Social media engagement and content planning

Table of contents

Digital Marketing Wingman Episode 5

No video this week as I mucked up the cameras 🙁

Kerri Bennett discusses social media strategy and engagement. What really matters when it comes to social media for business and some general advice on how to increase engagement with your content.


Nathan: Hello everybody. I’m Nathan George, and welcome to the Digital Marketing Podcast, this is episode number five. And today we’ve got Kerry Bennett from a Yellow Door Digital joining us.

Kerri: Hi, how’s it going?

Nathan: Okay.

Kerri: Thank you.

Nathan: Thanks for coming on the show. So today, Kerry runs a digital marketing agency in Geelong. Tell us a little bit more about what you do Kerry, and sort of what clients you work with.

Kerri: Sure, thanks, Nathan. Yellow Door is a freelance business. So it’s just me, but I work with small to medium businesses and help them out with all their facets of digital marketing to navigate them through the jungle and help them work out what priorities and what’s important and what they should be working on.

Nathan: Okay. Cool. And what do you specialise in anything in particular or is it very holistic? Like, you look at all aspects or do you focus on paid advertising or social media or …

Kerri: I tend to be email marketing social media and SEO. That’s a three big needs where people kind of need the most help to sort something out, work out a strategy and put it into place. Action it.

Nathan: Excellent. Excellent. And how do you find the business community in Geelong?

Kerri: Great. Awesome.

Nathan: Yeah?

Kerri: Yeah. Everywhere … I mean …

Nathan: You and I met at the Geelong Chamber of Commerce, I believe. And …

Kerri: I think so, yeah. Something like that. And yeah, the whole community has been great actually, so really supportive. And I think Geelong is a bit like that anyway. So yeah, been really fortunate. And I’ve been operating now for maybe just on a year or just under a year. And yeah, have met some really great people, they’ve been really supportive. And yes …

Nathan: Awesome.

Kerri: It’s been really great.

Nathan: Fantastic. Okay, so maybe you can give us a bit of the insight into what’s new in social media at the moment. What social media networks are really popular right now?

Kerri: I think Instagram is hot. Instagram Stories, particularly. Yes.

Nathan: Does that mean Facebook is dying?

Kerri: I don’t think so. Not at all. No

Nathan: No?

Kerri: Facebook still there for a business. Facebook has always been important. I think Instagram just offers that behind the scenes real-time, real fun content that they can add to the behinds the scenes of their business.

Nathan: So is Instagram more engaging? Is the content better on Instagram? People are enjoying using Instagram more?

Kerri: I think it just tells the story a little bit better and that’s become really important with social media to tell the story about who you are, who your business is, what your pain points are and how you’re solving them, and that really helps you be relatable to your customers. And I think Instagram does that really well. So yeah.

Nathan: Okay. You said Instagram Stories is really popular right now. What is it about Instagram Stories that’s so popular? I mean Facebook has a version of stories. Snapchat obviously was the originator with stories. What is it about Instagram Stories that’s so popular right now?

Kerri: Well, I think Instagram, you mentioned Snapchat. Instagram Stories have stolen some of that Snapchat love and got filters on it, and added the stickers and the gifts and it’s pretty endless in regards to the fun you can have doing Instagram Stories.

Nathan: I must admit, I was a big fan of Snapchat until Instagram Stories came out. And I haven’t really used it since. As soon as Instagram Stories came out of an existing audience on Instagram, and I guess most businesses hadn’t quite jumped fully into the Snapchat world. It was still a very young individual network. And so when this Instagram came out with stories, there was no need for businesses to transition to Snapchat anymore, I felt.

Kerri: Yeah I think as soon as you say there’s another platform that business has to manage, their head goes in the sand, and they don’t want to know about it. So Snapchat was like that, so early adopters got onto it. They’re having a bit of fun with it. The filters … Who didn’t love the filters? Put over your face and had a bit of fun. So when Instagram kind of went that way, they were already working in a familiar environment where people had got their head around and they’re like, “Okay. I understand this platform. It’s pretty. I’m liking to play with it, and now I’ll take the next step to stories and using the filters.”

Nathan: I must admit, that’s the only time I use Snapchat. Now is my daughter wants to use the filters to play. She doesn’t send any messages, but she uses the filters to play. So on that, you said users are not wanting to … Businesses in particular, not wanting to have to manage another channel, another social media channel when they’ve already got Instagram presumably. How do businesses best manage multiple channels? If you’re on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat Instagram? How can you realistically manage all of those channels at once?

Kerri: I don’t think it’s realistic to think they can manage all of those channels if you don’t have the labour force to do it. So I’d reverse engineer it and encourage my clients to reverse engineer and start going, “How much time have I got per week to spend on social media?” Social media in your marketing is one aspect of your business, if anybody’s business. So you need to put down some time and go, “Okay. I’m going to spend two hours a week on these, two hours a month. How long have I got?” And then work from there. Because if you’ve only got two hours a month, you can’t possibly manage all those channels and manage them well. So it’s best to go, “Okay, which ones can I manage? How much time have I got? And how can I manage those well?” Do the ones you do, and do them well.

Nathan: And I assume you identify with your clients which ones are going to get the most reward, like the most best return on investment, where their audience is and …

Kerri: Yeah it’s twofold right, because you do also have to do the ones that you naturally gravitate to because you’re not going to work out if you don’t like Snapchat, it’s going to be hard to use for you. So you’ve got to do about bit of a balance between where your customers are. But social media has got such a broad Bret especially Facebook and Instagram. Customers are probably going to be there unless you’re a really unique SKU. So I would go, yes, look where your audience is and where they’re active, but also have a look at what you like doing. What’s going to be easy for you to do because if it’s easier for you to do and you enjoy it, you’re going to be on there.

Nathan: So is Facebook still the default? Pretty much any business should be on Facebook, is that a default answer?

Kerri: I think there’s just such a huge audience to turn your back on Facebook is pretty brave.

Nathan: It’s just about anyone, and whether you think that maybe certain industries or professions might not be inclined to be on Facebook. In their personal lives. They’re going to be on Facebook, aren’t they?

Kerri: A lot, yeah. I know a lot of people that don’t want to be on Facebook, and I get that. And they do say, “Do I need to have a Facebook page for my business? Do I need to then set up a personal Facebook page to manage that?” And the answer is yes. You do. Whether you make that personal page active and you put photos of your kids up, that’s up to you. But when running a business, I think you at least need to have your Facebook presence there.

Nathan: Is Instagram heading the same way. It’s kind of a default answer for most businesses?

Kerri: It is again so broad that you do definitely need to consider it.

Nathan: What about businesses that they do not have a visually appealing that or well, they tell you they don’t have a visually appealing product? Maybe their waste management, or accountants is another one that, what can an accountant show? How can they, I guess, get on these channels and appeal to these audiences with what they perceive as boring content?

Kerri: And I think that in lies the problem with a lot of people when they come to social media. They sit down, “What am I going to talk about?” And they’re thinking about the products that they have, not the solutions their customers need. So if you’re an accountant, somebody is not coming to you to look at your books and your shiny stationery. They’re coming to you for a solution. They want answers to, “How can I have financial freedom? Or how can I manage this and know that you know I’m compliant?” So having those kind of thoughts in your mind when you’re creating content about what the customer wants at the end. You’re not selling accountants, you’re selling is a solution to people’s problem.

Nathan: And do you have to be fun? Do you need to be silly or doing boomerangs, and quirky little things? Or can it be it can be serious and social media?

Kerri: I think you can do both. We all like a little bit of company in our lives, a lightheartedness. If you’ve got quite a serious business, maybe there’s times when you’re not so fun. But playing with it, and building a brand and building a personality behind that, I think is a great thing to do on social media.

Nathan: Okay great. All right so moving on. What would you … Can you explain for our audience what social media engagement is? What does that entail? How do you measure social media engagement?

Kerri: Social media engagement should actually get more traction I think because everyone wants to look at likes and how many followers they have and things like that, but engagements where it’s at. So engagement is how many people are commenting and liking and engaging with your content. And that’s actually more important than how many likes you have or how many followers. You can have know 60 followers to an account and not one of them doing anything with you. You might as well have none.

Nathan: Yeah, all right. And so, how do you drive more engagement? How do you do the right things to increase that? How do you get people to comment and like individual posts and message you and do all those things that you want?

Kerri: There’s a couple of strategies to do it. One of them is making sure your content is engaging. And so by asking questions, by having that solution-focused approach as opposed to selling to people. Often people make the mistake of going, “Hey we have a special.” Nobody’s got to know you yet. So you’ve got to know, like, and trust. You’ve got to build those three things through your social media.

Nathan: Yeah. So in asking a question is a big one. I’ve heard and try to use as much as I can when I remember to do it. But directing people, telling people what to do or in marketing is a big thing. So actually prompting someone to do something on social media, how much effect does that have, do you think? Do you think asking question in every post is a reasonable thing to do? or …

Kerri: I think we need to get creative about how we ask them. I saw somebody in Geelong the other day, and they did a … It was a real estate company, and they posted, “Hey where’s this address? Who’s who can guess where this house is? In Geelong West?” And I thought that was actually great way to find …

Nathan: Gameifying it a little bit.

Kerri: A little bit. So they weren’t asking a question. Well, they were asking a question but they weren’t asking it in the traditional way. So thinking about how you can engage your audience, even on Facebook, you’re adding a couple of paragraphs in involves somebody pressing the more button to expand this. That’s counted as engagement, so it is kind of …

Nathan: Is it really? Just expanding more?

Kerri: Yeah. They’ve touched your content, so that’s become engaging, yeah.

Nathan: Interesting. Didn’t know that.

Kerri: There you go. A couple paragraphs, so don’t worry about the short content.

Nathan: Nice. Okay. And so, posts obviously businesses are, at the end of the day, they’re there to make money, and they’re on social media to drive business. Creating posts with offers or products or services? You don’t know obviously overdo it and saturate your audience with just, “Buy my stuff all the time.” How much … Is it like maybe a percentage. How often do you think it’s reasonable to post something that’s easy versus something that’s more community based or just inspirational or building your little tribe on online versus selling.

Kerri: Yeah. I tend to go with one in eight.

Nathan: One in eight.

Kerri: One in eight.

Nathan: Not much.

Kerri: No, not often because back to that know, like, trust, right?

Nathan: Yeah.

Kerri: So most of the time somebody come to your Facebook or come somewhere, they’ve come to you. You don’t want to hit them with an offer straight away, going, “Hey, buy my stuff.” So it’s all about, know, like. Know, like. Know, like, trust, buy.

Nathan: Yes. As I go over the jab, jab, jab, right hook?

Kerri: Yeah. I guess. It’s kind of the same thing right. But I wouldn’t use that platform to shout offers at people and getting them to buy because there’s so many touch points. I might see somebody on Instagram. I might visit their website. I might see what they’re doing over on Facebook. I might you know Google them see what else is happening. I might talk to my friends and see who else is connected with that brand before I’m starting to trust them before I’m ready to buy from them. Depending on the value of what I’m going to buy. If it’s a shirt for 50 bucks maybe I’ll just hit buy straight away. But the bigger the value the more trust you going to need.

Nathan: Absolutely. Along those long purchasing decisions that take them 10, 15, 20, 30 touch points before someone even considers buying.

Kerri: So, I say one in eight, but that’s a real average. You’ve gotta kind of find out what’s right for your brand. But if you need a guide, if you want an answer …

Nathan: If you’re selling budget products, where the pricing is cutthroat and you are the appeal to your business is your pricing maybe you can processes a little bit more sales stuff. But as you said there’s sort of more expensive purchases probably less.

Kerri: And I don’t think that I get as much engagement as well because people see it as an offer. So you’re going to cost your engagement slightly to maybe get that offer out there.

Nathan: Yeah. So just on shopping, have you had much to do with Instagram tagging of products and shopping ads?

Kerri: I had a little bit to do with it.

Nathan: Yeah. Do you think that’s a successful strategy at the moment?

Kerri: I think it’s definitely a space to watch. I think we may see Instagram have that whole experience happen natively in the app, rather than taken in a way. But it’s definitely … If you’re in an econ biz, I would definitely consider.

Nathan: I’ve seen clients that have a really good Instagram following do really really well out of it. But those who didn’t have an Instagram, a great Instagram following tried to implement it. It wasn’t as successful. So if you’re already, I think, really good on that platform it’s a brilliant ad on, but yeah, if you’re not quite … even cocky Instagram down pat it’s not quite as successful.

Kerri: I think, yeah, that no like trust again. You have that audience, it’s already engaged with you. They’ve seen your staff, they’ve been going behind the scenes. They’ve got your personality.

Nathan: So yeah, that sort of clarified, actually. It’s more about I think just … Using paid ads on Instagram to a new audience is as equal to any other platform. You’re trying to knock on the door of people that haven’t been exposed to your brand before. But if you’re hitting that audience that’s already engaging with you then obviously they’re going to be far more likely to buy, yeah.

Kerri: Well, they say it’s always cheaper to get a repeat customer than it is to get a new one, so.

Nathan: Yeah, absolutely. So what are the best types of posts that businesses can be creating in order to get more engagement?

Kerri: So, I think if you mix up your posts as well, so if you overtook Facebook because obviously there’s different types, but let’s talk about Facebook. If you’re doing a picture post every single time, I’d stop mixing it up and start looking at different types of posts including video.

Nathan: Yeah, and I say that I guess, the video gets so much more engaged depending on which article you raise, sometimes it’s three times more engagement. Sometimes it’s 10 times, sometimes 20 more times. It depends on the audience again, I guess. What about advertising wise. If you’re actually paying for ads what type of media formats are getting more results, better results?

Kerri: Again it’s video. Yeah. I think because there’s fewer in the market as well where a lot of people hiding behind and I’m guilty too. Hiding behind the keyboard and not wanting to be sort of out in front of people. So video is just a little bit fresher and a little bit uncommon, so.

Nathan: Okay. And one of the ad formats that I’ve always sort of shied away from is the carousel on Facebook and what are your thoughts on carousels? Because I have a bit of an argument sometimes with some friends about whether they work or not. And I’ve sort of come to the conclusion that carousels are really appealing to females. That’s my opinion. I don’t know if it’s backed by fact but from my personal conversations. What are your thoughts?

Kerri: I thought they worked really well when they first came out because they were different. And again, that different type of posting mechanism. I think they’ve moved away slightly I haven’t seen the engagement be as good on the carousel post, particularly, in ads over the past six months. So I’ve stayed away from them myself, to be honest, but …

Nathan: You’re on my side.

Kerri: Yeah, I am and I’m female, so maybe the tide is turning.

Nathan: I do say that though, but I literally yesterday designed a carousel ad, just to try it out for a client. And I’ve seen a new trend actually where the images are all linked. So it’s one really really long panoramic type ad that actually encourages you to scroll along so you continue to see the rest of the image. So maybe that’s a new tactic that that works. I’m not sure.

Kerri: I’ve seen something like that as well, it was that building and it was done all the way across, that was really great. I’ve also seen where at the end of one image they might have a graphic that connects with the next one, so it’s sort of side to side.

Nathan: I’ve seen partial words, so you want to know what the rest of that word actually spells. And I’ve also seen … Obviously, you can’t use too much text on a Facebook ad, they penalise you or sometimes ban … Oh, not ban but block your ad from showing if there’s too much text. But artistically placing the text was like a non-standard font partially behind a person and it’s huge and so it’s getting away with the large text because it’s part of this image that I guess doesn’t automatically get the text as text, so.

Kerri: I guess testing is the main thing, isn’t it?

Nathan: Absolutely.

Kerri: And that’s what you’ve been doing. Putting it out there saying what your engagement is going to be like. And for every industry, it will be different. So if yeah, if you want to try video, you wanna try Carousel ads or even post. It’s about testing and seeing what your engagements been like, putting different offers or messages on it.

Nathan: Yeah. Now, I’m a bit passionate about cameras and creating little videos and I’m by no means a videographer but I like tinkering and editing and planning those things. What about those that don’t necessarily have that inclination, they don’t have the gear or the editing software. What’s an easy way to get video content going on social media?

Kerri: Well, I think you’ve got to start somewhere as well so … Excuse me, you’ve got your phones.

Nathan: Grab a drink.

Kerri: Yeah. Your phone is the easiest way to capture video content. If you’ve got good lighting and you can Google anything to, “Hey, best video tips.” If you’ve got good lighting, your camera can be steady, you can pretty much create a decent video that you can put out. And it doesn’t have to be a face. People will sort of go, “Oh, video. I don’t want to do it.” Start doing video …

Nathan: The biggest barrier is getting over seeing yourself on camera, isn’t it?

Kerri: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So start doing a video that’s not of yourself. Start doing it off outside your building or some stuff you’re working on, maybe where you’re heading or the video that doesn’t involve your face. You can get your staff. You should cut them and get them so that you don’t have to do it. If they can relax and get into it.

Nathan: Yeah. I mean, you can get a $15 iPhone tripod on eBay. Maybe less, maybe $5 to be honest. Or you can just get a couple of books and lean it against but having a steady shot can sometimes make it look that much more professional.

Kerri: Absolutely, yeah.

Nathan: Being in front of a window, having your subject in front of a window and not obviously pointing the camera towards the window, pointing at the other direction, you’re capturing that natural light.

Kerri: I think that also your background, maybe sometimes if you are doing one to camera, having a bit of a clear background will help people not be distracted from that. So it doesn’t have to be flat white, but somewhere where there’s maybe just one image or one picture or a couch or something like that? So it’s quite simple and less distracting.

Nathan: And how long should the video be? I mean, this is how long’s a piece of string, but when you’re starting out, what should you be really aiming for?

Kerri: People’s attention is pretty limited. So I would aim for the shoulder is better, but don’t do five seconds. Maybe 15 seconds or under I would aim for doing something along those lines.

Nathan: Okay. What about long-form video. Do you think there’s a place for a long-form video? Is it somewhere else other than Facebook?

Kerri: Depends on your message as well. So if you’ve got something that doesn’t need to be long form and you start dragging it out into a minute, you’re going to lose your audience. That’s got to retain that that energy and enthusiasm throughout it.

Nathan: Okay, all right. So a wrap all of this up, if you were to write a one page or a half page study if you’re just starting out your business and you wanted to get a bit of a plan in place for what you should be doing. Give us a couple of things that you should really map out to start.

Kerri: I’d first look at your time. How much time you’re gonna spend on social media. And then from there, you work out what platforms you’re going on. From there you can then start going, “I want to plan my content,” and we haven’t really touched on this but if you can’t plan your content, you’re going to struggle because tomorrow comes around really quick and next thing is searching around for some content to post and that’s when you post the least engaging type of context.

Nathan: The anything post to just get it out regardless.

Kerri: And you go, “Hey, what do you guys think?” That’s the kind of question you end up with because you haven’t had that time and that space to think about it. You’ve got that pressure of posting. So yeah, with that time that you dedicate to social media, you go, “Ready. I’m going to plan that,” and you can use some tools in Facebook, you can do it within Facebook to schedule …

Nathan: Schedule a post from Facebook, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Kerri: Instagram, there’s lots of tools that you can use to schedule your Instagram as well.

Nathan: Yeah. What’s your preferred tool for Instagram.

Kerri: I’m a Planarly girl.

Nathan: Planarly? Do I know Planarly? I don’t think I’ve heard of Planarly.

Kerri: There you go, learning something new.

Nathan: So we use, we just go on to. We were using Hootsuite, but it doesn’t do automatic posting to Instagram it still does the notification to App, I think unless things have changed.

Kerri: That’s my understanding.

Nathan: Yeah, yeah. So Later was the first one we found that did the posting for you automatically. And I’ve quite enjoyed the visual calendar dropping and dragging things on there. And a little thing we do, I don’t know if this is recommended now, but we map out a type of post for every day of the week, so we might do like a Tuesday tip, a Wednesday client showcase, a Thursday blog, and Friday fun or something like that. Are those good ideas or do they get a bit boring or …

Kerri: I think your planning. So that’s a good start.

Nathan: Yeah, I guess it sort of makes it easier to fill your calendar fill you fill your plan. Yeah.

Kerri: Yeah. So if you sit down and start planning your calendar like you guys are, making sure that you’re touching all the points of what the pain points of your client are. Yeah. So if your clients are saying, “I need a new website or I need help with digital marketing,” then what the questions are they asking to make sure you’re touching those within that content that you’re planning for them. What does that post that you’re putting together adds up for that client?

Nathan: Awesome.

Kerri: Yeah.

Nathan: Awesome. What’s some brilliant advice, thanks, Kerri. If you like this podcast, please jump on iTunes. Give it a review, and give it a rating if possible. And you’ll find the recording of this so you can see our faces on YouTube and the other links will be on the Pixeld website. So Kerry, how can we … If anyone wants to contact you after the show, how can I get in touch I’ll find you your business?

Kerri: You can find me on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, or

Nathan: Awesome. Thanks, Kerri.

Kerri: Thanks for having me.

Nathan: See ya.


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