Neel Dhingra | Mastering Instagram


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Neel explains how we can use Instagram and how to hack the system. He also speaks upon the growth it brings his business.

Neel is top producing manager based in Nevada.  He has exploded his business through content marketing on multiple platforms, and was recently recognized as a 2019 Video Influencer by BombBomb & Tom Ferry.  Neel produces a large volume of content on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.  He also produces a podcast, The NeelHome Podcast – which is available on YouTube and all major podcast platforms.

Episode Transcribe

- Friends we're gonna pivot into Instagram. Neel Dhingra hidden studio hanging out, this is gonna be a really fun conversation, so without further ado, another 30 minutes, let's go into Instagram and bring on Neel. All right friends and professionals, we are on to present a number two, with our topic of mastering Instagram, now, when I found Neel Dhingra. I was like, holy crap, this guy is producing content envy, if content envy is a thing, it's a thing. And I first saw him on Instagram, dominating the space 20,000 plus followers, but actually getting great collaboration on that platform. And so I was like, hey dude, let's dive in to mastering Instagram and he said, yes. So here he is without further ado, let's bring on Neel Dhingra, check out the master of Instagram. I love the music, dude, I get pumped. I actually have to those otherwise I would die of talking to myself too much, Neel what's up, dude?

- Hey buddy how are ya?

- Dude I'm so stoked to talk to you today, thank you for being part of the collab. Thank you for sharing all that you do, and I know, but just before we start guys. I know we're gonna talk about Instagram and dive into that platform, cause it's important, there's people there, there's opportunity there, but man, this guy does so much more to, I mean, this is another guy who's had a podcast with Gary Vee and I hate him for forever. I mean, this guy is producing content at scale across multiple mediums. And so thanks for diving into one today, dude I'm really excited.

- Yeah man, thanks for doing this, I really, you said how you found me and I had found you same way through LinkedIn, like you found me on Instagram, I found you on LinkedIn, and I saw when you were doing those hundred days every day.

- No, never again.

- And I was like, who is this guy? I cannot get him out of my feet, like every day there was another video and another video and it just kind of came out of nowhere and then I started watching them and then I started learning and it's kinda cool how there's people popping up within the industry now, that are helping others at other companies, because like I was preached at. We should collaborate, not hate and not compete because there's so much business, and I think once you realize, how much business there is, like, once you, a bunch of business gets to a point where you could take on more, then you finally get that point of like, okay, now I understand what all these guys have been saying. Like there's enough out there for everybody, so we should all help each other.

- Man, I love that well, let's talk about Instagram. When did you get into Instagram? When did you make it a focus and a core part of your strategy?

- So I started on Instagram, an account just about two years ago, I didn't even have an account. Okay, so I had a Facebook and--

- Hold on a second, everyone's gonna freak out on this, like that's two years ago?

- Yeah.

- That's not like I've been building it for 10 years.

- No.

- And by the way, if you're following on Facebook or YouTube and LinkedIn, look for the links we're gonna post right now that are gonna have his handle, so you can go check out what's going on. So two years ago you decided what made you get in?

- So, I just been following content, from everybody and I was a consumer of content not really creative content and I just started seeing all this stuff, and it was just a cool place to be like, if you think about it, who's the cool kid, of all these things, I guess we're not getting into TikTok yet, but for me it was Instagram because that's where that was kind of red hot, that's where everybody's at, that's where my age group of content creators was at, that's where all the big influencers, the most known influencers were at. So I started following and learning from other people, and then I kind of started seeing what they were doing, I was like, I can give this a shot. And the first, foray into posting content that was bad, like, I didn't get anything from it, it's a hard one to crack.

- I wanna talk about that, why was it bad? Like why do you think it was bad?

- Well, it's because you're learning. You don't know what's gonna work, and a lot of times in our business, like we're so used... I've been in the business for 18 years. I've got the sales thing ingrained in me right? So I thought I was supposed to go on and say, hey, I'm the best mortgage lender, I have the best rates products, and I'm the most experienced, so you should work with me, like I started overselling myself and not really realizing that that's coming across bad.

- Well, so pause, cause that's such, everyone's not gonna hear that right away, I don't wanna hear that right away, I want you to hit it again, because if you're gonna go into social media, people think it's social selling, I need to sell, I'm gonna sell. And so your experience was that didn't go so well.

- No, it doesn't sales on... When you're growing, you're trying to grow and influence, to build your brand, grow an audience, selling works against you. So it's counterproductive, so you want to, shift that whole mindset, and it's hard for us in this industry, because like I said, we've all been taught from the first time closed mouth doesn't get fed, always be closing, you have all these things that you've been trained, and I come from a background of like coaching and I don't know if you guys are familiar with the core of coaching and things like that. And it's very aggressive as far as like, you gotta ask for business, you gotta call these 20 people and ask them for business and ask them and shut your mouth. And you'll be surprised what happened and all those things they teach you, and so that does work, like it's, I'm not knocking the core or any of that coaching stuff or the sales stuff, it works, but it does not work on social right, so I had to get off that.

- So what do you start doing?

- So then I started thinking, okay, what are the guys who are growing. How are they getting, engagement? And, trying to figure out that hack, and I think it's very difficult because what happens is on Facebook, I think the audience is more forgiving. They're willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, on YouTube, you're just kinda like tree in the forest, you post your video, you're not really expecting much feedback, same thing with Twitter, you're not really expecting much, but on Instagram when you post something and you get no engagement, it kind of hurts you, you're like kind of bummed out, right?

- So I wanna talk about that, cause that's when people immediately go, this is bullshit, like, this is not for me, this is whatever, because they got that initial, stab.

- Yeah, so what you'll see is like, people reach out, they'll ask me that question, like I've been doing it. So I just kind of gave up on Instagram, because it's not really working for me. And you'll see a bunch of posts that are all sales related or that are just canned corporate type produced content that everybody's using, so it just, it doesn't stick out. So you have to think about it, other than TikTok for Instagram, it is the shortest attention span. So we think of YouTube, we think of Facebook, we think of all these platforms. And as far as the users intent on Instagram, it's their intent is quick, short things, they wanna get some piece of information or they wanna laugh or they wanna get some entertainment, and it's fast, that's why you see Instagram stories is the fastest growing thing. They literally put Snapchat out of business, almost like they came out with stories and it just took off, it's insane, the daily user growth on stories, so what happened was. That tells you that stories is fast, it's quick, it's real and that's what people want on Instagram, so like I had to figure out how can I create content that fits the intent of the user on that platform?

- That smart, that's totally, that's absolutely dead on, people are missing that point.

- Yeah and that's where people I think are failing on Instagram so what I wanna try and do is. With things like this and with the content I put out is, I wanna help people, create content that would get better reach on Instagram, because it's the hardest one to crack. And also, find success because like, what you're saying is when you don't get any positive feedback and you don't get any engagement, you don't get any results from there, you give up on that.

- Yeah.

- And that's the problem. So, just simply posting, there is not gonna get it done. You actually have to engage there, and I know you do a great job of this, on LinkedIn and I've seen you on active on many platforms, engage with other people's content, so that way they see you and then they come check you out.

- So yeah, we have to unpack that deeper because I think that's honestly the core truth by the way, on every platform.

- Yes.

- And so, especially on Instagram, because on LinkedIn or on Facebook you send a request to connect and now you're buddies, but it doesn't work that way on Instagram, you can go, I can go like Neel and follow Neel, it doesn't mean Neel is following me.

- Yeah, so in order for that, so you can like, you can follow somebody, but the main thing that will get somebody's attention, either a client, a friend of a friend, somebody you wanna network with, somebody in industry or even an influencer. Is to leave genuine comments, genuinely engage with their content, so don't spam people, but actually look at someone if you'd like, if you saw a piece of content, like it's an image of a carousel or a video and you liked it or something stuck out to you leave a comment, like put yourself out there. And then that sticks out, because when somebody for a smaller account, when somebody leaves a comment, they only get five, to 10 comments. Yours sticks out like a sore thumb, now, all of a sudden you're like, who's this Alec guy I'm gonna go check him out. Oh, he's in the industry too, or Oh, he's friends of so-and-so, I know them and then all of a sudden it starts the connection.

- Dude I love that? We have a question here for ya, I threw it up there. Do you think that conversations or vibes are different in the DM across all platforms? And how much do you utilize or I add to it, how much you utilize direct messaging in Instagram personally?

- I use it a lot because the reason why it's super easy, it's native to the platform, you can leave, you can send voice memos, you can send video messages and you can send texts. But the cool thing about it, is the more engaged you are with people on DM, the more they will see your content, because then the algorithm realizes that. If me and Alec are DMing all the time, then when I post Alec's gonna be one of the first people that the algorithm shows the content to, because the algorithm knows that we're connected. So it helps to DM with people, and to be responsive when somebody DMs you to respond, in a reasonable timeframe because then it's actually working for you as far as increasing your engagement, increasing your reach on the platform.

- Well, lets talk a little bit about results Neel, so you've put a lot of two years of effort into this into that platform specifically. Share with everybody, like what has that done for you? What has it done for your business? How has it helped you? Are you getting business? Are you getting DMs? Like what what's going on there?

- Yeah, so I was in the industry, like many of us asking for business, getting referral partners, asking for meetings and things like that right, and I was asking and if you ask enough people, you get the business, but I was getting more more burnt up because my efforts were becoming less effective, so I would have to ask way more people in order to get the same results and then each time that's growing, because people don't want to deal with unknown individuals. They're not taking, they're not answering cold calls, things like that. So buying leads was, it just seemed like a dying business for me, so I said, how do I change that to attract? And so I started doing this stuff and then what happened was, as I started to find more success, people start to reach out to me, and I think you'd be shocked when it happens the first time when someone DMs you and says, hey Alec, do you have time maybe today to meet with me to discuss, my financing or would you have time to talk to me about this? I know you're a busy guy, blah blah. And you're like, do I have time? Yeah, this is awesome, so people start reaching out to you, hellos, like, would it be cool if a realtor asks you to coffee? Like the first time that happened to me, I was like, oh shit, I've been asking realtors to go out for 10 years, and now they're asking me like, what's up with that. So, once you become a thought leader, once you become putting out good quality content, I mean, I think of it this way. There's so many people knowledgeable in our industry like that know the job inside out, they provide extreme value, but nobody knows it except a small group of clients that they work with. So imagine taking all those secrets and all those things and all your expertise and putting it out there in pieces of content. Now, all of a sudden, everyone gets to see it and you'll be surprised how many people are attracted to that, so they're like, who is this guy? That's sharing all this great information, and then they ask you, can I pick your brain? When I need you, the first person I think of is that guy who's, I've seen 10 of his posts. I started to get more and more inbound, more, more inbound, and then it just kinda took off like, it was really slow, and I think this happens with all businesses, as you're trying to scale communication, it's super, super slow and at the end, it's fast, it's big. And then all of a sudden it's like a snow, it just started piling in, so my business from 18 to 19, quadrupled, so it was insane. So I had to hire and figure it out along the way, but--

- Exactly, in 2020, I will make four times the money that I made in 2018, as far as the annual net income basis, that's a direct result of content marketing on these platforms.

- So a lot of people haven't that are now getting fired up. They probably clicked on your handle and it looked at your stuff on Instagram and they're like, holy crap, it's beautiful, it's amazing I could never do that. I mean, he must have a full production team behind him producing this amazing looking carousels and content. And when we were rapping about that, cause I even asked you like, so share the secret man.

- Yeah.

- How do you get beautiful content like that without hiring a production crew and spending all this money and,

- Yeah, and you'll be surprised, I don't know if I, can you share screen in here?

- Yeah, you're gonna break my... Let me see what happens here, oh yeah he broke my--

- Oh, okay yeah, we'll do this for a second, okay so, yeah, so what I've got is... If I wanna show you guys one post here, can you see this?

- we can't see your posts, we just see .

- There we go, okay so this was just a tweet. So you talk about like, this was a tweet. I'm just gonna tell you right now, this is the most reach I've ever got from an Instagram post and out of all those beautiful carousels and videos, think about this. I got videos with Gary Vee and this tweet outperformed the video okay?

- I'm sorry, 'cause , I love that you're doing this keep going.

- Production value doesn't matter okay, so don't worry about the optics, I have a passion for things that look cool. So I put a little bit more effort into it, but it doesn't mean that, that means it's more successful that just means that I like it to look that way, that's my preference, but that's not gonna be why it's successful, so if you look at this post, this was a thought I had one day I was sitting here and everybody was super negative on the media and everyone was super negative on Facebook and I was like, look guys, what you focus on grows? Like, it's a simple thing and I basically said, don't watch the news 'cause it's gonna kill your mindset. And that's all I said, it was just a thought I shared, and I was like, oh shit, I tweeted that screenshoted it and shared it on Instagram, and it reached 10,000 people in that day, and I was like, and half of those people weren't following me by the way. So I don't know what happened, but a lot of people started engaging with it and it was a thought that resonated with people and it took off, so I just wanted to show that to you guys because it's kinda like. It shows that the quality doesn't matter, but what I found was like, this is a, I'll show you guys--

- That one was amazing, dude that one--

- That's a part about squeezing content, but I'll show you this. This is one I just recently posted and it was about the housing market and it was saying, is the housing market gonna crash? And there was, a lot of clients were asking me this. So this is where I get my, most of my topics. It's either business partners, coworkers, or clients are asking these questions a lot. You could find it on Google Trends if you want, or you could take real data from the questions you're getting on your email and in your DMs, in your phone. So this was one, I just got, and I thought, how could I share this real quick? So I just wrote down my thoughts and then I put it into this, image posts and what happens is when you're on the platform and you see this, if I just said, is the housing market gonna crash? Look at my ideas. It's not going to stop your thumb, so you think about people on Instagram, their thumb is going up and down on the platform that is feeding. I need to stop the thumb somehow, so I said, let me take a picture with my cell phone because you don't have to get a photographer. They just made the, oh shit, "Home Alone" face, whatever that is, I don't know. And I said, is the housing market gonna crash? And because this is kind of like catchy or like, may it stop, I have a better chance of stopping your thumb if I use that image. So try and do things that would... So that's how I got people to stop on this, and this is a great performing post, I got a bunch of business from, because it answered a question that many consumers have, and it answered a question that many realtors are getting asked by their clients. So they could share this with their clientele.

- I love so much that you just shared that you're most the most reach you've had in a post is a picture of a tweet. It's just destroying people's excuses right now, which I always love because the real excuse is we're just afraid of being rejected or being, not having our, that's a real issue, and so we say things like, I can't make beautiful content, And then Neel's like my best pieces picture of my .

- I don't know why dude, I can't explain it, but what I will tell you is that mix it up because don't say no for the audience. It'd be like me asking you Alec, hey, can we jump on a podcast? But it's okay, if you don't wanna do it, I understand you're really busy. Like you would never say no in the same sentence, so that's what people are saying. They're like, I have this idea to post, but nobody's gonna like it, and then they don't post it. So I had the idea to post it and I just posted it. You're not offending anybody by posting it. You're not, I guess you could offend, but if you, if it's a general, if it's your own genuine thoughts or your own general advice, you're not offending anybody. If somebody doesn't like it, they'll just keep the thumb going, no big deal.

- So, okay so let's do this within a . If you guys have questions, we have 12 minutes left on this with Neel. Please go check out his handles, you'll get the... By the way, the one of the best things you can do, if you're learning these new games guys is just to go follow people like Neel and just pay attention. Like just what are they doing and how is it working? And like, that's how people learn.

- And to your point, Alec I thought I learned. Gary Vee says this, "watch what I do, not what I say." So he says, or he does in his videos, he takes the most impactful clip or the most impactful thing in the video and puts it to the front of the video, so if you ever watch any of his microcontent or many creators do this nowadays as well. You'll watch the video, the video that comes up in your feed and it's him saying something that was kind of polarizing or him saying something that was catchy or whatever the most important thing of the piece was. And then it goes into the video, so I started doing that and it greatly increased my reach on the videos, because what I'm saying is on LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube, when you post a video, the intent of the user is to watch a video. So they stop on your video and they're gonna watch it, and they'll give you some time. On Instagram they're not gonna give you that time. So if the meet, if the most important part is like 47 seconds in, they're probably just gonna keep scrolling they'll never get to see it, very few will see it, I mean, some people that are, that wanna watch your stuff, they'll see it, but everybody else who's new to you won't see it or if who's busy. So if you put that to the front, you just, all of a sudden get more reach on the video, so I started doing that. That's a great example of like, just take the idea like from somebody else and try it in your own, and then if it doesn't work, try it again. So that was done with a simple video editing app that I use, on my phone, it's called InShot. You can do this stuff with your own apps that are free either on your PC, Mac or phone.

- So here's a question and this would be a good, like wind down for the next 10 minutes as we kind of get to the closing Instagram. You got a brand new person does not necessarily count and feels like I need to be in that space. Number one, do you tell them to go in? So, you say yeah, you need to be in there or not right? So that's one question I want you to ask and then piggybacking off this one, how do you start building that initial audience? You've hit that a couple of times in our 20 minutes already, but just let's land the whole thing on like, one-on-one get in, what do you do?

- Okay so first I would get on the platform, yes. Optimize your bio, okay so if somebody lands on your page, your bio page, what does it say? Who are you? Okay, why should I follow you? because, so in my case, I would say, here's who I am. Here's what I'm passionate about, here's what I do for a living. Don't just self promote, but just say like what would be in it for me as someone to create that, I would say, to have an image of yourself, that is gonna catch somebody's attention. That's actually shows your face and is happy, some people use like a logo of a company or something that is not personal. We're only gonna follow people on here, we're not necessarily gonna follow companies, so I would use that. So put yourself out there and optimize your bio, then create a piece, a few pieces of content, just post, it could be pictures, it could be carousels, It could be like, if you just said a tweet, screenshot of a tweet, it could be a quick video, whatever. So post those, and then what I would start doing is engaging with others, so, go to your client, follow all your past clients and friends and people in the industry that you like and all that stuff, and start engaging with them, liking, commenting on their content. I would just, for me, I spend like probably an hour, in the beginning of the day, now it's down because they're so busy with day-to-day stuff that I may only have 10 or 15 minutes, but just spend a little bit of time each day, engaging with other people's content and then go into like your friends and colleagues and go into those people's, go into their friends and engage with them, because that's connected.

- That's gold, people are gonna miss all that, so you got, I'm gonna to echo it again. Number one is just start engaging with people authentically with comments, thoughtful comments, like be a part of the conversation and then go to the friends of your friends and you can pull their list up and find who they are and start connecting and so Matt has a great question from YouTube, should this be a business account or should this be like your personal Instagram?

- So I would convert it to a business account because it's not gonna diminish your reach, but it gives you additional tools and analytics, it gives you the ability to promote and run ads. It gives you the ability to see all this backside analytics that are not available to personal account and be sure I forgot about this, make sure your account is public, because if you --

- can get that.

- I mean, I see people all day on here, private and then you're not gonna like, you can't see any of their posts, you can't see anything. It says private, so I mean, I asked people and they're like well I do that because it's private to me, it's my family, that's fine. Create a separate account maybe if you wanna not share family stuff, you do whatever you wanna do, but for your account where you're gonna try and build your personal brand, it's gotta be public.

- So there you have it guys, I mean, if you're gonna play in the space where the people are there in Instagram, Neel has been very clear, it's radically transformed, not only in uplifting his personal brand and bringing him up to a new level where actually customers and realtors are like, Neel, can you help me? But he's given you the roadmap, which is make it a business, get the analytics and then make it about them, start engaging other people. You have any advice brother? For anybody that'serious

- And you brought this up earlier Alec and this, many people have asked us, how do you create this type of content? Okay, so if you're busy in the mortgage business right now, you probably make an a good amount of money, right? Is it okay if this month you take like a little bit of that money and you hire someone to help with this stuff? Is that acceptable, if you just take home a little bit less money? Maybe we can, I don't know, maybe hoard a little bit less this month. So I think there's a lot of business out there, so if you're doing a lot of business, spend a little bit on this, because this is important, like many times we're hoarding all this money, we take all the money out and we hoard it for what, we're scared to invest in our business, in our personal brand, because we don't know what the ROI is gonna be, so we don't do it. So I would tell people, look, go on Upwork. You want a graphics designer, go on Upwork and look up graphics designer for social. There are people where you can hire them for like couple hundred bucks a month to create, to help you create that. I don't know anything about Photoshop, think I create those, I can't do them. So what I do is I write down my idea. I give them some pictures that I took and I say, could you make this look cool here's my idea. And then I get, the next day in my inbox, I have a post ready. So, leverage people to help you with where you're deficient. I'm not great at video editing, but I know video editors are everywhere on Fiverr and on Upwork, so pay someone to help you edit the video, and then scan it, that allows you to scale, so I think at the beginning you could do it all yourself, I did all my stuff from the very beginning, I use tools like Canva and these free apps, and then as you want to start increasing the quality, if that's something you wanna do, then you can have independent contractors help you, and it's actually quite affordable I would say people think it's super expensive to have that, it's not, it's very cheap.

- So you're just blowing up excuses, like Mike I'm blowing it up, showing that your tweet was like one of your biggest reaching things, you don't need to have this higher produced stuff, but you can go to Fiverr and Upwork and you can find all these resources and spend some money, invest in it because it's important. And so I want to end with this. The very first thing you talked about, cause the excuses are really, I'm just afraid. Cause it's not about knowledge, knowledge is at the literal tip of our fingers we have all of human knowledge. So it's not knowledge, it's that I'm afraid, I'm insecure I'm nervous, whatever it is and when you push through it, you figured out how to post it when no one was responding. I wanna go back into that space where you were, when you first started your account two years ago and you were getting crickets, what was your motivation to keep going?

- It's, if you create something that is going to help somebody else. So before you post it, think what would somebody get out of this? Even if you just have all your close friends and your family following, they will engage with that and they will share it, okay. And you'll be introduced to somebody, so when I saw the first couple of people say, hey, man, this really helped me, thanks for sharing this. Please do more of this, or I got that first DM where someone's like, "hey, I saw this, "could you help me with this?" Or had questions, I think that's when I was like, oh shit, this works and now I can, it gives you the motivation to going. So if you put out something that would help somebody, even if you have a small audience, it's gonna resonate with people and then you'll start to see results and that will motivate you to do more, more and more. But if you don't ever put out anything, that's gonna help and it's all about you, nobody's gonna really engage, and then you're probably gonna quit, so I think first, fix that issue first and then you'll start to find your own motivation before.

- Dude, thank you, you guys, if you're on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, all of his handles, all of his connections, YouTube channel, all of his Facebook, all his Instagram right there, connecting with Neel, find out what he's doing because he's doing really, really cool stuff. Hey, Neel I got my producer, Mike is telling me getting mad at me that I have to do a selfie for the gram.

- All right

- Or else I'm not on the gram.

- I'm gonna do one as well. We've gotta do it, yeah, we're talking about content creation, this is a piece of content right? So thanks so much for doing this Alec, I really appreciate it, man.

- Oh man three minutes, any final words of wisdom and advice, what do you got?

- I would just say, look guys, if you're in the industry, there's a lot of things you hate about your job. there's a lot of things you'd love, there's a lot of things you hate, the things that you don't like about your job, this will solve that, okay so everything that bothers you, being treated like a commodity being commoditized. People grinding you on interest rates or price or commission or whatever. this will solve it, trust me, because this will have people value you and it makes your job much more enjoyable. And to me it's given me, I was getting burnt out and it's given me a whole new, motivation to keep going,

- Dude I love that, that is so good. That's so true and right now the opportunity has never been more ripe it's just time. Thank you so much for hanging out with Collab man.

- Thank you so much.

- Talk to you, see ya on the internet.

- All right, buddy

- Later, buddy.

- Man, dive into the water team. Like how much more proof do you need? Dive into the water, I don't care where but go all in and have some fun with your career with yourself, or take yourself much seriously. At the end of all that stuff, is unbelievable opportunity if your willing to I hope it you value today. Please go find these wonderful human beings online connect with them, all of them do what they're doing, man I appreciate you all have a wonderful day and a wonderful week I'll see you on the internet.

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