Casie Millhouse-Singh is currently a Founding Director of Two Lane, a digital consultancy and digital marketing agency based in Singapore. She also works as a Director with SheWorx and as a Digital Strategist with Raxel Telematics.
In the past, Casie has worked as a gymnastics coach, international DJ, and speaker.
Casie’s an expert Instagram marketer and has worked with insurance and e-commerce companies. In this interview, she talks about how to market your store on Instagram.
Let’s get started.
Who’s Casie Lane Millhouse-Singh?
I’m a bot and a human. If you Google me, you’ll see I’ve done many different things and am quite multi-passionate. Life is a fantastic journey.
How did you get into Instagram marketing?
Well, I spent so much time on the platform for fun, and then I started building a profile for my DJing career. I realized there is something special about making communities for just about any topic of interest and through that, you can inspire people into action.
You convinced 2.1 million people to post a handstand photo on Instagram. How did you do that?
It was incredible.
Alvin Tam founded the International Handstand Day, in 2011. He wanted a fun thing to do with his family and friends in the yoga and acrobatics community.
I found out about what he was doing in 2016. I was planning to attempt a World Record for most handstands performed in a group. The response we got was humongous.
The Instagram handstand thing took almost two years to build. We decided to do this on Instagram since it was visual. And followed broadly the below strategy to gain traction:
- Positioning: We positioned the day as a celebration for diversity. That’s because we believe that anyone can do a handstand.
- Instagram influencer marketing: We recruited some former gymnasts of mine who were micro-influencers in the gymnastics community on Instagram.
- Brand ambassadors: We also built a robust ambassador program for children. And created a landing page for them to sign-up and get consent from their parents.
- Promotion: We created a Slack community for influencers and children ambassadors to chat together. In the Slack, we talked about gymnastics, yoga, parkour and all things handstands. We also created referral links for ambassadors to put in their bios.
- Partnerships: We created partnerships with many niche media sites, and I even got some press contacts for traditional media outlets. We also created lots of educational material so if other organizations wanted to celebrate they had a go-to resource on how to do it.
I believe the biggest reason for our success were ambassadors. We had Olympians, celebrities, and micro-influencers as ambassadors. But the most significant part of the community were kids who loved handstands as much as we did. These are the ones who spread the word out.
As we grew, brands started pitching us to promote their products. We took these offers to our community. Created online contests where winners received prizes via mail from these partners.
The very first year we had over 100K people using our branded hashtag. We were trending on Twitter.
After the first year, we kept posting on Instagram and engaged with the community via email. But we let the community take the lead. The idea was to make the community run by itself by the time Handstand Day 2017 rolled around. That’s when we hit over 2.1 million.
Does Instagram work for all kinds of online stores? Which ones can benefit most? Are there any that should stay away from Instagram?
Yes, it works for just about anything you want to sell that is under Facebook Terms of Service.
How would you drive traffic to an e-commerce store using Instagram?
If it’s an e-commerce store, I’m not too concerned about traffic volume. I would instead optimize campaigns for conversions. These days you don’t necessarily need to drive traffic for purchases.
Is it possible to sell merchandise directly on Instagram? How?
But first, you’ll have to understand your target customer segments and their buying cycles.
Instagram is more about community building than selling. If your products are good, you’ve got positioning right, and you’ve built a community around your message, then you’ll have the right to ask for a sale.
What are your top 3 tips to market an e-commerce store on Instagram?
- Understand your unique value proposition.
- Build a community around the unique value proposition.
- Hire someone who has success with e-commerce Instagram marketing.
Don’t hire an influencer, a VA or an intern or waste any of your time trying to figure it out. If you’re building an e-commerce store to make money, then invest so you can get returns.
What’s your biggest e-commerce Instagram marketing success story?
I wouldn’t say that it’s an Instagram marketing success story because many things go into the effectiveness of conversions. Like –
- How well your site is set up for traffic?
- Do you have your data mapped correctly?
- Does the site have the stamp of approval for Facebook?
- Are you just banking on organic or are you doing ads too?
- The site, the amount of data you have with your Facebook Pixel, how clean those audiences you’ve built is, what partnerships and affiliates have you solidified.
All these things go into play. So I can’t say there was an Instagram marketing success story because it is part of the whole.
You’ve written a guide about Instagram business tools. Where can we grab this guide?
It’s in my bot. It’s about six months old, so some of the tools are irrelevant. That’s how fast things move and why it’s almost impossible for someone to be an expert in all things marketing.
If you’re interested, here’s the link straight to the google drive.