The three E’s of social media: Educate, entertain and engage

The first time I heard about the three E’s was when I was interning with Ivy Social. I attended Social School, which is a workshop hosted by the legendary Queens of Ivy Social and Good Day PR, focusing on all things social media. I had already learned so much in the first few weeks of my internship but this? This really laid the foundations for me (…and everyone else in attendance).

All too often, we’re seeing brands being on Facebook or Instagram just for the sake of it or because they think they have to be… which, to be honest, isn’t ideal in any shape or form. It’s like playing professional tennis and knowing that the backhand is one of the strokes you can use but not fully understanding how really important it is in the game. If you know just how critical your backhand is, then wouldn’t you train yourself to have a killer one and in turn, get pretty far in a tournament? Yes, yes you would. 🎾

Think of social media like you think of tennis. When you play tennis, you need to understand the game, its rules and the purpose of each stroke in order to get to a particular place, where you’ll likely reap the benefits – social media is no different.

…yeah, I just tried to use tennis as a metaphor. 😂


Educate

No matter your industry, your business, your brand, your personality; you have something to offer. So, why not share it?

Why not educate your audience?

Why not show them that you know what you’re talking about?

Why not tell them why you do what you do?

Don’t get me wrong, you have a product or service to sell. That’s important. The reality is that your audience isn’t going to care, they’re not going to listen to you, they’re not going to use your product or service if all you do is sell, sell and always sell. People don’t always like being marketed to so be creative in how you do it through all the platforms available to you.

For example, one of my clients is a sports technology company with the vision to help athletes reach their goals and become their best through velocity-based training. Rather than consistently sell their product to our audience, we tell them about this type of training and how this product can help them. ⚡️

Why? Because not every athlete is going to understand velocity-based training, let alone the purpose of this particular device. So, we provide valuable content that people are likely to read. The idea is that it gets them thinking about how they train, which leads to them considering purchasing the device, which results in a positive experience that they share with others.


Entertain

I’ll keep this one short and sweet: don’t be boring. 💥

The easiest way to do this is to make use of what each platform offers you. Use photos and videos but make them interesting by putting your brand personality at the forefront of all that you do. Use polls, ask questions – use it all if you really want to!

Take Public Bar as an example. It’s just another bar in Canberra, right? I’m clearly biased but I think it’s one of the best bars in town. There are so many great qualities to the place but the downside is that the hospitality industry here is booming. At the surface, every bar in Canberra is just like the next one: an awesome set of staff, cool cocktails, great wine list, delicious food – even Happy Hour. Everyone has Happy Hour. You just need to dig a little deeper and pull out that brand personality that I keep going on about.

If you humanise your business, you’ll connect with your loyal customers or reach a new pool of people that are likely to convert into loyal customers.

So, how do I do this with Public?

  1. I put names to faces, especially the staff that have been working there for years. People love to see people that they recognise. Actually, they love to see people in general.
  2. I create a subtle and friendly competition between two managers using the polls feature on Instagram. I’ve asked who does better latte art or who’s going to make the most Espresso Martinis. People froth over this kind of stuff.
  3. I write captions in a conversational manner. Similar to my last blog post, ‘How to write content for social media’, steer clear from one-liners (…because they’re boring).

Find ways to entertain your audience to keep them looking for more instead of feeling like they’re constantly being sold to.


Engage

Given that social media is actually called social media, then it makes all the sense in the world to do just that: be social. Surprisingly enough, there are businesses out there who receive a decent amount of comments and don’t respond to them. 🚫

Would you ignore a compliment in person?

What about a complaint?

How about a question?

Would you ignore a customer?

No, you wouldn’t. And you definitely shouldn’t. The same goes for your online activity. Respond to every comment, like every photo you’re mentioned or tagged in – you can even share photos to your Instagram stories if you want to. The more you engage, the more a platform likes you, the more your content is visible, the more people see your stuff, the more you grow. Get it now? 🙌


Just like your backhand in tennis, the three E’s of social media will get you to a place where you continuously progress. If you educate your audience, entertain and engage with them – then your presence will soar.

How to write content for social media

Someone once told me that “online relationships mimic offline ones” and that statement has well and truly stuck with me (..thank you to my boss at Ivy Social for allowing me to interview her for a uni assignment! 🤓).

I’ve been writing content for social media for nearly a year now. I may be starting out as a junior in my field but what I know is this: when you write for social media, write as if you’re talking to your audience face-to-face because, like my boss said, an online relationship is just like an offline one.

Now, this doesn’t always mean long captions. Not at all. If anything, I think it’s great to have a combination of short, medium and long captions for social media. If they’re all long, your audience can eventually ‘not be bothered’ to read it. And if they’re all short? Well, one-liners are great and all but for social media, it’s not going to get you very far (…don’t forget that social media is a consistent and long-term marketing tool).

I mean, think about it. Would a one-liner give you a passing grade at school? Would a one-liner win you that job you’ve been longing for? Would a one-liner get you a long-term relationship? Probably not.

Why?

Because one-liners aren’t how we communicate with one another and to be quite frank, how boring would that world be? We create relationships with other people by talking to each other and consistently building on that.

By working in a social media agency, I liaise with clients from various industries so when it comes to content writing week, I’m often putting my ‘client thinking cap’ on two or three times a day (…it was up to four times when I was working from home). When I say ‘client thinking cap’, I literally mean I step into their minds, their brand, their business.

My client pool has covered hospitality, premium cars, wedding planning and sports technology to name a few. Who would’ve thought I’d see the day where I work with a sports technology company? 😂


Tip #1: Know your client

With that said, it’s important for me to know my client – especially when I’m smashing out multiple batches of content in a day. It might be pretty obvious but you need to know that you’re not managing a brand’s channels just to be able to write for yourself. I was once told that I had a style with how I managed Public’s platforms and I couldn’t really understand that because I was running the business’ socials, not mine.

In order to know your client, you need to take the time to get to know what they do, the kind of business they have, the industry they’re in and more importantly, who their audience is. This is what makes up your ‘client thinking cap’ or whatever you’d like to call it.

When I was told that I’d take the lead on the sports tech company, I was super nervous about it. I know nothing about fitness, let alone the type of training that their product is targeted towards. I won’t lie to you: I worked really hard getting to know about this client. My boss and I spent two hours with them for a workshop and from then, I dedicated about 90% of one week reading the materials they sent us, reading their website and product reviews, researching hashtags, seeing what other people wrote about this type of training – the whole lot.

And for someone who has next to no interest in sports and technology combined? It was worth every second because now, it allows me to write their organic content without wasting time each month thinking about what to write next. ⚡️


Tip #2: Speak to your audience

Like I said earlier, write as if you’re talking to someone face-to-face and more importantly, in a way that resonates with them. Let’s work with an example:

Caption A: “Mondays are for two-for-one pizzas.”

Caption B: “We think Mondays are always the hardest… but not if you leave the cooking to us! Enjoy our two-for-one pizza deal while you sit back and ease into your busy week.”

Can you see the difference? Caption A is a one-liner. It’s direct, straight to the point but also very boring (..especially if it’s a recurring special). When you read Caption B, it taps into a regular human thought of “Mondays suck, I can’t be bothered cooking tonight”.

You could even spin it away from a negative connotation (e.g. “Mondays are always the hardest”) and turn it into Caption C: “Mondays are always a good time with our two-for-one pizza deal. Why? Because you leave the cooking to us while you enjoy your favourite glass of wine.”

Boom. Now I feel like pizza. 🍕


Tip #3: Just write

Starting is always the hardest part.

Whether it’s an assignment or the first batch of content for a new client, I always struggle to start – it’s almost as if I psych myself out. Truth be told, if you know what you’re writing about then it’s actually not that difficult and it gets easier the more you do it. One of my clients actually told me that he barely made any changes to the July content because I just got it. It took me months to get to this point and that’s not to say that he’ll never need to make edits. It’s more that I finally got to this point because I just started and I just keep going.

The more you write, the better you get. ✔️

Give love, get love

While social media has changed the way we do our marketing, it’s pretty easy to get caught in the more obvious metrics like, “How many followers do I have? How many likes did yesterday’s post get?”.

Don’t get me wrong, they sure do have a role to play but if that’s all you’re measuring, then I’m here to tell you that there’s a lot more to social media than you think (..take it from someone who’s learned this in the last year). The thing about social media is that all the little things contribute to the big things. Seriously, think about it. 🤔

Your account grows because more people see your content.

How? Because it’s showing up in their feeds and they’re intrigued.

Why is it showing in their feeds? Because you’re providing quality content and engaging with your audience.

So? By doing this, you’re working with the algorithm. You’re doing things that it likes.

Then what? The algorithm pushes your content out further.

Where? To more people.

Do you see how it’s an ongoing cycle? ♻️

As I write this, Public has 4,673 Facebook page likes and 1,789 Instagram followers. Not bad, right? It’s higher than some of our competitors and lower than others but the thing I pride myself on? We’ve got an incredible engagement rate. For example, the reopening announcement post was published a few days before the big day and it reached 9,000 people and generated slightly below 2,000 engagements collectively between the two platforms. Mind. Blown. 💥

That one post? It resonated with people because it was relevant to the community. Public had temporarily closed throughout COVID so the announcement was very exciting to the Canberra community – not just to people but to businesses too. There’s a human connection (..despite Public being a business).

That one post? It was more important to get our message out by telling our audience how Public would operate with this stage of restrictions… but that didn’t stop me from tapping into their emotions, even in the slightest bit. By ending the caption with “We’ve missed you Canberra and we look forward to welcoming you back very soon. 💚, it was the easiest and most effective way to connect with our audience. Again, human connection.

That one post? I opted for a team photo because that loyal community we’ve already built and maintained? They’re the ones who already know who we are and what we do. For some, they’re used to seeing our faces on a regular basis. They missed us too. Another human connection.

Since then, Public’s social media presence hit a little burst and we continue to see growth in followers and reach. When I took over the marketing, my goal was to build an online presence that would be reflected in the venue. From that one post, we received so many phone calls, emails and DMs on socials to book, even though our capacity is limited.

As it is with anything and everything else; if you put a little love in, you’ll get a litte love out. ✔️

From ‘home office’ back to ‘work office’

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog posts, you’d know that Team Ivy Social has been working from home ever since our lockdown was first announced in Australia.

While it might’ve been understandably difficult for some to adjust to the ‘new norm’ that was WFH, I loved it. I actually feel like I thrived in it. 🙌

How, you ask?

Well, for starters, I loved being able to roll out of bed and over to my desk. I loved wearing loungewear all day. I loved getting in the zone and smashing out three batches of client content… sometimes four. I loved playing Spotify’s The O.C. Complete Series Chronological Playlist on full blast. I loved not needing to worry too much about my lunch for the day. I loved not needing to worry about my non-existent my eyebrows. And most importantly: I loved not wearing a bra. Seriously, the bra thing was the best part. 😅

10 weeks later? We’ve returned working to the office.

To be honest with you, I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to wake up at 6:30 am to get ready. I kid you not, my partner was making fun of me because I was worried to return to adult-life. In my defence; I would literally wake up at 8:20 am, make the bed, brush my teeth, make a cup of chai latte then start work at 8:30 am. 🤦🏻‍♀️😂

Our first week back was certainly a busy one. Generally speaking, the first week of the month is pretty full-on for us anyway as we do our reporting and ensure that all of our clients are ready for the month ahead. Plus, after almost three months, we had our first WIP meeting and our to-do list grew by three times (or at least, it felt like it did).

As much as I loved working from home, I missed the team even more.

It makes such a difference to be able to turn around and ask a simple question as opposed to rethinking about whether it’s worth sending a text or email to either of the girls. It’s been nice to be able to work outside of a space where I wake up, get ready, study and sleep. It’s been really nice being back in a proper office space. Additionally, it’s been nice to wear proper clothes and feel like an adult again. But the best part? It’s been really refreshing to have a laugh over lunch with the gals and be greeted by the office pups as soon as you walk through the door. 🌿❤️

Now? I’m so glad that I’m back at Keep Co. Thrilled, actually.

Facebook vs. Instagram

Social media is a powerful marketing tool. Not only does it promote your product or service offering, but it also allows you to connect with your audience.

I’ve read a few articles that have predicted the decline of organic content (creative agencies too), which I personally find hard to believe. Don’t get me wrong, social media advertising campaigns are very effective but would you prefer a one-time customer or one that continues to make use of your offering?

If we put this into the perspective of the people that you meet, you might develop a deep relationship with one person and speak two words to the other. My guess would be that you’d maintain your relationship with the first person over the second.

This is the same with your online audience.

You want them to like your Facebook page or follow you on Instagram so that they’re exposed to your content, to your business. You want to create an online relationship with them.


Facebook vs. Instagram

You can’t go wrong in choosing which platforms will work best for you. I do think that delivering organic content across both is beneficial as they serve different purposes and you tend to reach different audiences between them.

Facebook is full of opportunity. It allows us to connect with people. We can share photos, videos and information. We can create events and be involved in discussion groups. It’s information-driven. You can click on links, which lead you to blog posts, news articles, podcast episodes – you name it.

Instagram, on the other hand, is driven by creativity… it’s a visual platform. Image first, caption later. Video first, information later. When a person looks at your account, they’re looking at your business. It provides a snapshot of your brand and while your aesthetic isn’t the be-all and end-all, it’s definitely a factor to consider.

When it comes to the content you publish on each platform, there are two ways to go about this:

  1. You can have the same content across Facebook and Instagram; or
  2. You can have different content across both.

Take Public, for example. I started with posting the same content across both but as I continue to manage its socials and the business evolves, I’m learning that community-related posts perform exceptionally well on Facebook and photos of the venue or cocktails do great on Instagram. You can always start off this way and see how you go, unless you already have a strategy in mind then, by all means, run with it.

Posts vs. Stories

Not sure if you should make use of Stories?

Do it. It’s a mix of content available to your audience.

Stories work pretty similar across Facebook and Instagram but I don’t think FB Stories have kicked-off just yet. The Digital Picnic actually described it to be “a ghost town” because everyone is on IG Stories (..maybe even more so than the traditional IG Feed). Instagram provides an option for you send your Story to Facebook as well, which is a quick and easy way to do so, but I’d probably hold off on creating story content specifically for Facebook… you feel?

When I post about the staff at Public, it skyrockets as a traditional Facebook post but plummets as a FB Story. It differs on Instagram based on what context I’m posting about the staff. For Valentine’s Day, they went around using a filter that guessed who their Valentine would be this year – it performed really well. This is because it was fun and light-hearted so naturally, I wouldn’t have posted that to the feed (..don’t think it would’ve performed great at all!).

Think of Stories as your best friend, the person you tell everything to. Posting to your feed differs in a way that’s more on-brand – “professional” if you will. You’d post a fancy cocktail on your feed but you’d film how to create that cocktail in your Stories. See the difference? 🙌

Engagement

You could have the best content ever but your stats aren’t red-hot.

What’s missing?

Engagement.

Reply to every comment. Follow an Instagram account back. Comment on other posts. Share posts that are about the business.

Engage often, engage well. ✔️

When I say “engage well”, I don’t mean interact with every single post on your feed. It wouldn’t make sense for Public to comment on a tradie’s photo out of the blue… but it would make sense if they commented on a tradie’s photo if the tradie was a regular customer who has already formed a relationship with the business. Better yet, it would make all the sense in the world if the tradie participated in the annual Nugg Off as it’s directly in line with the business (..the Nugg Off is a Menslink charity event to raise awareness in the mental health of males and it’s hosted at Public).

Plus, these kinds of platforms notice how active you are and it can actually help your social ranking, which in turn can push your content to more people.


Everyone has their own way of managing social media accounts.. to be honest, I don’t think there is a right or wrong way but there are definitely so many effective ways out there.

Try out a few things and see what works best for you. It’s also important to remember that social media is always changing so what works for you now might work in the next year… or it might not. All you need to do it keep up with the environment. ✨