- Optimize Your Facebook Strategy: An Interview with Tracy McCoy
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Optimize Your Facebook Strategy: An Interview with Tracy McCoy
The following is a transcript of our Podcast about optimizing your Facebook Strategy. This podcast is a conversation with Tracy McCoy, founder of Get Fish Slapped Marketing Agency in Sebring, FL.
Adam: Welcome to the Canopy IQ podcast. In this episode, we’re joined by Get Fish Slapped founder and social media maven, Tracy McCoy. Today’s Canopy IQ podcast is sponsored by Canopy, a digital advertising agency specializing in location-based marketing, and advertising. Welcome, Tracy.
Tracy: Hi, Adam. I’m so glad to be here. Thank you for having me.
Adam: It’s great to have you. Let’s start out with a little bit of a backstory because you’ve got a very interesting one. You founded your digital marketing agency eight years ago. You wanted to create a work-life balance that had been missing from your career in the hotel industry, so you gravitated towards digital advertising and marketing. Very interesting. You’re also a husband, wife, and daughter team. It’s truly a family affair. How’s that going? What’s a day at the office like?
Tracy: Oh my, that’s right, Adam. I started the agency when I was nine months pregnant with my first daughter, Rylee, and everything began at the dinner table. My husband joined in about a year later full-time with the business, and it’s just been full speed ahead ever since. Rylee is now eight years old, and has completely decorated one of the offices in our downtown offices, and calls it her own. She loves to come and hang out after school, and do her thing. We have a new addition to the family, Madison, who’s nine months old now, and just likes to scream, and yell, and say hello to the staff when she comes in. It’s super fun.
It’s really exciting to see now eight years later, we’ve grown to a team of 10, and that we’ve really just had a lot of fun along the way. We’ve a really wonderful team of people, and
we really bring that family atmosphere with our team. We try to make sure that everybody has a really strong work-life balance, and enjoys what they do when they feel like. They have the time to do other things, which I feel really resonates with our clients, and makes them feel like part of the family as well.
Adam: I love that. That is the kind of backstory that I love to share because so few people get to have a career balance that also integrates family. You’re in a class on your own. We’ve got to write a case study about that some day.
Tracy: It’s funny though. Even though we say we want this work-life balance, I think one thing that we always try to keep in mind is it’s what is balance to you? When it’s your own and it’s your baby, yes, we’re still here working constantly for our clients, but I can do that with the baby bouncing next to me sometimes, or if we need to take a break, we can go take care of our families as well, which makes it really nice. I think that that’s one element that we always just try to keep top of mind with our teams is that you create your own balance, and whatever that looks like for you is super important.
Adam: Let’s talk about Facebook advertising, which is an area that Get Fish Slapped specializes in. Facebook advertising is a must because it’s so effective. I think of it like a gravitational force, a little bit like maybe the Death Star in the Star Wars movies. Once it’s got you in that gravitational pull, there is no escape.
Tracy: This is true. This is very true. It really is. Facebook is the most popular social media channel in the world with 2.96 billion monthly active users as of 2023. There’s over 2 billion daily active users. 78% of Facebook’s users also use Instagram. With their transition and the way that the company is built, when you’re advertising, you’re not just advertising on Facebook, you’re advertising on Instagram as well. When you think of that number, 78% of Facebook users are also on Instagram, we’re following a specific user journey. We’re really trying to stay in front of a very targeted audience. We’re following them where they go.
We’re not just on their Facebook feed, we might be on their Instagram feed, or in their Instagram story on their Facebook reel. Really able to stay across them throughout these social networks, and really stay in front of them. It is insane just how many people are on Facebook. I hear a lot, “Really we’re targeting people who are over 55. Are they really going to be on social media?” Yes, that’s not that old anymore. When you think about how long these platforms have been around at this point, a lot of the people who are starting to age were early adopters for technology. You’re starting to see more and more age groups gravitate to these different platforms, and different components of each platform.
Adam: I can absolutely relate to that. We were doing Facebook marketing back, oh my gosh, it’s forever ago in the aughts, and just to see the way the platform has evolved over time. Let’s talk about senior care providers. We work closely at Canopy with a variety of them. Senior care is quite specific in terms of the customer journey map. There are tons of complex emotional variables to consider. I think Facebook has to be approached cautiously in a sense. You want to hit the right notes. Can you speak to that?
Tracy: Sure, absolutely. We’re connecting the customer’s emotions with the content that we’re putting in front of them every day. Social media is our opportunity as marketers to get relevant information out there, and tell a story that connects with the user. It can be very tough on family members when they realize their parent or partner needs additional care. It is our opportunity as marketers to put information out there through social media that tells a story, and connects with a family member on a personal level. For example, current residents may be talking about their experience.
Maybe they’re at independent living at that point, and they’re really enjoying all the activities, and everything that they get to do. We’re talking about that, and just how much they enjoy their experience. Or perhaps they’re in assisted living, and they are excited, and they’re enjoying what they do every day, maybe there’s a video showing activities, and how people are interacting with each other, what sets the community apart, and showcasing activities, and why they should consider the community? If you think about storytelling in a little bit of a different level, and how you can connect with people throughout different stages of their journey, I think it’s really important.
Social media gives you a great opportunity to interact back and forth with people as they have questions, and really make them feel like they’re part of the process, whether it’s the person who is living at the location, or if it’s a relative or somebody who is wanting to check in and see how they’re doing, and they see the fun pictures of mom playing bingo, or doing cooking classes, or whatever it might be.
Adam: I wanted to dig a bit deeper into the age cohort comment you made because I think that’s really not just relevant to our discussion, but to the work we’re doing as a company, and that you’re doing, and then that we’re doing as well. You look at the more preferred platforms like my teenagers, for example, they live on TikTok. According to Pew Research, 70% of adults age 50 to 64 are using Facebook regularly. You touched on those metrics a minute ago. Do you see Facebook as remaining the go-to platform when it comes to business services cover? It certainly seems that way. I can’t think of any competitors that are approaching their metrics on any level.
Tracy: I really don’t see that changing. We’ve looked at this over the past couple of years, even with Instagram’s growing popularity several years ago, and wondering if there was going to be a big shift over from Facebook to Instagram, but we’ve still seen businesses have consistent success advertising on Facebook. Through some of the AI technology with Facebook, and having the ability to run ads on the entire Meta platform not just Facebook, we’re still seeing the ads gravitate over to the Facebook feeds versus Instagram.
We’re seeing a little bit more shift to Instagram. The benefit of advertising in this space is that we’re not isolating and only running on Facebook feed. If we do start to see that gravitation that the spend is being spent smartly because we’re taking the advertising budget, and then we’re able to allow the platform to decide where it’s going to be spent based on where the users are.
Adam: Speaking about users and user engagement, let’s talk about creative best practices. That is, obviously, a very broad subject, and we could discuss that for hours. Let’s hone in on a fairly typical challenge. There needs to be a balance between, obviously, text. Facebook has some very specific rules about the amount of text you’re able to use. What do you see as driving the story overall? Again, I know that’s broad, so any best practices, overall, I think would be really helpful for our audience.
Tracy: Absolutely. One thing that you will see is that ads with heavy text will just not be prioritized as much as ads that are more image driven. There are a few things that we do recommend, short text on images. We do have the primary text component where you can write. Just like as if think of you’re on your own personal page, and you’re posting about your last family vacation, and you’re writing a whole little story about what you just did, that’s going to be our ad copy.
That’s going to accompany whatever ads that you provide. That does give us the ability to tell the story a little bit in the copy versus trying to put it all in the image. What we’re looking for with the image is you want to think about how can I connect with my user? What’s going to grab their attention? What’s relevant. Throwing something out there that is super attention grabbing that has absolutely nothing to do with your business, bad idea because you’re not attracting the right person to click. It’s more click bait. You really don’t want to go that direction. If we’re looking at an image that’s exciting, it’s colorful, it has people in it that are going to connect with the people who you’re trying to get to engage with the ad, we see that type of creative do a whole lot better. In addition, we also see that video is doing more and more.
It is doing a whole lot better than it was in the past, but at the same time we see some clients that would like to run one and two minute long videos, and those just don’t perform. The challenge is most videos, people are looking and scrolling on their phones very quickly these days, and a majority of your ads are going to be seen on mobile. As people are scrolling, they’re scrolling quickly. You have to capture their attention initially very fast. The thumbnail image, and whatever your video is starting with really has to be attention grabbing. You’ve really got to get them in the first 15 seconds.
Typically, ads we see across the board in all industries, after 15 seconds people stop watching. If you don’t get your message across right away, if they have to wait until 45 seconds, a minute and a half, you’ve most likely already lost that user. It’s really important to have that information out there quickly. Also, with the Meta platform, we’re able to, and this is a relatively newer feature in the past year or so where we can upload various sizes and customize placements. We’ve been able to do this a little bit in the past, but now it’s even better as far as how you’re able to go in and set those placements up.
We can upload different creatives for each type of placements. We have our feeds, which are what you’re going to see as you’re scrolling your phone. Then you have your stories and reels. Then you have your instant articles and right hand corner, which are going to be more desktop driven. Your square is going to be really what people are going to be looking at when they’re scrolling the feed. Being able to provide these three different assets are going to be very helpful in getting your creative to perform the best that it possibly can. If you think about seeing a horizontal image on a story, it’s not going to be as impactful as it will if it’s the actual full screen immersive piece of creative.
We want to make sure we have those portrait style videos ready for your story and reels. Now, if you don’t have a lot of video assets, you can always animate, text, or use a series of images to create a slideshow type of video, and just have certain pieces animate. Those also do really well. Even if you wanted to animate your story in reel’s placement, and wanted to use an image on your feed, we can also do that, and upload different assets separately, which is really nice.
In the past, you used to only be able to upload either video or photo, but in these particular cases we can isolate via placement, which is very nice. It really does help the performance of the ads because we do see a lot more placements and stories and reels now than we ever have. It’s really great to be able to provide the assets that apply there.
Adam: Terrific. That’s like a masterclass in optimizing Facebook. I think everybody needs to dive into these best practices to really optimize, not just their ad budget and their campaigns, but to, I hate to use word hack, but to make sure that the algorithm is actually favoring the content.
Tracy: Absolutely. Thinking and summing it up, think about use vertical videos, keep your texts short and sweet, use multiple images using carousel formats if you can add movement to your photos and videos and use calls-to-action. Calls-to-action buttons, we’re able to pop in on the ads. Whenever we do provide a link that goes over to a website, we’ll put in learn more, et cetera. Utilizing those calls-to-actions are really great.
One thing to keep in mind too, those call-to-action buttons will happen on your ads. We don’t need to have varying call-to-action buttons on the images. Sometimes it can be a little bit repetitive. What we’ve started doing is recommending that we say tap below to learn more, or different types of calls-to-action. They’re a little bit more relevant to how the ads look once that button from the platform is placed on the ad.
Adam: It’s time to break out your crystal ball Tracy. Everybody is freaking out about generative AI applications like ChatGPT, myself included. It is a game changer obviously. What does that brave new world of Meta look like in terms of generative AI, and how it’s going to transform the platform?
Tracy: I will have to break out my crystal ball, and really try to think here. There are several different things that they have already rolled out, and that are in place utilizing AI. It is crazy to think of what could potentially happen in the future, but there are some really cool features, current state that are available that we do use. Some we don’t quite yet, just dependent upon the type of campaign. They do have something called Advantage+ placements, where essentially it’s maximizing your budget, and showing your ads to more people based on placements. Like what we were talking about earlier, how we’re able to place on various platforms based on the user’s journey.
That’s one of their really cool AI solutions that they have. Then there’s also dynamic creative. This is something that we really use on a case-by-case basis, and not 100% sure on how we completely feel about this yet. We’re able to utilize creative assets that will swap images, headlines, descriptions to be more personalized to the users. We’ve seen the most success in this in retail. If we’re looking at products, and we’re selling a specific product like a ring or a shirt or hat or something like that, but in the case that when we’re looking at tying to people’s emotions, making decisions on senior care, and different things like that, I’m not 100% confident in the swaps, and they don’t give you reporting.
In self-reporting is available on your variations. Dynamic creative I feel like it’s a great tool in certain spaces, but not in all. We can still split test to watch and see how different campaigns perform, but if we’re not able to measure what’s working and what’s swapping and what people are interacting with, they don’t know that it’s necessarily getting us the results that we want. Although it might get good results, we’re not understanding that data to be able to use it in other places. We’d prefer to stick with split testing there. They also have something that is called Advantage+ custom audiences, and it allows this platform to dynamically expand audiences based on what people are doing.
It’s a pretty cool feature. We use this on a case-by-case basis, just dependent upon who we’re targeting. If audiences are already very targeted if we’re using lists and certain things where we don’t necessarily want to go beyond the targeting, then we don’t use this. If we are okay going up beyond the targeting, for example, in retail where you may think that this is your certain audience, but you want to expand and see people who are shopping for similar items, this is a great type of audience where we’ve seen the most successes in the retail space. I can only imagine that they’ll start rolling more and more out.
We have seen where when we are typing in headlines and descriptions and text, it will recommend different things that you used in the past. It would be my assumption based on some of the things that I’m already seeing just happen as a recommendation, but not necessarily an option to choose. I’d like them to just generate these headlines. I could see that coming to where it starts to generate headlines and descriptions from your website, or potentially from ads that you’ve run in the past.
I could see maybe some of that coming, or more dynamic types of audiences, and things like that. They have already started using quite a few things, but it is, like you said, it’s a very cool place, but it is also very scary to see some of the things that are coming out right now. It’s really cool to watch.
Adam: Fascinating. Just fascinating-
Tracy: It is.
Adam: and absolutely transformative. That sounds like there’s a whole slew of tools that can optimize not just storytelling, but ways of tracking interactions and improving the customer journey. Speaking of the customer journey, most senior living operators are struggling to meet their HR requirements across the board. We’re seeing that everything from RNs to frontline workers. You see video testimonials as a powerful way to communicate authenticity, and ultimately make an emotional connection with job seekers.
Tracy: I do, absolutely. It can be tough sometimes for the organization when you’re going to overworked employees and asking them, “Please give me a testimonial, let’s get you on video.” They’re like, “What? What do you mean get me on video? I don’t want to get on video.” One thing you will find with your team is people who are highly engaged, a lot of times they’re excited to do something like that. Knowing your team, you know the right person to ask because they’ll be engaged and happy to do it. Then you may have other people on your team that would love to be in a video, but they have absolutely no desire to talk to anybody. They’re happy to be on film, but they don’t want to be recorded because they’re nervous for whatever reason. If you think about a couple of ways that you can record these testimonials, you may have one person who’s your spokesperson. They’re that person who’s highly engaged, they love the spotlight being on them, and they’re more than happy to get in front of the camera and talk about how great it is to work there. Like we just talked about previously, we want to keep these videos short and sweet for social media.
We’re talking under 15 seconds, which makes it a little easier, and more digestible for your team to go, “Okay, yes, let’s be on camera. I’m okay with that.” You could also take some B-roll of your team interacting with each other. Maybe it’s your dining staff in the kitchen, and it’s your waiters walking around interacting with your residents. Maybe it’s people doing activities, and it’s your team interacting there. It could be people at a meeting, or an outing, or something like that. It shows that they work together, that it’s a nice place to work, and that you care for them outside of the regular work environment as well.
You can take all these little clips, and turn them into a really nice short slideshow essentially of why that’s a great place to work, that you love what you do, and you love where you work. If you think about just different things that make your business unique, and what might attract somebody to want to work there, or maybe even talking to your team about what do you like about working here? What makes you want to come to work every day? Then you take that, and you sketch it out into a nice 15 to 32nd video, that may be a good way to start without having to involve too many people in the process, where they have to get on camera and speak, and everything else.
I do think that it does add a lot more authenticity to your organization, having a spokesperson talking about how they do enjoy working there,, and why it’s a great place to work.
Just remember, keep those videos short and sweet, and get your message across quickly. It could be a series of videos as well. They could run together in a campaign. You could have three videos that run, and then the platform will optimize the best performer. You could test and see what works better. Is it the person talking about how much they enjoy working there?
Is it the series of little vignettes of just different things that happen while you’re at that location, and different experiences the staff has, or is it just an image, or what’s working and what are people resonating with? I do think again, video is a great way to add more authenticity to your organization making it a great place to work, but just look at ways that you can make it unique to you, and easy to digest for your team.
Adam: Well, I think that’s a great place to wrap up today’s podcast. I think in closing, it’s about authenticity and also respect. I like that you’re putting that emotional connection ahead of everything else. It’s terrific. Thank you, Tracy. I have really enjoyed this discussion. I’ve learned more about Facebook in the last 30 minutes than I have probably years. I look forward to continuing to follow your work, and collaborating with you. Really appreciate you taking the time to share your insights with our listeners. You’re an incredible resource. I’m excited to do this again when the time is right.
Tracy: Thanks, Adam. It was great being here. Really appreciate it.