Let’s talk content marketing with my good friend and brilliant marketer, Barbara Gobbi!

So the other day in my Facebook Group, Branding through Photography, I had an amazing live with Barbara who is my content marketing go-to lady! Here’s how it went down. Lately, I have been slightly…frustrated…at my engagement or lack thereof on my social media platforms. I was asking Barbara a lot of questions to get some insight on maybe a few things I’ve been doing wrong, and we decided to do a live to bring y’all into the thought process so we could all learn from it.


Based on the questions I was asking, which were mainly having to do with engagement (am I on the right platform, how can I tell if I’m targeting the right person, what’s the main goal supposed to be with social media strategy…), Barbara determined that these questions were all based around my ICA (ideal customer avatar) and the content that they WANT to see.


So, first things first. What is an ICA? Minute 3:50.


Your ICA is a specific person that you’re targeting your product to. According to Barbara, businesses have 3-5 ICAs. Take my photography business for example. My service/product that I offer is photography. My 3 ICAs are typically business owners, bride-to-be’s, and moms. Sure, I can have a mom who’s getting married who also happens to be a business owner hiring me…but for the most part, think of how different these three people are and how different the content will change based on the type of photography I’m promoting and to whom I’m promoting it to.


Now, I’ve mentioned ICA in my Facebook group a few times before, and I’ve received almost no response. I kind of just decided that people who don’t already know WHO their ICA is do not like talking about it. LOL


Which, y’all, I GET IT. Figuring out WHO your ICA is…well, that’s difficult. But like Barbara mentions (5:39), start broad and work your way down.


Marketing to everyone is marketing to NO ONE.


Of course you can **think** that it’s this one specific person that you’re talking to and tailoring all of your content to, only to learn later that your one specific person doesn’t give a fart who you are or what you’re saying. So you either have to completely change how you’re talking to your person so it’s more up their alley, go back to the drawing board and come up with someone else sell your stuff to…OR change your product/service to be something that your specific person actually WANTS to talk about.


Honestly, the whole ICA side of marketing it is difficult. And you don’t really know if what you’re saying is resonating unless they tell you (and yes, silence is them telling you), but in reality, they won’t tell you shit unless you actually get them in the room to have the conversation in the first place. This can be a rather difficult feat when your “room” is over the Internet, and you’re not totally sure if they’re showing up or not.


Speaking of rooms…let’s talk a little about platforms and WHERE your customers are actually hanging out. Minute 8:05


In short, you need to be on every platform your ICA is on. If your ICA is a teeny bopper…you better brush off your dance moves and start showing up on TikTok. Now Barb makes a great point here as well. She talks about being ON Instagram for her business, but her ICA isn’t on Instagram. Because if they were, then they wouldn’t need her services.


So, then I ask…But then why are you on there? If your customers hang out on Facebook and not Instagram at all, what’s the point in putting all of this effort into that platform??


Because I need to be an AUTHORITY. 


That right there. SUCH A GOOD POINT. Just because your people aren’t there…yet…doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be either. If you’re selling a service that is best for x platform, EVEN if your people aren’t on that platform YET, then you need to be ON that platform to show credibility and authority on the topic.


For me, I mentioned that I think most of my people are on Facebook, but I still put a LOT of time and energy into Instagram. Why?? Because Instagram is made for photos. It’s completely visual and a really simple way to show off portfolio work. Can you think of a better platform for a photographer? So, ask yourself: “Where do my customers expect me to show up?” And that’s a usually good place to start for platforms.


Show up on your platform, find your people, and build your following. But most importantly, quality over quantity. (Don’t get caught up in the vanity metrics). Minute 9:10


What do I mean by vanity metrics?? Likes and followers do not matter. This is hard for me to accept because I want moreeeeee. I want more people to follow so more people can like my stuff so more people will buy it! But here’s the hard truth that I HATE hearing, but it’s truth. One person buying from a list of 50 is MORE VALUABLE than 0 people buying from a list of 3,000. If your follower base does not engage with you, it will only hurt your performance in social media, email marketing, even in person networking….all of it. Posts that get comments will be circulated to more people than posts that get nothing.


Speaking of nothing, gahhhhhh, FACEBOOK is killing me! Minute 12:01


Now, as I mentioned in the live, I think my ICA is mainly on Facebook, but when I post on my page…I get NADA. No likes. No comments. It’s like the post didn’t exist in the first place. Thanks a lot Zuckerberg. So if you think your people are on a platform but you get NO engagement on that platform, WHAT DO YOU DO??


First off, maybe it’s just Facebook. Straight up, Facebook is not promoting your business posts unless you pay them.

In that instance, it helps to KNOW the rules so you can hack the rules. Here is the link to the rules hacker that Barbara created as a gift for our viewers!


Secondly, customizing your content for the platform is key.

Not only does this mean things like the use of hashtags on Facebook is not the same as Instagram, it also means how you’re talking to each group of people. If you’re talking to 2 separate audiences, one on Instagram and one on Facebook – you’ll want to customize that content based on the group of people to get the best engagement. Pretty much, don’t just publish your exact same posts targeting 2 different people and expect to get great engagement on both.


Thirdly, you have to NAIL their hopes, dreams, and fears.

Barbara gives an amazing example of this at minute 21:04. You have to go three layers deep to get to the real reason why someone buys something. Have you read “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek? Holy guacamole, if you haven’t, go to Amazon RIGHT NOW AND BUY IT. People do not buy features – they buy emotions!!! People buy branding photography because they want to look like they made it! They want to look professional. They want to look like their business (that everyone told them was too risky to pursue) is doing fucking AMAZING. Because photos represent your image. Period. I do not tell people to buy my services because I have a nice camera and they’ll receive high resolution images. Those features may sway the decision, but it’s not MAKING the decision.


Okay, okay. So I need to customize the content and hit their pain points.


But how do you know if your content is actually resonating?? Minute 23:35


Let’s say that you KNOW your customer’s pain points. You address them, pour your soul to your customers about your own vulnerabilities and why you created your business in the first place, and then you hear…crickets. THIS has been such a frustration for me. I KNOW that most of my customers are insecure of their bodies in photos. I know it because they tell me OFTEN. And yet, when I talk about mindset, insecurities, and how to pose in more flattering ways…I get the same or even a lower level of engagement than other posts.


As Barbara mentions, you have to provide a safe space for your ICA. If you’re selling something that houses a lot of insecurities for your customers (weight loss coaches for sure), you may make comments about weight insecurity and get no response. It’s not because we don’t resonate. It’s because we do NOT want people to know how we actually think of our bodies.


All of this to say, it takes time to set the stage and to reassure them that they are not alone. Take the conversation out of the public eye for that safe space aspect (DM for Instagram and Groups and messages on Facebook), and use hashtags that people would actually use! (Again, check out Barb’s guide for hashtag tips. Link here).


Ohhhhh, hashtags. Let’s talk a little about those pesky things. Minute 26:25


First off, stick to the lower number hashtags to dominate because that will only help in the long run!

Secondly, you don’t want to use the obvious hashtags to hit your customers. You want to get found where they are actually hanging out! Barb mentions an awesome example of a car insurance salesman. How many people do you think hang out on #carinsurance? None, right?? But what about #mynewcar?? More, for sure! When you post just your industry hashtags, you mainly get other people in the industry starting to follow you. And those people will not be buying from you if they’re selling the same thing, right? So what helps me with this is to take the situation that someone would need your services and search relevant hashtags. For example, I shoot houses for real estate listings. A good hashtag for me has been #denverrealtor. I’ve gotten some Denver realtors (because that’s the obvious hashtag that they follow) starting to follow me and then I can start showing them some of my portfolio that would hopefully turn into new business.


Now, let’s talk a little about content that is not actually your content! Minute 31:01


Is it ok to post content that is not actually your content? I mention a book in the live called “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” by Gary Vaynerchuk. SO GOOD, go buy this one too! And he is a pretty big proponent of posting things relevant to your industry to inspire conversation. Like Barb said earlier, the goal with social media is to connect. Not every post has to be selling, but every post should have the goal of connecting you to your customer and building that know/like/trust factor!


You can use Barb’s formula of 80% things her customers should know and 20% information about her and her business. That way, it’s a good mix of helpful information and asking for a sale. A good place to share these helpful tips are in Facebook groups. Not only are they a way to stay in the loop in the industry, but also great for market research on your ICA.


Quick tip: When to post…Minute 36:25.


Go to your Facebook page, then Insights, and then Post Engagement to see when your post gets the most engagement. From there, you can play with different times to see what works your ICA’s schedule. You can also use the When to Post app. 


Are there any amazing platforms that you HAVE to be on? Quick wins/I’m an idiot if I’m not on there? Is there, uhhhh, anything like that?? Minute 41:17


For photographers…Pinterest! Mic drop. Pinterest, the app I definitely thought was not going to make it, is actually kinda dominating right now! After Barb told me to consider using Pinterest for the biz, I went and pinned a few things from a few of my last blog posts, and they have actually gotten some pretty great response. I’m sold and am working on allocating some of my time to play with the platform! Pinterest, I’m a comin’! Watch out!


For all of the TLDR people – Barbara is amazing. Know the people you’re talking to, tailor your content to them, and hang out where they’re at.


Here’s the freebie gift Barbara mentions in the Live. Also, check out her Facebook Group! It has a ton of great information and has been a wonderful experience meeting all of the other entrepreneurs and connecting!


Thank y’all for reading this crazy long post! It was a great convo, and I’m so appreciative I was able to connect with Barbara from Barbara Gobbi Marketing!


Till next time, yall!



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