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How to Create Engaging Social Media Content on a Budget

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How to Create Engaging Social Media Content on a Budget

Collin Gabriel August 3, 2021

Hilary Sager (00:03):

And yeah, so welcome to today’s webinar on creating, engaging social media content on a budget. I hope everyone is finding a way to stay cool this week. I know it’s been ridiculously hot, I think, everywhere across the state. Um, so thanks for choosing to be here with us for part of your day today, when you could probably be doing something much more cool in a body of water somewhere. Um, so we appreciate you being here. My name is Hillary Sager. I’m from on travel Oregon’s destination development team, and I’ll be kicking us off today with just a few housekeeping notes before I turn it over to our guest speakers from food belly PDX. Um, so today’s presentation and recording will be shared, um, following the webinars. So if you can’t be with us for the full time, um, you will be sent the recording after the webinar.

Hilary Sager (00:57):

Um, today’s session is part of a larger small business marketing series that travel Oregon has been hosting and producing for the last year or almost a year. Um, and all the previous webinar recordings can be accessed on travel Oregon’s industry website, and also our YouTube channel. And I’ll be dropping a link to that in the chat. Um, feel free to ask questions throughout today’s webinar, using the Q and a, uh, the Q and a feature in zoom, which can be found in your zoom toolbar. And, um, we’ll have 10 minutes dedicated to answering those questions if they aren’t answered in the, during the presentation at the end of today’s session, um, there’ll also be a survey that will go out. So please take that so we can, um, get your feedback and help, um, improve and inform additional, uh, trainings that we offer through this series. So with that, I’d like to turn it over to Vanessa and Vicky eating the duo behind Portland’s ultimate food guide, food belly PDX, um, to tell you a bit more about themselves and what to expect from today’s session. So with that, I’ll turn it over to you to

Vanessa Ng (02:10):

Awesome. Thank you, Hillary. And hello everyone. I’m Vanessa,

Vicky Ng (02:14):

and I’m Vicky.

Vanessa Ng (02:14):

also known as food belly PDX. First off, we want to say a big thank you to travel Oregon for having us. We’re so grateful for each and every one of you joining in on this call today. And even though we can’t see you, we’re going to pretend that we can see all of your beautiful, happy smiling faces right now. And we can’t wait to meet you all some day in person at future industry events. So many of you are here today because you own a small business or you work with one. And if you’re anything like us and the rest of this world, you’ve likely increased the amount of time that you’ve spent on social media in the last 15 months. And you’ve realized the importance of digital transformation and the need to build or expand upon your online presence via social media.

Vicky Ng (02:55):

Today, we’re going to talk about how you can create engaging should be on a budget and all social media usually encompasses multiple platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. Today. We’re going to focus primarily on Instagram as this is a platform that we built food belly PDX off of, and we did it without much of a budget at all. However, many of the tips that we covered today can be used across platforms as recovering, really the fundamentals of building, engaging social media content. We will also be using a second screen for the presentation. So don’t mind us if you see us looking at the screen from time to time.

Vanessa Ng (03:28):

Great. So before we dive into the content, we thought we’d share a little bit about us Vicki and I were both born and raised in the beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia. We are second generation Chinese Vietnamese to an immigrant single mother, and learned early on how to make the most out of something very little in many Asian cultures and in our household, food was literally a love language and this spurred our passion for all things, food. So Vicki moved to Oregon in 2010 for work, and like the little sister that I am, I followed in her footsteps in 2016. And we both live in Portland, Oregon now, which, uh, and we actually both happen to work in recruiting as our full-time day jobs. And we both happen to have an insatiable appetite for adventure too, which was the inspiration behind starting food belly PDX in 2017 to showcase our very best food and travel finds in Oregon and beyond.

Vicky Ng (04:22):

Our very first photo that we posted on Instagram was a picture of a bowl noodles shot on my iPhone. We tagged a few local publications, including either PDX, which is a media outlet. And to our surprise, the photo was instantly read posted by them. From there, we focused on quality content, which attracted a growing audience that was hungry for diverse food opinions.

Vanessa Ng (04:42):

In the last three and a half years. Our blog has grown organically in ways that we could have never imagined we’ve partnered with many companies and brands that we admire and that so many great people along the way. And we’re proud of our growing account to, um, right now it’s over 15,000 highly engaged followers, and we’re excited to share a few tips and tricks that we picked up along the way with you today.

Vicky Ng (05:08):

Um, at the end of today’s session, we hope your takeaways will include learning how to successfully run and grow a social media accounts, how to create engaging content posts and stories on Instagram, learning how to take good photos using just your phone and some of Instagram posting strategies and gaining a basic understanding of how to reach out to influencers and how influencers can be used to promote small businesses. I do want to mention that what we talk about today is really only scratching the surface. Each bullet point that you see here in the agenda can be its own separate session. Um, of course we’ll be providing some resources at the end for those interested in further exploring each topic. What we do plan to do today is share a top tips and learnings as influencers and hope that this will spark some ideas on how to enhance your brand awareness and marketing strategy through social media. We also encourage you to send your questions through the chat, and we can answer these at the end of our presentation.

Vicky Ng (06:01):

The social media landscape is growing and it’s really intimidating, especially if you’re just starting out and wearing every single hat as a small business owner. We understand that social media is just one aspect that you can cover running a business and have done well. It is a powerful tool to build brand and product awareness. It also drives consumer loyalty and can help drive sales with social media. We know it can seem like a numbers game. You might be thinking my social media account only has a thousand followers and my competitor has 10,000 followers. There’s something I must be doing wrong. The one thing would love for you to take away today is that is all about quality over quantity. What do we mean by that? So the number of followers or the number of likes that you see, um, are metrics that you can look at, but these metrics alone are not enough to tell you the quality of engagement that an account is having with their followers.

Vicky Ng (06:49):

So to have a good indicator of how successful your agend is, you want to be looking at metrics like engagement rates or impressions, why engagement rates. So going back to the example, I just shared, you can have a thousand followers and a hundred likes on your posts. So that’s according to this calculation, that’s a 10% engagement rate, which is really high because the industry average for good is one to 5%. But if someone has 10,000 followers and they get a hundred likes on their posts, that’s a 1% engagement rate. So it is a numbers game, but quality trumps quantity when it comes to social media.

Vanessa Ng (07:24):

So what are consumers looking for on your social media? It’s really not that complicated. You need the basics of who, what, where, you know, updated and clear information about your business, especially with all the pivots or the pivots happening during the pandemic. And you need good photos of your product and service. And of course behind every brand are the people running it. So don’t be shy about showing a more humanistic side to your brand. People love behind the scenes takes and real talk. Um, so this is actually a true story. I was at the dentist last week and the lady cleaning my teeth was telling me about how her friend is opening up a new food truck business. And she said, her friend told her she didn’t have the time or perceived expertise to run a website or social media account. And, uh, we both shared this incredulous, look on her face to his thinking about the daunting prospect of someone trying to launch a small business in 2021 without any online presence.

Vanessa Ng (08:21):

Then I kid you not. She nonchalantly said all I really need. What I’m looking at places to eat is a Facebook or Instagram account with the location I was of operations and some kind of menu. It’s like she knew I was a food blogger about to give a webinar on how to run social media on a budget. But this interaction highlights two things. One that consumers, these days are more digitally savvy than ever before. And they’re also more demanding than ever before when it comes to real-time information. And two that social media provides the best platform to disperse real-time information. This was evident by this past weekend with many businesses taking to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to update people on their heat wave hours of operations.

Vicky Ng (09:04):

Now that we have a basic understanding of what consumers are looking for, let’s take a brief look at some tools that can elevate how you captured and manage social media content. So, uh, one of our favorite tools is a portable camera, like a light we’d like to call this the food belly light. And we take it around with us when we go to restaurants, when it’s dim or dark lighting to ensure that we can, uh, um, brighten up our photos. Another favorite that I like to use as the SD card camera reader, if you have a DSL CA uh, camera, uh, you might sometimes be uploading your photos onto your computer, and then transferring that to your phone with this. You can just put in the card reader and upload it onto your phone right away. Um, another must have for social capturing social media content is a selfie tripod, uh, with a remote we’re actually using one right now with the light to help, um, kind of shine a light on us.

Vicky Ng (09:51):

And it’s really useful for situations where you might not have someone taking a photo of you or wanting that, um, stability and the last but not least. There’s another tool that, um, some videographers use w if you’re taking videos with your phone, then this video stabilizer, um, up on the top left allows you to kind of stabilize the image as you’re holding your phone to capture the video content. When it comes down to editing and management tools, there’s so many out there, and it’s constantly evolving as the industry is evolving, but some of our favorites are Visco and Snapseed, which we’ll go into later. Another favorite amongst influencers are Lightroom to edit photos, and you can use Instagram way up to create collages unfold as an app that you can use to create Instagram stories. Link tree is a really great one that you can use in your bio link, because it allows you to share multiple links with just one link. And then preview is one that you can use to upload photos in advanced to see how it looks like on your feed and plan your content in advance. And if you’re really starting to grow and needing something more sophisticated to manage your social media strategy and output Hootsuite is a tool that can allow you to do that.

Vicky Ng (10:58):

Now that we’ve got our all for tools, let’s talk about how to take good photos on her phone, because we know it can be unrealistic for many of you to own a expensive camera or have it on you ready to use it all time or hire a professional photographer. We do recommend investing in professional services for certain content that you’ll leverage often like images on your website or a headshot photo. The biggest tip we have for taking good photos is that natural lighting is king. For taking images inside, we recommend a wait for a cloudy day, or try to shoot your product, or people buy a window to leverage through natural lighting. Sunshine can expose an image and cloud shape can accentuate the natural features of what you’re trying to shoot. When we’re entering a restaurant, we’re always thrilled to get a table by the window.

Vicky Ng (11:40):

And if it’s, if it’s on a cloudy day, we know our Patriots will turn out way nicer than then we try to manually set up the environment. And sometimes the lighting isn’t good in inside. We’ll even bring the dish outside and go in the shade and take a photo to take advantage of the natural lighting, which brings me to our next point, which is move around for food photos. We’re always thinking about how we can make the dish look more dynamic, such as breaking it post a, to add more texture and color to the dish or doing a noodle. If you’re in the hospitality industry, thinking about how, including people in your content. So you just can, users can imagine themselves having a glass of wine or checking in at your location. Don’t be afraid to style the shoot, and don’t be afraid to move yourself around.

Vicky Ng (12:20):

Maybe you’re catching content from a bird scifi, or just moving around to the other side of the room, to test out the lighting and angles and do take lots of photos, because you can always delete them later and last but not least utilize your camera features. If you have an iPhone and you’re in the camera mode, you can press down on the image that you’re trying to focus on, and that will allow you to focus. And then side up and down to adjust the brightness level to take the photo. We also recommending waiting until after the photo is taken to crop. So you can maintain the quality of it, the image.

Vicky Ng (12:52):

And then now I’m going to walk you through how I go about editing a photo for our accounts on the left. Um, you’ll see the original photo taken on my phone, which is an on the right as a final version. I’m not sure if it’s showing up right now should be a photo of dump playings. Yep. There it is. Uh, so you can see how editing enabled us to brighten the photo crop out the bok choy at the very top. It really highlight the dumplings, which is the main goal for us. Yes. So now I’m going to walk through kind of a demo for how I usually edit our photos, my editing style changes, and it’s really up to each person’s preference. There are a ton of great tutorials online for how to edit your photos. So don’t kind of take this style as the one style. There are so many ways to do it, try to find your own style. As you kind of look through different tutorials online. I usually use Visco first to edit our photos. And so I hope this works. We recorded some videos in advance to show what that looks like.

Vicky Ng (13:50):

So, um, I usually use this go to edit our photos and use the same filter to apply to all of our photos. Then I go into exposure to brighten up the photo, and I almost always increase the saturation and sharpen a photo to really enhance the quality. And then adding clarity to the image is a great way to add more depth to the image. And at the end, I’ll adjust the photo, straighten it up a little bit. And as you’ll notice in this video, which I hope is working on the left side, it’s leaning a little bit further down. You can play with the adjustments and kind of bring up the photo a little bit to balance it out. And then at the end, I’ll crop the image so that it fits for Instagram’s kind of square posts.

Vicky Ng (14:40):

So this shows me just cropping a video after I’ve lifted up the left side a little bit, cause that was a little low, right? And then next I bring the upload of the edited photo into Snapseed. Snapseed is a really powerful app and I like to use a feature called selective. So it allows it to pinpoint areas of the photo you really want to enhance. So for example, um, there are certain areas of the photo like this area, which is a little dark, so I can use a selective feature, widen my fingers a little bit to select the exact area when want Brighton and then, uh, move my finger to the right, to choose the brightness level. So I’m going to do this in other areas of the picture and do the same thing where I can select it, select of choose that area and bring it up a little bit. So that allows you more control over the parts of the images you want to edit. And then finally, the dumpling is the main focus of the image. So I’m going to use a select a feature again, and really do all the things of editing to make sure it really pops out. So increasing the brightness, the contrast, a little bit of saturation and structure to make sure that main dumpling is a thing you first see when you look at this picture.

Vanessa Ng (15:56):

So next, we’ll talk about how to run an Instagram account. And specifically, how does the infamous Instagram algorithm work in 2021? And how does it decide what content to show people, AKA reach the question that you all had in mind? So an algorithm is a set of calculations that decide which content gets seen. This algorithm controls your contents, organic reach, which is how far your content goes without paying for advertisement. It looks at the user’s past behaviors. It speaks all available activities and evaluates each one to predict how interesting it is to that user with the most interesting content going to the top. So every social media platform has their own algorithm. And on Instagram, in particular, the ranking system considers three key factors, your relationship, your interest and timeliness. So relationship is does this person that you want to reach interact with you frequently, um, interests, you know, does the person that you want to reach typically engage with similar types of posts?

Vanessa Ng (17:04):

Um, timeliness, was it posted recently, actually the first 30 to 60 minutes of your post can really impact and determine your reach. Um, other factors include, uh, frequency of use, how frequently the person checks Instagram, how many people they follow and also how long they spend per day on the app. So as you can see, there’s, um, a list of do’s and don’ts here. I won’t read off each one, but essentially the key is the key to building sustainable engagement on Instagram is authenticity and transparency content that does well, um, are typically clear, consistent, and people centric. They also incorporate like relevant hashtags, um, tags, and a tough at times when a followers are most active. So we realized time is a luxury that many small businesses wish they had more of, but definitely do try to respond to every direct message and comment, if you can, whatever your goals are for social media, whether it be brand awareness, conversion to sales, increasing your follower, count, success only comes when you’re tapped into your audience’s hearts and minds and your interaction with your audience. Your users is really key to building a relationship and a bond with this, um, audience, um, and clientele. Um, and this has also actually picked up favorably by the algorithm. So if you’re trying to game the system like buying followers, it may provide a short-term benefit, but it is not a recipe for long-term success. Um, in addition, um, as per the creators of Instagram, the feed ranking is actually powered by machine learning, meaning it is constantly adapting to new patterns in data. So it can actually recognize inauthentic activity and make adjustments accordingly.

Vanessa Ng (19:00):

So next we’ll talk about creating Instagram stories. Um, so what does a story and how do you create one, right in this section, I will guide you through the actual steps that I take when I’m making a story, a life story on food belly, um, Instagram stories are vertical photos or videos that disappear after 24 hours because they’re temporary. Uh, they often use they’re often use much more casually, frequently and experimentally than the static Instagram feed that Vicki shared about earlier. And for me, I would say 95% of the content I create actually comes from using the in-app camera rather than the professional camera or, um, the one on my phone. I just use the Instagram, um, features on the app. And this is because it fits the vertical frame automatically. And it saves me from having to resize or crop later. I also only take about two to three shots at a time and I pluck out the one that I think looks best rather than hundreds of photos, because remember it’s not about being perfect.

Vanessa Ng (19:58):

It’s about delivering something authentic that will resonate with people. Um, Instagram stories are also loaded with a wide range of tools that encourage engagement, which as you know, by now is one of the most important metrics you can actually interact with your audience by asking a question, creating a poll or a quiz, adding music, et cetera. So as you can see here, um, um, this first video is a reenactment of how I created the story to the right hand side. Uh, we’re checking out a new pop-up restaurant in downtown Portland and I’m tagging the business. Um, and when I do this, not only can my audience click through to check out that business, but the business itself can actually reshare my video that I just created. And this is called user generated content, which we can have a whole nother, you know, crash course on, but it’s a great cost effective and organic way to get your content out there.

Vanessa Ng (20:48):

Um, I am also adding a location tag, um, and, um, this is, you know, I could have maybe tagged the restaurant or the Pearl district, but the reason I chose Portland, Oregon specifically is because it cast a wider net and that will increase the number of impressions that this story will have. Um, I also added some Peruvian music here, um, to create a vibe. So it’s fun. And you know, it doesn’t take much effort as you can see. So in the second video here in this clip, you’ll see the reason why you should get an Instagram business profile account rather than a personal profile because of these lovely insights. Um, the data captured here is information from your audience about what content is performing well. And there’s a bunch of metrics, you know, like shares, replies, profile views, et cetera. And you can learn more about each of these metrics through the resource links. At the end of this presentation. One of my favorite metrics is the share, which means, um, that the content is worth telling a friend about. And I’ll note too, that you can see these data insights on static posts as well. So, you know, another good metric is the save and bookmark one because it means that your content is worth coming back to.

Vanessa Ng (22:05):

So part two, um, now we’re going to walk you through kind of our creative process and you really, it’s a simple story telling process from start to finish. That’s how we like to share about, um, our experiences when doing Instagram stories, sprinkle in some good facts and figures. So for example, if we’re staying at a lodging facility or a hotel, I would start with a quick time-lapse video of us driving to the destination, that a picture of the lodging facility from the outside, maybe a video of us checking in into the lobby and then give them a tour of the room rather than just showing the room itself off the bat. And this storyline helps bring my audience and along the journey with me. Um, so here’s an actual example. It’s a collaboration that we did with the destination cabin rental company, as you can see, um, you know, it’s some amateur photography and videography going on here, but I’m checking in, you know, to the cabin and showcasing what it looks like.

Vanessa Ng (23:03):

Um, th these were like the [inaudible] that were upon arrival, and I’m making it fun because, you know, I came prepared with more Chamorros cause I left Morris. Um, here’s a picture of our dinner. It’s some spaghetti, you know, for texture and dynamic, um, uh, visuals. And this is actually a pole. It doesn’t really show well right now, but, um, I just asked my audience, do you live for the nights in or the nights going out? And everyone was like, I want to stay in and stay in the cabin. So that was kind of fun and some fast facts at the end about the, um, the lodge itself and how you can book.

Vicky Ng (23:36):

Okay, great. Thanks for that, Vanessa. Um, now I’m going to shift to the topic of, because influencer marketing as an industry has grown rapidly year after year, and the industry is set to grow to approximately $13.8 billion this year.

Vicky Ng (23:54):

So if done right influencer marketing is a powerful PR and marketing tool for your business. Now I know some of you might be a little skeptical about influencers and influencer marketing because I’ve thought the same thing myself too. Like how hard can it really be to take pictures and post about your life and social media. And I can’t believe these people get paid to do this. This industry has evolved so much so that many influencers actually do this as a full-time profession. It may have started at the side hustle or hobby for them, but at some point they did the calculation and realized they could make more money as an influencer than in their prior job and have more freedom and flexibility. We encourage you to view influencers as a profession because it takes time to build a brand, to build community and to build loyalty and trust.

Vicky Ng (24:37):

And this is what you’re tapping into when strategically choosing to partner with influencers. So how are ways you can leverage influencers? It depends on your goal, but some common ways can be a sponsored posts or story where you work with them and they’ll post something on their feed or story about your product or service. You can also do an influencer takeover of your social media account and post from there and have them post from your account to provide a unique voice to your account. That’s a really great way to show your friend the different lens. And then we’re huge, huge fans of giveaways because we found a CP one of the most effective tools to expand your reach and growth. Um, we also see this as kind of a win-win, uh, set up for both the influencer and the business, because, um, when you’re doing giveaways, you are asking your users to follow your accounts.

Vicky Ng (25:30):

Um, so that increases the number of followers you have. You’re also asking them to tag as many friends as possible. Another one is saving the posts and sharing that onto their stories will also increase, increase the reach every time someone does that. So, uh, with that being said, make sure the prize is of substantial value, so that there’s a better chance of going viral and expanding your reach. Um, another hot tip from us, um, if you’re not able to afford a peer agency or just want to work with influencers on your own is to invite influencers to immediate events or to send boxes to them and encouraging unboxing video. Uh, you can also invite them for a free meal or a free visit. Yeah.

Vicky Ng (26:09):

Uh, so you’re probably thinking, well, how do I go about finding influencers? There’s so many out there is there like some sort of database and so on their cars and databases, but because this industry is constantly evolving and there are new influencers popping up, um, you can do this yourself with a little bit of, um, research and time. We see influencers similar to recruiting in recruiting. There’s no straightforward way to find the person you want to hire. So, and in this case, there’s no straightforward way to find an influencer you want to partner with. And it’s going to take some time to research. If you know of any existing influencers that could be a fit for your check out, who they interact with, as most likely, these are other influencers in the same or similar industry, you can also reach out to them to ask for recommendations and who knows.

Vicky Ng (26:51):

They might be able to point you in the right direction, given their network. If you’re starting cold, you can also use hashtags or go Google search, which could be helpful in finding these influencers. I personally love to use geotags to, um, to find influencers and look at where they’re going. Um, and, uh, here’s an example of, I’m not sure, I’m sorry. Yep. Here’s an example of how I use geotags. So, um, I’m thinking of popular locations that my target audience might travel to or be that, and then going to that geotag and Mister gap. So, um, for here, for this example, I’m going to use what issue to a farm and Woodburn, because I know that this is a really popular, popular location for good photos and influence was always love a good backdrop for photos to post. There’s also a location that can span across multiple industries, um, such as lifestyle, travel, fashion, leisure, and creative.

Vicky Ng (27:46):

So what I do here is I go on Instagram, I search within to a shoe farm. I go to places. I see that here. Um, as a geo tag, you see all the top posts in there. So scrolling through a lot of these top posts will come from influencers. Uh, so this person that I just clicked on here, she’s actually a local lifestyle influencer based in Portland. Um, and this dog picture is actually a dog influencer. So yes, there are pet influencers and they’re very effective because their pets, um, this is a couple that is actually not an influencer, but you can see that have really high engagement with over a thousand likes. So they might be receptive to, um, you reaching out and partnering with them. Uh, so this is just one method of finding influencers that you might not know about.

Vanessa Ng (28:30):

Great, thanks Vicky. So, um, now that you know, you’ve done your research to ensure that there’s a good mutual fit. Uh, you also want to make sure that the person that you want to partner with has an authentic following. And one way to do this is to check the engagement quality, which as Vicki showed earlier is the ratio of likes and comments to follow our account. You can also sift through the comments, takes a little time, but, um, it’s easy to do, um, you know, just check real quick, like, are these real people that are interacting or are they the majority of the people commenting on a post other similar influencers? And if so, it’s very likely that this person may be part of an engagement pod, which is a tactic that amongst influencers to boost each other’s posts by increasing activity within the first hour of so of a post going live in order to cheat the algorithm, this works for some people, but the downside of it is that businesses can pay for content that may be reaching an echo chamber of other influencers rather than consumers.

Vanessa Ng (29:29):

Although sometimes influencers can be consumers as well. So just be sure to do your homework when reaching out first impressions are important to be sure to customize your note. If you’re using a template, be sure to add a personal note by referencing something you liked in the profile. And sometimes we’ll get mom and pop shops that are reaching out and they’ll immediately ask us what our rates are. And you’ll be surprised actually, by how many influencers will do something for free, especially if there’s a mutual fit or if they’re a fan of your brand, or really believe in the cause to begin with. Um, with that said, don’t go into the relationship, expecting a post for a product exchange. Um, the industry norm is just to offer the product and service with the understanding that if they like it, they’ll post about it. If however you want to guarantee a post, then definitely be prepared to pay.

Vicky Ng (30:23):

As we come to a close, we would like to share the small list of resources for building out your social media strategy and content creation. And as you mentioned, there’s so, so many more free resources out there created by influencers and professionals. So please check those out. If you’d like to dive further into a topic, Hillary will also be sharing the deck after the recording afterwards. So you can always reference what we covered today. You also see linked are the shopping links for those physical tools. I was touching, talking about, about capturing content. In summary, we hope that this presentation today, uh, you’ve found some tips for running and growing our social media presence on a budget, creating content and running a social media account does take time and like any other skill set, the more you do it, the more familiar it becomes. And then the more you’ll master it.

Vicky Ng (31:12):

And the more success you’ll see social media and influencer marketing are powerful tools for your business. And this industry is constantly evolving. So we encourage you to keep creating content and posting and see what works for your company, because it’s always about PR progress over perfection. Um, there are so many tools and resources available on this topic. So we hope that you’re able to leverage some of the tips from today, right away with your social media strategy. It’s been really fun for Vanessa and I to put this webinar together. And we wanted to thank Hillary and trouble Oregon again for this opportunity. Um, yes, if there’s any questions we’re happy to answer. We know we covered a lot, a very high level, so we’re, uh, we’re, we would love to answer any questions more in depth.

Hilary Sager (31:59):

Thank you both so much. And Vanessa and Vicky, and we did have some questions come through. So I think we can just, um, we have plenty of time. Let’s just dive into it. Um, so the first question that we got was about frequency of posting. So in a given week, what is a good frequency to be posting as a business?

Vanessa Ng (32:19):

That is a great question, Hillary, and thank you to whoever submitted that question. Um, so there’s a lot of thought and literature out there on this, but generally speaking, if you really want to increase your brand awareness, um, you should be posting on average 1.5 posts a day. And so if you’re thinking anybody got time for that, you know, we get it try for maybe once a week. I mean, I think if you look on our page, it’s like once a month.

Hilary Sager (32:50):

Okay. Um, and what about what you’re posting about on Instagram as a business? Um, is it recommended that you are careful to keep your account kind of the, this person on calls and diluted, um, and professional, or do you, or is it okay to mix in some of your family and friend, um, uh, posts as well in there with your business posts?

Vicky Ng (33:17):

Yeah, I can take this one, I think, uh, as much as possible trying to keep your account professional, um, is, is a great way just because we found that if a business decides to all of a sudden poke something personal, if they haven’t brought their followers along the journey of whatever this personal aspect of their life might be is their family or whatever it is, then it’s really jarring and confusing because their followers are used to seeing professional content and all of a sudden they see personnel. However, if you built the personal aspect of your life into your brand and into your company, then it’s a really effective way of building that engagement and interaction with your followers. So we can’t answer the question kind of straight out without understanding your goals and how you’re running your social media account, but we do find that more personal content and more raw and authentic content resonate really strongly with consumers. You just need to toe the line about it being professional accounts and also sharing that personal aspect. Yeah, that makes sense. Um,

Hilary Sager (34:21):

Okay. So sticking with Instagram, how, how do you feel about scheduled stories versus doing a story live, a live story?

Vanessa Ng (34:31):

Yeah. Um, great question. So, um, you know, I think the point of stories is to document things in real time, but of course, if it’s not a great first shot, don’t, you know, I would definitely save the content that you’re capturing and then you can edit it later. Um, if you’re talking about like automation, um, there are tools out there where you can have, um, prescheduled posts, um, that will help just with your scheduling. If you know, you’re going to be busy, or if you know what you want to post at a specific set time, but typically, you know, the, the time is now to post, especially if it’s like an event or if you want to just get the word out there. I would recommend usually doing it in real time, whenever possible.

Vicky Ng (35:12):

Sometimes Vanessa we’ll capture event at a content, maybe it’s a restaurant opening and she’ll choose to hold on to that content until it actually opens. So that it’s staggered. So, um, but most, most of the time we recommend posting live just because that’s where your energy is and the passion and that will really come through. And if you wait a few days or a week, you might get lazy and not post it at all, which sometimes happens to us as well. I’m a little bit of like an over analyzer, so then you’ll overthink it and then it won’t seem as authentic anymore. It might seem a little bit too edited.

Hilary Sager (35:44):

Got it. Yeah, that’s helpful. Um, a couple of questions came in about, um, captions. So is there, um, any advice you have around writing good captions? Are there formats or ways of writing captions that help with boosting engagement rates?

Vanessa Ng (36:02):

Yeah, actually that’s a great call question as all, I would say, um, a lot of the caption has to do with the tone and voice and persona of your brand. So be consistent with that, if it’s playful, um, versus, you know, more business oriented, um, keep it consistent. Um, actually, so in our 2019 partnership with travel Oregon, um, we, we asked like, oh, why would you, why did you choose Food Belly PDX? And, um, one of the responses that we got was from travel Oregon was that we actually have really long copy with a lot of emoticons, which is, you know, kind of just my personal style. I like to throw in a lot of emojis in there. And, um, that’s what the audience really likes apparently. So that’s great. Like don’t be afraid to, you know, throw those in, um, for visuals and make it fun and lighthearted.

Hilary Sager (36:53):

Great. Um, okay. A couple of people are interested in whether the two of you also use Facebook or do you have any advice around, you know, content that is created for Instagram that is sort of automatically also posted to Facebook and those kinds of capabilities that are out there? Or do you, and then I guess I’ll ask a up after you answer that first one.

Vanessa Ng (37:17):

Yeah. There’s actually, um, a lot because as many people, um, uh, you know, there’s integrations with a lot of social media platforms, so you can actually turn on a feature, um, on Facebook or Instagram, where once you post to Instagram, it also asks if you want to post it onto Facebook and we do have a Facebook account, but we hardly really tend to it. And to be honest, like there’s probably a couple hundred followers on the followers on there just because of the added visibility, which is nice. Um, so it can grow organically in that sense as well.

Hilary Sager (37:51):

Okay. And then to follow up on that, do you suggest a different cadence or approach to how you write the copy on Instagram versus Facebook or even Twitter or tick-tock whatever it is?

Vicky Ng (38:07):

Yeah, I think, um, you know, also adding onto the answer you had, Vanessa is, uh, each platform has its own kind of different audiences that, um, live on there and use it for different ways. And so, like you were talking about LinkedIn actually, that is a really great tool for many, uh, companies. You want to keep more of a professional tone and you want to tie it to like what’s happening in industry and songs. So like you probably won’t be using like all the emojis you might be using for Instagram, um, or showing like reels, for example, or short videos on a LinkedIn. So it kind of catering to that, but there could be content that you can reuse, so you could reuse the same photo, but you’re just, um, spicing up the copy to be a little bit more professional or relevant to the LinkedIn audience.

Vicky Ng (38:51):

Um, the same for Facebook and Instagram. So we do have a Facebook account that we don’t focus on because we A, this is our side hustle as well, too. Um, and, uh, B we really wanted to kind of focus our efforts on Instagram and growing our account there. So we do have every time we post it posts directly to Facebook as well, and a lot of businesses do that. And at the very minimum, I know a lot of you don’t have a lot of time, you know, to begin with set up that automatic, um, automatic, uh, integration and posting so that you at least have presence on each of these platforms. In case someone tries to look for you and look for updated business hours or website. If they’re a Facebook user over an Instagram, they can at least find you on Facebook, even though the content may not be geared towards Facebook, at least there is content there. And this goes back to our recommendation of posting as often as you can and as consistently, okay,

Hilary Sager (39:45):

Great. Some questions came in actually, um, in advance of the webinar related to how to grow your reach and gain, um, followers. Um, and especially like organically, like, do I, do I have to pay to really build my following? Are there tips for how to do that organically?

Vicky Ng (40:07):


Vanessa Ng (40:09):

Yeah. I would say, you know, tying into some of the content that we cover today, it really is, um, a focus on quality over quantity and also your inputs rather than the output, because the reach at the end of the day is predetermined and it’s a little bit outside of your control. Um, so the best thing you can do is focus on putting out quality content out there and engaging with your audience. It’s a slower process, right? Cause you, and don’t, um, get discouraged if you see variations, right? Like sometimes a post might do really well. And then the next day it won’t. And like we’ve certainly experienced that we’ll have a post get, you know, 3000 likes and then the next post will get 300 and we’re still the same, you know, creators. It’s a similar product in a PR picture and it’s just another week, you know, and time of the day and the algorithm is constantly changing. So, um, the key is to keep going and keep trying. And the more content that you put out there, the more that your brand will go grow over time. Okay. Yeah. Okay.

Hilary Sager (41:20):

Yeah. I think that’s helpful. Um, we did, oh, another question is popped in. Um, so if, if for this small business, they’re wondering if they should consider using a social media manager or if, um, wait, hold on, let me make sure I’m understanding this question. Oh, I think this is about actually an application. So not a person whose title is social media manager, but more about, um, what kind of applications you might use to manage your social media content, um, where you can edit for specific platforms and also, um, schedule the posts. So do you have a favorite that you use for that?

Vicky Ng (42:02):

Yeah. Um, we don’t personally use a management platform, although sometimes we feel like it could be useful for us. So we do everything in the app. Um, in the past we’ve used, uh, as shared in the tools slide preview, just to understand how it looks in advance and write out our copy so that we’re ready to post. And we save a lot of drafts too. So we can just post as is if you want to get more sophisticated. Uh, as mentioned who’s suite is, is one that is, has been around for a while. Then a lot of companies use, um, you do have to pay for it. If you’re wanting to get all the features that are included in his suite, I think there’s another one called later that people also use. And so there’s just so many to choose from that we personally haven’t really used herself. So I, I would do some research to really understand what you’re looking for and hoping to achieve, because I think each of these, uh, social media management tools achieve kind of something different.

Hilary Sager (42:53):


Hilary Sager (42:55):

Um, okay. This might be our last question. We’ll see if we get, um, a couple in while we’re answering it, but, um, some advice for a winery that is trying to stand out on social media and not just kind of look and sound like every other winery, any ideas? Obviously we don’t know which winery this is, but, um, in general, what do you guys think for?

Vanessa Ng (43:19):

No, I think the interesting thing about wineries is that it there’s so much, um, love blood, sweat, and tears that goes into the production. There’s typically like a story or a history with the land and the staff and, you know, if it’s a family brand or whatnot, and people love that, they love hearing about just the, the story behind why, you know, the company or the winery is, um, you know, came to be. So making sure that your company has a strong mission and, um, you know, story statement that you can, um, build off of, I would recommend that and showcasing storytelling that, um, I find that, you know, to Vicki’s point earlier, like dynamic pictures really helped. So, um, cheersing, um, photos of people enjoying on the patio or whatnot, their winery tasting room, um, we’re we find that we do get, you know, wineries reaching out, even though there’s not much, um, wine or alcohol featured on our page because of the pairing aspect of food and beverage.

Vanessa Ng (44:23):

So if you want to round out your product line, um, showcase, not just the bottles and the, the wine, but also maybe pairings as well. Um, those are just some of the advice that I would have off the top of my head.

Vicky Ng (44:38):

And then going back to her, one of our earliest slides around what consumers are looking for, um, I think that your social media feed should always be a reflection of your website and the products and services that you’re hoping to sell. So, um, this is probably one of the first things you can probably do with your social media is like, okay, when I go here and I’m a winery, uh, if I’m going on your Instagram page, can I get a really quick sense of like what your winery looks like? You know, um, where are places that I can sit, this is a place I want to take my girlfriends for a weekend trip.

Vicky Ng (45:12):

Um, do you sell food? Like, do I need to bring my own snacks? Like all these things should be like clearly kind of in posts or videos on your site so that I don’t need to on your social media. So I don’t need to go onto your website to find out that information. The goal is social media is to keep someone kind of engaged and there so they can make a quick decision. Is this where I can go on the weekend? How far away is it from Portland that could maybe even be in your bio? Like we’re, we’re one hour away from Portland. These are the hours that we’re open. Here’s the link to our website. We’re doing a special event this weekend with this partner. Um, we’re having this type of food available. Um, that’s one thing I think you can show like pictures of bottles of your wine, but again, it should be dynamic.

Vicky Ng (45:53):

So instead of that, maybe it’s, um, people enjoying it on like the grass, you know, by the swing at your vineyard. Um, so people can really be like, okay, this is the place I want to go. And I’m going to bookmark that and save this post for the future and maybe share it with my friends as well, which is the point around creating, um, really real and authentic content to share.

Vanessa Ng (46:15):

Um, another advice on that question. And it’s not directly about our first social media, but it is, you know, a technology app is reservations. Um, a lot of the times I know, you know, even for us when we’re just looking at where to go for the weekend, um, we want to, instead of like picking up the phone and calling like, can we just, is it searchable like a, a book? Do we need to a make an appointment? If, if, or can we just walk in, right. Like that type of information readily available on your profile? And if it’s reservation only how hard is it going to be for us to want to have to call in? Or can we go through an online app or both?

Vicky Ng (46:50):


Hilary Sager (46:52):

Really helpful. I loved, um, all of your answers to that question. Um, and we had a couple of more questions come in. So, um, as, you know, two people who are managing a single account, which is kind of, you know, similar to a business likely where there’s a couple of different, you know, hands in that social media, uh, soup, um, any tips to split up the social workload. Um, or do you remember, do you recommend trying to use one voice or, you know, how do you guys approach that

Vanessa Ng (47:25):

Really, really good question. So even us, we have our strengths and we played with those Vicky is more of like the strategic operations person in this relationship, even though I can be that as well. But, you know, I, I think that for me, like I’m more of the, um, the face and the voice. Um, I, I show up at a lot of the industry events, um, and, and even like network. So, um, I create all the copy and she edits it, um, for the voice. So yeah, we, we share, um, different hats just based off of our strengths, but typically speaking, I would say, yeah, if there’s two people and you want to split up the work, maybe have, um, really clear expectations about who’s in charge of what, um, if someone’s better at, um, content creation, but maybe not, um, the actual cocky or don’t have time to post, right? Like just making sure you have a shared database or, um, it could be like a Dropbox or some sort of file sharing tool that everyone can access easily to build off of.

Hilary Sager (48:28):

That’s good advice. Um, and maybe our last question for today, we’ll see if we get any more in, um, this one is going back to tic talk and in today’s day and age, um, do you think that Tik TOK can be beneficial for expanding reach

Vanessa Ng (48:47):

100%? And in fact, it Tik TOK is unique in the sense that it has a multiplier effect or it’s it’s, um, you can go viral at a much faster exponential rate just because of their algorithms and visibility. So, um, I feel a little old, I don’t know, um, cause we don’t really have Tik Tok, but we definitely know that we should. Um, and it’s just, you know, another app that we need to get a climatized to because like we’ve certainly heard, um, success stories from folks, especially if you’re running a small business, like real estate agents, for example, like when it’s a person. Right. Cause a lot of it is like you’re, you’re talking to the personality rather than like the image, like Instagram is almost great for like a variety of visuals. Whereas Tik TOK is very much like people-centric, um, and personalities. So, um, we’ll see that, you know, if you’re a business owner and you’re very, you know, outgoing and you don’t mind talking to the camera, like just having these like funny little clips and stuff like that could help you grow viral and, and get some visibility out there.

Hilary Sager (49:49):

Great. Yeah, we all got to get on Tik TOK. I’m not on there either. I don’t know if I have a personality for it. Um, well that’s our last question that we, uh, that was submitted to us. I think we covered a lot of ground today. Um, and as has been mentioned, the, um, presentation deck and this recording will be sent out. So, um, you should, I think that the T the technology will be there. So people will be able to watch those videos, um, that were included in the, in the deck, in a PDF format. Um, so you can kind of check those out again. Maybe the internet was lagging and didn’t come through perfectly, but, um, Vanessa and Vicki, thank you so much for your time. Um, I learned a ton in this session and I hope everyone who joined us did as well. Um, yeah, but with that, we can close out a little bit early today and hopefully everyone can go find like a cold shower or some way to cool off this afternoon, but, um, wonderful.

Vanessa Ng (50:51):

Thank you so much again, it was a huge honor and pleasure to be here. Hope everybody stays cool out there.

Hilary Sager (50:58):

Thanks. Thanks. Have a great day. Bye.