Table of Contents
- Long-Form Content on YouTube:
- TikTok’s Role in Creative Experimentation:
- Employees as Brand Influencers:
- Importance of Authentic Engagement:
- Potential Impact of AI in Social Media:
- Strategies for Gaining Initial Traction on Social Platforms:
Sophie Miller’s session on “What are 2024’s top social media trends & must-use platforms?” was a comprehensive discussion covering various key points in social media trends and strategies for marketers. Here’s an expanded overview based on the provided document:
Long-Form Content on YouTube:
Sophie emphasized the resurgence of long-form content, particularly on YouTube. She discussed how consumer preferences are evolving towards content that offers more depth and engagement, suggesting a shift away from the shorter formats popularized by platforms like TikTok. The session explored the idea that while short-form content can be engaging, there’s a growing appetite for more substantial content that delves deeper into topics.
TikTok’s Role in Creative Experimentation:
TikTok was highlighted for its significant influence in setting trends and fostering creative experimentation. Sophie suggested that marketers should view TikTok not just as a platform for viral content, but as a space for testing new ideas and creative formats. This approach can lead to insights that might influence broader marketing strategies.
Employees as Brand Influencers:
The concept of leveraging employees as brand influencers was explored. Sophie discussed how employees could be pivotal in humanizing a brand and creating authentic connections with audiences. This approach can be particularly effective in the B2B sector, where personal connections and trust are crucial.
Importance of Authentic Engagement:
Authenticity in engagement was a key theme. The discussion focused on the need for brands to engage genuinely with their audience, moving beyond superficial interactions to foster deeper connections. This can be achieved by actively participating in conversations and showing a brand’s human side.
Potential Impact of AI in Social Media:
The potential role of AI in social media was discussed. While acknowledging the advancements in AI, Sophie emphasized the unique value of human creativity and the importance of leveraging AI to enhance, rather than replace, human-driven content and interactions.
Strategies for Gaining Initial Traction on Social Platforms:
For brands or marketers just starting on social media platforms, or those not seeing much traction, Sophie recommended focusing on creating shareable, engaging content to increase visibility and grow the audience.
These insights reflect the evolving landscape of social media and provide valuable guidance for marketers looking to stay ahead of trends in 2024. The session offered a blend of practical advice and strategic thinking, emphasizing the importance of adapting to changing consumer preferences and leveraging new opportunities in the digital space.
Sophie, thank you so much for being here. It’s a joy as ever. And let’s get going with a question about the current landscape and ask you, what are the top three social media platforms you’re prioritizing for marketers in 2024 and why?
Oh, I am so excited to be here today. I feel like I’ve just been on a trend and forecasting train since the start of December. It’s always that time of year, isn’t it, where every company on the planet launches their yearly wrap, it’s the trend report, it’s YouTube playback, and I’ve essentially been eating it all up for the past six weeks now. So excited to finally let some of the information out of my brain, absolutely love this community as well. So pure joy to be here.
So for me, there are two platforms that I’m really thinking about this year. There are two that I feel my business or me as a marketer have humbly conquered, but I recommend them too, so I’ll go through them quickly. And number one very common answer you’ll see people talking about this year is YouTube. There’s a lot of chatter on the internet about long form being back.
I really don’t think for the people who are in loyal communities that long form content went anywhere to begin with. But TikTok, short form video, YouTube shorts almost was a louder conversation. So long form was forgotten about. I’ve actually got my camera, it’s just switched itself off, but I’m vlogging this week in attempt to live my trend forecast out and give YouTube a shot for myself. I know that you guys place a lot of your webinars on YouTube as well, and I really feel like it’s going to resurge this year, or at least I hope it will because I personally want it to.
Nice. I find that really interesting. Why is that? What is it about long form in particular that feels interesting this year or what is the chatter about because…?
Oh, good question. Yeah, I see a lot of people specifically on TikTok talking about how people are bored of TikTok. I feel like we are slowly moving past the conversation of attention spans have shrunk, but actually attention spans are just pickier. We, as consumers, I really think we’ve become aware of where we’re placing our time and effort. So a really interesting TikTok from someone I follow called Coco MoCo, which is firstly the coolest name ever, and she explored a similar topic around long form coming back and why she thinks that it’s going to be such a big thing this year. And this thought of it actually takes more effort for you as a consumer, a social media user, to scroll to a new video on TikTok every 10 seconds to adapt to a new face, a new voice, a new landscape, a new topic, a new community.
Doing that for 10 minutes, you are digesting so much more than you would be than if you sat down, watched a vlog from your favorite marketer, at Pretty Little Marketer on YouTube. It takes much less effort. And that conversation around attention span shrinking. I don’t think they… Well, scientifically, they probably have shrunk, but marketing wise, I think we’re just becoming more aware of, again, where our energy is going.
So I really loved, and I thought that point was so interesting about, although TikTok, you scroll, you get to see so much, actually the effort it takes to digest every 10, 20 seconds something new is huge. So replacing that with something more dedicated, something slower, I suppose. I think I’m really interested to see. I’m going to try it myself, but interested to see how that one will go.
That’s really interesting. It probably speaks to a bit of a trend in lifestyles as well, which is, you just hear so many folks speaking about not making this the year of… We did this before we went live where we were just speaking about not making this the biggest year ever. We were speaking about getting through the year in a sustainable lovely way, which balances out both life and everything else, which is really, really interesting. I guess there’s also a point there about active viewing versus passive viewing. I always put YouTube on in the background when I’m cooking, for example.
And I’d happily watch something really interesting from An Uncensored CMO or something like that. That’s really interesting. You mentioned a… In fact, could I just follow up on this because there is a couple of questions in the chat. So how long is long form to you when folks are saying…?
I feel like everyone you speak to would probably give a different answer. So I’d also be curious to know what you think, Joe. I would say how long is long form to me? Video wise, I would say three minutes plus. That would be-
What do you think?
I’m probably there as well. It’s beyond what you would comfortably post on social media usually or expect people to scroll past. So we’ve got Amy there in the chat saying 10 minutes, Brooke, there saying 15 to 30. So maybe you got long form and then you got long, long form, maybe.
Extra long form.
So that’s really interesting. You spoke about your second channel that you were thinking about as well. So what was the second platform that you are prioritizing for this year?
Yeah, so although starting thinking of YouTube and long form, and for me, YouTube’s going to be that very evergreen space. It’s the place that I’m probably not going to be posting on all the time. But it’s for the really loyal brand fans who are invested in my business and our community.
I guess the polar opposite side to that is giving TikTok a proper run for its money this year. It’s really embarrassing. It was my 2022 New Year’s resolution to post on TikTok every day of the year and well, we’re in 2024 now. I don’t quite post very often at all, but I really want my TikTok experience as a marketer to just be a place where I experiment. I was really lucky to grab 20 minutes with someone called Anna from Sisters & Seekers who are a UK based clothing brand. They’ve just hit 100 000 followers on TikTok this week actually and I interviewed her last week just learning more about their approach to TikToks.
I think that they are an incredible example of how to do it well. And throughout every conversation, I was reading the transcription last night, ready to type up the interview. Even for a company like theirs, their TikTok approach is simply to experiment. So for me, looking at TikTok this year less as a place to go viral, grow my audience, get leads, although all of those are of course possible over there, really using it as a channel to experiment, to have fun, try new things because if no one sees, it’s fine. Awesome.
But if people do see it, then there’s some really good insights that could potentially travel. I feel like TikTok just runs the world in terms of trends and conversations as well. So figuring out how you, or for me, my brand could be a part of that I think is going to be a really good learning curve, hopefully anyway.
Nice. I love that. And it feels really important. So first thing we need to say is that before we came on today, we spoke about the difficulty in speaking about these trends because there’s going to be so many people in so many different contexts that we definitely have to frame today as, “This is Sophie’s reflections on what’s going on in the social media landscape,” and the things that you are thinking of rather than generic business advice that everyone can take into their business every day.
Nonetheless, when you’re speaking about experimentation for you at the very least, if you’re not thinking about going viral, what are you thinking about on TikTok, is it the experimentation just to see what works and then you double down on that or are you thinking about something else? What’s the direction of that experimentation?
Awesome. Yeah, two things. I think number one is that experimenting on topics and trends and me as a marketer, it was the Grammy’s last week, I know it was the Emmys last night. And I am really into pop culture and I think as marketers, as brands, we should be. Pop culture literally runs our world, it’s the memes we see on TikTok on Twitter it influences what people or de influences what people buy. The sports games people go to ie. Taylor Swift and where she is and what she’s up to.
So for me, number one, figuring out where I fit in that and how I can use the power of TikTok in terms of those conversations and trends to build my business in the right way. And then two, something I know a lot of people are talking about this year is of course personal branding, which we all know is nothing new.
Personal branding has been around forever, but I suppose with the power of the internet now, it just looks different. I often recommend, and I know others do too, LinkedIn for your personal brand building in a professional sense or has been for me an incredible place to get in front of new people to position my business.
I always call it proper, but with authority and hopefully some credibility too. But I think video, and I know that people have done this long before I’ve been thinking about it, video almost gives that personal brand that extra depth so that when you are thinking about PLM for example, you can hear what PLM and see what PLM sounds like as opposed to just copy on your noisy LinkedIn feed.
So twofold I suppose number one, figuring out where I fit in that trend cycle and how I can leverage that for my businesses, again, many others have done before. But two, almost giving my brand dimension through TikTok and deepening it a little more. Of course, many, many ways to use TikTok this year, but those are the two main ones for me.
Nice. I love that. And what you’re speaking about as well is also mirrored through different elements of marketing as well. So we’ve previously had Dr. Grace Kite, and I think it was Azeem in our SEO panel that we held here. Both of them were recommending video as the go-to format in terms of the thing that people should be really, really thinking about. So that is really interesting that it’s just been mirrored across different elements from within the marketing sphere.
There’s a real encouragement there and of course Sambrook, in the chat right now saying, “YUP” in capital letters, who’s always been convinced at the power of video. That’s a really, really important.
Cool, I can see that We’ve got 23 open questions right now. There’s also been a bunch that have come through the chat feature. If I could just ask folks to pop questions in the Q&A and make sure that any you would really like asked are given a thumbs up, then we’ll make sure to prioritize those in the second half of today’s session in the next 10 to 12 minutes or so.
But let’s continue because I want to make sure that we, as I say, deliver on the promise of what we asked at the beginning of today’s session. So when we’re speaking about emerging trends, this is quite a difficult thing because trends will emerge as the year goes on, but can you identify anything at the moment where you’re like, “You know what, this is probably going to be something in the next year that marketers should be aware of.” trend wise.
Absolutely. So I have got a tiny list with me. So I’ve got three that I am really thinking about, not just myself but my clients as well. So I consult with B2B and B2C brands on how they can use social media. Now my focus and my outlook, my perspective on socials is very community focused. So a lot of these are going to be based in my bias of social media as a relationship tool. If you are interested in having a deeper dive into more data backed, emerging trends, HubSpot, Hootsuite, SEMrush, all have great free reports that you can likely find on the internet soon.
So number one is something that I shared on LinkedIn on the PLM channel a few weeks back, but got a lot of people talking in the comments actually. And it is this sort of employees as influencers and if you’re live in the chat, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this as well because a conversation that I’m really interested in.
So when I talk about employees as influencers, there are kind of two strands to it. Number one is that more B2C influencing, if any of you have seen SheerLuxe on TikTok or I guess a more recent example loosely might be Ben Gallagher from Luxe Collective and how they almost as employees become the faces of their brand. There’s a beautiful girl in the SheerLuxe team called Sapna. I always hope I say her name correctly. And she’s on the SheerLuxe, she’s on TikTok channel. She’s on their Instagram. She does her product roundups on stories.
But I love her recommendations so much through the company page that I’ve gone on to find her personal Instagram. I follow her, she influences, she does brand deals through there. So I think that’s going to be a really interesting dynamic that in the B2C space specifically. The way I see that looking for B2B is probably leveraging more LinkedIn, maybe TikTok and creating support leaders in your company.
I think that BornSouth sure do a good job at this on LinkedIn, and TikTok. KLOWT, Amelia Sordell’s brand, a lot of her employees post about personal branding, their wins, their client wins and less influencing I suppose. But again, using those in my post, I call them community connectors, so it’s like brand, people, but you’ve got your employees in the middle almost helping people up onto that platform.
So I don’t know how it’s going to play out whether that’s going to be something we look back on in five years and think, “God, we exploited all of our employees, that was awful.” Or whether it’ll be hugely innovative and great. So number one, I really love these thoughts in the chat as well, so I thought of employees as influencers and how that could play out.
That’s fabulous. There’s a lot of agreement in the chat here and folks really are agreeing with the importance of it. I’d love to carry on to number two if you won’t mind.
Awesome. Yes, of course. Number two, I guess it’s not anything new, but I think it’s something that a lot of brands are going to prioritize more this year. It was Paula Perez, I think that is their name. They are a community manager at Oatly. I follow them on LinkedIn and they did a post early December and it was screenshots from them being cheeky from the Oatly TikTok account and replying to people and obviously they are in industry, they are running a huge account and I’m really loving seeing bigger brands note the importance of not just building relationships, being relatable, building your personal brand, being unhinged or whatever it might be, but actually taking it from, “This is our funny content that you enjoy.” Here’s you commenting and connecting with them through their comment sections. Again, I think attention span isn’t shrinking, we’re just becoming fussier and just being relatable through our content.
I’m not sure it’s enough anymore when our attention is being fought for all day, every day. Again, I spoke with Anna from Sisters & Seekers about this and she says that she loves replying to comments because it positions them as a friend. Just someone in the group chat, someone replying to them and rewarding that engagement as well.
I remember I did a post on LinkedIn a while back about Monzo who are the [inaudible 00:17:12] rock marketing and whoever, I don’t know if it’s Richard Cook who manages the LinkedIn or whoever it is that manages the LinkedIn commenting, it was somebody funny. And I remember screenshotting it, it’s almost like a badge of honor of, “Monzo commented on my account, they’ve seen it. This is awesome.” So really interested to see who does that better this year and who’s going to prioritize that as well.
I love that. Just to jump in there, I think it’s a really fabulous point and one that would work in a range of context as well because I think some folks would say Monzo is a type of company where you do get that badge of honor. But you’re an engineering firm in Cambridge and that’s highly relevant to you in your world. It works in exactly the same way and I think there’ll be a temptation for some folks to go, “Oh, my company’s not as interesting as Monzo,” but I think that point is just one that’s really well to be reinforced for everyone who we engage with.
Yeah, absolutely. One of my challenges this year is to, especially through the PLM channels, try and reply, not always, but try best to reply to every comment so you are not just brand person, it’s a shared space.
My third and final prediction for this year is something similar. Obviously the use of AI is all people are talking by now. It’s a big trend prediction for this year. It was last year as well and probably will be next year. But AI and the conversation around that trend speaks to be more in a, “How can I be different in unique way?” as opposed to, I don’t know, “How can I get GPT to write my actions or whatnot.” And something I’m really thinking about this year. And I guess it ties in with those two other predictions as well, and my love for community building and relationship is that immersive experience that brands are creating online.
So again, whether it’s Oatly or our engineering firm in Cambridge applying to their comments, it’s like opening the door to their workshop and being in there with them. I think it’s one of the reasons why people are talking so much about authenticity at the moment as well. It’s more than being relatable or showing behind the scenes. It’s that immersive, inviting the outside in almost and getting to know brands and allowing your audience to know you as more than just an engineering firm, but, “Here’s the parts at the front desk, here’s the parts of doing X, Y, Z. Here are our values, here’s where we came from.” So use of AI trend leading into that thought of that experimental experience, online community vibes, buzzwords.
I love it. But also the thing that I appreciate about that last point in particular is that it loops background with the longer form content as well because you’re doing both those things.
Everything ties up really, really, really, really well together. I could see that on the first point where you were mentioning employees as advocates, there were some comments in the chat about folks being worried about their employees not necessarily wanting to appear on camera and stuff like that. What I’ll do after today’s session because we probably don’t have a lot of time to go into that today, is I’ll link a session that we did last year in the follow-up email, which I think will hopefully help folks with a little bit of that as well. So watch out for that in there.
I had 12 questions before we get going. I think we’ve covered two, which is amazing because of the depth of your answer. So I really appreciate it and it’s been fabulous to explore all of these. I want to focus perhaps a little bit on gaining initial traction because I saw that you did a post the other day about what happens if no one’s commenting and so one of your themes that you just spoke about with your predictions was really engaging back.
But perhaps if you are not getting anything back then that’s really tricky. I saw Hannah in the chat for example, speaking about, “Try doing it if you’re a digital marketing agency,” for example, where people don’t want to hear from you. So for brands or marketers just starting out on these platforms or folks who aren’t presently seeing much traction, what strategies would you recommend to gain traction and really start building that audience? Or is that the wrong way to be thinking about it? Perhaps it’s-
Oh, good question. I think it almost becomes taboo sometimes, doesn’t it, talk about growth and even I was writing a post the other day and I wrote the word followers and I was like, “Oh no, that should be audience or that should be community.” But actually wanting a larger audience or just having a 2024 goal to grow your followers isn’t a bad thing. I think that we’re often really condemned for it aren’t we. I’m hugely passionate about growth. I have days of the week where I post things purely, I love community and building relationship, but I have days of the week specifically on the LinkedIn PLM channel where I will post a meme, or a trending post, or something purely for growth because I want to grow my community.
Ultimately, you cannot grow if you’re not getting in front of new people. And it sucks when you create something that is so relationship building, it’s an awesome carousel, it’s full of value, but no one sees it because they’re not there yet. And it’s almost like you are… Think of yourself as a singer or an artist and if you rocked up to the O2 in London and just walked onto the stage and started singing, that’s great, but I think the walls are padded and no one can hear you yet. And if you haven’t taken that time before to introduce yourself to the world, no one knows you’re there and you can’t fill all the seats.
So step one for me is figuring out how can you get in front of the most right people? I guess a step before that would be of course to optimize your social channel so that when you do get in front of those people, your bio is good, your LinkedIn bio is good, your story highlights are set up and whatnot.
But in terms of content and growth, that point of me is always what can I do on this platform, what is your chosen platform? What can I do to get in front of the most right people? I have a post on my Instagram grid somewhere all about shareable content. And the reason why people share content is it either resonates with a belief or an interest, it’s something we believe that represents us. Maybe it’s why does my boss not understand social media? We might want to share it because it’s what we believe or it’s an interest such as something trendy about the Barbie movie, or Oppenheimer, or whatever’s trendy right now.
Using a believable interest, a meme, a trending post, something shareable that’s going to expand your reach. You need to be visible before people connect and follow. But there’s a trillion other more things I could say. But I will send those posts and maybe they can be linked somewhere because I feel like they go more in depth on connection points. But yeah, ultimately what can I do to get in front of the most right people right now and almost viewing that initial growth stages.
Again, something exciting to experiment with rather than, “I need to grow, I need people to see my content.” You have no pressure right now because there’s no one there yet. So you can sing the first song you wrote to the empty O2 and have a good time. So yeah, initial thought, what can you do to get in front of the most right people on the platforms you want.
I love that. Thank you, Sophie. Two things to follow up with that. First is a logistical point because we’re going to be heading into the community questions in a moment. So folks, if you see any questions that you like, make sure to give them a thumbs up because we’ll prioritize those and that will help us keep us honest on whether we’ve delivered on the session that you want it to be. So make sure to prioritize those things. I think Sophie’s already given some phenomenal answers today with some great examples too. So it’s been fab.
The second is on that growth point, maybe this is a generational thing, but I think there’s a pride almost in that, I always want to provide that depth of content and it’s almost at the expense of posting memes and stuff like that. And I think I’ve almost been proud to a point of blocking our growth because we’ve done well with TMM, but if we posted memes for example, or slightly more, if I was going to be rude about it, probably sinner content, then I’ve been worried about that.
So I’m really interested about that point about posting those things and stuff like that. Is that something that you’ve had a mental block on at any point or felt like it’s not represented your companies or do you just feel it’s such an important part of social strategy that we have to get over that and sort of work through that point?
I love this question. I think for a really long time when people mentioned shareable content to me, memes for the only thing I thought of. So again, recognizing that people share belief or an interest I feel like gave me an opening as to actually what could that shareable content be that isn’t just a meme. Also, the way I build my social strategy with my platforms or my content strategy is using a different platform for a different goal.
So LinkedIn for me, I find really easy, easier than other platforms for organic growth and visibility, my personal account specifically. So I will use that account to maybe share my more general content, the content that are smaller tips for everybody in the marketing space. It might be a meme, it might be a trending piece, it might be an encouragement, people love to share encouragement, things that make you feel good. But I will use that platform to hopefully grow, increase my brand’s visibility, but then in every post I would always mention PLM or I will link or I will tag PLM in the comment section.
So whether it’s shareable content that isn’t necessarily memes and figuring out what that could look like for your brand or using your platform strategically. So maybe TikTok is the place where you share your thin content that gets you in front of the most right people, but you always refer back to your LinkedIn. So people then are sent there and that’s where you build your depth of relationship.
Or for me that looks like doing so my sinner content on LinkedIn, but then my more in depth community carousels the valuable content on my Instagram. So visibility will look different. Again, it’s tricky, it’ll look different to everybody, but yeah, whether that is through your content or through the channels you use, increasing your visibility and then pulling those people back wherever you might want them to be. Instagram, Newsletter, TikTok, wherever.
That’s perfect. And speaking about marketing concepts, it’s a good old funnel in a way.
Yeah, exactly that.
Everything having the purpose. So thank you very much. I really appreciate that answer because I think even that just helps me get past my own mental block as much as anything else. So thank you. Let’s start taking questions from the community. We’ve got 25 minutes left, 54 open questions, so we’ll do our best to both get through what we can, but also make sure the depth of the conversation is appropriate.
So the first one is from Dale, so I’m going to read it slowly, Sophie, so you’ve got time to think about the answer. You’ve already mentioned one I think today, but which B2B companies do you think are smashing TikTok right now?
Oh, good question. I think two come to mind initially. Number one would be is it Morning Brew or Marketing Brew? What’s the big company? I think it’s Morning Brew, Niche Brew’s underneath. Morning Brew, I would consider them to be B2B. Yeah, I guess so if you’re not familiar with Morning Brew, how would you describe them? I guess they’re like a new outlet.
Yeah, I think that’s right. A publisher, a news outlet, but it targets businesses.
They’re awesome. They have a great newsletter if you are interested first of all, and it’s free I think through every day as well. But on the TikTok piece, Morning Brew, they have the best TikTok channel. It would Rachel Carlton who runs a newsletter called, I think it’s LinkedIn Bio. If not, I’ll send it to you Joe, and we can recommend it. She actually interviewed the social media manager from Morning Brew. So if you haven’t checked them out, I highly recommend. They almost like dramatize and make light of news with the end goal of entertaining people and delivering the news. That is the whole goal of the business, that’s what they do.
But the way that differs from their Instagram where it’s just a new story to their newsletter where it’s a bit more built out to their TikTok where it’s entertainment value. I think it’s really interesting when you look at their social channels to see they do the same thing, but how they do it in those places is really different. So Morning Brew would absolutely be number one.
And then number two, again, I’m not sure if we’d consider them to be B2B, definitely do would be Adobe. They do really awesome content with their UGC content and despite it being a tool and a software, all of their videos have a person in, have a human in, which feels really backwards. But again goes back to that thought of one employees as influencers, or not even just employees, but the faces of your brands and how you can build relationship that way.
I’d say they’re quite polar opposite, Adobe and Morning Brew, but those would be my two favorites. But if anyone else has any faves, please pop them in the chat. I would love to know.
Yeah, absolutely. That’s a great call out as well actually. Thank you. And thank you for those two. I think that works perfectly because they are two very different companies.
Go in very different ways. So thank you. Let’s take the next one, which comes from an anonymous attendee. They’re always [inaudible 00:32:23]. In fact, almost all of the top questions today are from anonymous. So someone was asking very good questions or these are different folks, but the question is where we have an audience on a social media channel that’s become a bit stagnant, how can we best reengage these folks?
Really good question. It is the worst feeling sometimes, isn’t it? I’ve lost my mouse. There we go. I worked with a brand two years ago, it was quite a while ago now, and they used to have a thriving LinkedIn company page and that engagement used to be great. It used to result in some really high quality applications and recommendations and then their social media person left, it was left to another team. They didn’t have time because when you already have a job, social media is a job in itself and it wasn’t used for around a year.
Audience wise, you forget, you fall out of love, you are engaging with other people, so they become, up at the top of your homepages, over people that aren’t posting, started posting again and nothing. All of the old brand bands were gone, they were replicating a similar type of content, but it just wasn’t working.
So we walked with them for a little while to basically be like, “Right, how can we make people love us again? How can we reconnect?” And I guess there were a few steps to it. The first step to me, and again, I guess going back to that thin content that doesn’t necessarily do much for you brand-wise probably doesn’t result in the most leads or sales, but the really low barrier content that people can get involved with because when people comment and interact, more people will see it, which is great, but also it provides them almost like it’s the first day at the gym.
Once you’ve done that, you’ve interacted once. When you see them again, it’s easier to do so because you’ve had that initial touch point. I do this a lot on the PLM LinkedIn page, the Pretty Little Marketer LinkedIn page. Once a week I’ll do a really low barrier, really easy, three reminders for social media managers. You are great, life suck, Elon Musk is the worst. Whatever those three reminders are, what would you add? What’s number four? And that’s a really loose example that’s going to look different to everybody.
But my first step when working with that brand, and I’ve done it before more recently too, is there was low barrier. What can I do to make it just this? It’s easy, it’s not the best content, but it gets people through the doors. On the opposite side of that, waiting for people to come to you is going to people.
So again, whether it’s on TikTok, using that brand account to comment on relevant posts in your page or the same on LinkedIn as well, how can you allow people externally to become familiar with you again? So again, not going to build the business too much, but I feel like it’s really important in your content rotation to have those posts that probably aren’t going to make the most money or your ICP or your leads. Just those easy ones that, that again, open the doors.
So finding easy ways to make people come to you, hopefully interact and engage. Or if that’s not happening, we’re going outward where we’re joining the comments sections, we’re joining conversations and trying that approach. A hundred other steps but those would be my first initial trials I suppose.
That’s perfect. And the second point, the one that I take from that, the spirit behind it is that none of these things happen by accident or by themselves. I think that’s been the promise of social media for so long as you post once you go viral profit.
Oh god, yeah, no.
And there is that thing which is like elbow grease, you turn up, you show up, you respond, part the community, et cetera, et cetera. That’s how you build it up. Even examples such as Duro Lingo, which again I appreciate is a big brand, but they show up regularly and therefore they’ve built a real momentum behind what they do. So thank you for that. Not only for the examples and the direction, but also the principles behind because I think that’s really useful. We’ve got Venicia, in the chat saying, “This is incredible learning so much.” We’ve got next one from anonymous to move into a completely different space. Who asks about your go-to apps to manage your social?
Ooh. So trying to think about what I use, I use Planable as a scheduling tool. There are a scheduling and collaboration tool. So scheduling wise Planable, I use Dash Hudson a lot at the moment for social listening. They have a really awesome tool on, I think it’s on their paid subscription called Vision AI that can give you the sentiment analysis of your comments, what people think, but also it will predict the engagement level of the post before it goes live based on your… It’s all very fancy. So Planable, Dash Hudson, I use CapCut for all things video, Canva for all things static. I think that might be everything.
I know some people have quite a big tech stack, don’t they, for what they do, but I’m not very techy first of all. And if it’s not simple, my brain will shut shop. There will just be no existing. Planable, Dash Hudson, CapCut, Canva would be… Those are my four.
Nice. That’s perfect. So I need to shout out two of those brands there. So Planable sponsored today’s newsletter. So there’s actually a resource in our newsletter today from Planable, I’d encourage folks to check out. And then likewise, Canva is just a game changer. It’s been phenomenal. So yeah, big agreement there.
This next one’s a big one and I think AO asked it earlier in the chat as well. I saw it pop up in the chat and folks were asking about it. Which is demonstrating the value of digital marketing or specifically social media in a way that bosses care about. Because as we’ve spoken about things today, we’ve also reflected on stuff such as that conversation around the “Sinner content.” I don’t think that’s necessarily the right word to use all the time and how that might be a longer term play and all those sorts of things. When you’re going into these businesses, and I don’t think you do quite as much freelancing as you used to, but when you’re trying to justify the effort of your social media, how do you begin to have those conversations?
One thing that is really comforting about questions like this or even conversations like this is that if you are in a company or you freelance and you’re facing clients who don’t get it, you are absolutely not alone. And I think alongside many other things I love about the community here and just the marketing community in general, so that we’re in it together and we get it and we’ve got each other’s backs. But yeah, no, absolutely. I have faced many times, I’ve had brands come to me for consulting, previously social media management, “You’re the expert, you do this.” “Okay, well this is how it’s going to happen.” “Well, no, we don’t want it to happen like that. We want it to happen, we want this, we want that. We don’t want that to happen.”
And I think the one thing I’ve learned, which I guess is pretty generic advice, again, it very much depends on who you are, what you’re doing and who that boss is, is really just trying to speak their language.
What does social media mean to them? First of all, because I feel like it’s often really easy to penalize someone for not getting it. “Oh, we can’t go viral overnight. What do you mean? Why is that what you want?” But if that’s their reflection of social media and they don’t understand the full potential of it, then that is going to be that limitation. So understanding what is their goal with social media, what’s your understanding of it?
And then really speaking their language. So for a boss, why would they be interested in the social media? Well, brand awareness, maybe it’s sales, maybe it’s the future of their business and trying to level with them on that. I did a webinar with Lisa Eaton from Fabric who’s incredible one or two years back now, and she educates people in the B2B space. She educates on strategy and she has 10 years in the career on me, maybe longer.
She’s been doing it amazingly for so long, and it was actually her recommendation to speak that language and find what’s the shared goal? “I want to do a good job. You want brand awareness. Awesome, well let’s do this.” Failing that and working with a brand at the moment, whose marketing manager reached out and I’m running a workshop for them later this year, they were like, “I want our bosses in the room because they won’t listen to me, so maybe they’ll listen to you.” Which breaks my heart.
But equally, if you do have budget or there’s someone who could externally come into educate, it’s almost that blinkers bias, isn’t it? Like, “Well, they’re an expert so maybe they’ll listen to them.” But language I think is number one. If not, I tend to cry, but that doesn’t get me.
Well. And there is that element of it. We’ve had plenty of folks over the course of time, and I’m not suggesting that you would do this immediately on this issue alone, but sometimes you’re just not working in the right environment where people are going to understand that there is those options that exist there. I think this is a really important point. So I’d love to ask a follow-up question, which is when you find that middle ground between someone’s over here saying sales, and you’re like, “Ah, it doesn’t quite work like that.”
Have you got an example of a conversation where you’ve managed to bring people round to go, “Ah, you know what, I do get it. And here’s the space to actually do what you need to do,” type of thing. Just be really frank.
Yeah, it’s so difficult, isn’t it? I think a lot of it comes from a place of confidence and knowing that, “I know this is what you want, but to my core, we cannot go viral overnight. We need two, three months to trial something new.” I don’t think I have… I have been quite lucky, well, luck is a subjective word. But I’ve never had huge pushback. I would say what I do tend to do it, I’m quite a practical person, so maybe my middle ground and the reason why there’s never any [inaudible 00:43:26], “I would never do that.”
I really try and logistically put a plan into place. So it’s, “Okay, you are here. I’m here. If we just have two months, here’s what’s going to happen? Rather than that fluff, but we need two months to see if it will work.” And actually if they can see, “Okay, this is the next step,” and almost, not heeding to it, but giving them something to monitor as well. Creating a collaborative timeline. “I’m going to try this for three weeks. We’re going to have a meeting in four weeks. In our meeting in four weeks, we are going to look at the impressions. We’re going to look at X, Y, Z.” And setting tangible touch points, a plan. Yes.
If there’s one thing that I want from this year is this year to be the year of internal communication for marketers, just to really prioritize those conversations because for the most part, people aren’t trying to not understand things, it’s just that they don’t have time or the head space. So to be taken on that journey is really, really important. So thank you. And demonstrating the plan is an excellent way to do just that. We’ve got a three word question next from Will, who’s just had to pop out, but he’ll catch this in the recording, which is, is Twitter dying?
I was at an event in November and I was a speaker alongside Matt Navarra, who is one of my favorite people in our industry. He basically is like an industry insider. He has an incredible newsletter. He runs a community called GeekOuts. And before my session, he did a fireside with someone from the event and there were loads of questions about Twitter and basically, he hates Twitter. And every time someone mentioned it, he’d hear him like, “Oh, not Twitter again.” It was really funny.
So Matt had a, or still has, I think it was over 100 000 followers on Twitter, now X, he’d been on there for years. All of his journalist, marketing, industry connections were on there. And he actually made the decision late last year to come off it. He no longer posts, I don’t know if he uses it casually, but he no longer posts on X/Twitter and now does Threads, Instagram ish and LinkedIn instead.
And for me, he’s always been almost my Twitter North Star. If Matt’s on there, Matt uses it for the same reasons I would. So if it’s alive and well to him, it’s alive and well to me. So the second he was like, “Oh, over and out.” It really made me think. Now I have never really used Twitter for my business. I grew up, my teens I spent it on Tumblr and Twitter, so I feel like I just have really toxic biases from my teenage days of just all of that horridness of Twitter.
But all that said, I don’t think it’s dead. I just think it’s different. I think there are so many people out there who are such loyal, hardcore fans of Twitter. We look at brands like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Aldi, they thrive on there. And I think at least for now, they maybe be silly to give it up. So ultimately a marketing answer, it depends, doesn’t it? I wouldn’t build my personal brand on there, but if you were already established on there equally, I wouldn’t give it up. So I don’t think it’s dead. I wish it would die, but right now, no.
It’s changing so regularly though as well, isn’t it? It’s wrapped up in so much and it can be quite a heated conversation for some folks, but even Anastasia has just put something in there in the chat, which is, “I hate Twitter,” which is a fair comment. It’s a personal reflection and it’s one that’s charged with a lot of things. And I can imagine for folks who’ve built up an audience there and really loved it could be really quite difficult to move away from that.
So it’s a real shame what’s happened there. But there you go, you get Nick on the other side, he said, “I love it.” You got both sides of it. Let’s take the next question from Alyssia, we’ve got seven minutes left, so I just want to once again encourage folks if there are any questions that you really want answering, then we’ve got to… I’ll just ask you to give it a thumbs up to make sure that we deliver the session that you want from today. So this question from Alyssia says, in addition to long form content format, what about podcasts? Are they still growing or are we more a, everyone and their mother has a podcast phase?
I love this question. I think it really depends. Again, it depends. But what are you using a podcast for? I would love to start PLM podcasts. It’s been a dream of mine for a while. Maybe I’ll do it this year, maybe I won’t, we’ll see. But for me, I wouldn’t see a podcast as a means of growth, it wouldn’t. I don’t want to top the industry charts, but it would be more of a community hub for loyal brand fans to, I don’t know, hear me ramble about things they want me to talk about in a more accessible way that isn’t a webinar or a paid event or whatever that could be.
So I think it very much depends where does it fit in your content mix, what’s the point? And is something else doing that for you already? That said, I’ve seen a lot of predictions in especially the creator economy space that creators as they blow up and the end to mainstream, Alex Al being an example of this, Madeline RG signed to Alex Cooper’s Unwell Network who now produces both of their podcasts. Emma Chamberlain is a great example as well.
So I think creator and personal brand wise, also a really great place to deepen relationships. But I think, I mean I don’t think they’re going anywhere. I don’t think they’re going to anytime soon. I don’t think it’s quite the boom it was a few years ago because it’s not new anymore. We’re used to it. I think that’s the only reason why we assume a plateau. But yeah, it depends where, why are you going to start a podcasts, what’s the point? And just making sure it fits logically, I would say.
I love that and thank you for reinforcing that point. I think that’s a really strong takeaway that folks can take from today’s session is thinking about these platforms in different… rather than just doing a podcast, just doing a LinkedIn post, whatever it is, having a clear purpose behind these things. It’s exactly the type of thing that a decent marketing strategy should be thinking about when you’re putting together your tactical plan. But we even do it at TMM where we’ll sort of think, “Oh, okay, we need three posts this week.” And we’ll think about the post rather than the purpose first to switch that narrative round is so, so important.
And particularly when interacting between the different platforms as well. So I just want to thank you for reinforcing that point. I think if social isn’t your space, that’s not necessarily an intuitive thing to do, but I think it’s really, really important.
I want to pick up on the second question from Alyssia, because again, we’re speaking in generic terms here about platforms and I appreciate it will be something for everyone will have different things to take about this. But we haven’t mentioned Threads really today and of course it landed with a splash last year and then kind of dissipated in my opinion. But I have been seeing that you’ve carried on posting on Threads. So I’d love to know why you’ve continued doing that and your general observations on Threads in its totality.
So one thing you need to know about me is I’m very stubborn. So when Threads launched, I’ll say, “Threads is amazing, everyone should be on it.” And I’ve committed to that now. So I would never give up. So first and foremost, I’m stubborn and when I say that I like something and I’ll do it, I will. But second of all, I think I struggle recommending Threads because although as a user, and I guess as a creator, someone that posts on there, I absolutely love it. I am equally incredibly fortunate and I think the brands and individuals that thrive on that are too, that when they joined Threads, they already had a loyal group from Instagram ready and waiting to see them in a new format. So it was almost like, I don’t know, adding a new room to your house, you already know it’s going to be cozy, it’s going to be good, you’ve already been there before.
So I think a lot of my Threads enjoyment comes from that. Not necessarily biased, but I already have an audience who are bought into what I do. So when I do post, at least a few people will see it, hopefully enjoy it, maybe respond. Whereas if you don’t have that on Instagram, you’re going to join Threads, you’re going to post, might be Tumbleweed. And when you’re not seeing that return, it’s really hard to continue.
So I guess it depends if Instagram is your jam and your community over there is also, then Threads will likely be somewhere you really enjoy as well. That said, I don’t think it’s a place to totally write off. Again, we’re all about experimenting this year. My feed on Threads is always so conversational. It’s not just about the hearts and the likes. Everyone replies to everyone. I’ve made some awesome connections over there.
We don’t even follow each other elsewhere, but we’ll just reply to each other’s threads on Threads. So I guess again, it comes back to what am I using it for? If I’m expecting to blow up and have loads of community engagement, might be disappointed. But if I’m just there to connect with others and learn from them, maybe it could work. So it’s hard because it’s very… it’s just Instagram, but text. So if you like Instagram, it’ll be for you. I don’t think it’s going to disappear anytime soon. So it’s hard because it’s new, it’s still a baby, but those would be my best thoughts.
That’s perfect. And that’s all we can ask you for. So thank you very much, Sophie. Folks, we’ve come to our hour. I know that as part of Sophie’s strategy in the past and she has taken questions from sessions like today and then created content off the back of it. So what I’m going to do is create a document, which I’m going to send to Sophie, and she will have 76 open questions to create content. So I’d really encourage you to follow Sophie because the content she’s putting out is phenomenal.
Likewise, I’m going to do the fancy thing as well. I just want to say a big thank you to our sponsors for today. It really means that we can bring these sessions to you for free. So thank you once again to Frontify, Disclaimer, Klaviyo, Redgate, Cambridge Marketing College, and maybe you one day.
And with all that said, we’ll be back next Tuesday with Andy Lambert speaking all about how to build a social media strategy with a step-by-step guide. So if you would like to join that session, then it’s two o’clock, it’s free to join. And you’d be very, very welcome.
Sophie, you’re a fricking legend. Thank you very much for today. It was so insightful. Great examples, great resources. Your journey is just wonderful to watch. So congratulations on everything. And thank you to the community as well. I can see bunches and bunches of really fabulous comments coming in. You are all appreciated more than you will ever know. So thank you for making this first session of this year truly special.
With all that said, I hope to see you next week. And in the meantime, have a cracking week everyone. Take care.
See you later, bye.