fresh takes on social media marketing with matt courtoy

Matt Courtoy | Edible Arrangements

Hannah: Hello everyone and welcome back to DWGTV, I’m Hannah, and today I’m joined by the director of social media at Edible Arrangements, Matt Courtoy. Today we’re going to be chatting about social media marketing, how the industry has evolved, where it’s headed and how you can use social media to build your brand. Without further adieu, Matt if you want to introduce yourself, share a little bit about what it is that you do at Edible Arrangements? 

Matt: I handle all the social and a large part of the digital strategy for the brand, for Edible Arrangements. I’m sure most everyone is familiar, but if you’re not, Edible Arrangements is sort of like a floral bouquet but it’s made completely out of edible stuff like fruit. We have a thriving e-commerce business, so a lot of our customer base is done online. It’s very quick to go to a website, order something that you need and have it delivered to friends, loved ones, or whatever. We also have 1200 retail locations, so a large part of our business is figuring out how to drive consumers in to pick up either arrangements, fruit platters, or just simple treats like smoothies and dipped fruit sort of as a pick me up. 

It’s sort of a two-pronged business between e-commerce and the retail side. I handle the strategy for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, we’ve started to do a few things on YouTube, and even LinkedIn we have Edible for business that we use quite a bit. We touch basically all the major social platforms. We’ve done a few advertising campaigns on things like Reddit as well, so we’re starting to get into more, they’re not really burgeoning, but when you consider the big three of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter then things like Reddit are technically burgeoning. We developed channel strategies that are specific for all those platforms, so we challenge ourselves pretty regularly to not use the same content across all, to sort of speak to the different platforms in a unique way, that’s unique to the brand. So, always stay within the brand voice, and have a unique look and feel across all those platforms. 

That is in a nutshell what I do. 

Hannah: That’s a lot. How did you come into this role? Have you always worked in social media? 

Matt: Social media has definitely been an aspect of my career. I’ve been in various forms of marketing, promotions, and social industries now for about 18 years. I started in radio, and I started using social when I was in promotions at a radio station to get people to come to our events or to listen to our shows, or whatever we had going on. Back then we use Myspace. Our radio station, which was 99x in Atlanta, we were one of the first radio stations to utilize Myspace to pump out new music, or to talk to people about events, or even use it as a contesting technique to get them into concerts, or private meet and greets and that sort of thing. 

I was there for about 7 years and then I moved to the agency side, for an entertainment-based agency working on mostly major motion pictures in the southeast. So to get people into advanced screenings of movies, to build word of mouth before the release. When I was there I took my learnings from using things like Myspace. Then as I was starting my career there, Facebook became public; it was a longer gist for students only. Twitter became a thing. WordPress was around. We used that sort of as an added value for our clients as a way to pump out things about a new trailer that dropped, or advanced screenings and that sort of thing. 

I was there for a few years and one of the promo partners that I worked on for a film called The Lorax was Whole Foods Market. I worked with the southeast Whole Foods marketing team on the release of The Lorax, and while I was there I got to talk to them and I got to know them and they had a position on their southeast marketing team. At first, it was a general position, so working on in store events in some of their markets, but then the national team was building out their social and digital strategy and they wanted someone in each region to head that up. So, I transitioned to completely doing social and digital then. Back then it was mostly organic, so the game has changed quite a bit, but I oversaw the content strategy for Facebook, Twitter and started on Instagram. Instagram started as I started my career there. And Yelp, and email for the Whole Foods markets in the southeast, so 35 markets across the southeast, with the exception of Florida. I was there for about 3 years until a job opportunity opened up at Focus Brands. 

Focus Brands has now 7 franchise-based businesses. I joined a team to head up social for Schlotzsky’s. Along the way, I started working on the caramel ice cream team and another brand as well. I worked on those 3 brands while I was there for about 3 years. I moved to Edible Arrangements about 5 or 6 months ago. 

Hannah: Wow, that’s a really impressive resume. 

Matt: It’s been a really fun thing. I love pop culture, entertainment, and food, so it’s really great to work on things that you’re super passionate about in real life. 

Hannah: What does a day in the life of Matt look like today at Edible Arrangements? 

Matt: We have a lot to do. Myself along with our social media manager, Hannah, we work on our channel strategies, so we will brainstorm content, usually a month out and then we schedule photo shoots. We get those shoots on the table and we will do various either still photos, stop motion or video. Once those are completed we size them, we schedule them, we write copy with our copywriter, Patrick. And then the three of us plan out the content for the month. And then we also use that content and say, “Hey can this work on things like email? Can this work on our blog?” And we figure out channel strategies. We also have 1200 locations, and those 1200 locations have their own local Facebook pages and so we help keep up with the maintenance on that. And then community management is a large part of it as well. So, responding to our guests and customers as fast as possible to get any guest relations issues, or positive feedback to the franchisees to take care of in a timely fashion. 

So, that’s it. We have a pretty big marketing team. We have our in-house creative team. We’re very cross-functional and very collaborative. Any given day we’re pulled into various different projects, like social touches. Social is a large part of the way that we reach our consumers now, so we’re involved in almost every aspect of the marketing business these days. 

Hannah: Yeah, it’s crazy how much goes into just social media. Just in one post, how many people are working on just one post, for one platform. 

What does it look like for Edible Arrangements creating a social strategy for each of your individual platforms? I know that you mentioned that you like to not just post the same things on all of your social platforms. What does that look like? 

Matt: It’s challenging. When Hannah and I joined the team it was very much just all across the board using the same content. This happens with a lot of brands, so no disrespect, but they didn’t even resize the content; it was the same photo over and over. People use different platforms and the platforms all have different dimensions and different specks. So, a lot of it was just figuring out, “Hey if the focus is on the center of the frame in this vertical shot, can we resize it to use it for a horizontal for something on Twitter or do we have to shoot a new piece?” And “How do our guests use Twitter? And is that why they come to Edible Arrangements?” A lot of it was figuring out general specks and how people use it and then building in that tone. The tone of voice is essential, so we can’t use the same line on Twitter that we use on Instagram or even on Facebook. We have to take the lines and make them sometimes less sassy if we’re going on Instagram, more engaging if we’re going on Facebook, and then we’re really starting to get into, with some of our summer campaigns, how we approach Pinterest, and utilizing our statuses as food experts, in a very fruit centric part of the year. During the summer, everyone is having backyard BBQs and pool parties and fruit is an essential part of that. So, we’re figuring out how do we make ourselves an essential part of their summer party planning experience? 

Hannah: What is your opinion on posting and scheduling content ahead of time versus posting in real time? Do you feel like there are a time and a place for both? How do you feel about that? 

Matt: I think scheduling is really the way to go. I think there are a time and place to jump into proactive conversations. I think the Facebook and Instagram algorithm has basically killed real time marketing on those two platforms. I could post something right now and a large part of our consumer base may not even see it until tomorrow. If we’re commenting on something that’s happening in pop culture, we may intend for it to be in real time but that’s not the way that works in the feed, so we have to lean on things like Instagram stories and Twitter still. I love Twitter, I get why people don’t like it but I still love it, and just from the real time nature. We’re still figuring out the voice of the brand and when we can jump in and when it’s appropriate and so we have a lot of conversations about that and how we interact with people in real time. If we’re going to duo it’s going to be somewhere like Twitter or Instagram stories. We schedule a lot of our content based around when the peak hours of engagement are anyways because we still post organically and we’re still trying to make it work even though it’s getting increasingly harder to make things work on an organic basis. 

Hannah: How does Edible Arrangements use social media to delight its audience, and really get them excited about your brand? 

Matt: That’s something we talk about quite a bit actually. We had a meeting yesterday to talk about what our approach to summer is. So, we’re doing something that we are internally calling A Summer of Surprises. Part of the best thing about the brand is that it is a surprise and delight brand. People get Edible Arrangements when they’re not expecting it or when they are celebrating something fun. Also, when things are happening in their life and they’re not so great, we’re also a part of that. But leaning into the surprise and delight is something that now that we are starting to get a better footing of the voice and our content strategy, and how do we bring that to life for more surprise and delight? You’ll see us, if you follow the brand throughout the end of the summer, like going into early fall and back to school, you’ll start to see us do more things where we do these little surprise and delight things like maybe we drop a coupon code that is 100% off but only 3 people can use it, so the first 3 that get there can use it. Or we may do like a pay it forward, like if someone buys an arrangement we may send a free arrangement to one of their friends, and so on and so on until we get like 30 or something like that. We’re going to play around with that and just the surprise and delight nature of the brand and how it comes to life in social. 

Hannah: How do you recommend handling negative feedback, negative comments, bad reviews on social media? 

Matt: It’s always important to acknowledge them first and foremost unless they’re profane or derogatory in any way. We try not to ban people or delete posts unless they’re just super profane, and that happens from time to time. The first thing is to publicly acknowledge it and then ship it offline so we can gather more information to sort of get it rectified as soon as possible. It’s difficult when you have a franchise model, because some franchisees are super responsive and some are a little bit slower so we always have to try to set customer expectations because we live in world where people want an immediate response, or an immediate refund or an immediate product delivery to their house, so it can be difficult. So, setting expectations and openly communicating that “Hey this may take 3-5 business days.” Most people get it, but some people depending on how upset they are don’t get it. But for the most part, we try our best to be as open and communicative as possible. 

I think the other essential thing is to try your best to keep it on the platform that they’re comfortable with. If they contact you on Facebook try to keep it on Facebook. I found that people get really frustrated if they engage on Facebook and then you try to make them email you or call you. I noticed that people tend to want to stay on the platform that they feel comfortable on, so we try our best to accommodate that whenever possible. 

Hannah: That’s a really good tip. What changes or challenges have you seen in the social media world over the past three years? 

Matt: The shift to paid has been pretty tough. You used to be able to hang with any of your competitors, no matter what their budget is on an organic standpoint. If you just had like great creatives or good copy, and now it’s just getting impossible. You reach about 1% of your audience at the most with any organic stuff. Having to shift to paid and convincing, not just at Edible, but this works for other brands that I’ve worked on, just convincing them to make social a bigger part of the marketing strategy and budget. That’s been one of the biggest challenges. I think people mostly get it now, but it was a very uphill battle three years ago. 

Hannah: Where do you see the industry headed? Where do you think are going to be the key areas of social media marketing platforms that are really going to blow up in the coming years? 

Matt: I think it’s already sort of happening now, but brands having a unique voice is pretty key. Having a unique sort of approach. I like when brands are humanized, some people don’t, but I personally like it. I like it when it’s in first person over third person or whatever. I think that’s it. I think the way that we target people gets increasingly sometimes scary but also very effective, so I think that’s going to be the big push is how you better segment your audience and reach people with different content based off of what their needs are. 

Hannah: For a business or organization that’s really struggling to gain traction on social media, where would you recommend they start? 

Matt: I think you carve out some sort of paid budget. Depending on what your needs are, if it’s B to B, then maybe you look at LinkedIn. We’ve had varying amounts of success with LinkedIn but you can’t really beat the targeting capabilities of Facebook and Facebook’s integration with Instagram. If you have a product that is worthy of Instagram, then it’s very easy to place very targeted ads to reach a certain demographic of certain people in a certain area. If a business is struggling I would say first and foremost forget trying to reach people organically, stop trying to grow how many ‘likes’ you have because it doesn’t matter at the end of the day. It’s to carve out some sort of money so you can play around with the advertising aspect of social. And don’t sink all of your money into it, make it part of your media mix at first, and then as you start to see results then you can shift more money accordingly. Don’t just shift everything out of traditional and go all digital because if you don’t have a good understanding of who your customer is and what your targeting looks like then you could essentially lose a lot of money, so just make it a small part of your mix and then beef it up as you see some results. 

Hannah: I think that’s awesome advice. So, transitioning a bit, for everyone I interview I like to ask some rapid-fire questions just to get to know you better, so we’ll get into that. 

My first question is: What is your favorite social media platform and why? 

Matt: I love Twitter; I still ride for Twitter. Twitter is just the way I get all my information. It’s just delivered to me relatively quickly and effectively. I can spend five minutes scrolling through and I can catch up on what’s going on in the world, what’s going on in the industry, what’s going on in the NBA, whatever, and see it at a glance. I love the interactiveness of Instagram stories, and that’s something that we’re playing around with the brand quite a bit. I feel like largely people have shifted now that Instagram went so heavily into Snapchat’s territory. They way that they’ve programmed people to go to stories first, and they may not even make it to the feed anymore is really game changing. So, Twitter is my favorite, and then Instagram, and I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook for all the reasons we mentioned earlier like the targeting is awesome but it’s also super invasive sometimes. I found myself less and less personally on things like Facebook and even Instagram. I personally still use Twitter all the time. But that’s how I break it down on a personal level. 

Hannah: If you could only follow 3 social media accounts what would they be? 

Matt: This is a good question, and I haven’t really thought it out. More so rather than brands I’m into voices, so mainly people. I don’t know that there’s a brand really that has a strong voice as a person, but there’s this guy, Shea Serrano, he’s a writer, I believe he’s based in Houston, but he’s an awesome writer; I’ve read all his books. He also writes for a website called The Ringer. But on social he uses his platform for a lot of comedic effects around movies and pop culture and things like the NBA but he also uses it for good. He has this thing called the FOH Army. You can go look it up, I won’t tell you what FOH means if you don’t know. But he has a thing called the FOH Army and when he sees people in need, he rallies his followers, unlike anyone I’ve ever seen. If he sees a school teacher that needs school supplies he will post a Go Fund Me, he will regularly show screenshots of all the Go Fund Me money coming in, so there’s this accountability tracking, so he does that on the regular and I love stuff like that. He’ll raise like $10,000 for someone who needed $500 worth of school supplies or something like that. So, the way that he uses it is for good. It’s really powerful to me. 

Chrissy Teigen is also super fun to follow. We look at a lot of her content when we’re shaping the content that we do because she’s so approachable but also aspirational at the same time so she definitely walks that line. 

I’m blanking on the third, but those two would be pretty solid follows. 

Hannah: What are you currently reading or listening to? 

Matt: I listen to a lot of podcasts, so what are my favorites? I have a schedule. 

Hannah: I love that. 

Matt: This is really nerdy stuff. Monday I typically listen to WTF in the morning commute, with Marc Maron. And then in the afternoon, my favorite podcast is called The Watch; it’s on Mondays and Thursdays, so I typically listen to that on the commute back. I’m blanking on my schedule now, but I listen to You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes, that one’s on Wednesday for sure. Marc Maron’s WTF is on Thursday, and then I listen to Armchair Experts sometimes, Fresh Air. I listen to a lot of different pop cultures. I love interviews with creative people. There’s one called Reply All that’s awesome and is mostly about the internet. There’s one that I listen to that’s called Tea Time but it’s a bunch of Gen Z’s so I find it kind of hard to relate, but they talk about things that may not be on my radar as a Gen X/older millennial, so I listen to a lot of that stuff. I consume a lot of content about creative people because I’m always interested in how they got started and what drives them and what motivates them and that sort of thing. 

Hannah: That’s my favorite question to ask because I’m obsessed with podcasts so I love to get new recommendations. 

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? 

Matt: I don’t know that I received this. I think that I just learned this on my own, but it’s all about relationships. Every job that I’ve ever had I’ve gotten based on a relationship that I’ve had. I got in the door at radio just by taking on an additional unpaid internship straight out of college, and got my foot in the door, and stayed in radio through a couple of different layoffs always because everyone knew that I worked hard and how passionate I was. When I was ready to get out of radio it was someone that I had worked with on the agency side through the radio station that was like, “Hey this may not be the job for you but you can try it out,” and so I transitioned to the film industry and met the Whole Foods people through that job. It’s always been about relationships. I think the best career advice that I can have is A, don’t burn bridges. 

Everybody has a different personality, a different work style and so it’s super important to remember that not everything is for you. If you find yourself troubled by a job or troubled by coworkers or a boss or whatever, remember that their style is completely different. It is a big world but it is also very small. And industries are very small, so there’s a good chance that if you stay in the same industry you’ll likely cross paths with people again, so it’s essential that you don’t burn bridges and that you try to make the best of it, because things have a way of typically working themselves out. 

Hannah: That’s really good advice. 

And my last question is who inspires you? 

Matt: My wife and my kids for sure. Those are probably the biggest ones. Anyone that has a family knows that there’s never a dull moment; you have to be on your feet a lot. Seeing the world, especially through my kids’ eyes, and seeing how they have to cope with things and how they have to things on their own is super inspiring and seeing how their sensitive but they’re also resilient is super inspiring. 

Most of my bosses from the past have been real heroes for me, mostly because they took a chance on me when I might not have been the best fit for a job. My old program director, Leslie Fram at 99x and my old boss, Caroline Sloss [sp 00:28:07] and basically anyone that’s ever hired me, those are my heroes. They saw something in me, even if it didn’t work out, there’s something equally impressive to learn from things that just don’t work in your favor or just aren’t the right fit. So those are the people that I admire. 

Hannah: I love it. So that’s all the questions I have, other than where can people go to learn more about Edible Arrangements, follow along with y’all, see what kind of specials y’all have? 

Matt: Yeah, we’re @Ediblearrangements on Facebook and Instagram, we’re @edible on Twitter, so that’s where you can find us and if you’re on Pinterest we’re currently DoFruit, but hopefully we’ll have a more edible friendly handle on the future. And then you can follow me on Twitter @utahgimmetwo on Twitter and Instagram.

Hannah: Awesome. Well, thank-you for being here. This was such a good conversation, it was even like a little, personal mentoring session for me on social media, so I really appreciate it and I think our followers are going to get a lot of insight out of this conversation. Thanks for your time. 

Thanks, everyone for tuning into today. Be sure to follow along with us to see when we’ll be going live next and until then have a good day and I hope that you put these social media tips into use for your business and organizations. Thanks, guys. Bye.

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