Having a Social Media presence for your brand is a given for businesses today, but how do you actually build a strategy that provides value to your brand? I talk with so many founds who spend hours a week sharing photos and posting reels, just to feel like it’s not actually doing anything meaningful.
So today I’ve invited on Elle de Freitas, founder and CEO of Wonderkind to discuss How to begin building your social media strategy as a small brand.
Learn more about Wonderkind.
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Building Your Social Media Strategy from the Ground Up
Jordan Buckner: [00:00:00] Having a social media presence for your brand is a given in today's business world. But how do you actually build a strategy that provides value? I talk with so many founders who spend hours sharing photos and posting reels just to feel like it's not actually doing anything meaningful. So today I've invited on Elle de Freitas, who is the founder and CEO of Wonderkind to discuss how to build your social media strategy as a small brand.
El, welcome to the podcast.
Elle de Freitas: Thank you so much for having me, Jordan.
Jordan Buckner: So I'd love for you to share just a little bit about the work that you do to add some context for our listeners, because you work with a lot of founders in different ways. And so can see this from a couple of different perspectives, but I'd love for you to kind of share a little bit about your work and then we'll get into the conversation.
Elle de Freitas: Totally. So Wonderkind started about almost four years ago. And originally my And the only service we did was social media. That was my passion still is working with [00:01:00] small brands to help build. Their social media followings, which then and now I think is super important for their business. And so Wonderkind today has expanded our services a bit, but still that social media energy and that social media services at our core. So typically in our biggest part of businesses. Managing content and in the platform for Instagram and TikTok, and then we have a photography part of business and we have a design part of business.
So when I think about who we are, what we do, it's those 4 services and it's. A few keywords. It's a very youthful team. It's very creative atmosphere and it's really targeted for food and beverage brands. That's my passion is social media, but more largely food and beverage brands. So that's kind of a little context and Wonderkind and what we do and where our passions lie.
Jordan Buckner: Yeah, I mean, it sounds like you get a lot of exposure across multiple different brands so you can really understand what's working and what's not working in any of the larger trends. You know, it's interesting because I talked to founders, especially [00:02:00] those who are starting on their first year or two, and they like kind of know they have to do some posts on social media, but they're not really sure, like, Where it fits within their business.
And so I'd love to hear your perspective on, the role of having a social media presence as a brand and what you should expect to make some of the things you shouldn't expect from it.
Elle de Freitas: Totally. So the importance , for social media, I think , for brands, I'll start with retail, I think most consumers, when they're discovering new products on a shelf, I think.
If they're going one place, they're usually checking out their social media. , and I know that because I've asked people and including my own behaviors of when I discover a new brand, I'm looking at their Instagram. It's almost replacing a website in many ways. it's a place where they can get information quickly.
It's current. It has updated SKUs where they're sold. It shows the vibe of the brand. In a way that a website might not be able to. And so from a retail perspective, I think having a social media presence is really important because I think, I think it's helping a consumer make a [00:03:00] purchase or they're purchasing the product in store and they're going to the Instagram to hopefully follow along and continue being a purchaser or a fan of the brand by really opting in to receive daily information from the brand. So from a retail perspective, I think Instagram, I'll talk about that platform is really important. And then of course, DTC, the goal for Instagram is really to spread brand awareness and help that call to action, which is come to our website purchase our product, sign up for our newsletter, whatever it may be and even from an ad perspective, if you're spending ad money for again, from my own behaviors, if I receive an ad of something.
I am looking on their organic Instagram to see if. Is this a legit brand is this. The brand that's for me, did the algorithm get me right? is this a brand I actually want to purchase? So it might be serving as a justification tool for me to purchase when it comes to direct to consumer. So I'll always believe in the power of social media and the power, it has to tell your story, to gather your community, give information, get [00:04:00] feedback.
I think it's a really powerful tool to have.
Jordan Buckner: You know, one thing that you mentioned that kind of says like, you are looking for like both the legitimacy of a brand and then also does it reflect you and as a consumer, I think that's so important because especially for food and beverage, we really take it for granted that like we can make a food product and people would just like consume it and put it in their bodies when they have no idea who we are, right?
Like, I mean, that's something that we shouldn't. Take for granted and, you know, really build that like trust that we're a legitimate company. And people might just be looking at it for that. And then also that idea of like, am I reflected in the brand? And like the images, the style, the people showing up in the photos for them to really get a sense of kind of who we are.
Elle de Freitas: Right. Yes. Totally. When I discover a new brand, I mean, it's happening all the time. I'll be served ads of things that Instagram thinks I want. And I am looking on Instagram to see, do I actually want this product? And most of the times they get it right. And now I want to follow that brand.
So I think having that organic piece, having [00:05:00] Proper brand awareness on Instagram I think is important. And then TikTok. TikTok is a very interesting platform. 'cause , it operates almost like a search engine in many ways. You're able to search things like top restaurants in Austin and you're getting a bunch of resources about restaurants in Austin or best gluten-free snacks.
And you're getting tons of toss that are talking about that. So TikTok is a way. I think to be discovered in a mass way in a way that Instagram probably isn't right now. So TikTok to me. I almost treat it as a growth engine, a growth platform more than I consider it a brand awareness platform because you can really grow quite quickly.
On that platform in an organic way.
Jordan Buckner: Yeah. And then it makes a ton of sense. And then in terms of like for new founders, where should they be investing , their time? And I guess how much of their time in terms of creating like a perfectly curated grid on Instagram now versus creating Tik TOKs, because it, you know, there's limited time that we all have.
So where should they kind of be spending their energy?
Elle de Freitas: Totally. , and that's, I think about that and I talk about [00:06:00] that a lot because. We work with really big brands. We work with small brands and. Not every brand starting out is able to dedicate their time or resources budget to running both channels at the best of their top ability.
So when I'm advising brands, if a brand has a small budget , they need to be on a platform. That's really, they're going to see some type of return quickly. And like I was mentioning organic Instagram, isn't always that it's sort of a luxury platform to do it perfectly because you're not likely going to grow from zero to 10, 000 followers in three months.
Like you actually could on TikTok. It's a slower growth platform. I still see there being a ton of importance to it, like, like I mentioned, I think it's a justification tool. I think it's a discovery tool for people trying to discover a new brand and retail, but you're not going to see that really quick growth like you could TikTok
so, how I advise brands, if they're not able to spend, you know. 2, 000, 3, 000, 4, 000, 5, 000 on Instagram, what I say is try to keep the channel alive by giving [00:07:00] information maybe two or three times a week. Ideally you're able to, you know, show behind the scenes, show the founder talking about the product, maybe some studio imagery.
Whether that's you creating it yourself or you kind of getting some batch imagery from a studio or from a individual, maybe some graphics talking about the retailer. So do your best to keep that channel alive. And that might even be and I can discuss maybe that's even an intern that you're. Paying hourly to kind of keep Instagram kind of moving along and TikTok is where I would spend my, my budget if I were a brand that was starting out.
And this is what I tell other brands generally is TikTok is a place that you really can grow both sales and just follower growth on TikTok and Instagram. When you go viral on TikTok, you also grow on Instagram as a result. And so. That's the channel, but I would say try to properly do that. And some founders are really, in my opinion, blessed to be really good at social media.
They love it. They're able to like, you know Oathouse, Allie Bonner would be one Allison on Poppy the Doe founder, like,[00:08:00] , those gals are great at social media. They're able to do the voiceovers and the trends and the, Cutting up the reels and TikTok, so they're able to kind of do that channel properly.
And maybe you can do some small scale of that, or you could hire someone to manage TikTok whether that's an agency or an individual, again, an intern or something, someone young that knows that channel knows that platform, but TikTok is where I would spend money, quote, unquote,your resources or your time.
Because I think that you can see more return than you could on Instagram and this current. Landscape.
Jordan Buckner: Yeah, that totally makes a lot of sense. And I love that you are thinking about the ways of which you can go about doing that. And I think that might be helpful for our listeners, right? So a lot of our listeners are like one to five person teams that are trying to figure out how do I make the most with my time and my budget.
And so there's probably three main areas, right? That you can use. You can either like manage this yourself and do everything you can hire a intern or some like, you know, entry level who can understand it. And then there's the, you know, working with like an [00:09:00] agency or maybe we're more experienced freelancer.
I'd love to kind of break down a couple tips or strategies that you might suggest starting from doing it yourself. And then we can talk through each of the other ones.
Elle de Freitas: Yes. So, Thanks. Like I mentioned, there are some founders that I feel like have paved the way when it comes to do it yourself. And , that's Oathouse, that's Poppy that's Doe.
I can think of some more and send them to you that have really shown what it looks like to be able to do it yourself. And that's not always possible. And I don't like founders. Feeling like some are not going to be able to do that because they don't like to, they feel uncomfortable by it, or they don't have the time.
That's not their skillset. They need to focus on sales or operations. So I know it's not always possible. If someone was able to do that, I'm like, great. Get on there. Talk about your experience. Talk about the highs and lows why you got started. Like people do love that content. And so if you can do it, great.
try to do it as much as possible. Again, I'm more familiar with founders that can't do it because that's why we're usually hired. So the middle ground would be [00:10:00] hiring someone in house. Now, the benefits of that, of course, would be it's someone who's dedicated to your brand. You really can have a one on one relationship with them.
You really get to know them and you know that they're just working on your brand. The downside might be. If you're not very social media savvy, you don't like social media. It might be hard to manage someone who's that's their whole job and they might need direction or need some resources or need some tips and tricks and that if it's a founder that doesn't have time or doesn't like to, that might not be what they're able to provide this intern or employee.
And we've had many situations where they've tried to in house hire and it's hard because, you know, to be frank. The best hire you can do when you're doing social media is someone who's very young who, like, knows the platform really well. You're not having to teach them how to make a TikTok especially for founders.
Like, I wouldn't even know the 1st thing about it. I shouldn't be teaching them. I want them to know. And so you want to hire someone really young. Which is great. You get someone really fresh. I'm really excited. Someone who's really technical and great at making TikTok on the flip side. It can be [00:11:00] more tough to manage because it might be their 1st internship.
So they need quite a bit of direction. And if you're a busy founder that. You know, is in 9 to 5 calls trying to make operations. We're trying to fundraise. It might be really difficult to manage someone who's very needing a lot of help. So, we've had a lot of clients that have tried to go that route, and it's a little.
Too much time demand on their end, and so they want to make the pivot, which. You probably you know, an intern is probably more cost effective. Of course. You know, we're a staff of 50 people, not all working on an account once, but there's a big team. There's a lot of support. There's a lot of brainpower and years of experience that we're putting into our brands.
The pros is that a lot of expertise, a lot of knowledge, a lot of past success going viral or creating content. We're probably not the most cost effective route or any agency really would probably not be the most cost effective. Have to go so , it's something I always think about if I had a brand, what would I choose to do?
And it's definitely a decision that is tough to [00:12:00] make.
Jordan Buckner: Yeah, I can totally see that right. And like, I kind of want to dive in that a little more in terms of how do you, you know, where are some of those building blocks to start? Cause I think you mentioned a little bit in terms of like when you're starting doing things like telling behind the scenes stories of your brand.
So I think one problem that founders have are like. I don't know what to talk about. Right. They feel like they're doing a million things a day, but they don't know what to talk about. And so how does someone or founder, like just start even thinking about like, what types of content should I post about to make it easier?
Like, are there certain like buckets of content you can ideate within?
Elle de Freitas: When I think about food brands, which is our beverage brands, what I think about is. And this is something the founder has tons of knowledge on there and a lot of expertise on why did they make it? What is different about it?
What's the story? Like, why was this product needed? And that's a story that every founder has of why they created it. There was a reason there was a concern. There was a whole, whatever it might be. Talking about that, , even literally just the camera talking about why [00:13:00] you created the product is something people want to hear about and so , that's one area I think depending on the product, how to use it, for instance, it could be how, like if it was a turmeric powder. People need to know how to use this. Like, where do I put it? Do I add it to things? , so giving that inspiration on how to use can. Hopefully confirm someone to buy it, but it also might be giving more ideas to use it more quickly and buy again. If you have a kombucha, you don't really need to say how to use it. It's kind of like you just drink it. So you might be able to inspire occasions that you drink it. Oh, drink it when you're about to go work out. Oh, I work out every day. And I didn't know you would drink kombucha before. Now I'm going to try.
So like , doing some inspiration on where to enjoy it. And I think 1 big thing, and this is something we did with Wonderkind way back when is just the behind the scenes of the job. I mean, we did that when we 1st started our whole entire social media was just behind the scenes of the daily day and people loved it.
People love seeing what's going on behind the scenes. In people's [00:14:00] lives. They like to see a
Jordan Buckner: little, I mean, like it's weird, but like a little like lawyers and to see just like, Hey, what are other people doing? How are they spending their time?
Elle de Freitas: And so people love that. And I always tell founders, I'm like, you might think it's kind of boring content to do a time lapse of you unpacking 200 pounds of Pinto beans.
But people actually love to see that so just film it and post it, you know, and it's, I always say like, , just turn the camera around and show the warehouse if it's a mess. Just show like day in the life. This is how I need to clean this entire place up in 3 hours. Like, how am I going to do it? People like to be involved and brands.
And so the more you can show the behind the scenes, even if it feels boring. To you, it might not be boring to others. So that's the simplest thing you could do. Probably is just. Practice filming a day in the life of different things you're doing that day, what you ate for lunch, you know, the meeting you had with whoever, how it went, just remembering to do that, I think is the hardest part and just getting over the fact that you think no one really cares because they probably don't
Jordan Buckner: I think I should set up a tripod and record me recording this [00:15:00] podcast, right?
Elle de Freitas: You've lost a good concept moment.
Jordan Buckner: I love that. So I love. Creating those kinds of buckets. I think that makes it easier, right?
When you're like, Oh, if you have those areas, like you mentioned, then you can come up with two, three, four or five ideas within each, and like you mentioned behind the scene thing, if you kind of set a reminder, Hey, I'm doing something new, let me talk, like feel myself doing it, or I have a meeting, let me record going into the meeting, going after me, just like a quick thought and kind of give those prompts of like how to incorporate just within your, within your life.
Elle de Freitas: I think that's exactly right. I think that's exactly right. Any big milestones? Are worth posting about on, on social. Mm
Jordan Buckner: hmm. Okay. So once you get that strategy, I know sometimes even me in particular, like I just. Sometimes it takes a little bit to like, actually sit down and record something. So that's something I'm personally working on as well.
But one of the other ideas that we just talked about were, you know, hiring an intern , to do so. And I think , a lot of people have a fallacy that like, oh, if anyone is. A Gen Z er, like they know how TikTok for business works, and I don't think that's [00:16:00] really the case. And you end up with people like hiring someone and it doesn't work out.
And as you mentioned, for all the other reasons, they're like, Oh, well, I guess this just won't work out for anyone, but it all comes down to like, how do you actually find good interns? And I know at Wonderkind, like you work with a lot of interns as well. So I'd love to hear your thoughts on actually finding great interns who can, you know, be a good fit for coming in and learning the business.
Elle de Freitas: Totally. I think interns are great , for a lot of reasons. I think they bring fresh energy, they bring new ideas. they're not set in their ways. They're able to kind of integrate really well. They do just have to be, I think, set up well for them to succeed and for you to be happy , with the relationship.
So how we find them and how I was just finding them , is every role we post, we put on our Instagram reason being. Is when we posted on Instagram, they'll see our vibe also, so they're kind of a little bit understanding what they're going to get into. So if our brand, they could easily post hiring a summer intern and you might get some good applicants that way because they might already be followers.
So they're actually true brand [00:17:00] fans or a friend posted and share that there. You know, you have to work for this company, so you might find some people that are really already close to the brand. And then I also think, and we've had great success with LinkedIn, I think it's a place that, you know, young professionals are gathering and looking , for roles.
And so I think and I would suggest to cast a wide net at the start, and then we're typically giving a project. As the 1st point of contact, that's just to kind of weed out and see, who would be a good fit off of that project before we start interviewing. You may not need to do that.
You might be able to do a 1st round of interviews, but. Our problem is they're not problem. It's actually a great thing. We get so many applicants that we need a way to kind of filter the 1st step. But I suggest a project with , any internal, because you're seeing how this person works. Did they turn the project in on time?
Did they spell everything correctly? Did they. Follow instructions. So I think it's really important to give a project. And if you're looking to hire a social media manager, let's say that they're going to help run Instagram and TikTok, have them create some content for your brand. You don't have to [00:18:00] give them a lot of direction.
So when they do turn in content, take it with a grain of salt in the sense of they're not going to have it perfect because they didn't have a training with you yet, but you can see their style in there. The way they think about social media right away of that content. If anything didn't maybe feel right or doesn't you're like, oh, that is not in any way.
How I want to talk about our brand then that's not the candidate for you. And you move on to the ones that the project was you felt really aligned with. So. We always give projects to kind of see where they're at. And then from there, we'll do multiple rounds of interviews just to make sure it's the right fit.
So we take that interview process really seriously. And that project is super important. And we usually, if it's social media, like I said, we'll give, like, create. To TikToks with this brand and then do an Instagram post with copy and you'll be surprised which ones stand out and which ones you kind of move further down the process.
And then. For us, our interns, you know, we like to make sure their roles are really clear from the start. This is how [00:19:00] many posts we need you to do per week. This is how many hours you're doing community management. This is the tone of voice. We're setting them up really well so that they can be as independent as possible.
And I would imagine founders would like that as well. You want to, you know, have scheduled check ins with. This, you know, newer intern, maybe two times a week or so, but you want them to be independent and that takes you setting it up from the start and be really clear about what's expected of the role.
And here's all the information you could possibly need to do your role. And then if you have any questions, let me know when we first started. It wasn't that way. It was like, oh, and just do whatever you want to do. , and it was not a good experience, you know, because we're like, oh, either person, okay.
But it's because they had no idea , what we wanted them to do. And so now we've been very clear, like, what exactly are they doing? And then like, , what are the exact deliverables at the day? And they like that too. Cause they're like, there's no black and white or there is black and white.
There's no gray. It's not no questions. It's this. And then here's all the information you could possibly need. And then, of course, over time, you really get that down because at first, it's [00:20:00] probably really wishy washy and you have an experience that you're like, that intern left and they said it was because they had no idea that they had to do three posts.
Now I'm going to make sure it says three posts, you know like over time after mistakes and mistakes, you know, , you perfect it, but it takes a while to get there trial and error. So it's not always perfect out the gates, but I've definitely found the more information you have up front. The more successful everyone is.
Jordan Buckner: I absolutely love that. I think that's so important. As I say as well, like, the key to any successful relationship is having clear expectations on both sides and communicating those frequently and under in the way that's understood so that everyone knows what's going on. Right. So I think those are amazing tips that you shared on hiring great interns.
And so now there's going to be some people who are maybe home from college over the winter break. Maybe you can start finding someone for winter internship now in preparation for the summer as well. So switching gears a little bit. I'll. I want to also ask, like, when's the right time to work with a more experienced, a freelancer or agency.
And [00:21:00] I know you see us all the time. One thing that I hear from founders is that they actually are expecting an agency to drive sales for them through social media. And oftentimes in agency perspective, they might think, well, we can't guarantee sales, but we'll help you get more awareness. And so how do you work between brands to say, okay, when are you ready?
What's the right mindset and expectations when you start working with someone who's more of an expert in this.
Elle de Freitas: Great question. So I think the way I would answer this when it comes to Instagram is it's the right time to hire an agency that works organic. When you are comfortable with the value that organic Instagram brings. So this is an answer to your 1st and 2nd question. We do organic Instagram and anyone who does organic Instagram should say it this way.
We cannot guarantee sales. Our value is in growing brand awareness metrics. Some call them vanity metrics, followers, likes, [00:22:00] comments, kind of those engagement numbers and the un quantitative value of serving as a professional looking website engine. You know, like, when I think about the power of Instagram, it's brand awareness and getting more comments and followers and all that.
It's also a website. People are treating Instagram like a website. They are. They're looking at the Instagram as a website. And so I can't measure that in any number because I can't see that. So if a brand's coming to me and they're like, Elle I have 2, 000, I want to spend that on Instagram and I have to see the 2, 000, the ROI ASAP, then it's not a good fit yet because. , I would not suggest you to spend 2000 dollars on Instagram. If that's all that you have right now, I would not have you go to us because
I think you should. Pivot and go to Tik tocker and we can talk about that. There's other ways I'd spend that money. I would advise not on Instagram because it's never going to give you that. It won't. It might give you 2, 000 followers over 2 months, maybe hopefully, but it's not the right platform.
[00:23:00] And so. That's the way I'd answer it. When you're comfortable with the value that organic Instagram actually brings, which is not monetary, then you're ready for an agency. Like if you're like, I know that I need that. I want to have a professional looking Instagram. I want it to be robust content coming out high production, never have to worry about Instagram again.
Sure. I'd love to see some follower growth, things like that, I know I need it and I know it needs to happen and look good. Then we're a good fit for that. But if you're like, I need to see the ROI ASAP, then you're going to be stressed and we're going to be stressed and it's just not going to be the right fit.
I'll always advocate for TikTok because I do think that TikTok has the power , to show that ROI. However. If a brand was like, if we spend 2, 000 with you, are we going to get 2, 000 in sales? I couldn't answer that question because we're not doing paid. When we do paid, which we don't do paid, but if someone does paid, they can literally see by the dollar how much money was spent on this ad and how much money was spent by a consumer or consumers because of that ad.
We don't have that data. , and we'll have brands that we'll [00:24:00] work on for six months And they kind of bebop between going viral and they'll have some good sales, et cetera. There's some brands. The second post we do has 15 million views and had 300, 000 in sales in one day. Wow. So the range is crazy, but that to me, I'm like, , I'm willing if a brand's like, Hey, we've got a limited budget.
Where do we put it? I'm like, TikToks because the chances are we could go viral. And when we go viral, there are sales guaranteed. Couldn't say exactly the ratio, how much to viral view to dollar, but it would be way more than 2, 000 if we had 15, 000, 000 of you, so. Organic will never provide that direct ROI. I still always, always believe in the importance of both channels organic. But if a brand was like, hey, this is all we have. I'd say, let's do TikTok proper. get more followers, get views, hopefully sales and then eventually add Instagram.
Jordan Buckner: Yeah. Thank you for saying that because I think that actually is very relieving to a lot of founders because right. You get all these missed messages, you know, like I need to be everywhere, but how much and how do I divide up my [00:25:00] time? And I think that's just very helpful to understand like how just everyday people are using each platform and the value of it.
Right. So like Instagram, it might be, what's the foundation that I need to just set up there so that , it's there. The people who are looking to find it, it looks trustworthy. Right. It's not stressing me out as a founder. I don't have to like spend money into it and worry about ROI because it can be more straightforward versus, you know, then they can spend their time on something like on Tik TOK , and really use that as the platform for growth, as you mentioned, I think that's really smart.
Elle de Freitas: And I always say that I'll always brands come to us, you know, and they're like, we're a small brand and this is what we're trying to do. and I love, we're not the type of place. That's like, oh, you need to hire us for Instagram, but because they don't need to. They probably can do it without us.
Just fine. There's other things we could do for them or we'll see them when they're ready for that stage of their journey, but . I think I'm lucky and Wonderkind lucky that we're in a place that , we can really be true advisors and truly. We love social media and we love brands.
Our goals that they exist in the world and sometimes that just means us [00:26:00] supporting from afar, you know, so it's just we're I'm glad that we're in that position that we're able to sometimes just. You know, advise them to not work with us to do it on their own for a bit. And then we're ready when they're ready for us.
But yeah love talking about, I think the importance of both and where, if I was a brand, what I would be doing with my own money too.
Jordan Buckner: Well, this is incredibly helpful and I know our listeners will have a lot of takeaways from this conversation, right? In terms of like practical things that you can do to set yourself up for success as you are looking into moving into the next year.
So thank you so much for joining us. I'm going to include a link to Wonderkind in the podcast notes and definitely check out out and she's just very knowledgeable and very giving kind of within the space. So thank you for sharing with our community and. Yeah, looking forward to seeing more of what you and Wonderkind create in the future.
If you haven't already, check out their Instagram because it's really fun , to see as well.
Elle de Freitas: Thank you so much for having me. And I'll extend how I always do if anyone would like to email [00:27:00] me and I'm happy to work through your social media and provide some ideas or suggestions to you. I'm happy to do so.
I do it. All day in my free time quote unquote anyway. So I'm happy to help you think through kind of how to navigate social media, whether it's on a budget or
Jordan Buckner: I love that. Thanks so much. And, check out our show notes for more info. Thanks.