Vicki Chang grew up in Sugar Land, TX, a city 20-miles southwest of downtown Houston. Her favorite thing about the Houston community is how diverse and welcoming it is. Credit: Courtesy of Vicki Chang
Vicki Chang is a member of the Instagram team who ‘wants to help people and have a better understanding of how to work with people of different disciplines and with different views.’ She spoke with Beautifully Said Magazine about her role to help small businesses succeed and how her Southern hospitality is a great resource inside her working environment. Read more.
You grew up in Sugar Land, TX. Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I spent my entire K-12 years growing up in Sugar Land, TX in the same house that my parents still live in today. I went to schools in the Fort Bend County school district and graduated from Stephen F. Austin High School in Sugar Land. I was the kind of kid who wanted to be involved in everything. I was very into music and academics throughout my years in school – I played piano for 5 years before switching to band in middle school, where I started playing the oboe in the 6th grade and continued until I graduated in 2010. I loved math! But in general, I was the kind of kid who tried really hard at school, took tons of honors and AP classes, and studied a lot of the time that I wasn’t doing extra-curricular activities. I graduated 4th in my class of ~630 people and went to The University of Texas at Austin for college.
Share with us your role with the Instagram team?
I’m a Technical Program Manager. I work with engineering teams to figure out how we can more efficiently build products for people on Instagram. This can mean defining the problem we’re trying to solve and other times this can mean organizing meetings to figure out where we can improve. I figure out how we can hit our deadlines and work best with other teams internal and external to Instagram and Facebook. In the past, I’ve worked with the business teams that help build products for businesses and advertisers on Instagram, and I’ve also worked with the Facebook News Feed team.
In what ways can you help the Houston community to leverage Instagram for their small to medium-sized businesses?
This is a great question! I’ve always tried to share tips and tricks with friends and strangers alike–mostly about how Instagram is a great platform for small to medium-sized businesses to introduce themselves to the Houston community! With an Instagram business profile (which is 100% free), small businesses in Houston (and beyond) have the potential to reach Instagram’s community of 800 million. In fact, 80% of Instagrammers follow a business by choice. That’s an incredible market opportunity – a clear sign that that people come to Instagram to interact with their favorite brands and be inspired by them.
You can use a business’ Instagram profile the same way you might use a website: sharing your store location, contact information, and really showcasing what makes your business unique. There are already 25 million businesses on Instagram—with more joining every day. And 68% say that Instagram helps them find new customers. Instagram isn’t only a place where businesses get discovered, it’s a place where business gets done.
Share an example of how you bring your southern hospitality to work?
A day doesn’t pass at work where I don’t use the word “yall”! But in all seriousness, I spend most of every work day in small working groups where it’s super important to make sure that you’re being an inclusive leader and encouraging others to participate in conversations and meetings. There’s something about the genuine friendliness and willingness to help others that southern hospitality has taught me, and I’m always trying to figure out how to solve problems for our users and my coworkers every day. One of my friends took the plunge a few years ago and started her own small business (@natterdoodles) as a personalized lettering artist and helping her get started with running ads on Facebook and Instagram has helped me learn which parts of our ads platform are hard to navigate as a one-person operation. We’re always trying to make our tools work well for businesses of all sizes.
How do you encourage business profiles on Instagram to grow their following organically?
Instagram is a place where anyone, people and businesses alike, can showcase their authentic self, and I think when you share what makes your business unique, that’s what makes people interested and follow you. People love learning how businesses operate, gain inspiration, and make magic happen behind the scenes.
We recommend the following steps to help businesses stand out among other businesses and better learn what content is most engaging to their audience:
- Convert to a Business Profile to better understand who views your posts to help grow your business.
- Use business insights on the business profile to see how well your posts perform and use the data to inform what content is resonating with your followers and at what times.
- Diversify your feed by sharing a variety of posts, from product shots to behind-the-scenes posts that bring your business’ authentic personality to life.
What is a current project you and your team are working on to further help small business owners?
One feature I’ve been really excited about is shopping on Instagram, which we recently expanded globally. Now businesses from around the world can tag products in their posts so people can shop directly from them. This enables local small businesses to sell their products to a global audience. This year, Instagram will offer shopping in even more locations, opening up new markets for businesses, and opportunities for people to experience brands from around the world.
What’s next for Instagram? Where can we stay connected to get new updates and features?
We’re always looking to build new tools and features to help small businesses grow. To keep up with Instagram’s latest updates for businesses, follow our Instagram for Business blog. Instagram also offers online advice to help businesses, whatever their level of experience. And there’s always the community itself. I recommend following other businesses on Instagram. We constantly see small businesses helping one another by sharing tips, advice and creative inspiration for other businesses to learn from.
I just got back to California from my week in Houston for Facebook Community Boost so I’ll see y’all next time!
Interview conducted by the La Trisha and La Tasha—Twins of Media
Like us on Facebook