This is the transcript of the podcast episode Why users have the power with Stripe Social. You can find the video version with closed captions at the end of this post or over on YouTube.

Alexis is in italics and Kat is in normal text.

Hello, hello. I’m here with the lovely Kat. Do you want to introduce yourself, tell us who you are and what you do and all of that stuff?

Hi there, absolutely lovely to be with you on this lovely sunny morning. I am Kat, she/her. I live near Blackpool by the sea with my family. I’ve got two young children and a fiance and I run Stripe Social, which is a social media consultancy. And I also do social media training. I work with people to help them uncover their story really.

I think good social media is about good storytelling. So uncover their story, help them to bring out the best that, you know, the best side of them on social, bring out their confidence, and most of all, cut through the crap, you know, ’cause there’s so much crap out there and people just need help with that a little bit. So that is what I like to help people with, yeah, yeah.

I’ve been doing this for two and a bit years now. My background is actually in public sector, communications, worked at the NHS for quite a long time. Yeah.

That must be really helpful, having a history in communications, because that’s basically what social media is, isn’t it?

Oh, absolutely, yeah. And working in somewhere like the NHS where, you know, it can be quite high pressure, sometimes quite high stress. You work in, there’s no budget, obviously, you’re working on a shoestring, but it’s all really good grounding for going freelance. Obviously, didn’t realise that at the time, but I’ve been able to draw on a lot of my skills that I had previously. Yeah, absolutely.

That’s interesting, yeah, yeah. So you, well, when we discussed this, you wanted to talk about how the pressure of being perfect on social media is affecting people. It’s something, on the first lockdown way back, way back in the first lockdown. I really noticed that. That seemed to sort of kick up a gear and there was this intense push to be like, not just from the, “You need to learn a language “and you need to write a book, “and you need to do this, that and the other.” Themes that were going around.

Yeah. Not helpful.

You need to show up more for your audience, you need to create this kind of content. You need to be doing this, that, and the other. Because that is what you have to do now. So how did you find that?

The pressure to be perfect and productive during lockdown.

Well, my situation is probably a little bit more unique than others because I had a baby three weeks before lockdown. So I had all that going on. I have my four-year-old at home. Obviously I’d intended to step back from the business and take a bit of time away and take some maternity leave. And then all of a sudden, the world tips upside down. And like you say, social media, and particularly Instagram I will say went nuts and you know, and all this, “You should do this, you should do that.” And people, you know, were, you know, quite rightly pivoting, they were doing the best that they could do for their business at the time. You know, people were doing amazingly, they were flying. But I think that had sort of a knock on effect.

So everybody felt like they should be doing that. You know, they should be posting every day and your posts should be, you know, pretty perfect. You know, you should be doing reels, you know, IGTV, stories. You should be across as many channels as possible. And you know, for some people they could absorb that and make that happen. Whereas for a lot of other people, I mean, not just me having a baby, but some people were just stuck for a long time. It was a lot to take last year, wasn’t it? There was so much to take and that mental toll that many people had, some people just didn’t have the space for it.

And I kind of get, I mean, talk about Instagram again, and Facebook, they were trying to be helpful in a way since they started pushing out lots and lots of new things to help small businesses. So I could see what they were doing, but as well, you know, reels coming out and people were just going, you know, I was getting messages, people saying, “Oh my God, it’s something else to do. “What do I do, what do I do?” And I was just like, you know, “You don’t have to do it, it’s fine.” If you want to, have a go, if you don’t, if you have not got space for this right now, just do not do it, stick to what you know, yeah. Play to your strengths.

And I think sometimes if you can talk to people about that then they get it out there, that’s one way, but some people don’t always have that opportunity. And they just see, you know, this filtered life and the filtered actions that come through on social media and think, “Right, that’s what everyone’s doing, you know? “I’ll work myself into the ground trying to do it.” So I just think, you know, we’re in, I don’t want to use all the cliches about unprecedented times, but we were in that, it was, you know, a whirlwind, wasn’t it? And I just think it was hard for people to unpick exactly what they should be doing. And I think now that we’re coming out of that, I think people realise that’s how they were thinking and feeling and don’t want to anymore, you know? It’s social media, it should be a fun thing. It should be a nice thing to do for you and for your business and for your audience as well. And I think, I think, I’m getting the feeling that people want to get back to that for sure.

Yeah, yeah, I think so. And I think part of it, the thing that sort of played into, because I think that is something that people struggle with generally is that they see other businesses and other people doing these things, taking on reels, doing lives all the time, doing this, that and the other. And they think everybody is doing that.

And I think it intensified in lockdown, because the people, a certain section of people sort of took that on board and ran with it and started doing even more stuff. And the people who stepped back and were like, “I can’t do this right now. “I need to just slow down and take a minute.” Those people weren’t in your feed anymore. So it kind of intensified that feeling that everybody is doing all the things, but actually it’s natural that you are gonna see more of the people who are doing all the things, because they’re doing all the things. It doesn’t mean that everybody else is doing it too.

Focusing on the wrong things.

Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. And I think as well, the messaging that’s been coming out of Instagram recently, you know, they’re saying that if you do reels, you’ll get better reach, they’re really pushing them right now. And you know, at the end of the day Instagram is a business so they’re gonna say that, aren’t they? But that has been kind of relentless over the last, about six months. I can’t remember how long it’s been around for. Yeah, and they’ve not let up with that message.

You know, I’ve seen it a lot and I think it takes, I think you have to be a little bit brave in a way to push back against that. You know, so personally I’ve not done a lot of reels, because I’ve just not had the time for it. And it is something that I would like to do, because you know, they’re definitely, you know, they’re great for small businesses, you can use them in lots of different ways, but I’ve just tried to share that message with my followers as well. So just sort of saying, you know, “This is what I’m doing, it’s okay.” And just providing that reassurance.

And the other thing as well I think, you say people are doing all the things, we don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. So we don’t know if they have got help. Yeah, they may have help with these sort of things. They may have a graphic designer. They may have a VA. They may be working until one, two, three o’clock in the morning, which I would never, you know, advocate, but that’s what they might be doing. So it’s that, what did people say? Don’t compare yourself to strangers on the internet and that, you know, that flies around a lot, doesn’t it? But it’s so true too, because you only see that filtered version of them and their business. And they’re probably not gonna, I don’t know, they may not let you know what’s going on. That’s up to them, but I think that’s worth bearing in mind as well.

Yeah, no, you are so right. Because there are, there are some big names in social media who shall remain nameless in this interview, who talk a lot about creating more content. You need to be doing all this video content. You need to be putting this out there and that out there, and I look at these people and think, “You have a team of tens if not hundreds of people “doing that for you.” All you’re doing is actually recording the content. All the editing, all the scheduling, all the planning and strategising is all other people. And it really, it frustrates me to see the impact that has on small business owners. Because that tends to be what people see. Especially initially when they’re starting their business and they getting on social media, they’re like, “I need to do this.” It’s those people that they go to and it’s that advice they see. And then when they come to me, and I’m gonna guess, the same when they come to you, the customer is like, “But I can’t post every single day. “I can’t be doing video content all the time. “I don’t have time, content, videos to go out “on every different platform.” And I’m like, “You don’t need to. “I’m sorry to say that it’s bullshit, “but you don’t need to.”

Well, you know, we’re tactful, aren’t we? We put it in a slightly different way, but although, you know, sometimes people do need straight talk and you know, “I want the swipe up” is a big one. I’m like, “10,000 followers probably won’t make you happy. “It will just add to the stress.”

But, yeah, yeah, there is that, there is, you know, and as well, I mean, I’ve done it myself when I first started Stripe. I set up, I looked at what other people were doing, and I’m like, “Let’s do all the things straight away.” And it took me a good six months to stop doing that, to stop, you know, tying myself up in knots trying to do all the things. And I think that’s part of the learning curve as well. You know? So it’s that shiny object syndrome, isn’t it? You know, “Oh, yeah, I could do that, “try that and then try that.” And the truth is when you’re starting out, well, I didn’t have many clients when I first started out so you’ve got a bit more time so you can do things like that, but then, you know, hopefully your business is gonna be more successful and you’re gonna be doing more of that then you haven’t got the time to spend on the shiny things. And like I say, you know, the shiny things, when you get them, they’re probably not that shiny anyway, you know? So yeah, I think that is part of the learning curve for any small business too.

Yeah, I have to say, actually, when I first started, I had a conversation with one of my best friends and they were like, “But like you’re stressing yourself out so much “trying to post like on every platform, “and that’s not the advice that you give to your clients.” “Like you tell people not to do that.” And I was like, and I literally said to them, “I am a social media manager, “I have to be on all the platforms.”

Yeah, done that, done that, yeah.

Now I look back and I think, “Wow, wow.”

Absolutely, and it’s just exhausting, isn’t it? And especially, I mean, if you’re still doing that now, you can give yourself a nervous breakdown, because every platform has just got so much going on. I mean, you know, it’s probably a discussion for another day, but a lot of the platforms are starting to look the same, which is, you know, bugging me a little bit with the features. But yeah, again, I think that’s part of the learning curve as well. It’s, you know, learning about your audience and learning where they are and most importantly learning where they are not, you know, and then just leaving it, just leaving it alone. I think that’s absolutely fine, yeah.

Yeah, yeah, no, I agree. So speaking of different platforms and audiences there are different … Something I think a lot of people misunderstand is that even your audience is gonna be different across different platforms. So getting to know your audience on their different platforms and what they want on those different platforms is kind of a big part of figuring out your social media strategy.

The power of authenticity.

And for me, I find sort of the really authentic unfiltered, ironically, content does much better on Instagram than on places like Facebook. Even though Instagram has this sort of image of super filtered influencer shiny fancy content. So what have you sort of found in that sort of capacity?

Yeah, I think whenever I post more personal things they go down a lot better than my posts about social media. Sometimes I’m just a bit like, “Oh, okay.” But I think that’s totally cool as well, because you know, people are buying into the person, aren’t they? The person behind the brand, you know? They’re there for the helpful stuff and tips and advice, but if they don’t get you or click with you they’re not gonna take that relationship any further.

I think when you’re posting the unfiltered stuff it’s probably really, really refreshing for people. They’re like, “Ah, okay, so that’s fine. “She’s just doing her thing.” You know, obviously enjoying it, obviously, you know, you’ve clicked, you know who you want to talk to and how you want to talk to them. And if they’re your people, they’re gonna go, “Yes, get that, love it, I want to know more.”

And I think getting to know your audience, you know, it’s all trial and error, isn’t it? I mean, you could use your platform insights, et cetera, et cetera. And I think those will take you so far, but it’s how you talk to people. It’s the content that you put out. It’s how you speak to them. It’s, you know, how you, you know, spark that connection with them. That is the key for me. And that’s always what I want to get to the heart of with my clients, you know, especially new clients. And they’re always quite surprised by that. And the fact that they shouldn’t be putting out, you know 20 sales posts a week as well, you know? They’re like, “Oh, well, people don’t know that “I’m selling this or I’ve got this service.” And I’m like, they do know, but they want all the other stuff as well. You know, and they want you to be you, they don’t want you to have a fake Instagram or, you know, just a general social media persona, because they’ve seen that and it doesn’t work. It’s really obvious and it’s not sustainable. You cannot keep up that charade for any length of time and it would just be a disaster, wouldn’t it? For you and your brand. If you did take that really dodgy path and it all blew up that’d be just awful.

So I think just getting back to what you were saying. Yeah, the unfiltered stuff, I think perhaps there is starting to be a little bit of a change in that. I think there was an article last year and it was, it sort of went viral. It was talking about, is the Instagram aesthetic dead? I don’t know if you’ve read it? And that gained popularity really, really quickly. And that was a bit of a kickback, wasn’t it? Against the super glossy, you know, the stylized, you know, these influencers, they might take 100 photos more and choose one, you know, and it was a kickback against all of that, wasn’t it? It was more about being in the moment, not adding as many filters or any filters, you know, being a bit raw and rough. And I think people sort of like, “Oh yeah, I really like that.” And I read recently as well about a new trend, and I’ve not seen it, but I’m intrigued by it called photo dumping on Instagram. And it’s where you just go and use a carousel post and you just post 10 random photos from your camera roll, could be anything, and don’t put filters on them. And they don’t have to fit in with the aesthetic of your feed. So they really, really stand out. But probably, yeah, if you hashtag, I don’t know if, you should search for hashtag photo dump. I don’t know what that will come up with. (laughing)

I would not recommend that.

I’ll try and find the article again and maybe send you the link, we could share it. But I was really, really intrigued by that. And I just thought, “Oh, that’s nice.” Yeah, it’s like a good thing to do, isn’t it? And not have the pressure, and just, yeah, and it’s sharing insights into you and who you are, but not in that stylized way.

Yeah, yeah. If we can find a link, I will put it in the show notes so other people can have a look.

I’ll find the link, don’t search photo dump. (laughing)

Yeah, I think actually, I do think there’s a place for this sort of super filtered look, because like some people want to use social media for that kind of escapism. But what interests me is the reaction from clients when they finally listen to me and they post something that’s like, it’s an about me post or it’s something a bit more raw and honest and whatever. And the reaction they get to it from their audience is like, “This is great!” And they suddenly have a load of comments to reply to, people are in their DMS, asking them more about it. And their reaction is always like, “Wow.” (laughing) Every time.

I know, like, “Yeah, I actually know what I’m talking about.”

But I think it fascinates people to see that, because as much as we can tell people like, “This is a good thing to do.” People need to see you, they need to get to know you. It always surprises people that people actually want to get to know them. And I think it’s kind of sad too, to think that people, people believe that all people want from them is their business or their advice or their, you know, free tips on this or whatever. Because, I mean, really people want to connect with other people and that is kind of the core of social media, at least like how I see it. That is at the core of social media. People are on there to connect with other people. And it’s just so, it really is sad to me to think that people don’t want to put themselves out there. And some of it I think is because of the fear of pushback. They’ve seen people have really bad reactions to some posts on social media and they don’t want to be on the receiving end of that. But I do think that by and large, that is the minority. I do think like taking the risk, generally it does pay off.

Yeah, yeah. As long as you, you know, you’re not being deliberately antagonistic, you know, or, you know, just horrible I doubt, you know, it’s very rare that you’re gonna get that kick back. And I think as well if you do get that kick back, then that person is not your person, So I think I’d always respond, you know, be really polite, but just say, “Perhaps, you know, I’m not for you, “perhaps this isn’t the account for you, you know. “If you want to not follow me or … ” I think you can’t worry about those people as well, because social media can be a little bit of an odd environment. You know, the people that are lurking around, there is that dark element to it, unfortunately. And that’s a fact of social media life and, you know, something that I wish wasn’t there, but it is, you know?

Oops, touch wood, I’ve never had a major trolling incident either personally or with any of my clients, because I think, you know, if you put the work in upfront with your messaging and, you know, get super, super clear on who your audience is, I think you mitigate, you know, potentially communicating with the wrong people or communicating in the wrong way with people, if you see what I mean?

Know, like, trust.

But yeah, just going back to what you were saying, I always talk about the know like trust process with my clients. And I think that could be a bit of a light bulb moment for them as well. You know, it’s not about putting out a sales post on a Monday and then, you know, you’re gonna have your sales rolling in all week. Absolutely not.

You’ve got to put yourself out there, you know, warts and all, you know, share the mishaps. People love it when things go wrong. They love it when you’re, well, they don’t love it when you’re having a bad day, but they really get it. You know, the connect with you if you share that you’re having a bad day. If I, you know, some stories, Instagram stories at the moment about being tired because my kids have been up all night. I got loads of DMS, you know, from parents. And they’re like, “I feel you, I’m sending coffee.” You know? And it’s lovely, it’s really, really lovely. You know, and that’s who my people are. But yeah, you’ve got to get them to get to know you. And then, you know, to like you, obviously they’ve got to like who you’re about and what you’re offering and then trust you before they’re gonna part with money or, you know, invest in a service with you. It’s a big decision, isn’t it? And you can’t skip a stage either. You really can’t skip a stage.

And I think as well, it’s about getting people to understand that it’s not an overnight thing. There’s no quick fix on social media. I have spent quite a lot of time with clients talking about this and saying, “You know, you’re not gonna get results in a month even. “You’ve got to think long-term “and that’s why we always set long term goals, you know, “that we’re working towards.” And again, I think that can be a bit of a light bulb. And I think it can be a bit freeing as well because it takes the pressure off because they’re not thinking, “Oh my God, “I’ve got 10,000 followers in a month, you know, “I’ve not got swipe up, you know, “I’ve not increased my sales by 200%.” It’s about being realistic. Set goals that are achievable. What else was I gonna say?

Repurposing your content.

Oh, before, yeah, when you were talking about people putting themselves out there. I think it’s that getting them to understand as well that you don’t just do it once, that you keep doing it. So I know a lot of people when they’re first starting out or whatever they do an about me post and they’re like, “Well, I’ve done it.” And I’m like, “Yeah, but it’s buried back, you know, “six months ago, people aren’t gonna go searching for that.” So you’ve got to keep on doing it. And like, “Oh, they don’t want to see a picture of me.” And I’m like, “Yeah, they do, they really do. “They want to see who’s talking.”

There’s no, never be worried about repeating yourself, because the majority of people won’t see your content all the time. So even if you’ve done, you know, a talkie story or whatever, you know, last week, well, you know, a lot of your followers won’t have seen that. So do another talkie story every week and just keep that momentum going.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. That is so true. It’s something that I bang on about as well. It’s like, you can repurpose your content and you can put the same content out in different ways. So if you do a feed post about it, you can also do a reel about it. And you can also go on stories and talk about it, you can also do a live about it. And you can make that an IGTV. Like you can do the same content, because people consume things in different ways. Like there are people on Instagram now, and I am not one of them, who just don’t scroll the grid anymore. They just go in straight to stories. And there are people who are really enjoying reels and they spend a lot of time just swiping through the reels tab. So if you’re only putting it out once in one specific way, you are missing out on reaching people with that content.

There’s so much sort of, stigma’s the wrong word, but there’s so much sort of fear around saying the same thing more than once and putting the same thing out there. And I think if you, if, what I tend to sort of say to people, it’s like, if you think about how many Instagram posts even you have seen over the past week, like, do you remember them? You know, how many have you scrolled past? How many stories have you watched that you actually remember what it was about? You don’t. You are conscious of your own content because you are creating it and putting out there and looking at it regularly. It’s a part of your daily life. It’s not for everybody else. It’s just one post in a sea of millions of other posts. And I think people need to sort of realise that their, and it is so difficult because you are always seeing your own content. So it feels like you’re putting yourself out there all the time. But other people are just not seeing it the amount that you are by any stretch.

Exactly, yeah, I did a post on this recently, actually, on Instagram and I’ve got quite a lot of engagement on it. ‘Cause again, I think it was a bit of a light bulb moment. People were like, “Oh God, yeah. “You can really get a lot of mileage out of one post.”

And I think, yeah, you’re right, you get, you’re too close, aren’t you? So you create a piece of content, you know, and you think, “Yes, it’s gonna connect, it’s gonna go really well.” And then you put it out there and sometimes it can go down a storm and sometimes absolute tumbleweed. You’re just like, “Oh God, “I’ve not done anything different, you know? “I don’t think I have, you know? “I was being useful.” And you know, I think sometimes you’ve just got to think, “Well, there’s probably stuff, all the stuff going on, “you know, is it a busy news day? “You know, are there a lot of people posting? “You know are the social media platforms “tinkering behind the scenes?” Because they do that a lot. You know, they’re not telling us what’s going on, do they? Reach goes up and down and dips, you know? And there’s a lot of things outside of our control that you’ve just got to put in the hands of the social media gods a little bit as well. But yeah, never ever be afraid to repurpose content.

I read an article, well, general principles of marketing is that people need to see your stuff seven times, isn’t it? Before they start to interact with you. And then I read an article, which is a little bit depressing, actually, that during COVID, at the height of COVID last year that had increased to 35 times, it was just, because there was so much content. And I was just like, “Oh my goodness, “I’m just gonna give up now.” How do we beat that? How do we keep on top of that? And it’s like, “No, stay in your lane. “You know what you’re doing.” And I’m sure that will even out as we get back into more normal times, whatever that is. (laughing).

Yeah, yeah, no, it’s true. And that is something that as well, sort of, I think people don’t realise, and that, it comes back to that feeling that like you can be an overnight success on social media and it’s not like social media is the long game. You know, you are, it’s brand building primarily more than it is sales. The sales will come once you have built the brand that you are. So yeah, you need to be, yeah, out there regularly.

Content overwhelm.

But I do think there is something to be said for like, there is a thing called too much content, like that is a thing that exists. I think a lot of people realised that during lockdown, because so many people started creating more content. So the people who were on furlough and stuff like that and who genuinely had more time, that was great, because they needed that content. But I think for a lot of the people who were like home-schooling, still trying to work from home, stuff like that, it created this sort of overwhelm of content, because it, they had people sort of talking about, “Oh, have you heard this new podcast? “It’s amazing. “Have you seen this new TV show? “Have you seen this film? “Have you seen this YouTube video, have you read this post “read this book?” And it was just like, “I’ll put it on my list of things when I have time.”

Yeah, I think my list is somewhere collecting dust, yeah. And it’s like, “Yeah, I’m really pleased that “you’re doing all these things, “but I’m just getting through a day without losing my mind “and that is all I am doing.” And that’s fine, that was absolutely fine. I guess ’cause I’m in it, and I know how social media works and I know, you know, the rules, but I could see how that could be a problem for all the people who don’t. And they really did feel the pressure.

But yeah, content overload. It becomes a bit spammy. I think the quality gets diluted as well. So yeah. Quality over quantity every time. I never tell my clients that they have to post every day. ‘Cause I just think it’s unrealistic. You know, a creative post. I think stories is fine daily, because it’s in the moment, off the cuff, it can be that sort of content. But yeah. And you don’t want it to turn into, you know, just sort of like a factory churning out content, do you? There has to be some feeling in it, some sentiment, you know, something that’s gonna connect, and unless you are burning the midnight oil crafting lovely captions every day, which I don’t think you should do. I think you’d lose that, definitely, yeah. So yeah. Don’t feel, absolutely don’t feel like you have to post every day.

Yeah, no. And I think as much as some people will tell you I think that you, you don’t have to sacrifice quality to put out more content, but I tend to disagree, especially if you are a small business owner or you’re freelance and you are trying to do it yourself. If you can afford to outsource then that’s different, because you’re paying somebody else to do it. But if you’re doing it yourself I do think the quality will suffer, because you can’t, it’s not even just about time. It’s about like the brain space to actually think of what your audience needs and what they want right now and what you have to offer that is related to that. And I don’t know about you, but like I find that if I’m trying to do too much, my creativity really suffers. I need some like brain space to be like, to actually be creative and to think outside the box and to figure out new stuff to share. So I personally definitely am like, you know, you are better to create much less content, but make the stuff that you do create really good.

Yeah, absolutely. I think as well if you’re churning out, I think you could get stuck in your own echo chamber as well, you know? Sort of comparing yourself to what other people in your business area are doing and then that stifles your creativity. It’s always better to just take a step back at that point, you know, and just go away, have a break, realign, you know, and come back with fresh ideas and a bit of a fresh perspective. And then that knowledge is, you’ve got your mental health good, but that will be amazing for your content as well, because it’s gonna set you apart from the others who are doing the old machine churning. It’s gonna make you stand out. It’s gonna make you, you know, stand out from the competition.

Social media myths.

But, I think it’s just, it’s just bloody hard, isn’t it? No matter what. It’s just bloody hard. And I think people are just trying to do their best and they’re trying to wade through, you know, the constant updates to platforms, the constant changes, the silly things that happen, you know, Instagram myths or social media myths like that go around where people start creating posts about them. And you’re just like, “It’s not true.” Like so recently, I mean, you might, I might stand corrected, but the one that’s going around about saves being a super engagement. I can’t remember what people call it, super engagement. I’m just like, “Where has this come from?” And every time people post it, I don’t, you know, I’m not being a cow, but I just post and say, “This isn’t true.” I don’t want that sort of behaviour to be perpetuated. Do you know what I mean? When people are trying to create content that share, that’s saveable, sorry, with everyone’s saving everything surely that dilutes the point as well. Do you know what I mean?

Yeah, it really bugs me. I’m definitely that person who when I see it, I’m commenting on it and I’m like, “This is nonsense.”

Just, yeah, you want to be helpful.

“Please cite your sources.”

Yeah, and what’s the other one? Engagement pods as well. Yeah, just don’t, please don’t. And I’ve written posts about it and I’ve explained, you know, why not. You know, I’ve never just been like, “Oh, don’t do that.” You know, it’s why. But yeah, these things pop up and unfortunately these are the things that really take hold. So, you know, and then, like I say, people create posts about them. So I guess that’s part of our job as well, isn’t it? These days to sort of shed a bit of light, shed a bit of truth. On what’s been going on.

Yeah, I think that part of the reason that engagement one annoys me so much is because it ignores that you will probably have a different reason for each individual post that you’re putting out. Like sometimes I will create a post that is designed to spark conversation. In which case I don’t want people to save it, I want people to comment on it. And equally, sometimes I’ll create a post which is designed to be shared. And therefore the the metric I’m bothered about is shares. And it frustrates me to sort of, people prioritising reactions and stuff like that, because it doesn’t matter, generally speaking, it matters that the response is the response you had planned for.

Yes, absolutely. Yeah, that’s a great way to look at it, yeah.

Yeah, if you’ve put like a post together, like a promo post and somebody saves it well, yeah, that’s great. But if your call to action is, “Click the link in my bio or send me a DM.” Then somebody saving it isn’t as good as somebody clicking the link or sending you a DM. So yeah. It really, it does frustrate me. (laughing)

Yeah, I was gonna say, go look in your saved folder now. Have a look now, what is all that content? Did you save that for a reason, yeah? Is any of that of any value to you? And if it’s not, don’t save it. (laughing)

Yes, go and clear it out, because, oh, yeah.

Yeah, exactly. (laughing) Yeah, I think as well, we talk about crafting posts, et cetera, which obviously is what social media is all about, but the other side of that is the engagement. So, you know, when you were talking about people with content overload, I would bet that they are not engaging on other people’s content. If they’re constantly posting, then they’ve got no time to stick around and talk to people after they posted their post, but you know, just as important, engaging on other people’s posts.

And again, this can be a bit of a revelation to my clients. They’ll be like, “Well, why do I need to, “should I not be just all about my stuff?” And like, “No, it’s not how social works at all.” It’s social media, you’ve got to be social and you just won’t get anywhere unless you interact with other people and you’re supportive, you’re helpful. You know, you give more than you take, you know, you join in conversations. That’s how you’re gonna get visible. That’s how people are gonna remember you. And you can’t buy that. You can’t, again, there’s no quick fix for that.

It’s worth investing the time in doing that. I’d say that’s, you know, posting isn’t a daily activity but engaging definitely is. And you can actually get fairly good results quite quickly with that. It’s still a long game, to build up that support. If you start engaging, if you start talking and basically, you’re just having a chat with people, aren’t you? People will talk back, you know, that’s why they’re on there. Going back to that idea of connection, human connection, and it should be really lovely for you as well.

So your Instagram or, sorry, I always talk about Instagram, but your social should be all about who you are. So who you’re following, you know, people that have got the same vibe as you, people that, you know, get you, people that, they may not always agree with you, but that’s cool as well, because you want that dialogue. You want that spark and you want to learn from people.

I’ve learned so much from being on social media. And I think that’s a really, really great thing, and I think all too often, people focus on the negatives of social. You know, like the trolls, you know, and et cetera, et cetera. But there is so much good to be taken from it as well. And I think it’s about maybe getting that message out a bit more as well, but I guess, good news doesn’t sell as well as bad news, does it, you know? So that’s what people focus on. Or you get people like, you know, like my mum, she’ll just come out with something really random. Like she’s read something on Facebook, therefore it must be true. Just like, “Okay, mum, “shall we just take a moment and let’s just back track “and let’s just think about Facebook is not real life.” (laughing) But this is the world we live in now, isn’t it?

Yeah, I think that is something I talk about as well quite a lot, because it really frustrates me when people, the thing that bugs me the most is when people will share something and their caption will be like, “This is disgusting, this shouldn’t be allowed, “this is wrong.” And I’m like, “So why are you sharing it, “telling more people about it, giving it more reach “and therefore telling people that you want more of it? “If you don’t want more of it, don’t engage with it. “Don’t share it, don’t save it, don’t comment on it. “Report it if it’s abusive and violent and awful, “but otherwise don’t engage with it. “If you engage with it you are telling people “you want more of it.”

Yeah, or you’re telling the algorithms you want more of it. It’s just a slippery slope, isn’t it? But yeah, it is, that’s just, aw, poor mum. She’s getting better, she is. (laughing) I’m there, you know, educating and helping her through. She’s just funny. She had this phase, she was posting on Instagram, but it was only coming to me. She was only sharing it with me. And I was like, “Mum, you know, you’ve done it again. “You’re just talking to me.” (laughing) Yeah, we can talk about mum on Facebook for a while, but we won’t. (laughing)

Maybe you should do a series.

Yeah, I could, honestly, we really could, we really could. How to work when you’re off Twitter. Again, that’s another story. (laughing) She’s harmless.

Oh, bless. (laughing) But yeah, I do think people need to, because like click bait is something that people get annoyed about a lot as well. And I think, but how many of those click bait things have you engaged with, you know?

I’m always telling people that you need to be led by your own stats, and everybody else is doing that same thing. Especially like the bigger the account is, the more likely they are being led by their own stats. So if you are sort of commenting and sharing and whatever on those posts that are click-baity, then you are feeding that. And as much as it is a problem like from the top, like I don’t think that publishers and people, influencers or anybody should be using click bait and stuff, but equally, if you don’t engage with it, if people stop engaging with that, they will stop creating it, because it will no longer be a viable content plan for them.

Yeah, yeah. And I feel like there’s kind of no excuse almost in a way now, because people know about these things, they know they’re click bait, you know, they know that they just want that click and then they’re gonna harvest your data and you’re gonna go, “Rubbish piece of content.” If you get any content at all, because a lot of the times there’s nothing there. Absolutely bonkers.

I guess it’s just like an industry these things pop up, don’t they? And this is the bad side of the industry that we’re in, you know, along with, you know, follow, unfollow, bots. You know, buying followers. And it’s all that, it’s that race to the top, isn’t it? And people always think, in any industry, that they can beat the system, that they can find a quick way, and you know, to me and you it’s really obvious when people are doing that I guess. We can see someone’s got, you know, hundreds of thousands of followers and they’re getting a couple of comments on their posts, I’m like, “You bought those followers, no doubt.” And we can see it, but it’s all smoke and mirrors. And so other people, you know, perhaps more impressionable people, you know, people who don’t understand how social media is working will see that and will be like, “Oh right, so that’s a viable way to do things, is it? “You know, maybe that’s what I should be doing.” You know, that sort of thing.

The social side of social media.

Absolutely, it is not, but for all those things. I think if you do those things, you’re missing out anyway, just going back to what I was saying about creating a community and having fun on social, you know, I know so many people on social media now and it’s all come about through Stripe Social and I’m two and a bit years in, and it takes that long to build up those relationships you know, and you start off with, you know, leaving a few comments, leaving a few likes, and then you take it into the DMS and it’s just lovely and that’s been part of the process and that’s been one of the nicest things about going freelance for me. Because when you’re working on your own, I’ve always, always worked in an office environment, in a team, never worked on my own from home before.

I absolutely love it, I have no regrets. I know it’s not for everybody. But just knowing that those people are there, you know, they’re out there and I can send a DM, you know, I can have a chat, it’s really, really great. It’s really great and absolutely one of the highlights. For sure.

Yeah, yeah, no, I definitely agree. And I found a lot of connections through like my work socials since I’ve started them as well. ‘Cause I was very active on social media before I started my business. So I had like most of my best friends I met through social media. And then, yeah, and then I found like a whole new community of people through my work socials, which is great. So yeah, I do think that it’s, and I think it’s one of those things that once you start doing it, once you start saying, “Right, I’m gonna prioritise engaging with people, “I’m gonna look at it from the point of view of, “I want to create connections. “I want to get to know people.” It feels good to get to know people. It feels good to chat to people and be like, “Oh, did you see this post? “It was hilarious. “Oh, what happened with this? “You know, I heard you had this thing happen. “How’s that going with you?”

We are programmed as humans to connect with people and to get enjoyment from connecting with people. So not only does it make you feel better, generally speaking, it’s also good for your business, because you’re building those connections and you are networking to a degree.

It is, it’s networking without networking. So I hate networking. I’ve been to a few events and they’re just not for me, you know, unless there’s cake. If there’s cake, I find it tolerable. But yeah like, I mean, I’ve never done the really, really formal ones, because I know absolutely they’re not for me, but I don’t know, they’re just, it can just be excruciating sometimes, can’t it? And then you do the 60 second pitch and I’m just sat there like in a cold sweat. Thinking, “Oh my God, where’s the nearest exit? “I’m hating this, I’m not enjoying it, why am I here?”

But yeah, when you’re doing it online you’re doing it through social media. It’s not like that at all. It’s just dead chill, dead relaxed, and I mean, especially recently when we can’t be together, physical can’t be together, I mean, you know, I know people all over the country, but still, you know, missing out on that contact. It’s been amazing to have a little online community and especially, you know, some days having the baby and everything, and some days were quite tough and you just think, “Oh, my God, am I losing my mind?” And then, you know, you can speak to people and I could speak to my friends and family as well. Don’t get me wrong because I do speak to them. But sometimes I know a certain person I’ve connected with on social will absolutely get me, will know what I’m going through and they’ll either give me, you know a kick up the bum, be like, “Pull yourself together.” Or some great advice, you know? Both gratefully received. (laughing)

Yeah, I think that is a lovely point to end on. Yes, it is so much about just making those connections.

It is, it is. And I think it’s about making your space, your social space, a nice place to be. So, you know, only follow accounts that you get something from, you know, that light you up, you know, make you laugh, make you cry even, you know, in a good way, you know, just inspire thought, inspire creativity.

And if you make your space nice, you know, get rid of people that may feel bad about yourself. I think that’s one of the best things that you can do. It’s one of the most positive things you can do as well. It’s a good, it’s a really, really good place to start.

Yeah, yeah, definitely. That is definitely something I recommend. So if people are looking to be inspired and laugh at your content, where can they find you?

All about Kat.

I am mostly on Instagram. So yeah, Stripe Social on Instagram.

I am on Facebook as well.

So Instagram, I use platforms different ways where I do all my connecting, that’s, most of them are key.

My community on Facebook is more of a place where I share information. So I put a lot of social media updates on there, et cetera.

And I’m also on Twitter. So I’m at Stripe Social with an underscore at the end. I can’t tell you how much that underscore annoys me, but somebody else already has Stripe Social and they don’t use the account, which… Anyway. (laughing)

They’re not giving it up. So I’m on Twitter, but I’m not really, I’m a little bit businessy on there. But again, it’s more of a place where I’m connecting, I’m talking to people. So yeah, if you fancy a chat, hop on over to Twitter to come find me as well.

Thank you very much, this has been lovely.

Oh, thank you. It has, hasn’t it? We could talk about this all day. (laughing) 

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