5 Steps to Increase Your Social Media Reach with Meg Brunson

Welcome to this episode of The Determined Mom Show. I am your host, Amanda Tento. And I have my amazing friend Meg Brunson here from just marketing. 

Thank you so much. I’m so excited to be here. Amanda, I love connecting with you. 

Yes. I love connecting with you. We actually spent a lot of our time talking about things outside of this podcast before we started recording. So I’m glad that we finally were able to wrap that up and hit record because we always have so much to talk about. So very excited for you to be here. 

That’s what happens. I feel like when you’re. When you’re a mom and entrepreneur, and you connect with another mom, and entrepreneur, you finally have the ability to talk about grown-up things.

Yes, exactly. Exactly. So I’m really excited to have you here. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself for anybody that doesn’t know you? The just marketing podcast, just marketing and everything about your business. 

Sure. So I am a mom to four incredible kiddos. I’m a former Facebook employee and I’m a criminal justice major in college. Those are like three facts about me. And you may be wondering, why are all of those things relevant and how all of those things come together. 

Justice has always been one of them. Like baseline values, I’ve held and like growing up, going to college, I thought that I was going to follow that criminal justice path. And that was what I was meant to do. 

But life happens, life happens. I definitely had kids. I had a few kids, I worked at Facebook. I got really interested and involved in marketing. And my kids are. An incredibly diverse group of kiddos. So my oldest kiddo is black from a previous relationship.

And my second oldest kiddo is LGBTQ IA plus falls within that spectrum. So I have a lot of experience, real-life experience despite being, a white cisgender, hetero female Seeing transphobia seeing racism firsthand and how. Can how that harms and impacts people. 

So I take in that core value of justice, my expertise in marketing, and then my desire to make our world a more inclusive and accessible space. And I’ve just smashed it all together. That’s where just marketing came from. 

So just marketing is marketing that prioritizes people over profits that prioritizes inclusivity and accessibility that really pushes to examine everything from an equity-centered lens. So that as marketers, we’re amplifying our voices.

5 Steps to Increase Your Social Media Reach with Meg Brunson

As we’re amplifying our voices and our messages and our businesses, we’re doing so in a way that is changing the world for the better by taking baby steps, to change the world for the better to make it more inclusive and accessible. And that’s where just marketing was born. 

That’s awesome. I love that. You’re combining all of the things that you’re passionate about. Like obviously your kids and social justice and just your. Witnessing everything and your passion for making everything better. I love that. You’re combining all of that with marketing, who would’ve known, that’s even a thing that’s even a possibility? I love it.

I finally feel true excitement and alignment with what I’m doing. Do you know what I mean? Like me, I know that I’ve found my niche. Everyone talks about niches. Like I found it. Yeah. I feel like I’m there. And it’s very exciting. 

I always love when I look at your website or get your emails or whatever your signature is very, not, it’s just very succinct. This is what I’m doing. This is what I’m about. And I just love that. I absolutely love that. 

So I know today we’re gonna talk about five steps that our audience can use to increase their social reach. So I am also curious about this. So I’m really excited to hear what your steps are. So go ahead and let’s talk about it. 

Sure. So the reason we’re talking about increasing reach is that these five steps all have to do with accessibility. So by increasing accessibility and the content that we’re putting out into the world, that means we’re allowing more people to consume our content.

And when I’m talking about accessibility and social media a lot of what we’re gonna talk about today has to do with people who use it. Technology in order to interact with the digital world. When we think about diversity, I think it’s very common to think about race or gender or maybe religion and cultures and things like that.

Things that are visible. It’s easy to look and see diversity, but things you can’t see Are people who are blind or have vision impairments or are color blind are deaf or have hard of hearing, or so there are all of these disabilities. And I don’t wanna necessarily have disabilities or different abilities that people have that we can’t necessarily see.

And we’re unintentionally just. Business as usual marketing, as usual, we’re unintentionally leaving a lot of those people out, prohibiting them from seeing and interacting with our content. So I wanted to kinda lay that foundation. That’s why these five steps and these five tips are going to help us increase our reach by making our content more accessible.

So the first thing that is becoming more and more common when people use it is stylized funky. Text in their social media posts. So if you go, if you type something in Facebook, a post, or whatever, Facebook automatically creates it in whatever font they use. I don’t know what font it is, but it’s whatever font they use.

There are people who are what is it? Yeah, it’s a boring font, I think. There are ways though, to change the font, to change the weight, which means to make it bold, to make it script, to make it look different. And typically that involves copying and pasting from other external sources.

I know when I’ve done it, I would find somebody else who posted and that funky font and I’d copy and paste, and then it makes your content stand out in the news feed. The problem that a lot of people don’t know that I didn’t know was that when a screen reader reads that content, they read the font information before each letter of the word that you’ve written in that font.

If you wrote hi Amanda, in, in bold. And then it said the rest, would be like Times New Roman font, H times new Roman font. I am font, a new Roman font. It’s oh my goodness. It’s so overwhelming. Like it’s awful. 

5 Steps to Increase Your Social Media Reach with Meg Brunson

They would almost need to be writing it down in order to be able to understand what it says.

And if you’ve ever heard a screen reader, even they sound very robotic. So sometimes it’s hard to even follow along with what they’re saying. And I have an example of it that I have on the website so that you can go and actually listen to what it sounds like. It’s awful. And I.

As I said, I see people doing this all the time. The recommendation is just don’t do it. Just don’t use those funky fonts, just type into the social media platform, the way it’s meant to be used. And that will allow more people to be able to consume your content. Because if you’re using assistive technology, you’re just gonna skip over it. And the message is lost. 

Wow, that’s a great one. That’s it. That would be enough for a whole podcast. I can’t wait to hear the other four points.

I know. I have to keep it succinct. I, cause I have done a whole podcast on each of these things. The second one I wanna talk about is the Kimel case. Camel case is the practice of capitalizing. And, sorry, I’m talking with my hands if you’re watching on video, but camelcase is the process of capitalizing. 

The first letter of each word, when you’re squishing words together, like in a hashtag or a username or a URL now, visually this is gonna be hard to visualize, but if you close your eyes or whatever, and think about it.This hashtag is the hashtag w H O R E M B E R S. 

If you could picture those words, it’s supposed to say who remembers, but that’s not what I heard, but it could also be interpreted. Can we swear on this? Does that consider it a swear word as horror members? Who members or who remembers two very different things?

Another really common example that I love is Susan Boyle. Do you remember Susan Boyle? She was like an opera singer from Britain’s got talent, I think. And when she released her album, they wanted to use the hashtag Susan album party. But another way you can break those letters up is S U S so either sus or sus anal bum party.

That’s not what they wanted to get across. When you write in all lowercase letters, number one, it’s hard for just. For any eyes to figure out what that is. You’re scanning, you’re looking for a familiar word, then you’re trying to break it up into little chunks. It takes us a couple of seconds to figure out what the hashtag is.

And that could be made so much easier. If we used camel case if we just capitalized the first letter of each word in that hashtag. URL username, whatever the case may be. And with screen readers, going back to that assistive technology, if they see capital letters, they’ll read those as words. Otherwise, they’re trying to read that the whole string is one word and it’s gobbly good. Like you can’t understand it. 

I’m gonna fix all my hashtags from now on. This is great.

And I use A scheduling tool that allows you to have hashtag banks. And so one super easy task is to put 10 minutes on your calendar and just go in and update all of your hashtags to make them capitalized.

So like the first thing, don’t use that funky tax. The second thing is just to update your hashtag banks. It’s unfortunate that you, that Insta. Default to all lowercase, but if we just type them out with uppercase, if we save them in a document and copy-paste, whatever case, maybe it really isn’t that much more work to capitalize those letters to make the user experience better.

I love that. Okay. That’s awesome. All right. What about number three? 

Number three is the hardest one. Oh, I know. Stay with me. This is the hardest one. It’s the saddest one, but it’s not as bad as it seems. Emojis. All right. I love emojis. We love these little guys, but we have to dial it back a little bit and there are some rules we need to follow with emojis.

So emojis have built-in alt text basically. So when you use an emoji, a screen reader knows what to say based on how it’s programmed. Side note, you can check Emojipedia dot. I believe it’s a dot org to check what the screen reader will say when it sees that emoji. 

So there’s a lot of difference in emojis. One emoji that looks like two hands pressed together. And I know some people use that as a high five. Some people use it as praying hands, and even with praying hands, sometimes it can be used as like actual prayer verses thank you so much, right? These were three different ways that emojis can be interpreted.

So in order to include, in order to make your content equitable, which means that everybody understands it in the same way. We need to be clear about what emojis we’re using and how people are understanding them. Saying number one, make sure what your emojis are actually saying, number two, we don’t wanna use emojis as bullet points, which I am totally guilty of doing because I think it’s cute.

But then, before every bullet point, it’s reading pointing a finger to the right. Your content pointing finger to the right, your content, or whatever it is I’m making that up. But whatever that emoji is and the same way that that funky text can get exhausting, annoying, and overwhelming, using too many emojis can feel that way too.

So emojis should be used to enhance your message not to be or replace your message. Don’t replace words with is. The best practice would be to use one to two emojis per post to put them at the end of your message. After your call to action, wouldn’t it be sad if so, got to three or four emojis and then never then tuned out?

So they never got to your call to action. Again, these are tough, right? Because we love these emojis. And another, again, this could be a whole podcast episode. There are skin tone emojis. So there’s yellow. And then there are five skin tones. And I started using the skin tone that most closely, in my opinion, represented me.

I felt like that’s what I should be doing. However, when you use a skin tone emoji, it actually adds additional alt text. Oh my, the emoji. So now instead of saying. Pointing finger to the right. It says skin tone, number two, pointing a finger to the right. And so suddenly it’s like using the yellow emoji can actually be more accessible because there’s less feedback that assistive technology is delivering to the people. 

So I could go on and on forever about emojis, but there are just a few, a handful of things to keep in mind with how we handle emojis. And I feel like at this point you might wanna go listen to that emoji episode because there are more things you make the decisions that are best for you.

I should have said this in the beginning too, right? Doing any of these things doesn’t make you a bad person. Like you don’t know what you don’t know and you don’t have to change everything all at once. Change one thing, get comfortable, return and change another thing. I don’t want this list to be overwhelming.

Number four, scooting right along is alt text. I think people are starting to be familiar with what. Text alternative text means basically it’s copy text that you use to describe an image or a gift. And it is often embedded into the image so that you don’t see it unless the image doesn’t load.

So if the image doesn’t load, the text will show instead. And if you’re using assistive technology, that text is what that technology reads. The problem. Is the text that is auto-populated often insufficient? So I posted a picture of me with my two kids and it said maybe two people are standing, that’s something that doesn’t sufficiently describe.

So you need to describe that image for what’s contextually important. So in that example, the way. Typed my alt text. I drew attention, not only to the fact that I was with my oldest two kids, but I talked about what my shirt says and what my kiddo’s shirt says. Because that was relevant to the purpose of the post.

If the post was about something else, you wouldn’t have to talk about those things. Make sure you have alt text with all of your content. It’s gonna benefit people using assistive technology and also people like me who travel full time and have slow internet and the images don’t always load. So you wanna make sure those are accurate? 

Are you ready? I’m ready. This is, we’re gonna talk about color, and contrast. This is relevant for people who have any sort of vision impairments or blindness or color blindness, or even people who prefer. To use the internet in grayscale, which I didn’t realize was a super popular thing.

But the grayscale reduces some of the strain on the eyes. So if you’re dealing with things like the internet, or eye pain, that could help. So for these people, color contrast is important because if the colors are too similar, when it’s in grayscale or when they have different vision abilities, they’re not able to differentiate the difference in color.

So for this example, I’m specifically talking about text in the background. So the background color and the color of the text, there has to be enough contrast in order for it to be accessible to people. And there’s an actual number. It’s 4.5 to one is the contrast, and you’re probably. What the heck does that mean?

And how do I determine what the contrast is? And I’m gonna give you a link, cuz the link is not pretty. But I’ll give you a link that you can put in the show notes and you can actually plug your colors in and it will tell you what your ratio is. And it has a really easy scale that says if you pass or you fail.

And so what I did is I plopped in my, I have two or three common background colors and then two or three commons, like bold colors. So I just went through it, I took 10 minutes and I checked how all my background colors work with all my foreground colors. And there was one that I was like, oh, I thought this was a light purple, but it clearly isn’t like it failed all the things.

And you were able to just slide. There’s like a slider, so you can adjust the colors to meet the ratio. And I just that’s in my brand colors. I just think that’s so cool. So now I update that my branding guides and going forward, my content is automatically more inclusive because I’ve changed this from medium purple to a lighter purple so that my text is always clear.

And it’s amazing. Sometimes you. If you’re, you’ve got the decent vision, you don’t realize how much that color contrast matters. And again, there’s so much more stuff we can talk about here, but in color, contrast is a whole nother topic and right. We could go on and on forever. 

All of the five points that you’ve talked about are mind-blowing for someone that hasn’t really thought about those things, especially the social media stuff. Like I knew about color contrast from web design, but. The rest of it. I’m like, wow, that’s craziness. Like I didn’t even realize that it read those things that way. I absolutely love this and I love that you’ve been here to share this with our guests. So where is a great place for people to find you and get more information about all of this?

So my main website is Meg brunson.com. I encourage you to check me out there. If you’re interested in the podcast, you can go to just marketing podcast.com. And I also have, because this stuff there is so much, it can be very overwhelming. I’ve put together a checklist. 

It’s actually two checklists that are put together, but one is things to go through to make sure your content is as accessible as possible before you post, like your next piece of content.The second checklist is a little different. It’s how to respond. In case of a tragedy so like how to determine what warrants changing your social media strategy in case of a, school shootings or. 

Wars or now I can’t think of any other examples, but police violence, any of those things, when there’s a tragedy that occurs, how do you respond? So it’s those two checklists bundled together and that’s at just marketing checklist.com. So that’ll help you. Navigate these things step by step. 

Awesome. I love it. Thank you for providing that for everyone. Thank you so much, Meg, for being here, sharing your wisdom and you all must listen to the just marketing podcast.

Connect with Meg Brunson

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