Business landscapes have shifted during COVID-19. The digital space is more important than ever to elevate brand awareness and develop business relationships. Consumers are viewing content from a different perspective than just three months prior, and those that can pivot fast and effectively will win.
Leading the pack on creating engaging content for clients and providing a recruitment portal for those laid off are Heather Catania and Julia Broome of LA- based digital agency, Social Fleur. I spoke with them to learn more about how brands, startups, and small businesses, can stay current with the social media trends and how they’re empowering the next generation of social media managers.
Kate Talbot: How did Social Fleur come about?
Heather Catania: I earned my content creation skills working in the photo departments of Harper’s Bazaar, ELLE and NYLON Magazine, where I became obsessed with digital storytelling. In 2016, one of my best friends, Tyler Blackburn, was an actor on Pretty Little Liars. He called and said, “You’ve been telling me to get on social media for YEARS….help me!” And so he became my first client. He went from about 1 million to 6 million followers in one year and created a brand new revenue stream. From there, I started to get referrals from talent managers, agency executives, beauty and wellness brands….and Social Fleur was born. I wanted the high-quality creative that I learned in the magazine world to be our company’s throughline.
Talbot: Can you tell me a bit about your clients?
Catania: We serve celebrities, luxury brands, actresses looking to start lifestyle platforms, NBA players, beauty and wellness brands, experiential festivals, and more. We overhaul existing brands and also launch ones from scratch. Overall, we work with clients who are purpose-driven. We also create viral campaigns like BeautyUnited which featured Gwyneth Paltrow, Drew Barrymore, Victoria Beckham, and 40 beauty brand founders coming together to raise 10 Million for the Frontline Responders Fund that was featured on Harper’s Bazaar, CNN, and the Today Show.
Talbot: During Coronavirus, you launched Fleur-ish to help social media managers find work, can you tell us more about the program?
Julia Broome: Heather and I have always wanted to make our social media services accessible to everyone. When the global pandemic hit, we saw a domino effect of businesses having to let go of their star employees (many of them in the social media realm), while others saw an opportunity to ramp up their digital business.
Fleurish very clearly became the solution: we had clients who wanted to take advantage of the social media surge and we wanted to help talented digital creators find work after the economic downswing.
Our goal became to seek out, vet, and train qualified social media managers and roll them into the Fleurish network, where we would then “match” them with a business who is looking for their dream social media manager. Everyone we refer is thoroughly vetted and is required to “pass” a vigorous edit test that helps us evaluate everything from their ability to write compelling social copy to their expertise in content creation.
Talbot: Do you have any success stories yet?
Catania: Our agency services are currently being utilized by UTA, DBA, CAA, and more. Just this week, we placed a former employee of Create & Cultivate with an A-List celebrity known for female empowerment, and we also placed a former beauty editor at Teen Vogue in-house at a major beauty brand.
Talbot: How has your social strategy for clients shifted during this time?
Catania: We pivoted strategy across all clients that positioned content as either an informative resource, or provided entertainment as a means to “escape” the heavy news cycle. For our clients with kids, like Genevieve Padalecki, we created shareable graphics for things like homeschool activities, easy recipes, and at-home workouts. We also helped our client Priyanka Chopra orchestrate an IG LIVE in collaboration with the World Health Organization and Global Citizen to interview Dr. Tedros and Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the two global medical leads on COVID-19, in order to provide her audience real answers from doctors on the frontlines.
Talbot: What trends are you seeing in the social space that have been elevated during this time?
Broome: Of course we’ve seen a boom in IG lives (which we recommend) but there are so many other trends that have surged since covid. People are jumping on the TikTok train and utilizing that platform as a way to grow on Instagram. We’ve also seen a huge uptick in affiliate marketing and some of our clients have 10x their revenue by narrowing in on things like: loungewear, anti-aging skincare devices, meal delivery services, home-essentials, at-home workout gear, and products that consumers can put to use right now. We’ve also seen a spike in video content, since consumers want to watch something of value, something funny, or something to distract them from our current situation.
Talbot: Gen-Z loves TikTok, but for many Millennials and older it seems like a daunting channel to start. What have you learned about TikTok that excites you?
Broome: The thing about TikTok that excites me the most is that it’s the easiest platform to go viral on. TikTok’s algorithm is reminiscent of the early days of Instagram, where your content could easily make the discovery page. Due to TikTok’s unique delivery algorithms, it’s easier to get higher engagement on your videos with much less effort. The algorithm favors something called your “completion ratio.” Your completion ratio is how many people watched your video from beginning to end and it also takes into account if the viewer watched the video multiple times.
Catania: Every single major social app was, initially, dominated by a younger demographic (FB: college students, IG: Millennials, and now TikTok: Gen-Z), so we think about the long game. If you’re part of an older demographic not being represented on TikTok, then get proactive and pave that space. If we don’t see an open lane, we create it. That’s exciting to us.
Talbot: Social media management is usually a pink job (held mostly by women) what would you like to see happen to the industry in the next decade?
Catania: Effective social media management is an incredibly high touch job, especially as an omni-channel presence becomes increasingly critical to a businesses success. Strategic use of social media has influenced elections, turned startups into billion-dollar companies, and has taken underdog reality stars and turned them into global empires. In the next decade, social media positions will not be perceived as “the job that a 21 year old kid takes out of college.” Social creators deserve equity in the companies they’ve built and they deserve visibility. They’re the ones driving the digital economy forward.
Talbot: Do you have any advice for young women wanting to make a career in social media marketing?
Catania: The best advice I have for women wanting to have a career in social media marketing is this: put the audience at the forefront of everything you post, and do so with relentless consistency. Social marketers need to become ninjas at preemptive marketing, which means messaging to followers’ pain points and challenges. Stop working a strategy that was on trend two years ago. Media is moving fast – pivot your strategy every 3-6 months.