I first met Danielle and Lara when they contacted me for a personal brand photoshoot. They run social media agency Young & Cooper. They help your brand and business grow with the right marketing and social media strategy.
I recently caught up with them to get some top tips and advice about social media marketing and why it’s important for your brand and business.

Personal Brand Photoshoot Ipswich Suffolk

Tell me a bit about yourselves, and why you do what you do.

Young & Cooper is a contemporary social media agency.  Working with entrepreneurs, small and medium businesses and not for profits, to help get their stories in front of their target audience, and make their social media sparkle.
We have a combined marketing and PR career that spans 30+ years and we’ve worked with some top brands on the high street such as Breast Cancer Care, Warner Bros, Boots, Asda, Joules, Sony and House of Fraser.  We want to bring that knowledge and experience to smaller businesses and entrepreneurs.

Having both set up independently as freelance marketing consultants we regularly met up for coffee to bounce ideas off each other. However, we soon realised that those coffee mornings were becoming more and more valuable. And also a lot more fun.  We really enjoy working together. So that’s why we decided to combine our clientele, reputation and talent and formed Young & Cooper.

Why is social media so important for a brand and business?

It’s 2020, and we are ALL on social media.  So if everyone is logging on to social media, it means that your ideal target client or audience is on social media. So it makes sense to be on at least one social media platform.

It is also really important for your brand awareness and it increases trust in your brand.  If we are looking at a new product or service, we will look at the brand’s website and then we will ALWAYS go and look at their social media pages.  It gives us a feel for the company and if we want to buy from them.  It’s a great way to build on your customer base and keep your customers engaged and front of mind.  

Regardless of whether you’re a startup company or a Fortune 500, you should have a presence on a social media platform.  In fact, it’s interesting how these free platforms have leveled off the marketing playing field to a degree.

How do we know which social media platforms to use?

You need to start with your target audience.  Spend the time identifying who your ideal client is, and then find out where they are hanging out on social media.

At a very top level, Instagram and Pinterest are all about the visuals. Instagram can also serve as a micro blog site whereas Pinterest limits your word count. Both platforms are brilliant for selling services and product. Instagram works brilliantly with hashtags.⁠

Twitter is a noisy, hungry content beast but is great for news, facts and memes. Word content is limited and hashtags aren’t particularly effective. ⁠

Facebook is great for tapping into emotions and again hashtags are not of much use here.⁠

LinkedIn is best for industry news, blogs and jobs, the tone of voice has a much more serious slant on this platform, whereas the others allow for a bit more of relaxed and fun ‘banter. ⁠

We would also take into consideration what platform you enjoy being on.  You need to spend time on there engaging with followers so you want to be on a platform that you enjoy yourself. 

The key thing is to use one or two platforms really well, rather than spread yourself thinly across all the social media platforms and have inconsistent and flaky messaging. It’s definitely a myth that you just need to be across all platforms. Very few brands have the resource to be able to do that well and to do it effectively.

Do you have any recommendations on how to create a strategy?

First of all, if you’re creating a strategy you need to think about what your ultimate motive is for doing this. Are you launching a new product? Are you rebranding your startup?  Identifying your objectives would be the first place to start.

Always take an audit.  If you have social media platforms set up already, spend some time identifying your strengths and weaknesses.  What is working for you now and then think about how you need to improve this.

Spend some time looking at your insights.  Don’t just look at how many followers you have.  Look into the posts and see how many people you are reaching and what the content interactions are like.

We don’t actually use any apps for creating strategies because every single one we produce is bespoke and tailored to our clients. However, one thing we always do produce is a strong content strategy.  We spend time identifying strong content pillars and the key to getting all of this right is identifying your audience avatars.

A good social media strategy enables you to empower your social media channels and gives you the clarity and insight to help you grow your business.  So often we see businesses online who are just posting randomly and the messaging is all over the place.  But if you have a good strategy, it ensures that the messaging consistent and it speaks directly to your target audience. And also it just makes your job a lot easier because you know exactly what you’re doing when you sit down to write those posts. Ultimately, you’re much more productive and you’re saving time and resources and energy.

Are paid ads worth considering? If so what is your top tip on getting started, in order to reach the right audience?

Whilst you can reach your audience by posting organically on social media, there’s no doubt about it that paid social media advertising is an amazing tool for real ninja targeting, helping to reach your perfect customer. 

Imagine you’re a local gym, and you want to attract more customers.  A traditional way of targeting customers would be to advertise in a local newspaper or drop leaflets through people’s front doors in the local area. But now imagine that you are a local gym that decides to take onboard Facebook and Instagram advertising.  You will be able to cherry pick those local people who like going to the gym, who are interested in exercising, who have shown interest in health and fitness. You can deliver the ads straight to them.  As opposed to all those leaflets that will just end up in the recycling bin.

Facebook and Instagram ads specifically serve ads to your target audience and customers who are genuinely interested in your service. Therefore they’re much more efficient use of your budget, and they’re the fastest way to get visible.

The skill, however, is in knowing what is working and why or why not. All too often we see businesses who’ve tried advertising on Facebook and Instagram once and haven’t received anything in return and then decide that Facebook ads don’t work.

If you’re looking for your top tip on getting started with this, it’s being able to identify your target audience. Really know that audience inside and out, in order to do the targeting really well. 

Also get a Facebook pixel on your website.  Even if you are just thinking about doing Facebook ads in the near future, get a pixel on your website now.

However, you do have to bear in mind that it’s not the silver bullet and it won’t solve all of your business problems.

What’s your one piece of advice or wisdom when it comes to an effective social media post?

We don’t have one piece of advice here – it’s a really quick Instagram post checklist for you. 

  1. Your image needs to be eye catching. When people are scrolling, you want them to stop and look at your photos, so make it a good image to stop the scroll. It’s also worth remembering that having a photo of yourself on your grid is really important. We can’t stress enough how important it is to have your brand photography session, so you’ve got a whole bank of photos that you can use.

2. Make sure your copy is friendly. Imagine you’re writing to a friend, ask a question, engage and pull out a conversation with your community.  Don’t just talk at someone try to have a conversation, and use emojis. But only where and when approved appropriate and don’t go overboard. 

3. Don’t forget to tag your post with your location, and be consistent and post regularly.  The algorithm loves it and sporadic posts will get lost. Hashtags, when used correctly, can really help grow your reach. But make sure they’re relevant to your posts and to your brand to attract the right people.

4. Engage, engage, engage.  Reply to comments, like posts, leave genuine comments on posts you find interesting and start building those Instagram relationships

When you’ve had successful posts with loads of engagement in the past, go back and look at what made those successful and repurpose them.

If someone’s looking to outsource their social media strategy and posts, what should they look for when researching a company to do this. 

Have a look at their website. Have a look at their social media.  Book a Discovery call with them.  See whether you like their style and if they feel aligned with your brand.

It’s also crucial that you don’t go for a company where a one size fits all, so you’re not looking for somewhere that just has strategy templates.  You want a bespoke strategy because every single one of us is unique, every brand is unique, no matter how big or small.  Strategies need to be tailor made to help you crack your problems and create solutions.  And look for somebody who is ready to listen to your problems and can give you knowledgeable advice. Look for testimonials and look for case studies.

We don’t make promises of seven figures in seven days, but we will share our knowledge and our experience with you to advice on how to grow your social media. We’re authentic and transparent and we’ll give honest advice of what’s best for your brand at the stage you’re in right now. We’re passionate about what we do.  We wholeheartedly put all our effort into continuously moving forward and improving and we love working with an eclectic mix of brands.

If you need some help with your social media marketing then do get in touch with Lara and Danielle, they offer a discovery call too so they can advise you on the best course of action.