Updated: Sep 26, 2022
Joy here-- It's hard to believe, but I have been working at Cat's Cove Communications for two whole years. Boy, time really flies when you're stuck at home, eh?
When I was growing up, this kind of career didn't exist. Or maybe it did, but it was called public relations. Or advertising. Or marketing. There's a lot to it. And the fact that it didn't exist several years ago is a testament to how much things change, and how quickly.
Change, and the speed of change is never more clear to me than when I look back on the last two years.
In the past I've worked for several small retail businesses and often helped with social media strategies. But when I started at Cat's Cove, the quickest lesson I learned was just how much I didn't know.
Honestly though, I think that's the best way to start something (except maybe surgery. Probably not a great time for a blank slate). Dive in and learn as you go. I was given so much grace, and shown so much patience as I navigated this new role.
I'm quick to dismiss my expertise. I have full-blown imposter syndrome. So Toby suggested I take a look back at what I've learned and how I've grown from "helping with social media" to "Social Media Manager" (aka "Social Media Mac Daddy." Toby's words. Not mine). So here's what I've learned so far:
1. Video Doesn't Have to Be Scary
I never really envisioned creating videos or being in videos on my own. When I started two years ago, Instagram Reels were the new kid on the block. I had only vaguely heard of TikTok; I just thought it was some app the kids were using (probably what you thought, too, although hopefully not anymore!).
I avoided creating videos like the plague. I turned everything back to Toby. But Toby isn't always available to stop, drop and shoot a video. And I needed content.
How I Began Creating Videos as an Introvert
Slowly, timidly, I got my introverted self ready (lots of coffee and deep breathing, writing out everything I wanted to say..) and created what was initially, some pretty terrible videos. And I guarantee it took me 25 tries and half the day just to get it to pretty terrible and not horrendous.
Since late 2021, I've created somewhere close to 200 videos. And thankfully, they no longer take half a day each (although coffee still helps).
I had to keep at it to get there.
Do I still make mistakes? Yes. Do I create things that I cringe at while closing my eyes to hit, "Post?" Absolutely yes. But done is done. Posted is posted. And I get a little better or at least a little more brave each time.
If you start now, just think where you could be in a year or two!
2. Statistics are Forgettable, Stories are Relatable.
We could give you number after number, statistic after statistic, and it probably won't land (unless you're really good at math). Numbers tend to go over peoples' heads. But stories stick.
I've learned that as fancy and authoritative as sharing a statistic might make you look, it won't get your message across. But a story will.
If I tell you that "TikTok users are spending, on average, 52 minutes per day on the app, so you should be on it," it might work. The number might convince you. But humans don't relate to stats.
What if, instead, I told you this (true) story about TikTok:
I made a mistake. I picked up my phone and I opened TikTok and started scrolling. An hour later I looked up. I had watched a woman having a disco party with her chickens. I learned about different types of throat singing all over the world. I found a recipe for butternut squash ravioli.
I learned things.
I had fun.
I felt relaxed.
I was entertained.
And somewhere between chicken disco parties and butternut squash ravioli, I think there's a place for you to be entertaining, for you to be informative, and for you to be an expert and find your people. There's a space just for you. You should fill it.
A story, whatever it's about, is more personal, more memorable and more effective than a thousand statistics.
3. Lean on Your Team for Social Media Help
Whether your team consists of co-owners, employees, family or friends, don't try to do all of this on your own. You don't have to give your Mom an assignment to create a video (but actually, we would love to see that).
Delegate is my new favourite word.
If you have to take the lead on social media and take initiative with social media, it doesn't mean you have to do it all yourself.
When you think about it, social media is a lot of work (and I think about it all the time, so I'd know).
You have to come up with an idea, you have to create it, and then you have to make all the necessary additions with hashtags, caption, location tags. And that's just getting it up there. Then there's engagement, and it goes on and on (almost like it's a full-time job!).
So it goes without saying that unless you're a superhero and a juggler, you're going to need help. Here's what you can do to lighten the social media load:
Have a clear idea of what you want
Work out the best way to communicate.
We started with spreadsheets, but have spread out to having one-on-one weekly meetings instead, which work so much better for our team.
We have a great time bouncing ideas off each other. We all consume media differently and spend time on different platforms. Toby and Bonnie can give fresh eyes to stale problems.
I'm not great at asking for help. I know they're busy and I don't like to bother them. But some of our business comes from social media.
We make connections on social media. We build relationships on social media. It's a non-negotiable.
It's a necessity. And Toby and Bonnie recognize that and are always willing to help with whatever I need.
If others are invested in the success of your business, they should invest some help in your social media. It's too important to be last priority, but not so important that you should be burning out doing it alone. So find your balance and your best delegating shoes.
Feeling overwhelmed? Here are some signs of social media burnout.
And if you need help, all you have to do is ask.
4. Organization is Your Best Friend
If you're like me and you're managing multiple platforms, you really need to be organized. I'm not the best at this, but I have learned a few things (mostly the hard way).
I spent many days waking up in a rush to come up with and post something for that day. Just post something, anything. And it was an awful feeling. I dreaded it. I was in a panic all the time. Sometimes I work well under pressure, but nine times out of ten I know I was putting out sub-par content. Maybe it could have been great, if I had given it more time.
Does that sound like your struggles with social media?
I don't want to say it's better to not post anything, but it's certainly better to put some thought into what you're creating.
You want to create from a passion for your business and the topic, not from fear and guilt that you haven't posted this week.
So think about what your content pillars are. Your content pillars are the 3-4 (relatively broad) topics that you could talk about forever. They should relate to your business of course.
Think of three topics. (3 of ours are Digital Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Mental Health)
Come up with of 3-4 thoughts or comments on each of those 3 things. Suddenly, you have up to 12 post ideas. You have 3 posts a week for a whole month.
Write them down. Put them in a calendar and set out time to create.
We have more ways for you to create more content here.
Two more tips to take stress out of posting on social media
Have a list of hashtags as a starting point for each post (just change them up slightly each time).
Create a folder of "evergreen" content that you can roll out once a month. If it's good today, it will be good next month as well, and most people won't see it every time.
5. You Can Find Inspiration Anywhere
This works especially well if you're organized and have delegated. Because you know what's really hard to gain inspiration from? A looming deadline.
When I give myself more time, I find inspiration for posts in the tv shows I'm watching (aka Gilmore Girls, again).
When I give myself time to step away and take off my social media manager hat (it's a great hat), I sweep my floor and gain inspiration for a post from that.
There are so many crossovers in life. I don't want to get too philosophical, but everything is connected. And while we each have many differences, we have much more that unites us.
Drawing inspiration from your daily life helps you connect with people and makes it easier to get your message across. After all, we all sweep the floor, right?
Those are just the top 5 things I've learned so far. Which one resonates with you the most?
And now it's your turn:
How long have you been in your business? What have you learned in that time? I bet you'd surprise yourself. Why not surprise yourself again by creating posts about it?