On our YouTube channel, we bring you guests to inspire your creativity, breathe new life into your marketing strategy and get you motivated to take action in your business. We chatted with Emmaline McAndrew of Brain Candy Digital to share how to create engaging social media posts, winning clients with proposals and getting to know your audience.
Today, we are joined by Emmaline McAndrew of Brain Candy Digital who shares a wealth of information with us.
ME: Emmaline, please introduce yourself:
EM: I’m Emmaline and I run my own company, Brain Candy Digital and I’ve been working in marketing, digital marketing actually, for around 23 years. So way back when we still had dial-up modems and hardly anybody had a PC at home, I was creating websites and building them for other businesses and brands. So 23 years seems a long time, but we haven’t really seen that much advancement in terms of marketing. Because, for me, it’s always about the messaging and the content. This whole thing, content is king or queen, — it never changes. While we’ve seen technology change, the bones of marketing are still the same.
ME: What a great reminder that it doesn’t take a new technology, or a new platform, or anything technology-wise to market a business. It’s knowing your mission and your message and getting really valuable content out in the world. What type of content is best for engaging social media posts for you and your clients?
EM: Right now, it’s still video. Video has been the best way to get your message out there for a few years now and I think it still is. The culture that we have at the moment is two-minute consumption Or rather, it used to be two-minute consumption a few years ago. Now it’s more like five seconds. Video is the easiest way to get your message across and start engaging people straight away, especially when you’re talking to Generation Z, and even Millennials, because they’re the ones who’ve grown up absorbing video and that’s how they’ve been taking their messages in.
These audiences are so visual so if you want engaging social media posts, you have to be visual and I’ve found video always works.
In terms of length of the video as well, it used to be shorter videos worked well, but we’re also now looking at going back to long-form content. We’re finding that those longer videos, maybe up to five to 10 minutes, are actually working well in terms of long-tail content.
ME: That’s a great suggestion to look at what the networks who are exploding right now are producing. Right now, it’s TikTok and that’s a sign So if you’re someone who’s not sure, look at what’s doing really well on these networks and try to emulate that. So when you’re actually going out and kind of producing video for your clients and creating these engaging social media posts, do you see certain kinds of techniques or networks working really well?
EM: If you are producing any sort of video content, unless it’s really short, five-second things for, say, TikTok or Snapchat, it’s something really, really short, then you should be on YouTube. It’s a way to home your content and create that library of your videos that you can link to from anywhere. It’s important to share videos on your website as well but with YouTube, You’ve got somewhere else where you’re storing your video that you’re not having to pay for the bandwidth on. If a video goes viral, suddenly people find themselves in a bit of a mess when it comes to bandwidth, if it’s hosted on their own website. Also, my clients often see on YouTube that it’s a great place to pick up followers without even really trying.
And then, if it’s appropriate for your brand, then TikTok as well is so the place to be. Obviously, TikTok, it’s not for everybody. There’s no point going on there if your audience isn’t on there, or if you don’t have a message that’s relevant for the people there. I have lots of clients who want to be on TikTok because they read about it on websites or because their kids are on there. But you have to really look at where your audience is and if it’s the right fit for your messaging.
ME: Being where your actual clients and actual followers are going to be, in the right space and time, with the right message, is really the perfect marketing trifecta and the key to engaging social media posts. Switching gears quickly, we have a lot of listeners who are freelancers and work with clients. So I’d love to hear how a little bit about your initial phases of when you bring on a client, how you get to know their brand, how you get to make sure that you guys are going to produce content, and be the right partners for each other, and just kind of your relationship with them?
EM: Well, first of all, I find that about 98% of my clients I’ve actually got from word of mouth, which is, getting a recommendation offline is usually a stronger way to pick up clients. So if you’re just starting out as a freelancer, networking is where you need to be. You need to just be talking to other people.
I know it sounds maybe a bit small-time, but talking to friends and family, and saying, “Hey, I’m starting up on my own, so if you know anyone looking for this type of work, please let me know.” It’s also smart to network with people who do complementary but not competing work. I’ve got a few friends that are in PR. I don’t do PR. I mainly do social. But they do PR. So we bring in clients for each other.
I’m actually onboarding a new client this week so my proposal will typically contain what’s the background, what has the client said they want, what are the objectives, which is the first thing you should ask yourself when taking on any client. Straightaway, ask yourself and ask the client, “What do you want to achieve out of this project you want me to do for you?”
I’ll make sure we’re clear on the objectives and then give them sort of an overview of what I think they should do without giving away too much information, because obviously, a client may just take that away and not actually engage your services. It’s about giving them the trust that you know what you’re doing.
I think some people can get a bit tied up in the excitement of it all and forget to produce a really good proposal. You really need to spend a lot of time doing that. I don’t charge that time back to my clients either because I feel it’s part of building up the trust. If clients can see I’ve produced a really good proposal, I haven’t just thrown in things that are not relevant, it really helps with the trust, especially at the moment when we’re having to onboard clients without seeing them face-to-face because of coronavirus. We can’t actually go over and do a presentation like we usually would.
And I even do that with smaller clients as well, not just big brands. Because I do do a certain proportion of my time, around 20%, with small local businesses. So I would give them a preferential rate because it’s part of giving back to the community. We’ve all been that small business at some point. So I’ll put in the same amount of effort for them because there still needs to be a level of trust. And I think, for smaller clients, their money means more to them. They’re often paying this out of their own pocket. They’re not perhaps a registered business, maybe they’re freelance, maybe they’ve just started up. So I think if you can get in the habit of creating a really good proposal no matter who your client is, it really helps to build up the trust, which then obviously furthers the word-of-mouth recommendations.
ME: That sounds like a great system. So this has been really fun for me to listen to and learn from. Before we wrap up, can you share one more actionable marketing tip?
EM: The audience is key. When you do anything, make sure you know who you’re doing it for. So if you want to reach 55-year-old women in Scotland, don’t just think, “Oh, I’ll just target some ads to that demographic.” You need to make sure that your copy is written specifically for that audience. And that any assets that you’ve got, video, imagery, or perhaps a landing page that you’re linking to, make sure that it is all tailored to that audience.
It doesn’t take a lot more time to tailor all your content, but you really should do that because there’s no point just blindly targeting people with an ad that’s been written for everybody. Because what works for that 50-year-old female in Scotland is not going to work for an 18-year-old young man in New York. When you are targeting, whether it’s paid ads or organic content, if you want to create engaging social media posts, make sure you know who you’re talking to and make sure that they are actually going to resonate with that.
ME: That’s so beautiful and something that it does take a little bit of work for sure to do, but it is well worth the effort.
If you loved learning about engaging social media posts and building a successful business, learn more about Emmaline and Brain Candy Digital on her website!