Welcome to the Marketing in the Wild podcast. I’m Julia from Stratos Creative Marketing, where we are obsessed with finding real-life examples of the good, the bad, and sometimes wild, in marketing.

In my position here at Stratos, I get to meet a lot of people because I do some sales calls for our team. And so, I’m meeting people all the time who are wanting to outsource their social media. They’re telling me, “Hey, I don’t like it. I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to think about it. Can you get it off of my plate?” And so, every time we meet with somebody, we have a conversation with them. We talk about, what is their budget? What kind of results are they looking for? We actually don’t guarantee results because there’s so many factors that play into social media. But what results do they want out of it? And what can we feasibly do? And what is like, hey, it might happen, but it might not happen? Because for something like that, if you don’t have a guaranteed result or a guaranteed ROI, you need to be able to have the wiggle room with your budget, that that’s okay. And so, sometimes it is worth it to outsource your social media, sometimes, depending on the budget, your ROI needs, your revenue needs, it might not be a great idea. But most of the people I talk about know that they have to do social media in some regard. 

You can listen to some prior episodes about should I quit social media? Because some of you, that might be a great option actually. While we’re never advocates for having to do something, we also do understand that it is important to have a social media presence, whether it be for a portfolio proof of concept, or for ads, or marketing needs, whatever it might be, we obviously do believe social media is important. Otherwise, I would not be selling social media as a service. That’s what we’re going to talk about today. What if I don’t have the budget? What if I’m realizing, oh, crap, I do need to DIY my social media content? We are going to talk a little bit about that today. I’m going to give you four resources on my list for DIY-ing. These are things that my team even references while we are creating content for clients, so that’s how good it is. We’re using it on a weekly or daily basis. I’ll walk you through these. You’ll be able to find all of them in our show notes, but here we go.

First one, 101 Social Media Prompts. If you’ve been around, we’ve had this lead generator floating around for probably three years at this point. It is our most downloaded lead generator. For those of you who aren’t totally sure what that means, we basically, on our website, give you access to this PDF of 101 social media prompts, and I think we also call them thought starters in some places. That’s our fault. Forgive us that we don’t use the same word everywhere. But these prompts are literally 101 questions that help you think of a caption. Some of my favorite ones are, what’s something you’re proud of that could make you relatable to your clients or share a testimonial? Why did you decide to own your own business? So we’ve got 101 of these questions. Do you have to do work with them? Yes, obviously. You need to answer the question. But I can guarantee that if you look at this list and you start scanning through them, you’re going to start realizing, oh, I could talk about that. And so really, all this serves is to help trigger these thoughts that could become captions. You’ll still have to write them down. But usually, coming up with a concept of the post can be the hardest part. We’ve got that covered for you. So when you have a chance, go pick up our 101 social media prompts off of our website and the resources page. It’ll be linked in our show notes as well, but that is one of my favorite ones. 

We actually will reference this, as I mentioned, for client content. Some of our content coordinators are running a little dry on inspiration. They head over to this and they start thinking about it from the client’s perspective. A few other questions on here that I love are, what differentiates you from your competitors? That would make a great post. You don’t necessarily have to target your competitors and say, this is why they’re bad, but if you can start thinking of differentiators, you should be able to write a caption about that. 

Why do you love working with your target audience? I love this one! Usually, this question evokes passion or perhaps even a personal story. Today I was talking to somebody who works at a caregiver organization, and she was telling me how she’s been watching her mom care for her dad, and how beautiful it is that now she can really support people through her work just as her mom has supported her dad. That would be an awesome, awesome, awesome caption. This one’s a really easy one, what is one of your favorite quotes, and why? Literally, if you don’t have a favorite quote, go Google quotes, and pick what you like and tell us why you like it. Super simple! You’ll find all 101 of those on our resources page on our website, so head over there. 

Another thing that I love that we have published, and I promise I’ll talk about two other resources that aren’t ours, is that recently, Kat, our operations manager, created a blog post about nine essential posts when you’re starting a new Instagram account. If I had my druthers, I would even consider changing that title to nine essential posts for every Instagram account, not even just for a new one. So if you are sitting on an Instagram account, not sure what to post next, head over to this. But here are some of the nine. Outline them, and even show you examples from some of our own clients. The first one that she mentions is, introduce the business. Who are you? What do you do? What’s your elevator pitch? The next one is, what problem does your customer face that you have the solution to? Share a tip or trick for your customers. Another one is, share a common misconception in your industry and tell them the truth, highlight a testimonial, there’s a few more there because there’s nine total. Actually there’s 10. There’s a bonus one here. Look at that. There are 10 different posts that you can post on your Instagram, or your Facebook, or LinkedIn, whatever you want to do, but here are some more content ideas. 

The next favorite resource I love is also for content. It is a book called They Ask You Answer by Marcus Sheridan. I have mentioned it so many times. I read it I think two summers ago, and I would take breaks during the day and go read up on our hammock. Within the first few pages, I realized I needed to have note paper with me, because I was taking notes left and right about content that I needed to write. Mind you, the whole premise of the book is that when anybody asks you a question, the answer can be content. So whether it becomes a video, whether it becomes a social post, email, whatever it be, every single question that a customer asks you can and should be a piece of content because then you become the content expert in that field. I recently had a conversation with some colleagues about whether this technique still works, and here’s what I told them, their thought was, does it really make sense? The book is a little old. Is that still possible where there’s a flood of information? Here’s what I said, Marcus Sheridan, who wrote the book, the reason he wrote this is because he actually experienced it. He was working at a pool company, and he started making content about pools. And so eventually, they ranked the highest on SEO, they had answered all of the questions, and so it served them really well. He did this during a recession. So when people started looking for pools, he came out on top every time. 

Will this work for everybody? Maybe not in the same way, but I don’t think that he expects it to. Maybe Marcus Sheridan would disagree with me, and I would die if he was on our podcast someday. But I don’t think that he’s out to say, “Hey, what happened to our pool company is going to happen to everybody’s company.” Because to be frank, as far as marketing goes, we put out a lot of content at Stratos, but I don’t think we’re ever going to be the first page of Google about marketing in general because we aren’t paying a crap ton for ads. We have our small team, we’re not a giant team producing content on a daily or multiple daily basis. But what I love about it is that for one, They Ask You Answer becomes a framework by which you get ideas for your content, and then when you do get clients on your page, their questions are being answered. And so in that regard, you’re creating a better sense of trust with them. That’s one of my favorite things about that book. I highly recommend it to everybody. And read it with a notebook or a notepad next to you because as I was reading it, I would think, so-and-so asked me this question. That would be a great piece of content. Or so-and-so asked me about this, oh, I could write about that. 

Resources; I’ve shared three, and they’re all about how to come up with content for the caption. The reason that I’ve talked about that is because that’s usually the hardest part. The hardest part is usually coming up with the concept, the caption, and figuring it out and writing it out. Two other things that you’re going to want if you’re DIY-ing, the first is the content. So I gave you three resources, 101 social media prompts, nine essential posts for Instagram, and then the book, They Ask You Answer. Those are my three top go-tos. When it comes to strategy, that’s something else you’re going to want to know if you are DIY-ing. My go-to is later.com. Even as a social media marketer, I rely on things like later.com, CoSchedule is another one, Hootsuite is a great one, HubSpot. These are huge organizations that have thousands, if not millions, of social media accounts that are being scheduled through them. They can tell us, hey, this is what trended this past year, or this is what’s trending right now. Hey, this is what we’re seeing. We’re seeing these kinds of posts get these kinds of reactions. Later is my favorite one, and they make it super accessible. They have a great email newsletter that you should sign up for. But literally, they come out with reports on upcoming trends, upcoming predictions, they talk about the strategies that have worked. Literally, they can see all this aggregate data and it can give us the answers that we need.

I can see like 30 accounts, so I can see what’s working for my clients, but they can see what’s working for thousands of clients and tell us that. They’ll even tell us stuff about hashtags. That’s a really important strategy, and Later discusses that as well. You don’t have to sign up to use their scheduler. In the vein of They Ask You Answer, they’re answering questions before we even have them, so that they appear as this expert, which they are. So that’s where I would hang out if I were you and you were looking for a strategy. 

I said I was only going to have four resources, but I’m going to talk about the fifth one. The fifth one is Canva. If you’ve been around for two seconds in the social world, you have heard of Canva. Canva has made graphic design accessible to the average human. We don’t have to figure out how to use Photoshop or Illustrator, Canva has made it easy to be a graphic designer. Are you going to be a graphic designer? Maybe not. There are still graphic designers who are better than me. There are a lot of graphic designers who are better than me. But once you have those words, those content pieces that we’re talking about, then you’re going to need an image or a graphic to go with it. And Canva would be my recommended go-to. They have a free version, and it is excellent. Their pro version, it’s really inexpensive. I think it’s like $5 a month. I might stand corrected, but I believe it’s 60 bucks a year, and it is so much better. You can get almost everything on the free account, but the one thing that I love is that you can save your brand colors and so you can switch them out. You also have access to tons of more templates, and so that way, you’re not seeing all of the regular run of the mail ones. They have more photos that you have access to. So for the price, I think it’s worth it. I can’t believe we didn’t do it sooner. But anyway, I think that it’s a great resource, and it’ll be really easy because you can just pick out a template, switch out your colors and add a headline.

That is how I would DIY content. We do our own content obviously. We have Ryann, who does it for us. We are using all of these tools. I don’t share tools that we are like, yeah, no, we’ve never used it, but it might be good. These are all tools that we’re using on a weekly, if not daily basis.

So just to recap, we’ve got our content tools. Those are the 101 social media posts that you can find on our website, our nine essential posts when starting a new Instagram account, blog post. That one’s open, you don’t even need to give us your email to get it. And then They Ask You Answer, that’s the only thing that I would say that you should purchase. You should purchase it for yourself so you can start brainstorming, and you can start understanding this content creation process. 

For strategy, look to all of the big players. My favorite one is Later, but all of them have good resources. And then the last one for design and images, head over to Canva. That’s where you should land to make good designs. You can rely on a lot of the tools within the apps and such, but Canva makes design incredibly accessible. So tell me, are there any tools that you love when you DIY your social media? We would love to hear from you about them. Just so you know, stick around for the next month or two. We’re going to be doing a series on DIY-ing social. We have a couple of really great topics coming up, like holiday hashtags; are those even important or are they just dumb things on the internet? If you don’t even know what those are, also tune in. We also are going to talk a little bit about paid social, tips for you to DIY on your own, things like boosting, is that even worth it? Which the answer is, it depends. Join us in the upcoming weeks to learn more about DIY-ing social. Have a great one, you guys.

Friends, thanks for tuning into this week’s podcast episode. I am so glad that you have, if you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have, I just ask you to subscribe so you know each time we have a new episode coming out. If you loved our podcast and want to give us a rating or a review, I promise we will read each and every one of them. A special shout out to our friend, Carson Childers, who is producing our podcast. We really appreciate him and all the hard work that he’s done for us.

Also, thanks to the Stratos team. They have been behind the scenes doing all of the graphic design, brainstorming, et cetera, et cetera. Really, this wouldn’t be possible without them. I’m thankful for each and every one of you guys. Lastly, listener, we’ll be back next week and I hope you will be too.