Inclusivity and Connecting on Facebook with Meg Brunson
March 17, 2023
Inclusivity is a practice.
Creating accessible content and really connecting on Facebook isn’t something you can set and forget. It’s not as if you can plan your strategy, create one bucket of content, and then expect that content to perform for you over the long-term.
No. Being inclusive on and connecting on Facebook is all about those small, tiny little choices you make over and over again when you use the platform.
For example: are you writing alt text for the photos you’re posting on Facebook so that people who view the platform using screen readers can understand what you’re sharing? If not, you are excluding a huge group of potential clients or collaborators. A huge group. Are you using diverse images on your website? I could go on and on here, but the point I’m trying to make is being inclusive is something you should consider every time you audit your website, post on social media, or email your list.
In this episode of the Talk Copy to Me podcast, former Facebook employee and current marketing specialist Meg Brunson joins us to talk all about showing up on the platform as a good human so you can attract the best people and be as inclusive as possible.
Here is what Meg and Erin want you to know about being inclusive and connecting on Facebook
How best practices and real life experiences = success on Facebook
How to set up your Facebook business profile to present yourself best on the platform
Suggestions for showing up as an expert in a Facebook group
The importance of testing when it comes to connecting on Facebook
Erin’s reference to her love of Trevor Noah and how something he said on his final night on The Daily Show relates to how people appear on social media (See the video below)
Why your personal profile and business page should always be updated
The importance of focusing on inclusivity on Facebook
Why relying on social media’s automated systems for describing images in their alt tags is not a good idea
Other podcast episodes and resources mentioned in this episodes:
Click here to watch Trevor Noah’s final monologue on his last night of The Daily Show. I think the entire thing is so poignant and worth viewing, but if you’d like to see the specific reference I made in the episode, you can go to the 8m04sec mark and watch until 9m30sec. Trust me. It’s good.
Quotes about connecting on Facebook and being inclusive with your social media posting from Meg and Erin
“Go be a normal human and make friends with other people on the platform.” – Meg Brunson
“If we are working in alignment with Facebook’s ultimate goals, mission, vision, and values, then even if Facebook changes again, they’re going to stay in alignment with those core values.” – Meg Brunson
“Just be yourself and talk from the heart, as corny as that sounds. I’ve seen all of the success of all of my clients come from when they are just being themselves.” – Erin Ollila
“Alt text allows people who are using screen readers and other assistive technology to read the image. The problem is that Facebook’s automated system is not good. It’s very not good. It’s not sufficient. It’s not accurate, and therefore it’s not equitable.” – Meg Brunson
“It is ablist to think that just because you don’t need a certain tool—like a screen reader—that you shouldn’t be assisting people who do need that tool. If you want to make sales in your business, if you want people to buy products, if you want people to buy your services, you need to really take the role of, ‘I’m going to show up for everyone who could possibly buy my services in the best way possible.'” – Erin Ollila
“”I want to serve a diverse and inclusive group of people. So as I’m creating content, I’m creating it for the audience that I want to have, not just the audience that I currently have.” – Meg Brunson
“If you want to work with a more diverse group of people, then use stock images that showcase diverse people.” – Erin Ollila
“I think the biggest things that we’ve hit on a few times is to show up, to be you, to be authentic to who you are, to be a genuine human. And if you do all of those things, you are setting yourself up for success.” – Meg Brunson
Update your Facebook profile!
Meg says, “Make sure that the images are all updated. Make sure your bio is there…And then bonus points for your homework is to make sure you’ve got alt text on those two images. Let’s just get to a point where we’re comfortable sharing alt text [regularly].”
Online marketing authority and former Facebook employee Meg Brunson combines her mission to build a more accessible and inclusive world, with her expertise in the digital marketing space.
After a decade of working within the Deaf and disabled communities and years of watching her kids face racism and transphobia first-hand, Meg has seen how the way we communicate can isolate, divide and harm historically marginalized groups.
Through Just Marketing™, Meg is committed to making a difference through being and building accessible, inclusive, anti-racist, & profitable businesses.
Ensure the next piece of content you post online is as inclusive and accessible as possible with Meg’s Just Marketing™ checklist.
Learn more about your host, Erin Ollila
Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform – and even transform – its intended audience. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and went on to co-found Spry, an award-winning online literary journal.
When Erin’s not helping her clients understand their website data or improve their website copy, you can catch her hosting the Talk Copy to Me podcast and guesting on shows such as Profit is a Choice, The Driven Woman Entrepreneur, Go Pitch Yourself, and Counsel Cast.
Stay in touch with Erin Ollila, SEO website copywriter:
Learn more about Erin’s VIP Day options if you’d like to learn more about how you can hire her to help you with your marketing
Here’s the transcript for episode 042 on business planning for small businesses with guest expert Andrea Liebross
NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors. SUMMARY KEYWORDS
people, facebook, business, image, meg, group, friends, ideal client avatar, alt text, platform, picture, marketing, feel, interpreter, face, aaron, facebook groups, content, clients, started
Meg Brunson, Erin Ollila
Erin Ollila 00:04
Hey friends, welcome to the Talk Copy to Me podcast. Here we empower small business owners to step into the spotlight with their marketing and messaging. I’m your host, Erin Ollila. Let’s get started and talk coffee. Hello friends today we are back. And we are here to talk about Facebook. I am here with Meg Brunson. And what you might not know about her and something she doesn’t really actually talk much about is that in the early 2000s, she was actually a lead witness for a violent felony. She became really responsible for the outcome of the trial. And I just think this is wild. And I would love to hear more about this Meg, what happened?
Meg Brunson 00:55
So I was working as a security guard at a school for the deaf and hard of hearing. So I am I was then fluent now I’m probably conversant in sign language. And somebody a deaf person came up to me reported what happened in sign language, we call it the police. The police came and did not bring an interpreter, which is a problem. That was like problem number one, they didn’t bring an interpreter and they kind of said, listen, we’re not going to get an interpreter at this hour of the night. So you can either help us, or we can leave without taking this, you know, this information down? Well, I couldn’t like that puts me in like a moral situation, right? Like, how do I. So I interpreted for the gentleman who was victimized. And then long story short, a few weeks, maybe I maybe later, they located the guy did a little sting app and arrested him. While the defense said we can’t use it because she wasn’t an interpreter. And it’s hearsay. Which, right what I tried to warn them about right?
Erin Ollila 02:00
If only they listen from the beginning to this Brandon
Meg Brunson 02:04
security guard. Yeah, so long story short, I had to go on trial. I was there for two to three days. Had to try to prove that I had the skills to be an interpreter. So that my, the communication, the interpreting that I did would be considered applicable admissible. Luckily, it was dude got 25 to life. Oh, my gosh, talk about this. Without fear.
Erin Ollila 02:34
Everyone, if this podcast episode goes down at any point in time, you know why keep your mouth shut? Don’t say a word. Meg is our friend.
Meg Brunson 02:44
I mean, it was astonishing. I was a criminal justice major. I thought I was gonna go into the criminal justice space. I talk about this a lot when it comes to like, how did you get into marketing? Yeah, it was it was a really cool thing, cool experience is appropriate, because it was very unfortunate for that the situation happened. But it was really cool that I got to have such a important role. And in the justice system, seeing it like turnout the way it should. Yeah,
Erin Ollila 03:07
I love that. If there’s anything that I’m going to take from what you just said, and transition it into our conversation about Facebook, it’s going to be this trust mag from the beginning, when she tells you something like you need an interpreter, or you should do this, that and the other thing on Facebook, you just trust her and you do what she says. So that’s how we’re transitioning from major legal cases, interpreting into Facebook, Meg, why Facebook? What do you think that Facebook has to offer small businesses? When it comes to how they show up on social media?
Meg Brunson 03:45
The easy answer is people, people, it’s in the numbers, right? When we look at the user statistics on Facebook, they continue to be among the highest. I gotta be honest, YouTube is up there, too. I’m not sure if YouTube is past them yet or not. But they are very high up there. There are just a ton of people on that platform. And if you’re not reaching people there, then your competitors will be
Erin Ollila 04:08
just so tell me a little bit about how you first came on Facebook. I’d love to hear the whole trajectory of like ven to now like what did you originally start using it for? How did your usage change? And what about your current usage is so important to your business?
Meg Brunson 04:23
So when I first started using Facebook, I wasn’t a business owner. I feel like that’s the important. That’s an important piece, right? I was using it totally differently. I was documenting, you know, my first baby and all of her little milestones and, you know, keeping in touch with friends, things like that. When I started my first business, which I’m using that term lightly right because my first business was was very much not a profitable business. But I started to use Facebook to share with my audience you know what I was doing and use it as a promotional tool. Now I knew nothing, not thing about marketing. I was a criminal justice major, I thought I was gonna go this like cop or or prison route, you know as far as my career, but then life happened. So at that point, I kind of just threw myself into learning whatever I could learn at the time. And when I say this, this was like, well, 15 years ago, Facebook was a very different space.
Erin Ollila 05:20
So different, so different. When you created
Meg Brunson 05:23
a business page, people actually saw your content, right. So things were definitely different back then. But what had happened was I had joined a, it was kind of like a franchise Mom Blog, if you can, like wrap your head around that kind of a concept. And I was leveraging Facebook, I started to tinker with Facebook ads, as well as organic Facebook marketing. And then I love collaboration and helping people. So then I started sharing what I was learning with the other people in my franchise, Mom Blog group. And I feel like I quickly found my own little niche. So not only was my mom blogging, which was like my first I would say, successful entrepreneurial endeavor, something that made money and gave my family opportunity. But I was leveraging Facebook to expand my reach, get more subscribers, get more people to see my blog posts and my content. And then this is a long story short, right. But I had an opportunity to interview at Facebook, I was hired by Facebook. And so then I went in House worked at Facebook for about a year. Part of the reason was because I had been entrepreneurial, and I kind of I thought working at Facebook would be cool. And it was it was fun it was but they still want you to work 40 hours, you still have limited PTO, I still have four kids now. And it just didn’t really fit what I wanted my ideal working situation to be. So at that point, over that year, I got so much information about the inner workings of Facebook as much as anybody, you know, really can get access to they don’t share, like the real algorithm secrets and stuff like that. But I learned so much information that when I left Facebook, that’s when I kind of really shifted what I was doing entrepreneurially to focus more on Facebook marketing, both paid and organic, um, to leverage that new enhanced skill set that I got working with the platform.
Erin Ollila 07:17
It’s so funny, though, about how like, how easy it is to overlook things because you’re telling this story. And then you start to talk about how you went to work at Facebook. And I was like what worked at Facebook. Now granted everyone, I invited mike on the show today to talk about Facebook, because I like one she was recommended by many people about Facebook specifically. But to like I’ve seen Meg on Facebook, like I felt confident that she would be a great person. I didn’t know that. So I just clicked back over to the forum. And sure enough, Meg, you told me, I am a former Facebook employee on the forum that I forced you to fill out in order to like book your interview. Yes, friends, even though I talk about like reading coffee, paying attention, your friend Aaron misses things as well. But I think that was such a fun little fact that was inserted to this conversation. You are a former Facebook employee, wild I wish I could I wish I had more fun questions to ask you about what it was like to be a Facebook employee. But I think you know, when it comes down to it, what I’m really grateful that you’re here for. And some of the things that I think you can help this audience understand is using Facebook as a tool and using it in a way that is both inclusive and accessible. We talk about old Facebook versus new Facebook. And I think that’s really a key differentiator when it comes to the conversation of whether or not Facebook is the platform that people who are listening want to be on or should be on when I started using it for business was I think in the early days of Facebook groups. And I really want to point out that time, because I feel like for many of the people who are not very new to business, I would say that it’s kind of a transformational time using Facebook. When I asked you why Facebook, you said because of the access to people like their users. And when while I wouldn’t say it necessarily is the same at this moment, when you joined a group back then you had access to so many potential leads leads that were interested, whether they were people who would turn into customers or people who would be great networking partners, people who could educate you like it was a really great time to be an online entrepreneur at the inception of groups like when they began and they had a really good ride for a while. So I love that’s where you started and and then we’ve coming back here and talking about just the amount of people on there and how to use it. But now that things have changed, I would say it’s it’s a lot more difficult to use Facebook or at least it feels difficult To get access to the group of people, I know I’m on a spill here. So I’m going to cut my question short, I think basically, what I’m trying to say is, before we jump into accessibility and how to use Facebook as a good tool, and a good human and business owner, what do you think the best way is for small businesses to get in front of people on Facebook and use it in a way that feels good for them in their business?
Meg Brunson 10:23
Yes, so I feel like this is gonna be a, this could be a very long answer, I’m going to do my best to be
Erin Ollila 10:28
we’ve we’ve got like a solid 20 minutes. At this point, I’m just gonna mute my mic and go for it.
Meg Brunson 10:32
So I think that it’s a multi prong approach, the number one thing I encourage you to do this, I really think helped me is to take a minute and think about, I’m sure most entrepreneurs have heard about, like Simon Sinek. And he talks about, you know, your why and all of that. So think about Facebook’s why for a minute. Like, there’s so many resources out there that try to teach people like how to how to cheat the algorithm and how to how to beat the algorithm. What if instead of trying to, like, fight against the algorithm to get the results you want? What if we took a minute to understand why Facebook exists? The mission, the vision, the values, and then figure out how you can play by Facebook’s rules, because we’re in their house? Yes, right? Like, Facebook’s a free platform, they can kick people out, they can make all those decisions because it’s their platform. So I think the first thing to do is familiarize yourself with the platform what the platform’s goals are, and I don’t have the the mission and vision memorized anymore, like I used to. But it was basically to form connections to bring people together. Like if you I’m sure that those those words are still very present in the in the current mission, vision values of Facebook togetherness, connection community. So I think number one is to keep that in the back of your mind is that those should be our goals. Because if we are working in alignment with Facebook’s ultimate goals, mission vision values, then even if Facebook changes again, they’re going to stay in alignment with those core values. So if we’re aligned, adapting to the changes are going to be easier. Yeah, I think that’s the first thing. I know that’s kind of wishy washy, right? Because there’s not like, like straight tactics you can take that’s
Erin Ollila 12:23
okay, my my favorite statement in the world on this podcast, and it’s a perfect time to get it in. I think I’ve only missed it. One episode so far is it depends, right? So it’s like, what you’re saying here makes so much sense. And this is I will, like, nail this hammer home for as long as I live when it comes to marketing. Like, we’re given guidance, which is what you’re saying with Facebook, here’s what Facebook is for. Here’s what our mission is right? To like, develop the communities and let people connect. So if that’s what they’re saying, they want you to do, and they adjust slightly in the way that they offer that to you. You just have to adjust like what works for Meg on Facebook, it doesn’t work for Aaron necessarily. And it might not work for like Sam, Joe Peter, like anyone, right? So we just have to listen, like I think what you’re saying, listen to what these businesses, whether it’s Facebook, or a different social media platform, listen to what their priorities are, and then like, adjust our own practices based on that, but keep
Meg Brunson 13:21
going. And that kind of reminds me to about what I often tell people like when I was at Facebook, I learned best practices, right? Best practices from Facebook. But following best practices alone isn’t gonna get you to your ultimate goals. There’s a there’s a little bit of of that it depends on there, where we have to test strategies in order to see what’s going to work. And I think the key to success is understanding the best practices, but also that willingness to continuously be testing and iterating and retesting, so that we can figure out exactly like the perfect, the perfect equation of best practices, plus real life experience equals success. So that’s, that’s, that’s my broad answer. But now let me give you some actionable tips, you can actually like, implement and do. So number one, go to your personal profile, and make sure it’s updated. And everything is relevant. Fill out your about section, include a link to your website, there is a short little, I don’t remember how many characters it has. It’s probably like 150, maybe ish characters where you can put a little bio, put a little bio there. It might be something that calls out who your ideal people are, or just a little statement about what you do for people. Make sure those links are included. You can even link to other platforms. If you have a Facebook business page, you can say like you work at your business page. So that links that’s going to be step number one, you want all that information to be filled out because as you’re networking in the Facebook world rolls, whether that’s with your friends, or whether that’s in groups, wherever it is, if you pique somebody’s interest, so I peek, Aaron’s interest in Aaron goes to my Facebook page, because she wants to learn more about me, if it’s all locked up, and there’s no links, there’s no Facebook pages or URLs, she’s hit a brick wall. And she’s like, Oh, well, maybe she doesn’t actually offer this, like, maybe she just had really good insight in that group. But like, that’s not her thing, right? You want to make sure people can find you connect with you and connect with your business. That being said, there is balance, right, we have to find that area of balance, because Facebook has the personal profile and the business page, and Facebook wants them to be separate. So when it comes to being promotional on your Facebook page, there’s not an exact equation I can give you. But I can say at least 50% of what you’re putting on your profile should be personal, not business. But up to that, you know, 25 50%, you can still share business related things, just don’t be spammy about it. And you’re gonna know if you’re being spammy about it, because people aren’t going to respond with that content, it’s up to you to find the perfect balance. Some people like to put a business related banner on their Facebook profile, the header image, I prefer not to like I just like showcasing my family there. But some people do. There’s not a right or wrong, it’s finding what works for you. So I think that’s step one. It’s a very easy step. And I talked for a long time, but it’s pretty, ya know,
Erin Ollila 16:34
that that was that was the perfect amount of talking you. Perfect, thank you.
Meg Brunson 16:38
And then step two, which is kind of connected, is go be a normal human and make friends with other people on the platform. Like Aaron, I was around and that like emerging group space, and I’ve often wondered if the group spaces is still hot for some people, and maybe I’ve just outgrown it, not really sure. But join some groups, start chatting with people, I mean, some of my best business friends right now, I met in Facebook groups that neither of us own. It was a Facebook group, someone else owned, and we connected. And that’s how I continue to meet new people is because, you know, we’re all networking and love making those connections. So join some Facebook groups that are relevant for your niche relevant for your ICA, your ideal client avatar, if anybody is unfamiliar with that term, your audiences another way to put it and just get in there and be a human help people. If somebody has a question, answer the question, but answer it in the group do not pm people that crosses over into like spam town. So keep it in the group provide clear answers. One of the tips that helped me I think, is I would add to the beginning of of what I what I would share, like the value I’d provide back the answer, I would say something like, as a former Facebook employee, this is what I know to be true. Or, you know, when I was working at Facebook, this is how we retrained blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Now, it’s not like I’m being super promotional, or in your face, I’m not listing my resume, but it’s giving just a little like, tease of why, well, I’m saying maybe more credible than Joe Schmo. Because there’s a lot of that right, bad advice in groups. And so just a little bit of credibility, and then answer the question. And if your profile is optimized, if I give like a really great answer, whoever it is, is going to likely go to my profile, they may send me a friend request, they may just clicks my website, etc. I think the key is just to to be friendly. I encourage people to ask permission before sending Facebook friend requests sometimes that you know, sometimes I still don’t. But like if I seen you, Aaron and a group, I might say, Hey, I think we’d really mesh like we have very similar business values. Would it be okay if I send you a friend request, just so that I can like keep in the loop with what’s going on in your, in your world, and maybe there’ll be collaboration opportunities, I’m not going to try to sell to Aaron or to somebody I meet in the face in these Facebook groups, but it’s trying to build relationships, build collaboration partners,
Erin Ollila 19:08
everything that you said makes so much sense if we just look at it the lens of showing up as like a kind human first, literally. So we are recording this in December. And you know, we’re prepping so all of these episodes can go ready in the first quarter of 2023. And last night friends was the last Trevor Noah episode on Comedy Central. And if you know anything about me, you probably know and if you don’t, you should know that I love Trevor Noah. So I’m a little bit in mourning right now. But I mentioned this for a reason. He’s shared the few things that he felt like working. The Daily Show has really taught him about himself about the show about people. And one of the things that he said is you know on social media, it’s a lot easier to peg people as well. Good or bad, let’s say this and I’m poorly paraphrasing him. But when you get out there and you meet people all over the world all over the United States, you find that people are a lot better than they appear on social media, because you’re forced to communicate face to face, right. So even if you have different ideals, different beliefs, like you can have a conversation much easier in person. And I’m sharing this because like, we have online businesses, using social media for many people, and not for all is vital to their business. And even if your social is not the place, you’re showing up, showing up in emails with your clients, with leads, all of these things I think we have to remember, is very important to put the face like an actual face to the person we’re communicating with. Because someone you meet in a group on Facebook, someone that like clicks over to your website, from a Facebook ad, let’s say they’re not just money in the bank, right? Like, wonderful if they put money into your bank account, but they are real life human with real needs and real desires. And these are things we talk about so much in marketing that I think we forget, there’s real, like, you know, like people’s pain points and their desires, like yes, they’re those are things and those drive buying decisions. But we really have to look at it from like one human to another. And I think when you do that, especially in marketing, if you just show up from the perspective of like, this is important to me, like your business, and whatever it is that you do, this is really important to me, and I want to help you or I want to get this product in front of you, because I’m passionate about it. And you talk to that person like that as if you you know, it is a conversation as if you’re just two individuals talking about what’s important to you. That’s when the connection happens. That’s when people are so excited to like, learn about what you do. But I think this I went there’s some air quotes here, online marketing world has really put us all at a disadvantage from not seeing that anymore. And and just the political, political landscape slash social media has done that too. So I love I love what you say about being human. And I think that’s made. I mean, obviously, I think you have some really great things to say about accessibility that I know will be coming next. But if we take anything out of this episode, just in you’re worried, like, what do I say on Facebook? Like, how do I do the Facebook ad like, I don’t want to do this wrong, I don’t want to show up and sound like I’m selling. Just be yourself. And like, talk from the heart. As corny as that sounds, if you I’ve seen all of the success of all of my clients come from when they are just being themselves. So I’m gonna step off of my little soapbox now, and let you get back to talking about what you’re talking about. But I would love to hear more, especially if I’ve derailed you so much that you’re like, Well, hey, wait, what was I talking about there? If I have derailed you, maybe we can jump in and start talking more about being inclusive, and making sure the content we put on Facebook is accessible? Because I absolutely think this is one thing people I noticed they don’t think to do. And it is something we should be doing.
Meg Brunson 23:20
Well, before we jump in. I do want to just touch on one thing that you reminded me of you were talking about how we need to like put a face like these aren’t just people. I didn’t mention this. But when it comes to your Facebook profile, make sure your face is the profile picture like your face, like not a not a picture of your whole family and not your dog. Not a gorgeous sunset, not your business logo. If you want your business logo on your Facebook page, that’s a whole different story. But when it comes to your personal profile, it should be your face. It can be a selfie, it can be a professional photo, it doesn’t matter, but make it be you because this is about building relationships. And people want to see who they’re talking to. I see this more often with like the older generation, but making like semi recent. Do you know what I mean? Like if you’re if you’re 70
Erin Ollila 24:07
We don’t want like the 1980s power shots. You know, like, you know what I’m talking about? Right like glint glamour shots. Yeah. Oh, love those glamour shots, but like, well, let’s just avoid those.
Meg Brunson 24:17
Yeah, just keep it people want to know who they’re talking to. Now we can like jump over to accessibility and inclusivity because those are kind of some of my other favorite things to talk about. I have a long history of working with communities, the disabled community, the deaf community, various different lots of experience. I have a kiddo who is queer. I have another kiddo who is biracial. I’ve got that’s kind of like my background that has fueled my desire to make this world just a kinder, more inclusive, more welcoming, more comfortable space for all people. I guess it’s a little selfish, right? But like I want my kid to be welcomed. comes in safe and unhappy wherever they are, but all of My children, right. So I guess that’s my little a little like why statement now we can kind of hop off that box. And we can talk about how to make this happen on Facebook. And this is another topic I could talk about for ever. And a lot of these tips are going to be applicable across different platforms to, I think the number one thing that that’s easy to do that people miss is that Facebook, Instagram, all these platforms allow you to add alt text to images. And what that means is when you’re posting a selfie, your selfie and Facebook that you’re gonna make your profile picture, right, you’re posting your selfie, Facebook will automatically try to figure out what is in that picture and then assign alt text to the image. What that alt text does is two things. Number one, if I’m on a really slow internet connection, and the images don’t load, it’ll load the alt text, I’m a full time rver, we’re often in the middle of the woods. And even with Starlink, we can have some really hit or miss internet. So this is a way that I am able to understand what’s in the pictures that people are posting, when I don’t have the bandwidth for the image is slowed. But then probably more importantly, right. There are a whole population of people who are blind, who may be colorblind, which can influence their ability to see and interpret an image or have other visual impairments. And so all text allows people who are using screen readers and other assistive technology to read the image. The problem is that Facebook’s automated system is not good. It’s very not good. It’s not sufficient. It’s not accurate, and therefore it’s not equitable. So I share an example that I posted. There’s an image with me and my older two kids. And from memory, Facebook said maybe a picture of two people smiling. Maybe? Well, it wasn’t it was a picture of three pupil smiling. But here’s the other piece, without any other contexts. What is that picture just like a stock photo of two people smiling? No, we need to customize the alt text. So that we’re providing an equitable experience for all people so that the person who can who can hear and see and, and whatever, consumes the content, and has the same experience as a person who’s unable to see the content because they read the post. And then instead, maybe the description says mag is standing between her two oldest children. All three are smiling. And I know for this example, my shirt said liberal AF, and one of my kiddos shirt said love not labels. Now, my other kiddo what she was wearing wasn’t relevant. For the point of my story, right? It was a it was a post about social justice. And so what the two of us were wearing was irrelevant. What Caitlin was wearing was not. So it’s sharing enough information to paint a picture of a literal picture, right? Alt text is, is painting a picture of what that image not only shows, but what bits and pieces are important to understand the underlying message. I hope that makes sense. And doesn’t sound too, like too much extra work. Because it can feel overwhelming to have to take an extra step and like describe your image. But it’s important, it’s important to be accessible. It’s important to sure everybody has the equitable experience. And once you get in the, and the routine of doing it, it’s not a big deal.
Erin Ollila 28:44
Yeah, I agree. And you know, we talk about this a lot on websites. And I don’t think this is anything we’ve ever really discussed on the podcast before. So I just want to stay here for a second. A long time ago in a previous traditional job. I was talking to one of our clients about you know, this making sure we were actually using the alt text, yes for SEO and I love Seo. But the alt text was not made for seo keyword stuffing. It was made for exactly what Meg said it was made to describe the image. Now if you’re choosing your images correctly, like let’s say for example, it’s a stock image. You could probably stick your keyword in there. For example, on my website, it will be a picture of me it will say something like Erin Ollila website copywriter, white woman looking at computer at a desk as an example. Now friends, SEO copywriters, the keyword there, right? We all get that that does not exactly describe me. So there’s a way to include keywords. But the point is so that when people cannot see the image, their screen readers can tell them what the image is. Well, so back to the client that we were working with. They had said well, is this even necessary? I mean, how many blind people are looking at my website, friends there, there’s a lot of people, just I mean, the unit, I just looked this up quickly when you’re talking over a million people or, I mean, according to the website that I looked at legally blind in the United States as of just a few years ago, and that does not count the amount of people with severe or moderate visual. And in impairment, there’s a ton of people who do use the internet, right? Like, it is able us to think that just because you don’t, you don’t need a certain tool like a screen reader that you shouldn’t be assisting people who do need a certain tool. If you want to make sales in your business, if you want people to buy products, if you want people to buy services, you need to really take the role of I’m going to show up for everyone who could possibly buy my services in the best way possible. And I love that you said it feels like extra work. But I think that what happens, or at least what I’ve seen for myself and some clients is, it takes the extra work to train yourself initially. But then once you do get started, it’s very second nature to just quickly like type in a sentence to describe things. And I think that people, everything I just said people kind of get for websites, you know, they get a load in the pictures, but social something that they do so often. So that’s maybe where that that friction is, and it feels hard to constantly sit down and do that. But I do really want to drive home as well, the point that you’re making here, and that is being a good human and recognizing you know, just because you have certain abilities does not mean people don’t have different differing abilities. And if you want the best eyes on your content, it’s going to be and I say eyes here, not purposefully, but if you if you want the best people to view your copy your content, your social posts, taking that extra step to make it accessible to them is beneficial to you as well.
Meg Brunson 31:57
And along those same lines, I always say like I’m marketing, not only to my existing audience, but to the audience I want to have. And I take a similar approach when it comes to building out like who my ideal client avatar is. There’s actually a lot of a lot of people who say that your ideal client avatar is likely you just a few steps earlier in your journey. And I don’t like that. I want my ideal client avatar to be different from me, because I’m not just I don’t want to just serve people who are like me, I want to serve a diverse and inclusive group of people. So as I’m creating content, I’m creating it for the audience that I want to have not just the audience that I currently have. And so while it may be easier, right to just communicate to people who look act, exist, like I do, I’m trying to choose that like representative ICA out of my audience to be one of the most marginalized members of that audience so that it allows me to show up in a way that is as inclusive and accessible as possible.
Erin Ollila 33:06
Yeah, no, I 100% agree with you there. And you know, this is a bone that I pick with a lot of clients when it comes to stock images, especially if we’re doing a lot more content. And we’re writing a lot of blogs, consider that in all industries, right. So like, if you want to work with a more diverse group of people, then use stock images that showcase diverse people, mega mentioned this, put someone with who has a using a wheelchair in your images to showcase that you, you know, just to showcase the difference in humans, because we’re not all the exact same. And I think by doing that it also helps with showing up and being more accessible. Like there are tools to be accessibility. But we can also, you know, work on being more inclusive by things like the images that we use, the way that we phrase things in our copy in our social media posts. Thanks, Mike. I think that was really great. Before we end, is there anything else that you want to say about Facebook in particular, I have just two tiny questions for you.
Meg Brunson 34:03
I think the biggest things that we’ve we’ve hit head on a few times, is to show up to be you to be authentic to who you are to be a genuine human. And if you do all of those things, you’re setting yourself up for success. If it makes you feel icky, if it makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t do it. You don’t have to do it. Just because other people are doing something one way does not mean that’s the only way to do it. And I think I’ll end with the problem that we all seem to have is that we tend to judge people based on our how we perceive their success to be. So they may have a whole lot of followers or a whole lot of engagement. And then we think we have to do what they’re doing in order to get that and we don’t we don’t know what’s going on, you know, behind the scenes, and so don’t don’t judge other people do your own thing. Be in alignment with your values and it’s going to work out
Erin Ollila 34:56
Yeah, I think that is the perfect way to kind of tie up the Facebook nah, I mean I couldn’t agree more. It’s like, you know, showing up human when one part is like, showing up to support the people that we’re working with. But the other part is showing up to work in, like you said, alignment. I think that’s the best way to kind of say this. So many of my clients will say, Oh, I don’t want to do reels, or I don’t want to do this, or this doesn’t feel right. And, you know, I don’t want to like simplify this too much. But the truth of the matter is, if it doesn’t feel good, stop doing it. Like, there are a jillion ways to show up online. And I think that again, it’s when it comes to things like Facebook, do groups feel wrong? Don’t do them? Does ads feel wrong? Don’t do them. There’s still so many ways to use the platform in in a way that feels right. Right. So like, that’s going to take testing, like you mentioned earlier. But figuring that out, once you’ve kind of worked through the testing, you’re going to find the place that feels good for you. And that’s just where you want to be, it’s going to feel good for you. It’s going to feel good for those potential clients. All right, mag. So the first question I have for you is the homework question. If you could give homework, a tiny homework assignment, nothing too hard, nothing was gonna make anyone who’s listening cry. If you could give a homework assignment to our audience about Facebook, what would it be? What would it be,
Meg Brunson 36:15
I think it would be to update your profile. So make sure that the images are all updated, make sure your bio is there, your your as much information as you are comfortable sharing, put it there do not have to put your personal phone number, right. Like, there can be some boundaries, but as much information as you’re comfortable with. And then bonus points for your homework is make sure you’ve got alt text on those two images, let’s just get to a point where we’re comfortable. We’re starting to get comfortable with sharing alt text. And one thing we didn’t really touch about if it’s okay to be for me to just tag it in here is you can go in the back and have have the image and actually edit Facebook’s alt text. The other much preferred by a lot of people way is just to add it at the end of the caption. So right whatever your caption is, put a couple of spaces and then put a bracket put image description and then describe your image that also helps eliminate character count restrictions, like some platforms, I think LinkedIn only allows 150 characters. So get comfortable get start using those descriptions.
Erin Ollila 37:17
Yeah, that’s a really good point, too. Because I you know, when you were just saying that I was thinking to myself, I’m like, I don’t I think the last time I actually changed my, my profile picture, which is my face. So I get the point for that. But I don’t even think that they have the option to actually make it accessible when I added it, right, because it’s been a while since I’ve changed that thing. So if you feel like your profile is looking good, your your personal and your professional and you don’t really know how to interpret this homework, do that. Take your picture down, even if you use the same picture and update it because I’m sure that’s something I could do. Because I know for a fact I didn’t do it previously. So I like that it’s an easy thing. Someone just could end the episode quickly fix and just feel like they’re working toward showing up better. My final question for you is if you could meet any anyone, whether it’s a group of people, an individual person, and this, who would it be and why.
Meg Brunson 38:08
So 100% I’d be hanging out with Liz,
Erin Ollila 38:11
oh my gosh, yeah, obsessed.
Meg Brunson 38:13
I love I love what Lisa stands for, I don’t know how familiar like y’all are with some of her her past issues. Like when she just launched her most recent album, which is wonderful. I listen to it every single day. There was a song in it that used a slur. And here in the States, it’s I believe in the States, it’s not considered as bad of a slur or it’s not considered a slur. But in the UK, it’s considered a slur and somebody reached out to her and said, What’s up like, I love you and I love your music. But this isn’t cool. She recorded the song. She didn’t like, defend herself. She didn’t. She was just like, Oh, my bad and we recorded the song. Yeah, cuz
Erin Ollila 38:51
she could acknowledge that that wasn’t, you know, like, that’s not who she wanted to be. And it wasn’t in alignment with you know how she wanted to be a recording artist.
Meg Brunson 38:59
I told him love even harder with her then like I have goosebumps. And I just watched she want people’s choice award. And she used her time to highlight I think it was 15 Other changemakers like, I just I admire the way that she shows up in her business. I admire the way she shows up in the social justice space. I love her body confidence. I feel like she’s helped my overweight self feel more confident, comfortable and confident in my body. I just love her. So
Erin Ollila 39:30
All right friends, thank you so much for staying with us here today if you are looking to show up or better on Facebook and also make sure the next piece of content that you post is both inclusive and accessible. Go to one go to Meg’s website, which is just Meg brunson.com, but also go to just marketing checklist.com Because that’s going to help you make sure that you’re showing up in a way that feels good and is inclusive. I will put all of those links in the show notes. But Mike, thank you so much for your time. Um, today I think everything that you said is really helpful and actionable and it just gonna really take people a long way.
Meg Brunson 40:05
Oh, thank you Erin. It was a pleasure.
Erin Ollila 40:10
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Top copy to me. If you enjoyed spending your time with me today, I would be so honored if you could subscribe to the show and leave a review. Want to continue the conversation? Head on over to Instagram and follow me at Erin Ollila. Until next time friends
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