Are you social media savvy? Do you run out of ideas for what to post? Whether you’re on social media to stay connected with friends, managing a marketing campaign, or maybe you are reluctant to participate, Andrew Jenkins provides valuable insights about how to navigate the world of online social media.

References & Links

Andrew Jenkins & Volterra

Social Media platforms


 Talk About Talk Links


Interview Transcript

Dr. Andrea Wojnicki: Thank you so much for being here.

Andrew Jenkins: My pleasure

AW: Can you share with us what are some current trends in social media? What is hot right now? So I did a little research and I read two things are growing, In particular, Instagram stories. So, they copied Snapchat and they’re kicking their butts. And the second is WeChat, which is a very lucrative and prolific version of Facebook in China. Have you heard the same?

AJ: Well, yes, I have. Instagram is now 1 billion active monthly users globally. Amongst the clients that we work with. If they’re on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, Instagram will have more engagement than the others combined. But having said and that that’s not the greatest referrer of traffic to your website. So people are staying with you on Instagram, they’re staying housed in that environment.

AW: Interesting

AJ: They’re Engaging with the content. It’s really, really sticky. But it’s challenging because Instagram is a solely image- based network. Now, this may sound like being sacrilegious, but part of me feels that we’ve in some ways been duped by Instagram. So if you look at Vogue magazine, we’ve taken that same imagery from Vogue magazine and moved it from a roughly 8.5 by 11 layout in a magazine and we’ve moved it to a 2×3 inch screen. And for whatever reason we’re going “wow this is amazing.” So that’s my take on Instagram. Instagram is huge for engagement and sponsored content and it’s the medium for influencers like the Kardashians and so on. I think Kylie …

AW: one of the Ks!

AJ: She gets $$2million a post. David Beckham gets 300,000. I believe there was a recent study. How long is influencer marketing sustainable? You know, if you have to, if you’re an influencer, it has to be genuine. It has to look like you actually believe in the product that you’re promoting. Because if it looks like you’re shilling… So this month, it’s, you know, Rolex, and next month, it’s omega well, was it just omega gave you a bigger check?

AW: So yeah, there’s some integrity.

AJ: I would say to them, as long as you’re not recommending products that you can’t stand behind,

AW: right? Of course.

AJ:  if I drink Coke, I’m not going to shill for Pepsi, it’s going to feel disingenuous. And at some point, someone’s going to catch me drinking a Coke.

AW: Right and makes you look bad. And it also makes Coke look bad.

AJ:  And so you know, and on the flip side: So we’ve been talking about the influencers, the brands, also have to be responsible for choosing the right influencers and having a dialogue with them to say, like, sort of going to partner up here. How enjoyable will this collaboration and working relationship be? Because it could be –you don’t want an influencer, that’s shilling 100 products. It’s better that…

AW: there may be exclusivity agreements?

AJ: right, there could be this or maybe we’re going to do three years together or a year? Well, okay, then we really have to get along. And some influencers, they’re finding it challenging to keep up the main content yet, because to be able, what am I gonna say? Or do today? So there’s the duo on YouTube that, have a slow-motion camera, and they’re constantly trying to come up with things to film in slow motion — blowing up or squashing or whatever, now they’re getting suggestions from their audience.

AW: marketers are probably coming up with all sorts of ideas for them.

AJ: And then it does it feel off brand for the influencer? Does it feel disingenuous, because like, I’m doing it because the brand who cut me a check is saying do this.

AW: So the learning there than for people that are on social media is to stay true to what they are, right? Even in the midst of paid marketers coming to them. And then the message to social media marketers is to make sure ideally, it is a true partnership with the social media brand that you’re…

AJ: they’re going to be an extension of your brand. An ambassador. Now this is where brands, when you’re thinking about influencers, can you brand a hashtag? Can you and how much ownership do I have over that influencer? How much ownership do I have of their everyday life? Okay, I’m gonna hire an influencer and we’re going to go live, and I have no editorial oversight? Even if we may have given them a script per se, will they stay on it? Think of the advisors to Donald Trump, when he goes off script.

AW: I think I’m probably really depends on your brand persona, right?

AJ: there are some brands that are edgier. Yeah it would seem logical that they’re an extension of that brand. But if you’re a real buttoned-down conservative brand, the thought of going live?

AW: Yeah, but you know what, to play the devil’s advocate there. I would say that the real magic happens when consumers don’t think it’s edgy. And then the brand becomes edgy, right?

AJ: So Wendy’s is getting a lot of media attention, because of the Snark that their community management team has been allowed to convey, especially on Twitter.

AW: I hadn’t heard that.  Interesting.

AJ: but now to the point where consumers will literally tweet to them in order to get a snarky response and they’re like, “Oh, you won’t believe what Wendy said to me.” So like someone tweeted something and I’m paraphrasing here. “Hey, Wendy, I’m in the drive thru at Burger King, what should I do?” And the one-word response? “LEAVE.”

AW:  That’s hilarious. I love it.

AJ:  And so they’re getting huge media attention as a result. But now the imitators are coming along so well. Yeah, trying to be snarky, and I remember a friend of mine who worked for a sports franchise here in Toronto, and they could be snarky on Twitter, but that same edgy snarkiness, if they attempted that tone on Facebook, it’s not welcome.

AW: Do you think that that’s a prevalent conclusion?

AJ: It’s anecdotal, I’ll give you that. But in my own personal experience, I do find that Twitter… there are more trolls on Twitter, which isn’t the great thing. And I’m not praising it. But I do find that the snarkiness, the edginess, the humor, the more provocative interactions have been on Twitter.

AW: So it’s more reverent, and Facebook is a little bit more buttoned-down. Is that right?

AJ: But I also think this speaks to the age demographics.

AW: You’re talking about different tones across the different platforms. So if I have one message as a brand manager that I want to get out on social media idea …. then you tweak it for just take the example, on Twitter, you make the message, a little bit more reverent. And then on Facebook, you make it more

AJ: You have to play around, and you’ve got the luxury of A-B testing. So you could try a different headline and call-to-action on Twitter, versus what you try on Facebook. Now, Twitter has expanded to 280 characters in a tweet anyway, so you’ve got more content available to you.   We’re working with a golf course. And we took an image of their golf pro and took a quote from him and put it on top of the image. We put it on Instagram, we put it on Twitter. We said for Instagram that the link to the blog post which is an interview with him was in the bio.

AW: on the golf course’s website?

AJ: Right. So if you get a one to 2% engagement rate on Facebook, you’re rocking.

AW: you’re golden.

AJ: we’re seeing 6%, 12% 17% on Instagram in this case, for this particular post, with the golf pro: 20%

AW: so the people that are seeing it have already opted in. They’ve self-selected.

AJ: No, in fairness to larger brands, if you’re a Coca Cola with 2 million followers, those numbers are going to get kind of skewed. Now this is a golf course. They’re only known locally for the most part. So their followers are, you know, not in the millions. You’re better to have 100 followers that are highly engaged because it’s the old 80/20 rule. If I have 100 customers that love us,…

AW: you’ve heard the theory of  100 true fans? Yeah, right. If you have 100 true fans, you’re golden versus having 100,000 people that like you. You want 100 that love you?

AJ: Well I question so Okay, I’m going to give Kylie $2 million to post on Instagram? Now as the founder of an influencer startup said, one of the reasons brands we should give more consideration to micro influencers is that rule of 100. Because they have a lot more of those highly engaged smaller audiences. Versus when you get into the millions of followers, some of them are there because it’s just a curiosity. Some of them are, there must be something going on, because there’s a million other people. So the right mentality …

AW: Professionals also may say, Well, I’m going to follow Coca Cola because they’re one of the top 10 brands in the world every year. And I want to learn best practices, because they’re not engaged with the brand personally.

AJ:  right. And they may never buy a beverage.

AW: right. So talking about this micro targeting though,  I’m wondering if there are any campaigns that you’ve heard of that you can share with us that have been a great success?

AJ: So we’ll do some success stories and then we’ll do some fails. Organizations will run campaigns and go silent. But social is on every single day. That doesn’t mean that you should be marketing every day, but the idea of it is, what you can do to remain engaged with them?

AW: that’s a really interesting challenge for marketers, right?

AJ: But they usually fall back on that “well we must market.” No, no,…

AW: That’s what I’m saying. It’s a real challenge because we all know as marketers that we’re not going to waste our customers’ time by presenting them something that’s not newsworthy. It needs to be relevant and compelling to them.

AJ: so I’ll give you an example. If you’re a brand that’s accustomed to just brand message, brand message brand message. And I say “Okay, tomorrow, I want you to give them something that’s not from you.”

AW: So retweeting something, or sharing something that I find interesting?

AJ: But do you know how foreign that is to brand managers?

AW: Oh, ok.

AJ: So the example I like to give is, we work with a bank, with financial advisors and mortgage specialists. It’s about the one-to-one relationship. If I buy a mortgage from you, I’m not going to see you again, foresee-ably until I have to renew, right? Well, given that your business is predicated on referrals, you might want to stay engaged. But if all you’re going to send me as emails about the latest news about rates for mortgages, which I’ve now locked into for five years. But if you know, oh, they bought a fixer-upper. Here’s an article about DIY or home renovation advice or home decor?

AW: So I think there’s an opportunity then, for marketers to brainstorm: what are the primary source content opportunities? So what we can create what we can talk about ourselves internally, and what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, and how we do it. But then there’s secondary sources where you could actually be retweeting or reposting someone else’s post who’s in the same space, or you could drill down in another area of the consumer’s or the customers interest, right?

AJ: So there was a great example. HP has an “hp small business” group on LinkedIn, but sponsored by them. But they just sit back and they’re facilitating dialogue within the group,  amongst small business. American Express Open Forum.  It’s a platform for small business, they’re sharing content to help the Small Business succeed. And oh, by the way, it’s brought to you by American Express. I can follow the Twitter accounts or American Express Open Forum — and without ever being a customer. But if I value their content, because they’ve established themselves and have a reputation for being a premier source of content for small business–  is just that. It takes longer for a payoff.   Going back to what you were saying about trends. Increasingly, Facebook is a pay-to-play environment. It cannot be ignored. 76% of Canada is on Facebook. Just under 50% of Canada’s on LinkedIn. So I can’t ignore Facebook, because just by the mere numbers, the likelihood of reaching someone in my target audience, is 50% bigger on Facebook than it is on LinkedIn. From my perspective, depending on the age demographic, if it’s a pretty broad age demographic, from the mid 20s and early 40s, or even older, you should be on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. And each network serves two different purposes. Facebook is lower volume of posts on a daily basis, and maybe some higher engagement. But the reach is there, if you boost your content with ad dollars. You can still do a lot organically on Twitter, just because they’re so data-rich and open for research and listening. Instagram right now is enjoying amazing organic engagement and a dominance with influencers. So if those things align with what you’re trying to accomplish, you should be there.

AW:  I was talking about this recently with someone who has 100 people that love her. She’s trying to increase that number. And she said, I did one boost, I boosted an ad. And I got three new customers immediately. And she’s in nutrition. So it’s not that scalable. She’s one-on-one. So having three new customers is a huge success. And I said, do it!

AJ: She was doing what is now being referred to as micro boosting. Facebook will even tell you, if you share a piece of content, and you start to see some early signs that people like it, those early signs are an indicator to you. Okay, let’s throw 25-50 bucks, 100 bucks behind it

AW: just push it.

AJ: It’s like throwing gas on the fire. You can have some success for a modest expenditure on the likes of Facebook and get three customers as a result. So modest expense, nice ROI.

AW: I did want to ask you some specific questions about metrics and tracking. There are many marketers who, regardless of what space they’re in whatever category they’re competing in, they feel like, Oh, we got to get online. And we got to get on social. Right?

AJ: Well, to your point, some people say, Well, we need to be in social and we need a Facebook strategy. And I know I sound snarky, but Facebook didn’t have a Facebook strategy when it first began. And we forget, 10 years ago, MySpace was bigger than Facebook.

Andrew Jenkins Quote on social media strategy

AW: Right. I remember students coming to me telling me I should get on Myspace.

AJ: And now it’s essentially gone. So the question now is, does that mean if Snapchat is waning in growth or, as more recently some financial announcements from Facebook are causing Wall Street analysts some concern… Does that mean in another decade there’ll be something else ?

AW: and is it the Wall Street analyst or is it actually the users that matter?

AJ:  Well, some people say that Wall Street analysts were big on Blackberry because every Wall Street analyst had a Blackberry.

AW:  That’s a great example, right, because we’re all consumers.

AJ: But we have to be careful, if I’m giving a presentation, I’ll talk about a behavior and social is stemming from a Drake video, people will get out of their car and dance beside their car.

AW: and post it

AJ: They were stepping away, out of the driver’s seat. The car is coasting, door open, and they’re walking or dancing beside the car. Well recently, someone got hit by a car. Or – eating Tide pods. There’s also a competition known as the hot water challenge, where you stick your face in boiling water…

AW: some dangerous behaviors that are being proliferated.

AJ: There was a comic strip that said, “Go jump off a cliff.” “No, I’m not gonna jump off a cliff.” “Jump off a cliff.” “I’m not gonna jump off cliffs.” Change it to “#JumpOffACliff.” Okay. They jump.

AW: Nice.

AJ: But all that to say that, social is so data -rich that we can form a lot of our decisions, and ROI can be proven. But when it comes to… organizations are saying to themselves, “we need to be in social media, we need social strategy”… They need to pause for a second and say, Okay, let’s make sure from a broader strategic planning point of view that we’re doing this for the right reason, right?

AW: Yep.  That’s what I tell my clients.

AJ: I’m preaching to the choir here, but…

AW:  what are the basic metrics, that everybody expects?

AJ: So the basic metrics are the vanity metrics, likes or fans on your Facebook page, followers on Twitter, followers on Instagram. So you move from the vanity metrics of audience engagement with other posts specific content, then to metrics which are more closely aligned to your business’s strategic objectives, which might be sales. Here’s the other thing that organizations have to understand you do not own your Facebook page or Twitter account or your Instagram account, they’re just on loan to you. And so it’s all well and good to spend a lot of time and energy there. And this is coming from someone who works in social media, okay,..

AW: This is a little bit frightening to hear.

AJ: Well, Fred Wilson, the VC, said the Nike is brand is not “”, it is! So you want to use social in addition to your email newsletter, and all your other marketing needs to be driving your audience to your website. Sign up for your newsletter, download your ebook, download your white paper register for a webinar. Buy your stuff.

AW: okay, I like this. So the first layer is vanity. The second layer is engagement. And then the third layer is specific metrics that are aligned with your specific business objectives and outcomes.

AJ:  But as far as trends go, as we’re seeing more and more video-based content, garner engagement, then most videos either host natively on Facebook or on YouTube. And neither are properties that you own.

AW: right, but you can embed them in your website.

AJ: So we’re here, sitting, doing a podcast, which is another form of content. An increasingly popular form of content. Well, iTunes, or SoundCloud, or whatever means you use to house this podcast, you can embed the audio file in your website. So brand managers increasingly wear what I call their “content hat.” They need to think of a series of core digital assets then around that what are the portfolio pieces …

AW: I want to just understand this the definition of court digital asset?

AJ: The foundational piece.

AW: It’s the conduit to which your customers … the reason your customers are coming to you.  You can think of it as physical even though it may be online, right?

AJ: The main piece.  Yes. Extracting from them key insights or highlights from said white paper or analyst report. Transcribe the podcast. Transcribe the two-minute video, there’s two different blogs. And so you see where I’m going.

AW: It’s multimedia all of a sudden.

AJ: But I still haven’t ventured into …it’s not a second white paper or a second analyst report. I’m just extracting key elements from the original asset in different forums, because different artists, some people are audio, some are visual, some are “I want to read that full analyst report.” Or someone says, “What can you tell me in two minutes, because that’s all I got”. And this is where a lot of marketers would do themselves a service by thinking “it’s not about more content…”

AW: it’s about exploiting the content that you have, or a nicer word: leveraging the content that you have across all platforms.

AJ: How much content have you made from the last three years, that could be revisited. As opposed to … and  that’s proven to work?  It’s proven to be compelling. So you want a mixture of evergreen content versus seasonal. Banks have RRSP seasons in every February. You have tax season in April. You know, every month there are national whatever days and there’s this day in history. So we work in healthcare. Maybe there was a medical breakthrough 15 years ago in history.

AW: Right. On the morning radio show that I listen to, I feel like they’re doing that. It’s just filling time now by telling me, “Today is International, whatever, omelet day!”

AJ: Because it’s funny! it is…

AW: I have one other question that I want to ask you about a topic that is near-and-dear to my heart. I think about the psychology of personal identity all the time and the motivations behind creating and maintaining personal identity. So you post on social media. I know this both personally as Andrew Jenkins as well as professionally on behalf of your firm Volterra.

AJ: Right

AW: And probably in other contexts as well. And I’m curious, how conscious are you of your IRL authentic self, versus your corporate identity when you’re posting?

AJ: Very. That is legitimately how I do it and what I advise people to do. Okay, let me explain. So when it comes to Facebook, it’s friends and family. I’m locked-down from a privacy settings point of view. But I wouldn’t say or do anything… if I’m giving a keynote presentation, I tell people, “Don’t say, or do anything on social that you wouldn’t say, or do, to your grandmother in front of a room of 100 people.” When we mentioned earlier about fails, well, there are brand failures, because they were either tone-deaf or people didn’t consider the potential repercussions

AW: Right. So there are a lot of haters online, right? They’re not just trolls. They’re actually haters.

AJ: People get very brave and emboldened behind a keyboard. But if you were to drag them out from behind the keyboard said, Okay, now say that to my face in front of this room? Well, you’d see some people kind of shy away. I’ll give you a personal example. A friend of mine was being personally attacked on Facebook. I jumped in to the fray to defend her. I broke from my typical protocol and I kind of went after him. Then in hindsight, you know what? I’ve broken my own protocol. It’s not just what I say in front of 100 people. If someone screenshots what I say in front of a room of 100 people and it lives forever. There’s a line from the movie Notting Hill where ( for those of you who have seen it), Julia Roberts’ character gets photographed by the paparazzi. Her significant other in the movie says, “well, what’s the big deal is there’s just pictures,” and she said, “No, they’re not just pictures. Every time there’s a story about me they bring this back to life.” And so I after I made these comments I thought, well, if someone takes a screenshot, and given the work that I do and the industries that I do with and so on, I know better than this. So I went back, and I deleted the thread.

AW: you’re lucky you caught yourself instead of someone else catching you.

AJ: Sometimes I’ve joked, “if someone’s going to make a career- limiting move they will do it whether it’s within social or not.” There are some people just will make those mistakes.

AW: do you have any other suggestions or advice for our listeners, in terms of social media? could be personal or professional.

AJ: The thing that I probably would leave you with is, it’s not about being a mile wide and a foot deep, you don’t have to be on 10 different social networks beyond a few. One, I think, is insufficient, in order to really cover all the overlapping audiences that you may be trying to reach. So don’t just be on one network. But recognize that for every network that you open, you must resource with either a person or management tool.

AW: while there may be economies of scale in social media, in terms of going across different platforms, you shouldn’t assume that once you do one, you can scale to the others. And at no cost.

AJ: You raise an interesting point. Just because you’re on three platforms doesn’t mean that on Monday, I go to your Twitter account, your Instagram account, your Facebook page, and it’s the same piece of content. I’m done. And the last thing — and it kind of ties into what we talked about earlier about social media fails. One of the reasons that social media can be manageable or can scale is through automation and we use tools to enable that as well scheduling tool so that. Okay, we’re going to do some social posts on the weekend.

There are tools that can make the management of your social scalable and easier to do with few resources. However, if you tip that more towards what I call autopilot where you’re kinda like set it and forget it. That’s where you can have social media fails. So the National Rifle Association had a tweet scheduled for Friday morning a few years ago. And just by sheer circumstance, it was the Friday morning after there had been the shooting in the movie theater screening of Batman.

AW:  Yeah, I think I heard this, and it went out anyway?

AJ: And so it goes out on Friday morning. “Happy Friday shooters, got any weekend plans?” They got ripped for it. Yeah. Shut the account for the weekend. It was bad.

AW: Disgusting. Okay, now I’m going to ask you the five rapid fire questions that I asked every guest Are you ready?

AJ: I’m ready.

AW: First question. What are your pet peeves?

AJ: being made to look unprofessional.

AW: Okay, duly noted. 😉 Second question. What type of learner are you?

AJ:  I have a background in film. So visual can resonate with me, but sometimes I like to read. But then I can be… I know that sounds like “it depends…”

AW: No, I think that’s normal. Most of our most of us are “it depends,” right? I think it’s more rare for people to say, Oh, I’m really hundred percent visual or whatever. Introvert or, extrovert?

AJ: introvert.

AW: Wow. But not shy.

AJ: Well, the funny thing is – go  back in time, 15 plus years ago, and I’m in my MBA class. And if you ask me to stand up in front of 50 people who I knew quite well to speak to them present a case or whatever I was… petrified. I really had butterflies in my stomach,

AW: So you got over the shyness, but you’re still an introvert.

AJ: So I so you know, I’ll be talkative in a room. But oftentimes, sometimes I’ve been accused of being aloof or arrogant, because I’m quiet and reserved. But I’m listening first.

AW: What is your communication preference for personal conversations? Do you phone, email, text,

AJ: I’ve never been a big lover of the phone.

AW: I am with you on that,

AJ: which is very often – I’ll hold the phone up during a presentation, say to the audience, how many of you still use this as a phone? And they all start to giggle  and if I can add to that people ask me, well, what’s your favorite social network, and it’s and it’s a social stuff so much about social I use LinkedIn is incredibly valuable to me for my career in my business. I’m an information junkie, and I love Twitter for the amount of information that I can capture from it. Which is why I like Instagram, but I don’t love it, like many do. Because it’s not a medium for disseminating information to the same degree as some of these others.

AW: Last question. Is there a podcast, blog or an email newsletter that you recommend the most?

AJ: The most recent one I’ll share we talked earlier about “Here’s the Thing” by Alec Baldwin. But because we’re talking about social media, the one I would recommend is from Buffer, which is a software scheduling solution for social media. They have a podcast called The Science of Social Media.

AW: Okay, the science of social media. I’m going to check that out. How can the listeners here connect with you?

AJ: They can follow me on twitter @AJenkins is my Twitter handle or @Volterradigital is the corporate Twitter handle.

AW: Okay, and I will put links to those up in the Shownotes.

AJ: Or they can find me on LinkedIn.

AW: Great, thank you so much for sharing your time and your expertise. Andrew.

AJ: My pleasure.

I hope you will sign up for the TalkAboutTalk weekly newsletter!!! This is your opportunity to receive one concise email from me each week, highlighting what I think is worth Talking About. My goal is to help us all become more effective communicators.

Please connect with me.  YES, I will personally respond!

One last thing, if you have a moment, please go to Apple Podcasts or whatever podcast platform you use and rate this podcast.  It helps us a lot to get some traction in this wonderful podcast universe. (click on an episode, then “Ratings & Reviews”)

TALK soon!

Talk About Talk logo