The CEO of $300 million startup Cameo says 'cold calling is dead' and shares his tips for reaching celebrities and other influential people using Instagram DM
- Instagram is the only major social-media platform that grants all users equal access to anyone's direct messaging inbox.
- Business Insider spoke to Steven Galanis, CEO and cofounder of the personalized video shoutout app Cameo, on his tips for reaching influential people via Instagram DM.
- Galanis said that, like many non-famous people, celebrities also check their DMs, and if you do it right you have a shot at reaching someone.
- Galanis shared his social selling techniques, from paying attention to someone's interests on the app - as a way to build an initial connection - to bumping up your unread message to the top by copying, deleting, and resending it.
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Unlike LinkedIn or Twitter, Instagram is the only major social-media network where users can direct message anyone - no matter how famous they are.
Business Insider spoke to Steven Galanis, CEO and cofounder of the personalized video shoutout app Cameo, on his tips for reaching influential people via Instagram direct message. Cameo, which was valued at $300 million in a June funding round, uses Instagram as a primary way to bring new talent onto the app.
Cameo has brought on celebrities like comedian and actor George Lopez, and popular YouTube influencer and Todrick Hall through a message on Instagram, according to Galanis. Galanis estimated that 30% of Cameo's talent was pitched through DM requests and said it takes more than a simple "hi" to get someone's attention.
If you do your research, Instagram can be the perfect platform for networking because every message has a photo attached and name, building an initial human connection, Galanis said.
Galanis previously worked at LinkedIn and knew that the right talent for Cameo wouldn't be on this networking platform. Instead, he took what he knew about building relationships online through social selling to Instagram.
Galanis said that, like many non-famous people, celebrities also check their DMs, and if you do it right, you have a shot at reaching someone.
"Getting on someone else's phone is almost impossible," Galanis said. "Someone like Justin Bieber might not see your DM - but it will get to his phone and that's something that really no other outlets offer."
The key to a response is largely about the way you formulate your message, Galanis said. Adding in specific details as you introduce yourself will validate your ask. If you both know the same person, like the same restaurant, or will be attending the same convention, add that in.
Unlike email, texting, or Twitter direct messaging, Instagram users also have the option to unsend a message if the other person hasn't opened it yet.
If you haven't heard back, Galanis recommended copying your exact message, deleting it, and hitting resend - bumping your message back to the top of someone's DMs.
"You might message them 10 times, but you're not perceived to be spamming them," he said, since they haven't read it yet.
Finding their interests
Do your Instagram research. Who does the person follow? Who do they post pictures with? This information can help you find a common connection and increase your chance of getting a response, Galanis said. His team uses this method to connect with top celebrities, like Zac Efron.
"There's a guy that we know who is really good friends with Zac Efron - he's easier to reach where Zac Efron might be hard," Galanis said.
Pay attention to location
"We're a Chicago-based company - if you're an artist and I see that you are going to be playing at the Chicago theater, that's a perfect reason for me to reach out and leverage the insights that I am seeing on your Instagram feed to get in front of you," Galanis said.
Anyone from entertainment, to sales, to sports can use this networking method, Galanis said.
"Social selling is going to become increasingly important for anyone in business," Galanis said. "Cold calling is dead, but this new social selling outreach is what's replacing it."
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