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Breaking Down Social Media Marketing with Kristie Whites of Serving Social
We started a series on Marketing Mondays with the one, the only, the myth, the woman, the legend Ms. Kristie Whites with Serving Social. We got her significant other, sometimes the better half, her partner in crime, Elijah, joining us as well. One of the great things that we love doing this is because this is one thing that when we met originally back in San Diego at Secret Knock. We talked about marketing right off the bat and you were like, “I’m from Austin,” and I was like, “I’m from Austin too.”
You were the gentleman in a whole big crowded room full of people. I, of course, took every single free book. I was holding this pile of books. He got out of line from behind and got me a box, put them all in there and then held them all the way through. I was like, “I’ve got to know this guy because he is awesome.”
We’ve met there before and I saw you struggling. You’re trying to do a million things and I was like, “I knew Greg pretty well. I was behind the scenes. I can step in and out of the lines there.” I spoke and sponsored that event so I can come and go as I want. I was like, “Let me just get you a box here. I’ll just get it behind you.”
Nobody else did that though. You were the nice person in the room. I wasn’t going to sit here and ask somebody to go get something for me. I’m going to hold all the damn books.
Then we’ve been very good friends. What’s great in this business is if you’re an entrepreneur, most of the time you can pick who you want to work with. You try to avoid the PITAS, the Pain In The Asses. We all have a few pain in the asses that come from it. When you’re working with somebody who understands what you’re doing, gets the whole idea behind it, you hang out with them, have an adult beverage or two and work on certain things three or four. It depends on the amount of sake bomb you grab. You’ve spoken a couple times on Note CAMP, you’ve been to the Mastermind a couple times as well too in Orlando or here. That’s what we decided, was trying to have you on a regular basis here.
You keep asking me to come back. We might as well just make it official.
You’ve already walked in though and delivered a bomb to me. Why don’t we talk a little bit about that or let’s wait in anticipation? We want to build up the anticipation. For those that don’t know, what is Serving Social?
Serving Social is my child. It makes me cry and it takes all my money. It keeps me up late at night, but it’s completely worth it in the end and because of it, you get to meet some interesting people. I can’t say that it hasn’t done that, but it’s all about the journey not about the destination. We’re growing something big. Serving Social is a full-service marketing. We specialize in social media. We are a husband and wife team. We’re nomadic.
We actually got rid of our office space and everything we own and bought an RV. Part of what we do is helping our clients, whoever they may be, small to medium size businesses to independent people, realtors. We talk to everybody about marketing and how to make it simple because it’s so complicated. There’s so much information everywhere. It shouldn’t be something that you scream about every single day, it should be something that comes naturally to you and it will. It’s just looking at it from a different perspective and helping you figure that out.
You did a great job. You work with businesses of all size. Elijah is an amazing photographer, videographer. He’s one of the few people who have ten million views on photos on Google Street View. You literally sold your house, cashed out, bought an RV. You traveled around the country for a few months back in Austin for a little while, worked on some projects and things like that.
It’s like you live somewhere and then they want you back more. We ended up coming back and staying in Austin. We did a few month tours where we go out and travel to a few different places, work with a few different cities. We’ll be launching all of that footage as a Facebook watch show that everybody can watch called the Entrepreneurs Roadshow. It’s about basically stepping into a business and helping them figure out who they are and putting it out there to their community. It’s a different way of looking at marketing. It’s a simplified way of looking at marketing, but it’s also very purposeful. We’re sitting down with these business owners. We’re trying to figure out what they are offering to people and what is their why? Some of them have grasped parts of it and some of them just need a little boost. We’re hoping to educate and teach while we help in travel.
What’s the big selfie going on? “It’s back to school to school.” Everybody’s taking pictures of their ugly kids. There are special things that go on like back to school, into school graduation or holidays, summer. A lot of people like to share those things, but then when it comes to their business life, their other things, they just don’t do it right.
It depends on the network too. I think we’re more inclined to share milestones that we’ve reached in our own life because we can speak for them. It’s harder to do that for your business especially if you’re trying to figure out who your business still is, your brand and how to speak for it. It can be complicated. I get that too. I have the same problem. It’s just about realizing that your business is you and it’s the same thing.
It’s the same thing. You’re very good at helping others with marketing because you forget to market yourself. You’re so ingrained in who you’re working with it. That’s a hard thing but that’s what’s great about what Elijah has been doing. I have this more and more of him posting little stories, little photos or doing some Instagram Live stuff, which is great.
We did an assessment on ourselves so that we could understand our different personalities and roles not only as husband and wife, but as business partners. Sometimes it’s like boom and other times we’re just flowing. I forget why we are getting those places sometimes and not other times? What is it? We figured out that he’s very much the extrovert and I’m very much the introvert. The way that when we had it read back to us and then, they explained everything that was happening he was like, “You’re that type of person that can be what you need to be, but it exhausts you. You can stand up and speak, but when you’re done, you’re done.”
I was like “I get that. That’s me,” and Elijah is the social butterfly. I found that that also affects how we post online and how we present ourselves. Knowing more about myself on that, I am more conscious when I’m posting about, “Maybe I need to post some more,” but maybe it doesn’t necessarily have to be about a random meeting. Maybe it can be a story. I shared one which was the car that I loved so much. The 1994 Firebird convertible, the fire chicken. We call it that because it broke down like every other month. I wouldn’t get rid of it because it was the best thing.
Basically, what you’re saying to that is own yourself and be true?
Yes. It’s hard sometimes when you’re not used to putting yourself out there, even in public. For some people it comes naturally like, “I’m not in public, I can talk all day long.” For me, it’s like I’m talking all day long. I have to go online and say something too. It sometimes becomes the afterthought. I just have to make it my conscious task every day to go check out on my own stuff, so I don’t forget. I’m treating myself like a client, I guess you could say.
That’s a good thing because you’re very busy with the things you’re doing and the bigger projects. You’ve got some stuff that we’ll talk about that you are working on. There are a lot of people who are doing that, especially when you have another job, they’re used to being in that 40-hour work week or the eight hours a day. They get home, sometimes less than that you want to do is go and do the 7 to 2. Work through things and we’ll share some marketing or come up with something. That’s why tools are so important. If you can find that time that you’re creative, whether it’s on the weekend or late at night and use a tool like Buffer, Hootsuite or you’re a big fan of Sprout Social. That helps you plan out your week while you’re creative or charge.
It’s just about getting his head as much as you can. If you can’t do a whole month’s worth of stuff, do a week. If you can’t do a week, do a couple of days. It’s working yourself into building up a backlog. We’ve worked ourselves into building up about a year’s worth of content that we’re launching because it just got to get out there.
It’s the thing that we did with us too. We were all doing the National Social Media Day. We had a very big push with content that day, 26 and a half hours of freaking video.
We had 42 speakers and then we have one person that repeating, but now that was a lot of content. Each one had an individual video. They all spoke for about 30 minutes. Some people spoke for an hour. It was a lot of content.
We hit over six figures in views on the page and videos, that’s what we’re looking for. Fourteen different countries and then we’ve got these videos that we’re still working through editing. A little couple of editing errors, not great editing errors, more upload area or something like that.
It’s always that post production. Sometimes it’s never creating the content that holds you back. It’s the post production after the fact and that’s where we’ve identified in certain areas. It’s like video of course, like how can we make video easier for us? How can we create beautiful displays on social media and not have to create all of the graphics right up front to make sure everything matches and looks good? It’s about figuring all that stuff out and seeing how you can make it more efficient and postproduction is the one thing, the afterward and then the push out that can fall short on pretty quickly. That’s why we use tools like Sprout and Canva but we also use them and teach them so that it’s not something that you can’t do for yourself.
Entrepreneurs are great about getting the stuff out. It’s not always about having to go back and edit it, tweak it because that’s not fresh.
It’s also how we can create evergreen content too, the content that you can push out later. For you, Scott, you have a lot of content. You’ve pushed up tons. How can you recycle it? How do you know how to pull from that and push it back out again? That’s what we’re trying to help some clients figure out right now is, “I have years’ worth of content. I need to know how to push this back out again.” It’s not that it’s not relevant, it’s just you make it and then you push it out there and then you forget about it.
It’s the whole concept to the marketing octagon. We’ve got one piece of content that you use on something else. For example, we’re doing a Facebook Live, great video to stay on Facebook for a while. We’ll have a couple of hundred viewers. We’ll then download that video, I’ll upload it to Vimeo and YouTube. I’ll upload it to the podcast with Tom and Tracy Hazzard. They’ll take it and then transcribe it. They’ll go to my website and upload it at a blog full transcription. Then they’ll throw it on iTunes or Stitcher if they clean up the audio. They’ll also take and create some infographics, some pictures forward as well. Then they’ll send those to me.
Shannon will take those infographics and throw them onto Instagram or Facebook with backlinks. She’ll then take the image, the short, one paragraph, two paragraph things and she will upload those to LinkedIn and update on LinkedIn. It’s the full system there. What’s also great is Tom and Tracy and her team will email out what the guests say, “Here are the infographics that you can use, here are two or three quotes.” You’ve got a list because you’ve been a regular guest on here.
I hope everybody is paying attention because he literally just gave you a template to do all of this. He spits it out there fast. Everything he does every single week is a template. It’s rinse and repeat.
I spoke in Mason, Ohio and they had me speak about marketing. I tried to go through the marketing octagon and it was like people have that glazed over look. I didn’t even get through half of my presentation. I’ll hit an hour and people were asking questions, so I got through half of it. The people were like, “That makes sense.” Some people are like, “I don’t know, what’s the new Instagram posts?” The thing is that simple things sometimes seems like everybody should know that, but a lot of times it’s the simple steps that are the missing link between success. Do you see that with a lot of entrepreneurs you’re working with?
I do. They have one element because my friend did it so I thought I could do it too. They started it without pre-thinking, but they do that a lot. They end up doing it a lot so they create all of these different accounts and all of these different content concepts, but none of them have any real strategy plan or template. This is all gotten thrown out there and you’ve got to pull it all back. You have to try to figure out, “What’s the squirrel moment? What’s the real moment, the value moment that you’re trying to give to someone and put that out there?” Sometimes that can be hard because we have some entrepreneurs that they’ve accepted what their product is and this is what they sell, but not their why. Talking about it becomes a sales pitch every time versus a conversation about who they are and what they do and why they’re doing this.
Basically, it’s better to tell the story.
Everybody wants to tell the stories. It’s the reason why we go to the movies. It’s the reason why we watched the news. They all tell us stories in different ways. We tell the story about our life when we post personally? Like the kids’ photos going back to school. Like we’re documenting our children’s lives all through social media. It’s why wouldn’t we do that with our business as well? It has to have an emotional connection too with people. Toms Shoes is iconic. They’re a great example. It’s iconic because they put the message out there that they’re iconic.
If you don’t know what Tom’s shoes are, they’re the company that for every pair that they sell, they donate a pair to a charity or to a cause.
I believe they’ve expanded into different countries. It’s basically making sure that children that do not have shoes have shoes. That’s an interesting concept because when you have a good product that people like and it has a mission or a cause behind it, the more likely they are to relate to it and want to be a part of it. Then they know that by buying that shoe they have given something back to someone else. I bought the shoe, I did something good, and it helps people. It’s also a self-gratification thing too. When you can make somebody feel good about themselves while they’re buying your product even better or surface, it doesn’t matter what it is.
We see a lot of people that are looking at note deals with case studies. The numbers are up there and I tell people to tell the story about the deal. We actually set up a deal in Gary Indiana. The borrower has made eleven or twelve payments. They’re probably likely to stay in the house. It would be a pretty decent return on investment, but the thing, it’s a picture in the snow of a house. You can see the house. It’s just snow. It’s the middle of August. There’s no snow on the ground in the middle of August. You have great numbers on there and tell the story. The borrowers are in there, power’s on, taxes are paid. Tell the story about the borrower and why is it such a good deal? Don’t just throw numbers up there. A lot of people can’t see numbers, they can’t read numbers.
We have different personalities. I’m a numbers person. I like to see the statistics behind stuff that I know what makes it work. A little bit of an engineer brain but others want to know how it got there? How did it happen? What went behind it? Was there a conversation that happened in between there? What was your journey to get there? What did you buy at the gas station? That’s Elijah. It’s having to balance the two in like, “Here are some of the numbers. Here’s what happened when I got there. This was the result.”
It’s always, “What was the problem or initial investments? What did you do next? How did you feel about that?” To answer the, how did you feel about that part, then we fill in the blanks. “What even intrigued you about this deal in the first place? Was it the numbers? Lead with that and tell the story. Was it just it looked pretty?” That happens. People buy things because of good photos.
We make the joke about this when you’re doing due diligence, don’t follow the OTSC Syndrome, Oh That’s So Cute. Do the numbers make sense? You’ve got to look at the book and you want both to intertwine. If our house was butt ugly and it made you want to run screaming, but the story could be good. It just doesn’t mean that the actual number.
Tell the story about the house that you didn’t buy and why? Was it the photo? That’s an interesting perspective too. You don’t always have to tell the great inspirational story. You can tell about the time it didn’t work. The reason why you thought this was a good deal and it wasn’t. They’re all educational moments. They’re all pieces that you went through. It’s just about segmenting them out, figuring out how to sell.
That’s a big thing of sometimes the good stuff. It’s his Facebook walking in a field of buffalo. It’s like one of the best stories that people really relate to. I took my time and was going to buy these 29 doors and they had liens on them. It was just horrible of a property. It was a great story about me overcoming my own obstacles to be able to raise capital. I raised capital from a deal that I didn’t close off and built rapport and the belief of faith in myself to be able to go out and do it the next time. That’s what a lot of people are afraid of. They’re afraid of objections and so they never take that first step to overcome anything, “I’m not good enough.” “I’m not smart enough” “People don’t like me.” the Anti-Stuart Smalley.
I have nothing important to say. I have nothing interesting to say.
Why do they want to listen to me?
Go to Twitter. All those people have nothing interesting to say, but yet it’s so interesting. I got sucked into a Twitter account because the guy used the tweets to tell each part of his story. He was having a conversation and he was telling about his experience on an airplane and so each tweet was, “I’m boarding a flight to dah, dah, dah.” Then the next tweet was, “I’m sitting next to this lady that’s doing this, this and this.” Then he progressed that story throughout the entire thing like, “Going dark now we’re about to hit elevation,” and then he comes back on, he goes, “This woman is still.” I couldn’t stop reading. I had to keep going and it’s just individual tweets he was having and telling a story and have a conversation with.
When did we last speak? It was something you talked about how there was a lady that was doing daily updates, daily questions. I did that for a week and I got sidetracked, but people are like, “What’s wrong with Scott?” We’re not used to seeing these were questions, dog, cat and person. “What’s your favorite drink?”
What was your engagement with them?
It was huge when people comment and comment on anything in a while. That’s just getting your engagement. I just wanted to see if people were seeing my stuff and people were commenting. Let’s talk about another little engagement tool that you found that you’ve been using a lot more so lately. I’ve done this from both of you guys. Then you have it a lot. It’s the IG. I put a video up. Remember Joel Comm from traveling conversion we talk about how you film bacon for 45 minutes. He had a hundred thousand views. I went out, found a bacon video and did a preview of it and people loved it and hungry. It’s been over a week and you had more bacon since then.
It’s digesting information at a rapid rate. Sometimes you push things out, new things to come in and it’s how it has to happen.
Let’s go back to the Instagram. What’s so big about Instagram lately?
I’ve been using Instagram on and off now, but I haven’t really engaged with the stories personally as much. I fell in love with him and I started diving deeper into how our Instagram stories just personally, but also for our business. How can we leverage that and use that to our advantage for our clients because Instagram is becoming more and more mainstream? It’s reaching out to bigger age demographics. It’s not just all about the Millennials. We have older generations that are coming on too. It’s something to start integrating into your account. Instagram is an art and I mean this literally. It is an art. It is all about the photo that you take, how you position the photo, how the overall grid and presentation of your account looks.
Sometimes that can be hard when you’re scheduling postings and looking on your phone and trying to preplan things when you can’t visually see it. The other thing is Instagram stories. I’ve popped up and they’re not postings and you see these little circles at the bottom that are highlights and they have a value that you can use to an elevated degree, but most people aren’t even using. It’s been something that someone asked about on Facebook the other day. I’m like, “I’m going to talk about this.” We’ve started using these story strategies to engage and reach out to people in real time and to tell the messaging that isn’t necessarily that great for posting if that makes sense.
I found this little tool because I have trouble staring down at my phone and then my neck is killing me the rest of the day. I like to work off of my computer. Instagram doesn’t let you do that because it’s mobile. I, of course, started looking toward the tools that allow me to do that without it. I came across a Chrome extension that is what Chrome IG Story is. Once installed and it’s free, it allows you to view your Instagram account as long as you’re signed in and all of your stories, your friends’ stories, engage and interact with them on your desktop.
That’s the huge thing because you can’t really post anything on your desktop if you just got their Instagram. It’s just literally like you would like and that’s about it. You can comment, but you can’t post anything.
It’s view and you can download. You have a slight engagement with other Stories. It still doesn’t let you post. It allows you to view your postings. You do have expanded opportunity that. It’s a visual component that allows you to build your Instagram account in a different way. I don’t know how many people are doing this. Scott, you’ve done a few Stories?
I’ve done a few Stories. I think I need to spend more time on. I don’t like the fact that they disappear.
That’s why you use highlights. That’s the circles. Think about the categories that you put your blog within and imagine each one of your highlighted circles at the bottom of your stories being one of those. You can upload a photo and make it a nice icon and then you create stories that you can then share into each one of these highlighted.
That’s what I needed it more so you’re exactly right. I’ve done a few of them for a couple episodes and I did when you get busy you forget about sometimes. I literally have almost had the idea of obviously when we run something like this on Facebook Live, having my phone up there doing an Instagram story at the same time. I’ve also added another computer. I have a computer for LinkedIn since it’s doing video now and you can do live in that way having like three or four at the same time.
Sometimes it’s best if you have one piece of content that can be leveraged across all networks. Sometimes it’s best to make a specific posting strategy for that network. What I’m talking about Instagram is just for Instagram. The way that you build your photos and how they lay out into a pattern, the way that you do your InstaStories and how frequently you do them, the graphics you use, how you write out your description. All of that is a visual display. Elijah has a cool tool which when he started mentioning it, you wanted to film this stuff. Instagram Stories are for fifteen seconds and then they stop. There’s another tool out there which we had problems with the postproduction video. I can’t cut up an entire three-minute video into small little fifteen second clips just to get them out and then add graphics and titles and everything to each one of them. There’s this little tool and it allows you to upload your video from your phone. It clips it into fifteen second clips automatically for you.
It’s CutStory. This is one of those big things about going to an event or maybe trying to just capture a really amazing speech that you want to be able to put up as a story. Use your phone and always record the InstaStories vertically, don’t do it horizontally or you have to go back in and edit or your videos will look like jacked up. It’s about a good user experience. You basically can import the entire video. It’s five minutes, ten minutes. I did a twenty-minute video the other day and it was a lot, you’ve got to post all fifteen. You’ve got to go through that and keep on grabbing the next fifteen seconds post.
I would rather have to go back through and pull each of the videos compared to edit each of the videos into perfectly timed fifteen second clips. That way if somebody is talking, it’s not like there’s any lag or anything, it’s just a continuous story. You’ll never miss any piece. It’s a better user experience. You’re being able to get the full extent of that content out, at the same time cutting down the post production time that it takes to get a quality product.
It’s a free download. I’m downloading it, which is pretty cool.
It’s a free product and you can’t hate on that, that’s for sure.
I learned something new.
If you’ve been doing Instagram Stories and you haven’t been saving any of the videos, Instagram automatically archives, all of that stuff. As soon as you start building these highlights, you’ll be able to go back through and access all of your old Instagram Stories. Then categorize them underneath your different archives, so you don’t have to worry about trying to re-upload everything. It’s already in there.
I’m just thinking of the things I’ve done the last month that I just failed on. It all hit me. I failed with a stuff, which is okay.
You can do an Instagram Story from an already existing video. I think everybody should do a Story and keep in mind that Stories just don’t have to be video. Stories can be creative. You have lots of options and artwork and possibilities. This is a mutual like of ours here. You can see these little circles right here are Stories. I can go in and press cocktails and it’s going to pull up the cocktail or any cocktail videos that I’ve taken. You see there’s video, they have graphics, they have gifts. It’s about making it creative. Here’s a three-part video. This video is longer than fifteen seconds. We recorded it on our phone. This was the first video and the second video. it’s all breaking apart but it’s all streamlined as one video.
It’s not one video then.
That is one video broken up into fifteen second spot using CutStory. You’ll also notice that there’s a pattern to the photos that we take. They all have similarities in color, in layouts and style. There’s a pattern to how we post and how we showcase specific things.
My personal profile has a lot of us taking selfies and a lot of travel. It’s different than the podcast show. The podcast is a little bit of uniform with quotes from people, testimonials, episode, images, things like that or anything to deal with the aspect of it. We need uniform stuff for the most part.
You start to see the color and the pattern and people notice that because they’re visual. They want to see this beautiful display of things and that’s just what they want to do. They want to see color, they want to see video. They want to see Boomerang. If you don’t have Boomerang, you should probably download that app too. It’s a great way to make Stories quick. Get used to Boomerang. Do a couple videos of you with just champagne going up, whatever it is. It doesn’t matter.
I think stories should be used to tell small little fragments of information. One of the things that we’ve done is we’ve actually taken a free sourced video that we found and created an interactive way of movement and visual ads for our clients. They’re not just about doing a posting. Nobody wants to see on my board a posting that says, “$99 today, come and get this.” I can put that in a story and make it more visual. NASA has a lot of free footage. That’s a fun way of taking already existing footage, saving it. We had it on our phones. We put it into an Instagram Story. With Sprout Social, you can schedule your InstaStories just like you would schedule Instagram. When it pushes to your phone, you just tell it to go to the story instead of to a post. You can pre-schedule your Stories too. You would just do your graphics and your animation and stuff inside of your postings because Instagram already gives you the option to do all of that. Everything that you just saw in that video, the rocket’s little going up, it was all added after I put the video inside Instagram.
If I’m going to a networking event at the Carver Community Center for Propelio, there’s a bunch of vendors. I can just walk around with a nonstop video camera, vertical, doing a quick fifteen-second interview with everybody. You can walk around with your phone, just taking quick little videos of everybody. Hit the CutStory and then upload all the stories. Then hit the dots to make sure it’s permanent of people, for investors and stuff like that to come to the event.
You can add new highlights too. When you go to add one, you can pick what Story you want to go in there. I’m going to create a new highlight and it’s going to be one from all of our We Close Notes podcast. That’s going to be my new circle that you’ll see on Serving Social. You’ll see that it automatically will pull up things that you want to do, like the graphics that are on this. I’m going to say next and it’s going to have me at edit a cover. I can pick a photo or I can make a graphic and save that to my phone. We make little icon graphics using Canva.
- Serving Social
- Secret Knock
- Sprout Social
- Podcast with Tom and Tracy Hazzard
About Kristie Whites
Kristie Whites is a brand and marketing strategist, philanthropist, and national speaker. Looking to create social impact in the world, Kristie started Serving Social, LLC whose mission is to show businesses that marketing can be simple when you’re provided the right tools and resources. Having worked with brands like Harley Davidson, Women’s Business Council – Southwest and various nonprofits, Kristie has helped businesses in establishing their marketing strategy, navigate the uncertainty of social media and measure results.
Kristie’s many achievements include becoming a Google Partner, Board Member of the Year for Texas Women in Business, ABJ’s Women of Influence – Profiles in Power Finalist, ABJ’s Rising Star Finalist, 2nd Place in the Pitch-A- Kid Pitch Competition, and the Moving America Forward Award Presented by Rear Admiral Kevin F. Delaney.
Some of her other business ventures include acting as the COO of VettedHeroes, LLC a revolutionary job placement platform that connects veterans with today’s top companies. As well as an advisor to the prominent Washington D.C. women’s organization Success in the City.
Currently, you can find Kristie and her partner in life and business, Elijah Whites venturing out on the road with their Serving Social offshoot, the Entrepreneurs Roadshow. They’ll be bringing marketing tools and resources directly to business owners across the country in an effort to spread their knowledge beyond urban centers and to build, connect, and grow communities across America.