Today’s guest is returning Tiffany Walters is the founder of T & CO Social, a social media marketing agency specializing in social media marketing web design and content strategy Tiffany has seen the power of having a content strategy in place before you try and tackle social media yourself. And I’ve experienced this firsthand with my social media accounts Tiffany has put together a content strategy for my opponent a local page and my page as well based on some ideas and goals that I had at the time.
And it’s really a business plan for social media you gotta have it in some form or another. Now if you’re enjoying this podcast please do me a favor and leave us a review as it helps us support more locals. Let’s get into it.
Listen to the previous podcast episode here!
So Tiffany welcome back to the podcast.
Thank you so much for having me. I’m super excited. Happy 2024.
Yes kicking off 2024. So you accompany T & CO Social. If anybody hasn’t listened to your previous episode hit pause and go back and listen to that you’ll probably forget exactly what we touched on. But it was the start of T and CO social and some of that stuff some of the business makeover stuff that we did. But I want to start with what’s changed since you first came on the podcast.
Listen to the current podcast episode here!
Oh my gosh, I feel so much has changed. I think. I mean the biggest thing is last year I wanted to dedicate myself to working on systems inside my business and implementing things to make it run smoother and get more organized. And this year one of my big goals is to focus on creating code comprehensive marketing strategies digital marketing strategies for my clients that include multiple digital channels. And then also for my small business people because I love to help the small business community. I want to start doing downloads and one-on-one coaching. Okay so kind of pivoting a little bit. And exploring avenues instead of just social media.
When you when you talked about your systems and stuff how did that work out for you? How did that help your business, it’s helped a lot and helps me stay organized. And I think I’m narrowing it down. When I started I didn’t pick a niche to work with I started just working with any business that was reaching out that needed help.
I enjoyed learning about new industries and seeing how I could apply marketing strategies and how they would work for the clients that I was receiving. And so now I think instead of niching down as far as far as industry I’m niching down as far as the services and offerings that I want to give. So I think that’s helped me getting those systems and excuse me getting those systems in place has helped me narrow that stuff down.
I think that’s a big part of the journey of being a business owner the journey of being an entrepreneur is some people know exactly what they want to do from the beginning. And hit it out of the park and then others yourself it takes time to kind of go through the process figure things out figure out who you working with all of that stuff. ,
That’s exactly. And I think I got this kind of I wanted to prove myself kind of attitude. And I might have jumped to 10 steps ahead. And so now I’m kind of net back. I want to pay more attention to the needs of my clients and pay more attention to the analytics and was contributed to ROI. And creating funnels for my clients as well is going to be a huge thing I’m implementing this year.
So I want to touch on that because I wrote that down—converting as something I want to talk to. So we’ll circle back to that because I think that’s a big part of social media that a lot of people are probably missing myself included.
But you so the other thing you said you wanted to focus on this year was business coaching or coaching for social media is that? That’s and then downloads guys providing helpful insights for people.
Absolutely. So I’m going to be launching a strategy guide soon. And in the strategy guide it outlines a basic social media strategy so if people don’t know where to start that’ll be a great one. resource. And I give tools to use ChatGPT and to help fill out the strategy. So I know that when I was first getting started in my business I had never run a business before. So everything that I was doing I was doing for the first time. And I felt overwhelmed a lot.
I didn’t know where to get the information or if the information I was getting was valuable. And a lot of the time it was just a funnel to get me to buy something. So that was frustrating. So I’m putting together this strategy and I will be releasing it. And it’s beta for free. So I want my small business people to take advantage of that. And AI I mean we saw the growth of people using it and in 2023 just it launched out of the gate everybody was using it. And so I do give tips on how to use it.
But more importantly, I give prompts to put into ChatGPT because if you put a generic prompt then you’re gonna get a generic prompt out. So small businesses need to outline their mission vision values brain brand voice all of those key components to building their brand. You can use that to create a better output from the ChatGPT that’s targeted towards your target audience. It’s speaking in your brand voice.
So I mean it’s still important to have that foundation you can but you can use that to say that AI doesn’t sound good. So generic.
That was a big Aha moment when I kind of came across other people talking to ChatGPT giving it prompts you said to act as if you are this. You’re an expert real estate marketer with 10 years of experience stuff that. And it’s it changes. I guess the response you get from ChatGPT.
It’s kind of I mean I spent probably more time than I should just talk to ChatGPT because it’s such a great resource and such a great research tool. So instead of spending hours on Google reading article after article I’ve been just asking it questions and you can ask ChatGPT to cite sources.
So I know a lot of people are hesitant because they think it just makes stuff up. And sometimes it might. But if you’re asking it to cite sources you can then fact-check. And then also now you can add that to your I keep notes section of resources. So you can add those sources to your resources. And now you can always go back to refer and you don’t have to worry about getting the wrong information. So
Can you give us an example of how you’re using ChatGPT in your business?
Yes of course. Um so in my business I can give you an example for this strategy? So let me just brainstorm. So it starts with your okay so the first part of building a successful strategy is creating SMART goals.
A lot of people have a hard time creating the time component for a SMART goal because they don’t know if they’ve never done it before or how to measure it. And so you can put your goal if my goal is to reach 10,000 people through Instagram I can put that goal into chat UBT and ask it to make it a tie SMART goal and it can at least give me a starting point.
And so then I can refer back to that SMART goal. And if I need to adjust the time then I can adjust the time if I needed or just other things I can just do other things but having it in that format and then putting it into breaking it down into quarterly goals and things that is I found very helpful. So that’s a cool idea.
So it’s I use it for anything that I might obsess over. I don’t know how to do this Am I doing this? I have no idea. So then I’ll just plug it into chat. GBT. It can at least give me a starting point. And then I’m okay that’s not I was making it more difficult. My habit is not that difficult. So it’s helped me in that way. I think it’s also helped me if I don’t have an idea.
So if I want to make a caption for example and I have an idea of what I want it to say I want it to include certain components I want it to be directed to a certain target audience I can plug that all in and then it can give me a caption and based on the caption that it gives me I can then decide okay this doesn’t sound the brand or does sound the brand and adjust it but I have a starting point.
And so it’s allowed me to be more creative. Because I can find the words that I need to use if I can’t find them myself. So it’s almost having a little assistant or a little buddy as a resource it’s always there.
I love how you said allows you to be more creative because I think that a lot of people fears that it’s going to put them out of business or for people in your role and you’re in your business for social media. I can go on there and create captions and copy and do everything I need to for social media. But I also need to know how to talk to it. The prompts are what’s important on social media whatever platform you’re on so all those things. you still have to be aware of all that.
I don’t think AI could ever do well. And here’s another misconception AI doesn’t think on its own. It’s gathering information from other resources that were created previously by human beings. And we’ll continue to do that until it evolves.
So people get freaked out because I hear AI artificial intelligence it’s not there yet it’s still relying on human beings. So I get excited about technology. So as soon as it came out I was using it and I was seeing how it could be beneficial.
And for people who might be afraid of AI. I said it’s a great starting point but you still need to revisit it you still need to you can’t just put something into ChatGPT btw copy and paste it you need to be revising it you need to make sure that it fits your brand voice.
It makes working less time-consuming which is great. And I think that part of it allowing me to be more creative is not I’m not spending so much time on things that don’t matter. I can spend more time on strategy and more time on learning the social media platforms.
I said I wanted to start offering comprehensive digital marketing strategies. So I’m doing email marketing ads website or web design SEO. I need more time to do those things if I want to create a complete digital marketing strategy and not just social media so that’s why I love it. Because it’s it frees up a lot of time for me.
It’s such a great feature. If you’re not using it on it. And it’s I mean just something up some of the captions even for email subject lines. You can just stuck on anything. You said you can just go talk to it. I’ve heard stories of I won’t go down that too long.
But there are stories of people just communicating with it daily. Just and not more so than just as a friend. They’re talking to ChatGPT which is a whole nother story. But I mean use it. if you’re a business owner if you’re trying to be creative or do anything or are stuck on anything researching topics there’s so much value in in ChatGPT. And it’s free.
So what about the business owner? social media is always changing so what are some tips for someone who’s kind of stuck maybe they want to build their social following or maybe they’re just starting.
So I would start with a strategy that is the one thing I would focus on first because you want to know you want to make sure who your target audience is you want to make sure that the platforms that you’re choosing to invest your time in you’ll find your audience there. And also if you don’t if you’ve tried out that platform and you don’t enjoy being on it that’s okay not to start there.
Maybe add it later on down the road once you get more comfortable doing social media. so pick a platform that you to use but also has a target audience that you can reach on it Facebook and Instagram have the biggest reach even TikTok is coming in.
I’m seeing a lot of industries that thought they wouldn’t find an audience on TikTok finding their audience to talk. and it’s funny because it’s so new still that a lot of businesses haven’t gone on there yet to create a video so there’s still an opportunity to kind of make a mark for your niche before it gets oversaturated that’s another problem.
I’m seeing it on Instagram. It’s so oversaturated it’s much more difficult to grow organically on Instagram without boosting posts or paying for ads which doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t convert who you’re reaching to paying clients or paying customers it just means that it might not happen away. And it’s more of a long-game strategy than an immediate term. Immediate turnaround and ROI are kind of just the natural evolution of a social media platform
Facebook now it’s been around still has probably the biggest audience on Facebook but it’s harder to reach people. Instagram is kind of the same thing it’s gone through or it’s with reels that were blowing up at one point now not so much anymore. TikTok is blowing up now. And then at some point, it’s going to be the next thing.
Do you think we’re just going to keep inventing another platform another platform another platform,
I also think that these platforms are going to continue to come out with new features to make them the new best thing so they’re still going to compete against each other. So the success people saw on Tik Tok immediately has already gone away. And it’s starting to slow down and not I mean don’t get me wrong videos on TikTok are still reaching hundreds of 1000s of views.
However, it’s not the millions that people were seeing when they were first getting on Tik Tok. With Instagram rails, you just set it when they first came out you were getting I was getting hundreds of 1000s of views just by plugging in a trending audio.
Well, now the original audio is doing better. So you do have to do that I guess that would be the second tip. The first would be strategy. But the second tip would be to keep track of those metrics. Because you want to see what’s working and what’s not working what’s resonating with your audience what’s not. And then put more of your time and effort into the things that people are engaging with.
So when I say watch the metrics I wouldn’t emphasize any one metric over the other. But it depends on what kind of funnel you’re creating on your social media platform. Because if you are somebody who can make sales online then nothing matters. But the end conversion. If you’re trying to build a community however you do want people to feel comfortable to comment on the posts. So it does depend on your goals.
And that’s what I would focus on is when in your strategy you’re going to list out your goals. Whatever your goals are you want to make sure that whatever you’re posting on social media is reaching those goals.
So if you just want to create brand awareness and you want to create a loyal community I would focus on if people are commenting and then sometimes it’s hard to do because a lot of you when you first get started might have comments from other your friends or your family supporting you which will help boost the post to more people. So that’s great.
But obviously, you’re not going to consider that for building a community for your brand. Because those aren’t. That’s not your target audience. So it is a bigger picture.
So the strategy is still going you have to come up with that strategy. How many? How many business owners have a strategy that you that of or that you’ve worked with? Before you sort of work with them?
I have not met one business that had a previous strategy. I’ve had to create strategies for all my clients. And I don’t think they realized how important it was until I created it for them. And then I always sit down and review it with them. And they’re oh wow I didn’t know.
Because in the strategy we also go over niche neighbors or a competitor analysis. And you always think that your competitors are especially if you’re just starting that they’re doing way better than you. And there have been times that I’ve heard your competitor might have more followers but their engagement rate is lower than your engagement. that that mean your community is more keyed in and more loyal to you than their community is to them? And that’s great. that’s a high five for doing that so kind of getting those small wins and showing that. Because I think social media can kind of be overwhelming sometimes.
You said you have to look at the big picture. It’s not just about several s or number of followers big picture is what are your goals? What are you trying to accomplish? And then just track that that. What about because I hear this and I’ve heard both sides engaging on Instagram five minutes for your post be on the platform commenting on other posts sending messages and that sort of stuff. Is that important for a small business owner to do?
I think that if you can create something that you can comment on someone else’s post and make it valuable and engaging yourself instead of generic then I think it’s important if you can’t do that then I would just focus would putting more of your effort into creating valuable content for your target audience. And it depends on the platform too.
So Facebook it’s hard to grow your your business profile. But Facebook still has magic found in groups you can go into groups groups are still super active. And creating content for if you’re on Facebook creating content for groups to post in groups I think should be a part of your strategy. And leading people back to your business page.
And that’s how you can kind of grow and not have to worry about commenting on other competitors’ platforms or that that doesn’t necessarily have to be a part of your strategy. But I do think that if someone comments on your post you should take the time almost immediately to respond to that.
That makes sense. So I wrote this down what is the consumer looking for? So we talk a lot about from the business owner’s perspective how to create content and engage with your audience. what do you think are the consumers looking for? Are they just randomly scrolling and they come across something that’s engaging and it catches their attention? And Oh I could use that in my life? Or are they using it as a Google search and searching for a product or service? ,
Both. I think both honestly. Facebook is a search engine Instagram is becoming more of a search engine. TikTok is a search engine they just released. I don’t remember the statistics but they just released that they were second to Google or something like that. Oh wow. So they’re actually in competition with YouTube and just released. So TikTok started doing long-form videos. And so you can now post long-form videos on Tiktok. YouTube is a search engine that we all know because I think we’ve all learned half the skills that we know.
So searching to grab someone’s attention. That’s the difficult part. So you need to have an engaging copy you need to have something visually that’s going to stop the scroll. I mean there are times when I’m on my Instagram and I’m just scrolling. And I’m I don’t I haven’t read the last four posts that I scrolled past what am I doing I need to put my phone down.
So obviously none of those posts grabbed my attention. But it’s funny because the posts that grabbed my attention are things that I’m already feeling. And I know that if you’re in marketing they talk about this all the time is reaching people through emotion. So really being mindful of the emotions that come with the seasons is a huge thing.
At the beginning of the year, people are focused on New Beginnings goals. February is Valentine’s Day so love is in the air. And so if you can create content around those feelings that would be super impactful because you’re gonna speak directly to someone they’re gonna be are you in my head? Because I was just thinking this and now I’m reading this content and it’s talking directly to me. And if it’s a service or that they’re providing and I feel I need it then I’m going to do the research and I’m going to see if I want to purchase. So those are the things that have been catching my attention. ,
You say that because the same thing it’s oh I’ll usually for me it’s a motivational video or quote or something. And I’m oh man that one that hit home today. It’s what you just had it’s the emotions of it. That’s interesting. I haven’t thought about it before. So that’s why I’m with my clients I stressed the seasons. I’m what season? Is it?? What are people doing now? How can we tie this back to what you’re doing in your business and capture their attention?
I love that. So speaking of capturing attention and converting, what are some strategies there too? Now that you have the followers you have people engaging? how do you convert them to either to buy your service or to buy your product whatever it is?
Well, you have to talk about it you have to talk about your service or product. I think some people get caught up just creating the community. And they forget that they have to actually sell to their customers or tell them what their what service or product they’re providing. So taking the time to create promotional content is a huge thing to converting customers from social media to click the Buy button or come into the store or brick-and-mortar front.
Obviously with online sales, it’s much easier to capture that because you can see me as seamlessly create a funnel that Instagram has shops. Now Facebook has shops now tick Dhaka shops YouTube you can create the link and then just people click on the link and then go to your website. So. So converting I say you have to make the promotional content. Again I would think about who you’re serving and use verbiage that connects with them and takes them down a funnel it’s interesting because I think that you can definitely create multiple levels of content I would create content to attract new customers and then you could create content to nurture your existing community to build that know and trust. Then at the end would be promotional content to sell the service or product. So that’s the outline of the funnel that I would implement in my clients. Social media strategy.
What are you posting? You’re posting stuff for new customers you’re posting stuff for nurturing customers and then converting that’s
So when we were seeing that big spike in the push for reals that’s great that was a great thing to use for new customers because it’s reaching the most people. So you would spend the time that you’re making reels to talk to people who have never heard about your brand before and why they might want to follow you. And the nurturing part could be something more intimate showing up on your stories or making carousel information posts about your service or product and why people should care.
And would be the promotional that just hey we’re having this sale? Or if you come in you get to come in to meet one of our staff members or something that.
I wrote down some stats here that we can just kind of share and discuss. So in 2023, there were 4.9 billion users on all social platforms. And they’re expecting that to jump to 5.8 in 2027. So social media is not going away. And this one I thought was interesting. On average people are using six to seven different platforms. I didn’t even know there were six that many platforms. That was that’s the average. It’s some people are out there using more. I think some of the social media platforms don’t necessarily connect the dots at their social media platform. I think that’s why it sounds so crazy.
One of them was a chat. I forget what it was. WeChat going to mine but I don’t think that’s the thing. Discord. It was one of the top four or five? What’s one that I’ve always thought of it that you can call people overseas or they’re not in your WhatsApp.
So when you create a Facebook or Instagram ads you can actually choose WhatsApp as one of the places where your ads show up. So that actually doesn’t surprise me. Okay, it’s owned by the Meta Business suite — Facebook, Instagram & WhatsApp. So what’s Your favorite platform to use?
So my favorite platform last year was Instagram but now I’m starting to think YouTube has always been my favorite for learning education. But Tik Tok I feel, I don’t know if there’s something there. It just so addicting. You can just go on it for two seconds? It’s so good at feeding you what you want to see. That you just I mean talk about rabbit hole you just spend two hours your life is gone. I actually try not to go on it because I’m so addicted to it.
I’ve gone back and forth. I’ve deleted TikTok before. And I’m done with tick tock and I’ll reinstall it and they okay you spend less time on it. Exactly. And I think that’s important to create boundaries around social media. So that’s my next one the average person spends 145 minutes per day on social media?
Oh my gosh, I believe it. I mean working three hours as a social media strategist I’ve had to create some boundaries myself.
The thing with social media that you have to be careful with is it spikes your dopamine level and the high how high you get your dopamine level the exact low that you’re going to feel afterward. So if you are somebody who spends a lot of time on social media and you feel you’ve been stuck or in a rut lately put your phone down because that’s probably what I mean. ,
What’s crazy? It’s you just think oh I just need another engaging video. I need something else from there. That’s the complete opposite. That’s another reason why push creating strategies because you don’t want to get caught up with the trends happening on social media for building your business. trends are fun. And by all means, if you want to create some flexibility in your content schedule to implement something that’s trending I’m here for it.
However, you don’t want that to be your strategy because then you’re going to get caught up in how many or how much reach you’re gonna get we call them vanity metrics. So you’re gonna get caught up in that instead of looking at what the bigger picture is. Okay well, am I building the community that I want? Am I reaching the people that I want to reach? Are they converting into customers?
I love that. What about short-form videos still the most engaging thing to post you got? Do you have to be creating short-form videos?
100%. I mean it’s it’s also if you only have a limited time to create content it’s the easiest content to create? So you create a short-form video you can now post that video on TikTok Facebook Instagram YouTube shorts Pinterest I think even LinkedIn allows you to post videos on there. I think so. So I mean create one video now you’re on all platforms all major platforms you don’t have to worry about it you just change the copy to fit the audience that’s on that platform.
And then that’s that’s good. I also think that if you do have limited time create the bigger evergreen content first the blog post or the long form YouTube video or podcast and then break that up. And use it for the different platforms. And that goes back to strategy why that’s so important because then you just then what to create. Yep, it’s all just a matter of scheduling it and getting it done. Yep. And you can always
What I’m suggesting to my small business clients is to find somebody on your team whose strength is creating content for you it might be the younger person that’s on your team who’s already creating stories when they work and go into their strengths use them for their strengths to help you create content for your business you still need a strategy because you don’t want that person to become the face of your business.
But if they’re already doing it allow them to create that brand awareness for you and they’ll feel appreciated because you recognize their strengths. And I think it’s just a win win.
I love that. So and you said so you said you’re you’re you’re going to have a free download for a strategy guide for business owners they want it.
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