Instagram and events to scale your brand

How do you scale your brand through Instagram and events. Seems a strange combination but both go hand in hand. Geraldine Huybrechts, founder of B-iconic joins the Sales Acceleration Show and shares a ton of pragmatic insights on how to build your brand, how to scale, where to focus…

Scale your brand through Instagram and events

Michael Humblet:
Welcome to the Sales Acceleration Show. My name is Michael Humblet and I’m the founder of Chaomatic, and in this show, we talk about everything that can scale your business. In essence, that can scale your revenues grow faster.

Michael Humblet:
Today, we have a bit of a very special guest. We always have special guests, but this one is very special because, I got to know her via Instagram. I was watching the Instagram feed of Geraldine, and I thought like, “It’s very soft, it’s very pinkish and there are lots of things.”

Michael Humblet:
And I’m thinking, “Why are you talking about peace and calm and all of these things?” And then I looked at how your Instagram was evolving and I thought, “It’s working. Maybe I’m doing something wrong.” So, before we go there, maybe you explain to our viewers what you do.

Geraldine H.:
Hello, Michael. Thank you for the invitation.

Michael Humblet:
The pleasure’s mine.

Geraldine H.:
I’m Geraldine from B-Iconic, so I’m a Corporate Events Manager and a Social Media Coach. And, yes, I use Instagram on a daily basis, because it’s really good to exposure yourself as a personal brand.

Michael Humblet:
Fully agree on the personal brand.

Geraldine H.:
Yes.

Michael Humblet:
Maybe let’s dive into there before we go events, because I think they are connected-

Geraldine H.:
Yes, there is a link.

Michael Humblet:
… because you actually get your business through events. So, maybe let’s stop on personal brand, because we didn’t had a real expert on personal brand in the show yet, so I’m very curious. So, how did it start? Let’s start with the beginning, because I’ve see you post a lot. One of the big questions-

Geraldine H.:
Yes, on a daily basis.

Michael Humblet:
All my clients always ask me, “How on earth do you get content to post so much?” Let’s start with some basic stuff.

Geraldine H.:
Well, I think it’s important to know your target audience. And then, from there, what are their struggles?

Michael Humblet:
So, you have a real clear vision in mind. I’m talking …

Geraldine H.:
Yes, for me, it’s a lot of female startup entrepreneurs and they are dealing with time management or burnout sometimes-

Michael Humblet:
It’s very specific female stuff. That’s an interesting one.

Geraldine H.:
Yes. Instagram is also quite a more feminine vibe, I will say. [crosstalk 00:02:03]

Michael Humblet:
Yeah. That’s why a lot of hearts and a lot of these…

Geraldine H.:
Yes, because it’s also about aesthetic and nice pictures.

Michael Humblet:
True, because I’ve seen that you spend time on very nice pictures.

Geraldine H.:
Yeah.

Michael Humblet:
Because I got to learn, with this show, we had to make nice pictures and all that. In the beginning, I was like, “Yeah.” But then, actually, with Instagram… And then I see these really nice compositions and I think, “Well, look at that.” But it’s a lot of time, no?

Geraldine H.:
Yeah, because in three, five seconds someone see, “Is this interesting,” and what’s the vibe of your account?

Michael Humblet:
How do you balance between the stories and the feed actually?

Geraldine H.:
Okay. There are apps where you can already preview your pictures and your feed, so I know already beforehand which next picture will come tomorrow.

Michael Humblet:
And you do it in a like batch production. Because I believe in production. So, you’re basically saying, “I’m going to do this, and I set up a week upfront.” So, what would be the advice, because my-

Geraldine H.:
Yes, about one week. Yeah.

Michael Humblet:
… my struggle is I’m then, during the day, think, “Oh, I need to do this,” and I know it’s not the right way.

Geraldine H.:
Yeah. No, I prepare my social media content on Sunday, on Sunday afternoon.

Michael Humblet:
So, you use like a kind of a Canva.com, or something and you just produce all the pictures, get it all ready?

Geraldine H.:
Yeah, Canva. I use another app. Like a UNUM or, yeah, I have also Preview, or Plan or Skedugram. I have different apps to already preview the pictures-

Michael Humblet:
On Sunday, you set everything up. And then the stories? You do that during the week?

Geraldine H.:
During the day, yes.

Michael Humblet:
All the time, or…

Geraldine H.:
No, not all the time. But I know, already, which events are taking place, or meetings. And, for instance, January is for me the networking month. So, I will talk a lot about the networking. And I give tips, and then-

Michael Humblet:
Yeah. And now I realize why you have so much events, because you organize events. Good God. I’m such an idiot sometimes.

Michael Humblet:
Okay. And that actually brings business, Instagram, for you? Or is it more LinkedIn? Because I’m guessing you’re balancing them all out and…

Geraldine H.:
Yes, I’m really a fan of LinkedIn and Instagram. On Instagram, I get a lot of collaboration questions, and also questions to give Instagram workshops or Instagram training.

Michael Humblet:
Yeah, of course.

Geraldine H.:
On LinkedIn, it’s different type of connection. I would say it’s more formal, a more formal way to connect with new contacts. And I get more events requests on LinkedIn.

Michael Humblet:
Yeah, so you also focus a bit your information in a different way.

Geraldine H.:
Yep.

Michael Humblet:
How much do you post on LinkedIn? Because I scaled mine to one post a week, which was ridiculous. I mean it went really fast. But on Instagram, I’m struggling.

Geraldine H.:
Yep. Yes, I know-

Michael Humblet:
You know. Before the show actually happened, she said to me, “Michael, I might have some tips for your Instagram.” Well, bring it on right.

Geraldine H.:
Yeah. What I suggest is really to use hashtags. It’s so important on Instagram, and you can use up to 30 hashtags…

Michael Humblet:
But that’s in the in the feed, right?

Geraldine H.:
In the caption, or the copy you’re writing with your picture. It’s really important to research your hashtags and not use-

Michael Humblet:
Give me a tool. Tell me a tool. I’m a tool guy.

Geraldine H.:
It’s just searching. Search on tags on Instagram and then you will also get suggestions of other hashtags.

Michael Humblet:
But, the hard part, I find, with this whole hashtagging thing… And I think you have very similar, when you look at keywords and Google and SEO optimization, all that. Is that, in a lot of cases when I’m on Instagram, for instance, I do sales and marketing type of content.

Michael Humblet:
People are not looking for the word “Sales advice,” or, “Sales strategy,” or stuff like. Where, on LinkedIn, they are actually really aimed for that. YouTube, people type in, “How do I set up my SaaS company?” That kind of stuff.

Michael Humblet:
So, in my way, that’s for me, way easier. But the moment I go with real B2B to Instagram, I feel that very quickly I slide off into the motivational stuff.

Geraldine H.:
Yes.

Michael Humblet:
Motivational. Inspirational. And then you look at Gary Vs of the world and these guys, and it’s all like quoting and cool and…

Geraldine H.:
Yep.

Michael Humblet:
But I’m not like that. I am thinking, “Yeah. Okay. Well…” So, tell me. Tell me what to do.

Geraldine H.:
Maybe find more niche hashtags and not only the generic hashtags.

Michael Humblet:
Okay, so not pick of the day, like a million people. Beauty.

Geraldine H.:
Yeah. And maybe also in Dutch, because your clients are also in Belgium.

Michael Humblet:
Yes. That’s a very difficult topic. It’s the whole language thing. We do this show in English, where I sometimes think if I would do it in Flemish, it probably would have… Or in Dutch, it would have probably scaled way faster.

Geraldine H.:
Yes.

Michael Humblet:
Because, in English, suddenly you’re fighting the big guys. Where, if I niche, you don’t have that. On the other hand, speaking English allows me to invite a lot more guests.

Geraldine H.:
Yeah.

Michael Humblet:
It’s a tough one. I have many customers that ask me, “So, Michael, what language do we start, or do we build the landing page? Where do we go with the communications?”

Geraldine H.:
Who is your target audience?

Michael Humblet:
Yeah.

Geraldine H.:
That’s the main question.

Michael Humblet:
But, if you have multiple, you have a problem.

Geraldine H.:
Yeah. Then you have to use different languages.

Michael Humblet:
So, let’s quickly jump to events. So, you organize events for large corporates, small?

Geraldine H.:
Yeah, the small, medium enterprises.

Michael Humblet:
And what type of events? Is there a specific niche that you say, “I’m really good in this. I can get it full.”

Geraldine H.:
Not really a niche, but I prefer to work with small, medium enterprises, because there is more a connection with the clients. And they are struggling with the time, know-how and resources.

Michael Humblet:
Yeah. And you do the facilitation of the event?

Geraldine H.:
Yes.

Michael Humblet:
Also the concept in mind?

Geraldine H.:
Also the concepts. And then the whole organization and coordination onsite.

Michael Humblet:
So, that can be speakers, everything around…

Geraldine H.:
Yes.

Michael Humblet:
Okay, so… Because I do my own events a lot. And I also help customers. And at a certain stage, I sell… If you look at the value you offer, the community part is very high up the chain. Getting the people in the room, connecting them. And I see them all struggling, like, “Yeah, we should do an event. We’re going to do this event and we’re going to talk about ourselves.” And I go, “No, it’s ,not going to work. You need somebody else because they don’t trust you yet. You need to get in somebody else that speaks on stage, and it’s all that.”

Michael Humblet:
So, what’s your advice? You have some like, “Okay, you want to think events, then go there. That’s what you do. That’s how things work best.” What would be your advice?

Geraldine H.:
I didn’t get your question. Sorry.

Michael Humblet:
Yes. [crosstalk 00:08:48].

Michael Humblet:
So, what would be your advice, if I want to organize an event, to get as much people in the event? What would be the trick? If there is a trick.

Geraldine H.:
Okay, so community. Promote your event, already, through social media. You can tell-

Michael Humblet:
But most companies do not have a strong social media presence. You have.

Geraldine H.:
Yeah. Because they don’t know how to use social media-

Michael Humblet:
Voila.

Geraldine H.:
… and they are already-

Michael Humblet:
And do you mean paid?

Geraldine H.:
Paid advertisements, yes. But also, create event hashtags for instance. That can already help. Also, create banners to put on your Facebook page and say, “Okay, now we are organizing events.” You have a button on Facebook, like contact me, but you can say “Book your tickets here.” Create an event on Facebook. If you have speakers-

Michael Humblet:
Use that to push it out, get it out.

Geraldine H.:
Yes. Also, create visuals for your speakers, so they can share it on their social media channels.

Michael Humblet:
I like this remove all friction kind of ideas. But it’s work upfront.

Geraldine H.:
Yes.

Michael Humblet:
A lot of people don’t want to do the work, where I’m saying, “Make life easy for the other side-

Geraldine H.:
Yeah, or they forget maybe.

Michael Humblet:
And speakers actually have large networks. And they’re happy to share because, of course, they want it to be a success. And they want to be seen as the guy or the girl on stage again. Okay.

Michael Humblet:
From location, do you have some… Because, I’ve seen a lot of locations now. Is there some guidance there, where you say, “Think about that type of room.”

Geraldine H.:
It depends all about the type of your events. What’s the goal of the events? What do you want? Why are you organizing an event? If it’s to inform or to motivate people, or to sell? And then, who is your target audience and what’s the style of your events? So, there are different factors to define the venue, to choose a venue.

Michael Humblet:
Yeah. Let me ask you a tough one. Because they keep asking me, and I’m still fighting with that one.

Geraldine H.:
Yes.

Michael Humblet:
What’s the best format? And I understand you’re going to say the… So, let’s imagine you have a B2B crowd. Pretty tough crowd, execs. Half a day, or a day format? I find this very difficult one, because I take [crosstalk 00:11:07].

Geraldine H.:
They don’t have that much time.

Michael Humblet:
Yeah, they never have time, but you have to take them out, but they have to get there. It’s a tough one.

Geraldine H.:
Yeah. I prefer the half day then.

Michael Humblet:
Morning or afternoon?

Geraldine H.:
My feelings is more afternoon. Then they can still decide, in the evening, if they stay or not. But the networking part is so important, I think. They like to [crosstalk 00:11:34], yeah.

Michael Humblet:
Yeah. I also think, talking to other people is actually the key to the event. And, basically, whatever speaking is facilitated, because most people know that the speakers are not always… I mean, I speak a lot on events, and a lot of events I’m basically thinking, “Good God.” But maybe I get bored quickly and choose another topic, right.

Geraldine H.:
Yeah.

Michael Humblet:
So, you do your own events now? You start going there? I mean, if I look at your business… Because I think it’s very intriguing, this whole Instagram, as I said in the beginning. Where are you aiming the gun now? How are you going to build up the empire? If, at all, you want to build up the empire, because some people don’t want to go there.

Geraldine H.:
Yes, I will grow further. I want to grow further with my business and create a theme around me. I want to collaborate with like-minded people. So really co-create. That’s for me important. Co-creations with like-minded people, sharing the same values, philosophy…

Michael Humblet:
As in you help them, they help you. You kind of do things together and scale that way.

Geraldine H.:
Yeah. That’s really very strong, very powerful.

Michael Humblet:
You really see a trend, at the moment, where you have true experts, that kind of came bottom-up, not the top-down guys. The typical, “I write a book,” and then suddenly you’re the star. No, it’s the bottom-up. They’ve been fighting, doing the real things. And then you see them starting to co-create with other people.

Michael Humblet:
So, I do think that’s going to be-

Geraldine H.:
Yeah, that’s the future.

Michael Humblet:
That’s the future.

Geraldine H.:
Yes.

Michael Humblet:
So, we’ll have more events coming on. These corporation events, and the workshops and all of that. Okay. Very, very interesting.

Michael Humblet:
So, every guest, I ask some tough questions at the end, to try and see what they’re worth. No, not really. We just try and figure out… Because one of the things that I’ve seen in your storyline, which I think is very intriguing, is there’s so much stuff coming on. And when you just sat down, I said, “Don’t forget to put your phone on mobile.” You said to me, “Yeah, I have to do it, because so much coming.” So, how do you focus? How do you bring focus to…

Geraldine H.:
Okay, for me, focus is about a time management. So, I want to keep control over my agenda and I like to have a helicopter view. And then on Sunday afternoon, I will check out my agenda for the coming week and the week after. And then I will really define the priorities. What is important this week, to-dos, tasks? And then I will maybe reschedule some meetings. And then, when I want to focus, I say, “No distractions [crosstalk 00:00:14:11]. No notifications.”

Michael Humblet:
Yeah.

Geraldine H.:
I say to myself, “Now focus.” Really, I talk to my mind.

Michael Humblet:
The trap I fall sometimes into is, especially when it gets busy, really, really busy and everything is moving, then I see that I make myself nervous. “I still need to do that.” And it’s like my brain gets me into this, “I need to do this. I need to do it.” And I’m thinking, “Why am I making myself nervous?” It’s very difficult to pull out and say, “Stop.”

Geraldine H.:
You have to breathe.

Michael Humblet:
So, I’m a strong believer in doing that. Breathing. But, I think it’s in your nature to… You want to help, and that’s where the problem starts. I think if I wouldn’t care, it would have been 10 times easier. Actually, I think that’s the problem.

Michael Humblet:
Okay, so how do you say no to the thing? So, if you don’t want to do something… Because, most sales guys we meet, they are very bad in saying no. They’ll find excuses. But, how do you do that then?

Geraldine H.:
Saying no is setting your boundaries. It’s also about self respect. And you don’t need, always, to immediately give an answer, to say yes or no. Sometimes you can ask for some time, and then to check in by yourself, “How does it feel for me?” For me, it’s really important to-

Michael Humblet:
So, your key is always is always, “How do I feel with this thing?”

Geraldine H.:
Yes. And really to listen to your gut feeling.

Michael Humblet:
Yeah. And then you-

Geraldine H.:
And then I make a decision. And I say yes or no.

Michael Humblet:
And you tell them? Even if it’s negative, you say, “I’m not going to do it because… ”

Geraldine H.:
You don’t always need to give a reason. Sometimes, I can say, “Okay, it doesn’t feel well.” But I will always check in my network if I can suggest someone else.

Michael Humblet:
That’s a good one.

Geraldine H.:
Yeah.

Michael Humblet:
I really like that one. So, where do you get your inspiration?

Geraldine H.:
I love to read books. I love Michael [Pilarchik 00:16:03] in the Netherlands. [Ilko de Boer 00:16:06], also from the Netherlands. Gary V, Tony Robbins.

Michael Humblet:
Yep.

Geraldine H.:
And then…

Michael Humblet:
And I’m sure you love all the funneling they do. I guess, when I look at it, I was going… Because at the end of the day, they’re really good at it.

Geraldine H.:
Yes.

Michael Humblet:
I mean, they also give a lot of quality and value. No discussion.

Geraldine H.:
That’s really important.

Michael Humblet:
But, the technique around, sometimes is really, really interesting. And I do believe B2B sales and marketing is actually move to B2B to C. Because you see the people within companies following you, and it’s them telling the boss, “If we do an event, we need to get to Geraldine.”

Geraldine H.:
Yeah.

Michael Humblet:
I believe in that mechanism. And I think is going to get even more scale in the next coming years. So, my friends, you need to build your personal brand.

Michael Humblet:
Okay, so, what’s the biggest mistake you’ve done up until now? Where you say, “I’m never going to do that again.”

Geraldine H.:
Oh, just to wait for projects. And think, “Okay, it will be all right.”

Michael Humblet:
If you wait long enough, something will happen, right?

Geraldine H.:
Yeah. But you have to keep the ball rolling. So, be proactive.

Michael Humblet:
Be proactive.

Geraldine H.:
And keep your eyes and ears open. And network. Network online and offline.

Michael Humblet:
All the time.

Geraldine H.:
Yes. You need to be in action, and not just sit back and think, “Yeah, okay.”

Michael Humblet:
It’s like keep the movement.

Geraldine H.:
Yes.

Michael Humblet:
Yeah. I tell it to a lot of people who are stuck. Sometimes people get stuck. And then you see that… When I enter companies, they’ve been doing something for a while, and then you meet the executives. And I sometimes really say, “Okay, stop what you’re doing now. Take a day, like breathe, and then start moving.”

Michael Humblet:
So, one of the tricks I sometimes is, I’ll go and do some sport, something I’ve never done before. Because just the physical, different thing, makes me think differently.

Geraldine H.:
It’s really important.

Michael Humblet:
But it’s stuff to… When you’re in the trenches, you’re fighting all day, it’s really tough to-

Geraldine H.:
Yes it’s good to take the distance.

Michael Humblet:
Yeah.

Geraldine H.:
To see from the sideline.

Michael Humblet:
Yeah, I think it’s really, really important. Would’ve been cool if that’s your job, actually, the whole day long.

Michael Humblet:
Okay. So, thanks a lot for coming on the show. I’m going to absolutely keep checking that Instagram and get my hashtags properly. And I’m pretty sure, after this show, she’s going to give me some more advice that you cannot listen to.

Michael Humblet:
So, thanks Geraldine, a lot for coming to the show.

Geraldine H.:
Yeah, thank you.

Michael Humblet:
If you love what you’ve seen, give it a thumbs up. Subscribe for a lot more coming. And I’ll catch you on social.