Crafting a strong social media strategy

We've heard time and time again that social media is an important part of your store's marketing strategy. We're all familiar with buying ads, but what about building an organic following? This week we're joined by Jess Grossman, founder & CEO at In Social. We'll be digging into the importance of building an organic following on social media and how your organic presence plays into the entire customer lifecycle.

Let's dig in!



Jess Grossman 

Jess Grossman is the Founder & CEO of In Social, a 5+ year-old Shopify Expert and full-service digital agency. They are the outsourced marketing department for their clients, handling everything from organic and paid social, email marketing and automation, website design and development, and even online customer service. When Jess isn't running In Social, she's helping to promote ostomy awareness through her online organization, Uncover Ostomypretending to be an influencer on IG and spending time (safe inside!) with her husband.


Mesa is an easy way to integrate any Shopify store with any eCommerce app or service. Mesa is the only automation platform designed exclusively for Shopify and Shopify Plus merchants. By creating workflows that carry out repetitive tasks automatically, merchants can focus on their business and create new customer experiences at scale. 

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show notes.

  • [02:46] Who are you and what do you do?
  • [03:46] What does a social media strategy entail?
  • [05:43] How do I choose which channels I should use?
  • [10:10] Where to post for luxury brands
  • [12:01] Where to post for print-on-demand or dropshipping brands
  • [19:33] How does organic social media work?
  • [21:15] iOS 14 and Facebook
  • [24:25] The internet doesn't want to track you anymore
  • [27:44] How do you determine how much content to publish?
  • [31:47] When is the right time to outsource your social media marketing?
  • [33:10] What are some of the most common things merchants get wrong when getting started with social media?
  • [34:21] Customer service playing into social media
  • [35:49] Using Gorgias for social x customer support
  • [40:52] Store shoutout: David's Tea
  • [42:07] Store shoutout: Soylent
  • [44:03] Store shoutout: Breakaway Matcha
  • [46:02] Where can we find you on the internet?



 Kelly (00:00):
We've heard time and time again that social media is an important part of your store's marketing strategy. We're all familiar with buying ads, but what about building an organic following? This week we're joined by Jess Grossman, founder and CEO at In Social. We'll be digging into the importance of building an organic following on social media and how your organic presence plays into the entire customer life cycle. Let's dig in.

Rhian (00:24):
Welcome to Commerce Tea, a podcast to help you succeed on Shopify, I'm Rhian.

Kelly (00:29):
And I'm Kelly. Grab a mug and join us as we talk about all things commerce. Buying online is fun, but you know what isn't? Waiting days for your package to arrive. Once a purchase is made customers track their shipment four to five times per order, that means they're visiting order tracking pages a lot. Why not use that time with excited customers to drive sales and build your brand? How? With a tool like Malomo. Malomo helps you turn shipping from a cost center into a profitable marketing channel by using branded shipment emails and order tracking pages to drive additional purchases by showing new products, upcoming sales, subscription options and other engaging content. Plus it cuts support tickets down by 50% by proactively managing delivery communications with customers. The best part is it really works. Malomo merchants see a two to 3% repeat purchase rate from customers while they're waiting for their current order to arrive. Post-Purchase experiences are the new frontier in marketing. What are you doing to tap in?

Rhian (01:45):
Hey Kelly, let's say I can't write code, but I want to create workflows that carry out repetitive tasks automatically. So that way I can focus on my business and create great customer experiences. What would I use?

Kelly (01:58):
I recommend Mesa a no-code workflow builder for any action your customer takes. You can use Mesa's built-in features to extend your connected apps, set up email notifications, receive forms, schedule tasks, delay workflows and much more. Developers like me also love Mesa because we can lift the hood on any automation to customize for total control.

Rhian (02:18):
I'm in. How do I start?

Kelly (02:21):
Go to get Mesa dot com, that's G-E-T-M-E-S-A dot com and their team of automation experts will support you on your journey 24/7.

Rhian (02:30):
Good morning.

Jess (02:32):
Hi. Thanks for having me guys.

Kelly (02:34):
Thanks for joining us. I am very excited for this interview, what we're doing. I'm excited to hang out with you really. So[crosstalk 00:02:42]

Jess (02:42):
Me too. Yeah, thanks guys.

Kelly (02:46):
So let's start with a really easy question. Okay, it's two questions. Who are you and what do you do?

Jess (02:53):
Okay so I'm Jess Grossman, founder and CEO of In Social, and we're a full service digital marketing agency that does end-to-end basically everything, organic social, paid, email, web and even customer service. Besides that I run an online awareness organization for ostomy surgery called Uncover Ostomy where I talk about living life with an ostomy and how it's a life-saving surgery. If you don't know what it is, Google it and you'll probably find me.

Kelly (03:23):
We'll also post links in the show notes, so you can find those links as well. Okay. So one of the things that we're often asked by merchants is basically literally anything on the topic of social media. It is something that I don't touch as an agency and it's something that Rhian doesn't touch because she runs an app company. So-

Rhian (03:45):

Kelly (03:46):
Let's start at a really high level. When it comes to let's say like a social media strategy, what are we usually looking at?

Jess (03:56):
That's a big question actually. When you're looking at social media, there's a lot of different elements that play into what you want to do, how you want to do it and why you want to do it and also where. So if we start with the where, there's a multitude of different channels that you can be on, but what people don't often understand is that every channel requires unique content. It doesn't necessarily mean that the content has to be completely different wherever you're posting, but it needs to at least be formatted and it can be as simple as resizing a photo that you'd put on Instagram and then putting it on Twitter, because Twitter is notoriously bad at cropping photos in the weirdest spots that it's never consistent, like open for a surprise and that's the Twitter joke there. But that's one of the key pieces into it.

Jess (04:47):
And then the other piece is why, is why are you posting on social media? And that's a question we always ask our clients, is why do you want to be posting on social media? What do you have to say? And a lot of the time our clients are like, "Well, sell my products." And it's like, "Well, of course we have to talk about your products. We have to show them that's why we be posting on social media some of the time. But if all you're doing is yelling into the void about buying your products, no one is going to want to follow you." So it's really, really important to actually build a story and a story that fits each medium that you're sharing it to so that people actually enjoy the posts that you're sharing, the feeds that they're following you to see your content on. And so what goes into that strategy is not just what are we going to promote about your store, but what story can we build around you, how your products are made, who you are as a company founder or just anything that could be interesting.

Kelly (05:43):
On the topic of where I think one of the questions that I get a lot is where should I be posting?

Jess (05:49):
Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Kelly (05:50):
Because obviously you have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, maybe you need a YouTube channel. There's so many places-

Jess (05:58):
Is humbler still a thing? I don't know.

Kelly (05:59):
Post weekly on live journal, the usual. Where? Where do I start?

Jess (06:07):
Well, that's also part of the conversation and it really comes down to a couple of things. What kind of business are you? Who are you targeting? And people don't actually realize this but budget. So we've had a lot of clients come to us and say, "I want a TikTok strategy." And we're like, "Cool, it's all video. If we're going to produce video, it's going to take a lot more time and a lot more money." "Okay. I don't want to do TikTok," right? So people don't understand necessarily what goes into having a great strategy. So there's Snapchat for the younger kids but still a big thing. Most of our clients don't cater to the teens right now. So we're not super into Snapchat right now. But we have had some clients where we were able to successfully take other people's content, their UGC in other places and put it onto TikTok sparingly. So that filled the void there. But it really just... It's a number of those factors coming together which makes the most sense.

Kelly (07:06):
And personal opinion, which one's your favorite to work on?

Jess (07:10):
I have 25,000 followers on Instagram. So that's where I always go because I spend so much time building it, though I haven't posted since the pandemic because no one wants to see me at home. It's all stories of look at my unmakeuped face, enjoy this for 24 hours. But it's still my favorite just because I've built such a strong community and fan base. It's super weird to say that.

Kelly (07:36):
Trust me. I have a large following on Twitter. I get it.

Jess (07:40):
Yeah. I know. You retweeted one of my tweets and it's going crazy.

Kelly (07:44):
I'm so sorry. I thought of that afterwards and I was like, "Oh no, her DMS."

Jess (07:49):
No. I love it. I love it. My husband's not too happy about it because the tweet was making fun of him but I appreciate it though.

Kelly (07:57):
Rhian, what is your favorite social media channel?

Rhian (08:01):
They're all fine.

Kelly (08:03):
They're all fine.

Rhian (08:04):
Twitter is probably my favorite. Linkedin is my least favorite. Everything else-

Kelly (08:10):
Notice how I left LinkedIn off the list when I was naming channels.

Rhian (08:15):
I just found out that you can have followers on LinkedIn. I don't know where I've been sleeping but apparently it hasn't been on this earth. So I found out I have a bunch of followers on LinkedIn. So now I'm going to stop just accepting everybody to be my friend. I was like, "This was an option this whole time?"

Kelly (08:31):
Yeah. You can literally change your default button to be followed instead of request. Yeah

Jess (08:36):
You can do that Facebook too, which I started to do years ago, where if someone asks to be your friend but you don't accept it, they automatically follow you. So I have, I think like 1,000 followers on my Facebook profile and it's way better because then I don't need to see their dumb stuff. Sorry people[inaudible 00:08:52]

Rhian (08:52):
But it's true.

Jess (08:55):
Yeah. I appreciate you all. But yeah, no, it's a little secret. So, yeah-

Rhian (09:01):
I did not know that.

Kelly (09:04):
So real quick touching back on a acronym that you use because I just want to make sure because I think we're going to use it going forward. So UGC, what does that mean?

Jess (09:13):
User Generated Content. So it's where you ask your fans, your followers, influencers, customers, whoever to take your product and create content for you.

Kelly (09:24):
Amazing. Amazing. We get really into the weeds with different acronyms and so I always try to identify the acronym before we start taking a deep dive. Otherwise I feel like our listeners at home are like, "What are you talking about? Why am I here? Why are you just talking in letters?"

Rhian (09:43):
I only talk in letters.

Kelly (09:45):
I only talk in letters.

Rhian (09:46):
I talking numbers guys. I don't know about you. So...

Rhian (09:50):
Kelly sent me a text earlier, it was like, "We need to some something for our podcast. Which one should we send?" And I was just like, "I don't know, SEO, CRO, CX." I just don't really... An acronym one. I didn't have an answer. Okay. So it depends what channels, right?

Jess (10:10):
Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Rhian (10:10):
By what they sell. Let's just say hypothetically I'm selling women's clothing. Women's apparel, price point $500 and up.

Kelly (10:21):

Rhian (10:21):
Where would I not go?

Kelly (10:24):
A ton of my social media.

Jess (10:29):
Well, can I ask you a question back before I answer that?

Kelly (10:32):
Yeah. Yeah. I love this hypothetical company.[inaudible 00:10:35] I have to spell it. Yeah.

Jess (10:35):
Okay. What is the purpose of you wanting to post organically?

Kelly (10:41):
I want people to look at my stuff, want my stuff and then buy my stuff.

Jess (10:47):
Okay. So great answer. So you can definitely get people to look at your stuff and want your stuff, but I'm going to tell you we're going to bucket the buy separately. Okay. So let's move that to the side. Let's talk about those two things. So because you're luxury female clothing, women's clothing, I would put you on Instagram because that is still where the luxury brands are thriving and people still expect very well-produced content on that platform. Potentially I would put you on Facebook just to supplement Instagram because of how the whole ads manager, business manager connects, especially if you're going to do ads, it's just good to have your Facebook presence not be dead. And we'll talk about that with the bisection. And then potentially TikTok, but it would really have to be very curated. You wouldn't want random people... You wouldn't want UGC for that, right? If you're selling $500, you want to produce TikTok content. So if you have the budget, which if you're selling all your pieces for $500, you should have the budget [crosstalk 00:11:57]yeah.

Kelly (12:01):
So can I actually ask another hypothetical situation that's the total reverse of this because I think it's important to address. So we have a lot of listeners who run, let's say drop shipping stores or print on demand stores. How do you approach social in this case? Maybe my goal is, well, I want my iHeartDogs from Michigan shirt to go viral. I want everyone to buy it.

Jess (12:23):
Mm-hmm (affirmative) Okay.

Kelly (12:25):
How would you approach that?

Jess (12:27):
Well that one's a little bit easier because if let's say this print on demand, that one's one where you can really leverage a community. If you've built it or need to build it. Because when it's print on demand, you can literally crowdsource your products from your followers. So Twitter is a great place to do that because it's a lot easier way to have a conversation, Facebook where you can post an image of a hypothetical product you want to make ask people what they want. Surprisingly not a lot of brands are doing this, but some are doing it really, really well is Facebook groups. I know you Kelly, you're in the Peloton Facebook group with me and-

Kelly (13:02):
I'm in like seven Peloton groups.

Jess (13:05):
Okay. I'm only in the official one. I can't-

Kelly (13:07):
I'm going to open your eyes to a much better world that is not the toxic shit shows, that is the main Peloton group.

Rhian (13:14):
I feel like I'm missing out. This is a thing?

Kelly (13:19):
It's a thing. I'm in [inaudible 00:13:21]blue crew, which is four Cody, hardcore on the four has a calendar with core workouts every single day. I'm in the group for Bradley. I'm in the group for... Man. I'm in-

Rhian (13:37):
Did you join a month ago? Didn't you just get your bike a month ago?

Kelly (13:41):

Rhian (13:41):
Two months ago? Yeah. Okay.

Kelly (13:43):
Yeah. About two months ago. I'm in two conflicting groups that are my absolute favorites. One is for bougie people who like to spend a lot of money and I'm also in the one that's called broke ass bitches. So-

Rhian (13:55):
That's so ridiculous. I love it.

Kelly (13:58):
[inaudible 00:13:58]

Jess (13:59):
But the thing you'll notice about the Peloton group is people will come to complain, right? Which everyone will find wherever they can to complain, but there are... But Peloton has hundreds of thousands of their own users in that group that does the triaging for them. It's these other users that will say, "Why are you complaining about this? Is your life that hard? Or just contact them or like, this is how you fix this or whatever." So[inaudible 00:14:26]

Kelly (14:26):
Why with a different instructor?

Jess (14:28):
Yeah. "Where did the instructor go? Leave her alone. She's just taking a vacation, calm down." Those are the best ones

Rhian (14:37):
They can take breaks. It's fine.

Jess (14:39):
Yeah, exactly. But they've curated this experience where they just need to keep an eye on it and make sure nothing's going too crazy, but it self-regulates. And for certain brands, maybe your $500 per product brand, Rhian could be in there because they've created this evangelical group of people that are going to help for them. And so similarly to this print on demand, which is the total other opposite is use that community to come up with products that they would want to buy. If they told you they want it, then I mean, not for sure they'll buy it, but at least you know that there's interest and you're already ahead of the game. So Facebook groups is a really good way to go. Reddit can be interesting depending on what kind of content you want to put on your T-shirts to very, very niche groups. But that one does require more management time to do that well and to not be annoying on Reddit, but that one's an overlooked one as well.

Kelly (15:39):
Think another really cool thing that I've seen, speaking of Facebook groups in particular, I've seen people create businesses from Facebook groups, like going back to the Peloton group, I'm also in the Peloton Atlanta group. And somebody in that group creates some wall hanging that holds your shoes, your water bottle. And it's very Peloton branded in a way that they're allowed to do that does not break copyright, maybe it does. Who knows? I don't know.[crosstalk 00:16:10]

Rhian (16:10):
I was like, "Oh my God, that's an IP suit if I've had one."

Kelly (16:16):
But she just... She makes these things that are custom for any kind of Peloton rider who's interested in buying one. And so you can literally create a group or create a business out of these groups too.

Jess (16:28):
Okay. There was one person who made this tray table that sits on top of the Peloton bars but he only sells in the state so I can't get it here, but he literally built it because of that group. And everyone's like, "Who's the guy? Where do I find it?" They're all just asking for this product and it came out of the group. It was crazy.

Kelly (16:47):
Do you want me to buy you one then ship it to you? Because I can do that. I bought some coffee for somebody who lives in Canada that only ships in the US and then I just shipped the... I literally just slapped a new label on the same box and just shipped it off.

Jess (17:00):
Was it the copper? The copper cup?

Kelly (17:02):
Yes. Yeah, it was.

Jess (17:04):
I figured that. My husband doesn't even want me to get it because he thinks that I will never get off the bike, which is probably true, but maybe yeah, we'll talk.

Kelly (17:15):
Hey Rhian, what can I do to help my support team be more efficient?

Rhian (17:18):
I recommend Gorgias. Gorgias combines all your communications channels, including email, SMS, social media, live chat, and phone into one platform that gives you an organized view of all help requests. This saves your support team hours per day and makes managing customer orders a breeze.

Kelly (17:37):
Sounds great. What else can it do?

Rhian (17:39):
with Gorgias, you can pre-write and save responses to your most frequently asked questions. You even have access to the customer's order information so you can personalize responses with things like an order or tracking number. This then frees up your time so your support team can focus on complex questions.

Kelly (17:57):
This sounds like a great way to also increase sales and brand loyalty. Where can I learn more?

Rhian (18:01):
To request a demo, visit Commerce Tea dot com forward slash Gorgias. That's

Kelly (18:12):
So let's say I had a podcast and I was looking to market my podcast. What channels would that be?

Jess (18:22):
We actually had a podcast client, they didn't have a business, they were a podcast that was their business. And surprisingly Facebook was one of their best channels because we leverage the ability to comment. One was a crime podcast, so you get pretty intense fans for crime podcasts. So everyone just wanted to solve the mystery. So if it was this podcast, maybe I would have a different suggestion, but that one worked really, really well. Everyone wanted to talk to each other about the mystery. So that was cool. And then maybe Reddit for this one. Yeah.

Kelly (19:02):
I never thought about Reddit.

Rhian (19:03):
Nor did I. Do you have a big account on Reddit?

Jess (19:05):
But do you guys just want me to put a strategy together for you? Is that what you're asking?

Rhian (19:16):
I'm just asking. This is just how allegedly.

Kelly (19:18):
Hypothetically. Can't prove anything. Okay. Okay. So I'm going to back up because you said we're setting the BI bucket aside. I want to go back to that conversation now.

Jess (19:33):
Okay. That's the most important conversation I have with any lead who comes to me. So I'll be completely honest. Our website is so old, the In Social website. And one of the best pages on our site is our organic social page because as an agency, that's actually where we started. But what we realized when we started this agency and it started to grow is that so many of our clients were like, "Well, how do I know you're making the money?" And I would have to say, "Well, it's organic. It's supplementary to all the other things that you're doing." And so then I was like, "Well, we better be doing that or our clients are going to keep saying, you're not contributing to my ROI." So what's really important to know about organic social is it is not a direct revenue generator.

Jess (20:21):
It can bring sales, especially if you have a lot of followers, you're an influencer, you have a nice Instagram shop. It can get you a couple sales, but it will never scale because you can not rely on the organic algorithms of Instagram or Facebook, Twitter to drive enough traffic to get to your site to make enough purchases for it to be worth it, right? So we always say to everyone is, there's a couple of reasons why you want organic. One, because when you do advertise on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, wherever it's linked to your organic pages, so someone could click back and check you out. So I don't know if anyone here, anyone listening has ever had an experience where they saw a really kitschy, cool product on Facebook and like, "I want to get this," and then the profile photo of the page that was advertising it looked sketchy. And then you went to the page and you're like, there was one post, like five years ago and you probably didn't buy. Right?

Jess (21:15):
So people want to know who you are after they click your ad, right? They want to see what you've been posting. So that's really important. The other thing that's really important is going to be even more important now that iOS 14 and Apple have ruined all of Facebook's advertising algorithms. Yeah. [crosstalk 00:21:37] Yeah. So we've always had the ability to target people who are interested in your social media posts, your organic posts as a target, right? Or a look alike or a custom audience of those people, we might need to go back and talk about what that means. But essentially if someone's engaging with your social posts, you can tell Facebook, "Okay, go after the people who engaged with my social posts or people who look like those people." And so with all these other targeting changes, you're going to need to rely more on who's organically interacting with your post, because if someone is organically interacting with your post, they're already showing intent that they want to purchase from you. So that's going to become a bigger piece of our advertising strategies for sure, which means you need a really great organic social presence.

Kelly (22:27):
I know you just explained it but can we actually really focus on iOS 14 in Facebook for a second, because I do not know how to explain what happened.

Jess (22:39):
Well, the short version is Apple gave a big middle finger to Facebook and they want to own the ads ecosystem, which to be fair, I'm surprised they haven't already been doing this to the level that Facebook is, right? So fine, business is going to business, whatever. But essentially what's happened is Apple is like, "Hey, Facebook, we're going to automatically stop tracking customers who use our operating system so you don't have access to their information." And Facebook is literally built on being able to track you all around everywhere you touch digitally. And I am still convinced and I cannot prove it, it can listen to you. It listens to you. So Apple's like, "No, for the sake of our customers, quote unquote not really, we're going to cut off your access to know everything about your Facebook users and so now you can't use that information to advertise."

Jess (23:34):
Now, as an advertiser, we have been able in the past to be so incredibly specific of who we're going after because we've been able to track them. So unfortunately with Apple cutting that off and most users on Facebook using iOS, we lose that ability. And so the solutions that we're starting to build at In Social and I'm sure other agencies are doing as well, is focusing on organic social as a way to capture who your audience is or using things like Klaviyo where if you capture someone's email, okay, you now own them as you were tracking, you can track them because they've consented to give you their email. So overall it's a disaster, but in the grand scheme of things, we'll figure it out. But organic is going to play a bigger part in that for sure.

Kelly (24:22):
Okay. Thank you for explaining that.

Rhian (24:25):
So let's double down on that and talk about the Google change that is going to be made at the end of the year. What implications do you think... First of all, can you explain what's happening for our listeners?

Jess (24:38):
Well, basically the internet is deciding not to track anyone anymore, so it's similar. I don't remember the specifics of that one because all of what we are doing is search. We don't do as much display remarketing because we actually do it on Facebook. We found that we actually get a better return remarketing on Facebook after driving traffic from Google, it ends up being a much better conversion. So from a search perspective, we're okay. We do a lot of search drive to Facebook, complete the circle. But they're also getting in the way with tracking and not being able to do the same thing with remarketing display ads. So it's a very similar situation.

Rhian (25:17):
I mean, we are having to rewrite all of our apps because of it, right?

Jess (25:20):
Oh my God.

Rhian (25:24):
Yeah, because of the cross site cookie tracking, only the sexiest name is coming from-

Jess (25:30):

Rhian (25:30):
From software world. But yeah, we're rewriting all of our apps to accommodate for it. And so I have a bunch of theories we should have you on after that pushes live to talk about the aftermath because it's like, how can you use something like SEO in tandem with organic search or with organic social media? How do you make that work? If we can just with display ads and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So I really want to dig into that with you at another junction and maybe after it rolls, because I think people are going to have a lot of questions.

Jess (26:05):
Well, the Facebook already rolled out this week and to the point where literally they haven't... Facebook has added an asterix to all the stats. There's a little pop-up where you can see the numbers and it's like, may not be accurate because of iOS. And we literally chat, me and my ads manager we're like, "Let's just see what's happening." And it was... We had two sales in the morning when we checked from one ad set. it showed two on Shopify, it only showed one on Facebook. Great. Yay. Just what we want to see.

Rhian (26:36):
It begins.

Jess (26:37):
Yeah. It's begun. So yeah, we'll see what the rest of the year is going to be for this.

Rhian (26:44):
You can't see her right now but Jess just has her hand on her face. You know that look just the... That look?

Jess (26:53):
Yeah. But you know what? Facebook did a really good job of being like, "Hey, look at what Apple is doing and they're destroying you but also Facebook." And they did a really good agency marketing campaign to be like, "They're terrible. Look at all the things you're going to have to do. Complain, you got to change all of these things."

Rhian (27:13):

Jess (27:14):
Yeah. I mean, I will say one of the good things is Facebook does have a conversions API, that's what they call it, which is already integrated in Shopify. So for stores that aren't on Shopify or Magento or any of those connections, like custom HTML, you're going to have to manually code in this API to help bridge the gap. But Shopify already has done some of that and our e-commerce stores are on Shopify. So we feel a little bit better, but yeah, we'll see.

Kelly (27:44):
Things that I am often just generally wondering about as a brand, having run my own store before having brands all over the place, is frequency of posting. How often should I be posting?

Jess (28:00):
That's a very good question.

Kelly (28:02):
Is the answer, it depends?

Jess (28:04):
When is the answer not? [crosstalk 00:28:05] Yeah.

Kelly (28:06):
That's I love this line of work. The answer is always, it depends.

Jess (28:11):
[inaudible 00:28:11]

Kelly (28:10):
Easiest pop out.

Jess (28:12):
If anyone tells you they know the exact answer to anything that has to do with digital, then they are lying to you.

Kelly (28:18):

Jess (28:18):
I always say that. No one can promise you anything on the internet, whether it's a Nigerian prince that wants your money to marry you, that is not true, if it's someone saying they can promise you a return of X, that is not true, they cannot guarantee it. So that is the answer, is it depends. It does depend on budget, the more you post, the more time it takes, we have a very intensive review and strategy and we do design for all of our posts. So it takes time. We create really great content. And then it really just matters on how the engagement is going, because the way the algorithms work, at least on Facebook and Instagram, Twitter is not as bad though. It's a little bit weird. My husband says he doesn't see all of my tweets, but I think he's just lying because he doesn't interact with them and then I get mad at him for not. So he just says he doesn't see them.

Kelly (29:09):
Have you told him to turn on notifications yet?

Jess (29:12):
The thing is I make fun of him so much that maybe it's better.

Kelly (29:15):
Maybe it's true. Maybe he's ignoring them.

Jess (29:20):

Kelly (29:20):
It's for preservation.

Jess (29:24):
He knows I love him. He knows I love him. But with Facebook and Instagram, and I'm sure TikTok is doing this a little bit more now with the for you page, is it really depends on what your engagement rate is like within the first 10 to half hour, 10 minutes to half an hour. No one knows the actual number because they won't tell us. But essentially if your post gets 5% engagement rate within the first 10 minutes, you're more likely for that post to show to more of your followers, right? Instagram specifically said at one point that if a verified slash highly popular user also like your post, it will go farther because their influence means that other people will like it. So if you're posting so much that there aren't enough posts for someone to engage with or you're diluting your feed, sometimes posting too much is the wrong strategy. Because then it's like well you just sent out three in three days and I'm seeing them because the algorithm's messing up the order, I'm seeing them all, I might not like them all, right? So it depends. If you have a really large audience, it might be better to do more to hope that you get in front of more people. But if you have a smaller audience, we usually say do a few less, usually two a week is a good place to start.

Kelly (30:42):
And does time of day matter as well?

Jess (30:44):
Yes. Time of day is extremely important and luckily most of the platforms will tell you when your audiences on, they won't tell you when they are most likely to engage, but they will say when they're most likely on that and engaging. So yes, we use that always.

Kelly (30:59):
This is so cool and complicated. This is why I don't do social.

Rhian (31:04):
Yeah. This is[inaudible 00:31:05] interesting. I'm so glad you're here.

Jess (31:10):
What's crazy about it is that's how I started this agency because I felt I really, really knew social. But I built my business, I think up until the third year was mostly just social, right? We had so many clients and so many team members of just that, that it takes a lot of work. When someone says, "My niece can just do it." I'm like, ""They can, but it's not going to go well," right? It takes a team, it takes someone who knows what they're doing, who's on top of the trends who knows every time Facebook changes things again. Right? That it's really important to have the right team to do it.

Kelly (31:47):
I think that actually leads me to another question then, is there a certain time in a company's growth that it's time for them to stop trying to do it themselves and to hire a company?

Jess (32:00):
I don't think there's a specific time. It depends. But-

Kelly (32:06):
I need a sound effect on this thing for every time somebody says, it depends.

Jess (32:15):
What I always say our clients and as an agency since we've grown, we've really become the outsource marketing department. So our clients come to us to do all the marketing so that they can focus on the business, right? So if you, as the business owner are spending so much time on social that you can't do the business part, it's very hard to outsource the business part properly, right? Are you going hire someone to source your products, to test your products, to do inventory management, are you going to do that right away and then you focus on social? Or is it a lot easier to find a team to do social for you while you focus on the inner operations? Right? So I think if you're spending probably 20% of your week on social, that's too much.

Kelly (32:59):
That's a lot of percent of time.

Jess (33:02):
It's a lot of percent, yeah.

Rhian (33:02):
It's a lot percent of time, that's not even a sentence. Something like yes, that's too much many.

Jess (33:07):
Too much time, yeah.

Kelly (33:09):
Too much time.

Rhian (33:10):
What are the things that everybody does wrong?

Jess (33:17):
So many things. So many things. The creative is often just wrong. I've seen well-written posts like the grammars, [inaudible 00:33:27]right? It's a little cute, I get the vibe, but then this graphic looks like a six year old made it on Ms. Paint. It's just ugly. And creative is like 70% of a post if not more because that's what's in your face. You usually see an image or a video before you read the copy. So again, while you need a team, because the creative piece, the assets are a lot harder for people to do. And so I think a lot of businesses think that they can do that themselves. The other piece that we actually see with a lot of our bigger clients is that they... Before they came to us is they didn't put enough importance on what we call comment checking or community management, where they're spending a lot of money on ads, they're posting a lot and then they're just ignoring their audience, right? They're there and they don't have time for it or they don't want to invest money into it.

Jess (34:21):
One of the things with us and how we structure our business is we do offer customer service, but we actually include comment checking in the customer service team because more often than not, if someone's going to complain, there's a good chance they're going to show up on social. And so our team is already in emailing Gorgias, they're on chat, but then they're seeing comments on social. And what's really, really important to we as an agency make sure that we do is if a customer's on a post and they're complaining about a product, we go, "Hey, so-and-so, we hear you send us an email, we'll help you there." And then as soon as that email comes in, we say, "Hey, we saw your comment on Facebook, so glad you emailed us." And so what that does to the customer is it makes them feel that they're actually being listened to and they're usually a lot less angry because they're suddenly like, "Oh my God, they actually know who I am. I got to calm down and we'll figure this out." So that's a big piece for us.

Kelly (35:18):
I love that and I definitely want to dig more into the customer support side of things. Just the fact that you're... People just want to be seen. They want to be heard. They want to be recognized. And to me it's so easy just to take that moment and make that connection and it really does help make the overall issue you're addressing so much easier to address for the most part. Of course, there's always going to be exceptions, but just overall, I love that. I love that.

Jess (35:49):
Yeah. Surprisingly it really does bring in revenue. We make more sales from community management than we do through actually posting on social, which I guess you could say is the same thing because they come through a post. But my favorite, favorite, favorite example, this happened, I think a couple months ago, our client Triple Bristle came to us, we got them through a connection with Gorgias, so thank you Gorgias for introducing them to us, is there was this one guy he commented on Instagram on an ad and he goes, "I don't have money for this yet. Bug me on payday," or yeah, bug me on payday on Thursday. And so my team and Gorgias snoozed that social alert and on the Thursday, we commented back and said, Hey, "It's payday."

Kelly (36:35):
I love that.

Jess (36:37):
And then he goes on YouTube and leaves a comment on another video being like, "LOL, your support team reminded me. I just bought one." [inaudible 00:36:45] converted from that silly little comment, right? He probably may not have actually wanted to buy it, he was just joking or being silly and then as soon as he saw us respond and be a little snarky back, he had to buy it. So that was one of my favorite, favorite examples.

Kelly (37:01):
A couple of things to unpack here. First off, we love Gorgias here. Gorgias is also one of our sponsors. So thank you.

Jess (37:07):
Yes, I didn't know that.

Kelly (37:10):
And second, bringing in the snarkiness, I think this is something that I try to stress to our clients and merchants who are listening to this podcast or our webinars wherever, your brand voice must carry through everything that you do. And if you are a snarky brand, it's still okay to respond with that same snark you should in the company.

Jess (37:32):
Yes. And that's why when we're doing the comment checking and we're training our... We call them our digital support squad or for Triple Bristle, there are our smile squad, specific name just for that brand, of course. But we make sure that they have a direct connection to the social team or the ads team or whoever is doing the content because if we're responding to a post, we have to respond in the same way that it's written, right? Or if we're writing macros to put into Gorgias we talk to either our social team or even the brand and say, "How do we need to word this?" Usually in our kickoff calls for that when it's either social or customer service I always ask, "If you could decide who your brand was as a celebrity, who would it be?" And it's an easy way for them to be like, "I know this celebrity. That's the one that I think my brand is." And so it really gives us a good understanding of how we need to respond or even write social posts.

Kelly (38:25):
On the Gorgias front, I want to dig into this a little bit more because I've known Gorgias more from the customer support side of things and email and live chat, things like that. I'm less familiar with the social integrations. So can you walk through what the typical setup might look like integrating your social media into Gorgias and maybe you mentioned macros how those play into it as well.

Jess (38:47):
I mean, it's pretty simple. It's just a click, click, click connected to your business manager and it's in. We do have a lot of different settings like filters and an AI that we use if we need to triage. So if there's anything like an unhappy comment we know to go in, actually we started setting it up where it will auto hide a comment on Facebook and Instagram. I don't even think you can hide on Instagram unless you're through Gorgias, which is very [crosstalk 00:39:16] Yeah. You usually can just delete on Instagram because it just lets you hide it, which is crazy. Though the API had to be updated, so they may have reverted that, don't quote me, but at least we used to be able to do it and it was really smart. So we would set up our triggers so that if something seemed to be negative and it came in, we would auto hide it if it was after hours, right? Because if you're paying for an ad or a social post was seen by a hundred people, you don't want that negative comment to just live there. We hide it. We don't delete because we're still going to go back and talk to that person, of course but at least it's hidden from people.

Jess (39:50):
So that's one of the really, really cool things that we like to use it for. And it, yeah, it just really helps us triage it, I think. There's some stats that you can pull from it as well in the back, we really like to analyze what our interactions are like, what our response time is, track if there are any conversions coming through it. So just having it in the system makes it all kind of connected and you can really look at what's going on in the business and any point that you touch a customer.

Kelly (40:16):
That's so cool.

Jess (40:17):
Thanks gorgeous.

Kelly (40:22):
Okay. So I believe this is the last question. Well, there's two last questions, I lied.

Rhian (40:30):
This is first.

Kelly (40:31):
Is this series of last questions.

Rhian (40:33):
This is the first last question.

Kelly (40:35):
This is the first last question which will be followed by the second or third last question, depending on what happens.

Jess (40:41):

Kelly (40:41):
So we always end these episodes with store shout outs.

Jess (40:46):
Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Kelly (40:46):
So tell me a store or a brand or something that's making you happy this week.

Jess (40:52):
I love all of my clients. So I just want to say, I love all their stores, but from a non-client perspective, I actually am obsessed with the DavidsTea website. Do you guys get DavidsTea in the states?

Rhian (41:05):
Yes. [crosstalk 00:41:07] I think we do. My husband's Canadian, so I'm like, I don't actually know, but I think[inaudible 00:41:11]

Kelly (41:10):
They have a US site.

Rhian (41:12):
They do have a US site.

Jess (41:13):
Okay. Okay.

Rhian (41:13):

Jess (41:14):
I love how the product photography is what speaks to you more than the actual structure of the site. It's like, I just follow the pictures and they do really great photography. So I'm using that as inspiration for something that I'm working on. Can't say it yet. We can do another episode on that, but I'm going to become a merchant eventually. Yeah, excited. But I just... I love that product photography just speaks to their products. It just shows it so well. And not a lot of people... At least some merchants are a little bit weary of investing in photography, but that's a site that if you look at you realize how much you need it.

Kelly (41:52):
It's such a good looking site.

Jess (41:54):
Kelly, what about yours?

Kelly (41:55):
So my store shout out this week. I'm continuing the beverage trend. I guess mine's more of like a meal in a beverage format.

Rhian (42:06):
Meal in a bottle,

Kelly (42:07):
Meal in a bottle. I just bought some more Soylent because it's just so easy to when I'm really busy, I'm on the road. I'm not being on the road, it actually does occasionally happen, especially you go like a day long road trip, easy to pull Soylent out of our little lunchbox so we fill up and that's lunch. So we just bought some mint chocolate, which has really good flavor. And we decided to try the banana one this time.

Rhian (42:35):
Oh God Kelly. Both of those flavors.

Jess (42:39):
Mint chocolate sounds amazing.

Rhian (42:41):

Kelly (42:41):
It's really good.

Rhian (42:42):
It doesn't.

Kelly (42:43):
I haven't had a bad Soylent flavor though. So the banana one is the biggest question mark. That was the one my husband wanted to try it and I'm like, "I'm going to give you this one because I can just drink them and chocolate ones all day. So..." The site is cool too. It's not just the beverage.

Jess (42:59):
Yeah. And I was saying earlier, I used to get the original, I guess was the one and they used to send it to me because of my digestive issues. We would tweet back and forth and they just sent me a bunch for free. So they were... There's such a great team.

Kelly (43:12):
They're a good team too. Yeah. So let's be nice to them, Rhian.

Rhian (43:17):
Okay. I have nothing wrong... There's nothing I find wrong about Soylent. My issue is that you like mitten and chocolate together, Kelly and Jess. That's actually my issue here, but it's fine. I won't judge you forever, but maybe I will.

Kelly (43:35):
Who is in the minority vote here? Because I'm pretty sure it's two against one.

Rhian (43:39):
This is not a good sample size.

Kelly (43:41):
This is the only sample size we're going to have. Just anybody else... Does anyone else have an opinion?

Rhian (43:49):
Comment on social with what you think. Well now we need to post on social.

Kelly (44:00):
Well that's my store shout out. Rhian, what's yours.

Rhian (44:03):
Mine, I'm keeping in the theme of drinkables. Today it's breakaway matcha. I've become super obsessed with cold brew matcha but I like matcha in general. They have rare premium Matchas. So there's apparently 18 grades of Matcha. I learned a lot from their website and it's really interesting and it's cool and I'm obsessed with drinking multiple matchas a day now. Their websites cute, it's easy to navigate. The website doesn't blow my mind necessarily but at the same time it gets the job done. And also they're in a hyper niche markets so they can... I think they can get away with a little bit more than you can get away with on other websites. So, yeah, I'm a really big fan. It's easy to check out, which I love and I'm on my second order also, my second glass tumbler. I found out if you drop a glass tumbler that's double barrelled, the inside will shatter so it will look like glass or it will look like ice, but it's just a bottle of glass and green. So if you get a Tumbler, everybody don't drop it on the ground because it is glass. Then-

Kelly (45:16):
I have a confession.

Rhian (45:17):
What's that?

Kelly (45:18):
I have never had matcha before.

Rhian (45:20):
Okay. Well, you're coming to California in the Fall, so we're going to fix that.

Kelly (45:24):

Rhian (45:26):
Shit, sorry. Edit.

Kelly (45:29):
It's okay. No, it's okay. The world can know I'll be going to California in the Fall. You just won't know when, but I do.

Jess (45:42):
I'll be stuck in Canada, locked down.

Kelly (45:46):
I hope not-

Jess (45:46):
So you guys have fun.

Rhian (45:47):
I hope not.

Kelly (45:48):
I hope by fall you will not be stuck in locked down anymore. I am crossing all of my fingers for you-

Rhian (45:52):
And my toes.

Jess (45:55):
Thank you guys. I appreciate it.

Kelly (45:57):
So, okay. It is time for the final, final question.

Jess (46:01):

Kelly (46:02):
Where can we find you on the internet?

Jess (46:04):
God. Whenever anyone asks me that I literally say they can just Google me and then I feel really icky of it saying it that way, because that just feels really pretentious. But you can find me on Instagram at Jess Grossman or the In Social website or Uncover Ostomy, or on Twitter. That's just where I should post most of the time. So-

Kelly (46:30):
You know what? That's important.

Jess (46:32):
Yeah. Okay. So you can find me there at Jess Grossman.

Kelly (46:35):
Amazing. Jess, thank you so much for joining us today. I'm really glad we eventually got our shit together. I thought it was a really great conversation because again, I know next to nothing about social, when it comes to the merchant side of things I can shift. I was on Twitter all day. I somehow got 94,000 followers and that's how, but when it comes to actually being productive, not my area of expertise.

Jess (47:04):
No. Well, thanks guys for having me. This was so much fun.

Rhian (47:07):
Yes, thank you so much.

Kelly (47:07):
Yeah. We'll definitely have you on again once we understand what's happening in the world of the internet, not wanting to track us anywhere ever anywhere.

Jess (47:17):
Sounds good.

Kelly (47:19):
Thanks for tuning in and thanks again to our sponsors for supporting this episode. We have a YouTube channel, visit it at If you like our podcast, please leave us a review on Apple podcasts, reviews make us really happy. You can subscribe to Commerce Tea on your favorite podcasting service. We post new episodes every Wednesday. So grab your mug and join us then. We'll see you next week.

Rhian (47:38):

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