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TikTok vs Instagram: Which is right for your online business?

January 5, 2022


Melissa Guller


Transparency Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may earn a commission if you make a purchase. This is at no additional cost to you, so it's a great way to support Wit & Wire. So thank you! Full disclosure here.

As a busy business owner who does not have the time or frankly, the interest in posting 12 times a day on all social media apps, is TikTok, really the right choice for you? Or are you better off sticking with Instagram?

In the comparison between TikTok vs. Instagram, the differences are deeper than I realized, and I invited Samantha Vlasceanu (The TikTok Coach) and Shannon McKinstrie (Boutique Social) to help unpack the similarities and advantages.

We focused on these three criteria:

  1. Reach: Where is your audience, and how can each algorithm help you find them?
  2. Content creation: How are the posting schedules and best practices different between Instagram and TikTok? And if you use both, what are the experts’ recommendations on repurposing?
  3. Growth: For each app, what are the most important growth metrics to track, and which CTAs work best to build your audience and earn more through social?

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Episode resources

TikTok vs Instagram: the founding stories

Instagram almost needs no introduction. It was launched as a photo-sharing app on October 6th, 2010. And the original goal was to feature photos, specifically pictures taken on people’s phones. Within one day of launching Instagram already had 25,000 users. And within less than two years, they were acquired by the artist formerly known as Facebook now, Metta for $1 billion.

More recently on December 14th, 2021, CNBC broke the news that Instagram had officially passed 2 billion, monthly active users worldwide.

It also feels like they added 2 billion new features like reels during that time, but who’s counting?

While Instagram has a classic Silicon Valley unicorn story about friends in a garage, TikTok has a totally different origin story as not one app, but two.

First, there was a short-form video app called Musical.ly, which launched in Shanghai in 2014 and had a small following here in the United States. Then in 2016, massive Chinese tech company, ByteDance launched a similar app called Douyin. Within a year, Douyin had 100 million users in China and Thailand. And in 2018, ByteDance, doubled down, bought Musical.ly, and started their expansion of a video first app under a new global brand called – you guessed it – TikTok.

Through a combination of massive ad spend and the fact that we were all frankly, stuck inside for much of 2020, TikTok growth has skyrocketed over the last two years and on September 14th, 2021. TikTok announced that, “more than 1 billion people around the world now come to TikTok every month.”

Here’s the bottom line: many industry experts predict that TikTok will soon become the third most popular social media app globally after Facebook and Instagram.

Meet our guest experts

I don’t believe that business is one size fits all. That’s why this season, I’ve invited industry experts to compare today’s hottest sales and marketing strategies to empower you to use your strengths and create a personalized online business plan, starting with today’s topic, TikTok vs. Instagram.

Shannon McKinstrie

Shannon McKinstrie, founder of Boutique Social, is a social media strategist for business owners who want to make an impact and get big results through organic + proven social media strategies. 

She’s also a wife, mom, Target junkie, oat milk latte fanatic, cheap wine connoisseur, and co-founder of The Social Squad Society. Find her on Instagram @shannonmckinstrie.

Samantha Vlasceanu

Samantha Vlasceaunu, The TikTok Coach, is on a mission to convince businesses and brands that TikTok is not just for our teenagers (and no dancing required)! When COVID-19 hit, her other traveling business had to shut down and she had to pivot – FAST.

That’s when she realized that she’d been organically reaching her audience on TikTok all along and realized the power TIkTok could have for businesses if they gave them a chance. Fast forward to today, Sam works with marketing agencies, coaches, lawyers, corporate Brands – you name it! Sam ensures all her clients are using the app with intention as a sales funnel in finding their target audience and coaching the strategies of converting their followers into ACTUAL paying clients.

TikTok | Instagram | Free TikTok Guide

Episode transcript

NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by a free AI tool called Otter. Please forgive any typos or errors.

Melissa: Welcome to the wit and wire podcast. I’m Melissa, a former teachable employee and marketing director turned full-time course creator, and I help entrepreneurs turn their skills and passions into profitable online businesses.

I don’t believe that business is one size fits all.

That’s why this season I’ve invited industry experts to compare today’s hottest sales and marketing strategies to empower you to use your strengths and create a personalized online business plan.

Narrator: I’m so excited to kick off this new series. And I knew I had to start with a huge question. I’m sure the internet will debate all year long. And that question isWhich social media platform is right for me, Instagram or ticket.

Melissa: That’s one of tick talks, robot voices in case you’re new to the app.

But Instagram almost needs no introduction. It was launched as a photo sharing app on October 6th, 2010. And the original goal was to feature photos, specifically pictures taken on people’s phones. Within one day of launching Instagram already had 25,000 users. And within less than two years, they were acquired by the artist formerly known as Facebook now, Metta for $1 billion.

More recently on December 14th, 2021. CNBC broke. The news that Instagram had officially passed 2 billion, monthly active users worldwide. It also feels like they added 2 billion new features like reels during that time, but who’s counting

While Instagram has a classic Silicon valley unicorn story about friends in a garage, tik TOK has a totally different origin story as not one app, but two.

First, there was a short form video app called musically, which launched in Shanghai in 2014 and had a small following here in the United States. Then in 2016. Massive Chinese tech company, bite dance launched a similar app called doyen. Within a year, Doyenne had 100 million users in China and Thailand.

And so in 2018, By dance, double down, bought musically and started their expansion of a video first app under a new global brand called you guessed it. Tick tock.

Through a combination of massive ad spend. And the fact that we were all frankly, stuck inside for much of 2020. Tech talks growth has skyrocketed over the last two years and on September 14th, 2021. Tick tock announced that, and this is a direct quote. More than 1 billion people around the world. Now come to tick tock every month.

I’ve shared a lot of numbers in the last 30 seconds, but here’s the bottom line. Many industry experts predict that tick-tock will soon become the third, most popular social media app globally after Facebook and Instagram.

But as a busy business owner who does not have the time or frankly, the interest in posting 12 times a day on all social media apps. Is Tik TOK, really the right choice for you. Or are you better off sticking with Instagram? To answer that question. I’ve brought in two experts to help us compare Tik TOK versus Instagram based on these three key criteria.

First reach, where is your audience and what can H apps algorithm do to help you find them? Second content creation. How does content differ between Instagram and Tik TOK? And if you are interested in trying both, what are the experts recommendations on repurposing on more than one app?

And third growth. For each app, what is the number one most important metric to watch and what calls to action should you be using to build your audience and ultimately to sell more online? And stick around until the end where I’ll talk about a few bonus tips to earn money online through either Tik, TOK or Instagram.

First let’s meet Shannon.

Shannon: Hi, I’m Shannon McKinstry and I am a social media manager and mentor for small business owners. And my goal is just to help you simplify social media and have fun and also generate crazy sales.

Melissa: Although she runs an agency and multiple online programs today. Shannon originally got into social media for the same reason as the rest of us to escape.

Shannon: Not to age myself, but my space and Facebook came out after I had graduated. So I didn’t study social media. But I studied communications and marketing and went onto news and television production.

And during overnight. I was bored and I got really into social media. And when it went from personal starting to go to business, that’s where I pivoted my career. Cause I was ready to get out of the rat race of broadcasting.

But, always like to tell people that you don’t have to have this background that I do. Because it’s still kind of a newish industry, so I’ve learned a lot along the way, but that’s kind of what led me there.

Melissa: We also have Sam better known as the tick tock coach.

Sam: Hey everyone. I’m Samantha. Bless Jenna. I am a ticked off coach helping your business grow on Tik TOK. Using it as a marketing and sales tool to bookmark a dream class.

Melissa: Here’s how she got into tick tock.

Sam: So I had a separate business. It was in the travel industry and we all know what happened with COVID. So when I shut down, I turned to Dick talk as a way to distract myself from the bad that was happening. And I saw the good of what I was seeing on Tik TOK.

I was being entertained. I was laughing. I was learning every single day. And so when I use the platform to grow my own presence and my old business at the time, that’s when businesses started reaching out, asking me how I grew to a hundred K in three months and how they can do the same thing.

Melissa: I actually had the same question. And going into 2022, this debate of Instagram versus tech talk was a major decision I was facing at Whitten wire. I had never used Tik TOK before, not even as a personal user. But it was hard to deny the kind of viral growth I was seeing my peers experience and their algorithm is a huge factor.

Sam: Take talk operates on a way that the algorithm pushes out your content to more people that aren’t following you then actually.

So that you are reaching a whole new audience every single time. And this breakdown is generally 30% of your followers, 30% local people in your area. And 30% of people based on the hashtags you’re using, who would really enjoy your content.

Melissa: To me, this difference is a lot deeper than just an algorithm. When Instagram was founded, it was based on the idea that we wanted to share photos with people we knew, but when Tik TOK got started, it was meant to be a video sharing app. To collaborate with other people and to hop on trends so that things could go viral.

That foundational difference is something that we’re going to talk about throughout this episode, because it affects everything from how people find you to the type of content you could create to the ways that you can earn money.

But even though we love to talk about algorithms, shannon made a great point about the best way to think about growth on either platform.

The only thing you need to know is how do you keep people on the app? Watch time is big and I know that makes everyone think, oh, it’s only video. I know there was this huge thing, like, oh, it’s no longer a photo sharing app.

Shannon: No Instagram doesn’t care. If your piece of content is keeping people on the app, they will show it to more people. They will show it to more of your followers. They’ll put you in the explore page, that’s why carousel posts are so powerful because it keeps people watching, quote, unquote, watching.

So as they scroll through, they’re staying around. Right., that’s why it’s so important to get people, to read the caption, because if they’re reading the caption, they’re watching . If they’re saving it, if they’re sharing it, that sends a signal to the algorithm that you created, something really good and more people should see it.

Melissa: So the key takeaway is that if you create content that real humans engage with. That engagement will tell an algorithm on either app that this content is worth sharing. And that’s how you can grow on either platform.

Now, although we’re talking about algorithms, I also want to talk about in-app experience sometimes called user experience or UX. A huge difference. I noticed between TechTalk and Instagram. Is that Tik TOK prioritizes discovery in a way that Instagram doesn’t. And here’s what I mean.

When I log into Instagram, the first thing I see is my own feed and I have the option to either scroll down vertically to see people in hashtags I follow or along the top, you can scroll kind of horizontally through people’s stories.

Separately. If I take the initiative, I can go over to search for content, or I can click over to the explore tab. Which is where a lot of people have managed to go viral through sharing reels. They get picked up on that explore tab.

But on Tik TOK, it’s a totally different story because the first thing you see when you open the app, Is what’s called the for you page called the FYP. And this is a mix of people you follow and people you don’t. To me, it’s actually this UX design difference that makes it easier to get discovered on Tik TOK. So when it comes to sheer discoverability alone, I think it’s one point to tech talk.

That said even the best algorithm, can’t find your people. If your people aren’t on Tik TOK. So as with any marketing channel, you have to ask yourself, are my people on Tik TOK are my people on each of these social media apps? And I know I had the preconceived notion that tick-tock was just for dancing and just for gen Z. But Sam brought some data to assure me that that was no longer the case.

Sam: so the fact that it’s a new kid on the block is a big reason why you should jump on tech talk. So how I position is you have over 400 million active users over the age of 30 spending, 82 minutes a day on this platform.

That’s crazy. Those are your specific demographics. That means they can afford to spend on your high ticket products and services and they’re spending 82 minutes watching other people’s content and not yours right now. That’s the big problem that we need to fix. So by jumping on tech talk before everyone else does, and if you’re the only parenting coach or money coach jumping on Tik TOK, serving woman, entrepreneur, or something, that’s very niche to you.

Melissa: You can monopolize this entire platform before it gets oversaturated. Sam makes a great point about being an early adopter but with Instagram, I think the misconception might be the opposite where people are worried that gen Z isn’t even on Instagram anymore, kind of similar to how they left Facebook. But Shannon has a very reliable source who shares that. That’s just not true.

Shannon: I have a sister who’s 21 she’s like, I know people are saying Instagram stead. She’s like, all her friends are on Instagram all day. And then I know a lot of my clients are in their fifties, sixties, and they’re seeing more and more people on it.

So instead of worrying about age I know people say, oh, my people aren’t on there. I’m like, yes, they are. I’ll find them. Give me one minute. Like, I will find them through a hashtag or a location, or I’ll find accounts that I know they’re probably following. But, whatever it is, whoever you are trying to sell. They’re most likely on Instagram and you can easily find them, which is why I love that platform so much.

Melissa: So Instagram definitely has the advantage of serving more people and perhaps a broader audience. With that in mind i also wanted to ask sam well are there people who you think shouldn’t try to talk just yet

Sam: I’ve turned on people who are focused on a very niche product. That’s so, so small that it’s very hard to grow. One of them was like a cup for boats and I’m like, that’s so niche.

Another person was someone in thunder bay who has a restaurant in thunder bay. I’m like, I can’t help you in thunder bay is like a population of a hundred thousand people. That’s really small. so while you do want to be niche down, you don’t want to be too niche down cause you have to be able to scale your business on a global side or from a region side where you’re serving a large city.

So, if you are a brick and mortar business, then Shannon confirms that a lot of her clients have had success through local tags and hashtag growth on Instagram.

Melissa: this brings us into part two of our comparison, which is all about content creation. And to really dive into the differences between these two apps. I think it’s important to remember their founding stories.

Shannon: From day one of Instagram, it was a storytelling app.

It was like, here’s what I’m doing today. Here’s my dog. And Our kid’s first day of school. It’s still that app. And I think people forget that. We see it as like, oh, money, money, money, money, money.

Melissa: And you’ve got to go back to, it’s just a storytelling app. So as a business owner, tell the story of your day, tell the story of your client, take people behind the scenes, but whenever I’m meeting with a client, if there’s anything missing, it’s that I’m like, where’s your story? The same is true on Tik TOK and every single marketing channel.

Sam: lot of people assume you have to dance or you have to be part of your teenagers video content, and that’s not actually true.

You have to deliver value in your content. And yes, most of my clients are coaches. So they’re usually teaching or doing educational content, but the other value you can provide is entertaining. And the other two is inspiring and promotional or engaging.

Melissa: Those fundamentals are universal, but while Instagram started as a place to share your own photos, Tik TOK, slightly different approach, relied on people, collaborating with each other and jumping on viral trends. For example, you can use other people’s audio from your favorite music artists down to other TechTalk users to put your own spin on content that has previously been created.

You can also use features like duets and stitch. So with a duet, you put someone’s original tick tock next to yours as a side-by-side where you can react or add to their original content. You can also use the feature called stitch to take up to five seconds of someone else’s tech talk and incorporate it into your own new content.

Instagram had never had anything like that before. And that’s why they debuted reels as a competitor to Tik TOK. At first, I didn’t understand it. I thought. They already have videos in the feed. They already have stories. What are they up to?

But now I understand that this was about more than just video. There were two major contributions that Tik TOK brought to the space. First in the way that Steve jobs famously put a thousand songs in my pocket, it feels like Tik TOK, put a video editor in my pocket. Just by adding more editing tools into Tik TOK, they made it more accessible to create video.

And that has elevated the types of videos that everyday users can create.

But I now understand that this was never just about video. The second and perhaps bigger disruption that Tik TOK introduced was your ability to co-create. For the first time a major piece of our content was created by someone else. Whether it’s their music or now pieces of their video that we can include to make it our own.

Not only does this unlock creativity, but it also connects us to other creators and to each other in a new way, because now we’re all in it together.

Between those two major contributions of simpler in-app editing and more creative collaboration. It suddenly no surprise to me why tech talk has grown and will only continue to grow into the future. But if you’re ready to start creating and collaborating. How can you know which audio is trending?

Sam: If you see audio coming back to your feed, more than three or four times, that’s telling you this might be something that’s trending. So maybe incorporate it into your own story or something that your audience can relate back to within your niche element. So you do see an audio choice that you’re like, that sounds fun. Just save it out into your favorites, revisit it because you are going to lose it. If you don’t save at that moment.

Melissa: On Instagram, you can tell if audio is trending because there’s a small, upward arrow next to the audio name.

Shannon: If you’ve got an awesome idea and you saw some audio, just go for it, I always tell people if you’re going into reels expecting every single one to take off and go viral, you’re going to be let down big time.

a lot of us early adopters took off and saw these insane numbers and now people aren’t necessarily seeing those crazy numbers and they’re getting frustrated.

I’m like, well, because now everyone’s creating reels and yes, you can still go viral. You can still have these huge numbers. Always go in with a goal, whether it is a carousel post, whether it’s a story, you always have a goal, what’s your goal. If your goal is to get people on your wait list for a program and maybe the audio is not trending, but it’s a brilliant idea.

And you know, it’s going to speak to your audience, just do it. But if you’re struggling to get views and you really, really, really want to get in front of new people, lean on the trending audio big time and try to get going in the beginning of the trend and the funny lip sync ones do really, really well. So if you see those and it’s true, Conceptualize an idea that makes sense for your business and hop on it.

Cause I see those and that doesn’t usually require a transition. you can do the same texts, the entire clip. So if you’re someone new to reels, I always tell people like, try one of those. It’s a lot easier than all the other stuff that’s out there.

Melissa: And if you are trying rails or Tik TOK for the first time, just know that it’ll feel uncomfortable at first and that’s okay.

Sam: I know for me, video is a trained skill. That is not something you’re going to get on the first track. Trust me, my first ticked off video, I was dancing. The . Lighting was terrible. And it’s cringe-worthy your first video will be cringe-worthy and it’s something you need to get practice on over time. So keep digging, be consistent, keep the momentum going and don’t expect results off of the first.

Melissa: Although video is a major part of both apps. I do think in some ways you can ease into it a little bit more with Instagram, because there are features beyond reels.

Shannon: Stories, I think are the main reason I felt so comfortable creating reels because you just start small, they disappear after 24 hours, if it’s cringy, whatever it’s gone.

but you just kind of start somewhere. So I think something like Instagram will really help you ramp up to feel more comfortable using other platforms.

Melissa: So let’s say at this point, you’ve decided to get out of your comfort zone and you really want to put an effort in to either Tik TOK or Instagram. This brings up what is always my biggest question. How often do I need to post in order to grow? Let’s start with Tech-Talk.

Sam: Consistency is more important than frequency, but quality is still king. So you’ll hear Other tick-tock coaches will be like, you have to post three to five times a day in order to grow.

Melissa: I did have a small heart attack when she said that

Sam: Does that quantity game work? Absolutely. But keep in mind who they’re talking to, they’re talking to content creators.

They’re talking to influencers who depend on this platform. I target coaches, entrepreneurs, usually moms or dads who are busy building their empire, also being a parent themselves. So you don’t need to spend five hours a day on a platform like Tiktaalik.

Melissa: So, what does Sam recommend for the average online business owner?

Sam: I usually go by the rule of thumb of three to five. Per week per minimum. And to make it easier itself, batch crate, meaning you block off two to three hours, say a Monday from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. And then now you have content for two weeks at a time without you having to be on the platform.

Melissa: That’s working is a great tip, no matter which social media strategies you use. But we still have to answer the question how often should you post on instagram

Shannon: Burnout is real. I post about three times a week on Instagram. I also post for my clients three to four times a week . We all see consistent growth. I do about one reel a week, and that usually brings in like the new followers. The other posts typically just warm up my current audience.

But if you cannot keep that up, you’re conditioning your audience to expect that. And then you’re also conditioning. Instagram I always tell people, we can feel each other’s energy through these screens. If you’re not liking your content, you’re not having fun creating it. No one is going to have fun watching it, reading it, et cetera.

So it all . Comes down to a schedule that works for you, a platform where your people are in a platform that you enjoy being on.

Melissa: And with instagram in addition to those feed posts you also have to think about stories because shannon has seen not only for her business but also with students that that’s where her money really comes from

Shannon: stories to this day are my favorite feature of Instagram and always will be because it’s where I bond with my audience. And not just for the money purposes of it. Cause I do believe stories are where I get like 80% of my sales, but, where I get to know my people and I also use stories to figure out what content to create.

So, try to do them throughout the day. Like one quick story in the morning, I always tell people like, show your workspace, your to-do lists you always wanna do something that reminds them what you do, but you’re really good at what you do, whether it’s a social proof or it’s right before a zoom call or you going on a podcast, right.

Shannon: I take people behind the scenes.

It’s always off the cuff. My stories are not fancy. They’re sloppy. And that’s where I sell, but that’s my brand, right? It’s not perfectly curated. I don’t have this pretty grid. It’s pretty messy. So don’t think that you have to do what so-and-so does just because that worked for them. It’s not . Going to feel authentic. But even informal content still takes time to create. So today, a lot of business owners choose to repurpose the same content on different platforms. But if we try that, is there anything we should avoid?

Sam: I’m a huge believer of working smarter, not harder as long as your content looks native for the platform. So I went post my Tik TOK videos onto YouTube. It’s just not going to look great and people are going to see through that. And it’d be like, that was not made for Tik TOK audience.

On top of that, a well-known tip is that you should remove the Tik TOK watermark before posting that content to Instagram and vice versa. But shannon has a clever way to keep the watermark for an unexpected social media platform

Shannon: my reels perform well on LinkedIn. So don’t be afraid to test that out I save my reel from Instagram, so it’s got my little handle on it so people can see it. So it’s a great way to kind of get people on LinkedIn to come over to Instagram because that’s where I’m more present.

But again, I only share the major valuable tips on LinkedIn. I wouldn’t share the funny, real, my husband and I watching hallmark Christmas movies on LinkedIn. Especially if you serve a professional audience, I think that’s a great tip. Now, when it comes to creating engaging content in case you’re worried that Tik TOK is still all about dancing. Sam assured me, it’s just not true.

Sam: If you can teach. A little bit of something where you sprinkle in more educational than entertaining you’re going to do well, everyone on Tik TOK, it’s funny.

I thought I was a 10 out of 10 and I told my husband, I was the funniest person around. I get on take talk. I’m like a point too, because everyone on there is so funny. But I do incorporate it into my brand once in a while. But my zone of genius is teaching about tick-tock forbid.

Melissa: So let’s get into those tips and have Shannon and Sam teach us how to create truly engaging social media content.

Sam: As coaches, we love to talk. We can always talk as long as we can, but when you’re short videos, keeping it one ticket at a time, one key takeaway. You want me to remember? Remember your audience is watching a hundred, 200, 300 videos in one city in order to stand out, you need to keep it simple

Melissa: isn’t that insane to realize how many videos we’re consuming every day.

Because of that, you can start to see why it’s so important to not only educate your audience. But also to grab their attention.

Sam: a, hook is just as important as the content.

So Your audience will ask themselves these questions.is this content going to deliver value for me? And what problem is a solving?

Shannon: People really struggle with the hook. I’m like do the hook last you know, five ways, how to those always get people to stop. Cause with blue, I’m gonna learn something today.

And savvy marketer that she is. Shannon always makes a note of which hooks make her stop. And I do the same. I’m always wondering how did this person get me to pay attention? Because that’s something I may adapt for my own business, but Shannon, isn’t just taking inspiration from social media. Another thing when anyone’s ever stuck, I’m like use the word, this, this was the biggest game changer. My business . I can’t believe she said this,

You’ll see it in a lot of emails, subject lines. And that’s where I got the idea, because every email would open up as like, this was, and I’m like, what is it? So I was like, I’m going to try it. And I started doing it for myself and clients years ago. And I’m like, get some every time.

Melissa: In addition to proven hooks like lists or the word this. Sam offered a subtle but powerful tweak to her hooks that helped boost her growth significantly

Sam: A lot of people will always talk about themselves. They think they are the hero. They think their service and products are the hero, but really in reality, your hero is your audience. So changing even the slightest word from like I and me to you, and your makes a huge difference for your video.

For example, how I grew to a hundred K in three months, it sounds very self-focused, but the moment I changed it to how you can grow to a hundred K and three months sounds all about you guys. And I did an example on my tech talk and you can see the amount of growth because of that one word switch.

Melissa: So even though the features look different on Tik TOK versus Instagram. The overall principles behind creating great content are the same. But when it comes down to choosing so far, we’ve learned that you have to post slightly more often on tech talk. If you want to see growth.

And depending on your preferences, you may like the fact that Instagram isn’t only about video, the way that Tik TOK is. With Instagram, you can post to the feed. You can use carousel posts and you have the option to do stories, which only lasts for a day, which may take some of the pressure off of creating something that feels perfect.

Although we’ve compared . Similarities and differences we still have to talk about a crucial missing piece of the puzzle, and that is your ability to grow and monetize your business on each app.

Sam: so there’s three types of audience you’re talking to. One is a cold audience. They are the ones that don’t know who you are. Don’t know what the power is. Don’t know the solution is. And while you’re starting on a tectonic stick with these kind of call to action to build your audience. So follow for more is the easiest one I can always give to people follow for more, just three words

stick with the social media building ones. Once you’ve mastered those ones and you’re building your community, that you’re targeting a warm audience, your warm audience are those who are following you. Seeing a couple of your videos, kind of know what you do.

So now they’re getting ready to take the next step, which is to click the link in your bio to grab your freebie . and then the other ones are hot prospects. Those that are ones that are ready to be clients of yours. They’ve always engaged with your videos. Now it’s time for them to take the next step. Maybe it’s like book a call with you, check our shop, but they’re ready to start putting down the money for you. And so that’s where you change your call to action, depending on what your video is.

Melissa: There’s a huge difference between asking people to engage with you and asking them to buy from you.

And never forget These apps are businesses and they want to keep people in the app and keep them engaged. Because that’s how they can sell more space to advertisers and earn more money. So we want to work with those goals instead of against them.

But keep in mind, everybody on social media is busy and distracted.

Shannon: So you want to make that CTA crazy, simple, literally like drop a whatever emoji below. If you agree, I love the ones. If it’s a, how to, or 1, 2, 3, say which one was most helpful. One, two or three.

Melissa: You can also try asking people to choose a team.

Shannon: I mean, if you want to get people to go off on a post ask for their opinion on something, Be like, are you team fake tree, real tree? make the CTA easy to answer, and don’t be afraid to, you know, have some fun.

Melissa: But in addition to building an engaged following. As business owners, of course, we want to talk about our freebies, our podcasts, our YouTube channels, and definitely our paid offers. And Shannon offered a great tip about using a double CTA strategy on Instagram, but it’s a little bit different on tech talk.

Shannon: So in Instagram, you want to show that you’re creating content that is valuable. So comments help that. but saying click the link. My bio people are going to go look and click the link in your bio, and then they’re not going to comment.

So that’s why I like to do the double CTA. I’ll say, by the way, I cover this in blank lesson of this course, click the link in my bio to get it.

And then my CTA is drop a heart if you need this reminder. Right? So, that’s why I like to do the double CTA.

But again, tech talks different, right? I think a lot of people are just comment. Happy on tick-tock. I just see a lot of people just like tagging friends cause Tay-Sachs so entertaining, but with Instagram, people are sometimes just scrollers.

Melissa: And on either app the best way to know if your calls to action and content are working is to take a look at your metrics.

Shannon: So the biggest thing to look at with Instagram is your engagement rate. That’s the first place to start, and I could give you a mathematical equation, but instead go to, links P H L a N X.

They have an engagement rate calculator . Standard engagement rate on Instagram is less than 5%. So if you’re in the four, four and a half percent, you’re fine. If it’s really, really low, you can use polls and stickers and stories to boost that.

And again, the strong hook, the strong CTA and just good content is going to get people commenting on your posts, things like that.

The other thing to look at in your insights is just overall profile visits. If you’re getting a lot of profile visits and no followers you got to figure something out with something.

Maybe your bio is not translating to them. so, you know, I . Know everyone looks at followers. But I like to see the website clicks the profile visits, things like that. If you’re not getting website clicks, you need to make sure you’re telling people to go click the link in your bio and you need to make sure your bio in Instagram has a little arrow above it, right above that website to say, click below and give them a reason.

Mine right now says free reels course. So when people land on my profile, they’re going to probably go grab that free reels course because it’s enticing. It’s not just click blo. Well, why, why am I going to click?

And then of course, when you’re looking at posts to repurpose, which I am team repurpose, every single reel of mine, I think 90%, are just tips from old posts.

The best thing you can do is go to your insights, look at your top performing posts. There’s several different things you can look at, but impressions is a good one to kind of look at. Obviously reach means they threw it an explore page or maybe they threw it in hashtags.

whatever people saved a lot, whatever got really good reach impressions, just repurpose it. And if you’re trying to go over to Tik TOK, like I am look at that to decide what should I create over there? If people here found it interesting, how can I put it in like a ticket. Format or maybe a fun audio.

So those are the big things Look at the numbers constantly in your insights like even today, I was looking at what stories last week got the most replies who was going forward, who was exiting out? Why did they exit out, look at what people are consuming and why they’re consuming it.

Melissa: And although that might seem obvious, I have found that not enough business owners look at their own account. Instead too often, we just research other people to see what worked for them. Instead of doubling down on what has worked for you. So instead, try looking at your analytics on any social media platform you currently use. And see what did well for you over the last three to six months? What was the topic? What was the content type and what could you use in a new post?

Now what Instagram and Tik TOK have in common. is a shared key metric of watch time. Remember Shannon shared that watch time. Doesn’t just mean video. I want you to start thinking about watch time as how long someone stays on your post, which includes actions like commenting on the post or swiping through an Instagram carousel. on Tik TOK, watch time is still the most important metric, but here’s a little more info.

Sam: It goes by five metrics and it’s a weighted system. So their likes are worth least amount of points. Then you got comments to see if someone’s engaging with your content. You have average completion watch time. So if someone watches over 75% of your video, you’ll get more points for that.

Then got re watches and then saves, that’s telling to talk. This is valuable content that this person is willing to share on her own platform.

Melissa: And like Sam said, it’s about average completion watch time. So it’s not about making the longest content. It’s about how long people stay engaged with the content you do create.

Shannon: I know like rails can now be 60 seconds. I’m like, well, Don’t create a 62nd real, unless you can keep the person watching for the full 60 seconds. So that’s how the algorithm works. it’s all about keeping people on the app.

I know, we also have to talk about the most buzzy metric, which is followers, but I’ll be honest as a business owner. I don’t care nearly as much about followers as I do about dollars and people that I can serve through my business. And I’ve earned over $200,000 in revenue and I don’t even have a K next to my Instagram following.

I have about 8,500 followers, I think, as of the time of this recording. And I actually think people undervalue the advantages to starting small because there’s less pressure and fewer people watching you. And Shannon brought up a great point that most people don’t think about when they dream of going viral.

Shannon: I think a lot of people, we want all these followers, cause that’s what everyone talks about, but also get ready to handle that. That means more DMS. That’s more responsibility to reply to comments, right? You know, if you grow really, really fast and Instagram and you can’t keep up and you’re not replying back to comments and things like that, it’s going to hurt.

Of course, a big reason why a lot of us try to build a following online is because we’re hoping to monetize that following. And I will say that one thing Tik TOK is a little ahead of Instagram on is in app monetization. once you have a thousand followers, you unlock their in-app monetization hub called creator. Next.

And under that umbrella, there are a wide array of tools. Like the creator fund, it creator marketplace, and the ability to receive virtual gifts from your followers.

However, while sponsorship is by far, the strategy I’m asked about the most. It is actually on the bottom of my list in terms of which strategies are the most profitable. And that’s why I put a YouTube video together called 10 ways to earn money on Tik TOK, where I use a fun Melissa moneybags ranking system to list my top 10 strategies from least to most profitable.

And you’ll find it on my YouTube channel at And wire.com/youtube, or there’s a direct link to the video in the show notes. I’ll add that even if you aren’t interested in tech talk, a lot of the strategies are not platform dependent, so you can use them no matter how you’re growing your online business. And I would still check it out if you’re at all interested in promoting your business on social media, especially if you don’t have a huge following.

The most important thing I want to share with you today. Is the fact that you don’t need a huge following to earn money online. That’s a huge misconception and my business is proof that it’s just a myth.

And of course who would say no to a larger following that I think Shannon said it best.

Shannon: My goal is also not to have a million followers. Would that be cool? Sure. Cause I can impact and help more people, but I’ve always wanted to really build a community who knows, like trust me I tell everyone, I’m like, I get so many dams. My so-and-so told me to follow you. So-and-so told me to do this. Right. I think we, treat these things as these strange little apps on our phone, and we need to look at it as if we’re walking down the street.

like, when I’m walking down the street and someone sees, I have a Virginia t-shirt on, they’re like, go Hokies. I’m like, oh yeah, we’re all looking at bond with each other at the end of the day. So, when you’re on Instagram, instead of thinking, how can I make a sale today?

How can I bond with someone today? How can I help someone today? How can I make someone smile today? How can I make someone left today? Right. that’s why Instagram, TechTalk all these platforms. I like to see the beauty of them is that it really is just a way to connect with others.

Melissa: Shannon’s reminder, really put this decision into perspective for me. Yes, the apps have different algorithms, different features. A different founding story and slightly different growth strategies, but ultimately they both serve the same purpose. They help you connect with a wider audience by sharing real value that builds trust with your ideal buyers.

So, how can you decide. Should you stay with Instagram? Try Tik TOK. Or should you try a little bit of both?

Here’s something Sam said that really stuck with me.

Sam: What’s great about Tik TOK is this is an opportunity for you. If you value being a thought leader to jump on Tik TOK before your competition jumps on

Melissa: It’s not about now or never on Tik TOK. We have so many goals as business owners that we couldn’t possibly do everything at once. And you may decide, you know, what? Tik TOK could be a great idea for later, but it’s not right for me right now. But the reason why I decided to join ticktock is because I am trying to be a thought leader in the creator economy.

And I want it to be a Guinea pig to see. Could I sell my online courses through Tik TOK and then help others do the same.

I’ve only been on for a few days. It’s already very uncomfortable to learn something new, but discomfort is the surest sign of growth. So if you want to follow me on TechTalk I’m over there at wet and wire. Sharing online business course creation, podcasting and automation strategies to simplify all my favorite tools and debunk a lot of the myths in the online course space.

But just because I joined doesn’t mean it’s the right decision for everyone. And even a year ago, joining tech talk would not have been the right timing for me.

Too often as business owners, I think we get paralyzed because it feels like it’s now or never. All or nothing. But when I make plans for what and wire, I just decide, what am I going to focus on this month? Or maybe this quarter? And a lot of ideas I say are good for later. Even YouTube, I just started in October of 2021. That was something I was always a little bit curious about, but the timing wasn’t quite right.

Melissa: Uh, until just a few months ago.

So maybe what you’ve learned today. Is that you really enjoy the idea of creating on Tik TOK. And if it sounds fun to you. That’s reason enough to give it a try. Maybe you’re still on the fence for you? I would say it couldn’t hurt to start a Tik TOK account. It’s not all or nothing. And maybe you’ll just start repurposing some of your content from Instagram or other channels when you’d like.

Or maybe this conversation has given you the confidence to say, I will stick with Instagram or maybe none of the above. You don’t need social media to run a business. But it can be a great way to reach new audiences.

In addition to the YouTube video, which is linked in the show notes, or you’ll find it on Whitten. Wire’s YouTube channel. I also have free resources from both Shannon and Sam that can help accelerate your growth on Tik TOK or Instagram.

From Sam, we have a free a to Z guide with everything you need to know about tech talk.

And from Shannon, we have a free training to help you unleash the power of reels for your small business, including five steps to create high performing reels.

Melissa: And if I were to offer a small tip. What I did when I joined Tech-Talk is I committed to doing 30 days posting once a day.

To be clear, this terrifies me. This is way more than I’ve posted in Instagram, probably in the last six months put together. But I’m not committing to do it forever. I’m just going to see what it’s like, and I’m going to go from there. So, if it helps you try a 30 day challenge or try a four week challenge, you don’t have to do something every day. You could decide I’m going to post to Instagram twice a week and see how it goes.

Sam: You don’t need to aim for perfection. You just need to aim for done. And that applies to creating your first Instagram story. Instagram posts take talk video, launching our course, launching your website.

Melissa: But no matter what you do next. I trust your decision because you know, your business best. And if in doubt, I always recommend the simplest possible version first, because you can always do more later.

Shannon: as entrepreneurs. We started this business to make a living doing what we love. And if Instagram, Tik, TOK, LinkedIn, Pinterest, any of it’s bringing you down, check in with yourself.

It’s not that serious. It’s social media. if you’re not having fun with it, pause and figure out how to have fun with it. So, you don’t have to be everywhere all the time. I think that’s my biggest thing to tell people, just find where you like creating content, find where your people are and just have a really good time doing it.

Melissa: thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of the weight and wire podcast. If you have a friend who would enjoy this episode, I would love if you pass it along and don’t forget to follow or subscribe to this podcast. So you don’t miss any of our upcoming episodes.

Today’s music is from blue dot sessions and you’ll find a full list of all my favorite podcasting resources in the show notes or at Witt and wire.com/resources.

At Whitten wire, I’m on a mission to help more people build businesses they love, and you can learn more about our courses for podcasters and course creators at Whitten. wire.com/courses.

To learn more about today’s guests. Here’s where you’ll find them online.

Shannon: My hands on Instagram is Shannon McKinstry. follow me on Instagram at the tick-tock coach DME, Just let me know. You’re from Melissa.

This episode was recorded, edited and produced entirely by me, Melissa Gawler. And I hope it helps you create something great. I’ll see you soon.

TikTok vs Instagram: Which is right for your online business? 4

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