This episode features Katie Wight, founder of KW Content, a company with a mission of helping purpose driven brands change the world.
Katie shares her thoughts on what makes social media an effective way to advertise your brand and the platforms to use. She also discuss recent privacy changes in running Facebook ads.
In addition, listen to the top three mistakes that Katie sees advertisers make, a success story from an Ecommerce client with a 400% growth after a year of working together. And the type of products she finds are doing well in TikTok.
Finally, Katie shares the struggle in providing services to their clients and working with purpose driven brands.
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ABOUT THE HOST:
Andy Splichal is the World's Foremost Expert on Ecommerce Growth Strategies. He is the acclaimed author of the Make Each Click Count Book Series, the Founder & Managing Partner of True Online Presence and the Founder of Make Each Click Count University. Andy was named to The Best of Los Angeles Award's Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021.
New episodes of the Make Each Click Count Podcast, are released each Friday and can be found on Apple Podcast, iHeart Radio, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts and www.makeeachclickcount.com.
Welcome to the Make Each Click Count podcast this is your host, Andy Splichal. And today we are happy to welcome our next guest to discuss today's topic, which is Actionable Insights for Advertising with Social Media. This week's guest is the founder of KW Content, a company with a mission of helping purpose driven brands change the world. A big hello to Katie Wight. Hello, Katie.
Katie Wight 1:11
Hi, Andy. Thanks for having me. I'm so happy to be here.
Andy Splichal 1:14
We're excited to have you. Now let's start with what makes social media an effective way to advertise your brand?
Katie Wight 1:23
Sure, yes, let me count the ways. The first is obvious one, your people are here, right? In 2021, 82% of the population in the United States alone, had a social networking profile. So we know this is where our customers are hanging out our prospects. Other reasons why social, you know, social is a great place to advertise include the speed with which we can gather feedback, how personal it is, you can really personalize the relationship, right? It's not just advertising and ads. It's DMS, it's every way we want to connect. And it's really accessible, I find you know, we have consulted with 1000s of brands and it's such an accessible entry point when we look at kind of the full digital marketing ecosystem both from the standpoint of how quickly we can get feedback how kind of intuitive some of these platforms are to advertise on and get started with and all that stuff. So yeah, those are some of my top reasons.
Andy Splichal 2:21
So when we're talking social media, what channels are we talking Facebook? Are we talking beyond Facebook? What what social media channels are you using to advertise for your clients?
Katie Wight 2:34
Yeah, so our you know, you we can talk about Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, YouTube, Pinterest, our clients, for the most part are on Facebook and Instagram getting up and running on TikTok for sure is, is kind of where we're at right now. Our clients tend to use YouTube and Pinterest a little bit less. So you know, when I'm speaking, it's most of my experiences within those two platforms, Facebook and Instagram and then rolling out on Tik Tok.
Andy Splichal 2:56
So, have you found some of the recent privacy changes affecting how you're running Facebook ads for your clients?
Katie Wight 3:04
Yeah, a little bit. I think, you know, we've seen some accounts, not as affected as others. And I think it has been for us what we've seen so often with our within our industry, impact doesn't always match the level of hype and chaos and sort of fear mongering that happens. One of the biggest implications is quality of content, right? Because our targeting isn't quite as sophisticated. our message and our content has to be really high quality to stand out with broader audiences. And that's something that we've been obsessed with from the beginning. So that hasn't had a big impact on us. The biggest shift for us has been about you know, when we're thinking about the customer journey, when we think about our Funnels is really making sure that we're warming up our audiences on the platform before you know before retargeting so where we used to maybe just drive people directly to a product page because we knew if they didn't check out the first time we could then retarget them since a lot of that traffic is not being tracked once it leaves the app if we see that our conversion rates you know, at the beginning depending on the price point or where we want them to be then we will focus on kind of warming them up with a video ad or something like that on absolutely don't need to leave so then we can retarget people based on the interest that you know the levels to which they engage with our content.
Andy Splichal 4:18
So are you using video ads to do that to really warm up the audience then?
Katie Wight 4:24
Yeah, video ads, carousels, you know will we will kind of construct audiences based on video views is a really popular one especially because you know, and for this if we're warming people up really thinking about a longer than a 15 second video you know, anything above 30-60 seconds some of our some of our for our own business, some of our best ads are running around like 90 seconds. Because you know, you figure if someone has watched 50% of that they are definitely in your prospect pool. But we also use, you know, we also use just engaged audience folks who have engaged with our or organic content, or maybe we will boost a high performing organic piece of content and kind of pull those engaged users, anyone who engages with it into our top of funnel audiences as well. So those are some other options. But yes, video is, is for sure. Very effective right now.
Andy Splichal 5:16
So when a potential new client comes to you, and you you look at their Facebook Ads Manager, what are some of the biggest mistakes that you commonly find advertisers make?
Katie Wight 5:28
Yeah, so I think right now, narrow audiences. So one of the things that we see a lot is people just layering so many interests on top of their, you know, inside of their audiences, and super trying to get super, super targeted and narrow. And right now, you know, we'd rather actually see you break out separate audiences with separate interests, right, and try to see which one is going to perform better. Another thing that I see that's not even necessarily a mistake, kind of if host iOS updates, this has just been one of my biggest pet peeves, you know, since I started in this field 10 years ago, is A/B testing. That's not actual A/B testing, right. So we throw up two completely different ads, and we call it A/B testing. But if we're not isolating variables, and we're not taking a super scientific approach to it, and we're not really sure about which thing which elements are being A.B tested, it's not an A/B test. And we might be like, leaving money, like a lot of money on the table, from not actually isolating those variables. And then I think the last one is copycatting strategies that aren't right for your brand. Right? If we have a high ticket product or a low ticket product, if we have a lot of brand equity or no brand equity that is going to affect the way that we should be constructing our advertising strategy. So those are some of the you know, top three probably mistakes that I see people making.
Andy Splichal 6:50
So I see you also offer content strategy, which is is a bit different. Have you always offered or did you just begin offering, offering that with your ads management?
Katie Wight 7:02
Yeah, so this is a funny one, because it's actually the other way around. So when when we say content strategy for us, content marketing, right often refers to SEO. So for us content strategy is speaking less to SEO, SEO. And it's more about a holistic content and social media strategy that can inform Website, Email, organic social ads, the whole gamut. It's essentially a way to bridge the gap between our brands and our customers and understand like, how are we going to communicate day in and day out, and still maintain a coherent, consistent story. So this is our bread and butter. This is where we started, when I started in social media, many, many moons ago, I was an organic social media marketer, and I was fine. And you know, we weren't doing a lot of social advertising. At the time, I was at a big global company, we had over a million followers. And so for me, I really saw that there was, as your business grows as your brand grows, the more important it becomes to have a very consistent message. And yet, the more subjective, a brand strategy can be, right? If we have positioning statements or point of view, if we're not really spelling out what that is going to look like and putting guardrails up, things can get a little bit messy. And we also lose the opportunity to take a really focused approach and see what works well. So when I first started my agency in 2017, I thought, Oh, this is great. I'm just gonna do content strategies for folks. But it didn't take long to find out that no, if I'm going to hire you to do my content strategy, I also want you to deploy it. And 2017 was also really when we started to see a huge drop in organic reach. And so I became a little bit obsessed with advertising at that time knowing that, like, I could create great content, and it wasn't gonna matter if I couldn't make sure the right people saw it. So we actually kind of that that was where we started. And then we added on advertising services. You know, we've been doing that since 2017.
Andy Splichal 8:48
So can you share a success story from an Ecommerce client?
Katie Wight 8:53
Yeah, of course. So I've my favorite, I think are the unlikely stories, you know, so, for better or worse, I have worked across dozens of industries. I started in snowboarding, I went to luxury beauty and then like, have just built in all of these gaps in between. We've done a lot of work with Food and Bev clients. And so one example is a story that I love to tell is a Certified Humane meat brand, right. So this is not cheap, shelf stable products. These are like refrigerated meats. They had a $25 million wholesale business, we're kind of getting up and going on Ecomm they were slightly under a million in revenue. And once we had been working they and they weren't really sure the marketing director was like, I feel like we have more ecommerce potential, but our leadership is not convinced because of the products. And after a year of working together, we saw a 400% growth and we were doing pretty simple stuff there. At that time, we were able to retarget so our bread and butter was driving, you know 13% Click through rates on blog posts, which were like recipe content and then retargeting folks with the with the product that was in those in those blog posts. And then you know, we've seen a lot of folks that we've been working with through the pandemic Um, students implementing our strategies, you know, family run jewelry, businesses, all of that good stuff, you know, seeing 200 to 400% growth. I think one of the, you know, one of the big misconceptions is that it is it, there is a lot of skill, there's a lot of strategy. And it's also can be simple and straightforward. And so I think, you know, one of my favorite things to see over the pandemic has just been, like, just getting started, just just getting, getting it going, Getting Started starting to test some stuff and learning from it has delivered a lot of people in our community, you know, pretty life changing business growth.
Andy Splichal 10:37
Now, was the majority of that growth driven through social media advertising then or Did you have any other kind of advertising going on with it?
Katie Wight 10:45
Yeah, well, we always say like, you know, my thing is, that's a big, I have, I have a gripe with our industry, right where we talk about for us, it's like, it never goes without email, for example, you know, we want to see folks with a holistic program that you know, has social advertising and search advertising and all of this stuff. But at the very, these case studies that I'm sharing are really just about social advertising, or good organic social to back that up and improve, you know, conversion and click through rates, and then email marketing, of course, we need to see that Ecomm growth is really following up on those customer lifetime values improving over time with email, you know, coupling with social advertising.
Andy Splichal 11:26
Sure. So are you helping your clients with the email advertising piece as well?
Katie Wight 11:31
You know, what we do on our agency side, so we have two sides of our business KW Content as our agency where we do a lot of done for you. And they are, we're not actually doing their email marketing, but what we are doing is creating their content plan every single month, where we will define, hey, here's what we're gonna post on blogs, here's what we're gonna post on social, here's what we're doing for social advertising. And here's what we want you to do on email. And so all of the stories are aligned, which of course, is is really great for success.
Andy Splichal 12:00
Sure. Now, if you had a crystal ball is in regards to social media advertising, how would you see the industry changing in the next 12 - 18 months?
Katie Wight 12:11
Yeah, so I think, you know, the obvious piece about it getting harder to target is something we kind of started with talking about iOS. And I think what we're seeing is a huge, huge growth in the content creator industry, right. And we're also seeing that a lot of these platforms, like Instagram, for example, every time the CEO every Friday rolls out an announcement about a new feature, it's not really it's very rarely something that is super beneficial to the small business owner or the Ecomm owner, it's actually most of the time directed at the content creators. So one of the things that I think is going to change a lot is a shift towards paid partnerships with content creators, so content that looks like user generated content, and taps into that rapidly growing market of influencers and content creators. But, you know, that is in partnership with the Ecommerce brand and drive into the Ecommerce site. I also think we're gonna see a lot of ad dollars, you know, they already are shifting towards TikTok folks are seeing a lot of success there, like cost per result. On TikTok is just everybody's saying, Oh, it's how Facebook used to be. And that's certainly what we're seeing as well. And I think one of the misconceptions about that platform is that it's just for the young folks, when in reality, the fastest growing segment, there's 30 to 55. So those are some of the shifts that I see coming.
Andy Splichal 13:29
Interesting, you know, speaking to TikTok, what type of products are you finding are doing? Well?
Katie Wight 13:37
Yeah, so, you know, we have product brands on there, right now, the product brands that we have on there are food brands, and we're actually just doing lead gen campaigns for email that's going really, really well. We also see, you know, thought leaders within the marketing space, I have a colleague who is a, she teaches women how to code. So right now, we are really seeing a pretty wide gap gamut. I think there's a misconception that there's because there is so much trend driven content, and you do see a lot of dancing and there's sort of this creative space there. There's a misconception that, you know, you can't show up and grow with just like simple thought leadership, which is something that is not true is being disproved kind of every day. So you know, everything from I've seen, I've seen jewelry founders sort of shooting clips of them, hands making their jewelry to food brands that we're working with to you know, marketing thought leaders. It's really pretty broad range right now.
Andy Splichal 14:37
So are there any challenges that you struggle with in providing services to your clients?
Katie Wight 14:43
Well, so I think the only I was thinking about this the only time we haven't been able to grow brand is when they're having some sort of identity crisis, right? Like it's so or maybe they lacked a strong brand strategy to begin with. And when I say brand strategy, I mean, who are we talking to? Right? And like, what is our unique value proposition? And what is our point of view that matters to that target persona. So we've had one or two clients over the last five years that sort of, are like switching their target market frequently, or maybe right before they worked with us. They were talking to someone else. And then based on some celebrity that was interested in their brand, they switched it or whatever. And that that confuses the platforms, right. And it confuses your current community, which just kind of cannibalizes the performance of your content and your advertising. So that's one of the one of the struggles that we see. The other thing is just the nature of what we do so because we provide services that span both organic and advertising, you know, it's always on. And so trying to think about ways, you know, I'm constantly trying to think about ways to deliver results, make sure that our brand accounts are really well taken care of people get quick responses, right, you sort of have this intersection of social and customer service. And so how do we provide those, you know, how do we provide that responsiveness while also protecting the mental health of our team members? Those are some of the challenges that I think about day to day.
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Now, you said you launched your agency in 2017. So it's been been five years, it's been some time.
Katie Wight 17:22
Andy Splichal 17:23
Were there or have there been any business books out there that you can attribute to your journey as an entrepreneur?
Katie Wight 17:30
So I love this question. It's funny, I think I'm probably a I feel like a bad agency owner. I haven't actually read business books that are super specific to agency growth. I guess a couple books that I've I've loved have been that that are is it's Built to Sell, right? That taught me a lot about how to build my agency, not necessarily because I want to sell it just because thinking about what it's going to take to run smoothly. Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss was my favorite book I was reading when I was trying to learn how to close. That was like life changing. I read Psycho Cybernetics. When I first started and have done, you know, Atomic Habits, Radical Candor, and anything Ogilvy. Those are some of the ones that stuck out more recently, I have a mentor, Rachael Rodgers, who wrote We Should All be Millionaires, which is an incredible book, if you are sort of just starting out or thinking about launching a brand and kind of need need the extra push over the edge to do so. So many great books out there.
Andy Splichal 18:30
So let's talk a little bit more about your services. What problems are you solving for your clients? Or, you know, in other words, how does your agency stand out from the competition?
Katie Wight 18:41
Sure, yeah. So we have a proprietary framework that we use to develop our content strategies. And we say, you know, this is kind of an unpopular opinion. But especially with social I kind of I don't think that the know like and trust model, which is a very widely accepted sort of strategic approach to our messaging is, is really what's best on social, I always say, your customers don't really need to know that much about you, what they need to know is how well you know them. And so our framework is really modeled around that. And we kind of we flesh out with three pillar framework, one that's aligned to audience growth, one that's aligned to sales, and one that's aligned to community loyalty, and this, this can really be deployed across all of our channels, right? So you figure audience growth, that's where our, you know, organic content that people share a lot or our top of funnel advertising messaging, right. And then pillar two, that's a one was sales. Were gonna see that in our retargeting content in our conversion ads in our organic content that folks always say they don't get as much engagement on but it's just because people are clicking through to buy the product. You know, that's the content that's also going to be on email. So the thing that really sets us apart is taking it's almost like we take a social first approach, meaning we're really thinking about this personal relationship with Customer or really thinking about personalized conversations, but then fleshing out a content strategy that can really be deployed across the full digital footprint. And so we're really bringing owned, earned and paid together in a way that we don't see happening as much. And then the other piece of just having worked across dozens of industry, we're really more framework oriented. And so we're always adapting to the brand and to the market. And so, you know, for a long time, I thought I was going to have to niche down into a really specific market or industry or type of brands. And we haven't, and I think that actually serves us and our clients really well, because we're able to borrow, you know, and take insights of what's working somewhere, and what might you know, what, maybe we haven't tried that we could try, you know, within a certain space.
Andy Splichal 20:46
So what, what makes your perfect client then?
Katie Wight 20:51
I think, you know, our perfect client has already found product market fit, and they're looking to scale. So I think it's, it's really important to, you know, when we're thinking one of the things that I look at, in our field is some sometimes brands calm, and they really want this robust, you know, social media program, when when you're just starting out, right, you need either, you just need product market fit to prove, and you might just need one really specific sales funnel. And we really like to come in, when you're ready to build out that more kind of full blown program. We also only work with consumer product brands in our agency and really, really only work with like purpose driven brands that have some sort of triple bottom line approach to their goals and their measurement models. So yes, they're profit driven and they're growth driven. And there's also some social some, like social impact or environmental impact mission that they have involved with their brand.
Andy Splichal 21:48
So what's what's an example of a purpose driven mission that you would need to have to work with you guys?
Katie Wight 21:56
Yeah, so I think, well, the world's like, most famous example, is Ben and Jerry's, right? They like, somehow seamlessly weave in advocacy to their marketing and just continuously grow and grow and grow. We've worked with one of the world's well people, Cosmetics is one of the world's first truly green beauty brands. And so for them, it was less about advocacy and their marketing. And it was more about really disrupting the status quo of the industry and proving, you know, up until they came on the scene, it was like green beauty was also synonymous with just not as the performance was just not as good. And so well, people was just disrupting the status quo and paving the way for more beauty brands to see that actually, you could use truly green products that were better for our health and better for the planet. And they also, you know, lasted all day long. We worked with a shoe client who, you know, it was more about in like, well people and more about in their supply chain where, you know, the way their supply chain used way less water measurably than, you know, your average shoe brands, so it can be in your supply chain that that mission piece comes in. And then it can also just be in how you're using your marketing platforms to kind of propel more impact driven, you know, issues that you care about.
Andy Splichal 23:13
That's really interesting, I don't know if I've spoken to another agency who makes that a requirement that you need to be purpose driven. Why why did you do that?
Katie Wight 23:25
So it's so funny that you say that because I'm, well, I'm based in Vermont. And so I don't know if you've ever heard of B Corporation, but they're they are kind of third party entity that will certify brands according to a scorecard. And their tagline is using business as a force for good. And so Vermont is sort of the land of the poor. There's a lot of folks up here that really care about this. And I think, you know, for us, and for all of the folks that have my whole team is made up of millennials and Gen z's. And it's sort of like, you know, for us, our decisions we're making about who we work with, we also are doing things, like testing out four day workweeks and stuff I have my eye on, you know, I think for me to be relevant for our business to be relevant and have the impact we want to have. We kind of need to be listening to younger generations and what they care about, and making sure that we're we are creating a space that cares about more than profits. That's just something that has kind of always, always spoken to me. And it's funny that you say that because I remember presenting our agency model to a mastermind group that I was a part of, a few years ago, maybe it was four years ago and someone saying like that this concept of purpose driven business was sort of like a fringe concept. And I guess it just it's all relative, it depends on kind of the circles that you're hanging out in. I definitely see it on the rise over the last year or two as well. But so yeah, I think I think also, I guess, on a personal note, it's a way for me to kind of feel better about being a marketer, right? Like the world doesn't need just more stuff, the world needs more environmentally conscious, like solutions. The world needs more social, socially conscious solutions. And so for us, we're like, if we're going to spend all day every day growing brands, let's make sure that there are brands that are aligned with our values, that's going to help us do better work, it's going to help us sleep better at night, to help us stay in the game. So yeah, while it's kind of like a feel good concept, it also makes a lot of good business sense.
Andy Splichal 25:27
So are you offering just strictly do it for you services, or you had mentioned you're given your clients say a schedule? So are you doing like some do it? Do it with you as well? How does your services work?
Katie Wight 25:34
Yeah, so our agency, KW content is definitely a premium sort of social media agency. And so one of the things we did though, when the pandemic hit, we did not have any essential client, like the none of our clients are in any, like essential industry. So everything got paused. And we were, you know, our 80% of our revenue was threatened. So we kind of sprinted to market with a product called strong brand social and strong brand social is now a new brand, where we provide, we essentially packaged up our IP, and all of our methodologies and how we do what we do. And we provide it to smaller brands, you know, at super accessible pricing. So our agency really works with brands, oftentimes that are more over this $2 million mark, and then anything under that we serve people instead of stronger and social. And we have, you know, a suite of courses depending on what your needs are. And we also have, you know, a membership where you can get support on the things you're working on as you implement them, you know, with my team and our team of coaches.
Andy Splichal 26:45
Well, this has been great. How can an interested listener have a purpose driven brand or somebody looking for some of your training learn more about working with you?
Katie Wight 26:57
Sure, yeah. So we would love to have you visit kwcontent.com. And then I'm on Instagram at my handle's @kwcontent as well. And we actually kind of house most of our strong brands social under there. For now we're working on a Shopify build out for strong brand social, but that's not coming for a while. So kwcontent.com is the best place to meet us.
Andy Splichal 27:16
Great. And what is some actionable advice that you could give someone wanting to start advertising their products on Facebook before we go?
Katie Wight 27:24
Yeah, so I think actionable advice is focus on your message, I think always thinking about the way you write your copy your creative, it really needs to come from your customers' mouth. So if you don't already have a steady stream of sales, making sure to get your product in the hands of people and hear how they describe it, that's going to be how you want to talk about it. I also think, as you take action, as you are, you know, there's endless free resources and advice on the internet, you know, about how to get your Facebook advertising up and running. So I think making sure you are filtering that through, like, you know, making sure the advice you're getting is current, and that it's actually fitted to your specific business, right, like your type of business. So, you know, notice, take stock of like, where that advice is coming from? Is it a product that is around your price point? Is that a product that maybe shares your customer, right? These are good signs that that strategy or that advice that you're getting that step by step is good for you to follow. And then get yourself a community right that like a space with like minded folks who are trying to do the same thing really helps you grow, and it helps you kind of gut check and, and make sure you you know, you're anticipating blind spots, all that stuff along the way. I feel like that has probably been like the back, those have been the best investments I've made in growing my business.
Andy Splichal 28:50
Well, this has been great. Is there anything else you'd like to add before we wrap it up today?
Katie Wight 28:53
Ah, I will just add one of my also controversial social media marketing pieces of advice. Remembering that reels is not a marketing strategy. So we see just new features being being kind of published every single day, every single week. And if you are an Ecomm owner who is feeling slung around by all of the information that you see all of the time and feeling like you can't keep up. This is permission to block out the noise and just focus on getting your sales funnel up and running. building it out from there and not kind of listening to content creators and influencers say "Oh, you have to post three rolls a day in order to grow your business."
Andy Splichal 29:37
Perfect. Well, we will end it there. Thanks for joining us today.
Katie Wight 29:41
Awesome. Thank you so much for having me, Andy.
Andy Splichal 29:43
All right for listeners. Remember if you liked this episode, please go to Apple podcasts and leave us an honest review and if you're looking for more information connecting with Katie or KW content, you will find the links in the show notes below. In addition, if you're looking for more information on growing your business, check out our all new podcasts Resource Center available to www.makeeachclickcount.com We've compiled all the different past guests by show topic and included each of their contact information. In case you would like more information on any of the services I've discussed during previous episodes, remember to stay safe, keep healthy and happy marketing and I will talk to you in the next episode.