How To Build Your List Through Social Media Marketing [Guest: Libby Collett, Social Media Expert]
To be great digital marketers, we must understand how channels work together and not silo them from one another. This is why I wanted to sit down with Libby Collett, a Social Media expert. Libby is the founder of LibCo Creative, a marketing strategy company. She specializes in organic growth and works with brands to ensure their marketing strategy is up to date and working successfully. She has a ton of tips to share about social media, in general, and how to leverage it to help your email perform better.
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How To Build Your List Through Social Media Marketing [Guest: Libby Collett, Social Media Expert
To be a great digital marketer, we must understand how channels work together and not silo them from one another. This is why I wanted to sit down with Libby Collett, the social media expert. She specializes more in organic social, which is a nice breath of fresh air since we are always completely focused on paying. Libby is the Founder of Libco Creative, a marketing strategy company. She specializes in organic growth and works with brands to make sure their marketing strategy is up-to-date and working successfully. She has a ton of tips to share about social media in general, but also how to leverage it to help your email perform better. Let's jump in.
Libby, welcome to the show. How are you doing?
I'm doing great. Thanks for having me. I'm super excited to chat.
We're looking forward to your tips. I am excited to chat with you because what I find working with clients, especially in 2021 and fielding the Q&A from our audience, that companies tend to silo organic social and email. They're always trying to grow their following right on the social side and separately, they're trying to grow their list but they don't realize that social can certainly benefit email list growth. In that sentiment, let's jump right in.
As I mentioned, we know that email is very dependent on building a list. I know in my experience, if we don't have new people constantly coming in, then our email success drastically is terrible. Social media is a great way to do this. Let's talk first, though, how does somebody get a strong social media following? Can you walk us through some ways to build your social media audience?
I'm sure people have preached this so much when you ask this question, but it’s going off simple things that I always tell my clients is consistency, being genuine and very personable. Showing more of a face to the audience rather than maybe all product shots or all graphics and also engaging so that you can create a trusting relationship are the main things that I see when continuing to grow. Making sure that you're following the trends that are ever-changing on social media, especially Instagram but making sure that you're hopping on trends right away. Even if that means doing more video content, creating more reels and getting out of your comfort zone. How you're going to be reaching a different audience and getting in the algorithm is by hopping on these trends.
I always try to push that to my clients is like, “Even if it's out of your comfort zone, hoard a video and get that up on a reel or something.” Another thing that I, especially as an organic growth specialist, talk about with my clients is everyone wants this magic number of followers on social. I do too. I'm like, “I want 10,000 followers or whatever.” It creates this authority on social. Naturally, if you have a lot of following, people trust you easier. I totally understand that. What I do try to push my clients away from is this desire for a magic follower. Their goal shouldn't be to increase following. I say their goal should be to create an environment on there, where they have a relationship with their following and engagement and trust.
That engagement and trust within your audience are way more important than the number because you can have 100,000 or 10,000, and a lot of those followers may be relevant to your niche or may not be engaging at all. The people that you want and are going to be important on your social following are ones that care about the product, care about you, trust you, and want to get more involved. Especially in the beginning when you're trying to grow, try to focus on developing these relationships, interacting more. Rather than focusing on a number, focus on the individual follower as a human and try to interact with them. That's how you are going to grow. It’s creating a trustworthy relationship.
That is so interesting. The first thing that comes to mind is those, “I’ll purchase 10,000 followers and whatnot.” Those terrible companies out there that are having you purchase followers.
You do not want to do that.
As you said, it's so funny to spot accounts that have done that because they have got 500,000 followers and two likes per post, so to your point.
I had this one potential client reach out to me. They were like, “We're starting this new business and are looking for a strategist and someone to help with social.” We were bouncing ideas back and forth. They come back months later and all of a sudden, they have 5,000 followers, low comments, likes and engagement on their posts. The first thing I asked because they were like, “Do you have any availability?” “Did you get a bot to get your followers up?” That's the first thing that you automatically notice.
As a social media manager, it’s a red flag because as soon as someone starts getting a bot involved or purchasing followers, basically their whole number of what's on their profile is skewed because all of those followers are probably relevant and not going to engage and don't care about your product. The first thing I look at when working with a client is their growth metrics because having those random followers that you're purchasing or using a bot with is a total red flag. Do not do that ever.
People do need to be reminded of that because I think you hit on something I hear all the time, and it's that magic number. You're like, “We need to move away from that. I'm positive of it.” I'm not even a social media expert. Speaking of social media followings, and I know you mentioned it a couple of times with the algorithm and whatnot, what does it take to get more targeted? If you have a smaller following and you're wanting the right people, are there certain hashtags? Should people be using hashtags? What's the process? What does the backend look like if you're trying to get more targeted?
Make sure that you're following the trends that are ever-changing on social media.
There's so much going on with social media in general to get more targeted. Every platform has a different strategy in regards to hashtags. Those are super important and very useful if you're using them right. To give a hashtag one-on-one background, you search for a hashtag on Instagram, for example. Some hashtags will have 1 million posts or 500,000 posts. Those are hashtags that obviously people are using so much. I always tell my clients to stay away from those.
Maybe use 1 or 2 of those hashtags that have 1 million or 2 million posts. Your content gets lost in those hashtags because there are many posts that are probably using them daily. As soon as you use that hashtag since you're a smaller account, your post is gone into oblivion and no one is going to see that. The goal of hashtags is to get more engagement and views and to reach a different audience. Your goal should be to use hashtags to have a smaller post amount. You could use hashtags depending on your size. It could be 1,000 to 5,000 posts or 10,000 to 20,000. I always say to sprinkle in a bunch of different ones, so maybe 10 of the 5,000 hashtags and 10 of the 30,000.
This is mind blowing. I was always like, “That's got a million posts. I'm using that hashtag.” Thank you so much for sharing that. Anyway, I'll let you continue.
As soon as you brought up hashtags, I was like, “Let's chat about this first.” Hashtags are so useful if they're used correctly. That's why doing hashtag research and figuring out the hashtags in your niche that have the least amount of posts is going to be a lot more useful in the long run. Next time anyone's looking for hashtags when you're putting on your posts, try and get ones with less posts rather than hitting those million hashtags.
Back to what you're asking. To reach a more targeted audience, what I recommend is creating more content that's shareable, that you're offering free information. A lot of people are going to resonate more with you and want to build that relationship if you're very open in giving a, “FYI, here's a little background on the importance of hashtags. This is a great tool on Canva. Don't forget about this new update on Instagram and this is how you use it.”
Sharing more and being more open about giving knowledge to people will reach the audience that is interested in that knowledge and will then generate the leads. For a more targeted, look for people that are more in your niche too, so that's who you're going to interact with. I follow a bunch of content creators that are in the social media organic field. They allow for a lot of inspiration. You can see who's interested in their content and go off of that. It gives you a lot of different ways that you can use reels and jump in on the social media trends that they probably may have figured out before you or something. Figuring out who your ideal client is is important because once you figure out that, then you're going to know more of who you want to talk to or reach out to or be around.
That is a great point. You can inevitably go find them on social and even follow a few of these folks and that could have a cascading effect.
It's more of following the different people on social that are maybe doing the same as you. You can see how they're doing, what posts are doing well, what isn't doing well for them. Maybe getting some inspiration or ideas, then figuring out how to reproduce something more on the brand to you that's like that. Also, interacting online with everyone's posts, anyone that you follow. Engagement is so important to build this community and to create trust. It's the real consistency there and talking to people and putting yourself out there.
That makes the whole concept of reels stand out even more to me now because I'm like, “That's a chance for you to be a little bit more human. You would think the folks that follow you from seeing your reel likely are going to be people that want to be rallying behind your brand too.”
What I love about reels is they're fast videos like watching them fast rather than reading maybe a long post. If you go to my Instagram, I only have reels. I've been posting since the reel came out. I love creating that content because it gives whoever is senior content, maybe a potential client that's going to your profile, more of a view of who you are as a person. It's so much more genuine being able to show your personality. A lot of times on client calls, the first thing they bring up is my Instagram like, “This reel made me laugh. I can relate to this. I love that you are out there. It shows your personality so much.”
Once I started getting that feedback, I realized how important it was to continue putting myself out there, creating that content that's super relatable and has to do with what I'm doing. Social media is a business card. I always tell everyone that the first thing at this point, especially at this time, is people are checking your social media for your business. They're going to check everything. That's the first thing that I do. I know that's the first time what most people do. Whatever you're reflecting on your social is important to reflect on who you are not only as a business but as a person.
In this spirit, what are some ways that companies can leverage their social media platforms to capture email addresses? Any tips using Linktree? What do you recommend? How do we integrate a little bit better these channels?
An obvious one, if you have a newsletter that you send monthly or bi-monthly to always have prior to sending a, “My newsletter is going out this date, you can sign up. Link in bio,” or after the newsletter is out, I always tell clients to make sure that it's also posted somewhere else, whether it's on their blog or a different way that you can get that information to people so that it makes them more interested to sign up. A lot of times it's easier to put it on the blog and create a social post that pushes people to your blog. There will be a signup CTA at the end. Another way that I'm big on is creating, it could be a free blog that has all of this information or a free webinar that you can join or a free three-day training or something for your audience.
Again, free content is amazing. You can also push this onto your website to promote it there as a banner or something, but using social media to promote these free blog posts, free trainings, free one-day webinars. The way that people will sign up for it is putting in their email. That's how we will start collecting that. Being able to promote this on social is how you're going to be pushing people to sign up for the newsletter and the free content. Adding the email in, that's the only thing that you ask for. Email in here, then you'll be able to send them exactly what they signed up for. That's a great and easy way to create a funnel through social.
The engagement and trust within your audience are way more important than the number.
Those are some good tips. Let's say more of on the eCommerce side, have you ever seen them leverage social posts in place almost of a pop-up web form? A lot of times, you go on the website and it's like, “Get 20% off now.” Have you ever seen that thing or would you recommend that?
I've seen maybe more smaller brands doing like, “Join the link in our bio now. You can write in the code for 20% off.” It's hard to integrate that same pop-up that you get on the website onto social. That's why larger brands don’t work for them. I do see some brands possibly putting it in their story now that you can link to the website and being like, “There's a link right here,” which is like a signup. You can put on your story, do the link, and it will send you to put your email in and the discount code would be sent, or in that direction but those popups are way better for the website.
I totally forgot though about that new story feature. That was a good callout because that's a nice way for even folks to run like a, “We're offering an exclusive coupon.” That's a good one. Thank you for reminding me of that as well. I need to go add that to my own newsletter subscription list. One other thing I wanted to chat about with you because I get this a lot on the email side and it has to do with giveaways.
I'm sure you have clients that have done giveaways on social, and I know tons of brands usually join together. Some of the issues I see after I get the list from this social giveaway is they don't remember all of the brands individually. I might be brand X. They subscribed to brand Y and they're like, “Who is this brand X?” They're flagging my email as spam, or they can't remember they even signed up for the giveaway because they didn't win and perhaps the time has been too delayed. I was wondering, I've offered a ton of email best practices, but is there anything from the social side on running giveaways where you can get a better brand identity or help the folks that have entered be a little bit more engaged with the giveaway so we almost can create the funnel a little bit stronger?
Interestingly enough, I'm like a sweepstakes and giveaway expert. There’s a company, I run their email acquisition and sweepstakes. I run for them twice a month. It's a huge growth opportunity for them email-wise. We end up accumulating a lot of emails that then we remarket to. During these giveaways, there's an email newsletter requirements sent and also a social post sent from each brand. Each giveaway, we have about twelve brands total.
We're generating 10,000 to 15,000 per sweepstakes. I've also done specifically social giveaways but that's internally for the brand like, “We're giving away X if you tag a friend or not.” You've come to the right person. It’s something that I do daily. I was getting a landing page ready for a giveaway. What I recommend, which is a little difficult if you're not posting the giveaway, is when people are signing up for the giveaway, the goal would be to get your first email out to them as like a remarket as soon as possible.
As a host, that's super easy because every single other day, I'm downloading that list of new contestants and I'm uploading it to an active campaign and it's going to go through the sequence. What I tell all the partners because we discussed how they can use the list and how it will work for them is to keep engagement, make sure that you're sending an email out that, first of all, references the giveaway. It's not, “Welcome to the club,” and no one knows where this email is coming from. It's like, “We're so happy that you joined the Hawaii giveaway. Don't worry, everyone is still a winner. Here's a discount for our product or something.”
In the first email, when you're welcoming them in, make sure that you're referencing where you got their email from, so it's from this giveaway that joined. You can even use maybe the first image as something that they saw on the giveaway landing page so that they recognize it easier and naturally giving them a discount code. It pushes them to do the site and they're not getting this random email welcoming them with no incentive to continue staying.
The unsubscribe for joining these giveaways is natural. When brands see this, the natural unsubscribe when the first email is sent out, don't get discouraged. If you see that, you're going to have people unsubscribe. They're going to be confused and that's something that happens in this process. Depending on the number, you may need to tweak the marketing that's going out there. I also recommend with them to do more than one email that you send.
Let's say you send one email welcoming them with a discount. The second email would be like a reminder about the discount. Maybe the people who hadn't opened it and you have a different email that went out to people who did open it. It’s making sure that your emails are focused on the audience that you're sending it to. With social in regards to giveaways, also make sure that if you're sending people to your page assignment, their giveaway, anything that is marketing on your page is branded onto what you see as a brand.
A lot of times during these giveaways, especially the ones that I do, I'll offer assets. I'll create social assets for them that they can use on their story or on their grid. I always say, “Feel free to use these but I know that you're going to get more entries if you brand it to your brand with your colors like your identity, your copy because that's what your audience resonates with.” They're not going to resonate with the graphics that I created. They don't recognize that. Make sure that whatever you're posting in your email or social is unique to your audience because that's how you're going to be generating more leads.
That was probably the best advice we've had on the topic. I appreciate it. One big takeaway from the email side is it's probably okay to send it a little bit earlier. I feel like folks wait so long, the giveaway is already like seven days passed and they're now sending that welcome email and it’s too late.
It's hard if you're not hosting the giveaway to get access to those emails as soon as possible because the host naturally has email, so they can send out those welcome emails daily to have her signing up. It's not going to be a brand-new email but I guarantee if you ask whoever's hosting the giveaway, “This giveaway has been going on for two weeks and we extended it a week. Is there any way that you can send me the email list?” Normally, they're always going to say yes.
I have brands who already are clicking that they need to be sending out an email early and they'll message me. I'm like, “Yes.” One brand, you can have the email list a little early and I'll send you the final one once the giveaways are over. Always ask whoever is hosting if it's possible to get that email list earlier because, again, you're going to get more engagement if you're sending it out faster.
You grow by creating a trustworthy relationship.
If anyone is going to take anything away, that was a good one right there. As we wrap up, I always like to find your three favorite go-to’s. Do you have any go-to’s as far as using organic social media to drive sales that's a little bit more on the human side? We're not talking about blasting those like in the email world I cannot stand when you're like, “50% off,” and you're sending that. How can brands gracefully drive sales? Do you have three favorite go-to tactics?
One of them is stories. You already have this following on social and you have this engaged audience that knows what you do and what you sell. Hop on your stories, show your face and create some interactive, yes/no questions, some polls. I do organic social. One question could be, “Are you having a hard time creating content for your social media?” They can click yes or no. You can go through and see those responses and maybe message those people who respond. Be like, “I noticed that you said no. Is there anything that I can help you with or anything that I can provide to you that may be useful?” They're like, “I need templates.” You're like, “I have all these templates,” that you have in your shop that they could purchase. It's figuring out what your audience needs and those interactive stories are helpful.
That's a great idea. Anything in particular on the grid itself or how to tie it into a reel? How to link a real up to maybe driving to your bio for sales or something like that?
I'm into doing those reels where you're mimicking the voice.
I love them too. They're my favorite.
They're so fun. I feel they're entertaining and everything. You could use those reels to maybe find a trend on what people are doing and make it related to a sale or what you offer. Send them to go click on your link and bio to read more. A lot of times though, people are naturally scrolling. It's hard to get people to go to your bio. What I say is more of having a call to action in your caption, whether it's commenting or sharing this on their story or something. See who's commenting and sharing and interacting, then that's who you need to go, maybe DM or interact with.
Especially with reels, you can naturally start swiping up and down. A good way to find ideas on how to create content or find ways to sell with reels is to go to TikTok, look up #SocialMediaManager or #EmailNewsletterManager, and see all these top trending reels that people have already had these ideas for and see how you can brand it onto your company and what you're selling and go from there.
Hashtags are so useful if they're used correctly.
Good tips. Thank you, Libby. These were awesome tips. I know you're going to make the audience very happy. Before we go, where can our audience connect with you if they want to reach out?
Thanks so much for stopping by the show.
No problem. I loved it. Thanks for having me.
This was an episode where I was jotting down notes on my notepad while we chatted. A few things to recap. One, the human side. I talk about email being a vessel to create relationships with humans, and social media is no different. I appreciated the tips Libby shared to take us away from the number-focused mindset and into a human mindset creating value for folks on the channel. Two, some great ways that we can think about integrating our newsletter sign-up, taking advantage of those.
The more we can integrate, the better our chances are that each digital channel is working well, ultimately providing a seamless digital experience for our audience. Please send any questions my way to Conversations@EmailGrowthSociety.com, and feel free to connect with Libby on Instagram at @LibcoCreative. Until next time, happy emailing everyone.
About Libby Collett
Libby is the owner of LibCo Creative, a marketing strategy company. They specialize in organic growth and work with brands to make sure their marketing strategy is up to date and working successfully. Originally from DC, but am a digital nomad right now traveling and working remote wherever the next fun location is. Normally following the good weather!