The Authentic Kim Garst

kim garst interview with lisa buyer

Author of Will the Real You Please Stand Up: Show Up, Be Authentic, and Prosper in Social Media and the owner of Boom! Social, Kim Garst shares how authenticity and service can build your social success.

A Little Bit of Background

In the digital age, it’s hard to think of a world where Facebook doesn’t exist. However, Kim Garst was using social tools before social media even existed. In the early days of the digital era, Garst was using business chat rooms on AOL to gain clients – and it paid off.

Garst soon realized that more valuable than the marketing services she provided was her knowledge, which in turn motivated her to enter the social space. Now, she’s an expert on all things social media, including one of the biggest platforms, Facebook.

The Future of Facebook

Facebook is complicated. Virtually every business can benefit from it because of it’s ginormous marketplace, and Facebook has just started to scratch the surface, according to Garst. Here’s what’s next:

    • Facebook Live and live video, which Garst says is the future of social media
    • Facebook Ads: “They’re like an ATM for your client base if you know what you’re doing,” Garst said.
    • Facebook Messenger as a tool for buying products. For example, scheduling hair appointments via the Messenger tool.

Facebook Algorithms: A Love-Hate Relationship

We love to hate Facebook algorithms. They mess with how our content is or is not being shown, as Garst said. And the formula is constantly changing and fluctuating, so there is no way to truly leverage it.

But Garst argues for it. Odd for a social media expert, no? She challenges us to think of it this way:

As of June 30, 2016, there are over 1.71 billion monthly active users on Facebook, with 1.1 billion of those users being active daily. Holy content. With that much information, it would only make sense to filter and surface the best information to the top of the newsfeed. Facebook is only trying to create the best user experience after all.

To be fair, it is largely formatted around how we consume content. According to Garst, over 90% of users never revisit a Business Page after the initial “Like”. Yikes. No wonder that content never shows up in our Newsfeeds.

And that leads us to the big question: Is it possible for organic content to be successful on Facebook?

Pay to Play: True or False?

Garst argues that it is possible for organic content to be successful. However, you need both stellar content and strategy.

And while she admits that using paid media is beneficial, it is not the end-all-be-all.

Take her own page, for example.

Engagement for the average “Business Page” is less than two percent. Hers is 800x the average, and she does almost all of it for zero ad spend. It must be magic, right? Wrong.

The Keys to Success

Now we have come to the part of the segment where all of our organic Facebook post dreams come true. It’s surprisingly easier than it sounds.

Connect with People on a Human Level

Garst gives us the perfect example: If you’re at a social event, you don’t just walk up to someone trying to sell them something. Take that into account when you are posting on social media.

We sometimes forget that on the other side of the screen, there’s a living, breathing person. “Social media is life,” Garst said. We need to treat it like a connection point instead of trying to sell services from the get-go.

One of the most valuable lessons to be learned from Garst is to create content that’s relatable and human, THEN weave in a marketing message.

Authenticity + Service = Success

The other key to success is being of service to your customer. Garst explained how this can come in the form of a giggle or a link to a useful platform.

In today’s buyer’s market, authenticity and service is success. Also, don’t forget, about your current customer. Garst warns us about taking care of your current customers before worrying about where your future ones will come from.

Don’t Recreate the Wheel

Where does Garst get all of this authentic, human content? From existing content that is performing well.

Here are some resources she suggests:

She also admits that she’s “a bit of a visual content snob.” So while there is nothing wrong with sharing other’s content, she is more likely to recreate shareable content in her own words.

Watch the full interview with Kim Garst here:

Measuring and Managing Facebook

There are a lot of tools to measure social platforms. However, Garst said that Facebook gives us a lot of core insights already, and they’re much better than they used to be. She does a lot of social management from her own page.

There are some beneficial outside tools:

      • Agorapulse for Facebook, both the mobile and web-based platforms
      • SproutSocial or Hootsuite for Twitter
      • Facebook Pages app for on-the-go management

So You Want to Be a Social Media Manager?

“The only constant in social media is change.” – Kim Garst

Here’s some advice for the brave few who dare dream of living the role:

      1. Be social. And translate that to your written words.
      2. Communicate well through text and convey emotion.
      3. Be creative and think outside the box.
      4. Be authentic with your own brand and for the brands you help manage.
      5. Be ready for the many challenges that come with such a role.

Leading by Example

If you’re going to be managing social media for someone else, Garst said the first thing you need to do is perfect your own business – you need to be the model of success.

So no matter how many clients you’re managing, make your “household” the first priority in the morning. It matters.

How Can I Learn More?

Oh goodie! We love this one!

Want more? Get your copy of the latest edition of Social PR Secrets today!

 

Written by: Taylor Maloney

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