Ep 104 – Social Media: from Beginners to the Advanced with Morgan Palmer

Smartphone showing a social networking app

Morgan Palmer, ABMP’s digital marketing coordinator, tells us how to use social media as an effective marketing tool for your practices. We break this podcast down into three sections: beginners [2:54], intermediate [11:48], advanced [15:24]. Morgan tackles the hard questions: Should you have two separate accounts: personal vs. business? What’s the number one site to be on? How often should you post? What’s the difference between content creation and content curation? How should you use hashtags? What’s content planning? Should you create a “story” or post? Should you experiment with newer platform, like TikTok and Clubhouse? And how do you create graphics? We close with questions on etiquette.  

Resources:

Hooper, Lydia. “Top 8 Canva Alternatives for Infographics.” February 8, 2021. https://venngage.com/blog/canva-alternatives.

Verma, Pooja. “21 Free Canva Alternatives with Better Template and Design Features.” Last modified April 22, 2021. https://digifloat.io/blog/canva-alternatives.

Author Bio: 

Morgan is the digital marketing coordinator for ABMP. She received her degree from St. Edward’s University in Digital Media Management and has since become a full-time marketing geek. As a millennial in the field, she grew up alongside the growth of social media and jokes that it is her second language.

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Full Transcript: 

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[music]

0:01:18.0 Darren Buford: Welcome to The ABMP podcast. My name is Darren Buford, I'm Editor-in-Chief of massage and bodywork magazine and Senior Director of Communications for ABMP.

0:01:26.3 Kristin Coverly: And I'm Kristin Coverly, licensed massage therapist and ABMP's Director of Professional Education.

0:01:31.5 DB: Our guest today is Morgan Palmer. Morgan is the Digital Marketing Coordinator for ABMP. She received her degree from St. Edwards University in digital media management, and has since become a full-time marketing geek, as a millennial in the field, she grew up alongside the growth of social media and jokes that it is her second language. Hello, Morgan and Hello Kristin.

0:01:53.9 Morgan Palmer: Hi guys, thanks so much for having me.

0:01:56.0 KC: Thank you so much for being with us today. We're so excited to talk with you about social media, and I love that you call it your second language, because we could all learn to speak that a little bit more fluently, and we're excited to have you share some tips and tools to help practitioners enhance the way they use social media as an effective marketing tool for their practices because it is such an important way to communicate with current clients and also attract new clients. So we're all on board with that, but sometimes the big question becomes like, now what? And how do I do it? So listeners, we know that each of you out there has a different level of experience and comfort with creating and managing social media accounts for your business.

0:02:36.8 KC: So we've broken today's podcast into three segments, beginner, intermediate, and advanced, but don't worry there will be great nuggets of information for everyone, no matter your experience level in each of the segment. So let's start with our first question. In the beginner category. Morgan, one of the questions that practitioners often have when they're first starting out on social media is about personal accounts versus business accounts, and often they already have personal accounts on social media sites, but they wonder where to start from a business perspective. Should they have two separate accounts on each social site?

0:03:14.0 MP: Yes, absolutely. You definitely need a separate personal and business account. Clients don't necessarily want to see your niece's fifth grade birthday party, however, this doesn't mean that you can't include your personal brand on your business account, your personal brand is different from your personal life. Clients get it, you represent a brand, but you're also a person, and that's actually acceptable now.

0:03:37.5 DB: So Morgan, I know people are wondering this, what's the number one social media site that practitioners need to have their businesses on and why?

0:03:47.6 MP: So I wouldn't say that there is a definite number one, it depends on who your target audience is, what type of content, information and marketing you're trying to communicate, every platform has a different tone and purpose, so you first need to identify what your purpose and goals are, and then identify what platform would be best fit for those goals, but for beginner's sake, I would say that I would start with creating a Facebook and Instagram, and even a Twitter account.

0:04:15.9 KC: Yeah, it's so funny. I will periodically ask my clients like, "Hey, what social sites are you on?" Because I wanna know where they are so I can communicate with them. And I remember I asked one... When TikTok was new, I asked one of my clients who are typically my age, in our 50s, we're all about in the same age range. I was like, "Hey, so what do you think about TikTok?" And they just laughed at me, laughed at my face, and so I was like, "Well, there's my clear answer that that's a no for her," but I know that there are other generations and other people who are all about it, so you're right, you have to really figure out where your target group is, so you're communicating with them where they are, right?

0:04:53.5 MP: Right. Yes.

0:04:54.9 DB: Kristin, is that something that you would actually have like on your intake form or on a questionnaire?

0:05:00.2 KC: Absolutely. Back when I had a full-time practice and was accepting new clients into my practice, it was on my intake form, and that was also a way for me to gain information about where it's best for me to be, but also then to bring that awareness to them that, Oh, I'm on these sites. So follow me, and so that just started that conversation.

0:05:20.1 MP: That's really great, I like that.

0:05:22.1 KC: Okay, they're ready to jump into the social media pool, they're ready to go, they've embraced the idea of it, they've got their separate account for their business, now they get overwhelmed with the idea that they have to post every day, or wonder how often should I post to stay relevant versus overwhelm the audience. So what is that sweet spot? What do you recommend there?

0:05:41.5 MP: Right, so same for this question as well, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question either, just because what works for one brand might not work for someone else, my best piece of advice would be to focus on consistency rather than frequency. So if you post seven times in one week and then you don't post again for three weeks, the algorithm is gonna have a hard time understanding where to place your content and your followers won't know when to expect to hear from you. So again, consistency rather than frequency. Another important takeaway is quality over quantity, you don't want to just post something just to post something, sometimes not posting for a few days in order to work on something that might be a little bit more meaningful and powerful, can get you further.

0:06:27.5 KC: I love that. Those two words, consistency and quality, but you also mentioned sort of a five million dollar word in that answer, algorithm.

0:06:36.7 DB: I was gonna ask that too, Kristin.

[laughter]

0:06:39.8 KC: The mysterious algorithm. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

0:06:44.1 MP: That's a hard one. I'm not gonna lie, the algorithm is, even as a social media guru, I still don't even completely understand this algorithm, it's constantly changing, Facebook and Instagram are forever updating their platform, so it's hard to understand quite exactly what the algorithm is or does, but in short, basically the algorithm just finds the top content and places it in front of you, as the user, to see what content is gonna look good for you, 'cause everyone is different. So whatever is most relevant to you is what is gonna be placed in front of you on social media, and that's kind of what the algorithm does.

0:07:25.4 DB: So this is probably why as a business owner, that consistency in posting is very important, right?

0:07:31.7 MP: Right. Yes.

0:07:32.5 DB: Okay, Morgan, what is content creation versus content curation.

0:07:39.4 MP: So content creation is creating your own content from scratch whereas content curation is gathering existing information like blogs or social media posts written by other people or brands, and sharing it with your followers.

0:07:55.3 DB: As somebody who's posting, do you get credit in that algorithm language for reaching out and curating and posting or linking out to someone other's post, or sharing something, sharing another link.

0:08:10.6 MP: So Google actually loves original content, especially if it's useful and SEO-friendly, so creating your own content is almost sometimes better, it helps create brand awareness, but the con there is that it is extremely time-consuming, so that's where content curation comes in and can be very handy to have, it could be as simple as retweeting someone's tweet or re-posting someone's Instagram post to your story or on your profile, saves time and it presents a wider knowledge and it builds community as well. Something important to note here is to always curate from credible sources, so if you guys are out there and you're looking for information, you could always look towards ABMP even to share something, one of our sources, but make sure it's a credible source and make sure to credit your source as well and give them credit for their work.

0:09:03.2 DB: And Morgan, is there a balance there between original content versus curated content?

0:09:08.7 MP: Yeah, it's definitely great to use a bit of both, just to show. You're not gonna have all the knowledge yourself always, so it's good to pull from other people and have a good mix of both.

0:09:20.0 DB: Let's take a short break to hear a word from our sponsors.

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0:10:00.1 DB: Now, let's get back to the podcast.

0:10:02.6 KC: Okay, let's talk hashtags. Hashtag get into it. So question, should practitioners use hashtags on their professional posts, and then this is a follow-up question, how many? Because it seems like when you look at posts, there are either zero or 527 hashtags on one post. So what do we do here? Help us. Morgan, help us.

0:10:25.6 MP: Yeah, definitely. So hashtags are used for many different reasons, right? So you can use one to run a contest or if you're having a special event, like hashtag CE socials and to generate user-generated content. So hashtags, they put all of the information that's relevant together, so it can help you find something if you're looking for something, but yes, the question about how often or how many should you use is a great question, for Instagram posts, I believe you can use up to 30 on your posts and in your stories, you can use up to 10, and it's not considered too much to use 30, if you do it at the very end of your post or if you do it in the comment, I have seen that people comment on their posts with the hashtags, but on the contrary, platforms like Twitter I would suggest two hashtags, for LinkedIn and Facebook I would stick to anywhere between three and four.

0:11:19.1 KC: And I love that you just said LinkedIn in this conversation, because people forget that LinkedIn is a social platform, right?

0:11:26.1 MP: Right, yes. LinkedIn is a great social platform that has a little bit different of a purpose, it's more for networking and having your business persona there, which is great, and it's a great way to network with other people in the field.

0:11:41.2 DB: Okay, we're gonna transition now from beginners to intermediate users. So intermediate users, you're up. We're assuming if you're at this point, you already have a professional social media page or pages and you're looking to expand your talents. So Morgan, what is content planning?

0:12:00.9 MP: Yes, content planning is a life-saver, it's basically deciding what you will post and when. It's basically a third party website that connects all of your social channels on one place, and I like it for a few reasons, first, it keeps you off your phone and your personal social accounts, which is definitely very tempting when you are doing social media to just, oops, switch over to your personal account, but when you have it on your desktop with all of it in one place, it definitely takes away that temptation. So that is a great reason. Secondly, it saves you so much time by being organised and planning ahead and seeing which day you're gonna post and scheduling out time so you don't have to go and do it that day, and lastly, it saves you big mistakes and typos, and you can check your work, you can go back, you can have someone else check your work. And yeah, in the end, it just allows you to get more ambitious with your strategies, so it's such a great tool to use.

0:13:00.6 DB: What? Someone else check your work? Kristin, that reminds me of the podcast we did earlier this year in January, which was about having somebody edit your stuff, sorry for that little side note there. Morgan, what are the content planning sites or services that you like?

0:13:15.1 MP: Yeah, so there are a lot out there, but I would say the most popular ones are HootSuite, Later and Loomly.

0:13:22.3 KC: Morgan. Let's talk about stories, so many platforms now have stories as an option. So can you tell us a little bit more about them and then the pros and cons of stories versus a traditional post.

0:13:33.0 MP: Right, yeah, so the idea behind stories, actually originated on Snapchat, you put a picture on your story and then it disappears in 24 hours. And now it has made its way to Instagram, Facebook, and even Twitter, known as Fleets, and I'm pretty sure Pinterest even just introduced a similar feature. So it's definitely not a thing to ignore, I don't think it's going away any time soon. I think, the allure of stories is that it has that time limit it, so it kind of gets people like, "Oh, you need to watch this now. And you need to look at it now." So I think it just creates a sense of urgency and it's kind of just more casual, I would say than a post. A post is more formal and a story can be a little bit more informal sometimes. So I think it's a great way to communicate and switch up different techniques.

0:14:24.6 DB: Morgan, I think you and I may have spoken about this, about Instagram specifically. Did you tell me that you only look at the stories or you're driven first on Instagram to the stories at the top versus the posts, 'cause I've become one of those people too.

0:14:39.5 MP: Yeah, it's just when you log in, it's right in front of you. You don't have to scroll, it's right there, so it's very convenient. And there are some people that only use stories or only look at stories, and then there's people that completely ignore them and only look at posts, and that's why it's important to do both, because you don't know, is your audience gonna see this, maybe not, maybe they don't look at stories or maybe they only look at stories. So, it's important to do both. Definitely.

0:15:07.6 DB: Okay, we're at the point. Beginners and intermediate users that we move on to the advanced users, we're assuming here that that you're really the best of the best on social media, and you're looking for that magic trick to put you over the top. Morgan, there are so many social media sites out there, and we've mentioned several of them here, what do you think about expanding beyond those three or four that we mentioned at first into things like TikTok and Clubhouse and some other newer services?

0:15:38.1 MP: I'd say, yes, totally go for it. I think it's important to explore a platform as a user first, just so you can understand the trends and the different things about it before you go ahead and start generating content for those platforms, so the sooner you get on a platform, the better you're gonna know it and the better you're gonna be at it in the end. So definitely just take the dive and explore them, be curious, be open-minded. I think that that's always a great headspace to be in.

0:16:08.4 KC: And of course, we wanna add beautiful graphics to our post so that people are so attracted to it that they open it and look at it and interact with us. But we often don't know where to start. There's the, I want to but I have no idea how to, gap in knowledge. So the great news though, is that people don't have to create those from scratch. So do you recommend that people use services like Canva?

0:16:32.5 MP: Yes, Canva is a safe haven. If you haven't heard about Canva, it's basically a free, easy, user-friendly way to generate and create your own graphics for social media, they have templates and pre-made things that you basically can just pop your information, your brand colors and everything in to, to design something. You can also resize images for all the different social media channels, which is also very convenient, and then they offer free courses in their design school, so if you would like to learn how to create content like a pro, you can definitely check out their design school, which is pretty awesome. For someone that may be more advanced, if you're looking for something different from Canva, you can also check out the article, I'll link it in the show notes, it's called the eight best Canva alternatives for graphic design.

0:17:24.8 DB: Excellence. Okay, we're gonna wrap up here with two final questions for Morgan, we feel these are more overarching for any type of user, whether it be beginner, intermediate or advanced, so Morgan, is there etiquette surrounding social media?

0:17:41.1 MP: Oh, that's a great question. What comes to mind first is, yes. Obviously there's etiquette for almost every type of social media, the first thing that pops in my mind is, be respectful, think from your audience's point of view, put yourself in their shoes. What would they like to hear? How would they like to be communicated with? But most importantly, have fun, experiment, be curious, be authentic, be yourself. And yeah, I think that's pretty much it.

0:18:09.2 KC: I love that, I love the message of be authentic and be yourself, so you're not trying to put on a sales persona, you are really radiating, the fact this is me, this is my practice, and the right people will be attracted to that.

0:18:21.8 MP: Exactly.

0:18:23.1 KC: So unfortunately, Morgan, we know that the social media world can be sometimes, I'll use the phrase or term unkind in comments, and people can feel some sort of an emboldened power to not always be very nice in comments. So can someone delete a negative comment or post, and if so, are there any ramifications for doing that?

0:18:45.0 MP: Yes, the answer is yes, you can definitely delete a negative post, but I would take a step back when something negative is going on and think, "Is this an important conversation to have," just because something is negative, it doesn't mean you have to erase it, you can open the door to a conversation that might be hard and have different views and really just monitor, monitor the comments, if something is completely offensive, uses curse words or anything like that, then you can go ahead and erase the comment or if you feel necessary erasing the post altogether, but I would say just take a step back and think about it, because sometimes negative posts, they really aren't negative, they are just hard, and generating a hard conversation is not necessarily a bad thing.

0:19:37.8 DB: Morgan, how do you know when to leave it there, and a conversation for it to keep going versus chiming in and actually adding or answering something, especially if somebody is misguided in their post.

0:19:50.4 MP: Right, you can definitely chime in and sort of guide the conversation into a better light, right. So if something is going south pretty quickly, you can kind of hop in there and say, "Look, these were not my intentions," or "This is what I was thinking when I wrote this," or even you can message people privately, so it's not public, right. So if someone comments something negative, sometimes maybe I'll just erase it and then I'll message them privately. And we'll have a conversation of, "Why did you think that? I wanna know more. That was really interesting. And let's talk about it and maybe we can come to a conclusion of seeing eye-to eye."

0:20:27.4 DB: Excellent, well, we don't wanna end on a down note there. [laughter] We just wanted to acknowledge, a little bit of the reality out there. Morgan, do you have any kind of final thoughts for listeners regarding the social media, wherever they're at?

0:20:42.0 MP: Yeah, definitely. I always say experiment, you're never gonna find what works, if you don't try something new, you might find something that really resonates with people or you've really enjoyed doing. Take the pressure off. It's not gonna be the end of the world if something bad happens, so just have fun with it. That's my main piece of advice.

0:21:03.9 DB: I wanna thank our guest today, Morgan Palmer. To find out more about ABMP's social media presences, follow us online on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Listeners, when I'm not working on the ABMP podcast with Kristin, I work with the communications team at ABMP to produce the massage and bodywork magazine. Our goal is to bring you insightful technique, articles and valuable feature stories about the issues that are important to professional massage therapists and body workers. A print subscription to the magazine is included with every ABMP membership, and the online edition of the magazine is free to the profession at massageandbodyworkdigital.com. Thanks Morgan. And thanks, Kristin.

0:21:42.2 KC: Morgan, thank you so much, not only for all the tips, tools and tricks that you shared with us on the podcast today, but for everything that you do on a daily basis to help ABMP connect with the profession and individual practitioners. We really appreciate you.

0:21:56.0 MP: Thank you guys, appreciate you.

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