“Make People Laugh: Humor is one of the most undervalued promotional tactics for businesses”, with Julia Enthoven and Candice Georgiadis

Make People Laugh: Humor is one of the most undervalued promotional tactics for businesses. Memes, hyper fresh content, bloopers, reaction videos, and silly quotes are a great way to attract new followers and show off your brand’s personality. Funny posts attract reshares, comments, press coverage, and engagement, and it also gives you the opportunity to relate to your target customers.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Julia Enthoven, the CEO and cofounder of Kapwing, an online video editor for creative professionals. Julia started Kapwing last year after leaving Google, where she and her cofounder worked as product managers on Search.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Of course! When I started at Stanford, I did not expect to graduate with a major in math & computer science. I started college with a strong interest in public policy and first got exposure to tech when I interned for the New York City Department of Education after my freshman year. After that, I took a Computer Science class and was hooked!

When I graduated, I got a job at Google as an Associate Product Manager. I loved my job, but I’ve always dreamed about starting something on my own. A coworker (now my cofounder, Eric Lu) and I started talking about startup ideas and, after two years, I decided to leave Google to work with Eric on a product idea. We both love visual content and wanted to modernize video creation for digital storytellers. That idea turned into Kapwing!

Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?

Our tools help people create social media content for Instagram and other channels. Tens of thousands of artists, students, digital marketers, entertainers, and creative professionals use Kapwing to make photos and videos they publish to social media. As video has risen in popularity, we’ve learned so much from our community about what posts perform well, how to promote a product or service, and which practices produce results on social media. Through developing the Kapwing product, I’ve become an expert in memes, IGTV, and content marketing.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

Last month, Kanye retweeted a Kapwing video! Someone tweeted a video made on Kapwing (with a Kapwing watermark) at him, and he retweeted it to his 28.7M followers. One of my advisors saw it in his Twitter feed and immediately texted me. It was really interesting to see the impact of a major influencer giving your service a shoutout — we saw a big rise in people who Googled Kapwing out of curiosity, but not a big spike in usage. We learned that influencer marketing is less impactful when the function of the product is not apparent or when the shoutout is out of context. But it did help us with brand recognition nonetheless!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

A few weeks after launching Kapwing, we started charging a $1 fee to remove the small Kapwing watermark. We were shocked that anyone would pay money to remove the watermark after embedding text into their video, so shocked that we kept a way to “skip” the payment for fear that we would lose all of our users. Users could skip the paywall if they wrote us “an apology” explaining why they didn’t want to pay. It was hilarious to read the apology notes that came in.

Retrospectively, charging just $1 was a mistake. Now, we charge $6/video, and the price will likely increase soon. We appreciate the value that our simple website brings to users who otherwise would have to hire an expensive contractor to navigate professional video editing programs and have increased value as we expanded the feature set.

My takeaway for other first-time entrepreneurs is to talk to your users about pricing rather than basing it on what you would pay for the same service. You might be surprised to find that your customers are more or less willing to pay that you are.

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

LinkedIn has been a great way to share videos

Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share 6 ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

Experiment with video: In the last 18 months, video content has exploded in popularity on Instagram. In 2017 alone, the number of videos published on Instagram quadrupled. Instagram is heavily promoting IGTV and regular video posts in the Instagram Explore feed, so experimenting with video posts is a great way to get discovered. Smartphone cameras and online video editing software make it possible for anyone on your team to produce great videos rather than requiring professional hardware or editing expertise. You can leverage new video channels like IGTV and Lasso to get exposure for your business on a rising platform.

Make custom Instagram Story templates to scale branded Stories: Instagram Stories are an excellent media for promotions, announcements, and driving traffic to your website. A 2018 study by Agorapulse actually showed that Instagram Stories drive more engagement than sponsored Instagram feed posts. To maintain quality and visual consistency on your Instagram stories while increasing production volume, make and reuse branded Instagram Story templates. You can share the templates with your team or organization to scale video production at a low cost. Make sure to announce new product offerings, discounts, blog posts, and other companies news items in your business’s Story.

Upload a Custom Thumbnail: Unlike YouTube, Instagram doesn’t have a native tool to upload a custom thumbnail for a video. But custom cover frames or thumbnails are more compelling and make it more likely that people will click and consume your content. Also, cover thumbnails help Instagram brands maintain visual consistency in the feed since you can reuse branded visual elements. To add a custom thumbnail on your Instagram video, create a cover frame and merge it with your video clip before posting to Instagram.

Add Subtitles: On Instagram, browsers tend to look through posts with the sound off, so your content shouldn’t rely on audio to tell a story. For Stories, interviews, customer testimonials, ads, or product demos, make sure to add subtitles to your videos either by embedding captions directly or relying on native closed captions. Subtitled videos are more clear, more engaging, and more accessible on every platform.

Send Personalized DMs: Cold emails have been around for decades, but Instagram DMs are a new channel to reach prospective clients and customers. Since most people spend as much time on Facebook as they do on Instagram, it’s a highly personal form of outreach. If you’re trying to reach a certain influencer, blogger, or brand, try making a personalized video or image and send it to them with an Instagram DM. Make sure that your outreach is human and customized, not automated or robotic.

Make People Laugh: Humor is one of the most undervalued promotional tactics for businesses. Memes, hyper fresh content, bloopers, reaction videos, and silly quotes are a great way to attract new followers and show off your brand’s personality. Funny posts attract reshares, comments, press coverage, and engagement, and it also gives you the opportunity to relate to your target customers.

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Wow, this is a meaty question! There are so many issues that I care about and how to contribute to one day. To pick one: I’m a big supporter of Michael Tubbs, the mayor of Stockton, CA. He was a mentor to me in college and has done some amazing work for the city of Stockton. Although most of his work is focused on his local community, he’s inspiring to anyone who knows him well and cares about impact on a global scale. I hope that people notice the work he’s doing and go out of their way to support him!

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)

I would love to meet Elliot and Jessica Tebele, the hilarious Instagram creators behind FuckJerry and BeigeCardigan. Their content is amazing, and I’m sure they would have incredible feedback on the product and advice about growing the Kapwing and reaching more casual creators. Plus it would probably be the funniest meal of my life.

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!