Building a social media community from a podcast

We build the analytics around here so it’s easy for us to get caught up in things from that end of the spectrum. With that in mind, we’re reaching out to some different perspectives on using social media, from Instagram influencers to podcasters and more.

This is an interview with Jackie Johnson, host of the beauty podcast Natch Beaut. What’s it like to start a podcast and then try to build and nurture a social community from an auditory format? We’re glad you asked!

And if you have an interesting perspective for a guest post, shoot us an email or find us on Twitter @UnionMetrics and tell us all about it.

1. You started this podcast when you already had a social presence based on your years of work in comedy. How is it blending those? Do you feel pressure to create new accounts for Natch Beaut specifically?

Before I started Natch Beaut, I had a very modest social media presence. I think I had just over 2k Instagram/Twitter followers. I am in that older millennial age bracket where I understand how to navigate Insta and Snapchat, but kind of hate posting constantly on it, so my pride keeps me from really utilizing its full advantages.

For example, I refuse to hashtag, will only post a photo every couple of days, and making more than one account feels very yucky to me. I guess you could say I am #old and #stubborn. I finally made an account for my dog, and if I would’ve done that years ago, perhaps I would be living off of her by now (she’s the biggest star in this household by far).

I decided to blend the Natch Beaut fans with my personal account at first, and as my numbers grew (I’ve gained around 200 followers a week since the launch of the podcast) I would gauge what the followers were digging based on the amount of likes a pic would get. People really love glam selfies and don’t like photos without me in it. HOW INTERESTING! That helped me decide to make a Natch Beaut account. I still will blend my two identities and am playing with each account to see what resonates with the followers, but am trying to keep makeup/skincare stuff on the Natch Beaut account, and selfies with my husband and dog on my personal.

2. What have the challenges been of connecting with your podcast fans on social, since it’s an audio medium without any direct links for fans and followers to click on in the moment (unless they’re listening on their desktop at work, but most podcast listeners are commuting, exercising, cooking etc)?

I know how many people download Natch Beaut, and the vast majority of them leave me be online and don’t engage or follow me. Which makes perfect sense. If Karina Longworth (You Must Remember This) or Ophira Eisenberg (Ask Me Another) were to walk into my local Coffee Bean, I wouldn’t even know it was them. I don’t engage with my favorite podcast hosts online, so I’m not surprised a lot of my listeners aren’t engaging with me either. I hardly plug my social media on the pod because, again, pride. But I think I am going to more now, because it’s a fun way for me to stay social with the fans in between episodes.

Yesterday I unboxed a few packages on my Insta Story and got tweets from fans saying they felt like it was a live episode of Natch Beaut. What I really want is for the Natch Beaut fans to utilize the website more, My webmaster (my sister) and I work really hard to provide content, links, and episode guides every week. We want it to be the hub of the podcast, for listeners to reflect upon each episode and to visually see everything I discuss with each guest. The numbers for the site go up every week, but again, they are nothing compared to the podcast downloads. I guess most podcast fans keep to themselves, and more power to them! But I would certainly love more of them to say hi.

3. The Natch Beaut Facebook Group is a really supportive group that seems to have grown very quickly, organically. How do you manage it now and do you have different management plans for the future if it keeps growing at its current rate?

I don’t have much involvement with the Facebook group now that it has taken off. I am an admin, but only because I am a control freak. Eventually I plan on removing myself and letting it be 100% fan-controlled, or if I can employ someone I know and trust to admin it that would be the perfect scenario. In my experience with Facebook groups, the bigger they get the more intense they get. So far, we have hardly had any fires to put out in this group. The fans are truly the best! I just want to keep it a safe, positive, and inclusive space, and keep it spam/bot/multi-level marketing salesmen free.

4. Based on your experience so far, what advice would you have for anyone else looking to manage a large Facebook Page Group?

Set ground rules and pin them to the top. Have a few different admins that you trust, preferably in different time zones and with different schedules, to stay on top of the requests, posts, etc. And if it gets overwhelming, just close your computer and go take a walk! Eventually, it will get to be too much, and that is the goal. I stopped looking at and commenting in the group once it got to be overwhelming for me.

 5. Do you take inspiration from other podcast communities for the Natch Beaut community, in how to grow it, manage it? 

I didn’t take any inspiration. This all just happened organically and I’ve been learning on my feet. There have for sure been some growing pains. I wanted to have affiliate links, but messed up and lost some money opportunities (but I finally figured it out!). The Murderinos (fans of My Favorite Murder) definitely embraced Natch Beaut, and they are an amazing, large, and supportive fan base. My pod resonated with these people and I am eternally grateful that my promos ran on MFM and so many of the Murderinos tuned in to try me out. My fan base is a very tiny version of theirs and that happened 100% organically.

6. What’s the most unexpected thing you’ve learned from podcasting so far? 

I underestimated how neurotic I am and how much podcasting would affect me personally and emotionally. I have been doing comedy for 10 years, and have hardly ever lost sleep over anything I’ve said or done. Now that there are actually people listening to me all over the world, I am having a hard time wrapping my head around that in every way. I regret everything, I feel terrible, I feel defensive, I second guess myself, think I’m an idiot, am worried my dad will listen, etc. But I have faith that over time, that will get easier. It is just very weird to have no one care about you for a decade, and then all of a sudden get daily tweets that people love/hate you. I have gotten a very tiny but potent dose of Fame 101/Create your Art and put it into the World 101.

My biggest lesson: I will certainly think much harder before I publicly criticize anyone else’s art ever again.

7. Do you measure any social metrics around your accounts or your Group? What do you focus on as “success”? 

I keep an eye on things, but certainly don’t analyze any metrics or have any ego involved in what counts as a “success”. I just want 10k instagram followers so I can receive the swipe-up-to-a-link feature. And I would love more followers so brands will recognize me. Right now, no one knows or cares who I am. The podcast has done really well in terms of growth (At 5 months old, Natch Beaut is the number one podcast on the iTunes Beauty & Fashion charts) but I would love to see my social media accounts reflect the popularity, too.

Do I have swallow my pride and just start using hashtags? [Ed. note: Yes.]

8. What would you most like to learn about social media marketing/strategy? (Side note: I’m more than happy to help you with this and answer any questions you have!)

I would love to grow my numbers in the least obnoxious way possible (no hashtags) I also cannot for the life of me master Twitter. My Twitter has always been my sleepiest social media. No one wants to follow me! And I have a hard enough time running my dog and my personal account, and now I struggle with what to post on the Natch Beaut account. My day is too short for all these posts! I am overwhelmed!

9. Do you look to social for podcasting ideas/trends? Is there a specific platform that you look to more for that? (Instagram vs. Twitter etc)

I would say Youtube is my number one source for podcast chat. That, and Refinery 29 and Sephora daily emails. I also keep up with all of the makeup launches through Trendmood’s Instagram and watching my favorite Beautubers unbox their PR packages on Snapchat.

10. Do you find that you get a lot more engagement on one platform vs. another with the same messages? (For example, if you post a similar update to Instagram/Facebook/Twitter, does it tend to always take off in one place?)

My pride keeps me from posting the same materials across my platforms. Call me old-fashioned, but I like to create original content for each medium (in my mind, it’s an incentive for folks to follow me across the board) so I hardly ever post the same thing in two places. Facebook used to be my biggest place, but I am on it less and less now due to my mental health. My Facebook is a mess.

I’ve been on it since 2004 and have a lot of “friends” but don’t remember who half of them are and don’t want to read their political views, and the other half are LA comedians promoting themselves. It’s basically all stuff I don’t need to see, but eventually I want to clean it up and utilize it more. I also thought about accepting the many friend requests I have accumulating and letting my page hit 5000, to which it becomes a “fan page,” but I don’t wanna lose all my data from my account because I am a memory hoarder. TL, DR: I’m a mess!

11. Which is your favorite personally and why?

My favorite hands-down in Snapchat. I got on it last year on a whim and it single-handedly changed my life. My Snapchat is the reason I got a podcast, it’s the reason I crafted and honed the character version of myself I portray on my pod, it’s where I feel safe and have my most fun. I think a huge part of that is that not a lot of people (like my parents) are on there, so I can really just be me with reckless abandonment. I also love that everything goes away after a day. That is the key to my greatest content: Snap like no one is watching. And if you miss it, that’s part of the deal, babe.

I think Instagram should stay in its lane and stick to pictures being in a linear timeline. Now that there are these algorithms, live functions, and Stories, it’s just too dang much and I never know what is going on. I know I sound old, but that’s how I feel!

12. How often do you take a break from social to recharge?

Not enough! But I try to as much as I can. Sometimes I don’t look at anything but Snapchat for a day or two. Now that I have Natch Beaut, though, I don’t let that really happen anymore, cause I always torture myself with wanting to know how everyone is digging what I am doing. I stopped reading the iTunes reviews, at least.

The biggest rookie move you can make is reading the comments! Lesson learned!

A big thanks to Jackie for talking to us, and for insight into what it’s like to build a social community out of a podcast. If you’re into beauty, skincare and humor, check out her podcast and give her a follow on Twitter or Instagram.

Got another perspective for us on social? Don’t be afraid to shoot us an email or find us on Twitter @UnionMetrics and tell us all about it.

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