Five Minutes With: Mixing Business With Personal Flair
Brittany Godsey, who was named a PPB Rising Star in 2018, uses her Instagram platform to market the services and products of supplier Gold Bond, while adding her own personal spin. Godsey shares tips and best practices for those new to the industry or for those new to using social media for business-related purposes, as well as how to best construct and target posts to garner the greatest return.
PPB What is your Instagram strategy and how are you using this to engage members and clients in the promotional products industry?
Godsey My strategy is to offer ideas and services to help people succeed and grow their business. This can mean showing videos of ideas that we’ve seen be successful or services that can aid in meeting the demands of your clients. If you’re a distributor who struggles with crafting great-quality ideas that your clients haven’t seen before or if you don’t know where to go to get exactly what they need, then that’s why I created my gram—for you. Two examples are:
- My most recent video is an interview with a small-business owner, asking him what he wants out of a promotional distributor to help him grow his business and meet his objectives.
- I have also done a video that shows case studies with ways Gold Bond products have been great fits for things like customer appreciation, onboarding, etc. I’ve also posted a video about the free rush services that are available at Gold Bond. If you’re a distributor who is constantly getting rush requests from your clients, then this service is great for you to know about so that you can go out and capture more of the market demand.
PPB You also create posts that show Gold Bond products in use in everyday situations. Tell us more about those.
Godsey I travel with my three-in-one lanyard and often post [photos and videos] of me using it on my [Instagram] stories in the airport, at hotels, in the car and at home, because I do truly love it and use it as an everyday go-to. So, if I can use it this way, then it may spark ideas for others about ways their customers might also find this item helpful.
PPB When it comes to social media best practices, in general, the lines are still fuzzy. What do you think is important to establish a presence on social media that is appropriate for business, while also incorporating your personality?
Godsey I really struggled with this same question initially and must admit that I still do on occasion—especially when I’m testing new types of content to see how our audience may react. It gets a little scary sometimes to try new things because you don’t want to get too far away from people associating your page with your business. Or worse, turning them off to your content so they unfollow or disengage with you—a silent firing of sorts. Considering we have folks reading this who are fairly new to social or are contemplating jumping into social, here are my suggestions:
Don’t get caught up in the feeling that you have to post every day. I started like that and it was mentally taxing, and content is really tough to maintain at a quality level unless you’re dedicating a good amount of time to your social presence. I post two to three times a week, but try to make sure that what I’m posting aligns with the top two parts of my strategy. As you get more comfortable and more familiar, creating content will be easier for you and you’ll have secured a base of folks interested in what you’re putting out there. Don’t overthink it. Everyone has to start somewhere.
I agree that there is a certain level of importance in showing off your personality and authenticity. In the beginning, I posted strictly business content because I just had not found my rhythm yet. Well, no offense to our industry, but posting nothing but images of static products can get really boring for your viewers. That doesn’t make someone stop their thumb from scrolling to look at your picture necessarily, even though there are lots of images out there that are done extremely well. It’s just not entertaining or helpful, so why should I stop to look at this static image when I’m scrolling and seeing my friends on vacation or a new restaurant that just popped up in my part of town. The reason why I say this is because what is the value in the photo? Try to think of how it can help the person looking at it or what purpose it provides that can fit into someone’s daily life.
I think a lot of folks can be apprehensive of jumping on a video, while many just may not have the time or resources to edit it. If you can start by taking a few pictures of yourself or someone else using the product, I think that simple change can start letting others see that you’re a real person running a real business and these aren’t just things you can buy—they’re solutions to all sorts of daily activities.
PPB What are your three social media do’s?
Godsey Since everyone is at different levels of experience on social, I’m going to assume it’s your first go at social and start with three basics.
- If your profile isn’t set to a business profile, you need to do that ASAP—as soon as you’re done reading this article. There are so many opportunities to see your personal analytics so that you can start dialing in on the type of people looking at your page and even the best days/times that they are on scrolling.
- Make the STAR. Do you remember drawing a star as a little kid? They traditionally have five points, right? Make those five points the foundation for types of content you post and blend a little personality in there (within your safe space), so that people get to know your business on an emotional level, and, more importantly, it makes them feel as [though] they know you as a person running the show. I have people all the time who ask about my dog or my latest snowboarding trip. It creates fun conversation and makes it easier for others to relate to you. Here is an example of my five points to the star: swag/work, dog mom, husband, surfing and snowboarding.
As you can see, it appears as though only one of my passions is truly business-related, but that’s not true. I post my dog coming into work. I always have my sunglasses, my drinkware, can coolers, lanyards, etc., when I’m out surfing or snowboarding, so people see me using these things in everyday life, but they’re getting a taste of me in different places, doing different things and that can be entertaining on some level since I’m not posting the same types of photos with the same backdrops by a window or a wall every time. They’re seeing the product, but they’re also seeing a little bit of my life and how they intertwine, which I think keeps your feed spicy. Think about your star and if you start out with only three points, that’s okay. This just acts as an anchor to prevent you from swaying too far off the path where your feed is all over the place.
- Use stories to your advantage. More than 500,000 people use and watch stories every day on Instagram. That is huge. That means that your audience may be more likely to quickly tap on your story to see what you have going on than they are to continuously scroll until they find your feed. Take advantage of where you know your clients or audience might be by hitting them with quick pops of your STAR in your stories. Don’t go crazy here, but one to three story posts a day is digestible for people to stick it out and watch your whole story. You can also use the story feature to show that you have a new post and help drive traffic to the most recent drop in your feed.
PPB And your three social media don’ts?
Godsey First, be cognizant that this is a business account with the intent to turn people on to your organization. I see a lot of times where people may get a little too personal and it’s actually a turn-off because then that’s what you correlate to the company and that may not be the image you aim to portray. Second, don’t sway from your branding guidelines. If you are with a company, you likely have brand guidelines or a realm of specific colors that you use. Use those throughout your feed and make sure it looks consistent. In the beginning, I was all over the place and picking whatever I thought looked the best for that particular photo. Remember that once it’s in your feed, it may clash with everything else and be a bit of an eyesore. We’re in the branding business, don’t sway from your own feel for continuity. If we have a hard time looking like a consistent brand, then those we want to reach may not see our company as the right fit for them. Third, slow down to speed up. Don’t post just to post. Content can be very challenging. It can be tough to think of new ideas to share or pictures to post. If you’re in a rut that’s okay, pick it up the next week, but don’t post something just to post because you feel like you have to post something. I think people do this out of haste and it ends up feeling forced or fake to those seeing it and that can be a turn-off for some that were looking for you to inspire them or educate them in some way. So slow down, post less content if you have to so that you ensure you’re giving your audience what you feel is good quality for your brand.
PPB What are the different types of posts that you experiment with—videos, posts spotlighting promos, selfies versus environment shots, etc.—and which generate the most engagement for you? (And which are the most fun to create?)
Godsey What a fun question! So the answer is everything! I’m not as afraid to experiment now as I was in the beginning when I first got onto Instagram. From my personal experience, I think the most fun pics to create are the ones when I’m out of the office. If I’m out on the road for work or even on vacation, those are more fun because they’re more natural and on the fly. If I stumble a little it’s okay because people can see that I’m multitasking but mainly they’re just curious to see where I am at that moment because it looks different from my normal posts. If the background or location is somewhere weird looking, I think this is where I tend to also get the most interest from people because it adds a level of entertainment and curiosity. They might say they’ve been to that same location too, or “Oh my gosh, so true on your statement! I’m the same way.” I get so many more direct messages than I do comments because I think people interpret that as a direct conversation.
Follow Godsey on Instagram @goldbondgalbritney.
Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.