It might be time to adjust how you’re approaching your social media strategy — especially if your approach is focused solely on top-of-the-funnel activities like building awareness.
However you’re currently approaching social media, this week’s guest has some insight that will help you get more out of the time and money you’re investing in social media marketing and advertising.
In this 45-minute episode, Jason Keath, the CEO of Social Fresh, stops by to discuss the insights he and his team gleaned from the massive report they recently published: The Future of Social.
Among the topics discussed:
- The disconnect between how people say they are using social media and how they should be using social media
- How to use social media to “take people who like you and make them love you”
- Why having clear goals and KPIs is so important
- How to approach Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter (and which one is outpacing the others)
- Why video is so hot right now, and how even inexperienced digital entrepreneurs can leverage the medium
- The importance of focus
- Why smart social media advertising has a content-focused approach
And much, much more.
We talk about Facebook too, of course, because it remains the dominant social media platform. But Jason is quick to caution anyone overlooking the less popular social media channels and content types — because people are having success with them. It’s all about finding the right fit between your goals, your target audience, your content, and the social media platform you’re using.
The Show Notes
- Digital Commerce Academy: Lock in the introductory price before we raise in on Friday, May 27!
- Report: The Future of Social
- Live Event: Social Fresh 2016
- Jason Keath
- Jerod Morris
Voiceover: You’re listening to The Digital Entrepreneur, the show for folks who want to discover smarter ways to create and sell profitable digital goods and services. This podcast is a production of Digital Commerce Institute, the place to be for digital entrepreneurs.
DCI features an in-depth, ongoing instructional academy, plus a live education and networking summit where entrepreneurs from across the globe meet in person. For more information, go to Rainmaker.FM/DigitalCommerce.
Jerod Morris: Welcome to another episode of The Digital Entrepreneur. I am your host, Jerod Morris, the VP of marketing for Rainmaker Digital, and this is episode No. 16 of The Digital Entrepreneur. It’s a special episode because we have a special guest.
Jason Keath, the CEO of Social Fresh, is here to discuss the report that Social Fresh recently released called The Future of Social. You can get that report at SocialFresh.com/Future. We dive into a lot of the insights that Jason and his team came up with, with that report, a lot of interesting data.
The timing of this conversation, for me, is especially interesting because I am actually in the midst right now of putting together a course inside of Digital Commerce Academy called Savvy Social Advertising. The big idea with that course is to teach you, the digital entrepreneur, the 20 percent that you need to know about social media marketing, social media advertising, to derive 80 percent of the benefits.
You are out there developing your digital product, offering your digital service, and you don’t necessarily have the time, the inclination, nor the need to become a full-fledged expert on social media. You have a lot of different things that you’re doing, and that’s not the goal of this course. Again, it’s to teach you that 20 percent that you need to get 80 percent of the results.
What’s interesting about this conversation in this episode with Jason–and why I’m excited to bring it to you–is that he talks a lot about a different way to think about social media. If you’re thinking about social media simply as a way to build awareness and put people into the top of your funnel, you’re not really thinking about social media in the way that it can have the maximum benefits.
Thinking about social media from a customer-loyalty perspective, from a lead-nurturing perspective, from an education perspective, from a customer-service perspective–all of those elements social media does really well–sometimes we overlook them simply trying to build that awareness or even trying to jump right from awareness to a sale.
There are a lot of steps that can and should happen in between there, and you’ll learn about that in this conversation today. You’ll also learn much more about it and learn some really important step-by-step tactics for how to make it work for you and to save you money so that you can make more money and have a better return on your investment in social. That will all come in the course.
As I said, the timing of the conversation is interesting because I’m developing the course, but it’s also interesting from this perspective. We are currently in the midst of our price raise promotion for Digital Commerce Academy. Currently, we’re still offering our post-pilot introductory price of $395 per year for membership at Digital Commerce Academy.
The thing is, since we offered that price the first time, the value of Digital Commerce Academy has skyrocketed. Now there aren’t two full-fledged courses in there. There are four. In addition to Brian’s course on building an online training business and Chris and Tony’s course on marketing funnels, we now have Chris Lema’s course on building WordPress products the smarter way. You have my course on Savvy Social Advertising, plus the entire library of Case Study webinars we’ve done, the entire library of Cutting Edge webinars we’ve done, plus the regular coaching Q&As, which happen every other week, and all of the upcoming ongoing education, in addition to the community.
The time was right to raise the price, and we are. On Friday, May 27th, the price is going up to $595 a year. It’s still a great value, but obviously, it’s a better value at $395. You still have the opportunity to get that. This episode comes out on Thursday, May 26th, so you’ve got about 24 to 48 hours from when this comes out to when the price is going to go up.
Go to Rainmaker.FM/DCA, you can still get that post-pilot introductory price of $395 before the price goes up. Rainmaker.FM/DCA. Again, you’ll have access to my course on social advertising. Especially if today’s episode peaks your interest, then that is a course that you’ll want to get in there and start to dig into. I’m having a lot of fun putting it together, and I really am looking forward to you getting in there, checking it out, giving me your feedback, and learning from it.
Without further ado, let’s get to my discussion with Jason Keath, a really interesting discussion. You will get a lot out of this. Definitely stay around till the end because we get into video at the end. Video is one of the fastest growing content types that is really, really big in social media, and you’re going to want to hear Jason’s tips on how you can make video work for you. We talk about all of that and much, much more here on this episode of The Digital Entrepreneur.
All right, so we are joined on this episode of The Digital Entrepreneur by Jason Keath, the CEO of Social Fresh. Jason, how are you? Welcome to the show.
Jason Keath: Doing great. Excited to be on the show. Thanks for having me.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, yeah. We’re excited to have you here, and we’re excited to talk about your report. You guys just released this report, The Future of Social, and it has some really interesting insights that I want to get into.
I guess the first question is just an overview question about the report, because the report itself is based on surveys. You guys did over 500 surveys that you conducted of digital marketers whose responsibilities include social media marketing.
I’m just wondering, to put this in the proper context for our listeners, how big on average were the companies that these marketers worked for, and will the numbers in the report, and that we’re going to talk about, will those be applicable for digital entrepreneurs who may be solopreneurs or who have smaller teams?
Why The Future of Social Is Relevant Whether You’re a Solopreneur, a Small Team, or a Large Business
Jason Keath: Yeah, yeah. Social Fresh, in general, at our conferences, on our website, on our podcast, everything, we focus on what we call the ‘professional digital marketer,’ or the ‘professional social marketer.’ That’s everybody from solo entrepreneur running their own company, doing their own marketing, doing their own everything, all the way up to the largest companies in the world who attend our conferences. Everybody really gets value out of what we do because we focus on that person and the fundamentals to that responsibility.
The report was no different. We had two research partners, Firebrand Group, an agency out of New York, and Simply Measured, a pretty large social media software company who helped with the report. We also targeted people through some LinkedIn cold emails that we did, so we could get some job titles that we were targeting.
It’s a really well-rounded report. It’s got everybody from very small businesses to very large businesses and everything in-between. It’s really representative of the average of what’s going on in social media marketing.
Jerod Morris: Okay, and for folks who want to see the report, you can go to SocialFresh.com/Future and check it out. We’re going to dive in to some here on this episode. Obviously, we can’t get into everything. Definitely recommend that people go there–again, SocialFresh.com/Future–and check out the report.
The Disconnect Between How People Say They Are Using Social Media and How They Should Be Using Social Media
Jerod Morris: It’s interesting. One of the first observations this made in the report shows what seems to be a disconnect between what people think they’re using social for, what their goals are, and maybe what social is best for them. What I mean by that is, 76 percent of the people surveyed listed ‘awareness’ as one of their top social media goals, yet there were a number of experts that you guys quoted in the report who suggested that this might be a bit of a myopic focus.
What should people–or in our case digital entrepreneurs who are selling maybe an online course, a SaaS application, or premium WordPress product–what should folks be focusing on when it comes to maximizing the time and money that they’re investing in social media?
Jason Keath: Great question. Ten points for the word ‘myopic,’ if everybody’s keeping score at home. Great outline of that. Yeah, that’s right. Social media is great for scale. It’s set up for scale, and it’s set up for all these awareness metrics. You can measure reach really easily. You’ve got a list of followers that’s public. You’ve got ‘likes,’ comments, and Retweets–all these numbers that are thrown at us as vanity metrics.
Even if you’re smart enough to know you should be going after maybe customer loyalty, sales, or leads instead of focusing on awareness, your boss may not be as savvy, necessarily, and may want to really get those awareness numbers higher–those vanity metrics, those followers, et cetera.
Social media in general is still trying to overcome that kind of setup. I don’t know if we’ll ever really get past it, but on the base level, social media is best at people talking to each other. It’s really great at customer loyalty, customer service, really good at building community, really good at taking a smaller audience and making them go from like to love, taking your customers and making them really great word-of-mouth opportunities for you. Or taking your average customer and making them, giving them a longer customer life cycle, giving them upsells, giving them just a better feeling about the trust of your business.
The real low-hanging fruit in social media is that customer loyalty, is that word of mouth, and then building from there. I usually tell people to focus on three audiences in social media, and this is reflected in the report. All the expert advice we got from a lot of folks in the industry is to focus first on your customers in social media, then focus on your qualified leads. If you’re B2B, that could be … actually, if you have a qualified lead program or if you’re a consumer business, it could be just focusing on the target audience that’s best for your product.
Then focus on your fans would be the third audience. Your fans can be people that have great word of mouth of your company00even if they’re not necessarily a customer or going to become a customer. They can be partners, et cetera. Those smaller audiences are much, much bigger reward for the business typically.
Jerod Morris: That’s interesting because a lot of people, when they think about social media, they think about filling up the top part of your funnel, but you’re saying think about social media as a way to interact with people across all the different levels of engagement that you have.
How to Use Social Media to ‘Take People Who Like You and Make Them Love You’
Jason Keath: Yeah, and there’s so much opportunity for social. We asked people to name their top two social media goals, and awareness was just by far the most popular mentioned. Awareness, you can do great awareness building using social, using advertising products that exist on social networks, using video.
There’s a lot of great tools in social networks and social media that can help you with building the top of the funnel. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s harder. It’s going to cost a little more money. It’s typically more difficult, and it’s going to cost a little bit more time.
Now, if you are good at talking to your customers, you’re good at talking to your qualified leads, and you’re good at talking to your biggest fans on social, then, yeah, build that top of the funnel. There’s nothing wrong with that. But the average social media team is very small, and the average marketer has a lot on their plate.
Typically, you’re missing the lower-hanging fruit if that’s your number one focus. If you haven’t built the bottom of your funnel to be really good–and your customer loyalty, and customer service to be really good–that’s a better opportunity for the average business.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, and there’s a great quote in the report from Jay Baer, who says, “Embrace the organic social functions more like an email newsletter, and think strategically about how you can use social to make people who like you, make them love you,” which I thought was great and what you just mentioned.
Jason Keath: Yeah, Jay’s great. His new book is about customer service, so that was a great fit for his expertise with the report.
Jerod Morris: Do you think that part of the issue comes back to the fact that people don’t really understand what their goal is? Or that, if they do have a stated goal, it’s the wrong one? They don’t understand what KPIs they should be looking for. I know there was another stat in there.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it was around 25 percent of people didn’t even know what the return on the investment was from the time and the money that they’re investing in social. It suggests that they don’t even know what they should be tracking. Is that a big issue that folks are having who may be struggling with what they’re doing in social media?
Why Having Clear Goals and KPIs Is So Important
Jason Keath: It’s a great question. ROI, we asked folks, 63 percent said they got a positive ROI from social media, which I think is pretty high. If you’re able to say, “These activities I’m doing on Facebook, on Twitter, et cetera are directly correlating to a return on investment for my business,” that’s typically not the easiest process to implement for your business–having the measurement system in place, having the right goals in place, and tracking people along that process, along that funnel.
I thought that was a pretty good sign for the industry, but you’re right. We did have like 24 percent, I think, were not sure, and 12 percent said they were not seeing a return. We correlated that to a few things, typically a lower experience level when it came to marketing and social in general.
For instance, when we tracked people that were using social media software versus people that were not, just the fact that, if you were using social media software versus just posting natively to Facebook and Twitter and not really monitoring it, using any analytics, using software, you saw ROI 19 out of 20 people, roughly 95 percent. If you weren’t using software, it was virtually a coin flip.
There were a lot of things that really told us that the audiences that have a better system in place, a better process, are doing really well. The folks, the marketers out there that are measuring what they’re doing have an idea of what their goals are. Even if it’s the simplest process, even if it’s just Hootsuite and Bitly, two free tools, even those folks have a much higher percentage chance of seeing a good return and seeing it work for their businesses’ bottom line.
Jerod Morris: The key, then, is to be intentional about it, to be strategic about it, not just spray and pray, but actually have a plan in place for what you’re doing.
Jason Keath: Yeah, it’s shocking, right?
Jerod Morris: Yeah.
Jason Keath: Yeah, basically. We just did a discussion about it when we launched the report. @jeremarketer, the co-writer for the report, mentioned there are a lot of things that are hard to measure. There are a lot of things you can measure, and you can get really intricate with your process and your plan to see what works and what doesn’t. But just simply measuring what you can and learning from that is an initial step that some marketers don’t even take, some business owners don’t take.
Being very intentional about that and learning what data really tells you useful information and what data is more just surface and doesn’t give you as much useful information for actually making more money for your business, that, in itself, is a very important step. These stats amplify that even more.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, absolutely. It won’t surprise anybody, or at least it shouldn’t surprise anybody, that Facebook continues to dominate in terms of where people are spending their money, where people are seeing ROI. I think everybody gets that, but there were a couple of insights that I thought were really interesting that digital entrepreneurs especially need to pay attention to.
Dark Social and the Future of Social Media
Jerod Morris: Like I said, I want to ask you if this is something that a digital entrepreneur should pay attention to. You mentioned, there’s actually a heading on one of the pages that says, “Is the future in dark social?” ‘Dark social’ refers to one-on-one messaging, which can be harder to track. That’s Facebook Messenger and the direct messaging that you get on any of these platforms.
It’s clear to see how this could be a challenge, especially for bigger brands who have tons and tons of fans, and that can get kind of unwieldy to manage. But for smaller online businesses, like the kind that many digital entrepreneurs are running, is this dark social, this one-to-one messaging, is this something that they should be taking more advantage of to connect one on one with customers and even prospects?–especially as we talk about connecting with folks further down the funnel with social.
Jason Keath: Yeah, it’s a hard conversation to give businesses advice on. It’s so new, and it’s so hard to really wrap your head around both tactically and strategically. At the conference this summer–we’ll have our 18th conference in Orlando, Social Fresh 2016–we’re going to have a panel that’s going to touch on at least dark social. We’ve got the CMO of HubSpot. We’ve got some folks from Simply Measured that will probably be talking about it.
Everybody I talked to recently about the future of the industry and where it’s going–everybody that I consider to be very smart in social media–mentions this to me. ‘Social messaging’ is basically what people are calling it, so it’s basic messenger. It’s WhatsApp. It’s half of Snapchat is one-to-one or one-to-many private messaging. It’s what a lot of the Millennials and younger people are focused on.
Even today, social messaging as a platform is larger than social networking. The people that are using these apps, and the amount of content they’re sending, is more content and more people than are active on public-facing social media feeds like Facebook’s feed, Twitter’s feed, Instagram, and LinkedIn, et cetera–which, in of itself, is very important fact.
But the ways to interact with people … if you have a Facebook page and you have a brick-and-mortar store, you probably see messages come on Facebook Messenger. That’s important for you to respond to. That’s something that’s very easy to recommend people pay attention to. They’re probably also getting messages or reviews on Yelp, OpenTable, things like that as well.
For the average business, there’s not really a lot of actionable advice to give today that you can directly measure. Simply Measured is actually working on a system that allows businesses to measure social messaging better, but it’s hard. We’re probably years away. I would say two to three years away at a minimum before most businesses have to worry about this.
You’re going to see a lot of untrackable traffic to your website, to your landing pages that might be coming from private Facebook groups. It might be coming from direct messages in addition to the email traffic that you get that you can’t track.
One of the biggest lessons, for me, is what we just talked about, which is investing in your customer, investing in the audiences that are going to be your word-of-mouth ambassadors, and making sure those people are taken care of. If you do that, all of this conversation that happens in private, one-to-one, one-to-many messages that you can’t track, you can’t measure, you can’t see, it’s going to be better for your business if you’re investing in the right people.
Even influence or marketing would be another layer, but just taking care of your customers which are your best ambassadors would be the best, most actionable thing that I can tell people in response to social messaging right now.
Jerod Morris: I guess there are two layers to social messaging. There’s the one-on-one messaging that’s happening between other people that you can’t see, that you have no control over, that you can’t even really interject into that conversation. Then there’s the one-on-one messaging that you’re having with potential prospects, with customers, and that’s really the only one, obviously, that you participate in.
I know you said it can be one to three years. Is there any way that folks can start to open themselves up for that? Obviously, you want to respond if someone sends you a message. Is it something where people should be making themselves available on a Facebook Messenger or Twitter Direct Message, that kind of thing?
Where You Should Be Making Yourself Available (and Why) on Social Platforms
Jason Keath: Yeah. Especially if you’re a brick and mortar or a service industry that’s local, you’re already getting questions asked directly if you’re a business. If that’s already happening, then doing response in Twitter DMs, doing response in Facebook Messenger is something you should definitely look at, especially as a customer-service response tool.
If you read Jay’s book, Hug Your Haters, he talks about messaging people up to two times publicly for customer service situations, and then taking it into a direct message, an email, or a phone call. That’s great advice and really the way most businesses should be treating those opportunities.
There’s some businesses that are using these. Facebook Messenger is a platform now with an API. You can plug your store into it. You can do automated response bots in it that are customer-service based, that are transactional based. If you’re ESPN and a media company, you can send updates about the Carolina Panthers or the Arizona Diamondbacks. You can do all kinds of things in these apps, but a lot of that is very costly on the time and the budget frontend for the average business.
If you’re ESPN, it makes sense. If you’re Jet Blue, it might make sense, but if you’re a mom and pop, an entrepreneur, or even a medium-sized business with one to 25 people doing marketing and PR, it might not be a resource play that you can handle right now because it’s so new. It’s so untested, and it would take a lot of time and effort in testing to really prove the benefit.
If you are interested in that, there are people that can do that for you. There are companies that are building that kind of thing. But for the average business, it’s something to start thinking about, to start paying attention to, but acting on it is probably a little farther away than this year or next year.
Jerod Morris: So Instagram is growing as a trend that we see continue, and you say in the report, “Instagram will officially become the second most popular social network for marketers to spend their time and money in 2016.”
The numbers, the trends, they’re clearly there. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that Instagram still, at least among some groups of folks, has a perception problem of being more of a niche social media site for photographers, foodies, fashion folks, personal trainers.
I still even catch myself thinking that way sometimes. I know that’s not right. I’m just saying it’s that perception that is there. How can digital entrepreneurs who may not have an obviously visual product and who may even have this kind of bias against Instagram for that very reason tap into Instagram? Clearly it’s a place to be.
How to Approach Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter (and Which One Is Outpacing the Others)
Jason Keath: It’s interesting. You have a B2B bias against Instagram right now because it’s hard to get links out of the site. That’s an immediate barrier for most folks. Consumer brands probably see a lot more value in the platform, and that makes sense because of the visual nature of it.
However, if you are running an advertising campaign for, let’s say, a social media conference like we’re doing for Social Fresh, we use Facebook Ads. We use Facebook Ads because it’s got great targeting. It’s a really mature, the most mature, social advertising product, and now you can do all of those ads on Instagram as well.
We just talked about how you should focus on your customers first. When we’re building a sales funnel for our conference, we have a very targeted audience that we want to make sure knows about the date and time of our event. It is an awareness problem for us, and Instagram’s advertising product is really mature because it’s building on top of Facebook. That, in of itself, is going to have a lot of marketers paying attention.
These might be more lifestyle photos that represent your business or industry. You look at somebody like IBM or GE and the type of content that they’re creating that is almost more like a consumer brand. That’s the type of advertising and imagery that’s going to work on Instagram.
If you talk to Instagram, I’ve talked to them directly, one of the things that they’re trying to focus on, focus content on, is making it look more DIY. In other words, less polished, less like corporate commercial, and more just, “Here’s what’s going on at your office, your industry, your employees,” that is a little more entertaining and a lifestyle focus. It can be self-help. It can be solving your customers problems. Those are the directions that I would look.
That being said, if you’re B2B, the bigger opportunities are going to be on Facebook, are going to be on LinkedIn, Twitter, maybe even a SlideShare. If you do have a specific awareness challenge that Facebook’s Ad platform can help you achieve through Instagram ads, I think that’s something to test. The audience is clearly there. It’s bigger than Twitter now. It’s bigger than LinkedIn. It’s growing faster than both of them, and it has an amazing ad platform attached to it.
Just because it’s growing and just because it’s going to receive a lot more attention from social marketers in general, doesn’t necessarily mean that your business has to be there, and has to be investing in it. However, I think look at it, and look at that opportunity and see if there’s something you can test there on that platform.
Jerod Morris: You mentioned LinkedIn, and Facebook obviously dominates the paid advertising spend and the ROI as we talked about, with Twitter and Instagram coming in next in terms of where people are spending their time and their money. But surprisingly, at least to me, was LinkedIn is the one that ranked second in terms of ROI. Why do you think it is that LinkedIn, that people have been able to get a better return on LinkedIn despite it not being used as much as Instagram and Twitter?
Why Some People Get a Better ROI with LinkedIn and When LinkedIn Is a Good Choice
Jason Keath: Well, LinkedIn has been consistent. It hasn’t gone away. It’s bringing in revenue. They’re growing slowly compared to the other social networks, but they’re growing. They’ve got specific products for HR, for some sales folks, for hiring that are really powerful.
Then, when it came to our advertising question, what we saw there is we forced people to pick one. Facebook completely dominated. I think it was 75 percent of people said, “If I had to pick one, Facebook Ads are the best,” which is pretty representative of what the technology can do and the value of it.
LinkedIn was second. It was the only question we asked where LinkedIn showed up in the second spot. It was third or lower in everything else, and I think it’s because there’s a small, but significant audience of marketers, mostly B2B, and probably even mostly SaaS-software-focused audiences, or service focused, that see a good value from the LinkedIn Ad.
You can do things on LinkedIn Ads that you can’t do elsewhere, the biggest of which is targeting job titles–which can be very powerful. However, they’re a little more expensive, so most of the folks that are spending money on LinkedIn Ads that are seeing success, they typically have a larger price point and can stomach that kind of cost-per-lead price that’s going to be higher on the LinkedIn platform.
That being said, I’ve seen that success consistently from this smaller, yet significant audience that is mostly B2B companies on LinkedIn, and I don’t think that’s going away. They are improving their ad platform. They are consistently investing in it, so it’s still got a lot of opportunity for a certain type of business.
Jerod Morris: I have a question that I wrote down: if you could only focus on one network starting today, would it be Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn? I’m guessing based on your answers to these last few questions that it’s really going to depend, and it’s going to depend going back to your goals, going back to your budget, going back on who you’re trying to reach. Would that be an accurate guess on my part?
What Social Platform(s) You Should Be Focusing On
Jason Keath: Yeah, definitely. Instagram’s younger. LinkedIn’s older. LinkedIn’s probably better for B2B. I’d say Instagram and Twitter are better for consumer. These are all generalities. Your business mileage may vary. For us, for instance, for Social Fresh, going out to social marketers, Twitter is probably the best of those three. Although, again, we’re looking at Instagram because there’s a lot of social marketers … there’s typically a majority female audience now, for us at least, for our target, and they’re more likely to be on Instagram in a lot of ways. It just depends on your specific demographic target.
Jerod Morris: Let’s turn our attention to content development here a little bit. I thought it was interesting and encouraging that you ask people where the biggest amount of their time is spent, and the biggest chunk of time was spent in content development.
Do you think that we’ve moved past this old era where content marketing and social media marketing, especially paid social media marketing, were seen as mutually exclusive? It seems, to me, that the smartest marketers realize that content and social really feed off of each other and make each other more successful.
Why Smart Social Media Advertising Has a Content-Focused Approach
Jason Keath: Yeah. At the first Social Fresh conference, which I was planning in 2008, ‘content marketing’ as a term did not exist. Nobody was using it. We were talking about social media, and there’s still people trying to debate whether it was ‘social networking’ or ‘social media’ is the term.
We talked back then about blogging. We talked about video content. We talked about creating images. All of that was what people define as content marketing in a lot of ways now. It’s a little broader, but it’s always been the same conversation.
As social networks have gotten noisier, as the competition has gotten to be louder and louder, and harder to get your message out, the focus on more quality content, on a higher-quality product when it comes to video, blog posts, images, or what not, that’s created a subsection conversation that is content marketing. I think that’s great.
For us, we’ve always discussed content and social in the same breath. Email marketing is in that conversation. It’s all digital today, and it all touches itself. It’s all hyper-connected. I don’t see them as separate discussions at all.
Jerod Morris: No, and they certainly shouldn’t be. Again, for people who are doing it right, they’re not. When it comes to content, and specifically types of content, obviously blog post content works. I think images were the one that people who responded to your survey, that they invested the most time in and that they were seeing the most success from. But the one that seems to be growing the most is video.
How can digital entrepreneurs be leveraging video more in their social media marketing? Are there suggestions that you have for creating good, quality video that will work in social media that’s not cost-prohibitive? I know that’s a big challenge for folks who want to get into video.
Why Video Is So Hot Right Now
Jason Keath: Yeah, there’s so many levels of video, and you’re right. If we look at the top three social networks, in a lot of our questions, especially where people were seeing return and where they’re investing their time and money in the future, it’s roughly Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
If you look at what all three of those are focused on, it’s video. Instagram and their newest release, they have an entire section tab dedicated to video. They’re stringing together videos now, similar to a Snapchat story. Facebook’s Ad platform and their feed are focused, hyper-focused on video. Twitter is also following suit and focusing on video, trying not to fall behind there.
Purely as an opportunity standpoint, your opportunity to stand out in this noisy system we’ve described and your opportunity to build the trust with your smaller audiences, your customers, your fans, video is something you have to be looking at. To build on top of that, you have Snapchat as a big trend, which has a lot of video content. You have live streaming platforms like Facebook Live, Periscope, and Blab that are video focused.
There’s a lot of opportunity to experiment. I don’t think you need to focus purely on the storyboarding, the classic TV-commercial-style video where you’re storyboarding something, you’re doing product features, you’re doing high-quality video shoots. That’s super time-intensive, and if you are a big company, maybe that’s important for you. You look at what Lowe’s Home Improvement is doing on Snapchat, where they’re building stories through short video clips or short stills, that’s more of a mixed media experience.
Snapchat’s a great platform for relearning what video can do, and using the Snapchat story product can really, if you start playing around with that, testing it, trying to build narratives where there’s a beginning, middle, and end, and a purpose to your story, that’s really video editing. That’s what video editing has been forever, and this is a much easier way to create things like that. That’s a great education point.
And just one more piece of advice. Look to live-stream platforms to get comfortable with video. Look to Periscope. Look to Blab. Look to Facebook Live to play around with it, to get comfortable in front of the camera, and to experiment with lighting, with microphones, with everything. Just minimum viable product–get something out there, play with it, learn about it, and test it.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, that’s what’s so interesting about video. It seems intimidating, yet video doesn’t need to be perfect to work. It seems like what people really want is authenticity and something useful. You can do that in a video that isn’t the highest ‘visual quality’ as long as it tells a good story. Maybe it uses text to help extenuate the visuals–as long as audio is good, which is an interesting part about video is that a lot of people judge the quality of a video by the audio quality and the lighting, of course.
What other rules of thumb do you have for people who want to dip their toes into video with Periscope or with one of those, maybe want to put it out on Facebook and even do some advertising with it? What’s the minimum that folks need to do? Any rules of thumb you have for what people need to have in those videos?
How Even Inexperienced Digital Entrepreneurs Can Leverage Video
Jason Keath: Yeah, you want to tell a story. Facebook Video Ads are great to experiment with. You can almost build a funnel with three to four videos that you try to expose the same audience to.
For our conference, for instance, we might have a 30-second spot just with highlights. Then we might have really short clips of past attendees talking about it, testimonials. Then we might have short clips of speakers from previous conferences on stage showing the product. Then we might have videos of how the conference has actually changed businesses for the better and make that kind of the hard sell at the end–and trying to get people to watch all four of those.
You can do that really easily with Facebook Ads, with Twitter Ads, with Instagram ads now. Make them short. Make the first few seconds really visually engaging because a lot of these videos are muted. The phones are muted or the computers are muted when they’re first watching them. Making them click the volume button, making them engage through a highly visual engagement–people moving around, beautiful people, smiles, action, et cetera. Making sure you have that narrative, have that purpose of your video.
We do interviews like this for our podcast. We do Blab recordings, webinars, things like that. Just taking excerpts of something like that and putting it as a video ad or something is not necessarily the most engaging, so you might have to do a little editing. You might have to do a little bit of planning, of strategy, and testing.
Another key is to test your Facebook Ads, your Instagram photos, your Twitter Ads, and things like that. Learn which visuals are hitting well, and do something that’s very similar or those exact images as your first few seconds of your video. That’s really helpful as well to get people engaged.
Then a software tip, just a really simple software tip, I use something called ScreenFlow, which is $100. I use it on my Mac. It’s as good as any editing software out there. It actually makes some things a lot easier. If you’ve never done video editing, you’re going to have a learning curve. But you have to learn it, somebody in your company has to learn it, or you have to find somebody that you can outsource it to that’s quick and can move fast with these things and learn.
Jerod Morris: Hey, when you talked about that three-, four-video sequence, like what you guys are doing for the event, obviously, you have that last video that’s more the harder sell for the event. Where are you sending people in the first few videos? If they click over, are they going over to the landing page for the event? How do you work that in as you go through the funnel?
How (and Where) You Should Work Links from Your Videos into Your Funnel
Jason Keath: A lot of these platforms, you can easily list a link. You can pop up a link at the end of almost all the videos. Typically, what we do is always have our landing page link for all of them. If you have a longer sales cycle, you may want to take people through more of an education of your product.
For us, we’re typically very narrow in our advertising targets. We’ve found ways that we can really target people that are social media marketers with our ads, so there’s not as much product education. It’s just more convincing people of the quality of what we have to offer through testimonials and excerpts, but we try to include the link all throughout.
Typically, for us, people land on our conference landing page, they’ll check out the speakers. They’ll check out the topics. They’ll realize they’re interested. They may have to go get approval. They may have to submit for budget. They’ll come back again in a couple weeks. They’ll realize they got an email from us that the price is going up in two days, and then they’ll buy it then. It’ll come back to our landing page several times, and we build the ads around that same concept.
Jerod Morris: That’s a really interesting point and a good one. It’s important to have that level of self-awareness for your product and your company, to understand what your sales cycle is. Like you said, you guys have a pretty good understanding of how you’re targeting and what your sales cycle is. You can send people directly to that sales page.
Other people who maybe do have a longer sales cycle but they send people right to the page, they bounce, and they lose that person. Whereas, maybe getting someone to opt-in, taking them through a lead-nurturing sequence might have been a better decision.
Do you find that there is sometimes, for people who struggle with social media, a disconnect between where they’re sending people, the offer they’re presenting to people, and maybe what they actually should be based on what their product is and what their sales cycle really looks like?
The ‘Commitment Curve’ and How It Helps You Build Trust
Jason Keath: Yeah, totally. I think everyone has a nurturing problem. If we all got better at understanding the 17 steps between someone knowing about your company and buying your most expensive product, it would solve all of marketing’s problems.
For me, we look at something I learned a long time ago called the ‘commitment curve,’ which is you get people to take little steps, and that builds trust between you and them. Ultimately, you try to get them to accomplish a larger step, a larger trigger, goal, et cetera. That’s typically a large purchase. This is something political campaigns do really well where they get you to sign a petition as a first step in that commitment curve.
For us, our product, it costs a decent amount of money to attend Social Fresh conference. Mostly, it’s businesses paying for that for their marketers to attend, but we get everybody. We get a really good rating on people that get value out of it and return year after year. But It’s hard to convince someone– they just learned about the company, they’ve never heard about it before–drop $1,000 or more a ticket, depending on how much they’re getting involved in the conference.
So you have to build steps in-between. Our research report is a great introduction to our company. They can spend time with that. They can hear us on podcasts like this. We also have other reports that they can purchase that are a lower price point. We have webinars and things like that, experiences that are good content marketing where they can get to know us.
You have to build those steps along the way. If you’re jumping from an introduction to trying to cram a purchase into their news feed, then it’s a much lower conversion rate for everyone.
Jerod Morris: Jason, when I’m not here hosting The Digital Entrepreneur, I’m over hosting The Showrunner, talking about podcasting, or hosting one of the other three podcasts that I do. I’m big into podcasting. In looking at the report on that list of content, I was kind of disappointed to see podcasts so low on the list of content priorities for the companies that you surveyed.
I’m just wondering your thoughts on why that was. Is that because the medium itself is still gaining traction with content consumers? The medium itself doesn’t really lend itself well to quick consumption. Or something else? Why do you think people aren’t prioritizing podcast content more? Especially when it’s proven its ability to connect so well.
The Value of Podcasts
Jason Keath: I’m a big believer in podcasting. It falls into a larger category for us that we talk about called ‘trust content,’ which is spending more time and more meaningful moments with your audience–with a smaller audience typically.
Podcasts, there’s a lot of barriers. You can’t measure it very easily. Most people are turned off by that. The biggest barrier is it’s hard. It’s hard to get a good-quality audio. It’s hard to turn out consistent content. We’re getting ready to start season two of our podcast for Social Fresh. We believe in it, but we can’t do it year round. It’s just too much of a resource drag on our small team.
But we believe in it enough that we are doing it again. When I talk to people in person, one of the number one things they mention is, “Oh yeah, we love the Social Toolkit Podcast. We love listening to that.” It’s one of the number one things people mention to me as just an ad-hoc, unrequested piece of information, so I love that.
I’d also argue that it’s not that low on the list. You’re saying it’s basically number 12 out of a list we have that’s one through 12, but we had about 20 to 25 different content that were listed for that question. It’s in the top 12.
Jerod Morris: Ah, okay.
Jason Keath: It’s seven percent of people who create podcasts at least once a month. I think it’s growing. It’s young. It’s a hard production, really draining for folks, and most folks aren’t set up to do that yet–just like video.
Jerod Morris: Good, I’m glad it was higher than I thought. That’s good.
Jason Keath: I think it’s higher than you think. Also, there’s no quick podcasting. There’s quick video with Snapchat, live streaming, and short video on Twitter and Facebook, but there’s not really any quick podcasting that does any good for anyone. That makes it a little bit more difficult.
Jerod Morris: Hey, getting back to the video real quick. What’s the ideal length of a video? Maybe that’s an impossible question to answer. It may depend. Is there a rule of thumb for how long my videos should be if I wanted to have an impact in social media?
Finding the Sweet Spot for Video Length
Jason Keath: Yeah, 43 seconds, I would say, precisely.
Jerod Morris: Oh perfect.
Jason Keath: Typically, 30 seconds to two or three minutes is what a lot of people say. I’d say keeping it between 30 and probably 100 and 120 seconds–90 seconds is a sweet spot. That really challenges you.
What you’re going to have to end up doing is taking what is in your head as a video and breaking it up, usually into two, three, or four videos. You probably have too complex of an idea of what video you want to create.
For us, it was highlight reel, testimonials, speakers on stage, examples of that, and then the last video would be simply one case study telling that hard story at the end. Think of those very simple stories you can tell with video, and then try to tell them really well in this short timeframe.
Jerod Morris: Yeah. Well, again, the report is at SocialFresh.com/Future. I really, really encourage everybody to go check that out. You can dig into some of these numbers that we’ve talked about today. Jason, obviously folks will go there, and they’ll be able to check out that report.
If there’s one element or takeaway from the report that you think all the digital entrepreneurs who are listening to this should walk away from this episode from, walk away from reading that report from, what would that be?
The Importance of Focus
Jason Keath: It’s to take a close look at what you’re doing and if you’re reaching the audience you want with the content and the social network that you’re using. There’s a lot of people that are focused on Facebook only, or they went the other direction and focused on all the social networks they can get access to.
My interesting part of the report was seeing that LinkedIn Ad performance, or seeing that there’s still people that answered Pinterest or Snapchat as an ROI answer. It was much, much smaller, but there are people getting a return out of SlideShare, out of webinars, out of podcasts. People are still listening to these things, and it’s important for every business to find their niche. You don’t have to do all of this. You shouldn’t be doing webinars, podcasts, infographics, and video on Snapchat, et cetera, et cetera.
Trim it all down. Find those niche opportunities for you that work for your business. If you’re an e-commerce fashion brand, look at Instagram. If you’re a B2B SaaS company, look at LinkedIn. Really focus on getting those right. There are so many people in these social networks now, you can focus on one and find a ton of opportunity. I think that’s a bigger trend that’s going to play out for social marketers moving forward.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, excellent advice, Jason. If you want to get more from Jason, you can follow him on Twitter @JasonKeath. Jason, thank you for your time and for your insight. This has been a lot of fun.
Jason Keath: Yeah I appreciate it, and I really, really highly encourage folks to check out our conference. If you go to SocialFresh.com/Rainmaker, we’ve just put up a temporary, for the next couple of weeks, $100 off. Check it out. We’d really love to see some Rainmaker, Copyblogger fans out there at the conference this year.
Jerod Morris: Absolutely. It’s SocialFresh.com/Rainmaker. All right, Jason, thank you, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Jason Keath: Thanks, Jerod. Appreciate it.
Jerod Morris: My thanks again to Jason Keath of Social Fresh for joining us on this episode of The Digital Entrepreneur. Again, the URL for the report is SocialFresh.com/Future. If you are interested in their conference, it is SocialFresh.com/Rainmaker. Go check that out. Their conference is in August.
How to Take Your Digital Business to the Next Level
Jerod Morris: Again, make sure today or tomorrow that you go to Rainmaker.FM/DCA. The price of Digital Commerce Academy is going up. Even if you get to this episode after Friday, May 27th, the price of one of those courses that is in there would be $495 if we sold it individually, and you’re getting four of those courses plus everything else for $595 per year. It’s an incredible deal.
We really want you to get in there, learn as much as you can so that you can take your digital business to the next level and be as successful as you can possibly be. That is the goal with The Digital Entrepreneur podcast. That is the goal of Digital Commerce Academy. We look forward to you taking advantage of it.
Again, Rainmaker.FM/DCA. If you’re listening to this on the day the episode goes out, make sure you go there to get the best price that you can get on Digital Commerce Academy.
All right, everybody, thank you very much for listening to this episode. We will be back next week with another brand-new episode of The Digital Entrepreneur. Until then, take care. We will talk to you soon.