GoFarFast Show

How to rise to social media success and the real pitfalls to avoid | S1 EP11

March 30, 2021 Farillio & Boffix Season 1 Episode 11
How to rise to social media success and the real pitfalls to avoid | S1 EP11
GoFarFast Show
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GoFarFast Show
How to rise to social media success and the real pitfalls to avoid | S1 EP11
Mar 30, 2021 Season 1 Episode 11
Farillio & Boffix
In this episode of the Go Far Fast show, social media whizz Katy Howell from Immediate Future tells us how to navigate different social channels and find the right space for your business. Hear all about follower metrics, trolling, where to put your money, and other great social media tips and tricks!

Show Notes Transcript
In this episode of the Go Far Fast show, social media whizz Katy Howell from Immediate Future tells us how to navigate different social channels and find the right space for your business. Hear all about follower metrics, trolling, where to put your money, and other great social media tips and tricks!

Merlie: Hello folks and welcome to another episode of the #GoFarFast show. It's actually episode 11! Aaron, how did we get to episode 11? If you've missed any of the earlier shows please do go back and watch them. There are some absolutely amazing guests sharing some really vital small business intel in those episodes. You can find them on our social feeds, on the Farillio blog site, and you can find them on the podcast sites too – so don't miss out!

Now of course this is our talk show that is designed to get you, our audience, the answers to the burning questions of the moment. We've got a real stock of those questions lined up for today's guest, haven't we Aaron?

Aaron: Merlie, we certainly have! The name of the show, as you've already said, is #GoFarFast and that's exactly what we have for you today! 

We have the wonderful Katy who's been named as one of the top 25 women shaping the digital industry by The Drum. She's here to talk all about her company, Immediate Future, and we're going to use this opportunity to ask her to talk about her expert topic, which of course is the world of social media. We must also ask her about the role social media has in business and we'll ask her which social channel is right for your business – that's going to be a key topic – followed by that big question of how much we're going to be spending on boosting our social media. Then we head over to my favourite part of the show where Katy will face our legendary community questions. 

So Merlie, can you tell us more about the show itself?

Merlie: Absolutely! Katy has a wonderful strapline that basically says that she's going to make social media more exciting and she's going to break the social boring. I love this phrase, so we're in for a treat this morning. 

As always folks, don't forget to like, comment and subscribe. Send in your questions – if we don't get them answered in today's set, we'll do our best to get them answered for you. 

The first set of the show is all about the questions that we've scooped up and paraphrased for you, then we'll turn to your direct questions in the second half. Aaron, should we pull back the curtain? 

Aaron: Certainly! Katy, welcome to the show.

Can we go straight into the first question? The first question we want to ask you today is can tell us all about yourself? Can you tell us all about yourself and Immediate Future, and what you guys actually do?

Katy: I run an agency that's now 17 years old. It started when social media was blogs and MySpace, and Facebook was still on campus. I think that's the only way of putting it. We've been helping brands for several years, mostly fairly large brands, deal with social. We tend to talk to businesses when they are serious about social – when they want more than just to increase Instagram followers. It's when they actually want to have a business impact, and it's at that stage that they often need our support and help.

Merlie: I think that's absolutely brilliant and I know just how expansive the support is that you give to brands of all sizes, Katy.

Some of us love social media and some of us absolutely hate it. There's also a lot of us in the middle, who like the sound of it but we're really not quite sure. We might not be quite sure when it comes to what we do personally but, particularly in a business environment, we might feel like 'oh I'm not sure I want to go there'. 

How effective is social media at getting us out there in business, building a profile, and generating sales? A lot of us are doing it to try to expand our business and hopefully get some sales. 

Katy: As any good marketeer will tell you – it depends! But social has some very unique qualities to it. One of those is that if you don't do it right it can be really ineffectual. It can be a total waste of your time. Doing it right can produce amazing results and that's because social is really intimate. It's a really intimate and personalising platform. It's a chance to get to know your customers really well and it's a way in which you can build those relationships. That really matters in this day and age where we can't really talk to each other face-to-face and the world is a bit topsy-turvy. The strengthening of those relationships matters. It's very clear from the 40% increase in people being active on social media during the last 12 months, that social is the place people are turning to. Your audiences are there.

I think there is a real challenge though, which is that people think that social media is a fast response mechanism. It can be occasionally, but inevitably it's not. Some of the really big viral campaigns that you hear about have a huge amount of paid advertising behind them, or they have paid an influencer who has a massive audience.

This fakery and this falsehood that sits around social media can often make us feel like our social is not working quite so well. It doesn't help that there are these growth hack views on how you can somehow accelerate growth. You should focus on the fact that social media is your relationship builder with your customer and a chance to have almost one-to-one conversations.

Aaron: I think that's really important and I really like that phrase at the beginning about taking social seriously – I think that's going to be so important for people going forward. I know that in our company, we suddenly flipped – it was that whole moment asking ourselves 'how do we communicate to a larger audience?' and 'how do we talk to more people and have that ability to understand what we're doing right and wrong?'. I think that when you start to understand that and start to really get into that mindset, that's when you have that expertise and you can start shaping your brand and understanding what impact you're having. I think that's really great advice.

When it comes to social, there was a mistake that we made when we weren't taking it seriously and before we started the whole process of understanding it and getting to grips with it. There are so many different social channels out there, even in the last month we've had Clubhouse come along. We've got all these different social media channels and they all have a different voice and a different area. When we first started, I vividly remember saying to myself 'we understand social'. We got a piece of software, we planned out a whole week and then we wrote copy for all of it. We thought to ourselves 'we've won, this is it, it's all done and we've completed social media!'. 

Obviously, it's not that simple and it can be damaging doing that. How do you choose which social media channel is right for you? Do you have to be on all of them or a number of them for it to pay off?

Katy: I get asked this all the time! You need to stop thinking about the channel – it's a bit like saying 'I should create posters for bus stops – should I put them in Newcastle or Cardiff?'. 

Where is your audience? That's what you need to think about. It doesn't matter whether you're on one or ten channels. The first question you ask is where is the majority of your audience. Are they on LinkedIn because it's business to business? Are they on Facebook because you're targeting an active, slightly older generation? Are you on TikTok because you're after all the 15-year-olds, tweens and teens? I'm being very glib here because it isn't just about demographics, which is age and location. Quite often it's also about the mindset of your audience on each of those. If you look at something like TikTok for instance, the frame of reference for people going onto TikTok is entertainment and information. If you look at Instagram you have clubs and subcultures that are effectively little communities on there. Some of them are communities of dog walkers, some of them are communities for photography, some are communities for travel. What you need to really focus on is the attitude and mindset – the psychographics of your audience. 

Your first question is 'where is my audience?'. The second is 'what are they doing on there?'. The third question is 'how much time can I devote to this?'. Look at if there is a majority channel. The people who are serious about social are more serious about putting out quality content than just being on every channel. These are the three tenets for deciding which channel you should be on. 

There is an awful lot of rubbish being spoken about what each channel stands for – you need to go and look. Let me give you a very quick example – I've just said that LinkedIn is all B2B, well actually it isn't. Several consumer brands are doing a rather good job on there of persuading people to buy their consumer products. On the other side of we also know of B2B brands, big ones, who actually have greater success from Facebook in terms of B2B.

Merlie: I think this is an absolutely brilliant question, and thank you so much for those three core points of focus that we should be looking at. Aaron, that's the first time I've heard anyone describe it in that way, I think we are still all thinking channel, so Katy thank you for that. I'm going to make a note of that and, after the show, I'll make sure that we're practising it too! We're fierce about social media, but one thing we've definitely learned as a brand is that it takes real time to build. It is all about being connected with the right people and having the right conversations. They may be fewer perhaps than the world of metrics would like us to be having, but they're really decent and they really do breed a different quality of engagement that has served us very well. It's those measures and metrics that I'd love to get your view on now, Katy. How do you know when it's working? What are the right measures to really assess that?

Katy: That's a great question and the answer is that it's a little bit more complicated than you can imagine...

Imagine that you have a graph and on the left-hand side are all your vanity metrics. On the right-hand side are the sanity metrics. The vanity metrics are the ones that may support and help you in knowing that your content is resonating. This would be followers, likes, shares and a small amount of engagement. As you move through from vanity to sanity, the sanity metrics are driving traffic to your website, dwell time on that website, conversion to sales, or calls to your shop. All of these are things that actually have a business impact. Quite often you find that something that is shared a lot doesn't necessarily drive people who are buying from you, whereas you may find a post that is liked a lot actually does. You need to measure right across the spectrum to work out what actually is making a difference to the business. That's what really matters, otherwise what a waste of time it is!

It's a real challenge for people to see it that way and what we often hear people saying is 'I want more followers'. Follower numbers are a real challenge for most small businesses and this is because it's organic – no matter what people tell you. They're organic, which is posting without pay. Organic posts are the post you put up in your normal feed and they actually have very little impact. Part of the reason is that they are strangled by social networks. Very few of your own followers, even people who have actually elected to come and be part of your page, will actually see your posts. The rationale is that we as consumers do not want to see 500 posts from brands, so Facebook, Instagram and Twitter restrict some of that brand content. The consequence is that you can invest all this time and sometimes money in getting followers and it's fairly irrelevant to your business. It is really important that people understand this.
There's value in having some followers because it gives you validation and credibility but, in the main, it's not the thing you should be pursuing ardently. You need to start to keep an eye on those sanity metrics.

Aaron: I love that idea of vanity versus sanity! I think that's something that we definitely need to start understanding from day one. I've definitely been caught up in that whole culture of 'why have we only got so many followers this week'! As you said, all of your good work just goes out the window completely because you're not focusing on what's important. 

You mentioned that it doesn't matter how much content you put out there, it's going to be restricted, isn't it? There's going to be that restriction and I just want to come back to your point there about organic work. All the effort you've put in isn't going to be enough sometimes and you're going to have to look at boosting posts at some point. If you're making that decision and bearing in mind most of us have budget restrictions, how much should we be spending on boosting a social media post? Should we do it to get more eyes on the adverts or offers? How do you choose which post to boost? There's a lot of things to decide and a lot of things to unpack, but what is your advice be on that one?

Katy: Let's start at the beginning... If you're serious about social, you have to have paid. It's because the most important marketing metric is reach, and this hasn't changed in the 30 years I've been doing marketing. If not enough people see you, then what's the point? You might as well go around your local neighbourhood with leaflets because that'll probably be more cost-effective. 

So first of all reach is your friend. Secondly, and you're not going to like this, boosting is a total waste of time. Let me explain... Any good marketing programme is about multi-touch points because very few of us buy on impulse. We need that brand to be built around us that and to have that confidence – more so than ever in social media. Unfortunately, some of the overseas brands have burnt a few people, certainly in the clothing, fashion and makeup areas, and also the consumer tech areas. People have bought and discovered that either it's a scam or the product is not quite what they expected. We have a trust issue sitting in our audiences so consistency matters. 

The rationale behind boosting, or avoiding boosting, is twofold. You're really trying to nudge your customer along and give them a reason to buy, and another reason to buy, and say here's another reason to like us, and here's another reason to tell your friends about us. You're nudging them along. One of the challenges with boosting is that the audience segment that you reach through the boosting process is very limited. What you need to do is to get your head around paid advertising. You need to get around to the back end of the channel and actually look at it. 

Let me give you an example... The conversion rates on LinkedIn for boosting one post is 0.02%. Part of the problem is that one post will never cut it – you need cumulative posts. But you can see all the effort and all the money that goes in for a teeny tiny conversion. What you're trying to do is to build – one post on one post on one post. You can use your organic to give you an indication through vanity metrics. If you see that one bit of content is doing really well, then you take that visual and that copy and you then put it into the back end of your social media.

The last bit you talked about is price and I can't answer that question. That's because social media is a bid system, so if you and five of your competitors are all chasing the same audience then the cost of your advertising will be high. If it's just you on your own, it'll be very low. If you're smart you'll start booking your Christmas paid now and fixing your cost per ml which is the cost per thousand – it's a weird Greek thing that people say! What you really need to do is book it now because it freezes your rate. If you book it in at Christmas, it will cost three, four or even ten times more as the competition comes in. You want to fix your budgets now.

I can't give you a very clear definition of cost, but I can tell you that the smarts are in experimentation. The more you learn about paid, as business owners, the better it is for you. You begin to see what terms are being competed for versus what terms you can slide in around the corners and get better bid prices for. There is no one answer, so I'd always say start small and experiment across different types. See what works and what doesn't work for your brand, what actually delivers results, then you can start to build that up in terms of your investment.

Merlie: So many questions! I immediately want to get my pen and paper out and say what's the difference between boosting and paid! We'll have to park our questions now Aaron, won't we, because I know we've got to get on to the community questions. We have some fabulous questions for you today in that set. Katy, are you ready?

Katy: I am!

Merlie: Good, good, she knows what's coming! Aaron, over to you, do you want to kick us off with the first question?

Aaron: Certainly! Our community, as always, have delivered. We've got some really great ones here. We're starting hopefully with a more straightforward question, but I know that this never is a straightforward topic. It may seem straightforward to us, but I know you've got some excellent insight into it. Our first question is: what's the best channel for me to launch my photography business? 

Katy: Again, this is one where I say 'oh this is really hard to answer'! The reason it's really hard to answer is that it depends on who you sell to. If you sell corporate photography it might be that Instagram is not the place for you. Or it may be where your business customers actually are. It's very tempting to say Instagram, but Instagram is where people put photographs – is it where they look for photographers? Is that the place you need to be? I would urge you to go back and look at where your customers are. This is the process I would follow; where are my customers? What are their triggers and motivations for booking a professional photographer? What are their motivations for buying professional photography? Maybe it's weddings, in which case Instagram might be the place for you because that's where people research their weddings. If it's corporate, it might be that you're looking at Facebook or LinkedIn. If it's video, it might go one step further with people wanting to create video content for their businesses. It really just depends on who you're selling to. Instead of thinking about which is the best channel to show off my work, what you need to do is think which is the best channel to will reach the people who are motivated to buy my work.

Merlie: So many echoes of what we looked at last week with Louis as well, Aaron. I'm thinking about 'how well do you know your customer' and 'what are they doing'. It's another really important reminder to us to really know our audience and look at where they're going to be most receptive to our offer.

I've got another question for you here. It's a slightly different flavour this time, Katy. The question goes as follows: I don't think social media works for me. I'm a life coach and I've been posting about my business for nearly a year now, but I get little to no engagement. I've spent quite a bit on boosting my posts, but it doesn't make a difference. What am I doing wrong?

Katy: Well, we've talked about boosting so let's not repeat ourselves! The biggest failure that people make in social is they think a lot about technology. They think about things like 'should I use emojis in it?' or 'should I write shocking content?'. These are the things that the gurus and growth hacks tell us. Frankly, it's just rubbish. I'm very bold about this because I feel really strongly that what you need to think about is not what you offer or sell, but what of value is your conversation to your audience? The first thing you need to do to establish the value you create. How can you share knowledge? How can you share information, particularly if you're a coach? If you give more away, weirdly people don't go away and do it all by themselves. What happens is they start and then they decide that they really need someone. The more you give away the better it is on social media. Paying it forward with knowledge and insight actually works. Don't make it too salesy and don't make it too much about you. What you should be doing is building a community. The point of that community will be to pay it forward and to build up a network of people who like you and use you, and who will share. 

You need to build trust because there are hundreds of life coaches out there and they are all over the place; from business coaches to life coaches to therapists to counsellors. Does anybody really know the difference? Maybe you need to help people understand where the value is. Build that community slowly, because what you do as a business is very personal. People want to see your personality and that really is going to matter. You want to think really hard about what your online and social personality is. You don't want it to be your real personality in all of its glory, I certainly wouldn't want it to be! But you can show a small amount of it. Don't be inauthentic. Be transparent, be honest, and be genuine about who you are, but don't show it all. Just show the bit that matters to the audience.

The easiest way to think about community is to take this back into the real world. Think about your community as your neighbourhood. Imagine you've just moved into the area. One housewarming is not going to make you best mates with your neighbours – it really takes time. Back in the day, you might have had a housewarming, you may attend a barbecue, you may send little gifts, you may stop and talk on the school run. There are a whole load of things that you do to build a relationship with your own neighbourhood in your own community. It is absolutely the same on social media.

Aaron: Thank you for that and thank you for being honest as well. It really resonated with me when you were talking about how people get obsessed with emojis and having this flashness, and having to stand out. There can be this culture where you get sucked into what everyone else is doing. You feel like you must do it yourself and you must follow suit. That whole idea about talking to your community, that's really is the key, isn't it? It's getting that trust and it's about having that one-to-one. That's the reason we're on social ourselves, isn't it? It's because we want to talk to people who might have similar mindsets. It really does resonate and thank you for bringing that in. 

When you finally get to the point where you've got that content going, and I certainly fell in this trap, you can get overwhelmed by all of the analysis, can't you? One of the things that social has brought to the table is all of these wonderful graphs, charts, CPM, and all of these little metrics that we've never heard of before. 

This question from the community says: I don't understand what the analysis means. For example, when I look at how my tweets are doing, what should I be focusing on? Is there an easy way for us to understand what these metrics mean and how we can apply them?

Katy: There isn't. I wish there was. There is no simplicity and it's a real challenge. Social media is a game of multiple moving parts and you need to spin every single plate all the time. What you need to do when you look at your analysis is to make sure that you have an engaged community around you. That's what you want, particularly on Twitter. Are people are actually paying attention to what you're doing? Look at your reach and make sure you're getting to enough people. Have a look at whether or not people are engaging, and also look at what people engage with. For instance, on my Twitter feed people tend to engage (partly because twitter's more news-oriented) with anything I've got that's breaking news. On my LinkedIn feed people actually tend to spend more time on stuff where I'm more personal, and I'm maybe more emotional than factual. 

So I am using this to gauge how each channel behaves differently for me. There is quite a lot in the back end of the LinkedIn and the Twitter analysis, but I wouldn't obsess too much. You're really looking to see whether or not you're increasing, whether or not you're beginning to build that profile. One of the things that I would do is start to put things called trackable links into a few of my posts – I wouldn't do it on every single one. A trackable link can be managed either via a tool called 'bitl. y' or Google has one. If you have Google analytics on your website, you can use a Google UTM. A Google UTM allows you to track where that link has come from. One of the things that we do within Twitter, for instance, is to use a trackable link. For this month's posts, we can put trackable links in five of those. We can then see which ones have driven traffic to our website and we can follow them. We can see what they have done and what happened to them when they got there. 

Using that trackable link will give you much more depth on vanity, which is all the stuff about engagement, all the way through to sanity. Ultimately, the big challenge for your community member to understand, is that there is an awful lot of measurement in digital, let alone social. We do love to measure everything, but not everything matters. Just focus on reach and whether or not what you can see is an active community.

Merlie: This is brilliant! Aaron, I don't know about you, but I feel like my eyes are on stalks at the moment. I'm just drinking it in! It's probably not making for great viewing. Sorry folks, I'm doing the sponge impression here! It's phenomenal advice, thank you, Katy. Google UTMs and Bit.ly – remember those!

 I've got a question for you here on scheduling tools. You mentioned a couple of tools earlier Katy, so this is great timing. The question is: what are the best tools for scheduling posts? Is there one that I can use for all of my posts? I use Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. 

Katy: Yes, yes there are! There are various ways. You can use the back-end scheduling tools, so on Instagram and Facebook, you can schedule through them. You can then schedule to Twitter using a tool called Tweetdeck which is just about to get improved apparently, we'll see!

Actually, there are tools like Buffer and Hootsuite which offer free versions or very low-cost versions and they work perfectly well. They are a bit more challenging to use if you don't pay for them, because you have to keep topping them up. The aim is to make you pay I think. I can't remember what the fees are, but it's probably a couple of dollars a month – they're not hugely expensive. As you get more sophisticated, you probably want to look at some of the tools that the big brands use. They're not massively expensive. There are things like ContentCal and Sprout Social for instance. These offer you an opportunity to able to create your posts and feed, and they also give you a little analysis and gather everything up together. They're a little bit more sophisticated, and the paid-for Hootsuite does the same, so it's definitely worth considering these if you're running multiple channels.

A little word of caution though... Don't ever set your scheduling, leave it and assume it's done. There are two reasons for that. First of all, scheduling sometimes misfires – usually because the platforms themselves have suddenly turned an API off. Secondly, the world changes. If you're going out there and saying 'what you should really do is give each other a hug' and then the pandemic breaks, your scheduled post still goes out – so you have to remember to keep an eye on it. Jump in there when something breaks on the news, or something is inappropriate so that you don't end up with egg on your face. 

Aaron: Okay Katy, this next question really resonates with me, because I know from personal experience how troubling this can be. I also have friends who have reached out to me about this before. This particular question is: I had a really horrible experience last year with someone who posted something disgusting and untrue about me and my business. I lost some clients because of it. At the time I just panicked and closed my account, but my husband told me that was a mistake. I was so gutted and upset that I couldn't deal with it. Now one of my friends is being trolled too, what is your advice or things like this. 

Katy: First of all, I am so sorry. This is the nasty side of social media. There are trolls and, if they're not being slanderous or defamatory, they are just being horrible and rude. They comment on how you look and all sorts. The keyboard Warriors are a troublesome lot. I'm really sad that you shut your profile down. The reality is that what you should do is block and then report. If what they're saying is defamatory or slanderous then you can also report it to the police, who can make a case for tracking that person down. It depends on how severe it is and it takes forever to get done.

I would say that the bigger challenge for you to think about is how you can ensure that your clients and customers feel confident in you. A troll is a troll is a troll. Without knowing the actual specifics of this case, one of the things that you do when you're in social media is to look at your own business and look at what you might do in the future. How might you actually deal with this? How can you get ahead of that troll? Your friend, who has problems but who hasn't closed their social media accounts, might well send an email to all of her clients saying “I want to raise awareness around some issues that have been raised and here is my response to them”. 

I'm giving short bits of advice here because it's very difficult without knowing the actual scenario. I don't want to give you misinformation, but certainly closing down your route to communication over one or two individuals is not always necessary. There are tools within the social networks to report this and to get bullies and those that are spreading misinformation off the system.

 Merlie: It is absolutely terrible to think that this person lost clients because of this. I'd like to think in an ideal world we'd all have a little bit more common sense and we’d realise that something posted on social media isn't necessarily true. We all talk about fake news, why should this be anything different? Particularly if it is disgustingly worded as this viewer suggests. It's extraordinary that clients would take this as gospel and not base their decision on their relationship that has developed over time. Thank you for that answer Katy, this one horrified me, I think it's an awful position for anyone to be in. 

I have another question, hopefully something slightly more upbeat. This one relates to Clubhouse. Aaron has already mentioned Clubhouse as being the latest channel that everyone has been excited about over the last few months. Is Clubhouse worth doing for business? That's the question we're being asked here. What do you think of it, Katy? 

Katy: I've been on Clubhouse for a couple of months now and I have to say I love it! But I'll go back to my answer from before, if your audience is there then you should think about it. Will it last? I don't know at the moment. When we're back in the office and we're back in the workplace, will we have the time to jump on Clubhouse and be on there all day? I don't know. In that interim period, there are some opportunities. There are opportunities to bring your personality, particularly if you are someone who sells based on who you are. You can bring some of your personality and get people talking about the issues. For example, the life coach we heard from earlier should be running clubs and have group areas for discussion around challenges and how we deal with life. It's also really great for those who have products and who want to create focus groups. We recently ran a roundtable where we talked to food brands to see what really are the challenges right now in marketing food. You could do the same – what are the challenges that people have around your product? It can be a great way to position. If you don't want to run your own club because you've never moderated these things, and always sit quietly in the background until you get the hang of it, you can join other groups that are very adjacent to things that you want to talk about. Now and then put your hand up, get up on stage, say you are and state your point. I have watched some brands do this very well – The Fudge Kitchen is doing a fantastic job of this. They are hanging out, building partnerships, winning business and getting corporate business. BrewDog is there and is building that groundswell of support on Clubhouse. 

Clubhouse is still limited, it's only available to those who have iPhones. We're hoping the Android version will come out in the next few weeks but we'll see. I wouldn't invest huge amounts in it, but I'd certainly start to play, it's a great way of hearing what your customers are thinking.

Aaron: We've definitely found some great benefits to being on Clubhouse. It was one of those things where we thought we had already missed the boat and it was too late, but you're right, it's never too late to jump on there. I was just gutted that Rishi was on there yesterday and it stole my thunder, you can't compete with Rishi, can you! 

The next question then, Katy: what’s the right balance between your posts, commenting and reposting other peoples content? Is there a rule or recommended approach that you can tell me about? I know that it's all about time management, isn't it? We've only got a set amount of time to put towards social. I know your advice will probably be that we're not putting enough time in, but we have to limit ourselves to the time that we've got. Is there a secret formula to this, or is it again a case of ‘it depends’?

Katy: There isn't, and the whole idea that there is ever a secret formula to everything on social is rubbish. I even hear people say ‘these are the right times of day to post’, and it just depends. People post depending on what they're interested in. You may find that people talk about holidays the most on a Monday – that's when they are really looking online. They may chat about it offline at the weekend, but when they post and actually talk about it online they're doing it on a Monday. I always thought that was rather interesting. 

It varies depending on the industry you are in. In terms of balancing what you share and comment on versus what you put out as original content, it is very difficult to say. It's not about the volume. It's about what you say not how many times you say it. Don't be a chatterbox with vapid comments, but is there is a value that you feel you can add and that has worth? I find that social can be very intense and you could get very sucked into it, can't you? You can run down rabbit holes following someone. Don't obsess too much, but think about what it is that you're trying to communicate. That's the filter that you need to put on. If I share this and comment on this, what value am I adding to my customer base? Rather than looking at formulas for how much you should share and how much you should comment, because I've seen people who made magnificent strides just doing that and who come up with very few posts. There are others who are absolute thought leaders and who are out there actually having great conversations that they start. I think you have to sit back from social a bit and not get so sucked into formulas, rules, and ideas that other people tell you. 

Who are you? Who is your brand? What is your business? What value do you offer your customers? What is your proposition? How do you help people to understand your purpose and why they should buy from you? What are their intentions? What are their motivations? Once you have that filter on, you will easily see what you should comment on, what you should be sharing, and what kind of posts are going to get results. 

Merlie: I’m just picking up on a point you made in response to one of the earlier questions, and that is share. Get out there and be generous with your views, what you know, and why it matters, versus getting out there and pitching all about you and all about the product or service that you want to supply. I really like that answer, thank you so much.

The final question in the community questions is: Katy, if you were starting a business from scratch today, when would you start doing social media and which one channel would you choose first?

Katy: There's no one answer! I've known people who started their social media before their product has even come to the fore, to see if there's a market for it. 

Merlie: That’s what we did!

Katy: There's no harm in trying that. If it's a personal profile that you're building then you may want to start doing that before your products come to the fore. Again, which channel? I would always start with one. As a small business owner, trying to do three or four at the same time, when you have to have a different channel strategy for each one – you can't post the same stuff on each channel – it's quite a large volume of work. I would start with one and do it well. Get to know your audience. Get to know how they behave on that channel, then add others on. I can't answer the question of which ones first. Which one is first is wherever your audience is and wherever they prioritise their time. Learn that channel really well, understand how people react, follow those vanity and sanity metrics, look at where the drivers are for having a business impact, and that will be a slower way of doing it. 

You can start your social anytime, whether it's before your product launches or even 10 years after your product launches. It doesn't really matter. What you really need to understand is that building a community, a bit like building friends, takes time. You have to be a bit relentless. Think of it as your first day at school. It takes a long while to find your BFFs! So, let it take time. Let it be part of the ebb and flow of your working day. Spending an hour every morning on it is perfectly fine. Spending an hour once a week is also perfectly fine if it suits what will deliver value for your business. 

Merlie: That's brilliant advice! Oh my goodness, I am being told by our producers that we are out of time! We have so many more questions for you, Katy. Don't worry folks, we will scoop them up. What a show though, Aaron!

Aaron: It's been brilliant! I've learned so much. It's just being able to put it into a perspective that actually makes sense – I think that's the biggest problem isn't it? There's so much jargon out there, we've already mentioned CPM and everything else that comes with it. Just being able to understand it and make sense of it has been so eye-opening for us. I know there's so much more we want to ask you so we're really going to have to make sure that we get some more of those little nuggets going forward. It's been brilliant, thank you very much. 

Merlie: Yes, thank you for me too, Katy. That was an extraordinary amount of wisdom in a very short space of time. Thank you for subjecting yourself to go the #GoFarfFast show interrogation.

That is all for today folks. Again, don't forget to like, comment, and subscribe. We are rounding up amazing experts like Katy for you constantly to make sure that we're getting you the answers that you most want. Keep the questions coming in and we'll keep sharing them out. 

Massive thanks again to Katy, and Aaron as my trusty co-host. As always folks, have a fantastic week. Don't forget to #GoFarFast