A Social Media AMA with Brian Peters on Pixels & Ink Podcast

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being a guest on a great podcast called Pixels & Ink.

The topic: social media strategy and insights for marketers and small businesses.

It’s an AMA-style interview and so I thought it would be fun to to put a rough transcript from the full episode (below).

Hope you enjoy!

Listen To the Episode On:

AMA with Brian Peters

P&I: For listeners who may not know about Buffer besides what we gave them in the intro, can you explain at a high level what Buffer is, what it aims to do, and what challenges it aims to solve?

Brian: We want to help give businesses and people a greater voice on social media. So what we offer is a super intuitive scheduling software along with some of the best analytics options on the market. But we’re also more than that, we put a huge focus on building a workplace of the future. We want to help shape how companies view the meaning of work.

P&I: We have just got to ask — you have the most positive, happy team members and customer users — people (including us), absolutely love you guys and gals at Buffer! What kind of koolaid are you drinking over there? What do you think it is internally that’s forming this culture that is then permeating into your team and into your customers?

Brian: Really it starts with our executive team. From the beginning they created what we call the 10 Buffer values which you can check out on our website — positivity, transparency, no-ego, listening, reflecting. Everything that we do is within that framework — our messaging, hiring, training, etc. That’s how we’re able to create this culture. It starts with a set of values and extends from there.

P&I: For a long time, social media was just that, “social,” for friends, family, etc.. but clearly there is a shift and it is increasingly relevant for marketers and businesses. Can you give us some data that supports the importance of integrating social media into your marketing strategy?

Brian: There are 7.3 billion living people on earth — 2.3 billion of them are active on social media. Obviously, the opportunity is huge if you can even get .0000001% of those people. But the hardest part is understanding the role social media plays in growth and ROI. Nearly 50% of businesses active on social media can’t tie it to actual ROI, but studies have shown again and again how important social media is in purchasing decisions. It’s all about understanding WHY you’re on social media. Determining it for your own business and not what other people say you should be using it for.

P&I: What would you say are the top ways that marketers are using social media? In other words, what is their primary focus for using social media? Is it just branding? Is it lead generation?

Brian: This is a great question. If you would have asked me this 2 years ago I would have quickly said driving traffic to your website in order to generate leads. But now, there are so many more use cases that are becoming more important and more attainable. 1) Customer service 2) Brand awareness — social media is becoming a content destination of its own. Before I used to think — Blog post (or whatever type of content) — share it on social — bring customers back to our sites. But what we’re seeing now is that these social platforms are encouraging brands to create content designed to be consumed on the platform itself. That’s why we’ve seen a push for videos, live, stories, snaps, etc.

P&I: And when companies are creating their social media campaigns, can you tell our listeners the different type of content that they’re leveraging? Which are performing best specifically for lead generation?

Brian: Absolutely — So a lot of the lead generation success on social media has to do with all of the assets that you’re creating off of social media. Offer, ebooks, white papers, industry studies, webinars, videos, blog content, promotions. You have to have great content to promote and sell on social to be able to generate leads. We’ve seen that webinars, industry studies, and downloadable ebooks work particularly well for lead generation and social media content (advertising). All of that stems from and “educational” or “entertaining” mindset.

P&I: What is User or Consumer Generated Content & how is this impacting the way businesses market themselves?

Brian: UGC has come onto the scence in a big way over the last couple of years. At its core, it’s allowing other people to tell your brand’s story for you, in an authentic and engaging way. REI’s #OptOutside campaign or Dove’s #LikeAGirl are both great examples. A lot of them start with manual labor of finding people and stories. Leverage a hashtag — and then momentum kicks in.

P&I: Let’s talk about B2B vs B2C — how does their use of social media differ specifically with respect to lead gen and how should companies be thinking about using social media to generate leads with respect to B2B vs B2C? Is there a difference?

Brian: I love this because we’re a B2B and a B2C product here at Buffer and there are a few different ways to go about thinking of the two variations.

  1. With B2B the bar is raised a bit in terms of content and there’s a longer lifecycle. So a focus on delivering all types of content from top-of-funnel all the way down to the bottom of the funnel is key. Growing your email list and nurturing leads becomes very important as well as delivering advertising based on user interactions on your website or app pages
  2. With B2C it’s possible to skip a lot of that long-term lead nurturing stuff and go right for actionable content like offers, promotions, deals, giveaways. That’s where the brand awareness side of things becomes super important. With B2C customer reviews, great customer service, and advertising play a big role. As well as just delivering fun and educational content that your friends can share. “Will it blend example.”

P&I: If lead generation is a listeners primary business, do you have insights as to what platforms they should be using? Should they be using for example twitter, or should they be using pinterest etc..?

Brian: I hate to give this generic answer, but it depends on the product. If you’re selling a big, expensive enterprise product, Pinterest might not be the best route and you might want to focus your efforts on thought-leadership and relationship building on LinkedIn. I’ll try to give a big takeaway and that’s if I had to put my money on one or two platforms for lead gen over the next year it would be Facebook and Instagram advertising. The cost per acquisition and attention is much lower there than a lot of other advertising options. And your potential customers are all there as well.

P&I: And of course, everyone wants the secret sauce…How many times of day should companies be posting? What insights do you have in terms of time of day, day of week? (although I did just read your article stating “there’s no perfect time of day to post on FB or other social media,” so feel free to mention that here if you’d like)

Brian: I try to avoid this best-practices kind of thing when it comes to how often. The best way to think about it is, “quantity over quality.” Don’t just post to post. But once you’ve found a groove, I’d recommend 1 of 2 things. Try posting when all of your fans are online, or, try posting when the least amount of your fans are online. These days, good content will surface to the top because of algorithms.

P&I: We work with a lot of service providers — printers, marketing service providers, agencies — and we have a lot of listeners in that space. What advice do you have for these companies that are providing marketing services to their customers in terms of social media? What can they do to generate revenue from offering these services?

Brian: Even after all of this, companies are going to want to see direct ROI. So you have to provide the vanity metrics for them like: engagement, likes, comments, shares, traffic, etc. Then you can say, OK, we drove 1 million engagements in 2017 and 100,000 visits from social media to your blog. Your blog converts at a 3% rate and so we can make assumptions there. But the best way is obviously through google analytics and advertising. Make sure you have GA and FB Pixels set up so that you can provide the data on the back end.

P&I: And let’s go a little deeper — For the agencies you work with now, how much are they charging for this service?

Brian: Honestly, I’ve seen agencies charge anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 per month for social media services and all they’re doing is sending out posts. If you can set it up to where you have a proven track record for understanding how social media fits and how it can provide ROI then you can charge in the upper quartile of these agencies. If you’d like we have a ton of resources for agencies on our blog @ blog.buffer.com and a lot of great tools within our Buffer for Business software.

P&I: Let’s say a direct marketing company is executing a multi-channel campaign for their customer using email, direct mail, and facebook ads, how do you see the other social channels playing into their strategy?

Brian: I would say only worry about the social media channels that are going to make a direct impact. It’s better to be killer at one than average at 3. So don’t worry too much about being every, but do understand where your customers are. Right now, for example, Instagram and Instagram Stories is huge for us in terms of reach and engagement. If that’s where your audience is, understand the channel and be there.

P&I: How can people listen to you, where can they find you?

Brian: Awesome! We have a great new podcast available in iTunes if you’d like to learn more about social media called: The Science of Social Media. You can find us everywhere across social media @buffer and of course our blog at blog.buffer.com

P&I: Promo code — This is totally optional but if you want to offer Pixels & Ink listeners a promo code for your product or some sort of promotional offer, we’re happy to plug it here!

Brian: You can try out our Buffer for Business product by heading to buffer.com/business & we would love to offer a 50% discount to all non-profits. All of the details there are on buffer.com/business.

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