Learn how your company can improve its social media presence with our guest Emily Barrett of Axia Public Relations. Her role is to monitor social media channels and develop unique, innovative, and engaging content.
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About Emily Barrett
Emily is a social media specialist at Axia Public Relations. Her role is to monitor social media channels and develop unique, innovative, and engaging content. Emily earned social media marketing certification from HubSpot while studying communications and environmental science at the University of North Florida. Born and raised in West Palm Beach, she has always had a passion for writing and the environment.
Emily’s contact info and resources:
About your host, Jason Mudd
On Top of PR host, Jason Mudd, is a trusted adviser and dynamic strategist for some of America’s most admired brands and fastest-growing companies. Since 1994, he’s worked with American Airlines, Budweiser, Dave & Buster’s, H&R Block, Hilton, HP, Miller Lite, New York Life, Pizza Hut, Southern Comfort, and Verizon. He founded Axia Public Relations in July 2002. Forbes named Axia as one of America’s Best PR Agencies for 2021.Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/OnTopofPR)
- Hello, and welcome to On Top of PR, I'm your host, Jason Mudd. Today I'm joined by Emily Barrett, a social media specialist at my agency, Axia Public Relations. We decided to have Emily come on the show and help you get better at doing social media for your brand. Whether that's the company you work at or maybe a nonprofit that you're serving. But either way we see so many mistakes on social media. We wanna share some of our best practices with you today, and I hope you'll find this episode very beneficial. And if you do, please share it with a colleague who would also benefit from this episode.
- [Announcer] Welcome to On Top of PR with Jason Mudd presented by ReviewMaxer.
- Hello and welcome to On Top of PR, I'm your host Jason Mudd. I'm joined today by Emily Barrett. Emily is a social media specialist at my agency, Axia Public Relations and we're thrilled to have her on the show today. Emily, welcome.
- It's so nice to be here with you today, Jason.
- We're glad you're here. And today we're gonna help companies do a better job with social media. And believe it or not so many companies struggle with social media. I think it's because it's highly accessible and it feels like it's easy to do, but it's really hard to do it right. And you and our team at Axia help our clients do a great job with their social media. And I think today would be a great day and a great episode for us to share a little bit of our secret sauce, some of our processes, and of course our checklists. So Emily let's jump right in. What's your first piece of advice you wanna share with our audience today?
- My first piece of advice is to use a platform that's gonna be most beneficial for you and your company. So to figure out what platform is gonna be best for you is to choose out of the many social platforms that there are such as TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Facebook, just to name a few. And every single platform has a different purpose. So you need to figure out how your company can appear on that platform. So for example, if your company is based off of selling products, you'd wanna use a social media platform that is going to showcase your product, make your product look beautiful, aesthetically pleasing, and that would be Pinterest or Instagram. But if you're more of a B2B business then you'd wanna stay on LinkedIn where you can network with other companies and show the news that your company's going to be doing in the business world.
- Yeah, that's absolutely right. You certainly, if you're B2B, you wanna think about being in B2B spaces like LinkedIn. If you're a B2C you obviously need to be on Facebook. No doubt about it. Emily for years, I don't know, at least five, maybe more, we've been talking about the importance of posting natively to the platform. Could you explain that to some of our audience 'cause I'm often surprised how many people don't quite understand what post natively to the platform means.
- Yeah, so when someone asks you to post natively it means your content is posted directly onto the platform and it matches the content that is on that platform. So for example, if you had an aesthetically pleasing photo like I said earlier, you want to go to the platform that is going to utilize that post. And every single platform is going to have a different type of native things. So for example if you were to go on TikTok, that is all videos, you're not gonna be posting photos onto there, and you can use it for your small business or for your bigger corporations. Any video can go viral, it's kind of the luck of the draw with TikTok. So if you're gonna be on YouTube as another example that is more video content, like this podcast it's on YouTube. But if you're on Twitter, that's fast information and news. People express pleasure, satisfaction on this platforms which is tweeting, company complaints or satisfaction and stuff like that. You want to figure out what platform is going to be used best for you, and that's why figuring out what native actually means is so important to understand. It's going to help you if you understand what's native for you.
- That's perfect Emily, thank you for sharing. And I really sense that that's such an important element. I sense that Instagram is so much about lifestyle photography. And so if you're just putting, stock photos, for example, as I see so many companies do on Instagram it really doesn't belong there. They're looking for true unique and beautiful photos. And as you mentioned I'm sure there's a way you could put a still photo on TikTok, but it just doesn't seem like it's a good fit for that platform. So yeah, that's very good. What other advice do you have for making sure you're posting properly and in the right way on these various platforms.
- One big thing is to be personal. You don't wanna be an ad. Everybody sees ads on social media all the time. I know I'm sick of them. I'm sure everybody who's watching this is sick and tired of seeing ads all the time. You don't wanna be a robot, you wanna be personal. And you can do this in so many different ways. By just making your individual posts very personal and come across as a human, or you can even create groups and groups are so beneficial. You can create groups on LinkedIn or on Facebook. And this way you can build a community and you'll be able to connect with people on a personal level which will take away that robot aspects social media can kind of give off. So I would definitely recommend being personal and creating groups and a community is probably the most important thing to have on social media.
- Very nice. I know, lemme think. I think it was earlier or late last year, maybe fourth quarter-ish, you put together a blog post talking about how while Pinterest is mostly female it's actually growing significantly among males. Can you talk to us about that for a moment?
- Yeah. So with men being on Pinterest it was when quarantine actually first happened. Everybody was stuck inside. Everybody's downloading new apps and men got into the Pinterest world, whether they're with their wives, girlfriends, whoever who had the app. I know I was even doing it with my partner. He was looking at all of my Pinterest stuff saying all the photos are aesthetically pleasing. You can build dreams, I guess, of what you would like to do in the future. Or if you're building a house all these aesthetic things of what you would want in your house, or a future car or anything like that. And it's a lifestyle app that helps people idealize their life. And men have definitely gotten into whether it's with fashion, houses, cars, it's rising for men and it's not just for women anymore. And social media practitioners need to understand that because they need to post more things for men or they're gonna lose their, excuse me, they're gonna lose the people on the platform. It's very important to understand that it's not just for women anymore, men are in the game.
- That's a great piece of advice. I know for sure in my household we have done so much more home improvement during the pandemic than we did in all the years before the pandemic that we've been in this home. And while I personally didn't use Pinterest I know my wife was very active on it and I can see where it would be very relevant for men to jump on. I know we were talking before we press record about the idea of creating boards for thought leadership awareness and inspiration. How might a B2B brand pull that off successfully?
- I think B2B brands can do this 100% successfully. It's with an inspiration you can think of all these different creative ideas of how people are doing it and not just on Pinterest, on TikTok. I remember a video you sent me earlier of this woman was explaining how to create a social media calendar for your whole month, and she did it so easily. And people are finding unique ways to create things on Pinterest, on TikTok on any social media platform, to not only make it aesthetically pleasing to make you wanna do it. That's how you catch your attention is by making it look pretty, but having it be useful. And having something be aesthetically pleasing and useful is the key to any social media in my opinion.
- Excellent. That's really good Emily. I'm thinking about how might we express to our audience today about how social media platforms are for-profit organizations, many of them have gone public, and so they're now looking to provide ultimate shareholder value. And so therefore corporations and company pages in my opinion, in my experience and others, other people's opinions and experience are really starting to struggle with getting organic content to appear in front of their fans. So it seems like, and Facebook is very publicly said, "We're gonna start helping people see more of their friends and family's posts and less corporate posts. And we're also gonna help people see more news posts." Now that was before we headed into the election and the pandemic where there was a lot of concern about, Facebook and other social media platforms governing the content that's out there. But just speak to our audience for a moment about what's happening with their site or their company's organic content and how well or not well it's reaching the audience.
- Well, yes, I definitely understand that. With organic content, you're only gonna go so far. You're gonna reach your followers, and most likely only 2% of your followers will even see that post. Maybe even less depending on what account you run. So you would want to boost your posts. Whether you're on a different platform, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, they call it different things promoting, sponsoring, but you're probably gonna wanna boost your posts on Facebook to have more people do it. And the more money you put behind the boosted posts the more people will see your posts and their newsfeeds. And when you're boosting your posts on Facebook, you'll target a specific audience by age, gender, location, demographics, more of that stuff. And you can also set a timeline as well as a budget. And you can benefit from boosting in so many different ways, because it can pinpoint exactly who you want to see your content. It can make sure you understand your company's target audience and what that audiences interests are. And if you aren't sure who your target audience is implementing a fake Facebook pixel is a great place to start as well. But when it comes to boosting, not a lot of people even know where to start with it. And here at Axia we recommend to all of our clients and anyone managing social media for a company that this budget can come from at least 10% of your current digital advertising budget and or invest 10% of your social media budget to start. And you can see great results and get more into it. What might work for one brand might not work for you though. So you need to keep that in mind. And if you invest that 10% into it let's say it doesn't work for you, maybe try it on a different platform, maybe not on Instagram, but maybe on LinkedIn and compare those and see what works better for you. Because again, what works for you may not work for somebody else, and it's very important to know what really works for you.
- Excellent. So I'm struggling a little bit here because basically what I'm hearing is a PR agency recommending some paid media or advertising where the PR industry is so well-known for earned media and storytelling but not necessarily paid media. So walk me through why PR practitioners are recommending that you are sponsoring and using paid media to boost your visibility of your social media content.
- It's because you can only, earn media is great, going on the news and getting stories written by journalists, those are always great things to do and we love doing it as PR practitioners. But with Facebook, like I said earlier, only 2% of your following will see your content on social media. And that's not enough to get your awareness. In this day and age you're gonna have to sponsor it, that's just how social media is working unfortunately, because Facebook wants to make sure that everybody who is following someone they see the people who they're following, they're not seeing me the ads unless you pay for it. So it's kind of a catch-22 of seeing like, okay we don't really wanna spend too much money into this. And that's why I'm saying earlier, like that 10% or maybe even 5% and see how it goes. If it doesn't work for you it doesn't work for you and stick with that organic content. And you can do a lot of things with organic content as well. But with the paid you're going to see a big difference because there are a lot of people on the internet as we all know. And the more people you reach the more people will buy your product or invest in your company.
- Emily, this is great. We're gonna also put in the episode notes a link to the blog post where we explain why you're only reaching 2% of your audience organically when you post on social, and why you might need to consider using paid media to sponsor and promote your organic posts. But real quick, we need to take a short break and we'll be right back on the other side with more with Emily Barrett, social media specialists from Axia Public Relations.
- [Announcer] You're listening to On Top of PR with your host, Jason Mudd. Jason is a trusted advisor to some of America's most admired and fastest growing brands. He is the managing partner at Axia Public Relations, a PR agency that guides news, social, and web strategies for national companies. And now back to the show.
- Hello and welcome back to On Top of PR, I'm your host Jason Mudd. I'm joined today by Emily Barrett, she is a social media specialist with Axia Public Relations, the agency that I work at. We're really excited to have her on the show today. She is sharing some really good advice about social media and how to improve social media for your company's brand and reputation. Emily, welcome back. We are really glad that you're here. We were just talking about the idea of, believe it or not that you've got to start paying to get your social media content in front of your target audience, you can't just depend on organic anymore. You mentioned a few options for making it affordable and why you might benefit from that. Let's just summarize that real quick before we move on.
- Yeah, of course. So organic content is only gonna reach around 2% of your following, maybe even less. So when you want to post something that you want seen by a bigger audience, I suggest paying maybe 5% or 10% of your social media budget to get it out to your audience so people can see your product or invest into your company because that's the only way you're going to reach a larger audience. Unfortunately, now with everybody being on social media it's very competitive and you want to be the best of the best.
- Emily that's right, I absolutely agree. And I would sense you start with five maybe 10% and then as you see results, right. Like anything else, if something's working you put more money into it. I was talking to a colleague this morning though, and I think one thing companies misunderstand is this idea that, let's say for example direct mail is working great or PR is working great, instead of taking money, possibly instead of taking money out of the underperforming elements I feel like companies often forget that there's this whole holistic thing going on, right. So for example, I know with our company we've been getting as of this recording date, a lot more traffic to our website, but can we really point that it's only SEO or it's social media content that's pointing in? I mean, we have a lot of things that we're changing and improving all the time. And so I worry that sometimes the analytics or the even the link tracking may not tell, or the marketing attribution that you're following may not tell you the whole story there might be other elements. So as you know, we're not in the paid media space but I gotta imagine radio advertising with a billboard being seen at the same time. And then you go home and you read an article online or in a magazine about that same product. As you begin to see it all day long you may click on that earned media article at home that helped close that deal but you are warmed up on the way home through the radio ad, the billboard, maybe even an outdoor advertisement on a bus or at a bus stop. There's just so many ways people can be touched. And so I just wanna give our listeners a word of caution to be careful to cut anything and everything, right. If it's not the highest performing option because I think there's kind of a one two punch that might be the most helpful way that you're getting that attention. And I think it's important that we keep that in mind.
- Yeah, I definitely agree. I read an article article earlier this week saying you should have a PR agency as well as an advertising agency, because while we're two completely different things you're gonna get really great benefits out of both of them. Like you said, those billboards that's gonna be advertising, that's gonna be all of those great things. But then that earn media coverage, that PR is of that new story that the PR practitioner pitched to that journalist that's the big way. I mean, that's what's gonna get that person to go home and buy that product or invest in your business. And that's what we want is to do a mutual with each other.
- You're reminding me of one of our episodes where we had an author, Laura Reese talk about the fall of advertising and the rise of PR and just this whole idea that great PR builds brands, a great PR builds brands and advertising does a great job of supporting it. So like the story I gave early if somebody's reading something in the news about a product or service or company that they might wanna do business with that creates one impression, that impression may or may not lead to a transaction but then as they see more earned media or more social media or more web content, or maybe even paid media out there that may inspire them to take action. Emily, one more thing. I didn't think we'd have time for, but it looks like we do, and I'm thrilled about that is I'd love to just walk through very briefly our own kind of internal checklist that we have after some debate decided to share publicly as kind of the checklist we follow as kind of best practices for social media posts. And if you would just, let's start off by first, would you set the table and kinda describe what this checklist is, why we have it, how you use it, do you use it for every single social media post, and then we'll go through it as quickly as we can please.
- Yeah, of course. So I use the social media checklist with every social media account that we have with every post and while I'm creating it and then after I'm creating it to just double-check that I hit everything on that checklist. That's just the most beneficial way you're gonna know that you hit everything that you need to have on your social media accounts. And what we do we have a Google doc of it, I also have like a little list above my desks, that way I can also see it on paper, 'cause I'm a paper person as well as online. But a few of the things that we have in there that I think are so key to have is you need to write an active voice and speak like a person and not like a robot. Like I said earlier, everybody is advertised all day every day. We're tired of robots, we're tired of being sold to. Be a person, have a personality, be funny. Post memes, you want to have a personality. And then you also wanna customize content. Like I said earlier make it unique to the platform, make it native, and then also have the visual to attract attention. Whether it's a video, whether it's a graphic or a GIF, you wanna have some sort of image to draw people in because videos are way more interesting than a random photo.
- You're gonna start the debate of if it's a GIF or GIF. I just heard you say GIF or GIF and or GIF, now I'm confused. But anyway, keep going.
- I go back and forth all the time whether it's GIF or GIF and I'm constantly, people have different opinions on it. But you also wanna be smart and brief and avoid unnecessary words or prepositions. So if you can cut as much of it as you can people have a very short attention span, they like things short and easy. And if you post a lot of blog posts don't always say the word blog posts as I used to do a lot when I first started. You wanna say, "Click here," or, "Here's an article." You're just gonna sound very repetitive and it's kinda stale after awhile. And also to have fun with it, use emojis. Emojis are still in. I still like emojis. Everybody likes a fun emoji here and there. But if it's a more of a serious post, remember take all of this with a grain of salt and look at what you're posting and see if it goes with it. If it's something very serious, don't use an emoji. Why would you use a laughing emoji on something serious? Also, if you have a guest like this podcast you want to tag the guests, they will share what you posted. They will most likely share it with their community that will get more people coming to your website or to your social media accounts, and will get more business for you. So it's so important to tag your guests.
- Emily, I think that's really good. You wanna tag, your partners, your vendors, your suppliers and maybe even the people who wrote the article or whatever it is that you happen to be sharing. You know unfortunately we are running short on time but I understand you're gonna make this list available to our audience through the episode notes. How would somebody listening on a podcast or watching on this video cast, how would they get ahold of this checklist?
- So you're gonna be able to go onto our episode notes. So on top of pr.com/emily-barrett and you'll be able to see the link that we have on there. I'll provide my social media checklist as well as that blog post you mentioned earlier with the 2% of Facebook not showing to your followers.
- Okay awesome. And I think, correct me if I'm wrong, but because of the way our hosting is set up with the domain forwarding, we might need to have the www in front of that address, is that right?
- Yes we do.
- All right, so tell us the address again.
- It's gonna be www.ontopofpr.com/emily-barrett.
- Okay, perfect, excellent. Emily, I'm so thrilled we had you on the show today. You did a great job, I'm really proud of you, and all that you've accomplished here at Axia, and look forward to continuing seeing you do great things for our agency and our clients. And I wanna thank our audience for joining us as we help you stay on top of PR. And so this has been another great episode, we're really glad to have Emily here. So Emily, thanks so much. And we wish everybody the best. If there's ever anything we can do for you please let us know. We wanna thank our sponsors ReviewMaxer and Burrelles Luce for their support of this podcast or video cast if you're watching it on video. Do us a favor if you know someone who would like this episode, maybe it's a colleague of yours trying to improve their social media for your own brand or your own company or maybe there's a business out there that you know and they're just struggling to make social media be as fantastic as it can be for them. Please share this episode with them. I'm pretty sure they'll thank you for it. I personally thank you for that and hope you'll continue to subscribe to our content. And thank you for being a fan of On Top of PR.
- [Announcer] This has been On Top of PR with Jason Mudd presented by ReviewMaxer.