it as a question. For example, if someone is in my direct messages and they’re like, How do I reach more non-followers? I could basically position that exact same thing as a hook. And so, again, it’s just like thinking of things differently. And it’s not to say that hooks aren’t working. It’s just the hooks that worked in years past and even in months past, we as consumers are just so used to seeing it that it’s just not as effective.

Sam Vander Wielen:
So, it sounds to me like the more descriptive stuff is not working. Like, five ways to reach new followers, that’s not working as well. I’d put Sick of only talking to your mom on Instagram? You know what I mean, just make a good joke out of it, of somebody who feels like they’re only talking to friends and family kind of thing.

Mya Nichol:
No. Yeah. And that, to me, would totally stop my scroll because I am just so used to seeing all of the other hooks that aren’t that. And I’m like, "Oh, wait. I am actually sick of that. Yeah, I’m going to click into this, for sure." It’s just getting creative, right? It’s not like you have to think of the most creative hook and the most creative call to action statement and the most creative storytelling reel in order to be successful. No. That’s not the case whatsoever. It’s just shifting the way you go about doing things.

But also, too, I just think it’s like anything that’s new, it’s going to seem hard the first few times that you do it, and then it’s going to be like, "Oh. It clicks," and you’re like, "Oh, yeah. This makes sense."

Sam Vander Wielen:
Yeah. And how are you approaching this with Reel cover titles and things, is it a similar approach?

Mya Nichol:
Yeah. Yeah. Exactly the same approach. So, my cover photos will have the same exact hook that’s in the first few seconds of my reel.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Oh, that’s interesting. Okay. Okay, cool. That’s really interesting. Well, this has been yet another fascinating conversation. I could talk to you for days, so we’ll have to have you back, maybe when you’re back from maternity leave, because I know you’ve got a lot going on. But I so appreciate you doing this.

I’m going to share my three takeaways from what Mya shared today with you in a minute. But before we go, will you tell everyone where to find you and some goodies that you have for them as well and how they can work with you?

Mya Nichol:
Yes, for sure. So, I’m an easy one. Mya Nichol basically everywhere, that’s YouTube, my website, my Instagram, my Pinterest, my TikTok. Anywhere that I am, Mya Nichol is where I will be. And then, I have my podcast, which is Radical Disruption. If you type in Mya Nichol in the podcast search bar or whatever, you’ll also find me that way. And that’s just more of, honestly, the conversation that we had today, just bringing a lot more of that to the surface, specifically around social media and Instagram and conversations that I think aren’t happening enough. So, yeah, that’s that.

And then, in terms of freebies, there’s freebies that will be linked down in the description below. I, honestly, don’t even know what I will be linking, but let’s just say the Content Vault or maybe you have something. I don’t even remember what I linked.

Sam Vander Wielen:
The 100 Free Hook Guide, we just talked about that. That’s perfect.

Mya Nichol:
Okay. Actually, that’s an exciting one because I’m actually doing a part two to that and renovating it based off of all the things that I just talked about with hooks. So, you’ll get that hook guide and then you’ll also get another version of that, too, so that’s exciting.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Two for one. Yeah. Exactly. That’s perfect. I’ll make sure I link down below to everything that Mya has mentioned. It’ll be in the show notes or if you’re on my website, obviously, you can find it there. But thank you so much, Mya, for doing this. It’s always awesome hanging out with you.

Mya Nichol:
Thanks for having me.

Sam Vander Wielen:
Hey, I hope you loved that episode with Mya. I’m so excited to share my three takeaways with you from everything that Mya shared.

Okay. My takeaway number one, I loved Mya’s thoughts when we were talking about comparison at the beginning – or not comparison, of trolls at the beginning, and we were talking about how there’s this fear of being yourself, of being seen, which is so real and so common. But I loved how Mya shared that you have to remember that no matter what you share or how you share it, somebody is going to take issue with it.

And she’s exactly right, like in the example I was giving, the nasty comment I got yesterday, it was about my appearance and I wasn’t saying anything that was controversial. That’s the whole point, the person took issue with my appearance. There was nothing of what I said.

So, unfortunately it happens. I don’t think it’s a reason to stop doing what you’re doing or be any different. So, I would love if you would just own that and embrace it and kind of move forward. And just take it as like a bit more of a to be expected type of thing.

My second takeaway from what Mya shared today was that you should create content with the best surface in mind for that content. So, surfaces on Instagram are things like Reels, posts, Stories, Lives, the different kinds of ways. That is a very different approach than what most people will tell you. Like, do two reels in one carousel post a week, and then what you’re trying to do is squeeze content into those buckets. Versus, if you have an idea or a tip or a story that you want to teach or tell, I like the idea of being what’s the best way to present this, not I have to satisfy a reel this week so I’m just going to squeeze it into a reel. When maybe if it was a carousel, not only would the education have been better, but then it actually would have performed better on the platform. So, I think that that’s really good.

The third thing I really loved about what Mya shared today was about Stories and how she approaches Stories, that your Stories should be kind of the story of your life through your business or your business through your life on Instagram. I think that’s really cool. I liked her tip about sharing, like, five daily things, think about things you do every day, things that you might think are pretty routine.

I mean, regardless of what you do, like if you do anything in the health and wellness space, I want to see how you’re implementing what you’re teaching. Show me your little tips, your tricks, your hats. So, I want to see that kind of stuff. You know, if you’re a money person, I want to see how are you budgeting, spending, saving, whatever, depending on what you do. So, I love seeing how people are implementing to their own lives.

I thought there were so many great takeaways from today’s episode. If you liked today’s episode, go ahead and text a link to this episode to a friend. Leave us a little rating, review wherever you listen. I really appreciate it. And as always, I hope you’ll send me a DM or an email and let me know what you thought of this episode. I know I really liked it and I’m going to be listening when it comes out. So, thanks so much for listening and I’ll chat with you in a few days.

Thanks so much for listening to the On Your Terms Podcast. Make sure to follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen to podcasts. You can also check out all of our podcast episodes, show notes, links, and more at samvanderwielen.com/podcast. You can learn more about legally protecting your business and take my free legal workshop, Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business, at samvanderwielen.com. And to stay connected and follow along, follow me on Instagram, @samvanderwielen, and send me a DM to say hi.

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