Business Unusual: One Last Look at Social Media

Jill McKenna:
Hi, I’m Jill McKenna. I am the Campaign Marketing Manager at Ruby and today I’m so delighted to be speaking with Melissa Barker. Melissa is a Business Coach and Social Media Consultant who has been helping businesses with marketing and sales strategy for over a decade. She’s a trailblazer in the field of social media and the author of the first college textbook. She’s literally written the book on social media marketing. The book is called Social Media Marketing: A Strategic Approach and it’s going into its third edition. Thanks for joining us, Melissa.

Melissa Barker:
Thank you so much for having me.

Jill McKenna:
How are you feeling about posting times and sending times for information? Is that really changing right now?

Melissa Barker:
Oh yeah. All the times that we thought once worked just broke because everyone is from home now. And so that is actually probably one of the biggest takeaways I hope anybody watching this gets is that now is the time to A/B test those times. And so what does that mean? That means posting consistently still at those times and then seeing is it the content? Is it the time of day? Has your engagement changed? And really becoming much more metrics-driven. Also a lot of the native analytics within Instagram, Facebook you can see when your audience is typically most online and so really leaning into that and using that.

Melissa Barker:
But also knowing that this is a strange time and there’s going to be more experimentation needed than ever. Right? So lunchtime is now totally different for a lot of people. Breakfast time, what does that actually look like? Because those were typically the times that we would encourage people to post. Right? You’d post in the morning, you’d post around noon, post around dinner time. But all of that has shifted with everyone being at home so I think that there’s a real need to test those times for your individual case.

Jill McKenna:
I know that we can’t fortune tell the future, we don’t know what’s going to happen. But are there trends or things that are happening now that you see or believe will become new normals for us regarding our social media practice?

Melissa Barker:
Yeah, absolutely. I think the biggest thing is that the standards for content and quality social media content have just raised, like exponentially. Right? When we have so much information, now more than ever, we can’t afford to put out half-baked content. It really has to be timely, it has to be high quality, or you’re going to get unfollowed at this point. And that’s what I’m seeing happen to a lot of different businesses that are still trying to maybe keep their posting schedule, but the quality of the content has gone down. So I think they’re across the board. I mean, it is going to call all of us to create better and to create content that we ourselves would want to consume.

Melissa Barker:
And I think the other piece is that more than ever businesses now have to really listen and we have to inquire about what does our target audience want? We spoke about that a little earlier about the ability to poll and to ask the audience, “What is it that you want to see more of from us?” And so I think there’s going to be a big trend around that and the importance of that and getting feedback about what is being created and not just assuming that we know what people want to hear.

Melissa Barker:
But I think the biggest thing to is that this isn’t necessarily a trend, but this is like a word to the wise, is to really approach this with a sense of curiosity. Treat it like a lab and like an experiment and not get attached or hurt when something doesn’t go the way we think it’s going to with social media more than ever. And treating it constantly as like a scientist that you’re just experimenting and you’re trying to figure some things out. And if we can stay in that mentality, that state of curiosity and approaching it with a little bit of levity and experimentation. I think that’s when we’re really going to see success.

Jill McKenna:
Great. I’m somebody who firmly, and I’m sure you do too, firmly believes that in industries rising tide raises all ships. Right? So are there examples of collaborations that you’ve seen lately that are really working or is there a mentality about collaborations that we should carry now or would like to carry forward that would be really beneficial for all?

Melissa Barker:
Yeah. I think you see this a lot with influencers. Right? That have different brands that they’re working with. I think more than ever you don’t have to be working with influencers or micro-influencers even necessarily, but finding opportunities for collaboration is really, really key. There’s not any specific examples that come to mind, but it is something that I am seeing business owners kind of do naturally. Like commenting on other businesses that they like or acknowledging each other, right? There’s this sense of community and acknowledgement that’s starting to grow and I think that leaning into that is really key. And I think it’s really key not only for selling things or getting your products out there, but for how do you want to navigate in whatever the next phase of all of this looks like. And I think that emphasis on local and community is key and so thinking about what are some businesses that I might want to collaborate with from a social perspective. Maybe running a joint giveaway or contest or just always knowing that you’re going to engage with each other’s content.

Jill McKenna:
I’m curious about influencers since you mentioned them. I know their role has really been changing in social media within the last year. And I’m curious how the role of influencers is playing out during this time of COVID and hopefully when we move into post COVID?

Melissa Barker:
Yeah. I mean what I’ve really been seeing is that actually micro-influencers have been the ones that are being tapped into more and a lot of the strategy around businesses working. Because the larger influencers have, again, a broader audience. They don’t necessarily have a specific target market now associated with them and so I have been seeing many of them, unfortunately, not doing as well during these times and having a broad-reaching approach. And we’re now looking more to like the local micro-influencers and I think that that is the direction things have been going, even pre-COVID was that micro-influencers were becoming a much more important part of doing business.

Jill McKenna:
I was curious about when we’re talking about coming from a place of service, we want to obviously portray our companies for the good works that we do also. But what’s the line right now? We don’t want to be self-aggrandizing, right? We don’t at this time want to be like, “Oh, we’re so great. Look at everything wonderful that we’re doing. Too bad everybody’s suffering.” How do we work those things in now in an integral way and with a balance in mind?

Melissa Barker:
And I think that that’s a great question. I think the biggest thing without being overly self-congratulatory is just reminding people that you are committed to helping. Right? And so the way you phrase is always like, “We are committed. Here is how we are doing it.” So it’s showing action rather than saying, “Hey, we did it.” And I think just kind of acknowledging this is the reason we are doing these things. Right? And coming from a perspective of wanting to acknowledge the importance and encourage others to do the same.

Jill McKenna:
Melissa, you’ve more than answered all my questions. I’m so grateful. And you’re so articulate and succinct that this moved really quickly and we covered a lot of ground, but a lot of great ground. And I’m so, so grateful for you. If people want to find your work online, where can they go?

Melissa Barker:
So the best place to connect with me is melissabarker.com. That is my primary website and if someone is looking for whether that’s small business coaching or to get help with a social media audit or the social media master certification course, all the links are there and I would love to connect with them.

Jill McKenna:
Great. And they should connect with you. Thank you so much. I’m sure we’ll be talking to you in the future again. I’m so grateful for your time. Thank you.

Melissa Barker:
It was so wonderful to be here and loved having these conversations. I think these are really important conversations to be having, especially in light of everything that’s going on. So thank you so much for having me.

Jill McKenna:
Absolutely. Our pleasure.

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